PHILADELPHIA – There are times in every hockey season when a player who is struggling does a self-assessment and realizes what needs to be done to break out of his slump.
Just realizing the problem is the first part of the solution though. Actually putting it into practice is something else entirely.
There are players who never are able to put the two parts together. Scott Hartnell though, is a guy who knows how to correct what ails him. You don’t play in the NHL for more than a decade without that ability.
And Hartnell has done it several times in his career as a Flyer – even going so far as to rise from the ashes in the 2010 playoffs to be one of the key contributors on that team’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals, and subsequently becoming one of the team leaders from that point forward.
And now Hartnell finds himself in the doldrums once again. Not the lowest of the lows – as he experienced earlier in his career – but definitely in a bit of a frustrated funk.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
VOORHEES, N.J. – The Flyers got a bit of bad news Monday when forward Danny Briere was diagnosed with a concussion.
Briere apparently suffered the concussion during a hard practice Saturday. Some reports have suggested it occurred when he fell awkwardly into the boards.
Briere told me via text message today that he “doesn’t feel too good today” and needs a few days before he’s ready to talk further about his condition or how he suffered the concussion.
The Flyers placed Briere on injured reserve and recalled forward Tye McGinn from the Adirondack Phantoms to take Briere’s roster spot.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
PITTSBURGH – When the Flyers last played in a game six days ago – a 4-2 loss to Tampa Bay – there was an air of disappointment that clouded the team as they walked out of the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
And why not? They were headed into a rare five-day layoff as the team who had played the most games in the NHL and were five points out of a playoff spot.
While they were going to be idle, the Flyers were going to watch as 17 games were played involving teams with whom they were chasing the playoffs.
It seemed all but certain that the chasm between the Flyers and the playoffs would grow in those five days.
And yet, Wednesday came, and it was still five points. Thursday passed, and it was still five. It was five after Friday too.
Certainly with a full slate of games Saturday it would change, right?
Nope.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
TAMPA – It was the most glaring thing on the Flyers schedule when it was released a little over two months ago and now we’re almost there:
A gaping hole of five consecutive days off in a condensed schedule.
It was unexpected in a season of 48 games in 99 days. But it definitely stood out. Especially for a Flyers team that played more games than any team in the league to this point.
The players are being given two complete days off to do as they please – vacation with the family, sit at home and vegetate… whatever – before returning for practice Thursday as the prepare for the final playoff push and a grueling 18 games in the final 35 days of the season.
(Click "Full Story" for more...)
PHILADELPHIA – The Flyers are looking to change their luck in any way possible.
The latest, is a new set of warm-up music.
While the leadership group was responsible for going back to last year’s victory song (“Knock Knock” by Mac Miller) it’s the younger guys who’ve put in a request to change the warm up playlist.
Brayden Schenn made the request earlier today, but he was the representative of a group of younger players who wanted a different brand of music to help get the team fired up to play for the Devils.
I got the new playlist… including where to start and stop each version!
Here it is:(Click "Full Story" for all the songs and more...)
NEWARK, N.J. – This morning was the first time Simon Gagne stepped into the Prudential Center since last year’s Stanley Cup Finals.
Funny, how the sense of urgency to win a game is eerily similar now as it was then.
Of course, he is a world away from where he was last June, when he was battling concussion-like symptoms and trying to fit back into a Los Angeles Kings lineup that was well-oiled on it’s way to the franchise’s first championship.
Now, he finds himself back with his original team – the Flyers – trying to get back into the swing of things again, only this time to help a desperate team just get into the playoffs.
It’s funny how things work sometimes, and Gagne’s story has been ironic around every turn.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
VOORHEES, N.J. – The way Peter Laviolette juggles lines, it’s not likely that this line will last long enough for the nickname to stick, but let’s have some fun while we have the chance, shall we?
Of course, that prompted Philadelphia Inquirer beat writer Sam Carchidi to call them the new French Connection.
“I knew that was coming,” Briere said with a smile.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
PHILADELPHIA – Let’s start off with this: The jam is back.
No not that jam... although coach Peter Laviolette will tell you that it's that kind of jam that leads to this kind of locker room celebration... but the Flyers ditched their 2013 game-winning song and went a little old school.
(Click "Full Story" for more...)
VOORHEES, N.J. – Scott Hartnell had a message for his teammates after their loss to Pittsburgh Thursday and it was quite simple – if they were going to turn around their spate of inconsistent play, it would have to start with a sharp, crisp and intense practice Friday.
And although the Flyers were only on the ice for 25 minutes before flying to Boston for a major battle with the Bruins, those 25 minutes were spirited – with a lot of skating and a lot of competing drills.
And leading the way was Hartnell, who was practicing as if he had a chip on his shoulder.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
VOORHEES, N.J. – Everyone knows that the possibility of Chris Pronger ever playing hockey again is the longest of long shots.
But, even the slimmest glimmer of hope is enough for some people – including Flyers coach Peter Laviolette as well as Pronger himself.
Let’s start with Pronger who spoke publicly Thursday in the Philadelphia market for the first time since December 1, 2011. Pronger bared his soul about the emotional battles he’s had to fight as a result of the post concussion symptoms he’s had and the after effects of a scary eye injury suffered when Mikael Grabovski caught him with the blade of his stick on a follow through of a shot on Oct. 24, 2011.
Pronger said that the injury and the after-effects of it have been very debilitating and have stopped him from doing almost everything that he has done – as if by rote – since he was 15 years old.
Pronger also had a press release from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center handed out to reporters in which the specialist treating him – Dr. Michael “Mickey” Collins – has advised that he no longer play the sport of hockey.
And while putting two-and-two together that all might suggest that adding up to four is equal to a retirement announcement, Pronger wouldn’t go that far.(Click "Full Story" for more, including video...)