Phantoms Preparing For Three Game Weekend

Thursday, November 5, 2015
One of several big hits Nick Cousins took last Friday against St. John's. Photo credit: Nina Weiss.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms are getting healthy just in time for a stretch of nine days where they play six games, starting tomorrow night against the Hershey Bears.

Upcoming Schedule:

Friday, November 6th vs. Hershey at 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday, November 7th at Syracuse at 7:00 p.m. ET
Sunday, November 8th vs. Binghamton at 5:05 p.m. ET
Wednesday, November 11th at Binghamton at 7:05 p.m. ET
Friday, November 13th vs. Rochester at 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday, November 14th vs. Albany at 7:05 p.m. ET

The Philadelphia Flyers returned forward Chris Conner, but recalled defenseman Davis Drewiske as Evgeny Medvedev was sent back to Philadelphia with an upper body injury. The NHL club needed an extra defenseman while they are in Western Canada and Drewiske's cap hit fit under the team's salary cap situation.

Updates on Nick Cousins, Cole Bardreau, Evan Rankin, Robert Hagg and Christian Marti after the jump.

At the PPL Center this morning, the Phantoms had a total of 26 players on the ice - two goaltenders, eight defensemen and 16 forwards - all participating in regular jerseys with the exception of forward Nick Cousins, who skated for the first time this week in a yellow non-contact jersey.

Head coach Scott Gordon all but ruled out Cousins this weekend, saying he hadn't skated yet this week and it was a wait-and-see type of situation.

Cole Bardreau, who has been out since October 17th, skated in a regular jersey today, and Gordon said it's possible Bardreau will return this weekend - maybe on Sunday - but he seemed more optimistic about next week as a return for Bardreau.

Evan Rankin skated in full today and will return to the lineup this weekend.

On defense, Christian Marti confirmed he will make his Phantoms' debut tomorrow night at home against Hershey. Marti needed a shoulder surgery this summer after development camp, and was just cleared for full contact this week. I caught up with Marti and will have a story on his return tomorrow in the morning. EDIT: My 1-on-1 chat with Marti is now online here.

Robert Hagg skated in a regular jersey again today and head coach Scott Gordon said he will get in a game this weekend. When I spoke with Hagg, he said he was nearing 100% and hopes to be back to normal next week. He's been out since October 16th.

Conner Well Traveled

Chris Conner was called up by the Philadelphia on Sunday and needed to travel across the continent to make it to his destination in Vancouver for Monday night's game. The travel to Western Canada was anything but convenient.

"My first flight I went up and I had to land again because there was something wrong with the motor," Conner recalled. "It had to come back and land in Newark, then that one got cancelled."

After his first flight was cancelled, Conner changed flights and left Newark to Vancouver with a stop in Toronto. Due to the flight delays, he didn't practice with the Flyers on Sunday. He was the 13th forward and a healthy scratch for their games Monday night against Vancouver.

He then flew with the team from Vancouver to Edmonton (1 hour, 25 minutes) and sitting as a healthy scratch Tuesday night, Conner flew with the Flyers from Edmonton to Calgary (45 minutes) on Wednesday before finding out he was being re-assigned back to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
"The way home it was pretty smooth," Conner said. "Calgary to Minnesota, Minnesota to Philly and then drive back [to Allentown]."

Unfortunately for Conner, he didn't get into a game on his short stay with the Flyers. Traveling across the country and back in the span of a few days didn't bother Conner one bit.

"It was a lot of travel, but you don't really complain about when you're going up to the NHL level."


Taylor Leier - Tim Brent - Aaron Palushaj
Petr Straka - Danick Martel - Chris Conner
Tyrell Goulbourne - Kevin Goumas - Brandon Alderson
Kevin Sundher - Pavel Padakin - Evan Rankin
Jay Rosehill - Cole Bardreau - Derek Mathers/Jesper Pettersson
Nick Cousins (injured - yellow jersey)

Shayne Gostisbehere - Andrew MacDonald
Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Matt Lashoff - Christian Marti
Robert Hagg

Jason LaBarbera - Anthony Stolarz


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