We traveled to Glens Falls, N.Y. over the weekend to take in two Adirondack Phantoms games. We'll be chiming in this week with several stories surrounding the Flyers' AHL affiliate.
GLENS FALLS, N.Y. -- Nobody really knows exactly what former Philadelphia Flyers prospect Patrick Maroon did last season to earn a sudden dismissal from the organization, but we at least know he did something.
Over this past weekend, he said so himself.
"Last year was a tough go for me," Maroon said after taking on his old club, the Adirondack Phantoms, at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Friday night. "Sitting out like that, being sent home. It's a reality check. You look in the mirror and realize what you did and try to fix it."
The obvious next question, then, is... so, uh, what'd ya do? But that's one of those if-I-ask-this-I'm-going-to-get-punched-in-the-face questions, so you just kind of move on and forget about it. Besides, that's exactly what Maroon has done too.
The Flyers traded Maroon to the Anaheim Ducks organization a little less than a year ago after benching him and ultimately sending him home. He now plays with the AHL's Syracuse Crunch, the primary affiliate of those Ducks. The Crunch beat the Adirondack Phantoms, 3-2, while Maroon scored a goal, added an assist and was on the ice for the other Syracuse tally.
When the Phantoms ousted Maroon a year ago, he was their leading scorer. At the time, we likened the situation to if Danny Briere were sent home by the Flyers without explanation. Without knowing exactly what happened, it's hard to judge the organization for the decision, but we certainly can see Maroon living up to his potential with the Ducks.
He even played his first two NHL games earlier this season.
"Anaheim gave me a chance and I took a ride," Maroon said. "I went for it and obviously, they called me up and I've been providing for them, playing pretty good hockey. They gave me a chance and I can't ask for anything else. I love this organization, they gave every opportunity to me and I'm glad they traded for me.
"It's going really good. Anaheim gave me a chance, you know? They're the only team that gave me a chance. They traded for me last year, and obviously they have confidence in me. I just have to keep doing the little things down there and hopefully I get a chance.
"It was my first two games ever in the NHL -- very emotional and very exciting. Just can't really explain myself but they gave me a chance and down here I'm just trying to be the best player and help my team win. In any aspect, whether it's getting the puck out, winning battles, being a defensive player, scoring, just doing the little things."
That doesn't mean the Phantoms and the Philadelphia organization are completely out of his mind, though.
"Obviously I'm here, still trying to make a statement. They got rid of me, they sent me home, and that's never going to leave me. I'm out here trying to make a statement and prove to them that I'm the man I am. Just trying to do the things I do. Play hockey."
The fans in Glens Falls remember Maroon, too. "Fat Pat" jokes were abound in Section N, right behind the visiting bench, on Friday night. It seemed to fuel Maroon's performance in the game, though, and apparently in other contests that we haven't had the chance to witness in person.
"It motivates me, obviously," Maroon said. "They boo me. They say the things they wanna say, but you know, that's part of hockey. Obviously they're gonna do that to me. I didn't perform my first year here as they expected but I had a good start to my second year here and you know, that's part of the game though.
"You have to battle through it and I love playing here now. It gets me going. Very confident. It just gets me motivated, for those guys to scream in my ear. Scoring a goal, being out there for an assist, it just rubs it in their face."
Who knows what could have been with the Flyers and Maroon. He was arguably the best forward prospect the Flyers had before last season's odd falling out, and the talent level was on clear display Friday night. At one point, he skated around the entire Phantoms defense, which led to a goal.
We'll definitely have to give the Flyers full benefit of the doubt given that we don't understand the full situation, and who knows if Maroon will ever become anything more than a very good AHL player. But for now, things certainly appear to be on the upswing for Pat Maroon.