And we are BACK! The Phantoms begin their quest to defend the AHL Atlantic crown and protect the Allentown Realm. It all starts tonight at the intersection of 7th and Hamilton.
When we last…
…saw them play meaningful hockey, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms were getting ousted from the Calder Cup playoffs by the eventual champion from Toronto. Many of the players from that squad are back (Go HERE to read about the roster) and there are some interesting additions!
This is where we talk about the previous game(s) and the standings, but it’s all fresh and clean right now.
In the roster post from yesterday I took a guess as to what the lines would look like tonight. I even pointed out that I’d be wrong. And, it turns out I made a mistake on top of all that. Go read it and see if you can find the error. Anyway, I’ll be really curious to see what the lines look like tonight, and in this space going forward I’ll include some information and analysis on how the team is lining up.
I’m not sure newly added Philip Samuelsson is in town and ready to go for this game. He was on a PTO on the west coast at the time of his signing. Read more about him HERE.
Just now reading that Stolarz has cleared waivers and is available to be loaned to the Phantoms. We await the official announcement of his assignment. Kasdorf is officially on a PTO with the Phantoms. Goalies for tonight appear to be Hart/Komm/Kasdorf. Will King was in net last night for Reading’s win in Glens Falls, NY.
Game information this year usually won’t include things like start time and where to park. Most readers of this column already know that stuff–and those that don’t aren’t usually here. But I will try to give you some “game night” information that you may need.
If the preseason is any indication, it does look like we’ll be dropping the puck closer to 7:18 PM when the “show” starts at 7:05PM. It might be a little later tonight as they raise the division champion banner. I’ve already written about that–I’m against it. If we’re going to attach the history of this franchise from Philadelphia (I think we can all just forget about Adirondack 😉 ) and hang those Calder banners, then that has to be the goal every season, right? Is the banner for winning in the regular season or in the playoffs? We gonna hang a banner when we sweep the Penguins this year? Where do we draw the line? I’m not in favor of hanging up banners for every little thing that happens when you fall short of your stated objective. *Rant Mode Off*
If you don’t already have a bunch of orange towels hanging around, we’ll be getting another one tonight–it’s a rally towel giveaway night.
Season ticket books can be picked up in the Kid Zone. We’ll be getting a Colin McDonald bobblehead at some point later in the season; the coupon is in the back of the book.
DOWNTOWN: I’ll try to keep you up to date with stuff going on downtown, when I can.
- Construction along Walnut and along Sixth is an annoyance.
- The Community deck on Sixth/Walnut is now regular parking (take a ticket and pay at the kiosk before you leave) rather than event parking.
- Macho’s Sports Bar is having their Grand Opening tonight. They’re in the former Sugar Hill Jazz Club on Ninth Street just across from the Walnut Street parking deck. There is a cover/door charge for the DJ’s.
- The Dime has an R&B/Funk band tonight at 9PM for your post-game entertainment
Five Things To Watch
As in the past, I’ll try to give you an idea of the five things I’m going to be paying the most attention to on any given evening.
- The Hart of the Matter: Barring something unusual, tonight will mark the official start of the Carter Hart era–for however long it lasts. Whether he does really well or really not well, it will be one of the stories of this season for the Phantoms. I’m interested in seeing the era get underway tonight.
- White V Jerseys: I wasn’t terribly impressed with the design of the fifth-anniversary jerseys. They’ll wear them tonight, then again at the end of December when they’ll be auctioned. I’m interested in seeing them on the ice, because sometimes that can change my mind.
- Samuelsson: He likely won’t be on the ice tonight, but I’ll be interested to hear if he’s in the building and what he has to say about joining the team that ousted him from the playoffs last season, when he was with Charlotte. He’s certainly been in our building before, I can’t wait to hear what he has to say.
- D-Pairs: Even without Ulf’s son, the defensive pairs should be very strong. I’ll be paying especially close attention to Meyers and Friedman tonight as they try to push their way to the Flyers as puck-moving blue-liners.
- Taylor Leier: He’s on a mission to prove he really belongs on the next level. The Phantoms will benefit. I look forward to welcoming him back.
Always looking ahead: After tonight’s game vs Bridgeport, we’ll play next on Friday, back at the PPL Center, versus Springfield, as we enjoy a home-and-home with them next weekend.
See you at the arena,
Featured Image by Jack Mitroka