PHILADELPHIA – As much as Craig Berube has preached for his forwards to get back and help his defense, he has equally been pushing for the defense to jump up and help the offense.
While the former seemed to come together pretty quickly, the latter is still a work in progress… but it’s definitely been better.
“When I took over that was one of the things I really stressed – getting the defense involved in the rush and on breakouts and skating up ice,” Berube said. “That helps both the attack and the breakouts. When you have guys like [Mark] Streit and Kimmo [Timonen] and [Erik] Gustafsson… all of them really. It doesn’t matter how skilled you are or fast you are – get up there. When other teams see four guys coming on the rush it backs them off.”(Click "Full Story" for more...)
VOORHEES, N.J. – Adam Hall has always been a go-to guy in the faceoff circle. But what he’s been doing lately has been epic.
His last 35 draws, he’s won 30 of them. Think about that a sec. He’s won 85.7 percent of his draws in the last five games.
“Sometimes you get a little streaky and you feel like you have good timing,” said Hall, not wanting to bring attention to the run. “If you find something that’s working you just try to ride it as long as you can.”(Click "Full Story" for more...)
WINNIPEG, Manitoba –According to the official stat sheets, the Flyers have just 12 giveaways in their last three games. This comes on the heels of having zero in a game two weeks ago in a shutout of New Jersey.
Now, it should be pointed out that while these stats are technically official, they are incredibly subjective from arena to arena.
Nevertheless, it is certainly an indicator that the Flyers are playing smarter hockey.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
PITTSBURGH – Quick… who is the only current Flyers forward to have played on all four lines this season?
I’m certain the first name to jump into your head was not Michael Raffl. And yet, he’s the answer.
Adding to his versatility resume, Raffl has also played on the power play and on the penalty kill.
Having him on the roster was one of the reasons Max Talbot became moveable in a trade for a better offensive player – because Raffl was versatile enough to do some of the things Talbot was doing for the Flyers.
And frankly, his play has been a bit surprising to everyone around the organization.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
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...)