By Mike Bogen
©2007 The Republican
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – No one really knows if P.J. Atherton has everything it takes to be a National Hockey League player or even a success in the American Hockey League, for that matter, but one thing is sure – the Springfield Falcons defenseman passed the character test years ago.
Atherton, who recently joined the Falcons after an excellent season with Johnstown of the ECHL, has played only 15 AHL games, six this season. He’ll get some more experience this weekend when the Falcons play host to Manchester on Friday at 7:35 p.m. and Hartford on Saturday at 7 p.m.
And for the 24-year-old Minnesota native, every game counts.
“P.J. has the physical tools to play at this level,” Falcons coach Steve Stirling said. “Now it’s a matter of learning how to play the game. I think playing at Johnstown was good for him. I think most kids can benefit from playing in the Coast. But P.J.’s a little less experienced than most. I think that’s been impacted by how many games he played in college.”