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ON THE FLY...
Official News of your Philadelphia Flyers straight from the PR Department


The Philadelphia Flyers Public Relations staff will be keeping you up-to-date on all you need to know: daily updates, multimedia and behind-the-scenes information that you can only find here! For all other official Flyers news and press releases - click here
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2007-08 Season // 2008-09 Season // 2009-10 Season // 2010-11 Season
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FEB. 29
2:41 p.m. ET

MARCH-ING AHEAD

The Flyers will not practice today due to the fact that they are flying all day, returning home from the West Coast and their 10-day road trip, their longest of the season.

MORE FLYERS
  SJ POSTGAME: Laviolette
  SJ POSTGAME: Giroux
  SJ POSTGAME: Jagr
  ROAD BLOG: Rinaldo
  FLY-BY: Playoff Feel
Remaining Schedule
  FOLLOW: @NHLFlyers

So what comes next? The all important month of March.

And what the Flyers face will no doubt be a battle to the end of the regular season.

The club will play 16 games in the 31 days of March, NOT including the four games in seven days of April.

Currently, the Flyers sit in the sixth seed and if the playoffs were to start today, the club would face off against the Southeast Division leading Florida Panthers in the Quarterfinals.

However, don't make plans to travel to south Florida just yet. Only THREE points separate the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference from the second seed. The first three seeds are reserved for Division winners and at the moment a tight race is ongoing not only in the conference, but in each division.

But getting back to March now.

Having just come back from the road, the Flyers have a favorable home schedule on the horizon, 10 of 16 games to be exact including a five-game homestand in the middle of the month.

The Flyers will certainly need every bit of the home-field advantage brought on by the crowd of Flyers faithful. Of the 10 games on home ice, eight of the teams are in the midst of either fighting for their playoff lives or fighting for a division title, which could ultimately see them slip numerous spots down the conference ladder.

With that said, the Flyers don't get very much time to ease back into life on the home-front. They turn around the very next day and face off against the New York Islanders before heading back on the road to the nation's capital to face Washington on Sunday.

What the Flyers will be focusing on is getting off to a better start.

Said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette following last night's game at San Jose: “There needs to be more of that playoff intent right from the start. The gaps were a little bit too soft. The skating was labored at times. The checking was tough to generate offense. Early on we needed to be tighter in the gap [and] defend the blue line a little bit better.”

The Flyers have allowed the game's first goal in their last eight games, while also not having a lead in the game's first 10 minutes in their last 18 contests.

That might not seem like a big deal, especially for the NHL's leading team in the goal-scoring department, however the Flyers own dominating records when getting on the board first. They own a 21-4-5 mark when scoring first and a 20-2-2 record when leading after the first period of play.

Flyers leading scorer Claude Giroux noted the difference as well and what he sees as the solution to snap out of it.

“We dug ourselves into a hole and [we're] playing catch-up again. We can’t be doing that all season. It’s going to kill us. We’ve got to find a way to get a better start. I think we just need to keep it more simple and stick to what we were doing before to give us success.”


FEB - 23
7:51 p.m. MT

COUTURIER OUT
During the first period of tonight's Flyers-Oilers game, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren updated the status of rookie forward Sean Couturier, who is not in the lineup.

Holmgren announced that Couturier is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

Couturier participated in the team's morning skate, but was scratched from the lineup. He played just 11:13 of time-on-ice and 17 shifts in the Flyers' 5-4 overtime win at Winnipeg on Tuesday.

This is just the fifth game Couturier has missed in his rookie season. The previous four games came from Dec. 19-27 after he took a shot to the back of the head during the Flyers-Bruins game on Dec. 17.

The 19-year-old Couturier has 21 points (10G-11A) in 55 games and ranks second on the Flyers in plus-minus rating with a plus-14 mark, which also ranks third among all NHL rookies.

Couturier was also one of 12 rookies named to the NHL All-Star Team back in January.


FEB - 22
4:14 p.m. MT

POLE POSITIONING

Last night's thrilling 5-4 victory was a big one in so many ways for the Flyers.

It once again displayed the team's tenacity and flair for dramatic comebacks, but most importantly it was a much needed FULL two points in the standings that continue to be increasingly tight throughout the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

The Flyers have just 23 games remaining and have hit a point in the season where games are played nearly every other day (23 games in 45 days for the Orange & Black).

While all eyes are on the trade deadline just five days away, something that is often overlooked and plays an important role in deadline deals is scoreboard watching.

The Flyers two points last night move them to 73 in total; one behind the New Jersey Devils, who are 9-1-1 since the NHL All-Star break. They also have 23 games left.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are a team that won't go away any time soon either. They are currently tied with the Flyers with 73 points as well, but have 22 games remaining.

Nine points separate the ninth seeded team from the fourth-seeded Devils, while the No. 2 & 3 seeds are reserved for Division winners. The Northeast leading Boston Bruins own 72 points and sit in that second seed, while the Southeast's Florida Panthers are at 65 points and the third seed.

Up next for the Flyers, a team that historically they have struggled against.

FLYERS ARRIVE IN EDMONTON
After boarding a plane following their overtime win at Winnipeg and arriving in Edmonton around midnight local Mountain time, the Flyers will hold practice today at Rexall Place.

A place they're not too familiar with.

This is the team's first trip to Edmonton since Feb. 3, 2010. A game in which they would rather forget, dropping a 1-0 contest in the game's final seconds off a goal from ex-Flyer Ryan Potulny.

Thursday night's contest will be just the third time the club has faced the Oilers on their home turf since the 2003-04 season. They will be going for their first win in that time frame as well, having lost the two previous trips.

In fact, the Flyers have not won in Edmonton since the 2000-01 season, when they earned a 4-2 win on Mar. 19, 2001 off goals from Keith Primeau, Mark Recchi, Eric Desjardins and Andy Delmore with Brian Boucher between the pipes.

Of course the teams do have quite the playoff rivalry in just two meetings.

The Oilers and Flyers met in two Stanley Cup Finals in 1985 and 1987. The latter widely regarded as one of the most famous Final series in NHL history that featured the likes of Messier, Gretzky and Co. taking on Mark Howe and rookie goaltender Ron Hextall in an epic seven game series that earned Hextall the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP.

Since that Game Seven, the teams have met just a total of 17 times in Edmonton where the Flyers have gone 3-10-4 in a 25-year span.

Although the Flyers don't have history on their side, they do have the present day. With that comes the second-best road record in the NHL with 19 victories this season, and over the past two seasons, a total of 44 victories on the road. One of the best two-seasons of travel the team has put together in their history.

FEB - 20
4:13 p.m. CT

ROAD-SWEET-ROAD
The Flyers held a brief practice today at the Virtua Center Flyers Skatezone before hopping on a plane to kick off a 10-day road trip that will see them make stops in Winnipeg (Tuesday), Edmonton (Thursday), Calgary (Saturday) and San Jose (Tuesday).
With the Eastern Conference, and now Atlantic Division, race becoming tighter and tighter, the road trip comes in a pivotal part of the season.

"Every night somebody's winning and we have to keep pace with that," said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette on the importance of these upcoming road games. "We've been more inconsistent with that and that's the log-jam in the standings right now, so we have to get back to winning some games."

Following a win by the Devils on Sunday, the Flyers slipped to third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference with 71 points. They are tied with the Penguins, who have the same amount of points, but the Flyers own the season series thus far (2-1-0) and have played one fewer game than the Pens.

The Flyers remain just one point behind the Devils, who now own 72 points, the same as the Northeast Division leading Boston Bruins, who has the Ottawa Senators hot on their tail now with 68 points.

Despite having played just two road games in their last 10 overall contests, the Flyers continue to be among the best road teams in the League. They are currently tied with the third-most road wins in the NHL, going 18-9-2.
 
The road trip will also mark another important aspect for the Flyers. They will have two new faces accompanying them as they welcome recently acquired defenseman Pavel Kubina, and defenseman Nicklas Grossman, who has suited up in just one game so far after coming over from the Dallas Stars.

Kubina participated in his first practice as a Flyer today.

"You know it's always hard and a difficult time for your family to move, but I'm really excited to play for a team like this. There's so much tradition and a great mix of guys," said Kubina. "It's an opportunity for me to play in the playoffs. Whatever the team needs I'll be there for [them] and I'll try to do my best every game."

In his 14th season in the NHL now, Kubina has only been a part of the playoffs four times in his career. The times he has made it to the post-season, Kubina has made it count.

“He’s something we don’t have," added Flyers GM Paul Holmgren. "He’s a right-handed shot. He’s a big body who can help out on our power play and penalty killing. He’s an all-situational defenseman. Experience guy who has won a Stanley Cup."

He won the Stanley Cup with the Lightning back in 2004, and just last year, helped the team get within one game of the Stanley Cup Final, losing a 1-0 battle in Game Seven to the eventual Cup champs, the Boston Bruins.

With the additions of Grossman and now Kubina, the Flyers blue line has gotten significantly bigger. The Flyers defense, seven men in total, is now at an average of over 6'2'' and 220-pounds.

Flyers fans first chance to see the upgraded Flyers defense on the ice will be at Winnipeg on Tuesday. Puck drop is 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet or 94 WIP.

FEB - 18
11:29 a.m.

JVR RETURNS
Prior to the game vs. their Atlantic Division rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren announced that forward James van Riemsdyk WILL be in the lineup.

It will be van Riemsdyk's first game since Jan. 12 vs. New York Islanders after being out indefinitely with a concussion that caused him to miss the last 15 games.

In 37 regular season games, van Riemsdyk has posted 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points and 22 penalty minutes in an average of 15:10 of ice-time per-game. The Flyers went 6-6-3 in his absence.

BRYZ IN NET
Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette also announced that Ilya Bryzgalov will get the start in net today vs. Penguins.

Bryzgalov has posted a 1.42 GAA and .944 save percentage in six appearances since the NHL All-Star break, going 2-1-0 in that span. Since the New Year, he has recorded a 6-3-0 record with a 2.27 GAA and .921 save percentage, including a perfect 5-0-0 record in nine appearances on home ice.

FEB - 17
4:54 p.m.

GROSSMAN TAKES TO THE ICE
Talk about a whirlwind. In a span of 12-15 hours Nicklas Grossman was half a country away, in a completely different conference on a completely different team.

"Of course it came a little bit of a shock at first. I let it sink in for a couple hours," said Grossman. "They called me from Philly and told me to get on a plane, so I just packed up my bags and got going. I'm real excited about it and happy to be here."

Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk informed Grossman that he had been traded to the Philadelphia Flyers and the next 5-6 hours saw him board a plane and land in Philadelphia around midnight to begin a new start with just his second team in the NHL.

Grossman reported to skate zone around 10 a.m. today and took to the ice for his first practice as a Philadelphia Flyer.

"He's a big defender. If you just look at him, he's a big guy and I think he'll help out in a lot of areas; the defensive end, [he] makes a good pass, blocks shots and [is] a penalty killer," said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. "He'll be another guy to help defend back here."

Besides the fact that it's a new team, new division and a new conference, it's also a new set of circumstances that Grossman walks into.

Something that fellow defenseman, and now teammate, Matt Carle knows all about.

"There's a lot of adjustments; you're just trying to get to know the guys. I think it's a little bit more different for him because he's jumping conferences where he's probably not too familiar with guys on our team too much… but we have a good group of guys in here and everybody will welcome him with open arms."

Carle was traded from the San Jose Sharks to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the summer of 2008, and then from Tampa Bay to the Flyers in mid-November that same year.

After their 7-2 victory last night, the Flyers continue to hold the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference with 71 points.

Grossman will certainly be thrown into the fire right away. The Flyers face off against the Penguins, who are just two points back of their intra-state rival having played the same amount of games.

"He's great pick up. He's going to fit right in on this team," said Max Talbot, who is no stranger to making deep playoff runs.

"He's got size; he's a pretty complete player meaning he can play in any defensive situations and you always need guys like that. Especially in playoffs and going down the stretch. They're responsible and know their role and they'll fight for their teammates.”

*  *  *
3:32 p.m.

SURGERY FOR SESTITO
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren updated the status of forward Tom Sestito following practice today.

"Sestito will have surgery to repair a torn groin muscle on Tue., Feb. 21," said Holmgren. "He will be out for 6-8 weeks."

Sestito left Thursday's game vs. Buffalo in the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. So far this season, the 6'5'', 228-pound forward has appeared in 14 games with the Flyers, posting one assist and recording 83 penalty minutes, which ranks third on the Flyers.

FEB. 16
8:29 p.m.

BRIERE, SESTITO LEAVE GAME
During the second period of action in the Flyers-Sabres game, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren announced that forward Danny Briere would not return to game action due to an upper-body injury.

Holmgren also announced a short time later that forward Tom Sestito would not return due to a lower body injury.

Briere, who has missed nine games due to injury this season, appeared in just 3:53 of the game, taking seven shifts, while Sestito played 3:09 minutes and five shifts.

Sestito has not missed any time due to injury in 2011-12.

The Flyers were already shorthanded having to play without the services of Jaromir Jagr, who is out sick, and defenseman Andrej Meszaros who has an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.


FEB. 15
4:58 p.m.

SKATING HARD
With the Flyers having three days in between games they were able to get two full days of practice in. Even though they had a complete day off on Monday, make no mistake about it, the practices Tuesday, as well as today, were intense.

The Flyers skated end-to-end, back and forth, with high-tempo breakouts as well as in-zone defense and offense drills.

While it may seem like the days off would be a welcome break, the team is still fully aware of their recent struggles and are itching to get back at righting the ship for an important stretch of games.

"When you're winning it's a lot easier to enjoy your days off," said Danny Briere. "I can't wait to get back out there and hopefully take away that sour taste in my mouth right now."

The Flyers will resume their schedule of games beginning with the Sabres on Thursday, and with an important Atlantic Division match up against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday and a nine-day road trip looming, the Flyers aren't willing to let their focus slip on one-game at a time.

"We have to win the next game," said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. "What the Rangers do or what somebody behind us does that's out of our control. We need to focus on our next game and get on a little bit of a roll here down the stretch."

Despite having lost their last two games, the Buffalo Sabres come into town on a bit of a hot streak, going 5-2-1 in their last eight games, five of which were decided by one goal.

Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller has started 10 straight for Buffalo, who despite being at the bottom of the Northeast Division and Eastern Conference standings, remain in the playoff hunt, just eight points out of the eighth seed with a game in-hand on many of the teams fighting for that final spot.

It will be the third of four meetings on the season with the Sabres, with the Flyers owning the season series thus far by winning both games.

It is also the first time they come to Philadelphia, which also means it will be the first time ex-Flyer Ville Leino will play against his former teammates since signing with Buffalo this past summer.

THE INJURY FRONT
Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk, who has been out the last 14 games for the Flyers, continues to skate with the team during practices, which is a welcome sight to his teammates.

"He looks good," said Hartnell. "I don't know how he's feeling… but he's skating well; he looks strong on his skates and he's got some pretty nice hands, so hopefully he'll be symptom free for a while and have the confidence get out there to give some hits, take some hits and get back into games."

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren announced no change in van Riemsdyk's status. He continues to be out indefinitely with a concussion.

As for other Flyers battling injuries, Holmgren announced that Jaromir Jagr was sick today and the team will know more on Thursday morning.

Defenseman Andrej Meszaros did not practice today with the team. He is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Forward Jakub Voracek, who has already missed a game, also remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

FEB - 14

3:23 p.m.

OTF: UPS & DOWNS
After a complete day off, the Flyers were back at practice today preparing for the week ahead.

The three-day layoff of no games is the last the team will experience for the remainder of the regular season, and they plan on using this time to their full advantage.

Fans would almost expect a good full-hour practice today and tomorrow, given the recent results of going 3-4-3 in their last 10 games, but the mood around the team is not setting off fire alarms that fans would expect. It's merely a part of the ups and downs of an NHL season.

"I think we're getting chance, but we're just not burying them right now," said Wayne Simmonds. "It's a good sign that we're getting the chances. We just have to bear down and put the puck in the back of the net."

The feeling is mutual around the entire locker room, from the players to the coaches to management, they know they can and will play better.

"It's a team game. You work in five-man units and you go out there and work as hard as you possibly can," said Wayne Simmonds. "You can't point a finger because you could have been the person that led to that mistake anyway, so there's no pointing fingers."

Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette agrees, and perhaps more importantly, has been through situations like this before.

"Through the course of a season there are going to be ups and downs," added Laviolette. "I think that happens and we talk about it. Certainly we would have rather won those two games [this past weekend] but they didn't go our way. There are things we can do better; we acknowledge that; we look at it; we work at it, but this team has had a lot of success month to month so far."

During Laviolette's Stanley Cup season with Carolina in 2005-06, his Hurricanes hit a few skids as well. They 2-5-1 at one point in December, 3-4-1 even later in March and ended the regular season 1-2-2 before going on to win it all just seven weeks later.

The Flyers will resume practice on Wednesday, but once Thursday hits, a more amped up schedule starts to unfold, beginning Thursday against a Buffalo team that's in a race for their playoff lives.

FEB - 13
4:58 p.m.

A RARE BREAK
Following a span of three games in four days and an overall span of eight games in 13 days, the Flyers took time away from the rink completely on Monday.

Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette spoke to reporters via conference call, addressing the rare break in games the next few days offer, and what the team can work on down the stretch run.
Matt Read used his day off to visit kids at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

"We have a good opportunity to do some teaching over the next couple days and get ourselves back ready," said Laviolette. "Our penalty kill has been decent all year. I think Craig [Berube] does a good job of teaching it and the players have done a pretty good job. But obviously, it has been a little bit of a stumbling block this weekend. I have a lot of confidence that we’ll get it back on track.  I would say the same thing holds true for the power play.  We got lots of looks and opportunities but didn’t get it to go.”

Uncharacteristic of all season long, the Flyers special teams have hit a snag the last few games. They have not produced a goal on the man-advantage in their last four games, and have given up six goals on 16 attempts to their opponent in the last three games.

Previous to that, the Flyers recorded at least one power-play goal in seven straight games, and despite the last four games, they still own the League’s sixth-best power play at 19.5 percent.

"I thought we came back and responded, played hard, but there were mistakes and we will continue to work on those things," said Laviolette of his team's effort in the Red Wings game on Sunday.

"That’s what we are here to do. We are here to teach and to become better. There’s a lot of that going on this year.  We’re working to get better on what we are doing on the ice. If you are asking me if it was a lack of effort in Detroit, and that is why we didn’t win the game, no.  I think we made some mistakes and we need to work to clean up those mistakes.”
 
The Flyers next tests come in quick succession on home ice. They will face off against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday and face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in another Saturday matinee.

The two games will be the last of the month at home. The Flyers will then open up their longest road trip of the season to end February, when they hit Western Canada and California for a nine-day trip that sees them play at Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and San Jose.

In other news, the Flyers have loaned (F) Eric Wellwood back to their AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms. Wellwood appeared in 11:22 of ice-time through 15 shifts in Sunday's 4-3 loss at Detroit, his second game with the Flyers this season.

NHL.com reports that forward Zac Rinaldo faces an afternoon hearing with the Department of Player Safety on Monday to discuss the charging minor he was assessed for hitting Detroit's Jonathan Ericsson at the 13:32 mark of the first period.

FEB. 12
6:25 p.m.

VORACEK OUT
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren announced that forward Jake Voracek will NOT be in tonight's lineup at Detroit. He is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

This is the first game of the season Voracek will miss. In his fourth season in the NHL, Voracek has only missed six games, this being his sixth game.

Only six players on the Flyers remain who will have appeared in all 56 games this season (Carle, Hartnell, Meszaros, Simmonds, Talbot and Timonen).

Averaging nearly 17 minutes per game throughout the season, Voracek played just 6:46 and took 10 shifts in Saturday's 5-2 loss to the Rangers.

Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette also announced that Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start in net tonight. It will be Bobrovsky's third straight start between the pipes.

* * *
3:23 p.m.

WELLWOOD RECALLED
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren announced that the club has recalled forward Eric Wellwood from their AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms today. He will be available to play in tonight's Flyers-Red Wings game at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit (7:30 p.m. ET)

The 21-year-old has nine goals and 20 points in 31 games with the Phantoms this season. This is his second recall to the Flyers this season. He appared in one game, a 9-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Nov. 5, picking up an assist in the process.

The Flyers also loaned goaltender Jason Bacashihua to the Phantoms. Bacashihua dressed, but did not play, in the last two games for the Flyers.

FEB. 11
5:04 p.m.

VORACEK INJURED
Flyers right wing Jakub Voracek played just 6:46 in Saturday's 5-2 loss to the Rangers. This was significantly down from his average of nearly 10 minutes more a game (16:22).

Now we know why.

General manager Paul Holmgren updated us following the game, announcing that Voracek suffered an upper body injury. With the Flyers playing games on back-to-back days, the injury did not impact Voracek's travel plans, as he accompanied the team on their flight to Detroit.

More information is expected on Sunday, when the Flyers face off against the Red Wings in a 7:30 p.m. start on NBC Sports Network and 94 WIP Radio.

FEB. 10
5:06 p.m.

A SECOND CHANCE
Rarely when things don't go a team's way do they get a second chance, but rest assured when they do, they'll want to make sure history doesn't repeat itself.

Thus is the situation the Flyers are in as of right now.

Coming off a weekend in which they dropped both games without gaining a point to the Devils and Rangers respectively, the Flyers will get another crack at making a big jump in the standings, and another crack at the Blueshirts.

"It's going to be a fun weekend and I think the last two games we played very well," said Claude Giroux, who has recorded points in four of his last five games. "Obviously the guys are excited to play the top two teams in the league right now. It's going to be great to see where we stand."

The Flyers will face off against the New York Rangers for the fifth time on Saturday, and will also be looking for their first win of the six-game seasons series, which has been dominated by the Rangers, going a perfect 4-0-0 thus far.

A big reason for that has been the play of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who owns a 1.50 goals-against average against the Flyers to go along with one shutout in all four meetings.

"Well first of all I don't he's dominating only against us," said Jaromir Jagr. "I think he's dominating against other teams too. He's a good goalie, there's no question about it… Any game right now is very important."

The past results against the Rangers, while wanting to learn from them, doesn't bother the Flyers at all. Rather it presents a welcome challenge.

"They don't give much," said center Max Talbot. "They play really tight defensively, so it's about putting the puck there [to the net] and fighting for the rebounds… If we drive the net and bang in the rebound, it's tough for any goalie."

This will also be the Rangers first trip to the Wells Fargo Center. The only "home" game the Flyers played the Rangers in was the Winter Classic on Jan. 2 in front of 46,000-plus fans at Citizens Bank Park.

The Flyers wrap up the weekend against one of the toughest teams in the NHL, the Detroit Red Wings. If that weren't enough, the Flyers are going against a Red Wings team that just might be going for an NHL record for consecutive home wins.

The Wings have won 18 in-a-row on home ice, and pending a win over the Anaheim Ducks later tonight, could be going for 20 straight wins at home, which would tie an NHL record that the Flyers hold from the 1975-76 season. It is also shared with the 1929-30 Boston Bruins.

That being said, the Flyers immediate concern is not the Red Wings. It's one game; Saturday against the Rangers in a classic Atlantic Division battle with valuable points on the line.

WINTER CLASSIC JERSEY REDUX
Speaking of yet another Winter Classic rematch, the Flyers will don their "Classic" jersey for tomorrow's matinee against the Rangers.

It will be just the second time the Flyers will have worn the unique sweaters, which have only been worn on Jan. 2.

The Rangers, as Flyers fans know, wore their Winter Classic jerseys last Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

The Flyers Winter Classic merchandise will also be on-sale at a 25 percent discount in the all-new Fan Zone store at the Wells Fargo Center.

Puck drop is 1 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet and 94 WIP radio.


FEB. 8
7:17 p.m.

PRONGER VISITS TEAM
Flyers captain Chris Pronger stopped by the Virtua Center Flyers Skatezone today before the team took the ice for practice and took a good amount of time to talk and chat it up with his teammates. Ninety minutes to be exact

"We certainly miss him and we'd rather have him in here but he's not," said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette.

The mere presence of Pronger however was good to see for Laviolette, who added: "I think it's good to see somebody that hasn't been around in a while because of injury. They come back in and it's good to see them. We're talking about teammates and friends he's coming back to see, so I think that's a positive thing."

Pronger has been sidelined since his last game on Nov. 19 at Winnipeg. On Dec. 15, just prior to the Flyers-Canadiens game at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren announced that Pronger would be shut down for he remainder of the season, including playoffs.

“After consultation with respected concussion specialists Dr. Joseph Maroon and Dr. Micky Collins, it is the opinion of both doctors that Chris is suffering from severe post concussion syndrome," said Holmgren at the time of the announcement. "It is the recommendation of Doctors Maroon and Collins that Chris not return to play for the Philadelphia Flyers for the remainder of the 2011-12 season or playoffs.  Chris will continue to receive treatment and therapy with the hope that he can get better.”

Pronger has missed the last 34 games, but if today is any indication, he is absolutely not out of the minds of his teammates and the organization.

SHOOTOUT SESSIONS
As one can imagine, the hot topic around today's practice was shootouts. On the heels of a heartbreaking 1-0 loss in which both goaltenders were stellar, the shootout was the difference maker.

"I think we have some shooters that can score goals and [we] have confidence in our goalies," said Claude Giroux. "Obviously, it hasn't turned out the way we wanted it to, but we've been practicing it and those are actually big points. We just have to stay confident and get those points." 

Bryzgalov had perhaps one of his strongest games last night vs. the Islanders, stopping all 18 shots he faced to post his 25th career shutout, an NHL milestone. In fact, in his last seven starts in net, he has allowed just one (or fewer) goals against in five of those contests.

Still, the shootout yields very important points at an important time of year.

"We've been working at it the last few practices and I think it's a good thing," said Danny Briere. "Hopefully we won't need it, but we did a few years ago; that's what got us into the playoffs. It is what it is so far. We can't change anything, so hopefully we can practice and get better at it and it's a plus."

What almost seems inevitable each year around this time is that games are getting closer.

Going back to just last season, 19 of the Flyers last 32 games were decided by one-goal, of those 19, 10 went past regulation and six were decided in a shootout, including at one point, four games in-a-row.

Getting every last point possible is also what makes this time of year crucial to getting practices in, according to Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette.

"We had guys out there early; went through some things and like all things when we get the opportunity to practice, we work at it."

ZOLNIERCZYK LOANED
The Flyers also announced that Harry Zolnierczyk has been loaned to the club's AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, today.

Zolnierczyk has three goals and five points through 36 games for the Flyers in his rookie season.

Kimmo Timonen and Jaromir Jagr had maintenance days today and did not practice.

FEB. 7
10:37 a.m.

BRIERE BACK
Just as the Flyers were taking to the ice, general manager Paul Holmgren announced that Danny Briere will be in tonight's lineup vs. New York Islanders.

Briere spoke to reporters following the team's morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center.

"Things have been going well over the past two-three days so I feel ready," said Briere. "I feel that it's time. There have been no symptoms the last few days so we'll give it a go [and] I'm excited."

Briere admitted that the decision was his after meeting with doctors. The tell-tale sign would be how he woke up feeling after taking practice and contact on Monday.

Briere missed the Flyers last six games due to his concussion sustained at New Jersey on Jan. 21. The team has gone 2-2-2 during that time period and in addition to dealing with concussion symptoms, it has been very hard for Briere to watch from the press box or his television set.

"Hopefully I can come in and improve in that department," added Briere. "The game against Jersey [a 6-4 loss on Feb. 4] was very frustrating with the way we started the game. In New York we deserved a better fate, I really liked the effort the guys put it."

The Flyers look to get back into the win column against the Islanders tonight at the Wells Fargo Center. Puck drop is 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet and 94 WIP radio.


FEB. 6

UPDATE: 5:09 p.m.
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren updated Danny Briere's status, which is now day-to-day. Forward James van Riemsdyk, who has been sidelined since Jan. 14, remains out indefinitely with a concussion. He has missed the last 10 games.

4:17 p.m.

ALMOST READY?
With only eight or nine players taking the ice today for the optional practice, one of the few that wasn't a rookie was veteran center Danny Briere.

That's a good sign for Flyers fans.

"I felt pretty good again today. The last couple of days have been good," said Briere after today's skate. "Skating-wise everything checks out. I've been working out, pushing myself a little more everyday, so it's been good."

Briere has also had a taste of some contact drills and has used the time away from game action to his advantage.

"The last five-six days I've tried to push a little bit more to see what I can take and it's been getting better and better."

The 34-year-old alternate captain has been sidelined since Jan. 21 when he suffered a concussion in the Flyers' 4-1 win at New Jersey, missing the last six games.

While Briere admits to positive signs and improving each day he continues to push, he does not have any sort of a timeline in mind.

"I don't know what the next step in the process is," said Briere. "I know I have to see Jim [McCrossin] and see our doctor too, but I know I cleared my baseline test last week."

In addition to feeling good, Briere is looking better and better in practice as well.

"It's good to see him back out there and you know he's able to go full practice, engage in some drills so that's a positive," said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette.

Briere has 30 points (13G-17A) in 43 regular season games for the Flyers. Prior to this injury, Briere missed just three games this season, none of which were related to a concussion.
 
SHIFTING FOCUS
Following a pair of losses this past weekend, it was back to business for the Flyers.

The team spent the early part of the morning reflecting on their game and making improvements, but the focus now has to shift back to the schedule ahead, which has no breaks from game action anytime soon.

"We need to get back on the horse," said Flyers center Max Talbot. "It's a huge week for us. You look at the standings and it's really tight, so you can't allow yourself to just look back and think about it for too long."

The Flyers will begin yet another stretch in which they will play four games in a six-day span, including back-to-back games on the weekend.

First up for the Flyers, a surging New York Islanders team.

The Islanders have earned at least a point in the standings in seven of their last eight games, going 5-1-2 during that stretch which included a 4-1 victory over the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on Jan. 19.

"We have to be better with the attention to detail of trying to prevent goals from getting into our net and the desperation of blocking a shot, making sure we stop and protect," said Laviolette. "I think we're all accountable. It's my responsibility to make sure we're better defensively from a team point of view right down to our goaltender. It's not good enough."

FEB. 3
5:06 p.m.

GETTING INTO A RHYTHM
It's not so much that Brayden Schenn wants to forget about the first part of the 2011-12 season, rather its that he wants to continue progressing forward.

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And why wouldn't he? After playing a few games for the Flyers here and there and then suffering injury after injury (none of which were related - Shoulder in Sept/Oct.; Broken Foot in Oct./Nov.; Concussion in Dec.), Schenn has finally gotten into a rhythm of playing games - 16 consecutive to be exact.

"Where all those young players have gotten an opportunity to dig in and contribute and help the Flyers at least to where we are in the season, he's been battling injuries where he's been out of play. With that you lose your timing, lose your conditioning, lose everything," said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette following the Flyers game vs. Boston a few weeks back.

Schenn has appeared in all 14 games in the New Year for the Flyers where he has recorded all of his points on the season thus far, including his first NHL goal during the Winter Classic on Jan. 2.

In total, Schenn has four goals and seven points. He currently has a three-game point streak and in 13 of his 14 games in 2012, has recorded at least one shot on goal during that span.

Schenn's play is also a result of the confidence Laviolette has put in him through this time period.


"Brayden Schenn had a very physical game," said Laviolette following Thursday's 4-1 win over Nashville in which he posted an assist. "I really liked his involvement. We talked about how in order to hit, you have to skate. When you're skating and you hit, you're usually near the puck. That creates turnovers and ultimately offense."

Schenn has certainly thrown the body around the past few games. He produced a nice highlight reel hard check on Bruins' forward Steven Kampfer on Jan. 19 which also led to his first NHL fight.

"He's a strong body on the puck, he's hard to get it off, he's smart… you know he's got his head up when he has the puck traveling wide, things like that," said Scott Hartnell.

Schenn as well as the rest of the Flyers rookie corps will get yet another test starting on Saturday when the Flyer kick off back-to-back day games against Atlantic Division rivals. First up, the New Jersey Devils in a 1 p.m puck drop at the Wells Fargo Center
.


FEB. 1
3:38 p.m.

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ABOUT TO GET TOUGHER
Each of the last three Flyers games have been decided by one goal, furthermore all three have gone past regulation and have been decided by a shootout.

While coming back from the All-Star break is the unofficial start of the second half of the season, it also marks the point in the season where games start to get closer and closer, and points are considered much more valuable.

The Flyers' schedule has them play 13 games in a 27-day span in February, which will set up for the crucial month of March where playoff races and positioning become more and more the focal point.

"I think every team is battling for points and every point is going to be a difference at the end of the year," said Wayne Simmonds. "I think we're going to see a lot of three-point games now. It's been like this for as along as I've been in the league and it seems like after All-Star break everyone starts buckling down."

All but one game on the schedule in March (Detroit on Mar. 6) has the Flyers playing Eastern Conference rival teams, including two meetings each with the Washington Capitals, Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils, all three of which are fighting for a spot among the top eight.

Said Simmonds, "We're fighting for our lives here. Obviously we want to move up in the standings and we don't want to give anything up and come ready every night."

Just one year ago, the Flyers also dropped their first game back from All-Star, but afterwards went on a 5-1-0 streak. Four of the six games were decided by one goal.

"Obviously it's going to get tighter and tighter," said Jakub Voracek. "Those are the games when we have to step up in the third period and make a difference if we want to be successful in the playoffs."

The team's second test following All-Star begins tomorrow night when they take on one of the NHL's leading squads, the Nashville Predators.

At 31-16-4 for 66 points, which is tied for third-best in the NHL (prior to Wednesday night's game), the Predators come into the game riding a five-game winning streak where they have outscored their opponent, 20 to 8.

In addition, the Preds have gone 11-2 since the start of the New Year including one of those wins coming in the form of a 4-2 victory over the Flyers on Jan. 17.

INJURY UPDATE; HOLMSTROM LOANED
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren updated and spoke to the media about the status of injured Flyers Zac Rinaldo, Danny Briere and James van Riemsdyk following practice.

According to Holmgren, Rinaldo has been cleared to play by doctors, however Briere and van Riemsdyk still remain out indefinitely due to concussions.

Briere and van Riemsdyk did not skate with the team today, and neither did defenseman Kimmo Timonen who simply had a maintenance day.

The Flyers also loaned center Ben Holmstrom back to their AHL affiliate in Adirondack this morning. He played 7:29 on 11 shifts recording one shot on goal.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 PIT 32 22 6 4 102 72 48
2 NYI 33 23 10 0 104 91 46
3 MTL 34 21 11 2 92 83 44
4 TBL 35 20 11 4 113 93 44
5 DET 33 17 8 8 93 82 42
6 TOR 33 19 11 3 114 98 41
7 WSH 32 16 10 6 95 85 38
8 NYR 30 16 10 4 92 81 36
9 FLA 31 14 9 8 69 79 36
10 BOS 33 16 14 3 82 85 35
11 OTT 33 14 13 6 89 92 34
12 CBJ 32 14 15 3 79 102 31
13 PHI 32 12 14 6 88 96 30
14 NJD 35 12 17 6 77 102 30
15 BUF 33 13 18 2 63 105 28
16 CAR 32 9 19 4 68 91 22

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 32 12 30 13 42
C. Giroux 32 10 29 9 39
W. Simmonds 32 14 9 3 23
B. Schenn 32 9 13 6 22
M. Streit 32 4 16 4 20
S. Couturier 32 8 9 0 17
M. Read 32 3 10 -5 13
M. Raffl 24 9 2 3 11
N. Grossmann 32 3 5 6 8
M. Del Zotto 24 2 6 -6 8
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 6 10 5 .921 2.49
R. Emery 6 4 1 .894 3.13
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