GLENS FALLS -- Thirty-seven players were expected on the ice Wednesday morning for the opening day of Adirondack Phantoms training camp.
Kevin Marshall was not one of those. His name appeared nowhere on the training camp roster being handed out to the couple dozen fans scattered in the Civic Center stands. But there Marshall was at 10 a.m. sharp, skating around in a black practice jersey and white helmet with his familiar number four.
Not only was it surprising that Marshall was here rather than 250 miles away at Philadelphia Flyers camp in New Jersey, but that he was practicing at all.
The second-year defenseman underwent hip surgery on July 22 in Nashville. For about two weeks, he's been skating early mornings in Flyers camp with other injured veterans. Cleared for contact on Tuesday, he was immediately assigned to Adirondack.
Marshall thinks he can be ready for the season opener next weekend. But he missed valuable camp time to impress the Flyers' brass, and probably, an opportunity to play in an NHL preseason game. He's had to sit idle while defensive prospects like Marc-Andre Bourdon and Erik Gustafsson are getting extended looks with Philadelphia.
"I didn't get a chance to show myself and prove what I can do," Marshall said. "But it's one of those things during your career that you don't really control ... What I do control now is to play good here, perform here, and make sure that we win games."
He may get that chance as soon as this weekend, when the Phantoms play three preseason games, starting at home Friday against Albany. The plan is to ease him back, especially given the physical way Marshall prefers to play.
"It's always in the back of your head because of my game. I like to go into the corners and bang around," Marshall said. "So, I'm like, ‘Is it going to hold? Is it healed enough? Can I go as hard as I was last year?' "
"That first test of banging and crashing and being really physical is going to be a tell-tale sign of what he's capable of doing," Adirondack coach Greg Gilbert said.
Marshall was a mainstay on the blueline for the Phantoms a season ago, playing 75 games and logging huge minutes as a rugged, stay-at-home defender. After a strong start, he appeared to wear down a bit toward the end of the season.
Though he didn't let on publicly, his hip bothered him occasionally. Marshall said the injury was a nagging one. The damage was done slowly, accumulating over time, maybe even years.
Now that it's settled, he's looking to put it quickly behind him.
"It's a big (injury), but it kind of happened at the right time," Marshall said. "At least I'm going to be ready for season."
Loose pucks: Defenseman Joonas Lehtivuori was another late addition to the training camp roster, bringing the roster to 39 players... There will only be one practice session Thursday. It begins at 10 a.m. and will include a scrimmage. Camp is open to the public... With only three goalies in camp, Brian Stewart had to practice in both sessions.