Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Phantoms 2010-11 Schedule is released

CLICK HERE for the Phantoms 2010-11 schedule on the Phantoms site.

Flyers sign four to AHL conracts

The Flyers have signed goaltender Nic Riopel, and defensemen Logan Stephenson, J.P. Testwuide (the brother of Mike, who is also on the roster), and Jesse Dudas to AHL contracts.

CLICK HERE for the article in the Post-Star.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Phantoms will play the Albany Devils in Atlantic CIty this season

Oh, how I wish the Phantoms were the home team in Atlantic City! With all due respect to Glens Falls, I'm a Philadelphian and I sincerely wish that the team was NOT 300-ish miles away! I wish I could see them WITHOUT having to factor in a 10-hour round trip and an overnight stay!


The NJ Devils are going to have several of their AHL (Albany) and ECHL (Trenton) teams' games played in Atlantic City this season.

This includes a tilt between the Phantoms and Albany. CLICK HERE for the article on, or continue reading below.

Devils invade Flyers country, bring five minor-league games to Atlantic City

The Albany Devils will host the Adirondack Phantoms here at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall on Sunday, December 5. Photo by Travis Hughes,
The Albany Devils will host the Adirondack Phantoms here at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall on Sunday, December 5. Photo by Travis Hughes,
ATLANTIC CITY -- The Phantoms moved from Philadelphia to the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York back in the spring of 2009. In a triumphant return home last winter, the Phantoms took on the Norfolk Admirals in front of a very large crowd at Wachovia Center. They lost, but they did a lot of that last year anyway.
Yet again in 2010-11, the Phantoms will be coming home. It'll be a little bit different, however.
The two minor league affiliates of the New Jersey Devils, the AHL's Albany Devils and the ECHL's Trenton Devils, will play a combined five home games next season at Boardwalk Hall here in Atlantic City. In the first of these games on Sunday, December 5 at 5 PM, the Devils will host the Phantoms in what could very well be a largely pro-Adirondack crowd.
For the record, the Phantoms had to agree to play the game at a site other than Albany.
Atlantic City, Atlantic County and the Southern Jersey Shore, as you may know, sits deeply in the Philadelphia media market and is certainly considered Flyers territory. There are Devils fans here, to be sure, but anybody telling you that this area is anything but orange and black is lying to your face.
A press conference on Tuesday morning at the 81-year old Jersey Shore landmark brought out all of the dignitaries, from Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek to GM Lou Lamoriello -- any and all Kovalchuk questions were met with "we can't comment, sorry" -- to NJ's Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno.
They all spoke on the party line: we're "Jersey's Team" and we're here to claim what's ours.
You think that's an exaggeration, don't you?
"We know that the Trenton Devils, Albany Devils and New Jersey Devils are all Jersey teams," said Guadagno, who apparently didn't need to pass a geography test before being sworn into office.
"The Governor is a hockey dad and the Lieutenant Governor is a hockey mom," said Lamoriello. "So if anybody is questioning that the New Jersey Devils hockey team is in a New Jersey Devils state, just think, we finally put in the state a hockey mom and a hockey dad, so we've finally taken control of the state."
Vanderbeek extrapolated that a bit.
"We are not North Jersey's team, we are not Central Jersey's team, and we are certainly not the team in the strip of land between New York and Philadelphia," said Vanderbeek. "This is New Jersey's team and we really need and want to embrace everybody from this state. We really want to expand our reaches."
"Historically, the Flyers have been here a long time. It has been [Flyers territory here]. But at the same time, this is New Jersey. We feel strongly that it's rightfully ours. We're gonna make a concerted effort to try to gain those fans."
Well, nobody can blame them for having ambition, I guess.
"That game on February 11 with match the Devils with the Flyers, going toe-to-toe, said Matt Loughlin, the Devils radio play-by-play voice who served as master of ceremonies at the conference. "We're going to try to turn orange and black into red and black."
This whole thing seems like the part of a larger strategy for the Devils. Along with their "Jersey's Team" marketing slogan, which debuted two seasons ago, they're certainly making a concerted effort to expand their reach outside of North and Central Jersey.
If they were to move their farm team to South Jersey and get involved in the local hockey community -- the rink in AC, by the way, is the Flyers Skate Zone -- there's no disputing they could develop a fan base here. Vanderbeek knows that.
"I think you'll see that accelerate. We might get into affiliations with rinks, as far as youth hockey, further South than we're used to. We have a couple of other ideas that we'll see over the next few years as well."
"Historically, the Flyers have been here a long time. It has been [Flyers territory here]. But at the same time, this is New Jersey. We feel strongly that it's rightfully ours. We're gonna make a concerted effort to try to gain those fans."
Could that be the ultimate goal here? Do the Devils want to house one of their minor league teams at Boardwalk Hall on a permanent basis?
It really does seem like they're interested. The key word in that sentence is interested, of course, and there's no guarantee that these five games will be successful here. After all, the ECHL's Boardwalk Bullies won a Kelly Cup in 2003 and wound up leaving town just two years later. Bad marketing and poor attendance did them in.
But throughout the hour-long event this morning, both Lamoriello and Vanderbeek kept raving about the beauty of Boardwalk Hall. From the ice plant to the locker rooms to the arena itself, the gentlemen were impressed, much to the pleasure, surely, of the state, who poured $90 million into this building at the turn of the century.
The real question for residents of Southern New Jersey who would love to see hockey back in AC, however, is if these five games will impact the chances of that happening. Of course, the Devils have a commitment in Albany and would never say as much, but reading between the lines a bit, the interest is clear.
"We really hope we're part of a new renaissance here that provides entertainment for all walks of life," said Vanderbeek. A renaissance? You don't become part of a renaissance by playing five games in an otherwise empty building. Then again, they're not really stopping at five games.
"Our intent is to, a year from now, bring an exhibition -- an National Hockey League exhibition game -- into this facility here," Lamoriello said at the podium. Vasser, of the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority, told me after the conference that he hadn't yet heard that proposal. But, nevertheless.
"This is our toe in the water, said Vanderbeek. "We are looking forward to playing in Albany this season. At the same time, our long-to-mid-range plan will be to have at least one, if not more minor league franchises in New Jersey. It's a possibility."
Whether they admit it or not, and really, they did everything but admit it this morning, the Devils are hoping to bring one of their affiliates to Atlantic City. In an area that's historically been colored with Flyers orange, they want to change that.
The NHL defines home territory as a 50 mile radius around the city limits of the city the team plays its home games in. By definition, then, the Flyers home territory is a big 50-mile circle around Philadelphia. Atlantic City is about 52 miles away, according to my rough estimation using Google Earth, but much of the Greater Atlantic City area is clearly within that circle.
A team has the sole right to market its NHL games inside their home territory, according to the NHL's Constitution.
So in terms of marketing these games and promoting their own brand in the future within the South Jersey market, will that impact the way the Devils do business?
"No, not at all," said Vanderbeek. "It doesn't effect [how the Flyers do business]. 
It'll be interesting to see what becomes of these five minor league games here in Atlantic City this coming season, but even if they aren't successful, one thing is for certain. The Devils have drawn their battle lines, and they're ready for a big time fight with the Flyers over the South Jersey market.

New Phantoms Front Office Staff, including a new radio broadcaster

The Phantoms have added new staff to their front office. This includes the former radio announcer of the Wheeling Nailers, a team which owned by the same Brooks Group that owns the Phantoms.

CLICK HERE to see the article on the Phantoms site.

Bob Rotruck will be the new radio announcer. Q101.7 will resume broadcasting Phantoms games, as they did last season.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Owen Newkirk is out as Phantoms broadcaster

Color me mystified. The Phantoms will not be bringing back last year's radio voice, Owen Newkirk.

I just saw that news in this article on the Post-Star.

First of all, I can't for the life of me imagine why they'd want to replace a person who is that good at what he does. Second, why did they wait until approximately three seconds before the AHL schedule would be released? Why didn't they do this early enough in the offseason to allow for a proper search, for both the organization and for him, to take place before the first puck is dropped?

I was hoping that once a smaller concern than Comcast owned and operated the team, that they'd put more of a focus on the Phantoms as a centerpiece of their organization. Hence, decisionmaking like this is as surprising as it is disappointing.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Here's a nice article on the incoming prospects for the Phantoms this year

I came across a nice article on the Phantoms' incoming prospects: Projecting the Newest Phantoms' Contributions.

I am AVIDLY looking forward to this year's training camp, which starts on September 17.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Greenville Road Warriors affiliate with the Flyers and Phantoms for 2010-11

PostDateIcon Mon, 2010-08-16 10:37 | PostAuthorIcon Sportsologist

GREENVILLE, SC - The Greenville Road Warriors announced today that they have entered into an affiliation agreement with the National Hockey League's Philadelphia Flyers and the American Hockey League's Adirondack Phantoms for the 2010-11 season.

"To be affiliated with the Philadelphia Flyers and Adirondack Phantoms will greatly enhance what it means to be a member of the Greenville Road Warriors. The Flyers are committed to winning at every level. We hope to help them with that commitment by developing their future AHL and NHL players," said Road Warriors president and general manager Neil Smith.

As the Flyers' and Phantoms' ECHL affiliate, the Road Warriors will receive players for the purpose of developing them as professionals with the ultimate goal of reaching the NHL.

"We are pleased to be working with Greenville for the upcoming season," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. "Neil Smith and Dean Stork both have a strong history of success, and we're confident they'll provide an environment that will help our prospects develop their potential."

Last season the Flyers captured their eighth conference championship as part of a dramatic run to the team's first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1997. They became just the third team in NHL history to ovgvl_phi logo comboercome an 0-3 series deficit when they defeated the Boston Bruins in seven games in the second round of the playoffs. The Flyers are coached by Peter Laviolette who has won an AHL championship with the Providence Bruins (1999) and a Stanley Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes. Laviolette began his coaching career in the ECHL with the Wheeling Nailers in 1997-98.

Philadelphia has been a member of the NHL since 1967 and captured back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975. Famously nicknamed the "Broad Street Bullies" those Flyers teams were the first non-Original Six squads to capture an NHL championship. Overall, the Flyers have been to the Stanley Cup Playoffs 35 times in their 43 seasons of play.

The Adirondack Phantoms are entering their second season of play in the AHL. Formerly the Philadelphia Phantoms, they relocated to Glenns Falls, New York prior to the start of the 2009-10 season. They won two Calder Cup championships in Philadelphia in 1998 and 2005. Adirondack is coached by former Calgary Flames head coach Greg Gilbert. The Phantoms are the second AHL team to call Glenns Falls home after the Adirondack Red Wings which competed in the league from 1979 to 1999. The current Road Warriors' president and general manager, Neil Smith, served as the Red Wings' general manager from 1985-1989 and helped guide the team to Calder Cup championships in 1986 and 1989.

The Road Warriors will play their inaugural season as the ECHL affiliate of the Flyers and the New York Rangers. The Rangers, and AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack, were announced last week as affiliates of the Road Warriors.

Riley Cote retires from playing, becomes Phantoms Assistant Coach


August 9, 2010

The Adirondack Phantoms, proud AHL affiliate of the Eastern Conference Champion Philadelphia Flyers, announced today that Flyers left wing Riley Cote has retired as a player to become assistant coach of the Adirondack Phantoms, according to Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren. Cote will join head coach Greg Gilbert and associate coach Kjell Samuelsson on the Adirondack coaching staff.

“We are pleased to add Riley to our coaching staff in Glens Falls,” Holmgren said. “Riley’s dedication, perseverance and passion for the game of hockey are beyond reproach. We believe he will be a good young coach, and his knowledge and experience will be very beneficial in the development of our young prospects.”

“We are thrilled that Riley is staying with us in this new capacity,” said Peter Luukko, President/COO of Comcast-Spectacor. “Riley started his playing career in the ECHL and worked as hard as he could until he achieved his dream of playing in the National Hockey League. As a coach, we’re confident he’ll pass along that work ethic, drive and determination to our prospects and help them become the best players they can be.”

“I am really excited about this coaching opportunity,” Cote said. “It’s time for me to turn the page and start a new chapter in my life. I will do the best job I can do to help teach and develop all the players in Glens Falls on and off the ice. I'm looking forward to a new challenge in life.”

Cote, 28, has spent the last six years with the Flyers organization. He appeared in 156 games for the Flyers over four seasons from 2006-07 through 2009-10, posting a total of 411 penalty minutes while collecting a goal and six assists for seven points.

A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Cote signed an AHL contract with the Phantoms as a free agent prior to the 2004-05 season and helped the club to its second Calder Cup championship. He then signed an NHL contract with the Flyers prior to the 2005-06 season and spent most of the next two years with the Phantoms until making his NHL debut against the New York Islanders on March 24, 2007. Cote earned a full-time spot with the Flyers when he made the team’s roster out of training camp prior to the 2007-08 season.