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Straight from Phil

Hello Springfield! Assistant Coach Phil Russell here!

Due to deadlines, a review of Opening Night will be in next week's column.

Training camp is done and the Falcons are preparing for the Portland Pirates on October 8th at the MassMutual Center. Final adjustments to the playing roster were completed after the exhibition victory against the Hartford Wolf Pack, an exciting 5-4 overtime victory on a goal by Paul Ranger.

Positions on the team have been earned and lost but the work continues on a day to day basis. In the hockey business, one thing rings loud and clear "You need to have new guys coming in, guys that are hungry." These moves are never easy.

The players are looking forward to the 2005 Columbus Day Italian Open at Crestview Country Club on Monday, October 10th, a wonderful event for all the right reasons. The new members to the squad get a chance to meet the locals and enjoy. Here's hoping for a great time and good weather.

There is a great story going on as I try and meet my deadline for the coaches corner that bares noticing. It bares noticing for simple perseverance. A baseball player for the Chicago White Sox (Podsednik) hit a homerun in game 1 and the announcer just said he played nine years in the minors, was told he would never make it in the majors. How hungry is a guy that will continue to follow his dream when all around him is negativism.

I know this is at the Red Sox expense, but it is a nice story...He's hungry...

The American Hockey League is filled with hungry hockey players working at their dreams. Coaches understand that a demotion or timely benching can be used as fuel to help a player reach his goals. These adverse situations reveal the character of athletes.

To basically help him be able to perform his best in the worst scenarios. Next week we are off to Hartford and Manchester to face the Wolf Pack on Friday, October 14th and the Monarchs on Saturday, October 15th. It is always interesting to see how a team will perform on the road. I know the guys will step it up a notch.