Phantoms Alter Home Whites
I had it in my notes for the post-game piece last Friday, but after the blowout loss it got lost in the shuffle. The Phantoms made some cosmetic changes to the (first half) home white sweaters for the 2018-19 season. The major changes are these: The name plate is now in black, with the player’s name in white. The numbers are now black, outlined in orange. As far as I can tell, the base jersey is the same, but read on. First, take a look:
Photo: Cheryl Pursell
Impression: The first thing I noticed Friday was the name plate. I’m not a Flyers fan, but I’ve always admired that the name plate is often in a dark color, with the letters of the name in white or in relief, as it were. It’s a nice look. Secondly, I noticed the numbers were black rather than orange. I’m not sure that’s a better look, given the basic design of the shirt. If you look closely, you’ll also notice that instead of the single shading of the orange numbers with black, the numbers are now double-shaded with orange and black. Looking at the Friday on the ice, I actually thought they were harder to read and not easier–and kind of sloppy looking. The double-shading can be really well done, as it is on the away/blacks, which are shaded with both white and the accent color, electric blue.
My first thought about the impetus for these changes is that perhaps somebody got a sale price on black numbers. I’m kidding. Mostly. I think there may be some other manufacturing differences in the base jersey–and that the sale of Reebok/CCM to Adidas may be involved. More research is necessary here. Looking at photos from last Saturday’s game in Springfield, where the Phantoms wore their alternate-orange sweaters, I believe some minor changes were made to those, as well. I note a black nameplate with white letters replacing the orange nameplate with black letters. It looks really good, in my opinion. The front is altered too: Gone are the lace ties. Again, this leads me to believe that manufacture changes were involved in the changes. We haven’t seen the away/blacks yet. I’m expecting at least a name plate change.
It is my understanding after speaking with multiple sources, that the ownership group including the Brooks brothers, are intimately involved with all jersey design decisions. If it’s their wishes, then so be it. I’m not against change and perhaps the new look will grow on me.
And, I’m pretty sure they’re not reading this, but here are my suggestions going forward:
- A full re-design every five years. That would be now. I think the base design should have been changed rather than just the numbers/letters, just to keep things fresh. Yes, you can make the case that you build a brand and you don’t want to move too far away from it–I just think if you look back at the Philly years, and then to Adirondack, and now to Allentown, it’s cool to see the design changes in the uniforms. They did change them every five years or so in Philadelphia, which I’ll detail if I can ever finish my jersey overview post which is now immensely large and still vastly incomplete.
- Incorporate more of the electric blue. Look, I don’t want to be the Sound Tigers. I’m not sure I’m ready for an entirely blue jersey. I just think the third (fourth, after orange, black and white) color is cool, and makes a jersey more special. I don’t know if the number shading would do it on the whites–might be too much. I’d just like an extra stripe somewhere, perhaps, on a redesign if/when that ever happens.
- Sell the authentic versions in the store. We’ve been over this before–a hundred times. Sell blank authentics in the store–or online if you want to save on the overhead (although you’ll lose those impulse buys). I know it might hurt the auction sales, but I think gamers have built in value that you can’t really replace. Also, without the letters or numbers, you’ll still have plenty of market for the replicas, which can be customized more easily (and replicas are probably more profitable, if I’m being honest with myself).
- Don’t be afraid to sell replicas of some of the alternate designs. Again, you’ve got the “game worn” and the players involved for the auction authentics, if someone is willing to purchase a replica version for $129 it’s an incremental sale that you wouldn’t normally get, as that person probably also owns the other replica versions.
I may have more on this going forward as I speak with my jersey experts. Stay tuned.
PPL Center To Update Concessions
Starting with the game on Saturday, November 3, the arena and it’s concessions arm, Spectra, will unveil a new concessions menu. I don’t have a lot of details, but it is nice to have a change. Here’s what I’ve learned from the arena:
“PPL Center chefs will unveil a new Street Food concessions concept with unique menu items for the 2018-2019 season for Lehigh Valley Phantoms fans and event-goers to enjoy at the PPL Center in Allentown. …the new innovative menu items from the talented culinary team led by Executive Chef Andrew Wissa [will be unveiled shortly.] The award-winning items will be available beginning on Saturday, November 3 when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms take on the Binghamton Devils at PPL Center. Fans will have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of delicious menu items at PPL Center for all upcoming events this season, now including international street food fare with a gourmet twist.”
“PPL Center predicts that these crave-worthy concession items will be instant fan favorites! Chef Wissa is an award-winning chef who was on the winning team of the second annual Spectra Culinary Innovation Summit. Pho Poached Chicken Wrap is one of the dishes that earned him the ‘Knifey’ award with his team of chefs. The Pho Poached Chicken Wrap is packed with fresh ingredients including cilantro, fresh grilled corn and kohlrabi blend and bursting with flavors.”
A Look At The Lines
Coach Gordon is still trying to work guys in, as Taylor Leier and Philip Samuelsson join the squad and get up to speed. From a developmental standpoint it’s also good to keep everyone on the roster involved, as much as possible–and if not needed, perhaps sent to Reading for some game action.
Friday Home vs Springfield
10 Carey – 26 Varone – 16 Aube-Kubel
24 Twarynski – 21 Vecchione – 22 Conner
25 Bunnaman – 17 Rubtsov – 13 McDonald
23 Leier – 9 Bardreau – 12 Goulbourne
43 Brennan – 37 Friedman
2 deHaas – 5 Myers
7 Palmquist – 6 Samuelsson
31 Hart (41 Stolarz)
8 David Drake
19 Radel Fazleev
38 David Kaše
44 Reece Willcox (Injured)
34 Alex Lyon
Discussion: The 7-0 loss wasn’t….ideal. Five of the seven goals came on the PK, so that unit is the one that deserves scrutiny. I didn’t write them down, though, as it was a more social game for me on that particular evening. As we anticipated, Bardreau returned to center, with Taylor Leier on his left wing. I was a bit surprised by the scratch of David Kaše in favor of Bunnaman, but like I said above, I think Gordon just wants to get everyone in the games at this early stage–and it’s hard to develop while logging multiple consecutive games in the press box. There’s not much more to say as there weren’t any goals scored–there were a lot of pucks into the logo on the goalie’s chest, as well as a fair few posts hit. The team as a whole didn’t look good (of course). We’ve been over the Carter Hart / Stolarz performance already. Players and coaches following the debacle seemed mostly concerned with communication on the PK, and goaltending.
Saturday Away @ Springfield
10 Carey – 26 Varone – 16 AubeKubel
23 Leier – 21 Vecchione – 22 Conner
38 Kaše – 17 Rubtsov – 13 McDonald
25 Bunnaman – 19 Fazleev – 9 Bardreau
43 Brennan – 6 Samuelsson
7 Palmquist – 5 Myers
2 deHaas – 37 Friedman
41 Stolarz (31 Hart)
44 Willcox (Injured)
Discussion: Now up to speed, Leier moves to the second line (in name only–we know playing time isn’t always predicated on order) where I originally slotted him prior to practice reports last week. Twarynski takes a seat for this game. He was very active in the opener, but I thought his play was a little lackluster on Friday–but then the whole team was. The Kaše – Rubtsov – McDonald line is reunited, and Bardreau moves back to the wing (and scored a shorty). Veteran LHD Samuelsson moved up with veteran LHD Brennan, and played on the opposite side. RHDs Friedman and Myers stay put on the right, but switch partners, in the 5-4 SO win. Stolarz got the start in goal, which was a bit of a surprise to me–my thinking being that he got to play the night before in mop up duty for Carter, and didn’t look great (either). But, perhaps a difficult situation to be thrown into, and not a great effort in front of him in that blowout either. I was of the mind that they’d have Carter get back on the horse, or they’d give Lyon a shot now that he’s active. We’ll talk more about the goalies on “Hockey Night.”
Conclusions: I think we’ll continue to see some shuffling going forward, as Gordo juggles his prospects and his veterans. Drake should get into a game soon–and with 3/3 this weekend I’m almost certain of it. The top line should stay together for good, barring injury or 3/3 rest day. I think the second line might stay intact as well, with Twarynski slotting back in on the third or fourth for the coming games. It seems there’s an excess of left wings–perhaps one of them will get some time on the right if they can handle it. It will be interesting to follow, and we’ll try to get some idea of what’s going on with the special teams units, as well.
If you haven’t already, check out phannation.org for details on the official phan club of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. They have a couple of cool trips coming up, and the renewal gift this season is a very nice stadium blanket. You can also stop by and visit, join, and enter contests at their table, usually located behind section 103. The next meeting is on Tuesday at Chickie’s, with special guest Riley Cote.
See you on ‘Hockey Night’