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[#] Sun Nov 13 2016 12:04:32 EST from Charlie O'Connor

Subject: Flyers 3, Wild 2: 10 things we learned from a return to the win column

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On the heels of a third period collapse in Toronto, the Flyers finally received solid goaltending and closed out strong, taking down the Wild 3-2.

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

#1: A “Flyers special” and the formula worked

So far this year, the Flyers have delivered extreme statistical performances when looking at key metrics. They haven’t just driven play at 5v5 — they’ve been up there with elite squads like the Kings and Sharks. But by the same token, they haven’t merely struggled to prevent high-quality scoring chance or received just run-of-the-mill poor goaltending — instead, they’ve bled chances against and also watched their goalies perform at historically poor levels.

Eventually, the craziness should regress back to normal levels. At the same time, we can learn something about this particular Flyers team and its general “road map” to victory by looking at them so far. Considering the solid systems of Dave Hakstol (particularly in the neutral zone), they’ll probably win the raw shot attempts battle on most nights. In addition, their power play will usually be lethal so long as it’s given sufficient opportunities. However, with a defense full of young pieces (Gostisbehere, Provorov) and veterans never known for defensive prowess (Streit, Del Zotto), it’s also fair to expect that they’ll probably give back some of their strong Corsi due to regularly allowing more high-quality chances than can be expected. As a result, it will be up to the team’s goalies to nullify that weakness more often than not.

So far this year, the defense has been bad and the goalies have been worse, so their formula hasn’t quite worked out despite 5v5 play-driving dominance and a stellar power play. But against the Wild, we saw it play out to perfection. Aside from a late kick by Minnesota, the Flyers generally had the better of the Corsi battle in this one, and even finished slightly ahead (48-47) prior to score adjustment. But yet again, they came out behind in terms of 5v5 xG, 1.94-0.85.

So how did they make up the difference? Well, in all-situations xG, it was essentially an even game (2.32-2.30 Wild), a testament to the strength of Philadelphia’s power play. And then the combination of Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth did the rest. Surely, the Flyers would prefer to outright dominate a game. But this formula feels in keeping with the strengths and weaknesses of this roster moving forward, assuming the goaltending plays more like they did last night over the rest of the season, rather than how they played in the 15 games preceding it.

#2: Still, it never felt the Flyers were getting outplayed

As hinted, Philadelphia actually didn’t come out all that well in the advanced metrics in this game. They lost in score-adjusted Corsi at 5v5 (48.46%), just barely had the edge in Fenwick (50.25%), and got blasted in scoring chances, both regular (31.82%) and high-danger (25%). But watching the game, it never really felt like the Flyers lost control of the pace of the contest, except maybe in the final few minutes when Minnesota ramped up the pressure in an attempt to send it to overtime. As Hakstol put it in his post-game press conference, “Mentally we played a pretty clean game tonight.”

So why the discrepancy? For starters, the sheer dominance of the Flyers’ power play helped to give them a substantial edge in shots on goal (36-27). But just as important, Philadelphia owned the neutral zone last night. Per Corey Sznajder’s manually-tracked data, the Flyers posted a 56.4% controlled entry percentage while holding the Wild to just 43.1%. Even in losing the overall entries battle 58-55, the Flyers finished ahead in Neutral Zone Score 50.91%, and that’s despite the big Minnesota push late. There were a number of Philadelphia offensive zone entries that saw the team spend extended time in the Wild end but just didn’t result in many shots or chances, and my suspicion is that’s why the raw metrics looked fairly close. But the process was sound in this one, especially in the middle of the ice. Report & Highlights | Corsica.Hockey Game Recap Page | Recap | NaturalStatTrick Recap | | BSH Recap | Meltzer’s Musings

#3: Mason rebounds from poor Friday game in relief

After a strong performance on Tuesday night against the Detroit Red Wings, hopes were high that Steve Mason had finally righted the ship. A disastrous night in Toronto that saw him allow six goals (including four the third period) quickly quelled that talk, and sent the Flyers’ fanbase back into panic mode regarding their goaltending. Understandably, Hakstol went back to Michal Neuvirth in the second game of a road/home back-to-back, but after a late-first period knee injury, he was forced to send Mason in for the final forty minutes.

Mason was up to the task. To the Flyers’ credit, the made life easy for him in the second period as Mason was coming in cold, allowing just one high-danger chance (which in true Flyers fashion, ended up in the back of the net). But it was the third period when Mason really stepped up. Minnesota blasted 13 shots at the Flyers’ netminder, and quite a few of them were not only quality, but potentially back-breaking in timing. Less than 20 seconds after Philadelphia took the lead, Mason robbed Chris Stewart in front, preventing a soul-deflating tally just after the Flyers had worked so hard to gain the edge on the scoreboard. Then, with just seconds left in the game, Eric Staal took a perfect pass from Charlie Coyle and seemed to be staring a wide open net, only to watch Mason somehow get across and prevent the tying goal. These were the types of saves — both difficult and timely — that Philadelphia has been missing all year from their goaltenders.

#4: First period was where Minnesota’s shot quality edge originated

Over the first few weeks of the season, one of the primary narratives (aside from the poor goaltending) was the team’s underwhelming results in the first periods of games. It’s a storyline that has been pushed to the backburner recently, but last night some of the old issues arose for Philadelphia. That’s not to say that the Flyers didn’t do a number of things right — they outshot Minnesota 17-7, and won the score-adjusted Corsi battle with a 52.97% rate. However, when the Flyers gave up shots, they were almost always of high quality.

The Wild generated just 10 unblocked attempts at 5v5 in the period, but nine of them were scoring chances and six were of the high-danger variety. That’s hinting at especially poor defensive zone coverage and play with the puck, an issue that’s obviously plagued this team all year long. While Michal Neuvirth certainly should have stopped the first goal, he deserves credit for holding Minnesota off the board over the remainder of the period, because almost every shot he faced came with a high degree of difficulty. The Flyers tightened things up from a chance perspective the rest of the way, allowing just six more scoring chances (three high-danger) over the final 40 minutes, but the first period was definitely sloppy.

#5: Neuvirth hurt — now what?

After Michal Neuvirth allowed a short-side goal to Nino Niederreiter just 21 seconds into the game, it felt like it was going to be yet another example of a terrible Philadelphia netminding performance. But Neuvirth quickly cleaned up his play, and as the first period was coming to a close, it appeared that this game would follow the formula of his generally successful performances last week — one weak goal the only blemish on solid play overall.

But with about five minutes remaining in the period, Neuvirth attempted to make a sprawling save on a Mikael Granlund opportunity, and appeared to get his leg caught under him. Neuvirth did not return for the second period, and the team later announced that he has suffered a knee sprain and would be re-evaluated today.

Knee sprains generally aren’t “day-to-day” injuries, so the reasonable expectation is that Neuvirth will miss some time. The logical choice for a call-up is Anthony Stolarz, who has posted a 0.927 save percentage in eight games with the Phantoms this year, and finished with a solid 0.916 rate last season. Stolarz did spend some time with the club in 2015-16, but never got in a game as Hakstol preferred to ride his remaining starter rather than use the rookie. This is a different situation, however. Mason has not been very good this year (last night’s game aside), so riding him is probably not the best move unless his performance against the Wild is the start of something great. I would advocate for Stolarz to finally get a start if Neuvirth misses a few weeks, even if Mason continues to play well. It’s time the Flyers see what they have in the 22-year old Stolarz, especially since there’s a good chance he serves as NHL backup next year.

#6: Power play rightfully rewarded

Over the first two periods of last night’s game, the Flyers earned two power plays are scored on neither of them. But that’s about all they failed to do on those opportunities. Everything was clicking — entries, formation set-ups, shots, chances — but the PP simply could not break through. That’s why when Michael Raffl drew a third period penalty on Mikko Koivu, it seemed predestined that Philadelphia would score if they repeated their stellar process. It took just 12 seconds for Brayden Schenn to do just that, taking a beautiful behind-the-net feed from Wayne Simmonds and beating Dubnyk for the game-winning goal.

The power play’s shot generation metrics were off the charts last night. With Claude Giroux on the ice (he missed the team’s initial PP), Philadelphia averaged 202.25 shot attempts per 60 at 5v4, a ridiculous rate when the best teams over a full season end up at just over 100. Even more amazing, Giroux had an xG per 60 of 35.38, meaning that if the Flyers had spent 60 minutes on the power play with Giroux as quarterback, they would have been expected to score 35 goals based upon the number and quality of their shots. Minnesota simply could not hold up under the barrage.

#7: Bellemare line worked with two play-drivers

So far this season, Dave Hakstol has been insistent upon trying to use Pierre-Edouard Bellemare as the third line center. There were brief periods of respite — Nick Cousins has received a few games in the role, so has Brayden Schenn — but Hakstol always seems to go back to Bellemare. Whether this is more an example of a total lack of confidence in Cousins (his 3C during the playoff run last year) or a great deal of it in Bellemare, the results haven’t been especially impressive, as Bellemare is near the bottom of all the 5v5 play-driving charts.

Last night, Bellemare was at 3C, but this time was flanked by two high-end players by advanced stats — Matt Read and Michael Raffl. Neither are elite scorers, but Read is fantastic in the neutral zone and Raffl is both a willing forechecker and the team’s most defensively responsible winger. Intentional or not, this gave Bellemare as much play-driving support as he’s ever going to have, and the results were actually pretty impressive. The line led the Flyers by score-adjusted Corsi, with Read and Raffl finishing above 70 percent and Bellemare posting a solid 63.65% rate. Hakstol after the game specifically singled out Raffl and Read for praise (in addition to Dale Weise), and they deserved it — both did all the little things necessary to carry Bellemare to success. If Hakstol is dead set on using Bellemare as the 3C, this might be the only way it works long-term, even if the line seems to lack a real scoring threat.

#8: Gostisbehere and Del Zotto uncharacteristically loose in neutral zone coverage

Both Shayne Gostisbehere and Michael Del Zotto are plus skaters and tend to use that attribute to play aggressive defense in all three zones. They know they’ll never be elite in terms of winning puck battles, so their general method of overcoming that weakness is to take away the time of space of opposing skaters as they move up the ice. However, last night the pairing’s gap control wasn’t at its best. According to Corey’s data, the pair faced 16 rushes in the neutral zone last night and allowed controlled entries on 11 of them, for a Andrew MacDonald-esque 68.75% allowance rate.

It was notable because it was so unexpected, and actually burned the Flyers on Minnesota’s second goal, as Del Zotto gave Mikko Koivu all the space in the world to move in on Mason rather than playing his usual aggressive game. Interestingly enough, the pair still came out ahead in terms of Corsi, as Gostisbehere led all Philadelphia defensemen at 60.42% and Del Zotto was right behind at 56.50%. But in talking with Del Zotto after the game, it was clear he wasn’t satisfied with his defensive performance, so I’d expect this get addressed over the next few days in the tape room at practice.

#9: Raffl back in the lineup, assist, draws a penalty

I’ve mostly defended Dave Hakstol’s lineup decisions so far this season, even when I disagreed with them. For example, while placing Shayne Gostisbehere with Andrew MacDonald certainly wasn’t positive for the young defenseman’s on-ice play or his metrics, I’m not sure Hakstol had a better option than to hope that Ghost could drag MacDonald to respectability. Even the continued insistence upon keeping Chris VandeVelde in the lineup can be understood by Hakstol not wanting to shake up his penalty kill rotation as they adapt to wholesale systemic changes in the season’s early months. But the decision to sit Michael Raffl last night in Toronto was one step too far for me.

I understand that coaches have their finger on the pulse of their team, and that Raffl was not at his best against Detroit. But just like you don’t scratch Giroux or Voracek after a bad game, you certainly don’t remove your best defensive winger from the lineup when your team is struggling in terms of goal prevention. Likely helped by the fact that the Flyers lost against the Maple Leafs, Raffl checked back into the lineup last night and was one of the best players on the ice. He finished with a 75.39% score-adjusted Corsi, earned a primary assist on Del Zotto’s give-and-go goal, and even drew the penalty that resulted in the game-winner.

After the game, Raffl noted that the scratching hit him hard, which would lead some to believe that it worked as a motivational tactic, but I don’t buy that. Raffl’s whole game is based around hard work, and his 57.72% unadjusted Corsi at 5v5 this year (which leads all Flyers forwards) hints that he’s putting in all the necessary effort. Raffl should be on the “never-scratch” list moving forward — he’s just too valuable of a player.

#10: Provorov did all the little things right

When I went to look at the Corsi charts after the game, I was surprised to see Ivan Provorov’s name near the bottom of the list with a 41.26% score-adjusted Corsi. To my eyes, he was especially effective in this one, and therefore wasn’t shocked when his microstats hinted at a far better game. In the neutral zone, Provorov faced four rushes and allowed only two controlled entries for a solid 50% rate, while breaking up one rush entirely. It was the second best Controlled Entry allowed rate on the defense (behind Manning), and the highest Entry Denial rate.

Provorov graded out well by entries and exits, as well. On five touches, he generated three controlled exits and failed only once to successfully move the puck out of the zone. He also created two controlled entries on his own for a CE percentage of 100%. If anything, Provorov’s only issue last night was being partnered with Mark Streit, who allowed four controlled entries on four rushes. So far, Provorov’s microstat performance has been strong, and as a 19-year old he’s showing me no real issues in terms of overall process, which is key to his future development as a player.

[#] Sun Nov 13 2016 17:24:48 EST from Ari Yanover

Subject: Various Flyers do the Mannequin Challenge at Eagles tailgate

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Going viral while waiting for football? What’s not to love?

If you’re not familiar with the Mannequin Challenge, it’s basically this: a group of people stand stock still while someone with a camera runs around recording them. Basically, the goal is to hold a pose like a mannequin.

If you’re not familiar with the Philadelphia Eagles, I can’t really help you there.

The Philadelphia Flyers are familiar with the Eagles, though. So much so that a handful of them went to the game today - and before that, they went tailgating with a large group of people.

And while tailgating, they performed the Mannequin Challenge.

E a g l e s #mannequinchallenge #friends @philadelphiaflyers

A video posted by Ryanne Breton (@ryannehaileyb) on

Not everyone there is a Flyer - obviously - but a handful of them are, like Michael Raffl, Brayden Schenn, Roman Lyubimov, Travis Konecny, Brandon Manning, and, of course, Claude Giroux.

And while you can see some movement in the video, considering the size of their group? That’s a pretty good effort.

Top it all off with an Eagles win and it’s the perfect recipe for a great Sunday!

[#] Mon Nov 14 2016 06:07:42 EST from Kelly Hinkle

Subject: Monday Morning Fly By: Mase Daddy is back! (Oh god please be back)

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

*The Flyers played two games this weekend, and in the more recent one they got some great goaltending out of Steve Mason that allowed them to sneak out a win. Nice change, that. RECAP!

*Charlie's got ten things to take from the Flyers' return to winning. [BSH]

*Friday night's game against the Leafs was uh...not so good. RECAP!

*Ten things from that loss reveal a not-terrible effort undone by a really really bad third period. [BSH]

*In bad news news, it looks like Michal Neuvirth might be hurt. Upside? It might save Dave Hakstol from himself at least as far as goaltending is concerned. [ProHockeyTalk]

*Michael Raffl was benched Friday and came out swinging Saturday night in response. [Inquirer]

*In fact, he had himself a nice game. [Sons of Penn]

*Let's talk about some prospects! [Flyers]

*It was Eric Lindros weekend!! He's finally in the Hockey Hall of Fame where he belongs. []

*Have fun looking back at Big E's five most memorable moments. Man he was fun to watch. [The Score]

*One thing is certain, Lindros earned his place in hockey history. []

*Players and teammates used this weekend to remember Pat Quinn, who also took his place in the Hall. [Puck Daddy]

*And finally, in what might be the most Flyers story ever, Paul Holmgren tried to get Lindros to make a comeback. In 2012. Smdh. [TSN]

[#] Mon Nov 14 2016 12:28:58 EST from Jay Polinsky

Subject: Flyers prospect report: The Phantoms have won six straight games

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The Phantoms are on fire, and it looks like they'll continue their success behind Alex Lyon, who was phenomenal in Sunday's win against Hershey.

The Phantoms sweep the weekend, have a 6-game winning streak

Alex Lyon got his first professional win on Friday, stopping 26 of 27 shots. The Phantoms PK unit was perfect, going 5 for 5 in front of him and even adding a short-handed goal via Reese Wilcox (1). Corban Knight opened the scoring with his 3rd goal of the season. Colin McDonald added his 6th goal and Nicolas Aube-Kubel rounded out the scoring with a penalty shot in the 2nd period, his 3rd.

Anthony Stolarz was back in net for the Phantoms on Saturday, allowing 2 goals on 24 shots. The Phantoms PP went 2 for 5, getting goals from Greg Carey (7) and Jordan Weal (4). Taylor Leier scored two goals (2 & 3) and was setup via an excellent takeaway and pass from Scott Laughton. Cole Bardreau (2), Colin McDonald (7) and Radel Fazleev (1) rounded out the scoring. This should be Stolarz last game with the Phantoms for awhile with Michael Neuvirth out for the Flyers for the next 4-6 weeks, unless of course we sign Ray Emery or Michael Leighton for the 10th time.

As mentioned above, Alex Lyon will be getting a ... lion's share (I'm sorry) of the starts for the next few weeks. Though if its starts like the one on Sunday, we should take no issue with that. Lyon made 35 saves en route to his 2nd victory of the weekend. Chris Connor (3) and Reese Wilcox (2) with 2nd period goals that kicked off the goal-scoring. Will O'Neill (1) added a late PP goal in the 3rd with under a minute remaining.

Robert Hagg (D)

2013 2nd Round Pick, 41st overall

Hagg unfortunately took a puck to the visor/face last Saturday and remained out of the lineup this weekend. According to Head Coach Scott Gordon, he is getting better.

Travis Sanheim (D): 5 shots

2014 1st Round Pick, 17th overall

Another quiet weekend for Travis as he failed to get any points in the scoring frenzy. He remains at 6 points (all assists) in 12 games this season.

Radel Fazleev (C): 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 shots, 2 PIM

2014 6th Round Pick, 168th overall

A great weekend for Fazleev as he finally finds the back of the net for his first AHL goal. In 3 seasons for the Calgary Hitmen, he racked up 42 goals in 168 games. Fazleev has mostly been centering the 4th line to start the season.

Jordan Weal (C): 1 goal, 2 assists, 10 shots

acquired in 2015 trade for Vincent Lecavalier, Luke Schenn

#FreeWeal. The talented 24 year old has 15 points (4 goals, 11 assists) in 12 games this season. You have to hope that Weal is considered among the top potential call-ups when space opens in Philadelphia.

Taylor Leier (LW): 2 goals, 1 assist, 5 shots, 2 PIM

2012 4th Round Pick, 117 overal

Leier is definitely benefiting of the addition of Scott Laughton to the Phantoms lineup.The winger is up to 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) in 12 games.

Notable Canadian junior performers this week

Connor Bunnaman (C/LW), Kitchener Rangers (OHL)

2016 4th Round Pick, 109th overall

Bunnaman ends his goal-less drought, scoring his 8th of the season. It was his first goal since 10/21 against Hamilton. His 14 points are good for 4th best on the Rangers. Connor was playing on the 3rd line after spending most of the season in the top-6.

  • 11/11 - 1 goal, 2 shots, 2 for 6 FOW
Anthony Salinitri (C), Sarnia Sting (OHL)

2016 6th Round Pick, 172nd overall

Salinitri's goal on Friday was his 9th goal and his 3rd goal in his last 5 games. The 18 year old has 21 points (9 goals, 12 assists) in 18 games.

  • 11/11 - 1 goal, 1 assist, 5 shots, 5 for 12 FOW
  • 11/12 - 1 shot, 2 PIM, 9 for 18 FOW
Carter Hart (G), Everett Silvertips (WHL)

2016 2nd Round Pick, 48th overall

Hart split the weekend with a win and loss. The loss on Saturday came via OT, though the winning goal given up was on the PP. Hart's GAA (1.90) and SV% (.927) are good for 1st and 4th in the league, respectively.

  • 11/11 - 1 GA, 23 saves
  • 11/12 - 3 GA, 30 saves
Carson Twarynski (LW), Calgary Hitmen (WHL)

2016 3rd Round Pick, 82nd overall

Carson's two helpers on Friday were his first of the season. With his 6 goals, it gives him 8 points on the season. It's been a slow start for Twarynski, who had 20 goals in 67 games last season. It should be noted that the Hitmen have only scored 36 goals in 15 games this season.

  • 11/11 - 2 assists, 2 PIM
  • 11/12 - 2 PIM
Philippe Myers (D), Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)

Undrafted Free Agent

Myers goal on Friday was his 4th of the season. Here is a sexy GIF of Myers penetrating the zone through his effortless skating to create a scoring chance.

  • 11/9 - 2 PIM, 2 hits
  • 11/11 - 1 goal, 2 assists, 5 shots, 2 hits
  • 11/12 - 1 assist, 2 shots, 1 hit

Samuel Dove-McFalls (C), Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

2015 4th Round Pick, 98th overall

Dove-McFalls remains red hot, with points in 5 of his last 7 games. In that stretch he has 1 goal and 6 assists.

  • 11/11 - 1 assist, 2 shots, 2 PIM, 5 for 11 FOW
  • 11/12 - 1 assist, 6 shots, 3 for 7 FOW
CHL Notes: Pascal Laberge remains out of the Victoriaville lineup since October 15 because of a concussion.

Notable European performances this week

Felix Sandstrom (G), Brynas IF (SHL)

2015 3rd Round Pick, 70th overall

Sandstrom's first shutout of the season! It brought his save percentage just back up over .900 (.901 to be exact). Felix still has some things to improve on this season.

  • 11/10 - DNP
  • 11/12 - 0 GA, 25 saves

Oskar Lindblom (LW), Brynas IF (SHL)

2014 5th Round Pick, 138th overall

The Lindblom train continues to roll with another pair of points. He is tied for the team in scoring and is just 2 points off the league.

  • 11/10 - 1 assist
  • 11/12 - 1 goal, 2 shots

Linus Hogberg (D), Vaxjo Lakers HC (SHL)

2016 5th Round Pick, 139th overall

Hogberg returns from the U20 tournament to a dip in ice-time with Vaxjo. He was their 7th defenseman and didn't see a shift after the 2nd period on Saturday.

  • 11/11 - no shots, 8:34 TOI
  • 11/12 - no shots, 5:19 TOI

David Bernhardt (D), Djurgardens IF (SHL)

2016 7th Round Pick, 199th overall

Bernhardt is still seeing less ice time than his fellow Djurgardens defensemen. He remains at 3 points (1 goal, 2 assist) in 10 games this season.

  • 11/10 - 2 shots, 9:43 TOI
  • 11/12 - 2 shots, 12:22 TOI

German Rubtsov (LW/C), Russkie Vityazi Chekhov (MHL)

2016 1st Round Pick, 22nd overall

While Rubtsov participates in the CHL/Russian Series (and scored twice on Thursday), rumors swirl that he may not return to his Russian team following the tournament. If true, he would be joining the Chicoutimi Saguenéens out of the QMJHL. Cross your fingers folks.

Mikhail Vorobyov (C), Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)

2015 4th Round Pick, 104th overall

Vorobyov getting drowned among the sea of forwards that Salavat dresses each game. He wound up dressing for the 11/12 game, but didn't see a single shift on the ice.

  • 11/8 - 5 shifts, 4:28 TOI
  • 11/10 - 1 shot, 3 shits, 2:15 TOI
  • 11/12 - DNP
Euro Notes: Ivan Fedotov (G) has yet to see the ice as his VHL squad is packed to the brim with goalies. The 2015 7th Round Pick hasn't seen the ice since the 15-16 MHL playoffs last season.

Notable college performances of the week

Mark Friedman (D), Bowling Green State University

2014 3rd Round Pick, 86th overall

Friedman picked up his 4th goal and 3rd assist this weekend. He is 3rd among his team in scoring and tied with fellow defensemen Sean Walker and Alec Rauhauser.

  • 11/11 - 1 assist
  • 11/12 - 1 goal
Wade Allison (RW), Western Michigan University

2016 2nd Round Pick, 52nd overall

Allison's assist was his 3rd this season. His 4 goals are still good for 2nd on the team.

  • 11/11 - 1 assist, 2 shots
  • 11/12 - 2 shots
Merrick Madsen (G), Harvard University

2013 6th Round Pick, 162nd overall

Madsen got his fourth win on Friday and was saddled with his first loss on Saturday. He has a 1.82 GAA and .919 SV% in 6 games this season.

  • 11/11 - 2 GA, 27 saves
  • 11/12 - 3 GA, 17 saves
Tanner Laczynski (C) Ohio State University

2016 6th Round Pick, 169th overall

Lacyznski leads his squad in assists (11) and is just one off the team-lead in points (14).

  • 11/11 - 2 assists, 3 shots
  • 11/12 - 4 shots
Terrance Amorosa (D), Clarkson University

2013 5th Round Pick, 132nd overall

The 22 year old junior has come back from injury firing on all cylinders. His goal on Saturday was his first of the season and he now has 9 shots in his first 3 games.

  • 11/11 - 1 goal, 5 shots
  • 11/12 - 4 shots, 4 PIM
NCAA Notes: Matej Tomek (G) has yet to play a game this season for University of North Dakota and has sat for each game behind junior Cam Johnson. 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.

[#] Mon Nov 14 2016 13:45:15 EST from Kyle Phillippi

Subject: With Michal Neuvirth injured, this is Steve Mason’s net now

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The netminder is excited for the opportunity while Anthony Stolarz is eager to get his first start at some point

VOORHEES -- If Steve Mason wanted to walk into the Flyers locker room and recreate a scene from Captain Phillips by contorting his index and middle finger into a V-shape motioning from his eyes to his teammates and utter the words, “Look at me, I’m the captain now,” he rightfully could.

With Michal Neuvirth hitting the shelf for a minimum of four weeks, this is Mason’s ship now.

His general manager even says so.

“The way our schedule is laid out, if Mase plays the way he can play, there’s the option to run with him,” said Ron Hextall during Monday’s practice.

Hextall added that, “Mase was really good last game. Let’s see where this goes with Mase. Mase was a really good goalie for a long time. Neuvy has been a good goalie as well, but because they’re in a little bit of a funk and we’re in a little bit of funk, you don’t quit on them. You don’t go away from them. You stick with them.”

It hasn’t been the prettiest of starts for the 6-foot-4 goaltender who is sporting a 3-5 record with a 3.41 GAA and a save percentage that would only earn a B in high school (.880).

Yet, that’s behind now as he won’t have to look over his shoulder for a few weeks with the opportunity to put a stranglehold on the crease.

“Right now Mase is coming off a good performance and if [being the guy for now] simplifies his preparation a bit, that’s a good thing,” said head coach Dave Hakstol. “He just needs to build off what he did a couple of days ago.”

Anthony Stolarz was recalled (for the seventh time in his young career) from Lehigh Valley prior to practice. If Neuvirth misses exactly four weeks, that would equate to approximately 16 games. Would Mason really start all 16 of those contests, six of which coming in the form of back-to-backs?

“You can never answer those questions,” Hextall said. “It never goes the way you map it out. Anthony has done a good job with the Phantoms. He’s continued to get better. We’ll see where it goes.”

The GM said the Flyers aren’t here to try out players just for the sake of doing so, “we’re in the business of winning games.” He puts that onos on Hakstol, believing he’ll make the best decision in putting together the best lineup each night.

After practice, Hakstol said it’s very likely Stolarz will get some action with Neuvirth out. It’ll just be matter of deciding when is the best time to throw him out there for his career start.

“I’m just taking it day by day,” Stolarz said. “I’m pretty eager. I’ve been around the guys a lot and have gotten to know them, and being around this atmosphere, you kind of want to contribute to the team.”

Back to Mason and what this opportunity means for him. With Neuvirth out, Mason has all the opportunity in the world to prove why he deserves a new contract and why he deserves to be the guy the rest of the way.

Mason sent his counterpart a text the other night, knowing just how disappointing an injury can be for a goalie. He knows that these situations are a part of the game, though, and is happy for the chance “to play some hockey.”

“There’s been points in my career where I’ve played a lot of hockey, towards the end of last season is the perfect example,” Mason said. “Most goalies live for it.”

[#] Tue Nov 15 2016 06:17:56 EST from Kelly Hinkle

Subject: Tuesday Morning Fly By: Something something no one likes Senators these days.

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

*Welcome to the circus (again), Anthony Stolarz! [Flyers]

*But seriously folks, with Neuvirth out for at least a month, this is the Steve Mason show now. So get on board. [BSH]

*So how will losing their goalie impact the Phantoms? [Highland Park Hockey]

*Speaking of the Phantoms, they just won't stop winning games. [BSH]

*Man, people absolutely love a goalie-related Philadelphia hockey story let me tell you. [TSN]

*We might see German Rubtsov here in North America sooner than we expected. [CSN Philly]

*Before tonight's game let's take a look back at the awesome stuff from the last week of Flyers' hockey action. [Flyers]

*More Eric Lindros love is a thing we all need, if you ask me, and Big E still loves hockey as much as he ever did. [Inquirer]

*Former NHLer Jamie McLennan talks about what it was like playing against the force that was the Legion of Doom. [TSN]

*Speaking of the Legion of Doom, they got back together for the Legends game in Toronto and Lindros had the gamewinner in a shootout! [TSN]

*And finally, on the concussion era and how Eric Lindros' career defines it. [Puck Daddy]

[#] Tue Nov 15 2016 10:06:40 EST from Travis Hughes

Subject: Watch Eric Lindros deliver his 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame speech

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He invited his brother up with him to share the honor.

Select Text

Flyers legend Eric Lindros was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday night in Toronto.

Above you can watch his incredibly gracious 8 minute speech. In addition to the outpouring of love to his family, Lindros has a few stories and thanks to his Legion of Doom linemates, the Flyers organization, and Flyers fans.

Here’s another clip from a post-ceremony interview

[#] Tue Nov 15 2016 12:23:55 EST from Travis Hughes

Subject: Flyers vs. Senators preview: It’s a tale of opposites tonight

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Two opposite teams hit the ice at the WFC tonight

The Flyers are home for the second game of this four-game homestand tonight, hosting the Ottawa Senators ... who are ... good?

Well, kinda. They’re sitting at 9-5-1 through their first 15 games, good for third in the Atlantic Division. They are allowing 2.29 goals per 60 minutes, which is the fifth best number in the league so far this season. Their defense and goaltending has been solid, but it’s on offense that they’ve really struggled. Their 2.16 goals per 60 minutes ranks fourth-worst in the NHL, and they’ve only scored four power play goals on the season, which is the worst number in hockey.

It’s a pretty interesting matchup tonight, then. The Flyers have been a team that’s struggled in goal so far this season, but they’ve been one of the best teams in the league at generating offense. These teams have been polar opposites so far this season, and it’ll be fun to see how that turns out on the ice.

Steve Mason will start in goal for the Flyers, since it’s his net now that Michal Neuvirth is out for weeks. The rest of the Flyers lineup will apparently stay the same as we saw on Saturday night against Minnesota as well.

Tonight’s game is on CSN Philly and 97.5 The Fanatic. Anybody who subscribes to CSN Philly on their cable or satellite package can also stream the game from anywhere using or the NBC Sports app. Tonight’s game is also the free game of the night, meaning that anybody outside of the Philadelphia area can watch for free using In Canada, the game is available on TSN 5.

Philadelphia lineup

  1. Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds
  2. Travis Konecny - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek
  3. Michael Raffl - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Meat Read
  4. Chris VandeVelde - Nick Cousins - Dale Weise
  1. Michael Del Zotto - Shayne Gostisbehere
  2. Ivan Provorov - Mark Streit
  3. Brandon Manning - Radko Gudas
  1. Steve Mason
  2. Anthony Stolarz

Scratches: Roman Lyubimov, Nick Schultz

Injured: Andrew MacDonald, Boyd Gordon, Michal Neuvirth

Senators lineup

  1. Ryan Dzingel - Kyle Turris - Bobby Ryan
  2. Zack Smith - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Mark Stone
  3. MIke Hoffman - Derick Brassard - Tom Pyatt
  4. Matt Puempel - Chris Kelly - Chris Neil
  1. Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson
  2. Dion Phaneuf - Cody Ceci
  3. Mark Borowiecki - Chris Wideman
  1. Craig Anderson
  2. Mike Condon

[#] Tue Nov 15 2016 17:28:56 EST from Travis Hughes

Subject: Flyers vs. Senators lineups, live stream, TV coverage and discussion thread

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The Flyers’ homestand continues.

Get the Ottawa perspective at Silver Seven.

Tonight’s game is on CSN Philly and 97.5 The Fanatic. Anybody who subscribes to CSN Philly on their cable or satellite package can also stream the game from anywhere using or the NBC Sports app. Tonight’s game is also the free game of the night, meaning that anybody outside of the Philadelphia area can watch for free using In Canada, the game is available on TSN 5.

Philadelphia lineup

  1. Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds
  2. Travis Konecny - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek
  3. Michael Raffl - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Meat Read
  4. Chris VandeVelde - Nick Cousins - Dale Weise
  1. Michael Del Zotto - Shayne Gostisbehere
  2. Ivan Provorov - Mark Streit
  3. Brandon Manning - Radko Gudas
  1. Steve Mason
  2. Anthony Stolarz

Scratches: Roman Lyubimov, Nick Schultz

Injured: Andrew MacDonald, Boyd Gordon, Michal Neuvirth

Senators lineup

  1. Ryan Dzingel - Kyle Turris - Bobby Ryan
  2. Zack Smith - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Mark Stone
  3. MIke Hoffman - Derick Brassard - Tom Pyatt
  4. Matt Puempel - Chris Kelly - Chris Neil
  1. Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson
  2. Dion Phaneuf - Cody Ceci
  3. Mark Borowiecki - Chris Wideman
  1. Craig Anderson
  2. Mike Condon

[#] Tue Nov 15 2016 22:50:12 EST from goldomatic

Subject: Flyers vs. Senators recap: Shootouts are evil

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The Flyers continued their homestand with a shootout loss to Ottawa, losing 3-2

After leading for most of the third period, the Flyers lost a 3-2 shootout decision to the Ottawa Senators in their first match-up of the season. While the Flyers appeared to be the better team for most of the night, a few key breakdowns gave the Senators enough of a chance to send the game to a shootout, where the Flyers met their fate.

The Senators coming into this game were very much the anti-Flyers. They were very sound defensively, having allowed just 35 goals in their 15 games. However, their offense has not been good, and hadn’t scored more than twice in a game since October 25. Of course, the Flyers would have seemed to cured many team’s offensive woes this year, having conceded two or more goals in every game they’ve played this year. As is Hakstol’s wont, the Flyers lineup did not change following Saturday’s win. The Senators did not have any significant injuries for tonight’s game.

After an uneven start, the Flyers would draw first blood. A neutral zone turnover from Derick Brassard eventually led to a 2-man breakaway with Brandon Manning joining the puck-carrying Nick Cousins into the offensive zone. Cousins was thinking shot all the way and wristed it by Anderson for the opening goal of the game at 5:14.

The rest of the first period seemed emblematic of the Flyers season as whole. The Flyers ended up with a 10-9 shot advantage, but the more dangerous chances seem to come off Senators’ sticks. Mason, unlike most of the starts he’s had so far this season, was up to the task and stopped all shots in the period, including one set up by some local kid you may or may not have heard of, since he’s from Cherry Hill and all...

A goaltender interference by said local native gave the Flyers the lone power play of the period, which carried over into the second.

The Flyers wouldn’t convert the power play, but would carry most of the play early in the second. However, after some sloppy outlet passes in their own zone, Mark Stone was able to snipe one passed Mason from the slot to even the score at 1. The lead would last for about six minutes, until Raffl would stuff home a rebound from a Dale Weise shot. The play came off a Pierre-Edouard Bellemare faceoff win, and the Flyers were able to effectively work a preset play to recapture the lead at 13:18.

The Senators would push back following the goal, as Mason foiled a Stone breakaway, and several dangerous Senators chances in the minutes immediately following the Raffl goal. The Flyers would settle things down with some good chances of their own, including one by Schenn that beat Anderson but missed the far post by inches, and for the second time in the contest the Flyers would carry over power play time into the next period. Shots in the second were 16-9 Flyers, and outside of a three minute window following the second Flyers goal, they were dominate in the period.

The third period opened with several power plays for the Flyers. In addition to the carry-over penalty, the Senators were whistled for two more violations early in the third, but couldn’t get anything past an aggressive Senator PK and Anderson. Whenever you don’t convert that many power plays, an uneasiness tends to build in a close game since you can always point back to it and say they should’ve buried them there. Although the Flyers played a good defensive period with the lead, Kyle Turris was able to catch Mason out of position on a wrap-around with just under two minutes left to tie the score. On replays it looked like Mason was expecting a pass instead of a shot, and Turris was able to convert fairly easily. Neither team really did anything of note after that, so it was off to overtime. Shots on the period were 8 apiece.

The first few minutes of OT were uneventful, but a questionable non-call in the Ottawa end left Turris and Karlsson unopposed on Mason. But like Icarus, they flew too close to the sun and Mason was able to snuff out the opportunity until Giroux could get back to help out with the situation. Neither team was able to finish the deal in overtime, so they went to the ever-dreaded shootout. After five shootout attempts by the Flyers that can best be described as unimaginative, Erik Karlsson brought about the inevitable by beating Mason and ending the game in favor of the Senators.

Other assorted observations:

  • Nick Cousins was a force the first ten minutes of this game. In addition to the opening goal, he had several other chances that Anderson snuffed out. However, one can only do so much with the linemates he had this game, and wasn’t too much of a factor the rest of the game. Bursts like this, though, make a case for him to get in more games.
  • As the first half of the game progressed, the game got more and more chippy, with several post-whistle skirmishes and boarder-line hits becoming commonplace. One such hit sent Matt Read to the locker room after getting thrown to the ice awkwardly by Mark Borowiecki. Some would say the refs butchered the call by not calling a penalty. Read would come back before the end of the second.
  • Ottawa’s powerplay came into tonight’s game dead last in the NHL. After seeing their efforts in this game, it’s not hard to see why as they had difficulty gaining the zone and sustaining any pressure against the Flyers PK, and even gave up some quality shorthanded chances. The Flyers power play, while producing several good chances, couldn’t convert on four chances.
  • The Del Zotto-Ghostisbehere pairing may not be working out. While having both offensive defensemen on the ice at the same time may seem fun, they were caught being a bit too aggressive at times and it led to some dangerous chances against.
  • Ivan Provorov seems to have settled down from his early-season jitters and played a solid, even if unspectacular game. The fancy plays will come later, but for now we’ll gladly take a series of small, effective plays to help limit chances against and set up chances for the Flyers. It does appear there’s sawdust coming out of his mitts whenever he’s got a chance to score, as evidenced by a 3-on-1 that he missed wide by a good margin late in the third.
  • If you’re looking for razzle-dazzle, look no further than the other teenager on the Flyers, Travis Konecny. His speed is very evident whenever he is on the ice, and the defense must account for him at all times or he will be off and running. Some other areas of his game remain a bit raw, but it’s hard to ask more of the 19-year old in his first 20 games of the year. Perhaps his biggest effect is on the second power play unit, which looks a lot more dangerous than previous years thanks in large part to his efforts.

This game was another tough loss, where it can be argued the Flyers were the better team and didn’t get the deserved result. However, Mason continued to show some improvement making several difficult shots, and the offense continued to pepper the opposition with the majority of the shots. It can be a bit frustrating at times to see points left on the table, but with continued efforts like this, the wins will come eventually. We hope, at least.

The Flyers’ next game is a 7 p.m. start on Thursday against the Jets at the Wells Fargo Center.

[#] Wed Nov 16 2016 06:44:20 EST from Kelly Hinkle

Subject: Wednesday Morning Fly By: Austrian beast unleashed!

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

*So the Flyers lost a perfectly winnable game in the shootout last night for a number of annoying reasons, but hey let's just blame the goalie that's easy. RECAP.

*So, Steve Mason has himself an opportunity here, and he played pretty well last night. [CSN Philly]

*Speaking of goalie opportunities, the Flyers are going to be careful with Anthony Stolarz. This is a good thing. [CSN Philly]

*In case you hadn't noticed, Radko Gudas is a pretty dang good defenseman. Other people are noticing. [National Post]

*Radel Fazleev is doing well adjusting to the AHL game with the Phantoms. [Highland Park Hockey]

*Now that this year's Hockey Hall of Fame inductions are over, let's look at who might be going in next year. []

*There will be snubs, too, and DGB brings us the ten different kinds of Hall of Fame snubs you can expect to see in any given year. [Sportsnet]

*The NHL is remarkably bad at marketing its stars. Turns out that's on purpose. Great strategy, folks! [Vice Sports]

*And finally, in one last bit of Eric Lindros celebration, his wonderful induction speech from Monday night. NO YOU'RE TEARING UP. [BSH]

[#] Wed Nov 16 2016 09:47:20 EST from Charlie O'Connor

Subject: Senators 3, Flyers 2: 10 things we learned from a point lost

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Two minutes away from a regulation win, the Flyers instead coughed up a late lead and then fell victim to their old enemy, the shootout.

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

#1: Fair to say this was a game the Flyers should have won

While closer on the stat sheet than it may have seemed, this was still a game that the Philadelphia Flyers deserved to win. Though I admit, it’s always tough to use the word “deserved” in this context, because in the end the team (as a whole) did not do everything necessary to come away with two points. There are lots of potential scapegoats — Mason on the game-tying goal, the power play for going flat in the third period, an ineffective overtime performance and poor shots in the skills competition — but you can’t pin this defeat on one player. As every person in the locker room would say, these are shared losses.

At the same time, we can look at the numbers and note that the Flyers came out barely on top in almost all of the key categories. They posted a slight edge in score-adjusted Corsi (51.92%), generated 20 regular scoring chances (per NaturalStatTrick) to Ottawa’s 13, and even led in all-situations xG 3.25-2.88. They didn’t lead in all categories — the Senators won in high-danger 5v5 chances 11-9 and held a slight edge in 5v5 xG 2.59-2.53 — but on the whole, this certainly wasn’t a performance to regret. They’re not bleeding high quality chances against like they were just a few weeks ago, and the goaltending does seem to be trending upwards. It was a frustrating loss for the fans last night, but the overall trajectory of the team is still positive.

#2: Third period process at 5v5 was honestly fine

The easy narrative is that the Flyers choked away a victory due to a poor third period, as they were unable to add to their lead and ended up allowing a late game-tying goal. While most of this description is technically true, Philadelphia did a ton of things right in the final stanza. Despite holding a one-goal advantage for almost the entire period, Ottawa rarely set up shop in the Flyers’ end, and failed to generate much in the way of quality scoring chances. In fact, the Senators could muster just two high-danger chances over the final twenty minutes of regulation. It was a low-event period with play often bottled up in the neutral zone — exactly where the Flyers wanted it to stay.

But they simply could not avoid that one, backbreaking play. Brandon Manning could have tried to break up Kyle Turris’ rush, Radko Gudas could have challenged Turris more aggressively on the wraparound attempt, and of course, Mason could have been quicker to move to the far post. But this wasn’t a case of Philadelphia facing a deluge of shots and finally wilting under the pressure. The Flyers instead were in control until one breakdown changed everything. In fact, Philadelphia was down just 12-10 in 5v5 Corsi in the period prior to Turris’ tally, which is a very good margin considering they were holding a one-goal lead, which usually results in a heavy shots advantage for the trailing team. Last night’s result was obviously not good, but Philadelphia had a tendency in 2015-16 to sit back with a lead and watch their opponents attack in waves late, and it was good to see that didn’t happen here. Report & Highlights | Corsica.Hockey Game Recap Page | Recap | NaturalStatTrick Recap | | BSH Recap | Meltzer’s Musings

#3: Mason has great game with one big blemish

For 58 minutes, the primary narrative for last night’s game was obvious — Steve Mason had built off his strong performance in relief on Saturday and was now staking his claim to the starting role with Michal Neuvirth on the shelf for at least a month. Mason was equally adept at battling through traffic to locate pucks from the outside as he was in making highlight reel saves in front. But all of those great saves can’t fully erase the game-tying goal that he allowed with 1:59 remaining in regulation.

It’s difficult to see exactly what happened on replay that resulted in Mason being so slow to cover the far post. There was some talk that he may have locked his foot around the near post which made it harder to push off, which would be more of a technical issue than anything. But even though it may not have been an easy save (Turris was flying around the net), it was definitely a make-able one.

To Mason’s credit, he was back in top form during overtime and the shootout, and gave his teammates multiple opportunities to regain the second point. But that goal places this game in the same bucket as Neuvirth’s performances from two weeks ago — strong showings overshadowed by one bad goal. His decision to avoid the media after the game, while totally understandable, likely won’t do him any favors from a coverage standpoint, either. I still feel like Mason is trending in the right direction (he allowed two goals and Ottawa was actually “expected” to score 2.88), but he missed a real opportunity for a statement game last night.

#4: Bottom-six had a big night

The construction of the third and fourth lines has been a major topic of conversation across the fanbase so far this season, primarily because the overall performance has been so underwhelming. But last night against the Senators, the bottom-six picked up the slack as the big guns struggled to find their rhythm at 5-on-5. Not only did both Philadelphia goals come from the lower two lines (Nick Cousins and Michael Raffl added tallies), but the top play-drivers last night were the bottom-sixers as well. Weise, Cousins, Raffl, VandeVelde and Bellemare all finished with score-adjusted Corsi rates above 50 percent, in addition to coming out way positive on the chances ledger.

For the second straight game, the support of Raffl and Matt Read as play-drivers has helped Bellemare to grade out well by advanced metrics. As for the fourth line, it seems to be clicking even in the absence of Roman Lyubimov, who has been the team’s most effective forechecker in the early going. While I’d love to see him check back into the lineup soon, I assume Hakstol will not make any changes while these trios are working this well. Then again, shakeups often come after a loss, so you never know.

#5: Couturier’s zone exit issues

As he has often been during his time as a Flyer, Sean Couturier has yet again become a lightning rod for debate between stat-oriented circles and those who favor a more raw production-focused eye test. Despite playing on a line with Jakub Voracek and Travis Konecny, Couturier has just seven points in 17 games so far, and the critics are back out in full force. However, the Flyers’ second line center has continued to deliver stellar play-driving metrics at 5v5, ranking second among Philadelphia forwards with a +3.66% score-adjusted Corsi relative to his teammates. As a result, the debate rages on.

However, there is one area where both the eye test and public stats agree has been an issue for Couturier this year. Long a center adept at transitioning play from defense to offense via slick passes, Couturier has seemingly been turnover-prone in his own zone so far this year. That tendency reared its ugly head again last night, as his less-than-stellar passing in the defensive end forced Mason to make quite a few tough stops in the early going. Corey Sznajder’s data implies there is validity to the criticism. Going into last night’s game, Couturier actually had the worst Controlled Exit percentage (39.39%) among Flyers forwards this year and the highest Failed Exit rate (20.20%). It’s odd to see this regression, considering his relative strength in this area last year and his still-strong play-driving metrics. But the eye test hasn’t been wrong here — Couturier really does need to clean up this area of his game.

#6: Provorov is adapting to the NHL pace

There was far too much concern expressed in the early season after Ivan Provorov posted two poor games in a row against the Blackhawks and Ducks, though it was understandable. After all, Flyers fans are starved for a true #1 defenseman, and Provorov came with the pedigree and the hype to match. Also, after watching Shayne Gostisbehere’s seamless transition to the NHL last year, many were hoping to see Provorov jump into the NHL as essentially a finished product at age-19, as unrealistic as it sounds now. Rather than functioning as a reality check, that early season stretch had some worrying that Provorov might not possess the elite potential he was purported to have.

A month into the season, however, and Ivan Provorov continues to get better. He’s yet to score his first goal (which will surely be the next narrative from the skeptics, who are likely watching Zach Werenski’s rookie year with envy), but Provorov is getting better and better at pushing the play in the right direction without falling prey to the “big” mistake. Last night, he led all Flyers defensemen with a 60.61% score-adjusted Corsi, and was +15.15% relative to his teammates. He also posted a strong 57.37% Expected Goals for percentage, a stat in which he has struggled so far. He did this despite Mark Streit having an especially mistake-prone game, basically leaving Provorov to make all of the good plays on the pair. He performed admirably, however, making accurate passes, boxing out oncoming forwards, and cutting off plays in the neutral zone. There just isn’t much tension or concern among Flyers fans with Provorov on the ice, which might be the best compliment to give a 19-year old rookie.

#7: Top line playing too much dump-and-chase

While the second line of Couturier, Voracek and Konecny has generated the bulk of their chances off the rush, the nominal “first” line centered by Claude Giroux has apparently adopted a dump-and-chase centric strategy. Going into last night’s game, only 44.16% of the overall 5v5 entries that occurred with the captain on the ice came with possession of the puck — the rest were dump-ins.

Watching them play last night, it’s tough to tell if this is truly an intentional tactic, or if key players on the line are simply starting to play too conservative. On a number of occasions, Giroux (still an ultra-skilled puck handler) chose a simple chip-in rather than fighting to reach a visible open lane through the neutral zone. It’s tough to imagine that he simply “can’t do it” anymore, especially after watching him fly through the middle of the ice on the power play. In any case, the tactics weren’t effective, as Giroux and company all finished with score-adjusted Corsis and xG rates below 46 percent, and they feel like a waste of Giroux’s skillset, especially. I’d like to see if Giroux’s mentality changes given a linemate or two who can also create on the rush, rather than ones who instead thrive throwing their weight around in the corners.

#8: May be time to break up the top two lines

And that leads us into our next topic — might it be time to break up the top two lines with the goal of balancing out the skillsets? Konecny and Voracek are obviously controlled entry machines, while Couturier has overcame middling foot speed to turn into a 60% “entry-with-possession” player this year as well. On the other hand, Claude Giroux’s top line has become almost a third line in terms of tactics, which does seem to be wasting his all-world offensive talents at 5v5. Still, the Couturier line has been dangerous so far this season, even if the scoring has dried up in recent weeks. It’s tough to break that up.

Still, I think I’d risk it. Adding another puck carrier to Giroux’s wing should give him some much needed help, and the second line hasn’t played well enough in recent games to be truly viewed as untouchable. I’d probably bump Konecny up to the top unit to start, giving Giroux a speed option on the wing and a creative force in the offensive zone. Then I’d either drop Schenn to 2LW, banking on Couturier and Voracek being able to carry him to play-driving respectability, or move him to line 3 and bump Raffl up, putting together a super-Corsi trio. All three combinations have potential, and I’d be intrigued to see them test it out.

#9: Weise with maybe his best game as a Flyer

A player in need a season reboot is Dale Weise, who has quickly become Public Enemy #1 for a sizable portion of the Flyers’ fanbase. It’s primarily the contract that has them up in arms, as Philadelphia locked him up for four years with the intention of using him as a third liner who could occasionally move up as a complimentary piece in the top-six. Instead, Weise has struggled to create much of anything offensively, and was even briefly scratched as a result. Now receiving fourth line minutes, Weise was in need of a big game in order to change some minds.

It may not have been a flashy performance, but Weise was undeniably productive in this one. Not only did he chip with a primary assist on Michael Raffl’s goal, he was stellar by the fancy stats, finishing with a team-high 79.92% score-adjusted Corsi, a whopping +39.72% relative to his teammates. Interestingly enough, Weise’s neutral zone play had been strong coming into this game — you don’t luck into a 56.82% Controlled Entry percentage at 5v5. But his offensive zone production had been horrid, as he simply was not helping his linemates to creates shots while on the attack.

Last night was a good first step, as his forechecking game looked better, he was active in setting screens in front of the net, and even contributed in the cycle game. The fact is, Weise is probably overpaid both from a dollars and a term standpoint. But even if he’s not one of the best nine forwards on this roster, there’s no reason he can’t carve out a full-time role as an upgraded Ryan White, a fourth line stalwart who can actually drive play to a degree (White couldn’t) and score more than your average checker.

#10: Overtime lineup raises questions

No one would argue that there is anything wrong with the Flyers’ top 3-on-3 unit of Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and Shayne Gostisbehere. It’s a frightening barrage of speed, skill and creativity in all three zones, and Philadelphia’s game-winning OT goals understandably come from one of those three players most of the time. But beyond that unit, there’s certainly room for critiques. The tandem of Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier is skilled and perfect for a grinding cycle, but looks slow at 3v3. And then there’s the final forward duo of Matt Read and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, both of whom are apparently above players like Brayden Schenn, Michael Raffl and Travis Konecny on the OT depth chart.

The 19-year old Konecny seems to be the biggest snub. After all, no Flyers forward has been a primary part of more shot attempts at 5v5 than Konecny (adjusted for ice time), and no Philadelphia player has looked more electric this season, period. I asked Hakstol after the game why Konecny has yet to gain a full-time role at 3v3, and the coach noted that it was a role he would have to earn, stating, “There’s a lot of responsibility out there. He’s had a couple shifts out there, but that’s not a situation you just throw a young kid into. That’s a lot of responsibility there. So, when he earns it, when he shows he belongs in that situation, when it’s the right time, we’ll get him in there.”

Hakstol seems to be of the belief that Konecny’s offensive aggressiveness might cause too many odd-man rushes against, and that’s probably why he’s kept him mostly on the bench in overtime. My guess is that Hakstol wants to use his non-Giroux units essentially as time-killers, avoiding big mistakes and giving his big guns a chance to catch their breath before going back out. But I do believe that Konecny could provide a jolt to another unit, maybe paired with Couturier if Hakstol wants a forward who will likely “cover” for the rookie. It just seems like a waste to bench your most dynamic offensive weapon for the open ice of 3v3 overtime, even if his defensive skills can be charitably called a work-in-progress. It’s just a hunch, but I suspect we’ll see Konecny out there soon enough. I don’t believe Hakstol will wait anywhere near a full season before letting the rookie loose.

[#] Wed Nov 16 2016 11:18:50 EST from Kyle Phillippi

Subject: How do Shayne Gostisbehere’s numbers look over a full 82-game stretch?

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We now know what a full season with Ghost looks like... and it’s glorious.

Shayne Gostisbehere has officially played a full NHL season.

While it (of course) isn’t in one season, the game on Saturday marked Gostisbehere’s 82nd regular season game in his career.

His numbers are pretty impressive, to say the least.

“There’s always areas of your game where you want to work on,” Gostisbehere said after Monday’s practice. “I’m just going to keep working on it every day and try to get better.”

Offensively, it may be tough to do better than what he’s shown from a full season’s worth of games.

In 82 regular season contests, the defenseman has totaled 56 points on 20 goals and 36 assists. How good is that?

There were only six blueliners last season that reached 56 points while only four had 20 or more goals. That’s a group consisting of Shea Weber (20), Oliver Ekman-Larsson (21), Mark Giordano (21) and Brent Burns (27).

With a lethal slap shot and an eye for the open man, Gostisbehere has really made an impression on the power play where he has totaled 27 points on the man-advantage. Burns (30) was the only blueliner with more points as Ekman-Larsson and Kris Letang also tallied 27.

In other words, Gostisbehere is putting up elite production while being just shy of 24-years-old.

Through 16 games in his sophomore season, Gostisbehere has continued to produce. He sits at 10 points, which is four points behind Burns, with five points on the power play, which is three points behind Kevin Shattenkirk for tops in the league by a defenseman.

He credits playing every night since he’s been called upon as a big reason behind his adjustment.

“It’s definitely a 180,” Gostisbehere said. “It’s always good to have comfortability and that confidence every game.”

[#] Wed Nov 16 2016 13:36:04 EST from Ari Yanover

Subject: Ivan Provorov’s smarts highlight even more to look forward to

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He’s 19. He’s an NHLer. It’s only going to get better from here.

One of the best parts of this season so far is, without a doubt, seeing Ivan Provorov make the NHL. Averaging 19:58 a game, he isn’t being thrown totally into the deep end; at the same time, he’s fifth in average ice time for both the Flyers and all rookies throughout the league.

But something especially delightful about him? Just how smart he is. Via Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts (#21):

He’s very good at discussing the intricacies of the game. He was explaining what it was like to face Sidney Crosby. “He was coming in on me, and I wasn’t on my regular side. I was thinking, ‘Don’t go for the first move, don’t go for the first move.’ He brought the puck across his body and I waited, then was able to poke it away from him.” He was very proud of that play, but knows there are many rematches to come.

Sidney Crosby is, unfortunately, a pretty good hockey player. For a rookie to go out against someone like him and already know exactly what to do speaks to Provorov’s smarts and composure - and we’re just getting started with him.

Also good? Travis Konecny, and how he’s already tied for fourth in team scoring, and seventh in scoring out of all rookies.

Really, really cute? The first part of Friedman’s 21st thought, about the two of them:

Didn’t realize that Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov are road roommates. Who gets the remote? “Ah, it’s really not an issue,” Provorov laughed last week. “But I do get the bed closest to the door.”

Aw. Rookies are the best.

[#] Wed Nov 16 2016 17:55:20 EST from Ari Yanover

Subject: Michael Del Zotto to Claude Giroux: ‘Friends helping friends’

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It’s always better when guys on your favorite hockey team of choice are buds. It doesn’t just make the games that much more enjoyable to watch; it makes for great off-ice stuff, too.

Well, here’s a combination of both: Michael Del Zotto happily helping his friend Claude Giroux get some H2O.

Friends helping friends. #h2o #bobbyboucher @nhl @philadelphiaflyers

A photo posted by Michael Del Zotto (@mdzofficial) on

See, now that’s what being a good teammate - and friend - is all about. Del Zotto may have gotten injured early in the year, but he doesn’t have to be the water boy anymore; it sure is nice of him, though.

Meanwhile, bless Giroux. Eyes closed, mouth wide open, the picture of trust; this is a perfect snapshot and everything about it is beautiful.

[#] Thu Nov 17 2016 06:39:20 EST from Kelly Hinkle

Subject: Thursday Morning Fly By: Aww yeah, you like the Flyers?

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

*Folks it's a Thursday and a game day and you know what that means: more BSH Radio coming to your ear holes later this morning!

*Let's look back at that shootout loss to the dumb Senators and see what we can learn from it, shall we? [BSH]

*So not everything is perfect right now in Flyers-land but you know what? Ivan Provorov is ours and hoooooooo boy is he special. [BSH]

*You know what else? Shayne Gostisbehere. We've got good bits here, people. [BSH]

*DGB thinks the Flyers are one of the most confusing teams in the league. [The Hockey News]

*Friedman's latest edition of his wonderful 30 Thoughts column has a bit of insight onto the Flyers current goalie situation. [Sportsnet]

*He also talks a bit about what might happen with the NHL and the Olympics, and it looks like the league is trying to make something work. But the players will have to concede a little. [ProHockeyTalk]

*The Metro division is starting to bunch up a little, which should make things interesting. [Canes Country]

*On why "scoring chance" is a flawed metric and how it can be improved upon. [NHL Numbers]

*And finally, ahead of the Philly premiere of the excellent-looking film Ice Guardians, Meltzer takes a look at what makes an NHL tough guy. [Flyers]

[#] Thu Nov 17 2016 10:43:21 EST from Kelly Hinkle

Subject: BSH Radio #84: Yelling about goalies

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Folks, we’re still trying to figure out what Dave Hakstol is doing.

It is, as always, time to talk about the goalies.

The gang is back discussing what we might see out of Anthony Stolarz the Goalarz, potential changes to the shootout format, and what’s going on in the Flyers’ defensive zone. We also hear from GM Ron Hextall, who was our first guest on the show*!

Steph, Charlie, Bill, & Kelly have a lot of quality thoughts this week, including Charlie’s reveal of the secret to having a good hockey team: having good players.

You can listen below, but the show is also available on iTunes, Google Play, Soundcloud, and we'll be coming soon to the (free!) Liberty Podcasts app on your smartphone.

Follow us on twitter @BSH_Radio so you can get in on the fun!

*Ron Hextall was not actually on the show.

[#] Thu Nov 17 2016 11:59:38 EST from Kyle Phillippi

Subject: Shayne Gostisbehere will be a healthy scratch vs. Jets: ‘It’s a tough pill to swallow’

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What is the rationale behind this?

PHILADELPHIA -- Shayne Gostisbehere is a healthy scratch.

That’s right. For the first time in his young career, the Calder Trophy runner-up from a year ago will be up in the press box watching his teammates battle the high-flying Winnipeg Jets.

In his place will likely come Andrew MacDonald, who Hakstol said is available tonight.

But why scratch Ghost?

“It’s accountability within our group,” said head coach Dave Hakstol. “It’s an opportunity for him to address some things within his game and an opportunity to watch the game from above which can help a young player. Beyond that, he’s got to work day to day and go do the work and get ready to play two days from now.”

The move can be seen as a wake-up call to Gostisbehere, who has admittedly had a few more defensive miscues this season than he’s accustomed to.

Although Hakstol countered that by saying “there’s no wake up call needed.”

Nonetheless, Gostisbehere wasn’t all that thrilled after the morning skate, but as he always does, he’s taking the optimistic view of it.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow,” Gostisbehere said. “But I think it’s the best for me right now. I’m going to get up there in that box and take everything in and make this into a positive.”

The blueliner leads all Philadelphia defenseman with 10 points on three goals and seven assists. This move has nothing to do with his offensive ability but rather an attempt to sit and watch the game from up above, focusing on the defensive scheme.

Still, the move is very surprising considering the speed and talent that Winnipeg possesses. Having a defenseman like Gostisbehere would certainly benefit in a game like this.

“There’s a lot I can clean up and that’s what I’m going to do,” Gostisbehere said.

The general belief is that Gostisbehere is a known commodity around the league, and that opposing teams are aware of what he does. Hakstol says that’s all part of the learning curve.

“He’s got to play his game. Part of being continually successful at this level is studying the game, that’s all part of growing and maturity. There’s no doubt it’s tougher the second time around.

“Ghost will be fine. He’s got all the abilities and the mentality to deal with those things.”

[#] Thu Nov 17 2016 12:45:22 EST from Travis Hughes

Subject: Benching Shayne Gostisbehere is classic over-coaching by Dave Hakstol

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(That said, the Flyers will probably win because Hockey Is Dumb.)

Dave Hakstol seems to think that a game in the press box will help Shayne Gostisbehere.

After all, he’s never really faced any adversity so far in his NHL career, and by benching him as a healthy scratch for tonight’s game against the Winnipeg Jets, Hakstol is hoping that Ghost will have a chance to think about the defensive side of his game.

I guess that makes sense. The thought is that it will help Gostisbehere in the long run, right? But the job of a coach is, first and foremost, to make sure the team wins hockey games. And thus, this is a textbook case of overthinking from Dave Hakstol.


  • Ghost is one of the best offensive defensemen in hockey, let alone on the Flyers, with 10 points already this season. He’s an important player on the power play, and as we’ve learned over all 83 games in his NHL career, he is an absolutely vital piece on this team when it comes to driving play.
  • Ghost is being replaced in the lineup by Andrew MacDonald, who is objectively one of the worst defensemen in the National Hockey League.
  • You can argue that Ghost has made some mistakes on the defensive side of the puck this year, sure. He’s not a perfect player in his own end, but ... I’d argue that my first bullet point there makes this moot. Besides, any miscue he’s been responsible for pales in comparison to what MacDonald does on any given night. Have you watched that guy try to play against NHL forwards lately? It is ugly. (Also, the Flyers as a team have been bad defensively this year. Picking out Ghost, who does so many other important things, is just nuts.)
  • The Flyers are a team with playoff aspirations. They are behind the 8-ball in the standings so far in the early going, and frankly they need every point they can get. It’s on the coach to ice the best possible lineup — the best possible chance to win — every night, but particularly when one or two or three or four points could legitimately be the difference between making the playoffs and not.

Dave Hakstol is putting the Flyers in a position to lose this game tonight. Period. There’s a good Winnipeg team coming to town (yes, they are good), riding youth and speed and good goaltending to a 4-0-1 streak in their last five.

And now, for the second time in a week, Hakstol has benched an important player while lesser players see ice time — be it MacDonald or the untouchable Chris VandeVelde, who somehow has only been scratched once since Hakstol took the coaching job here while guys like Brayden Schenn, Nick Cousins and Michael Raffl sit.

The thing is, we’d be silly to assume that Hakstol doesn’t know all of this. He’s a coach that is — for some reason — talking himself out of putting his best squad together right now.

When asked about it at practice this morning, Hakstol said “it’s accountability within our group.” Who’s holding Hakstol accountable for putting a subpar lineup on the ice?

[#] Thu Nov 17 2016 15:48:23 EST from Ari Yanover

Subject: Shayne Gostisbehere named Philadelphia Pro Athlete of the Year

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Well... this is awkward.

Good news! The Philadelphia Sports Writers Association has named Shayne Gostibehere the Philadelphia Pro Athlete of the Year.

Bad news! This came on the same day he was announced as a healthy scratch.

So... the timing could have been better.

Still, let’s take this for what it is: a celebration of a young defenseman who has captured the city’s heart. And unlike, say, Canadian-based teams, that’s a bit more difficult to do when your city has more than one professional sports team.

So let’s take this moment to celebrate Gostisbehere, and all that he’s accomplished thus far.

He forced his way onto the NHL roster full time last season, ultimately scoring 17 goals and 46 points to end up fifth in team scoring, and also fifth in league-wide rookie scoring. He was the runner up for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie of the year, and finished 17th in defensemen scoring league-wide - eighth, if you go by points per game.

And don’t forget his 15-game point streak, setting a new record for rookie defensemen.

To start this season, he has three goals and 10 points in 17 games, putting him in a tie for fourth in team scoring, as well as a tie for the Flyers’ highest-scoring defenseman.

All of that, and he brought awareness of ghost bears to all of us - and he’s still going.

So don’t forget, in the midst of this foolishness, there’s a lot to look forward to, and a lot to celebrate regarding Ghost.

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