“Phour Things” seems appropriately derivative and still original. It also seems forced. I’ve never been one to write a lot post-game–because most of my audience was at the game. But I’m going to try a post-game column this season with some editorial observations from the lower seating area–some game-related and some fan-experience-related, as per usual. But, “Phour Things”?? I’ll continue to try to think of a better title.
1. Dress Rehearsal
I didn’t know what we’d see out of the lineups today. The official Phantoms roster provided by the team this morning still didn’t include the players who cleared waivers earlier in the week. The Penguins were at the end of a 4/5 and a 3/3. What kind of “practice game” were we in for?
Well, the Pens sent 10 players to ECHL Wheeling this morning, and the Phantoms had the full squad (minus the possibly injured Kaše and Frost) at open practice yesterday. Once I saw the Phantoms lines I knew it would be a full-go for today, with the Penguins closing out their own preseason with a similar tune-up. For the Phantoms it looked like this:
Heck, I’m not even sure if that violates the veteran rule (I don’t think it does), but it sure looks like close to full-strength to me. Anyway, the Phantoms were able to out-score the Penguins 3-1 in a game I thought was very sloppy on both ends. My eyes aren’t “hockey ready” yet as I didn’t really identify any of the penalties easily. I just know that there were a lot of pucks bouncing around out there. No matter, it’s preseason for all of us. Back at it tomorrow versus the Bears.
Good things? They were still playing fast, as we mentioned in the pre-game, and despite the general sloppiness (on both sides) they seemed to communicate well. That’s good to see in a “system” that’s new to a lot of players, and in their first game.
Some whispers post-game that the ice was a bit choppy thanks to the warm weather lately. We’ll see–I didn’t notice per se, and I know we have a crack ice team, so I’m sure it’ll be fine in the long run.
2. Preseason in the Stands
In the parking deck, I paid on the way in as per usual on an event night. However, I was given a slip which I had to force-feed into the machine in order to exit. For those in the know, this closes an obvious loop-hole, but if every single person has to play “feed the dollar into the vending machine” to exit the parking deck after the game? That’s gonna be a disaster. We’ll see if it follows through to the regular season, but mark my words.
Chickie’s has it’s problems, which we’ve all experienced in one way or another. The security farce continues to ignore the intelligence of anyone who’s ever seen the movie The Godfather. They didn’t have bartenders at the upper bar at all today, nor service at the lower rails. For a sports bar on a football Sunday, they had minimal football on the 800 screens. This plus the abbreviated menu–their survival has to be questionable at this point, right? The Ovations franchise connection will keep them around, but I’m already thinking of what could be a better idea. Stay tuned.
On a better note, one of the servers asked me, “Where your son at? You’ve been coming in here a long time!” Yeah, it’s good to be recognized, even though I’m rarely in there anymore. Kiddo has been away at college for a couple years now, but he used to do calculus homework in there before the games.
I was charged the wrong price for my beer twice today in the arena. Pre-season for everybody. Indeed.
Man, it’s hard to get used to the new numbers, huh? I see #9 and #12 and there are previous players attached to those numbers. Even #21. Anyway, #17 Rubtsov and #21 Fitzgerald both flashed to me as players I’m going to like to watch this season. Ruby we know, of course, but it’s been a long time since he’s been on the PPL Center ice. I enjoyed #29 Gabriel too. Berube in goal was solid–I just feel like the “J.F.” is going to have me shouting/typing a lot of bad words at some point. For the Penguins? Well, not always, but sometimes you can spot a player and think, “You know, I like his game. I wouldn’t mind having that guy on my team.” Today, that player was #22 Joe Cramarossa. Oh, I know he’s a veteran and he’s been around. I just liked his game today. Hockey, and all that.
4. ‘A’ Stands For……”Future Captain?”
No captain yet although we may get one next week. For preseason, only the three A’s– Andreoff, Prosser, and O’Reilly. Regular season ‘A’ and ‘C’ TBD. Carey and Brennan are still around, too.
Bonus: Press Release Gamer:
Back at it tomorrow–see you for “Hockey Night in Allentown”