OTTAWA, Ontrario – After spending the night at the Hall of Fame induction gala in Toronto last night, I’m pretty amazed that I made it to Ottawa in time for the morning skate today, but I did.
In retrospect, I probably should have slept in and taken a later flight. But, I didn’t, and now I’m tasked with update you, constant reader, on the state of the Flyers based on what I saw for about 20 minutes this morning at the Canadian Tire Arena (nee: ScotiaBank Place, nee: Corel Center).
Well, to put it bluntly, there ain’t much – which is why I’m going to talk about last night for the most part instead.
However, for those of you wanting the latest news and without much interest in Hall of Fame night, I’ll give you the, “ What you need to know” right off the top.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
PHILADELPHIA – As Nick Grossmann removes his equipment after practice, he looks like a Roman Gladiator.
Dripping with sweat, he removes more padding and supportive gear than maybe any other athlete in the game of hockey.
There are pads beneath his shoulder pads. There are not one, but two knee braces. There is extra cushioning around his ankles. His wrists are taped. His helmet has that little bit of extra padding that guys who have suffered concussions have added to it for a bit more safety.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
RALEIGH, N.C. – Long after the bus had left bringing the Flyers back to their hotel for their afternoon naps in anticipation of the night’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes, three Flyers and one assistant coach remain behind in the PNC Arena.
The coach, Ian Laperriere, is a bit of a task master. He pushes the envelope a bit with the three players, all who will not play in the game that night.
Just when they think they are going to do one particular skating drill twice, they do it four times. Then, when they think they are done, they switch sides of the ice and do it again – four more times.
There is more… a lot more. They stay on the ice almost a full hour after everyone else finished their morning routine. So much so that they are winded, trying to catch their breath as they ake their way to the locker room.
While this is nothing new to Rosehill or Gustafsson, who have seen their share of healthy scratches, for Schenn, it’s not a common theme.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
VOORHEES, N.J. – What happened on Friday night has been the talk of hockey circles nationwide for the past few days.
The Flyers choice to let off the frustration and steam of a bad start to the season highlighted by a blowout loss at home to a division rival by involving themselves in five fights in a game – with four at one time – stirred the pot about the need for fighting in hockey as well as the questioning of the goalie fight – if you want to call it that – between Ray Emery and a very unwilling Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals.
Of course, listening to some out of town commentary regarding the fight, especially when words like “assault” are being bandied about can be equally aggravating as the losing itself. Some treated the event like it was unencumbered violence at the ice capades.
(Click "Full Story" for more...)
VOORHEES, N.J. – For Hal Gill, the path back to playing even one game that matters this season has certainly been a winding one.
The 38-year-old defenseman, who has made a career based totally on size, smarts and guile rather than speed, energy or skill (although his nickname is “Skillsey,” which is awesome), needed someone to take a chance on him in a role he’s never played in order not to become one of those classic veteran salary cap casualties that have seen too many good careers end too soon because of monetary restrictions.
So, when Gill was offered a tryout contract by the Flyers, it was the best offer he could get, he took it.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
PHILADELPHIA – The NHL handed out its three stars of the month of October and not surprisingly, there wasn’t a Flyer on the list.
Really, not anyone even deserved consideration after a 3-8-0 start, the slowest start in franchise history through 11 games.
Frankly, it’s hard to come up with three stars of the month of October on the team, never mind league-wide candidacy.
If I had to, I’d name Sean Couturier No. 3 for his fine work as a shutdown center against the top lines of the opposition, his excellent work on a Top 10 penalty kill, and his vastly improved faceoff abilities.
Vinny Lecavalier would be No. 2 for his influx of offense on a team that has really struggled to find any.
As for No. 1, well that’s a bit of a no brainer. Because the Flyers might not have a win this season were it not for Steve Mason – and it’s a shame that he’s flown under the radar nationally.
(Click "Full Story" for more...)
VOORHEES, N.J. – In need of a shakeup, the Flyers traded one gritty forward for another – who is all too familiar with the Flyers organization.
The Flyers traded Max Talbot to the Colorado Avalanche Thursday in exchange for Steve Downie. Downie was originally a Flyers draft pick, selected in the first round of the 2005 NHL entry draft.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
For once, the Flyers may be able to overcome a bad start.
Don’t say any of this in the locker room, because the Flyers have done a nice job of late narrowing their focus to only worry about the task at hand and not look ahead at what’s coming down the road, but as someone who has nothing better to do than sit here and look at hockey schedules while waiting for puck drop, I can safely say now that the Flyers may not be in as bad a shape as everyone thought as recently as six days ago.
Sure, a couple of wins can maybe cloud your vision with blinding optimism – and it’s certainly possible that when the stretch of games I’m about to talk about are over the Flyers find themselves worse off than being just five points out of a playoff spot (as they currently are with a couple games in hand).
But, it’s just as possible, if not more likely, that what I’m about to lay out in front of you will happen, and all the worries of that 1-7-0 start will have dissipated.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
VOORHEES, N.J. – So, Andrej Meszaros will be back in the lineup for the Flyers tomorrow against the high-powered Anaheim Ducks (nee: Mighty).
Head coach Craig Berube said he wanted to get Meszaros back into the lineup after sitting out the past five games.
Meszaros will replace Erik Gustafsson in the lineup. Gustafsson had a rough night on defense against the New York Islanders, one of the few Flyers who wasn’t clicking on all cylinders.
Many will view this as a demotion for Gustafsson, but I’m told it’s not that, but more a chance to get Meszaros feeling good about himself again.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
There was certainly a lot of good feeling and merriment following the Flyers win on Long Island Saturday.
But rather than selfishly keeping it to themselves, the Flyers did something unique and special Sunday.
Oh, they practiced. When you are climbing out of an early season hole as the Flyers are doing, you can’t afford to let a good day of work slip by, but they weren’t at one of their usual haunts, namely the Voorhees Skate Zone or the Wells Fargo Center.
Instead, the Flyers took their practice on the road – sorta – and took to the ice in the Kensington section of Philadelphia at the Scanlon Ice rink, one of the refurbished hockey homes of the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation.
(Click "Full Story" for more...)