GLENS FALLS -- As Thursday's practice at Fire Road Rink drifted to a close, a couple of injured players took extra shots at one end of the ice. At the other goal mouth, a few players participated in a do-it-yourself, ice-resurfacing job with a spare shovel.
Jon Kalinski, meanwhile, huddled with Phantoms coach Joe Paterson and his new linemates in front of the whiteboard. Call it making up for lost time.
The veteran forward pronounced himself ready for his first action of the season and Paterson called him a "game-time decision" as Adirondack travels to Springfield for a game Friday night.
It seemed probable Kalinski would be in the lineup after practice as the Phantoms were down to 20 skaters, but they got a boost late Thursday afternoon when the Flyers loaned Ben Holmstrom back to Adirondack.
Forward Mike Testwuide and defenseman Dan Jancevski are unlikely to play Friday with minor injuries.
"I'm pretty excited to get out there," Kalinski said. "Whenever the coaches say I'm ready to go, I'll be ready to go. If not this weekend, the next for sure."
If Kalinski, a defensive center with nearly 200 games in a Phantoms uniform over the last four seasons, plays, it will be a boon to a lineup hit hard by call-ups recently.
"He's a big shot blocker and does a great job killing penalties, winning faceoffs,"
Paterson said. "That's an area you need every night."
It's a job Kalinski, who was re-signed as a restricted free agent over the summer, has always been willing to tackle. He knows it's not his 26 career AHL goals that have earned him occasional promotions to the NHL.
Kalinski injured his hand blocking a shot in an exhibition game with the Flyers during the preseason.
"I know my role and I think once I'm back it's going to benefit the team," Kalinski said. "Hopefully, I can fill a spot and we can keep winning."
Thursday, Kalinski centered Andy Bohmbach, called up from Trenton in the ECHL this week, and Tom Sestito. Bohmbach, who had six goals on 12 shots in five games with Trenton, figures to get plenty of ice time, including a power-play role.
"He went down and played a large role," Paterson said. "We're going to get a chance to look at him."
Springfield, the subject of a dramatic makeover by parent club Columbus in the offseason, has won its past three games. Although some of their newly acquired talent remains in the NHL, there's still plenty of danger from guys like Matin St. Pierre, who has 11 points in 11 games.
It's the only game the Phantoms play in 13 days.
Loose pucks: Paterson said that goaltender Johan Backlund isn't close to returning. Backlund practiced for about the final 20 minutes on Thursday. ... Jancevski hasn't practiced all week after undergoing a minor procedure.