GLENS FALLS -- The ‘C' has been sewn into Ben Holmstrom's sweater, but it will be another day before he actually gets to wear it.
The Phantoms' new captain will be a spectator again Friday night against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers as he sits out the final game of a two-game suspension for an illegal hit in the preseason. Holmstrom, who missed just one game all of last season, will make his seasonal debut Saturday at Syracuse.
"I'll try to stay about my business my normal, but I'm sure I'll be extra excited. It's been a long couple weeks when you're not playing," Holmstrom said.
He may go about his same old routine, but by putting the captaincy on his shoulder the Flyers organization has cast a broad light on the second-year forward.
At 24, Holmstrom is the youngest captain in Phantoms' history. Of the 10 preceding him, only Boyd Kane, who took over at 25, is even close in age. And Kayne had played several professional seasons by that point.
"It wasn't by any means a popularity contest. The players never picked it. Some teams do have players that pick the captains and the assistants, but it was from an organizational (standpoint), along with myself," Phantoms coach Joe Paterson said.
Holmstrom was the team's MVP as a rookie out of U-Mass-Lowell last season. But more than his 38 points in 79 games, he caught the eye of the Flyers' brass with his willingness to sacrifice his body in the defensive zone and play in front of the net.
Paterson said that type of play made him worthy of the captaincy no matter his age. Holmstrom views it as more of a shared burden.
"It's something that's very flattering, but I don't think it really matters who has letters and who doesn't," Holmstrom said. "It's more of a group effort about how leadership goes on a team. Obviously, we've got some good veterans like (Dan Jancevski) and (Denis Hamel) and a lot of guys that are back from last year that have taken a lot of steps."
Holmstrom replaces veteran defenseman Dan Jancevski, who remains with the team and will be an alternate captain.
"He was our captain last year, he still is going to provide leadership," Paterson said. "It was difficult last year when we had veterans and we had to sit people out and you have to go to your captain and he's going to have to sit out ... . It's a new season and a new start and we made a change."
Paterson also sees some changes in Holmstrom, who was never a particularly outspoken guy during his rookie season.
"I think he's become more vocal," Paterson said. "You're starting to see more things in terms of his leadership, but I think when you're a first- year player, you don't do as much of that, so we're starting to see that change right now."
Holmstrom said he plans to keep doing the things that got him to this point.
"You've got to stand for the right things on the ice and in the locker room," Holmstrom said. "Some guys are more vocal than others. You just kind of got to pick your spots when it's time to say something or when not. You've got to have a feel for your team and it's a good group right now. I think we have a good feel for when things are tight, when things are loose and when guys need to be ready to go to
Loose pucks: Forward Jon Kalinski is out at least another week or two with an unspecified injury. There had been some hope he could return this weekend. Kalinski is practicing. ... Forward Garrett Klotz skated after practice Thursday with a full face mask. He's at least two weeks away from a planned return. ... Stefan Legein, traded to the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday, was at the Civic Center to say his goodbyes on Thursday. Legein is "thrilled" to get a chance to play with Manchester, the Kings' AHL affiliate ... Forward Harry Zolnierczyk left practice early after blocking a shot with his legs. ... The Phantoms are 4-0 against Bridgeport since moving to Glens Falls. The teams didn't meet last season.