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[#] Tue Nov 01 2016 11:23:04 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Boyd Gordon out at least a week with upper-body injury

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Flyers forward Boyd Gordon, who has been a scratch in two of the team’s last three games, is injured. Ron Hextall announced Tuesday morning that he’ll be out for a “minimum of one week” due to an upper body injury.

In eight games played this season, Gordon has a goal and two penalty minutes. Brought in this offseason largely for his faceoff ability, Gordon has won 52.4 percent of the 63 faceoffs he’s taken thus far on the year.

Michael Raffl, who has been injured for all but three games so far this season, could return to the lineup on Wednesday night against the Detroit Red Wings. He’d slot into the bottom-six, and while we obviously hope Gordon gets well soon, Raffl’s addition and Gordon’s subtraction from the lineup is a plus move on the ice.

What the injury means for the rest of the bottom-six is a question. It’s been a bit of a revolving door thus far this season, so we’ll see if it leads to anything concrete as the Flyers prepare to play three games in four days between Wednesday and Saturday.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/11/1/13487112/boyd-gordon-out-at-least-a-week-with-upper-body-injury


[#] Tue Nov 01 2016 12:24:05 EDT from Jay Polinsky

Subject: Flyers prospect report: Phantoms win 1, drop 2; Lindblom lights up Swedish league

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Our new weekly look at Flyers prospects around the globe

Phantoms finish weekend with two losses, one win

  • 5-1 WIN vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (10/28)
  • 5-4 LOSS vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (10/29)
  • 3-2 LOSS vs. Hershey Bears (10/30)

The Phantoms avenged their October 22 loss to Hartford with a statement win on Friday. Danick Martel got the scoring going with his 3rd goal of the season and was followed by Jordan Weal (1), Greg Carey (2 & 3) and T.J. Brennan (2) on the scoresheet. The lone goal that Anthony Stolarz gave up was a short-handed tally in the 2nd.

Alex Lyon got his second professional start on Saturday in relief of Stolarz and was hard-hit in the 5-4 loss, giving up 2 PP goals and 3 at even-strength. Weal (2 & 3) and Colin McDonald (2 & 3) provided the scoring in the game. McDonald’s 3rd period goal with a minute left in regulation brought the game within 1 goal before running out of time. Stolarz was back in net on Sunday, giving up all 3 goals in the loss. His PP behind him went 0 for 5 and included this hit from Morin, after which got things pretty dicey. I don’t think Morin escapes this without a suspension. Nicolas Aube-Kubel (1) and McDonald (4) scored in the game for the Phantoms.

The Phantoms next contests are Wednesday (Hartford), Friday (Providence) and Saturday (Springfield). Here are some of the notable performances from the weekend:

Danick Martel: 1 goal, 3 shots, 4 PIM

In perhaps the saddest news from the weekend, Martel took a knee-to-knee hit from Bridgeport Sound’s Kyle Borroughs on Saturday. Borroughs was ejected and Martel left the game (being helped off the ice by his teammates) and did not play on Sunday

Jordan Weal: 3 goals, 4 assists, 8 shots, 2 PIM

Let's hope this is the beginning of the hype-train for Weal to get a shot at the NHL level. After riding the bench after being acquired last season, he was sent to Lehigh Valley to get some consistent playing time. Though he may be at best a borderline NHL player, that already makes him decidedly better than Chris Vandevelde and Boyd Gordon.

Robert Hagg: 3 shots, 2 PIM

All’s quiet on the Hagg Front as he collected no points in this weekend’s games.

Travis Sanheim: 2 assists, 6 shots, 4 PIM

Sanheim picked up two assists, giving him 4 points (all assists) on the season. He has put 14 shots on net so far this year, which is good for 2nd among LHV defensemen and 5th overall on the team. It’s only a matter of time before we see him truly breakout.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel: 1 goal, 2 shots, 2 PIM

The skilled Aube-Kubel finally got on the board with his first goal (and point for that matter) of the 2016-17 season. He scored this one via a tipped shot from the point from defenseman Will O’Neill.

Notable Canadian junior performers this weekend

2016 NHL Draft - Portraits Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images
Carter Hart has been one of the best goalies in the WHL this season.
Connor Bunnaman, Kitchener Rangers (OHL)

A quiet weekend for Bunnaman, who had 11 points in his 10 games prior. The Rangers will have games on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday for Connor to get back on track.

  • 10/28 - 0 shots, 4 for 11 FOW
  • 10/30 - 0 shots, 1 for 5 FOW
Anthony Salinitri, Sarnia Sting (OHL)

Salinitri extended his point streak to 8 games and now has goals in 4 of his last 6 games. His 7 goals and 17 points overall put him 2nd on the team for both marks.

  • 10/28 - 1 goal, 5 shots, 3 for 11 FOW
  • 10/29 - 1 assist, 2 for 10 FOW
  • 10/30 - 1 goal, 1 assist, 5 shots, 9 for 12 FOW
Carter Hart, Everett Silvertips (WHL)

After a hiccup-game on October 19 (in which he gave up 2 goals on 5 shots), Hart has settled back in nicely for the Silvertips. He now leads the WHL in GAA (1.97) and is 6th in SV% (.923). The 18 year old is in his 4th season with Everett, but just his 2nd as a full-time starter.

  • 10/27 - 2 GA, 21 saves
  • 10/29 - 1 GA, 26 saves
Carsen Twarynski, Calgary Hitmen (WHL)

The 2016 3rd round pick is finally ramping up his offensive production and has 3 goals in his past 3 games. He has also racked up 20 PIM in his 9 games this season with 8 of those minutes coming in his last 3 games.

  • 10/28 - 2 goals, 2 PIM
  • 10/29 - 2 PIM
Samuel Dove-McFalls, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

Sam scores! Dove-McFalls goal on Friday was his 1st since a 2-goal effort way back on October 7th.

  • 10/26 - 2 shots, 4 PIM, 5 for 8 FOW
  • 10/28 - 1 goal, 1 assist, 6 shots, 6 for 8 FOW
  • 10/30 - 3 shots, 1 for 3 FOW

Other CHL Notes: Phillippe Myers was selected as part of Team QMJHL to participate in the CHL/Russia Series in November. He did not participate in any of the Huskies games this past week ... Pascal Laberge remains out of the Victoriaville lineup since October 15 because of a concussion.

Notable European performances this week

2016 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
German Rubtsov is playing in the Russian junior league.
Oskar Lindblom - Brynäs IF (SHL)

Lindblom’s 5 assist weekend gives him 15 points (5 goals, 10 assists) in 14 games. That is just 1 point off the SHL league-lead. I’ll mention this: the kid is only 20 years old playing at one of the highest professional levels.

  • 10/25 - 2 assists, 2 shots
  • 10/27 - 2 assists, 3 shots
  • 10/29 - 1 assist, 1 shot
Felix Sandstrom, Brynäs IF (SHL)

Things don’t seem to be getting better for Sandstrom who saw his SV% and GAA drop to .882 and 2.69, respectively. He won’t be able to improve his playing time with better performances.

  • 10/25 - DNP
  • 10/27 - 3 GA, 20 saves
  • 10/29 - DNP
Linus Hogberg, Växjö Lakers HC (SHL)

Not much to report on the 2016 5th round pick as Hodberg barely averages 5 minutes a game for Växjö. He has 1 assists in 13 games this season.

  • 10/25 - 1 assist (5:41 TOI)
  • 10/27 - 0 shots (3:32 TOI)
  • 10/29 - 0 shots (5:15 TOI)
David Bernhardt, Djurgårdens IF (SHL)

With an increased role on the team, Bernhardt is seeing an uptick in offensive production tallying 3 points in 8 games.

  • 10/25 - 1 assist, 1 shot
  • 10/27 - 3 shots
German Rubtsov, Russkie Vityazi (MHL)

Rubtsov has 15 points (7 goals, 8 assists) in 14 games with Vityazi. His play has been quite good since joining his MHL team, which is the league below the KHL in Russia. He simply just did not get the ice-time to justify staying on his KHL squad. While this is great for Rubtsov’s playing time, he might not be getting a true challenge given his skills. Though as long as he keeps dominating the league, there shouldn’t be any worries yet.

  • 10/25 - 1 goal
  • 10/27 - 1 goal
  • 10/30 - 2 assists
Mikhail Vorobyov, Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)

Offensively, the 2015 4th round pick has had a slow go of it this season. He has just 9 points (3 goals, 6 assists) in 24 games while getting over 11 minutes a game. His assist on Wednesday was his first point since October 13th and hasn’t had a goal since October 4th.

  • 10/26 - 1 assists, 1 shot, 2 PIM, 4 for 10 FOW
  • 10/28 - 2 shots, 10 for 18 FOW
  • 10/30 - 2 PIM, 7 for 16 FOW

Notable college performances this weekend

2016 Beanpot Tournament - Semifinals Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Mark Friedman, Bowling Green State University

Mark Friedman had a nice little weekend against Miami, giving him 5 points (3 goals, 2 assists) in 7 games this season. This is his 3rd season with Bowling Green and has seen his offensive production go up each year (19 points in 2014-15 and 23 pts in 2015-16).

  • 10/28 - 1 goal
  • 10/29 - 1 goal (PP)
Tanner Laczynski, Ohio State University

After picking up his his first collegiate goals last weekend, he scored his 3rd of the season on Saturday. Laczynski has 11 points in 7 games this season, which leads his team. Tanner was a 2016 6th round pick out of the USHL where he had 109 points in 111 games.

  • 10/28 - 2 assists, 1 shot, 2 PIM
  • 10/29 - 1 goal, 1 assist, 7 shots, 2 PIM
Merrick Madsen, Harvard University

Madsen kicked off his junior season with a shutout win, his 5th career shutout at the college level. He didn’t need much help as the offense spotted him 7 goals in the game. Madsen held his shutout streak into the early 3rd period in Friday’s match with Arizona State, but by that time he already had a 3-0 lead to hold onto.

  • 10/28 - 0 GA, 23 saves
  • 10/29 - 2 GA, 26 saves

NCAA Notes: Matej Tomek saw some time in the exhibition opener for UND, but has sat behind junior Cam Johnson in every regular season game this year. ... Terrance Amorosa is out with an undisclosed injury (as far as I can tell) ... Cooper Marody was deemed academically ineligible and won’t be able to play this fall, missing roughly half the season. Look for updates on Marody when he returns this spring.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/11/1/13487526/flyers-prospects-update-oskar-lindblom-merrick-madsen-phantoms


[#] Tue Nov 01 2016 15:57:34 EDT from Ari Yanover

Subject: Radko Gudas gives us the cutest Halloween picture

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Can you imagine Radko Gudas being your dad? That would be the best.

This is probably one of the most precious pictures we’re going to get out of Halloween: Radko Gudas, awesome dad, taking a little lion out to get candy.

Lion is an awesome choice for a first costume, and there’s just something about Gudas carrying one around on his shoulders that’s the best.

My favorite thing about this? Gudas doesn’t even have to dress up to be scary. Look at that man. That’s a man who could kill you just by looking at you. He’s amazing.

For real though, this is so sweet and cute. The NHL having no games on Halloween was awesome for the players, and gives us moments like these. What’s not to love about that?



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/11/1/13490704/radko-gudas-gives-us-the-cutest-halloween-picture


[#] Wed Nov 02 2016 06:28:10 EDT from Kelly Hinkle

Subject: Wednesday Morning Fly By: Rivals!

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*The Flyers are back tonight against their long time Rivals™ the Detroit Red Wings, which means nothing except that we have to wait until after 8PM for puck drop. GO FLYERS!

*Just like all the rest of us, Ron Hextall loves Ivan Provorov. [Inquirer]

*Welcome new member of the BSH team Jason Polinsky by reading and then troll commenting on his first Flyers prospect report! [BSH]

*So the Flyers' goaltending has been...sub par. But Dave Hakstol is not concerned. [CSN Philly]

*But maybe the team in front of the goaltenders can do something to help their goalies improve? Hmm? [Courier-Post]

*Hakstol is going to have to start making lineup decisions too, as the team starts to (finally) get healthy. One decision has been made for him, as Boyd Gordon will come out of the lineup due to injury. [BSH]

*Speaking of...should we be thinking about Jordan Weal in this team's bottom six? [Sons of Penn]

*Friedman's latest thirty thoughts hint at a possibility of a trade in the near future for the Flyers. [Sportsnet]

*Wayne Simmonds is pretty happy with his decision to add a visor to his helmet. [NHL.com]

*DGB on why it's too early for these five slow-starting teams to panic. [Sportsnet]

*And finally, in case you missed it, the latest episode of BSH Radio, which is awesome and you should tell your friends about it. [BSH]



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/11/2/13490568/wednesday-morning-fly-by-rivals


[#] Wed Nov 02 2016 10:16:56 EDT from Kyle Phillippi

Subject: How this year’s Flyers 10-game start stacks up with last season’s

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It looks like the power play has been reborn.

There’s only so much you can take away from a small sample size, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun looking at the comparison from last year’s Flyers team to this year’s squad through the first 10 games.

It’s early, but there’s certainly some impressions to be made as we approach the one-eighth mark of the season (is that even a thing?).

So what can we infer from those numbers? Maybe that these games are essentially playing out as they did last season except for inflated numbers for both teams. The Flyers are scoring one more goal per game but equally allowing one goal against, thus the scoring difference being near identical.

What’s more likely to sustain? I’d guess the offense, which looks improved from last season, while the goaltending and more so, the defense, sures up over time. Once Michael Del Zotto returns to the mix, the Flyers blue line should gain some much-needed stability.

Head coach Dave Hakstol agreed with that notion.

“You can’t give up the number that we are giving up and win on a regular basis,” Hakstol said after the loss to Pittsburgh. “But I believe we can clean that up sooner than later.”

Here’s the most telling difference: the power play.

The Flyers appear to be returning to their usual man-advantage dominance, something that alluded them a year ago. The start they had last season was dreadful, as evidenced by their first 10 games, so it’s quite refreshing to see them respond with a much better start. They enter Tuesday with the most power play goals scored (they have two games on Nashville, who has 10 power play goals) and the third-highest conversion percentage.

On the flip side, there’s still some room for improvement when playing a man down. The actual scheme, though, looks much better and provides optimism that they’ll grow throughout the season as they continue picking up the nuances of their new-look PK (see Charlie’s breakdown of this approach). Adding to that support, the Flyers have killed off six of their last seven efforts over the last three games.

Notice something different from last year’s leading scorers through 10 games compared to this?

The big guns have shown up.

Even better, the top six scorers from this year’s lineup have greater or equal points than last year’s most productive player. Up and down the lineup, the scoring has been much more balanced. The Flyers had 17 skaters register a point in the first 10 games.

This year’s team has seen 20 players pick up a point.

Here’s some other notes:

  • The Flyers have been penalized 25 fewer minutes than they were last year. They’ve also allowed nine fewer power plays to the opposition.
  • Standings don’t mean much at this point in time, but the Flyers were second to last this time last season while sitting two points back from third-place Washington. Mentally, it’s a lot easier to see yourself with two fewer teams ahead of you.
  • They played just two sets of back-to-backs in the first 10 games. The Flyers have already played three sets, with games 11 & 12 (today and tomorrow) marking the fourth such instance. This team has had little time for rest and adjustments, so it’s not so surprising they’re playing “mediocre” as general manager Ron Hextall described it yesterday.


http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/11/2/13491826/philadelphia-flyers-nhl-season-start-10-games-analysis-comparison


[#] Wed Nov 02 2016 11:48:25 EDT from Charlie O'Connor

Subject: Are the Flyers a 'good' team according to advanced stats? Depends on which you use.

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Feel like the Flyers are playing well but getting let down by luck and goaltending? Feel like they've been a defensive disaster? There are stats to back up both claims. But which is more important?

With October officially in the rearview mirror, it's time to begin our evaluation of the Philadelphia Flyers and their play so far in 2016-17. Ten games is around the point of the year when it's possible to get a read on whether a team is a potential contender or in need of dramatic improvements to even have a shot at the playoffs, and the Flyers are now right at that mark.

Their win-loss record doesn't provide a ton of clarity. At 4-5-1, Philadelphia is a sub-0.500 hockey team, but that's not "bad" enough to qualify as a truly disastrous start. They're not in the basement of the Metropolitan Division or the Eastern Conference, but they're certainly not close to pressuring the true front-runners either.

So let's break down each element of the Flyers' performance thus far. Most would agree that the team's power play has not been a problem -- they currently rank third in the NHL in goal-based efficiency and are in the top-half of the league in all of the shot generation metrics. By the same token, few would argue that the penalty kill has been especially impressive, as it ranks 24th in the league and is right around middle-of-the-road in shot prevention.

Then, there's the goaltending, which has clearly not delivered strong results as of yet. All that can be said about Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth right now is that their true talent levels are almost certainly higher than they've showed so far. Whether one or both of the Philadelphia netminders actually does bounce back remains to be seen, but considering their track records, the most likely scenario is a return back to the norms of the past few seasons.

That leaves the Flyers' performance at even strength, specifically during 5-on-5 situations. Since the majority of each game is played with teams on equal footing, evaluating 5v5 play tends to be the most complete way to measure the effectiveness of a roster. But not all evaluations will lead to the same conclusions.

There are two legitimate schools of thought regarding the Flyers as a 5v5 team this season. Some believe that Philadelphia has largely carried play against their opponents so far, and has been let down by bad luck and subpar goaltending. Others hold that while the team may be controlling the games for large stretches, repeated defensive breakdowns have resulted in Philadelphia regularly losing the quality chance battle on a nightly basis, causing poor results.

As it turns out, both sides make strong points. The Flyers have driven play at 5v5 through ten games, when looking at pure volume, but they also are struggling to beat their opponents in quality shot creation. That leads to legitimate questions when trying to project Philadelphia's future performance at 5-on-5. Will the disparity between their shot volume and shot quality continue through the final 72 games of the season? Are their volume numbers likely to move down to match their poor performance in chances? Or can we expect the Flyers to begin winning the quality battle over the remainder of the season and move in line with their tendency to outshoot the opposition on the whole?

Understanding Corsi and Expected Goals

The driving force behind the bulk of "advanced" metrics in hockey is the belief that shot creation and shot prevention is a better way to evaluate teams and players than on-ice goals. While winning the ultimate battle on the scoreboard is obviously is the primary focus of every team, goals are relatively infrequent events. A six-goal performance in one game does not mean that a team is now an offensive powerhouse -- there are a number of unsustainable reasons for such a performance. Maybe a role player scored on all six of his shots on goal. Maybe the opposing goaltender had the worst game of his career. That doesn't erase the game, but those causes do not make it likely that the team will repeat the performance.

This is why the analytics community has leaned toward overall shots as a way to measure team and player quality. Shots occur far more often than goals, so counting the total number created and allowed by a team results in a far larger sample than simply using the instances when a shot actually makes it into the back of the net. It makes sense intuitively, as well -- teams that outshoot their opponents tend to win more games than those who are constantly in the defensive zone.

But the biggest reason why the community gravitated toward shots as their main evaluation tool is because they have proven to be a better predictor of future outcomes than goals. Interestingly enough, past goal differential itself is not a particularly good predictor of future goal differential. If you want to guess if a team will outscore opponents in the future, look at whether they've outshot their opponents so far that season, not if they've outscored them. The team with a strong shot differential but a poor goal differential is more likely to post more goals than their opponents than another squad high in the plus column in goals but getting way outshot.

That's the concept behind Corsi, which adds up all shot attempts (shots on goal, unblocked attempts and blocked attempts) and turns it into a differential. For example, if a team generates six attempts in a period and their opponent only four, the team would be said to have a Corsi For percentage of 60%. There have been further advances in improving Corsi -- such as adjusting the metric based on team performance in different score scenarios -- but that's really the gist of the stat.

And by Corsi so far this year, the Flyers look like a pretty solid team. During 5v5 situations, they've generated 51.32% of the total shot attempts, after adjusting for score. That ranks them 10th in the NHL, and 6th in the Eastern Conference. We're not talking about a world-beating squad, but at least at 5-on-5, that's the performance of a playoff-bound team.

But Corsi certainly has its detractors. The most common criticism of the stat is that not all shot attempts are created equal -- some are inherently more dangerous than others. Corsi assumes all attempts, from the one-timer in the slot to the flip shot from the point, to be of equal value. As a result, some have created "weighted" versions of Corsi, which adjust each attempt for perceived quality.

That's the thought process behind Expected Goals. Using the shot type and location data tracked by the NHL, the analytics community has created a number of models that approximate the goal likelihood of each shot occurring on a team's watch. For the purposes of this analysis, we'll use the most widely-cited public version of the stat -- the xG available on Corsica.Hockey, currently the premier analytics site on the internet.

By this metric, the Flyers are far less impressive. Again using the score-adjusted version, Philadelphia comes in at a 47.27% Expected Goals For percentage at 5v5, far below their solid Corsi ranking. In fact, they currently sit 24th in the NHL in this stat, with only the Columbus Blue Jackets ranking below them in the East.

Philadelphia's strong Corsi backs up the argument that the team has carried play this season, spending lots of time in the offensive zone and blasting away at opposing netminders. But their poor xG speaks to the legitimate criticism -- that the Flyers may be generating more sheer volume than their opponents, but other teams are creating enough high-quality scoring chances (and preventing enough Philadelphia chances as well) to overcome the volume deficit.

But which is more important for the future?

Both Corsi and Expected Goals tell us what happened at 5v5 over the past ten games for the Philadelphia Flyers. But the real question is what the discrepancy between the two stats means for the rest of the season. After all, 4.05 percentage points is a pretty large gap -- only nine NHL teams between 2011-2015 had a greater disparity between a strong 5v5 Corsi performance in October versus a poor one in Expected Goals.

Some would argue that winning the overall shot attempts battle (Corsi) bodes well for the Flyers moving forward. After all, it means they've carried play, right? Once they clean up the defensive breakdowns and the quality of shots evens itself out, Philadelphia can continue with their formula of outshooting the opposition and ride that to more wins.

Not so fast, says the other side. Who's to say that the Flyers will ever clean up the issues that have led to their early scoring chance deficit? Winning the raw shots battle is meaningless if opponents' higher quality chances provide more overall value. And what if past xG is a better predictor of future shot volume outcomes than the past shot volume outcomes themselves? Maybe their Corsi will trend down over the rest of the season to match their poor xG.

This is when it helps to look at how these situations have played out in the past. Luckily, Corsica.Hockey has full-season data going all the way back to the 2007-2008 season, and we can use that to see which of October Corsi and October xG has proven to be a better predictor of future outcomes. That should tell us which of the two statistics we should take more seriously at this stage of the season.

What is a better predictor of future xG -- past xG or past Corsi?

So far this year, the Flyers have a solid Corsi, and a poor xG. Obviously, if they want to take pressure off their goalies, they want to improve their performance in terms of Expected Goals, which in turn should lead to a better 5v5 goal differential and then more wins. But does their poor October xG make it unlikely that their rest-of-season xG will improve? Or does their relatively strong October Corsi imply that better xG outcomes are right around the corner?

To answer this, I looked at the performance of every team since 2007-08 in October from a 5v5 Corsi and xG standpoint (removing the lockout year of 2013-14 since no October games were played), and compared it to their results over the rest of the season. By measuring the strength of the relationship between past performance and future outcomes, we can see which metric is more "predictive" of what will happen moving forward. We do that by placing two sets of data in a scatterplot graph, and measuring the relationship (or R-squared) between the two. The stronger the relationship, the more predictive it is.

We'll start with comparing the October 5v5 Expected Goals performance of all teams since 07/08 with those same teams' performance in the metric through the remainder of the year. Our result is an R-squared value of 0.257 -- not insignificant, but not ridiculously high.

xG1

Now, let's substitute October Corsi For percentage for October xG%, and measure its relationship to future xG%. If the r-squared is higher here, then October Corsi For has done a better job of predicting rest-of-season xG than actual October xG.

xG2

As you can see, the relationship is much stronger here. This is a big point in the Flyers' favor -- in the past, October Corsi For% (where the Flyers have performed well) has predicted rest-of-season xG% better than October xG% (where the Flyers performed poorly). This bodes well for the possibility that Philadelphia's xG performance will creep up over the remainder of the season to fall more in line with their solid October CF%.

But what about the other theory -- that their CF% will sag over the remainder of the year and fall closer in line with their poor xG%? To answer that question, we'll run the same test, except looking at rest-of-season Corsi For performance.

What predicts future CF% best?

Just like we did with xG%, let's start by measuring the relationship between October Corsi For percentage and rest-of-season Corsi For percentage for the teams in our dataset.

An r-squared of 0.4732 is pretty strong, especially in comparison to the relationships we found while studying xG% predictability. But is it a stronger relationship than the one between October Expected Goals For% and rest-of-season Corsi For percentage?

Obviously, the answer is no. October Corsi For percentage has historically done a far better job of predicting rest-of-season CF% than October xG percentage has. This again bodes well for the Flyers -- we shouldn't expect their strong 51.32% Corsi For to regress just because their xG hasn't been anything special.

Essentially, at the ten-game mark, if the Flyers had to choose one of Corsi or Expected Goals to be their strong suit, they chose the right one in 2016-17. Corsi is simply the more meaningful metric in terms of projecting future play-driving performance at this stage of the season.

Conclusion

The issue with evaluating the October performance of the Philadelphia Flyers during 5v5 situations is that different statistics tell different stories. By raw shot attempt measurements, like Corsi, the Flyers look like a team on the cusp of contention. But when checking weighted statistics like Expected Goals, they seem more like a basement-dweller.

So which measurement holds more weight at this point of the season? It turns out that October Corsi For performance is a better predictor than xG For% of both rest-of-season Corsi For percentage and rest-of-season Expected Goals For percentage. As a result, it's more likely that Philadelphia's poor xG will rise up to meet their currently solid CF% than the other way around, a reassuring thought for Flyers fans.

It's fair to note that Corsica's version of the xG stat is not the only one in existence. Hockey-Graphs contributor DTMAboutHeart has developed his own xG metric, and reports superior predictiveness than the one in use on Corsica. However, even that version of the stat (which is private) does not reach maximum usefulness until Game 30. In the early stages of the NHL season, Corsi For percentage is still superior.

The only remaining question is simple -- why is Corsi a more useful stat than xG early in the season? My guess is that coaching comes into play here. It seems like it would be far easier for a coaching staff to clean up early shot quality issues in the offensive and defensive zones than to fix issues with driving play on the whole, which would likely necessitate a full-fledged system overhaul. Cutting down on scoring chances allowed might just be a matter of adjusting some coverage strategies on the cycle, or finding the right distribution of roles. These are relatively minor tweaks, not massive adjustments.

In any case, the Flyers find themselves on the right side of the 5v5 advanced statistical ledger in the early season. It's now up to Dave Hakstol, his assistants, and the players themselves to extract more value out of that solid Corsi For percentage and prove the historical data correct.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/11/2/13484402/are-the-flyers-a-good-team-by-advanced-stats-depends-on-which-one


[#] Wed Nov 02 2016 13:50:26 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Flyers vs. Red Wings preview: 19 years later, Detroit still looking for win in Philly

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Detroit hasn’t won in Philadelphia in 19 years.

It’s Hockey Fights Cancer night at the Wells Fargo Center tonight, and in addition to the lavender stick tape and jerseys that’ll be worn during warmups, that means a lot off the ice as well. The Flyers will give away the t-shirts you see above, and plenty of charity opportunities throughout the game.

Notably, via the Flyers:

The evening’s festivities will be highlighted by an expanded partnership with local charity Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a childhood cancer foundation dedicated to raising funds for research into new treatments and cures for all children battling cancer.

Cancer survivor and friend of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, 11-year-old Andrew Vantresca from South Philadelphia, will be joined at center ice by captains from both teams for a ceremonial puck drop. At nine months old, Vantresca was diagnosed with a neuroblastoma. After several rounds of aggressive treatment, including chemotherapy and surgeries, he became cancer-free.

Twenty children hosted by Alex’s Lemonade Stand will also be treated to special VIP Flyers experiences throughout the game, including sitting on the bench during warm-ups, escorting Anthemist Lauren Hart on to the ice, high-fiving the players from the ice, sitting in Claude Giroux’s “Giroux’s Crew” suite, riding the Zamboni, and experiencing the game from the broadcast booths.

Fans can support Alex’s Lemonade Stand at the game by purchasing lemonade from an Alex’s Lemonade ‘Stand’ on the Wells Fargo Center concourse, as a portion of proceeds will benefit the foundation.

If you are going to the game tonight and are able, consider donating.

As for the events on the ice, the Flyers are hosting the Detroit Red Wings for the first time this season. Of course, the Red Wings haven’t beaten the Flyers in Philadelphia since 1997 ... a year in which nothing of note happened between these hockey clubs, we promise.

Detroit has been all over the place this season, sitting at 6-4-0 so far. They won those six games right in a row, sandwiching that streak between two pairs of losses. Good news for the Flyers tonight: backup goalie Petr Mrazek will get the start. Jimmy Howard, their usual starter, has been red hot so far this season with a .978 save percentage, so we are dodging a bullet there.

Claude Giroux — a bad captain who we should trade, I heard it on WIP so it’s true — will look to extend his point streak to 10 games tonight. We are in Game 11 of the season, for the record. Michal Neuvirth will get the start for the Flyers.

Steve Ott, a human being* on Detroit’s fourth line, is 6th in the league in faceoff percentage. I looked it up on NHL.com.

Tonight’s game is on NBC Sports Network across the country. NBC Live Extra is live streaming. Locally, the game can be heard on 93.3 WMMRnot 97.5 The Fanatic.

Philadelphia lineup

Forwards

  1. Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds
  2. Travis Konecny - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek
  3. Meat Read - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Roman Lyubimov
  4. Chris VandeVelde - Nick Cousins - Dale Weise

Defense

  1. Andrew MacDonald - Shayne Gostisbehere
  2. Ivan Provorov - Brandon Manning
  3. Nick Schultz - Mark Streit

Goalies

  1. Michal Neuvirth
  2. Steve Mason

Scratches: No healthy scratches

Injured: Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton, Michael Raffl, Boyd Gordon

Detroit lineup

Forwards

  1. Gustav Nyquist - Frans Nielsen - Dylan Larkin
  2. Tomas Tatar - Henrik Zetterberg - Justin Abdelkader
  3. Andreas Athanasiou - Darren Helm - Riley Sheahan
  4. Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - Steve Ott

Defense

  1. Daniel “Danny” DeKeyser - Mike Green
  2. Jonathan Ericsson - Alexey Marchenko
  3. Brendan Smith - Xavier Ouellet

Goalies

  1. Petr Mrazek
  2. James “Jimmy” Howard

*probably



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/11/2/13499290/flyers-vs-red-wings-preview-19-years-later-detroit-still-looking-for-win-in-philly


[#] Wed Nov 02 2016 16:07:40 EDT from Ari Yanover

Subject: Chris VandeVelde is a dad now!

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Awww.

There’s a new Philadelphia Flyers fan in town. She’s very small, but very cute, and her dad plays for the team.

Aw. Congrats to the VandeVeldes! The only way this would be more perfect is if she had an orange blanket or bow, but it’s Hockey Fights Cancer night, and that pink is pretty close to purple, so it all works out.

Chris VandeVelde isn’t really a guy anyone relies on for scoring; he has just 12 goals in 207 career games, and only one assist so far this season. But he has had some career seasons since joining the Flyers, so it’s not out of the question he scores a dad goal sometime soon.

And really, that’d be the only way to make all of this even more awesome than it already is.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/11/2/13501692/chris-vandevelde-is-a-dad-now


[#] Wed Nov 02 2016 18:40:11 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Flyers vs. Red Wings: Preview, lineups, how to watch, live stream and discussion thread

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It’s Hockey Fights Cancer night.

Philadelphia lineup

Forwards

  1. Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds
  2. Travis Konecny - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek
  3. Meat Read - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Roman Lyubimov
  4. Chris VandeVelde - Nick Cousins - Dale Weise

Defense

  1. Andrew MacDonald - Shayne Gostisbehere
  2. Ivan Provorov - Mark Streit
  3. Radko Gudas - Brandon Manning

Goalies

  1. Michal Neuvirth
  2. Steve Mason

Scratches: Nick Schultz

Injured: Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton, Michael Raffl, Boyd Gordon

Detroit lineup

Forwards

  1. Gustav Nyquist - Frans Nielsen - Dylan Larkin
  2. Tomas Tatar - Henrik Zetterberg - Justin Abdelkader
  3. Andreas Athanasiou - Darren Helm - Riley Sheahan
  4. Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - Steve Ott

Defense

  1. Daniel “Danny” DeKeyser - Mike Green
  2. Jonathan Ericsson - Alexey Marchenko
  3. Brendan Smith - Xavier Ouellet

Goalies

  1. Petr Mrazek

James “Jimmy” Howard



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/11/2/13502896/flyers-vs-red-wings-preview-discussion-thread


[#] Wed Nov 02 2016 23:15:41 EDT from Kurt R.

Subject: Flyers vs. Red Wings recap: A comeback win! A winning streak! Everything’s coming up Flyers!

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A late goal and an overtime winner gave the Flyers their first two-game winning streak of the season.

Last Sunday, in our recap of the Flyers’ win over the Hurricanes, we mentioned how that win was unlike many of the Flyers’ games this season: an early lead, a late lead, good penalty killing, etc. By comparison, for almost 59 minutes, this game played out exactly how many Flyers games have gone this season: an early deficit, a furious mid-game comeback, a third-period backbreaker that would put the Flyers back in a hole.

Except this time, the Flyers would finally end one of those games the way they were hoping to.

An extra-attacker goal by Mark Streit with just over a minute remaining pushed the Flyers to overtime, where their two best players would team up on a goal to end the game and give the orange and black a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. The win extended the Wings’ streak of futility in Philadelphia, as they still have not won there since 1997.

Still, it wasn’t an easy win. Often in the early-going of this season, first periods have been long, drawn-out struggles, where the Flyers would spend several-minute stretches struggling their way up and down the ice en route to a fully deserved multi-goal lead. Today, they took a slightly different road to a 2-0 first-intermission deficit: a 16-second stretch that saw them give up two goals.

First, an extended shift of defensive-zone struggle saw a shot from Dylan Larkin deflect off a Flyer in front of the net and past Michal Neuvirth, giving the visitors the night’s first goal. And before Lou Nolan could even finish announcing the assists on Larkin’s goal to those in the crowd, Detroit speedster Andreas Athanasiou won a race to the puck in the Flyers’ zone and fired a shot that bounced up off of Neuvirth’s shoulder and into the net.

And that was how a fairly even first period ended up seeing the Flyers in a familiar spot: looking to make a comeback in the second period.

Fortunately (and likely thanks to the fact that they’re familiar with this script by now!), the Flyers came out of the intermission and played like a team that was looking to make a comeback. Hakstol made one change to his lineup between periods — switching Dale Weise and Brayden Schenn to one another’s spots — but whatever else the coach may have said or did between periods, it appeared to have worked. The Flyers would ultimately outshoot the Wings 17-6 (with a 29-14 edge in total shot attempts) in the period, and would cut the lead in half late in the frame as New Dad Chris VandeVelde would score his first of the year off a great pass from the recently-demoted Schenn.

Down by one in the third period, the Flyers kept pushing right out of the gate in the third (with the help of a power play that spanned between periods, one that did not see a goal but saw pretty consistent pressure from the Flyers’ top unit). And about four minutes in, a great shift from the fourth line and the Shayne Gostisbehere-Andrew MacDonald pair (I know, right?) culminated in Roman Lyubimov’s first NHL goal on a MacDonald point shot rebound.

However, the familiar script of this season continued to play itself out from there, as that game-tying goal seemed to wake up the Red Wings. They’d control play for much of the rest of the period, and they’d grab a lead near the halfway mark of the period on a mini-2-on-1 between Tomas Tatar and Henrik Zetterberg.

The rest of the period was fairly even, with both sides getting some chances, but following a timeout and Neuvirth heading to the bench for an extra attacker, a scramble in Petr Mrazek’s crease would lead to Mark Streit putting the puck in the net past a flattened Mrazek with just over a minute remaining.

Detroit would challenge on the grounds that Mrazek was interfered with, but the refs would correctly rule that Schenn was pushed into him by Frans Nielsen and the goal would stand up.

The teams would stall out the last minute and head to overtime, but after two decent Detroit chances, Giroux and Jakub Voracek would break the other way for a 2-on-1, and a perfect pass and a perfect-er shot would cap the comeback and end the game.

OTHER THOUGHTS:

  • Michal Neuvirth got his second start in a row, and while I thought he was better than his final numbers would indicate (22 saves on 25 shots), he was just OK. Tough to blame him on the first or third goals, but the Athanasiou goal was one you’d like to see him stop. Have to think Steve Mason will be back in net tomorrow night against the Islanders.
  • Brandon Manning fought Steve Ott, which was very nice of him to do.
  • This, in the Flyers’ 11th game of the season, marked the seventh time this season the Flyers would tie a game up after trailing by at least two goals. Eventually they’re going to stop being able to do this every night, right? Maybe not?
  • Finally, we’ll have to end on a note of uncertainty: Late in the second period, Schenn jumped and his elbow ended up making head contact with Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith, who left the game for the remainder of the period before coming back for the third. You can see the hit here. No penalty was called on the play, and given Schenn’s reaction to it, it appeared to be more of a hit on which he tried to get out of the way and ended up making contact with Smith by accident than a hit on which there was any malicious intent. The fact that Smith was crouched over a bit may also save Schenn from any additional punishment here. We’ll likely hear on Thursday morning if the league has anything to say about it.

Comment of the Night:

Neuvy is using the wrong toothpaste. He needs more Tatar Control.

Pat McCrotch

Brooklyn tomorrow for the Islanders. 3 wins in a row? It’d be nice. Go Flyers.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/11/2/13505138/flyers-vs-red-wings-nhl-recap-a-comeback-win-a-winning-streak-everything-s-coming-up-flyers


[#] Thu Nov 03 2016 06:38:22 EDT from Kelly Hinkle

Subject: Thursday Morning Fly By: Jakub COT DANG Voracek!

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*Boy oh boy this team loves to dig out of a hole eh? A win's a win though and the Red Wings losing streak in Philly continues thanks to Jake Voracek's greasy OT game winner. RECAP!

*And the insanity continues with ANOTHER back-to-back game, this time with the Flyers heading up to Brooklyn to take on the Islanders at 7. Go team, specifically the Flyers.

*Last night's game was Hockey Fights Cancer night at The Farg, and like most of us, Sean Couturier has been personally affected by the disease, which gave him something extra to play for. [Courier-Post]

*Let's take a look at how the start of this season compares to the start of last season. [BSH]

*There's a lot wrong with the goaltending right now, so how's about a deep dive into what might be going wrong with Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth. [Pattison Ave]

*So are the Flyers good or are the Flyers bad? Turns out they might be both, depending on how you look at it. [BSH]

*The Penguins made a minor trade yesterday. [Pensburgh]

*The Hockey Hall of Fame is haunted?? I NEVER SAW ANYTHING COOL, MAN! [Greatest Hockey Legends]

*And finally, Claude Giroux is awesome and turns out people agree with that assessment. [Sons of Penn]



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/11/3/13500966/thursday-morning-fly-by


[#] Thu Nov 03 2016 09:41:23 EDT from Charlie O'Connor

Subject: Flyers 4, Red Wings 3: 10 things we learned from a comeback completed in overtime

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So far this season, the Flyers simply can’t get a win to come easy. They chased this game all night, but still found a way to earn two points in overtime.

Morning Observations is a feature where we break down the previous night's game with an analytical eye.

#1: Flyers flipped their shot volume/quality script

Yesterday, I wrote an article breaking down the Flyers’ tendency so far this season to win the shot volume battle at 5v5 but lose in overall shot quality. Their score-adjusted Corsi For percentage ranked in the league’s top 10, while their Expected Goals percentage was closer to the league’s basement. Of course, in their first game after the article’s publication, Philadelphia went out and lost the shot attempts battle while holding the edge in xG.

The Flyers had their moments from a volume standpoint, specifically in the second period when they doubled up the Red Wings in shot attempts in a furious attempt to erase a two-goal deficit. But after adjusting for score effects, Detroit got the better of play at 5v5 on the whole last night, holding the Flyers to a 48.51% score-adjusted Corsi. However, the Flyers had a solid edge when adjusting those shots for quality, winning the 5v5 xG battle 2.1 - 1.5, or a 58.33% SA-xG percentage. So what changed last night? Primarily, they avoided the scrambling defensive zone shifts that had become common occurrences in the early season. Sure, there were a few rough moments (such as Matt Read’s early breakout pass back into the low slot), but this was a more defensively-sound team than we’ve seen in over a week, at least.

#2: Only drove play while behind, though

If there was one concerning aspect of this win, it was the fact that the Flyers only played their best when they were behind on the scoreboard. The first period was a sloppy affair, and Hakstol himself even noted that the team’s start was lacking. But once the second period started, the Flyers were playing their preferred style — disruptive in the neutral zone, winning puck battles in the offensive zone, and blasting away at the goaltender. That kept up until around the four minute mark of the third period, coincidentally right after Roman Lyubimov tied the game. With the score now 2-2, Detroit almost immediately retook control of the pace of the game, racking up 10 shot attempts in less than three minutes and capping it off with a Zetterberg goal.

That’s the main reason why Philadelphia fell short in the score-adjusted shot attempt metrics — they only dominated during situations when they would be expected to dominate (while trailing). On equal footing, the Red Wings looked the better team. I do believe that the Flyers are more talented than Detroit at this point (even with Del Zotto and Raffl out of the lineup), so it’s a bit frustrating that they needed the extra pick-me-up of a deficit to bring that out of them last night.

NHL.com Report & Highlights | Corsica.Hockey Game Recap Page | HockeyStats.ca Recap | NaturalStatTrick Recap | HockeyViz.com | BSH Recap | Meltzer’s Musings

#3: First period a classic example of the 2016-17 Flyers

The Flyers may not have gotten out to a great start in this one, but it wasn’t like the Red Wings were leaving them in the dust. Philadelphia’s execution (specifically in the middle of ice) was in need of some improvement, but all in all, they were hanging tough with Detroit in all facets of the game. Then, as it has so often so far this season, bad luck struck. A harmless-looking shot from the point deflected off Jakub Voracek’s stick in the slot and redirected past Michal Neuvirth to give the Red Wings the early lead. It’s tough to blame Neuvirth on the play; it’s also tough to blame Voracek or the defense. It was just a bad luck bounce that put the Flyers in an early hole.

Just 16 seconds later, we got to see the other two elements that have characterized Philadelphia’s start to the season — breakdowns and poor goaltending. This particular breakdown came courtesy of Mark Streit, and actually occurred in the offensive zone, as he pinched halfway down the boards to try and keep a cycle going. The pinch itself wasn’t the problem — it’s a key aspect of the Flyers’ system — but the timing of the pinch. In a 2-1-2 forecheck, when the defenseman pinches down the boards, the high forward (the “1” in the 2-1-2) is expected to replace him up top. In this case, however, Travis Konecny was not high enough in the zone when Streit chose to pinch, increasing the risk of Streit’s maneuver. The veteran needed to be aware of the positioning of his teammates before he made his move.

That mistake led to an odd-man rush, which the Flyers defended about as well as possible, giving Neuvirth a clear look at Andreas Athanasiou and the ability to cut down his angle. Instead, Neuvirth let the Detroit winger beat him to the short side, another example of a Flyers mistake immediately ending up in the back of the net. Just like that, it was 2-0, without Philadelphia even playing that poorly on the whole.

#4: For the second straight game, Neuvirth was just good enough

The hard truth for a goalie is that when it comes to stats like save percentage, the difference between a great night and a bad night is often just one single mistake. Last night, Michal Neuvirth faced 25 shots and stopped 22 of them, for a poor 0.880 overall save percentage. Of course, one more save and he finishes at 92 percent, an above-average night for an NHL netminder. It’s especially perfect in this case for Neuvirth because two of the goals that he allowed were essentially unstoppable. The first came on the bizarre deflection from Voracek, and the second (or third of the night) was the result of a perfectly-executed Detroit two-on-one.

That, of course, leaves the second Red Wings goal as the one that turned Neuvirth’s night from “potentially-great” to “kind of poor.” And to be fair, it wasn’t an easy shot to stop, as Athanasiou comes in isolated on the rush since Ivan Provorov chose to cut off a possible pass. Still, with Neuvirth being able to square up the shooter and cut down on the angle, you do hope to see your goalie make the big stop there. To Neuvirth’s credit, that was the only “bad” goal he gave up last night, and he did come away with his second straight victory. That may even be enough to earn him the start tonight versus the Islanders. But his numbers still look ugly (0.865 save percentage on the season), and will probably continue to do so until Neuvirth (or Mason) can go a few games while avoiding any goals against that resemble Detroit’s second one last night.

#5: Line shuffling weakened top unit

Following a disastrous first period in terms of outcomes, Dave Hakstol chose to shuffle his lines to start the second stanza. The major shift came in the form of Brayden Schenn moving to the “fourth” line with Nick Cousins and Chris VandeVelde, while Dale Weise was elevated to replace Schenn on the top unit. For Schenn, the move actually worked out, as he ended up creating a rare VandeVelde tally with a beautiful pass across the offensive zone. Weise, on the other hand, was far less successful with Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds.

It’s not hard to see why Ron Hextall targeted Dale Weise in the offseason. He’s a big body who appears to be effective on the forecheck and in front of the net, who also bringing some speed and scoring touch. You can even envision him functioning as the “unsung hero” of a skill line, winning puck battles in all three zones and clearing space for his more talented linemates. But I’m not sure I understand the thought process behind moving him to a line that already contains Simmonds, who basically possesses a much more effective version of Weise’s skillset. The result was Giroux being forced to carry the play-driving load almost entirely on his own, making it no surprise that the “first” line just barely finished with its head above a 50% Corsi with Weise. Hopefully, this “Weise on the top line” move was just a case of Hakstol searching for a spark and not a sign of things to come.

#6: To my eyes, Provorov had a very effective game

Ivan Provorov was one of the few Flyers who really struggled in Sunday evening’s victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, as he played a role in two goals against. It wasn’t quite as noticeable as his struggles in Chicago earlier in the year, but Provorov looked tired and panicky in Carolina, a major shift from his usual calm and controlled on-ice demeanor. His performance last night was far more successful, as the rookie again showed the ability to bounce back from a tough game.

The numbers back up the claim that Provorov played well. He finished with a team-high 68% score-adjusted Corsi, and was on the ice for three Flyers high-danger chances at 5v5 and just one by the Red Wings. However, according to those watching the national broadcast of the game, former GM and current TV analyst Mike Milbury criticized Provorov for his handling of Athanasiou’s goal. In Milbury’s opinion, Provorov should have challenged Athanasiou rather than cut off the passing lane as he did. In my opinion, however, Provorov played the rush well, limiting the Detroit forward’s options and putting his goalie in a manageable situation. Just because Neuvirth flubbed the ensuing shot does not mean that Provorov’s decision was necessarily wrong.

Curious as to whether I was looking at the play incorrectly, I asked Hakstol after the game if Provorov had made the right move in his eyes. But the Flyers’ head coach simply referred to the play in team terms, stating, “We just got caught on a speed play, bottom line. We got spread out.” Whether that means that Hakstol would have preferred his rookie defenseman to challenge Athanasiou, or if he just wanted to avoid throwing anyone else (such as Streit or Neuvirth) under the bus is a matter of personal opinion.

#7: MacDonald legitimately had a good game

There’s no two ways around it — Andrew MacDonald’s play had turned into a full-blown disaster last week. After two straight poor defensive games against Buffalo and Arizona, the Flyers scratched MacDonald for Saturday’s battle with the Penguins, only to bring him back into the lineup a day later against the Hurricanes. However, in the two games since his return, the beleaguered defenseman has so far avoided the “big mistakes” that had fans vehemently calling for his ouster from the lineup.

His performance against Carolina was more “not awful” than “actually good!” but last night’s performance fell closer to the latter description. MacDonald made a number of solid plays in the defensive zone at 5v5, and was even active on the cycle. In fact, it was his smart delay at the point that opened up a shooting lane on Lyubimov’s game-tying goal, for which he justly received a primary assist. It wasn’t all good, of course — MacDonald remained passive in the neutral zone and his gap control was (as usual) the worst on the defense. He also was oddly used in the first shift of overtime yet again and didn’t look particularly impressive in the role. But if MacDonald can be decent in both the offensive and defensive zones at 5v5 like he was last night (his 54.29% Corsi For was perfectly average), he can get by as a #6 defenseman at the NHL level.

#8: Lyubimov scored his first NHL goal

Aside from Brandon Manning, one of the pleasant surprises of the Flyers’ early season has been the quick transition of Roman Lyubimov to the NHL level from the KHL. So far, he’s exhibited signs of being a real play-driver in North America at 5v5, and has quickly climbed the lineup to the point where he is now playing on the nominal third line with Bellemare and Read. Last night, he was rewarded with his first NHL goal, collecting an Andrew MacDonald rebound and depositing it past Petr Mrazek to tie the game in the third period.

Following the game, I asked Hakstol how Lyubimov has been able to transition to the NHL so efficiently this year. The Flyers’ coach specifically praised the Russian for “his absolute attention to detail and his tireless work ethic, those two things. [Lyubimov] does not miss a detail in terms of systems and his work ethic.” It’s interesting to compare Lyubimov to Evgeny Medvedev, another KHL transplant who failed to earn the trust of Hakstol last year and spent most of the final two months of the season in the press box. My guess is that the difference between the two is that Lyubimov is playing exactly the way Hakstol wants, according to his preferred system, while Medvedev often liked to freelance, frustrating coaches. Whatever the reason, the Flyers sure seem satisfied with their newest KHL import.

#9: Schenn hit on Smith more dumb than dirty

Late in the second period, Brayden Schenn collided with Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith high in the Red Wings’ offensive zone. At first glance, the hit looked terrible — Schenn left his feet and made contact with Smith’s head despite the defenseman not being in control of the puck. Considering the amount of boxes of illegality checked off and Schenn’s previous record with DoPS, it appeared that a long suspension might be in the cards.

But the more you looked at the hit, the stranger it seemed that Schenn would intentionally target Smith’s head on the play. Upon repeated viewings, it looked more that Schenn was trying to “jump-cut” around Smith and accidentally clipped him in the head in the process. After the game, Schenn clarified to the media that was the case, and that he had apologized to Smith early in the third period. Schenn also noted that he talked to two officials after that play, and each one viewed it as an unintentional hit. In addition, Smith himself apparently agreed with Schenn, as the Flyers forward relayed their third period conversation in which Smith said that after watching the replay at intermission, it looked like an accident to him as well. Even if you consider this a reckless play by Schenn, I doubt there is any supplementary discipline forthcoming here.

#10: Gudas - Manning pair finally struggled a bit

For the first time this season, a pairing with Radko Gudas actually struggled in terms of driving play. While the Provorov-Streit and MacDonald-Gostisbehere duos both finished above 50% on the Corsi charts, Gudas and Brandon Manning were pasted to the score-adjusted tune of 38.40% and 40.91%, respectively. The pairing had been successful due to especially strong neutral zone play, but last night their defensive zone passing proved to be a weakness, and their usual strengths weren’t at their best, either.

Zetterberg’s goal, in fact, came following a Gudas turnover in the middle of the ice. In Gudas’ defense, it looked like he was the victim of an uncalled obstruction by Detroit immediately prior to the turnover, but the scoreboard is unforgiving. It’s fair to grant the Gudas pair one poor game after four straight strong ones, but the hope is that this is just a slight blip and not a sign that opponents are starting to learn how to attack Gudas and his partner.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/11/3/13504646/flyers-4-red-wings-3-10-things-we-learned-from-a-comeback-completed-in-overtime


[#] Thu Nov 03 2016 11:58:38 EDT from Kyle Phillippi

Subject: Mark Streit admits he wasn’t right last season, feels ‘much more comfortable’ now

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The 38-year-old leads all Flyers blueliners in points and goals so far this season.

PHILADELPHIA – Mark Streit held his spot, slowly glided in, held again, then began his final glide to the crease. That’s where two of his teammates, all five Detroit skaters and one goaltender corralled in search for the puck.

Despite that commotion, Streit never was noticed, never was touched, so of course, the puck squirted through the crowd and onto his stick and into the net.

That game-tying goal in an eventual 4-3 overtime win on Thursday was Streit’s third goal of the season and his eighth point in 11 games. He’s already halfway to the six goals he had a year ago.

What’s the difference?

He doesn’t have any lingering side affects from groin surgery.

“Physically I feel better than last year,” Streit said. “I thought that lower body injury, those strains after, I felt it from the beginning. It influenced my skating.”

About a month into the 2015-16 season, Streit underwent surgery for a pubic plate detachement – the reason that Shayne Gostisbehere received his call-up. He returned about a month and a half later and would go on to play 50 games, including the postseason.

Before surgery, Streit had nine points (3 G, 6 A) for a 0.56 points per game mark. After surgery, that number dropped to 0.30 per game.

Streit says he just could never get comfortable out on the ice, saying it was too little, too late when he finally felt closer to himself during the postseason.

“I could tell there was something wrong,” Streit said. “I got the surgery, I was out for two months, then I felt OK. Now I just feel I have better legs. Everything is great … it’s still that you’re missing two months and it’s tough to make up for that.”

This turnaround for the 38-year-old is a pleasant surprise at the start of the season. Streit is leading all Flyers defenseman in points and goals. He did credit his participation in the World Cup as aiding in his recovery and helping him return to form.

Not having his legs at 100 percent last season really hindered his performance. After all, much of a hockey player’s game revolves around his lower body, and in particular, Streit’s style really only works if he can get his legs moving and create plays.

“I think my game is about skating so if you can’t skate well, you’re going to have a hard time, especially in this league these days,” Streit said.

Through 11 games, the Swiss defenseman has looked as good as he has had in recent years, albeit with a few more defensive miscues than he would like (though, the entire six-man group has had more of those than desired).

A healthy, and more importantly, a confident Mark Streit really bodes well for this team moving forward, even giving general manager Ron Hextall a potential trade chip as the deadline gets closer.

“I feel more comfortable and [I’m] playing with a lot of confidence,” Streit said.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/11/3/13508526/philadelphia-flyers-mark-streit-nhl-injury-comeback-game-tying-goal


[#] Thu Nov 03 2016 12:13:53 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Scott Laughton loaned to Phantoms for conditioning

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He can stay there up to two weeks.

The Flyers have assigned Scott Laughton to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on a conditioning loan, meaning he’s at most two weeks from returning to the NHL lineup.

Laughton has been skating since October 23 in his recovery from a lower-body injury suffered in early October. He was originally scheduled to be out for 3-4 weeks.

The Phantoms have upcoming games on Friday in Providence and on Saturday at home against Springfield.

Here are the rules on conditioning loans, via the NHL CBA:

Unless a Player consents, he shall not be Loaned on a Conditioning Loan to a minor league club. Such Conditioning Loan shall not extend for more than fourteen (14) consecutive days. The Commissioner may take whatever steps he deems necessary to investigate the circumstances under which a Player is Loaned on a Conditioning Loan. If the Commissioner has reason to believe or determines that the Club has used the Conditioning Loan to evade Waivers, or otherwise Circumvent any provision of this Agreement, he may take such disciplinary action against the Club, as he deems appropriate. The Player shall continue, during the period of such Conditioning Loan, to receive the same Paragraph 1 NHL Salary, and be entitled to the same benefits, that he would have received had he continued to play with the Club.

Laughton is exempt from waivers, so it’s possible that he winds up back with Lehigh Valley anyway. He could be an odd-man out here in Philadelphia given the rest of the bottom-six and the impending return of Michael Raffl to the lineup. We’ll see.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/phantoms/2016/11/3/13509396/scott-laughton-loaned-to-phantoms-for-conditioning


[#] Thu Nov 03 2016 16:17:52 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Flyers vs. Islanders: Preview, lineups, how to watch and discussion thread

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The Flyers are playing yet another back-to-back, this time on the stupid, tiny, terrible ice surface in Brooklyn.

Tonight’s game is on CSN Philly and 97.5 The Fanatic locally. In the New York market, you can catch the game on MSG Plus. NHL.tv and NHL Center Ice are your options for watching elsewhere.

For the New York perspective, check out Lighthouse Hockey.

Philadelphia lineup (subject to change)

Forwards

  1. Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds
  2. Travis Konecny - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek
  3. Meat Read - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Roman Lyubimov
  4. Chris VandeVelde - Nick Cousins - Dale Weise

Defense

  1. Andrew MacDonald - Shayne Gostisbehere
  2. Ivan Provorov - Mark Streit
  3. Radko Gudas - Brandon Manning

Goalies

  1. Michal Neuvirth
  2. Steve Mason

Scratches: Nick Schultz

Injured: Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton (conditioning in AHL), Michael Raffl, Boyd Gordon

New York lineup

Forwards

  1. Shane Prince - John Tavares - Josh Bailey
  2. Anders Lee - Brock Nelson - Ryan Strome
  3. Andrew Ladd - Alan Quine - Jason Chimera
  4. Nikolai Kulemin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Defense

  1. Nick Leddy - Travis Hamonic
  2. Thomas Hickey - Jonathan “Johnny” Boychuk
  3. Calvin de Haan - Dennis Seidenberg

Goalies

  1. Jaroslav Halak
  2. Thomas Greiss


http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/11/3/13511700/flyers-vs-islanders-preview-lineups-how-to-watch-and-discussion-thread


[#] Thu Nov 03 2016 17:49:23 EDT from Charlie O'Connor

Subject: Lineup changes abound for Thursday’s game against Islanders

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Michael Raffl is back! Andrew MacDonald is hurt! Dale Weise is benched! And more!

With multiple key players on the verge of returning from injury, it was obvious that the Philadelphia Flyers would be making adjustments to their regular lineup at some point this week. But the wholesale changes that the team announced just hours before tonight’s game against the New York Islanders still came as a shock due to the overwhelming amount.

The biggest news is the return of winger Michael Raffl from injured reserve. Raffl, who had missed eight straight games, will jump right into a first-line role alongside Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds. In order to create roster space, the Flyers placed Boyd Gordon on IR, who is expected to be out until next week anyway with an upper-body injury.

In other injury news, Andrew MacDonald apparently suffered one of his own during last night’s contest against the Detroit Red Wings. Per the assembled media in New York, he’ll miss about a week due to the lower-body issue. As a result, Nick Schultz jumps back into the lineup to replace him after sitting for two straight games.

The return of Raffl also necessitated a forward come out of the lineup, and head coach Dave Hakstol appears to have chosen Dale Weise as that option. It’s a surprising decision, considering the four-year commitment that the Flyers made to Weise just months ago, and the fact that Weise spent a good portion of the second half of last night’s game on the top line with Giroux and Simmonds.

In addition, Brayden Schenn was dropped from his usual spot as top line wing into a center role in the bottom-six, in between Chris VandeVelde and Nick Cousins. It’s nominally the “fourth line center” role, but Hakstol distributed the minutes among the bottom-six forwards pretty evenly last night, so it’s fair to expect similar usage tonight. Still, it’s a clear demotion for Schenn, and a continuation of last night when he was dropped off the top line for Weise.

Finally, Michal Neuvirth will make his third straight start, despite tonight’s matchup with the Islanders being the second game of a home/road back-to-back. Neuvirth’s play this week has been inconsistent, but he does have two straight victories, and this could be a case of Hakstol looking to get one of his two netminders into a rhythm in an attempt to escape the poor goal prevention results that the team has posted thus far this year.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/11/3/13513786/lineup-changes-abound-for-thursday-s-game-against-islanders


[#] Thu Nov 03 2016 22:54:22 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Flyers vs. Islanders recap: The dumbest, most fun team in hockey squeaks out another one

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Seriously, I hate them

I think I hate this team, you guys. I love them so much, but I really do think I hate them.

We can write the script at this point: typically it’s been a terrible first period and some sort of miraculous, bullshit comeback that they don’t deserve in the waning minutes of the contest. They usually force overtime and get a point, or maybe they even win the game.

Tonight wasn’t quite that. Well, the win part was. They pulled this thing out in the final minutes of the third period, and then were able to win it in the shootout by a score of 3-2. (YES, THE FLYERS ARE 2-0 IN SHOOTOUTS THIS SEASON.) Goals were scored by Travis Konecny and Meat Read, and by two Islanders players who I don’t care about.

But this game as whole was a little off the usual script. The Flyers were the better team for much of the hockey game. They were running circles around the Islanders for much of it, to be honest.

I’ll be honest: I was at the bar for a bit, and then my Internet was down, so I was kind of in and out watching the first 30-ish minutes of this one.

But I know two things in this life: a) in exchange for four packs of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups each week, Charlie writes observations that are smarter than anything I could ever write about these games, which you’ll see in the morning. And, b) even with some beers and the game stream on a tiny pocket screen eating up all of my sweet, precious my 4G LTE data for the month, I could tell this was a game that the Flyers should have been running all over the Islanders. They were easily the superior team, as shown by the 42-27 shot differential and the 79-43 shot attempt differential. It’s the fourth time in the last six games that the Flyers have had more than 70 shot attempts, and that’s pretty damn fantastic.

Been a weird 12 games so far overall, though. The goaltending has been bad. Michal Neuvirth had another pretty mediocre-at-best night tonight, and that’s a real issue. But the team in front of the crease — all it’s Fully Grown Adult Warts Masquerading As Humans and everything -- has been largely pretty solid. And they aren’t even at full strength health-wise. There’s a lot to be excited about.

This team has been frustrating and stressful and there are plenty of problems to sort out, but they are 6-5-1 now -- a winning record! — and they have been able to squeak out games like this all year long. That bodes well. See, even when I hate this team, I love them.

Here are some friggin’ highlights, OK?



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/11/3/13516180/flyers-vs-islanders-recap-score


[#] Fri Nov 04 2016 06:01:48 EDT from Kelly Hinkle

Subject: Friday Morning Fly By: Streaking into the weekend!

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*THREE GAMES IS A STREAK, BABY! How about that Claude Giroux shootout goal? Good lord. Another fun come-from-behind win: RECAP!

*The personnel shuffling has begun, with Scott Laughton being loaned to the Phantoms for a conditioning stint. [BSH]

*Brayden Schenn won't face any discipline for his hit Wednesday night. It clearly wasn't intentional, so this makes sense. [ProHockeyTalk]

*Speaking of, we've got Charlie's observations from that overtime win. [BSH]

*Roman Lyubimov has been all over the ice since cracking the lineup and his hard work finally paid off against the Wings. [Sons of Penn]

*Mark Streit didn't feel like himself last season and it showed on the ice. Wonder why that might have been... [BSH]

*SOMEHOW the Flyers didn't make this list of five NHL teams that are due for a Chicago Cubs-style championship lovefest. [Puck Daddy]

*Yo, the prospects! [Highland Park Hockey]

*Our old friend Carbomb was at game 7 of the World Series and it looked like a pretty good time. [Puck Daddy]

*And finally, if you're around tomorrow and want to have something resembling fun, join your BSH pals for a watch party during the Habs game! [BSH]



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/11/4/13511858/friday-morning-fly-by


[#] Fri Nov 04 2016 09:35:19 EDT from Charlie O'Connor

Subject: Flyers 3, Islanders 2: 10 things we learned from Philadelphia not being bad at shootouts anymore

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They dominated for 65 minutes, but it took a late third period game-tying goal and then a dirty Giroux shootout tally for the Flyers to leave New York with a victory.

Morning Observations is a feature where we break down the previous night's game with an analytical eye.

#1: This was a choppy, ugly game

From a Flyers’ perspective, it’s difficult to be too disappointed by the result of last night’s game against the New York Islanders. After all, they were closing out a back-to-back against a team that did not have a game on Wednesday, and still found a way to both outplay their opponent and exit with two points. But aesthetically, this was a tough contest to watch as it happened. Most of that can be blamed on the awful ice surface at the Barclays Center, which has rightfully received major criticism so far this season.

Even simple passes were made choppy by the ice, which had two effects. First, it was extremely difficult for either side to string together quick feeds in order to move in transition from one end of the ice to the other, slowing the pace of the game. Second, teams adjusted their strategies to account for the ice, eschewing high-skill plays in the offensive zone and attempts to move the puck into the slot in order to take more and more shots from the perimeter with traffic in front. The goal was clearly to score garbage tallies, which is understandable considering the circumstances. Still, it didn’t make for particularly entertaining hockey, and the NHL would do well to address this Barclays Center issue as soon as possible, IF possible. This was not a product that will sell to fans on the fence about the sport.

#2: Flyers were far and away the better team

Through the first few weeks of the season, it seemed like even when the Flyers “outplayed” their opponent, there existed legitimate qualifiers to that distinction. Maybe they didn’t look their best until the second period, or they carried the play on the whole but gave up too many high-danger chances. There were always aspects of the team’s performance that were worthy of criticism, even if the overall process appeared sound. Last night, however, was the first game that saw Philadelphia simply dominate their opponent, with no real issues from the skaters to speak of.

They outshot the Islanders 42-27 in shots on goal, buried them in shot attempt volume with a 61.7% score-adjusted Corsi, and ran away with the Expected Goals battle at 5v5 by a margin of 1.5 - 0.9 (62.5%) and 3.11 to 1.89 overall. By the advanced metrics, this was a shellacking, and for once the Flyers didn’t waste a dominant performance due to mind-numbing breakdowns in the defensive zone. In fact, New York’s two goals came in situations where the defense was barely to blame — a five-on-three goal and an especially weak tally allowed by Neuvirth. This really was the team’s first lockdown “all-three-periods” game of the season, and it’s satisfying that they were rewarded with a victory.

NHL.com Report & Highlights | Corsica.Hockey Game Recap Page | HockeyStats.ca Recap | NaturalStatTrick Recap | HockeyViz.com | BSH Recap | Meltzer’s Musings

#3: Another mixed bag game for Neuvirth

In a mild surprise, Michal Neuvirth received the start in goal last night despite it being his second game in two nights. But Neuvirth had won two straight, and head coach Dave Hakstol seemed mighty frustrated with Steve Mason in the wake of last Saturday’s loss to the Penguins, so his decision to ride Neuvirth wasn’t a total shock. And for 52 minutes, it was looking like a great call - Neuvirth had given up only one goal, and it was on a 5v3 PP shot he had no chance of stopping. He had also made multiple tough saves throughout the night, especially late in the first period when the Islanders had a rare flurry.

But Neuvirth simply could not make it through the entire game without allowing one weak goal. This time, it was Dennis Seidenberg who beat him, sending a soft wrister on net that somehow slipped through the Czech goaltender’s five-hole. Suddenly, after dominating the entire contest, the Flyers found themselves in a 2-1 deficit, and the lion’s share of the blame for that could be placed at Neuvirth’s feet.

To his credit, however, Neuvirth shook off the mistake and later stopped all three Isles shooters in the shootout, including John Tavares who he stymied with an expert pokecheck. But without the offense’s late third-period heroics, Neuvirth never has the chance to redeem himself. It sure seems like Hakstol is giving last year’s backup every chance to take a strangehold of the starter’s role, but so long as Neuvirth remains prone to ugly goals, Steve Mason won’t be far behind him on the depth chart.

#4: Heavy dose of low-to-high offense

Part of this was almost certainly due to the choppy ice surface at the Barclays Center, but the Flyers heavily relied upon low-to-high passes in the offensive zone to create their shot attempts. Rather than attempt to penetrate the slot or pass from behind the net while on the cycle, Philadelphia gave the Islanders a heavy dose of point shots. All of the Flyers’ defensemen got in on the act — they combined for 18 shots on goal, just under half of the team’s 42 total. Here’s a map from HockeyStats.ca to showcase the heavy emphasis upon blasts from the point.

It’s obvious that the Flyers’ side is peppered with dots near the blue line, while the Islanders’ attempts were far more concentrated below the faceoff circles. Now, Philadelphia still won the scoring chance and xG battles last night, so it’s not as if they weren’t generating chances. It’s just that many of their offensive zone entries ended in low percentage blasts from the point rather than more creative attempts to get their stars in high-danger areas. For one night, this strategy worked. But against an opponent who can keep the overall shot disparity between the two clubs closer, a low-to-high offensive zone focus probably won’t be the best move.

#5: Radko Gudas continues to amaze

Last season, the emergence of Radko Gudas as a stellar fancy stat defenseman was one of the more difficult Flyers-related phenomena to explain. In terms of microstats, he wasn’t particularly adept at defensive zone exits, and while his zone entry defense metrics were fine, they paled in comparison to those of teammates Shayne Gostisbehere and even Brandon Manning. We were left with a defenseman solid in getting the puck moving in the right direction in the middle of the ice, and willing to blast away shots in the offensive zone. Somehow, that combination allowed him to drive play at the highest level on Philadelphia’s blueline in 2015-16.

This year, however, the reasons for Gudas’ strong performance by advanced metrics have been easily visible. His passing accuracy is far more consistent than it was last season, and his entry defense has jumped from adequate to downright excellent. Both traits were showcased beautifully last night in the seconds leading up to Travis Konecny’s tally. First, Gudas disrupted two potential zone entries from Tavares. Then, after Tavares wiped out, Gudas collected the loose puck and hit Konecny with a perfect stretch pass to set up a breakaway. It takes a complete skillset to pull off a sequence of events like that, and so far this year, Gudas is showcasing all of the natural tools of a high-end NHL defenseman.

#6: Flyers played well, but the Islanders look awful

Philadelphia won the Corsi battle in the first period 21-11, but rarely did you get the impression that the Flyers were executing especially well, as they’ve done in other statistically-dominant stanzas this season. Instead, last night’s first period was more a case of Philadelphia playing adequate hockey and the New York Islanders being totally ineffective in all facets of the game.

Right now, the Isles look like a team with no identity. They don’t forecheck aggressively in the offensive zone, and while they seem to depend upon tight gaps in the neutral zone to regain possession, they rarely move back up ice with speed, so you can’t accurately dub them a “counterattacking” squad. They’re also not especially creative while on the attack or on the rush. What you’re left with is a passive squad that rarely dictates the tempo of the contest. Watching them last night, it’s no surprise that they rank among the league’s worst squads in terms of 5v5 play-driving (dead-last in score-adjusted Corsi). Their roster isn’t that of a Cup contender, but they have far too much talent (Tavares, Leddy, Ladd, Hamonic, Lee, de Haan) to be playing this poorly. I wonder if a coaching change might be forthcoming.

#7: Couturier with a rare poor game

Even if Sean Couturier is in something of a scoring slump right now, he’s remained one of the Flyers’ best play-drivers at even strength, leading all forwards on the team with a fantastic 55.16% score-adjusted Corsi (per Corsica). But last night was not one of his better games. Not only did Couturier fail to drive play relative to his teammates (-14.05% Corsi Rel), he took two penalties and should have been called for a double-minor in the first period as well after getting away with a high-stick to Cal Clutterbuck’s face. There’s no reason to expect Couturier will repeat this underwhelming performance on Saturday, but it’s still important to note when good players have bad games, just to ensure they’re not getting a pass.

Couturier also was not particularly threatening on PP2 as the forward on the left half boards, moving the puck around the horn well but not really helping to facilitate any high-quality chances. In fact, it’s a bit confusing that Couturier is playing in that spot while Travis Konecny is currently stationed around the net. Konecny looked great in the Giroux PP role in preseason, while Couturier’s bigger body seems to make him a better fit for netfront duties. Maybe a swap of roles on PP2 could serve to help Couturier break his offensive slump.

#8: Gostisbehere thrived and better days are ahead

It’s fair to be a bit underwhelmed by the play of Shayne Gostisbehere thus far in 2016-17. After all, he has been a regular participant in the many defensive breakdowns that have cast a shadow over the team’s early season performance, and he’s only shown flashes of his electric skillset at 5v5. But without absolving Ghost entirely, it’s fair to note that he has not been dealing with ideal circumstances thus far.

Out of his 187:16 minutes at 5-on-5 this year, 157:17 have been spent partnered with either Andrew MacDonald or Nick Schultz. From a play-driving standpoint, these are not just below-average defensemen — they are among the worst to play in the NHL over the past four years. In fact, it’s actually a minor miracle that Gostisbehere has a passable score-adjusted Corsi For percentage of 50.82% despite his usual partners. Out of the Flyers’ other defensemen, I believe only Radko Gudas would have even a remote chance of posting a better Corsi than what Gostisbehere generated in these first 12 games. considering his situation.

With only one more game until the expected return of Michael Del Zotto and the reunion of that pairing, Gostisbehere delivered one of his more impactful games of the season. Despite playing alongside Schultz, Ghost finished with a positive Corsi relative to his teammates (+4.29%) and blasted a whopping 15 shot attempts at Jaroslav Halak, including five at 5-on-5. He may not have tallied a point, but Gostisbehere finished with a team-high 0.54 individual Expected Goals on the night, which illuminates his impact. It’s the perfect lead-in to the Ghost Bear finally getting regular minutes with a partner without an established track record of being an awful play-driver.

#9: Flyers finally played a good game while tied

One of the under-the-radar bizarre aspects of Philadelphia’s season prior to last night’s game was the team’s god-awful performance with the score tied at 5v5. Once upon a time, score-tied Corsi was actually viewed as an important metric to judge teams, and if that was still the case today, Flyers fans would have likely been very pessimistic about their team’s season. In 228.62 minutes with the score tied, Philadelphia had posted a 46.91% Corsi For, good for 25th in the NHL. That was a far cry from their solid 50.93% score-adjusted Corsi, which luckily has replaced metrics like Corsi Tied and Corsi Close in the analytics community since it uses all situations to judge the quality of a team rather than unnecessarily cutting down on the overall sample size.

Still, it was strange to see such a disparity between the Flyers’ play while trailing and their performance with the score knotted up. That’s why it was reassuring to watch them carry the play through this game, despite large portions of the contest spent with no team having a score advantage. Multiple players noted after Wednesday’s win that they have to stop waiting until after they fall behind before playing at their highest level, and last night they took the first real step towards fixing that issue.

#10: New look bottom-six drove play

With Michael Raffl returning to the lineup, Hakstol chose to send Dale Weise to the press box and Brayden Schenn to the bottom-six in order to accommodate his returning forward. Both moves were a bit surprising, since Weise was signed just months ago to a four-year contract by GM Ron Hextall, and Schenn just seemed to be finding his footing on the top line at even strength after a slow start following an early-season suspension. The new line combinations saw Schenn centering Chris VandeVelde and Nick Cousins, while Pierre-Edouard Bellemare worked alongside Matt Read and Roman Lyubimov.

There are legitimate gripes that one can have with this setup — VandeVelde still in the lineup, Bellemare at 3C, Cousins playing the wing — but it’s only fair to note that last night, the bottom-six was perfectly effective. All of the forwards finished with score-adjusted Corsis of over 62 percent, and VandeVelde actually led the way with a stellar 69.79% rate. I remain of the belief that Weise is more useful than at least a couple players in the bottom-six right now, even accounting for his quiet start to the year. But for at least one night, Hakstol’s newest experiment worked like a charm.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/11/4/13515190/flyers-3-islanders-2-10-things-we-learned-from-philadelphia-not-being-bad-at-shootouts-anymore


[#] Sat Nov 05 2016 12:40:37 EDT from Charlie O'Connor

Subject: Michael Del Zotto returns to Flyers’ lineup, Boyd Gordon placed on LTIR

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Del Zotto’s back, Gordon’s out for a while, Gostisbehere’s happy.

The Flyers temporarily lost their presumptive #1 defenseman for the 2016-17 season at the end of training camp, when Michael Del Zotto suffered a left knee injury, putting him on the shelf for the first month of the season.

After 12 missed games, he is finally ready to go.

Per the beats at the morning skate in Montreal, Del Zotto skated with Shayne Gostisbehere and is expected to play tonight against the Canadiens. In order to make room for Del Zotto’s return, the Flyers moved Boyd Gordon from normal IR to long-term injured reserve.

The big news here is obviously the return of Del Zotto to the lineup. In his absence, Gostisbehere has been forced to play alongside Andrew MacDonald and Nick Schultz for the majority of the season, both of whom will almost certainly be out of the lineup tonight. Finally, Philadelphia will be able to roll an optimized defense, with Radko Gudas, Ivan Provorov, Mark Streit and Brandon Manning filling out the rest of the ranks.

By placing Boyd Gordon on LTIR to accommodate Del Zotto, the checking center will now be forced to sit out at least seven more games (assuming his LTIR is backdated), due to CBA rules. It was initially believed that Gordon might only miss a week when he originally suffered the injury, so this could either be a case of his ailment proving more serious than previously thought, or Ron Hextall deciding that his best cap move was to essentially “park” Gordon on LTIR even if he returns to full health sooner than he is eligible to play.

Del Zotto led the Flyers’ defense in 2015-16 in time on ice per game, averaging over 23 minutes per contest. He might be eased into the lineup a bit, but expect him to immediately jump into a top-four role at even strength and receive significant penalty killing minutes. It will be interesting to see if Del Zotto moves back into his past position on the second power play unit, however, or if Ivan Provorov retains his spot there.

Regardless, this is a huge boost to the Flyers’ backend. Del Zotto posted a strong +4.76% score-adjusted Corsi relative to his teammates last season (per naturalstattrick.com), despite playing in a true top-pairing role for the first time in his career. Considering the fact that he is in the final year of his contract with the Flyers, this is a massive season for the 26-year old, and he’s likely raring to go.



http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2016/11/5/13534260/michael-del-zotto-returns-to-flyers-lineup-boyd-gordon-placed-on-ltir


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