The Phantoms are in town tonight watching the Flyers take on the Ottawa Senators while they wait for their own crack at the Wells Fargo Center ice tomorrow night vs. Wilkes-Barre. Coach Joe Paterson spoke with us and the assembled media during the first intermission, and the Flyers PR interns slaved away at this transcript...
Q: On Michael Leighton
"Yeah, he's played pretty well for us. He came back, he had been off for a little bit. We went through that Western swing where he had said that he didn't get a lot of practice time. So he has had a lot of quality practice time He played two out of our last three games.
Q: How has he handed it personally?
"I think he has been a great professional down there. He developed himself in the American Hockey League, so he knows what it takes to get to the point to get to the NHL. So he's been good that way, his practice habits have been really good. I think he knows the only way back up here is to come down, do well in practice and win games, and have a chance to go back up again."Q: Are you working on anything in particular with him in practice?
"Just more getting his quality - you know, before when he was up here they said that he was sharing a net or not getting a full net. He is able to get a full net down there. We've also had him going out earlier to have some goalie sessions."
Q: The team has been playing a lot better the last few weeks. What do you attribute that to?
"I think overall, our team is trying to improve on some things. Our game tempo, trying to play at a higher pace, to match the pace of other teams... Cutting down scoring chances, working back hard so that we can get back on offense again."
Q: Danny Syvret, can you talk about him?
"Yeah, he's played very well for us as well. He is playing well offensively as well as defensively. We really like his game. He is a guy who gets the puck moving north for us a lot, so he has been really good for us."
Q:What have you tried to do differently as a head coach?
"I think when we went through that period there of losing, it's a mental thing for a lot of players. So when we started to go through that area we tried to just focus on playing solid for 60 minutes, or play solid for shifts, not worrying about what was happening with the clock. We try to play a little bit harder in our game, shorten our shifts is something too that we want to do, we've got some young players, but now it's 40 games in, so they're not young anymore. But we wanted to have shorter shifts so that if we did get caught out in a defensive area or whatever that we were always fresh. "
Q: Do you sense that some of the players, especially the younger guys, that they are looking forward to playing in this building?
"Yeah, they are very excited. There's about eleven guys here tonight. They had the option if they wanted to come to the game tonight. So they are up watching and are pretty excited to play here. "
Q: Can you tell me how Riley Cote is doing?
"He has been doing very well. He has been working back and forth a little bit with the defense and forwards. He's been doing a lot of individual work with individual players. He was on the ice early with the goaltenders last week. He has been doing a great job for us."
Q: On Joonas Lehtivouri's transfer to Finland.
"Well I think it's a combination of things. Cullen Eddy came in from the East Coast Hockey League, and he was playing very well. Stephenson's also playing a lot better too. It was just something where he was not on the lineup all the time. It was more of a decision on his part and the organization to get him playing again."
Q: On Eric Gustafsson - has he been the best defenseman that you guys have?
"He has been the best probably point producer, I would say. Danny (Syvret) has played very well as well. Gustafsson's a lot younger, he's a first year player. Danny has been around for a little bit, so he has a little more experience. But they've both been very good lately.