VOORHEES, N.J. – The first line and the third line wore orange. The second line and the fourth line wore white. The defensemen wore black.
And then there was one shadowy figure in grey, wearing a tinted visor fully participating in practice.
To say it was a surprise to see Marc-Andre Bourdon on the ice Sunday would be an understatement.
Almost a forgotten man in the Flyers organization, sidelined for the past 14 months with post-concussion symptoms, there was some belief that the one-time Flyers prospect may never play hockey again.(Click "Full Story" for more..)
PHILADELPHIA – The timing of Steve Mason’s contract extension with the way things went for him in his first game as a $12 million man couldn’t have been worse.
After all, Mason was the “victim,” as coach Craig Berube called him, of some shoddy play in front of him and had to be pulled from a game in which the Flyers eventually came back and won 6-4 over the New York Islanders.
Giving up four goals on 24 shots in just 34 minutes of work is not indicative of what $4.1 million a year goalies are paid to do.
However, despite a more up-and-down stretch of starts for Mason in the past few weeks, trying to pin the blame on him for any of the four goals allowed would be ludicrous.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
In a seven-game audition last season and through 36 appearances so far this season, Mason made his case.
And today, the Flyers rewarded him.
PHILADELPHIA – To see Andrej Meszaros jump up from center ice into a play, take a pass, fire a shot and score a goal with three seconds left in a period, and then celebrate with a thrusting fist pump was like climbing into a time machine.
It was so 2011.(Click "Full Story" for video and more...)
PHILADELPHIA – When Scott Hartnell came back from a fractured foot last season, he decided to wear skate guards to protect his feet for the remainder of the season.
But, old habits die hard, and Hartnell started this season without the guards – a plastic outer shell that surrounds the soft part of a skate boot – once again tempting fate.
Considering what happened in Buffalo Tuesday, he's got to wonder if he's got a little rabbit DNA, because the status of his left foot can only be described as lucky.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
BUFFALO – What a difference one month makes.
Scott Hartnell didn’t register a point in the month of October. He scored a goal on November 5 and over the span of the next 40 days had all of 12 points (a span of 20 games).
In the last month the Flyers have played 14 games. Hartnell has 14 points.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
BUFFALO – Chris Vandevelde figured his fate had destined him to go to Europe.
That was until he received a late summer phone call from a friend’s father.
“I didn’t have much going in the summer and I was talking [with my agent] about going overseas,” Vandevelde said. “Then I got a call from Ron Hextall and I signed an AHL-only deal.”
Vandevelde knew the assistant general manager of the Flyers because he was teammates and friends with Hextall’s son Brett in college at the University of North Dakota.
Hextall got to see a lot of Vandevelde, and when the Flyers were looking for depth forwards who could come up to the big club in a pinch and be versatile enough to play in multiple roles, he immediately thought of his son’s former teammate.
And even though Vandevelde could have gone to play somewhere in Europe, taking an AHL-only deal had him closer to the NHL and a shot at getting back to the big show, so he decided to stay stateside and see what happened.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
NEW YORK – It’s become a chronic occurrence for the Flyers. Sometimes from their own volition, others from reputation. Regardless, it’s something that eats away at coach Craig Berube.
The Flyers take too many penalties.
They took six in the first two periods against the Rangers that led to five power play chances for the Blue shirts, who just so happen to have the sixth-best power play in the league, and while it wasn’t the primary reason for a 4-1 loss at Madison Square Garden, it was certainly on everyone’s mind after the game.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
NEW YORK – It’s been a season of fits and starts for Steve Downie.
Coming off of a lost season where he missed the entire lockout-shortened campaign for the Colorado Avalanche due to a torn ACL, Downie got off to a fast start with the upstart Avs under the guidance of coach Patrick Roy.
But Downie, who is in the final year of his contract before hitting free agency, was considered an expendable piece for Colorado who was in need of a veteran locker room presence and penalty killer. So they shipped Downie back to Philadelphia – where his career started – in exchange for Max Talbot.
Upon arriving to Philadelphia, Downie was quickly taken out of the lineup as he was inserted into it, suffering a concussion in the second period of his first game with the Flyers during a fight with Washington’s Aaron Volpatti.
The points were accumulating. Read and Couturier were scoring and Downie was setting them up. The trade looked like a boon for the Flyers.
But then Downie got hurt again...
(Click "Full Story" for more...)
PHILADELPHIA – Yes, Wayne Simmonds scored again on the power play. It was his sixth power play goal in the last 10 games.
And yes, the power play, at times, looked good in creating opportunities. And yes, Tampa goalie Anders Lindback, while fortunate on a few occasions, did make 35 saves to earn the win over the Flyers.
That said, the Flyers had a golden opportunity to change the momentum of the game with a two-man advantage for 1:46 in the first period – and couldn’t score.(Click "Full Story" for more...)