The Phantoms made two additions to their roster on Monday, signing forwards Nick Cousins and Campbell Elynuik to amateur tryout contracts that will allow them to play the rest of the season with Adirondack.
Cousins also signed a three-year entry level contract with the Flyers that begins next year. He will not, however, be able to play in the AHL next season because he'll be just 19. Rules permit him to play with the Phantoms while he's underage once his junior season ends.
Cousins is set to arrive in Glens Falls on Tuesday night. He'll take a physical and be on the ice for Wednesday morning's skate, but Joe Paterson said he doesn't expect him to be in the lineup against Syracuse on Wednesday night.
Cousins may have more of an immediate impact than the other two additions. He had 35 goals and 88 points in 65 OHL games with Sault Ste. Marie as an 18-year-old this season. Cousins is a 5-foot-11, 177-pound center with a reputation as an agitator.
The 19-year-old Elynuik had 11 points and 132 penalty minutes in 57 WHL games with Prince George. He's listed at 6-foot-4, 190-pounds.
Injury update: To correct something I misheard from Joe Paterson on Saturday, Tye McGinn's injury suffered Friday night in Wilkes-Barre is upper-body, not lower. The rookie forward is out this weekend.
Also, Oskars Bartulis is skating again on his own. The veteran defenseman has been out since Feb. 14. Paterson said he needs to get some full practices in with the team, but is cleared to return. He may play as soon as nect week.
Syracuse prescout: The Phantoms play the next two games against the Syracuse Crunch, the team they're directly chasing in the standings. The Crunch got a big weapon back as Anaheim returned forward Kyle Palmieri. His 32 goals are second in the AHL. According to Lindsay Kramer of The Post-Standard, he'll start on a line with Luca Caputi and Ryan O'Marra, who also recently returned from Anaheim. Kramer also reports Iiro Tarkki will get the start in goal.
Talking again: I had a productive conversation with Michael Leighton on Monday that will hopefully put to rest whatever issues existed between myself and the locker room after my column last week and their refusal to speak to me on Sunday.
I reiterated that my point was to critique the organization's approach to the AHL -- one the Flyers are not alone in sharing -- and not to call out or belittle individual players, something I've done very little of during three often difficult seasons.
I believe my body of work, my passion for the job, and the way I handle myself in our interactions each day is evidence of my respect for them as individuals. I believed I had built up enough goodwill to sustain a rare harsh stance.
The players raised the valid point that the timing was suspect, given their drive for a playoff spot. That's understandable. My response is that it wasn't pegged to their current position in the standings, but rather a critique of a period in the organization's history that went back beyond when any of them even played for the team. This was bigger than them and they weren't the targets, though I see how they may have perceived it that way. I also didn't think it would be fair to write it when the season was over and no one was here to respond. That's the easy way out.
What I wrote wasn't out of line with what appears in other AHL cities and certainly not in Philadelphia. Perhaps there's a different expectation in a small market or one where there's only one full-time beat reporter, but I believe part of the development process is to handle the criticism they'll certainly get at the next level. It's not something I relish, but occasionally, part of the job is to be critical.
Part of my job, too, is to remain professional and listen to their complaints when they're angry with me. My door is always open. After speaking to Leighton on this issue, I better understand their perspective and I welcome those discussions any time.
I appreciate him reaching out and hopefully we can all move on to business as usual starting now. I never intended to become part of the story or create controversy for controversy's sake. If you've read me for a long time, I hope that's already been clear.