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On The Fly!
Official PR Blog of your Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers Public Relations staff will be keeping this official blog on the website. All you need to know: daily updates, multimedia and behind-the-scenes information that you can only find here! For all other official Flyers news and press releases - click here
On The Fly archives:
2007-08 Season
2008-09 Season
2009-10 Season

Sept. 2010

Roster Schedule Flyers TV
2010-11 Media Guide
Morning Newspaper

October 31 (Happy Halloween! Click HERE for a special Flyers Halloween video)

6:11 p.m.

The Flyers have recalled defenseman Oskars Bartulis from their American Hockey League affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, upon the completion of his conditioning assignment.

Bartulis registered an assist and two penalty minutes in four games with Adirondack.  He  is scoreless with a plus-1 rating and 2 PIM in two appearances for the Flyers this season. 

1:54 p.m.


The Philadelphia Flyers confirmed today that center Danny Briere will have a conference call with the NHL office tomorrow (Monday, Nov. 1) at 10 a.m.

The call will most likely be centered over his incident at the end of the Flyers’ 6-1 win over the Islanders last night where he received a five minute major for cross checking and 10 minute game-misconduct at the 19:00 minute mark of the third period.

Tempers flared towards the end of the game last night with two players on each team receiving 10 minute misconducts (Briere and Dan Carcillo for the Flyers and Trevor Gillies and Frans Nielsen for the Islanders).

Laviolette & Hartnell

In total, the game saw 120 penalty minutes and showed signs of a classic Atlantic Division battle building throughout the year.

“When you get embarrassed like that, obviously there’s lot of frustration. They obviously didn’t like that, they had to respond some way, somehow,” said Briere after the last night. “That was one way to do it, with their fists, finishing their checks, and that’s what happened. I thought the refs did a pretty good job of controlling the game. It’s going to happen, games like that when one team goes up quite a bit on the other one.”

Had the Islanders come away with the victory, they would be sitting ahead of the Flyers in the standings.

Last night’s victory kept the Flyers in a tie with the Penguins for first place in the division with 13 points and a record of 6-4-1, however the Islanders remain just three back with 10 points.

The Flyers are currently riding a three-game winning streak and are certainly looking like a team that is starting to peak, showing signs of the dominant team that led them to the Eastern Conference Title last season.

“You start to see things in our game that we like. The attack and the consistency, there’s been a lot more of it,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette of his club. “Defensively we’ve gotten tight that the first few games. We seems to be generating a little bit more, the power play seems to be finding its place so things seems to be getting better, but there still a lot of things we can do to improve.”

Combining for six points last night, the defense is finding its groove. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has three straight wins under his belt, stopping 30 of 31 vs. Islanders and Danny Briere and the offense have put up 15 goals in their last three games.

“We’re going in the right direction,” said Briere. “Except for the game in Columbus, I thought our last five or six games have been really good. It seems that we’re playing with more confidence. We’re supporting each other better, especially in the offensive zone.”

His line mate Scott Hartnell agrees.

“We’ve really concentrated on working hard and using our strengths out there,” said Hartnell. “We’re starting to get the puck behind the net and go from there. Use the point, get to the net and it’s been paying off and been pretty consistent. We’ve been winning, everyone’s chipping it’s been great.”

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren updated the status of defenseman Andrej Meszaros and Andreas Nodl, both of whom left last night’s game due to injury.

Both players are listed as day to day with upper body injuries and both players are possible for tomorrow’s game vs. Carolina Hurricanes.

October 30

11:36 p.m.


Frans Nielsen scored on a penalty shot awarded midway through the second period.

That’s about all that went wrong for the Flyers in their 6-1 win over the Islanders tonight.

Different parts and pieces of the Flyers have shown their flashes of brilliance this season, but for the first time all the pieces of the Flyers puzzle came together and showed their dominance.

“You take out the Columbus game and I’ve liked the way we have played, even the Anaheim loss,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “I said that night that our guys played hard. We threw a bunch at the net but we just didn’t get the results we were looking for. But if you play that way, you are going to win a bunch of hockey games.

“I thought our guys have found some consistency with their game and tonight I thought we came out the right way. Right off the bat we were throwing pucks at the net in the offensive zone and on top of it. We got some good results tonight from that attack and it’s been consistent game to game, taking Columbus out if it.”

Laviolette // Pronger & Carcillo // Bobrovsky

The defense received their first goal this season and combined for six points (3G,3A) on the night. Kimmo Timonen led the way by posting a goal and two assists on the night, while Chris Pronger netted two goals (his first and second of the season).

“That’s one of the good things; our shots from the point were getting through,” said Danny Briere. “Our guys in front of the net did a very good job, so that’s encouraging. We knew with guys like Kimmo and Prongs, especially back there, you know at some point things are going to start going in.”

Jeff Carter led things offensively with a pair of goals and an assist for his second three-point game this season, and second consecutive at home, while Ville Leino and Claude Giroux each picked up two assists.

With his two assists Giroux leads the Flyers in scoring with 11 points (6G,5A) through the team’s first All told, 11 different players found the scoresheet for the Flyers tonight.

Not to be out done in net. Sergei Bobrovsky made his second consecutive start in net and looked even better than he did in last night’s game at Pittsburgh.

“I think him being young helps,” said Chris Pronger. “He understands, he’s pretty relaxed back there and understands, kind of lets the game come to him a little bit, obviously in the third, a lot of power plays on both sides. He came up with a number of good stops there to keep it 6-1.”

Bobrovsky stopped 30 of 31 shots for his fourth win in just his sixth start. He currently owns a 2.45 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.

What’s most impressive however was the fact that coming off the night before and going through a game with a lot of stoppages in play and down time, the 22-year-old maintained his focus throughout.

 “In some ways it’s even easier because yesterday I was playing hockey and today I was already in a rhythm,” said Bobrovsky of playing in his first back-to-back games in as many nights.

“Yeah he’s been sharp,” said Laviolette. “I’ve said that from day one. Since I’ve seen him he’s had a lot of really good days for us. I thought he played terrific last night and wanted to get him back in there just really based on that. He looked really good and seeing him in a back to back situation, I thought he responded very well. He was quick again.

“He’s got that quickness to his game with his legs down low and able to recover to bail out our team of a really bad situation.”

Both Andrej Meszaros and Andreas Nodl left the game due to an upper body injury and did not return to action. Both will be evaluated tomorrow.

6:59 p.m.

Goaltender Michael Leighton skated for the first time since he underwent surgery on Oct. 11 at Methodist Hospital in Philadelphia.

Leighton underwent what is called a partial discectomy performed by Dr. Alex Vacarro, which allows for a six to eight weeks of recovery time.

That would pace him to return to the lineup around the end of November, first week of December, but he admitted there is no official time-table.

“I just want to get back as soon as I can,” added Leighton. “The doctor said four weeks. If I’m doing good after four weeks he’ll clear me to start doing everything.”

It’s only been two and a half weeks, but Leighton already notices the difference.

“I felt pretty good. The back pain is gone, so that’s a good sign,” said Leighton. “I still have a little bit of a weakness in my foot and that’s just something that’s going to go away in time. It’s gotten better than what it was before the surgery. My flexibility is better. It’s really improving.”

Regardless of whether the Flyers will practice tomorrow, Leighton will take to the ice for the second straight day.

As of right now, his workouts on the ice consist of taking a few shots from the coaches up around the glove, but just the process of putting on his equipment again is a welcome change to Leighton’s routine as of lately.

“It was good just to put my gear on and put my helmet on again. I was walking out on the ice and grabbed my stick. I just had a smile on my face. It was good to get out there.”

October 29
1:01 a.m


Two fights within the first 23 seconds of the game, another scrum after a hit on Scott Hartnell 54 seconds into the game.

I guess that’s what happens when two teams with a heated rivalry face each other three times within the opening month in a 22-day span.

“I expected a lot of intensity,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “The beginning, like the first three seconds, no.  I didn’t know that was coming.  But, Richie (Mike Richards) wanted to get something going.”

FLYERS TV: Laviolette // Richards & Giroux // Bobrovsky

The war of words after the team’s last meeting in Philadelphia between Flyers captain Mike Richards and Penguins’ forward Matt Cooke spilled over immediately entering the contest.

Six seconds into the game Richards and Cooke squared off to what clearly set the tone for the remainder of the game.

"No, no it was probably just from the things that were said last game carried over,” said Richards when asked if the fight was expected that early. “I was just trying to get the guys going. It was a big game for us and we wanted to put together a good effort.”

Jody Shelley squared off with Deryk Engelland 17 seconds later and a series of three minor penalties on each side occurred quickly, leaving at one point four Flyers in the penalty box at once.

The fans were even treated to a rare occurrence of three-on-three hockey to be played for a solid minute of the action.

In fact, seven minutes into the game, the Flyers managed just two shots and were actually outshooting the Pens by a 2-1 count.

And although the Flyers earned another 3-2 win in Pittsburgh, the most positive thing to come out of tonight’s game was the consistency for the full 60 minutes of play from Laviolette’s club.

“It’s not an easy place to play.  They have a good hockey team.  You come in here and it’s tough. You have to really work, you have to do things the right way, you have to be really physical, which we were and you have to work for it.”

With the win, the Flyers have gained the top spot in the Atlantic Division improving their record to 5-4-1 and 11 points, which ties the Penguins, but having played one less game than Pittsburgh early on this season.

Exactly half of Claude Giroux’s goals this season have come while shorthanded. He now owns three shorthanded tallies, which leads all players in the NHL and his six goals on the year ties for the team lead with Danny Briere.

“Richie made a nice play. It was all him,” said Giroux, who added a power-play goal in addition to his shorthanded goal against Marc-Andre Fleury. “He sees the ice pretty well and I’m not too sure if he saw me but it was right on my tape and I was able to beat him [Fleury].”

For the first time this season, highly skilled forward Nikolay Zherdev was scratched from the lineup in favor of both Andreas Nodl and Dan Carcillo.

“I expected it to be a physical game,” said Laviolette. “I wanted to get Danny [Carcillo] back in there because we are on the road in Pittsburgh and they’ve got some tough players in their lineup.  Danny brings a physical eliminate to the game: body checking, forechecking and the way he plays the game.”

The Flyers have won consecutive games in Pittsburgh for the first time since Dec. 23, 2005 and Jan. 21, 2006.  It was the last two of a three-game sweep for the Flyers of the Penguins in Pittsburgh that season (Nov. 19, 6-3; Dec. 5, 5-4; Jan. 21, 2-1).
Claude Giroux posted his third shorthanded goal of the season tonight after not having any in his first two NHL seasons.  The franchise record for shorthanded goals in a season is seven, done three times – most recently by Mike Richards in 2008-09.  Giroux is technically on pace for 24 shorthanded goals this season. 
Giroux only scored 16 goals all of last season and didn’t score his sixth of the year until December 12.
Andreas Nodl played 15:04, his highest amount of ice time since he played 16:50 at Montreal on November 15, 2008.

October 26

11:27 p.m.

Peter Laviolette // Briere & Carter // Bobrovsky


Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t happy with the team’s performance last night in Columbus.

Apparently the message was received and the team responded accordingly in tonight’s 6-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.

“It took us a couple shifts to get our feet under us I thought in the first period, but after that I liked our game, said Laviolette. “We were attacking pretty good I thought in the offensive zone.  It got away from us once we got up 5-1, it slipped away a little bit, and we had to reel it back in.  But overall I thought it was pretty good after playing last night and coming back.”

Jeff Carter earned a three-point night (1G,2A), while Danny Briere received number one star for the game and continued his hot hand by scoring his team-leading sixth goal and adding an assist.

“We controlled the play for the most part, that was good to see, especially after last night’s game,” said Danny Briere. “It was a little more tense around here today so it was good to see. Obviously the last ten minutes there we backed off a little bit but I think that’s a little bit of human nature when you’re up by four goals, but overall it was a good game on our part.”

Sean O'Donnell fights Sabres' forward Cody McCormick in the first period. (Getty Images)

Although Laviolette did agree that after the first goal of the game went to the Buffalo Sabres, what happened next was the clear turning point of the game for the Flyers.

Twenty one seconds later, O’Donnell squared off with Sabres’ forward Cody McCormick, taking him down just a few seconds later.

“I think it switched right around then,” said Laviolette. “We were a little sluggish in the first five minutes of the first period and for me that seemed to be the turning point there.  It brought a little energy to the building and a little energy to the bench and from there we were able to play better hockey.”

“Yeah, that’s why he has been around for 19, 20 years,” added Carter. “He is a smart guy, who knows when to step up and he is the guy that will do that for his teammates.  He’s the type of guy that does all the little things.”

The Flyers responded with five consecutive goals, three of which came on the power-play, which up until tonight was still struggling at 8.6 percent (3-for-35) and ranked at 25th in the NHL.

“I don’t know if I said it to you, I said it to somebody, for me the power play has shown good life,” said Laviolette. “It was moving it around pretty good, I thought it’s been for the last couple games.  You’d like to score more then what we did, but I thought that there seems to be some good movement and some consistency, there’s an attack there.  A lot of times when your power play is not going the way you want it, you start to see that life first and then you start to see the results.  I think the results finally came.”

Overall, the Flyers went 3-for-5 on the man advantage tonight and recorded 34 shots on goaltender Ryan Miller.

The Flyers have a complete day off of practice tomorrow and will return to work on Thursday when they travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins on Friday night (7 p.m. – CSN, 610 WIP).

* With his sixth goal of the season tonight, Danny Briere is off to his best start in terms of goals since the 2005-06 season, when he scored seven goals in the first nine games of the year.
* Philadelphia’s six goals on the night were its most of the season and the three goals in the second period were its most in a period this season.
* Sergei Bobrovsky’s 32 saves were a personal season high. 
* The Flyers took a season-low four penalties in the game. 
* Tonight’s win was the 39th consecutive victory for the Flyers when they score five or more goals.  Both of their last setbacks had come to Buffalo.  Their last loss when scoring five or more was a 6-5 SOL vs. Buffalo on December 22, 2007.  Their last regulation loss when scoring five or more goals was a 6-5 loss vs. Buffalo on March 11, 2006.  The Flyers are 48-0-3 in 51 games where they’ve scored five or more goals since that loss.

October 25

FLYERS TV:   Laviolette Reacts // Leino & Boucher

Too Little, Too Late
12:44 a.m.

“It’s completely frustrating and we got exactly what we deserved tonight,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette.

One thing was clear in the Flyers 2-1 loss at Columbus, the Flyers lacked energy, emotion and effort for two very clear periods.

“We shouldn't be putting ourselves in that position,” said Chris Pronger. “We should be coming ready to play from the drop of the puck. When you don't answer the bell I think it's disappointing."

Dan Carcillo crashes the net and puts one of the Flyers' 29 shots on Columbus goaltender Mathieu Garon.

The Flyers eventually got on the board with a late goal by Ville Leino in the third period, a period that was significantly better than the first two with the Flyers out shooting the Blue Jackets by a 12 to 4 count.

"After 40 minutes we got going, but that's just way too late to win a hockey game," said Leino. "[There was] no emotion, no energy, nobody could get going. They got the first goal and we got even slower. You can't win a hockey game like that.”

Should there be some bright side to the game, you can look in two areas. The Hartnell-Briere-Leino line again found the scoresheet with all three players picking up points and making his second straight start in net, Brian Boucher turned in a solid performance making a more than a few key saves to keep his team in the mix.

“The first 40 minutes there was nothing there,” added Laviolette. “There was no jam to our game. We played mindless hockey without any energy and without any passion.”

Laviolette’s words seemed to echo from around the locker room as each player seemed to share the same disappointment.

"We jumped on the ice and it was like we had no goal. We were just going through the motions," said Danny Briere. "I think everybody's pretty disappointed, pretty frustrated with the way things went today."

The Flyers won’t have to let this loss linger for too long, when they play the second half of their first back-to-back games of the season tomorrow night as the Buffalo Sabres come to town in a 7:30 p.m. start (TV-VERSUS; Radio-610 WIP).

October 24

4:49 p.m.

Winning one game is a far cry from a streak, but as many of the players and coaching staff are quick to point out, they don’t consider last night’s 5-2 win over Toronto the beginning, it’s Thursday’s loss to Anaheim that was the first step of trying to forge together a series of wins.

“Well like I said, there were a lot of good things the night before [Thursday vs. Anaheim] too,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “It was one of those games where you get frustrated. We talked about it and the players were frustrated and irritated that they didn’t get the two points. You play a style and brand and you expect it to find you success at the end of the night and it didn’t. Now we need to continue, turn the page and take that same identity and bring it again.”

Breaking through with five goals against the Maple Leafs is a sure fire way to start that string, which the Flyers will try to do tomorrow night in Columbus against the Blue Jackets, with whom they own a 5-1-3 overall record and 2-1-2 record on the road.

Mike Richards leads the Flyers in scoring through the first seven games with six points (1G,5A).

“We played two games really good, but we didn’t get the result against Anaheim, but most nights you’ll win if you play like that,” said Ville Leino. “I think everybody’s been pretty happy. We had some success last night on the power play as well. I think it’s a good thing.”

Columbus is just the first in a series of five games in eight days for the Flyers, whose challenge now also includes managing the schedule.

“You want to find consistency in your game on a daily basis regardless of the schedule,” added Laviolette. “Whether you get time off, whether you get four games in six nights, whether you have back-to-backs, it doesn’t matter. You have to go out and play a brand of hockey. I think that’s the target.”

That brand of hockey has seen the lines being shuffled around (except for the Leino-Briere-Hartnell line) and produced 40-plus shots at the goaltender in each game.

“I like to be a little bit aggressive out there and get to the front of the net a little more, hopefully get some bounces to go my way,” said James van Riemsdyk, who played with Nikolay Zherdev on the other wing and Jeff Carter centering. “That’s key to get the ball rolling a little bit, keep things simple and just try to play hard.”

Another shift in lines saw Claude Giroux playing wing with Mike Richards centering and Darroll Powe on the opposite wing.

“Claude’s been on the wing before and I think playing with Richie there seems to be some chemistry there,” said Laviolette. “Five-on-five and even on the [Penalty Kill] they seem to have some chemistry and I think the chemistry will come as well.”

Regardless of the schedule that lies ahead, last night’s win was just that – one win, but an important win for a Flyers team that is looking to string together points beginning tomorrow night against the Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m. CSN, 610 WIP).

October 23

Briere & Richards //  Boucher & Timonen

10:59 p.m.

Prior to tonight’s game the Flyers hadn’t scored over two goals in their last three games and ranked 28th in the NHL in goals-per-game at 2.17.

That all changed in tonight’s 5-2 victory, which included two quick goals towards the end of the first period by Mike Richards and Ville Leino respectively to get the Flyers in the dressing room with a 2-0 lead heading into the second period.

“He’s a competitive guy,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette of his captain. “In a situation where your team is faced with adversity you need your leaders and your top players to step up and have a big game.  You know, in the forefront, he was there tonight.  It was a good team effort but certainly Mike led the way.”
Brian Boucher had to make just 12 saves for his first win of the year vs. Toronto. (Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

The tally was Leino and Richards’ first of the season while Richards picked up three points on the night assisting on Leino’s goal and setting up Scott Hartnell’s tally in the third.

"It is obviously something that kind of weighs on you mentally,” said Richards on getting his first of the year. “I just felt that if I shoot the puck it is going to go in eventually and that's what happened."

You do think about it. There have been instances where things don't go your way, maybe have some tough luck.  When you don't get the chances it is kind of frustrating but that hasn't been the case.  You just have to get the pucks to the net."

And for the second straight game, the Flyers did just that.

“It just seemed like things weren’t dropping for us,” said Laviolette. “They weren’t going in and tonight it seemed like we finally got the results to be able to pull away from throwing pucks and offense at the net.  The goal is to pull away and it’s really the first time all year that we’ve done that.”

Through the first two periods, the Flyers pelted J-S Giguere with 27 shots, while holding the Maple Leafs to just 11 shots on Brian Boucher. The final tally of the night ended up 40-14 in the Flyers favor.

“We knew the last couple games we didn’t play well,” said defenseman Kimmo Timonen. “We knew we’d have to come out hard and play our game, and get our game back on track, and play our system, and skate hard.  When we skate we’re a good team and I think [for the] most part of the game we did that today.  Hopefully we can do that game-after-game.”

Laviolette also had a little bit of a different look to his lines. The opening faceoff saw Jeff Carter back at center with Nikolay Zherdev and James van Riemsdyk on the wing, while another line consisted of Darroll Powe and Claude Giroux on wings with Mike Richards in the middle.

I thought our lines did a good job and yet we found ourselves on the wrong end of the score again,” added Laviolette on last game versus tonight’s win. “Ultimately, later in the day yesterday we decided to change it.  I thought that the lines were good and I thought that Mike had a terrific game.”

In fact the only line in tact was the Leino-Briere-Hartnell line, which had arguably the strongest showing of the year, with all three players creating multiple scoring chances and all three finding the back of the net.

The Flyers end their five-game homestand with a 2-3-0 record and now begin a stretch of five games in eight days beginning with the Blue Jackets at Columbus on Monday.

* Tonight’s win was the 38th consecutive victory for the Flyers when they score five or more goals.  Their last loss when scoring five or more was a 6-5 SOL vs. Buffalo on December 22, 2007.  Their last regulation loss when scoring five or more goals was a 6-5 loss vs. Buffalo on March 11, 2006.  The Flyers are 47-0-3 in 50 games where they’ve scored five or more goals since that loss. 
* Mike Richards posted a three point night (1G-2A), his first since December 23, 2009 (2G-1A) at Tampa Bay.
* The Flyers blocked more Toronto shots tonight (18) than got through on Brian Boucher (14).  Kimmo Timonen blocked eight of the 18 shots.   
* The Flyers have now won five in a row over the Leafs in Philadelphia over the past two years, with the last loss coming on March 12, 2008 (TOR 3, PHI 2).
* The Flyers had two unassisted goals tonight, the first time that’s happened since a 6-2 win at Montreal on Feb. 13, 2010 (Betts and Briere).

2:29 p.m.
Scott Hartnell ended a three-year hair-cutting streak today when he showed up for the team's morning skate with a fresh new haircut.

He cut his hair yesterday and donated it to Locks of Love (locksoflove.org).  Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.

“I looked on their website and read that my hair had to be 10 inches long," said Hartnell. "I went over to the East End Salon in Philadelphia and had the barber chop off my hair, place it in a package and shipped it to Locks of Love.”

The Flyers have loaned defenseman Oskars Bartulis to their AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, for conditioning purposes today.

Bartulis is scoreless with a plus-1 rating and 2 PIM in two appearances for the Flyers this season.  He will be available for Adirondack’s game in Hershey tonight.

October 22

Laviolette // Leino & Briere

3:33 p.m.

The Flyers will wrap up their season high, five-game homestand tomorrow when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs, and from the coaches to the players that game is what they are solely focused on. Not the schedule that lies ahead.

“You can’t manage to save yourself for next week or next month,” said Scott Hartnell. “You have to play every game hard and leave it all out on the ice because you’re going to get the rest in between. The coaches and training staff are good at that.”

“I don’t think you ever plan that far ahead,” said Matt Carle. “It’s always the next game, whether you’re playing a back-to-back or three games in four nights, you’re always focused on the task at hand and right now that’s playing the Maple Leafs. This is the end of a homestand for us and we want to go out with a bang and get the ball rolling the right way.”

Ville Leino leads the Flyers with four assists through the first six games.

The Maple Leafs come into Philadelphia atop the Northeast Division with nine points and a 4-1-1 record, but have dropped two straight games after getting off to a 4-0-0 start.

“It’s a cliché, but you just have to take it one day at a time,” said Chris Pronger. “You have to worry about today – that was practice and preparation for tomorrow, which is Toronto.”

Philadelphia also played the Leafs twice in the preseason splitting a pair of shootout victories, including one shootout, which went 11 rounds.

The Flyers own a four-game home winning streak over the Leafs, with their last loss coming on Mar. 12, 2009

After their tilt with the Leafs, the Flyers enter a stretch of five games (two on the road, three at home) in an eight-day span.

The Flyers have one three-day break in the second week of November, but other than that their next significant break occurs towards the holidays from Dec. 21-27.

“You have to take each game as it comes, but at the same time you have to stay on top of conditioning and preparation for the long grind of the season,” said Pronger. “As each game comes each team will pose a different problem or threat and you have to adjust the team ideas and concepts.”

Playing many games with short amount of rest or off practice days are sometimes good for a team.

“I think guys like to have a bunch of games in a bunch of nights, especially if you’re playing good,” added Hartnell. “I think we’ve been playing good. We had a good game yesterday, but the result wasn’t there. When you’re playing every second or third night, you get in a rhythm, you get into a routine and its nice to have.”

Ville Leino left practice a little early at today’s skate after a collision with Chris Pronger, but was quick to admit its of no concern.

“It’s just a muscle. I have some muscles that I didn’t [even] know about. Hopefully it should be good for tomorrow.”

Perhaps of greater importance is that the chemistry of the Leino-Hartnell-Briere line is beginning to get back into form. In last night’s 3-2 loss to the Ducks, Briere and Hartnell both received over 19 minutes of ice time, while Leino received his second highest ice time of the season at just over 16 minutes.

Briere (4G) and Leino (4A) are two of the three players that lead the Flyers in scoring with four points in six games early on in the season. Claude Giroux being the third person with three goals and an assist.

“To be honest this week I started to feel really comfortable. I was able to push in my skating, I didn’t get sore at all,” added Leino. “I felt really good yesterday skating-wise, forchecking on the puck and really balanced out there.”

October 21
11:09 p.m.

Laviolette // Hartnell & Giroux // Bobrovsky

Late Goal Sinks Flyers

Throughout their four-day layoff, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette talked about crashing the net and getting shots through to the net.

Tonight, the Flyers took less penalties (four minor penalties in total) and fired a season high 42 shots at Ducks’ goaltender Curtis McElhinney, but eventually fell by a 3-2 count on a late goal by Ryan Getzlaf.

“It’s alarming to me that we lost the game, it’s disappointing we lost the game,” said Laviolette. “I can’t control people’s schedules, and certainly you’d like to win all the games, the fact they played the night before and you want to win and whether they played the night before or they didn’t play the night before, you want to win and we didn’t win and that’s disappointing.”

The Flyers, who fell behind 1-0 early to Anaheim who had played the night before in Columbus, battled back on two occasions to force a 2-2 tie heading into the third period on a goal by Claude Giroux.

“We’re getting more shots on net and moving the puck better,” said Giroux, who has three goals and four points to tie for the team lead in scoring. “We’re just helping each other better on the ice.  We’ve just got to find a way to put it in the net and we’re not.  Anytime you have games like that, like tonight, we’ve got to find a way to win the game at the end of the third.”

The first 10 minutes of the game the Flyers certainly practiced what they preached, firing a number of shots on Anaheim goaltender Curtis McElhinney, ending the period out shooting the Ducks 14-7.

“I thought we had a lot of looks,” added Laviolette. “I mean we put a lot of pucks on the net, got blocked again tonight and it seemed like we had looks, and missed the net and we missed a lot of opportunities at the net, but it seemed like there were a lot of pucks going that way, the guys were pretty tenacious especially in the first two periods around the net, and were not getting the results were looking for with the bodies that are in there.  We’ll continue to look at it.”

The Flyers continued crashing the Ducks’ net with several near misses in the first five minutes of the second period and eventually tied the game up, remaining defensively sound as well, keeping Anaheim to under 10 shots on goal through the first half of the game.

The Flyers will look to end their three-game skid when they wrap up their season-high five-game homestand when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Sergei Bobrovsky made the first back-to-back starts of his career and after yielding a goal on Anaheim’s first shot, made a point-blank save on Todd Marchant on a breakaway to keep it a one-goal game heading into the final period.

The late goal, however, seemed to cause confusion and went to video replay before it was ruled in favor of the Ducks.

“When the player was giving me the puck, the puck somehow lost traction and I stopped and I tried to cover it,” said Bobrovsky of the winning goal. “It ended up just sliding right past me.”

Despite the solid showing, the 22-year-old Russian goaltender feels that his performances could be better and the team winning is the top priority.

“The team lost and I feel that it’s my fault also,” added Bobrovsky. “We could’ve been better. The team must win all the time.”

October 20

3:48 p.m.

Power play hard at work

Nearing the end of their four-day break in game action, the Flyers have had a good amount of time to work on their power play, which has struggled out of the gates.


If you are one to take stock in trends, then the news is good for Flyers fans. In each of the last two seasons the Flyers have finished in the Top Six in the NHL (3rd in 2009-10: 21.5 percent & 6th in 2008-09: 22.5 percent).

One of the groups stayed the same. I thought they moved the puck around well,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “Again, we’re just trying to find different things, trying to find something… and find some consistency with it.”

The one unit that did not stay the same was the forging of Danny Briere, Jeff Carter and Scott Hartnell who seemed to be developing a natural fit.

Another wild card in the equation is the addition of Andrej Meszaros. Laviolette last season used two defensemen, most notably Chris Pronger and Kimmo Timonen, however Meszaros seems to be another weapon the coaching staff would like to utilize.

“He’s got a big shot,” Laviolette has added throughout the preseason and regular season. “If we can send some over and set him up to shoot the puck, he’s a power-play defenseman.”

The Flyers just might get their chance tomorrow night when they take on the Anaheim Ducks, who lead the league in penalty minutes per game at 29.2, which include 38 minor penalties, one more than the Flyers’ 37 minors.

It’s never too early to start thinking about and shopping for the holiday season, and Chris Pronger certainly knows that.

Today Pronger personally signed sticks for all Flyers fans purchasing the Deluxe Santa Sacks packages, which go on sale Monday, November 15th. To access the presale sign up for the Flyerwire Newsletter by clicking here!

October 19
10:39 a.m.

Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren announced today that defenseman Matt Walker will undergo surgery and be sidelined for 10-12 weeks.

"Matt Walker will undergo surgery on his right hip tomorrow (Wednesday) to repair a boney impingement and a torn labrum," said Holmgren. "The surgery will take place in Nashville, Tenn. and will be performed by Dr. Thomas Byrd."

Walker, who was acquired on July 19 as part of the Simon Gagne trade, is believed to have suffered the injury during a fight he had with Devils' Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond in the Flyers opening preseason game vs. New Jersey on Sept. 21.

Further details to follow...

October 18
3:03 p.m.

Laviolette // Carcillo & Briere

Who’s in, who’s out
3:03 p.m.

As the Flyers entered training camp, one of the storylines surrounding the team was its depth. The depth at defense usually dominated the headlines, but somewhat overlooked was the lack of openings on the offensive side of the puck.

The same still remains today with the Flyers five games into the season. Owners of a 2-2-1 record, but having dropped their last two contests, it’s clear that line ups are often not set in stone.

“Just because somebody comes out of the line up doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re playing bad,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette on his roster decision last Saturday. “You have to make a decision. If somebody’s going in, somebody’s coming out… it’s that simple.”

The last game saw Andreas Nodl make his season debut on the first line unit with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter playing against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Dan Carcillo had played the previous four games with Richards and Carter, but was not in Saturday’s lineup in favor of Nodl.

Andreas Nodl made his 2010-11 debut for the Flyers against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. (Getty Images)

“[Andreas Nodl] had a really good camp and I didn’t want him sitting too long,” added Laviolette. “I wanted to see what he could do with Richards and Carter and some of the shifts he got he did a good job.”

Nodl appeared in 10 regular season games and 10 Stanley Cup playoff games with the Flyers last season, averaging just under nine minutes of ice time, and throughout the off-season has worked on getting stronger on the defensive side of the puck.

Last season, Carcillo primarily skated on the third-fourth line alongside Ian Laperriere, Blair Betts and Darroll Powe on any given night, but Carcillo was quick to point out that his switch this season doesn’t necessarily change his style of play.

“My job is pretty much the same on either line,” added Carcillo. “Getting in, getting on the forcheck, getting my hits. Obviously with those guys (Richards and Carter), you go to the net and the puck’s always going to be there, and they’re a little bit better offensively but other than that I pretty much play the same role on any line that I’m put on.”

The Flyers boast a solid offensive unit that is eight-nine players deep with a fourth line unit that often focuses primarily on defense and doesn’t allow for much room to fit everyone in on any given night.

This situation is certainly nothing new or out of the ordinary, in fact even the players who are a main stay each and every night have been in that situation before.

“For the most part, most of the guys in the room have been there before and they know how hard it is,” said Danny Briere. “He’s not the only one, before it was Nodl waiting for his chance and it might be someone else next week.”

The Flyers are in midst of a rare four days off between games. After a complete day off away from the rink yesterday, they were back to work for their game on Thursday against the Ducks.

It marks as one of five times during the year the Flyers will have four days off between games with their season-high coming in the form of a seven-day layoff between Dec. 21 & Dec. 27.

Their other breaks lasting four day or more are Jan. 26-30, Feb. 6-9 and Feb. 26-Mar. 3.

October 16

Penalties the difference
9:32 p.m.

Laviolette // Richards & Bobrovsky

Although the rivalry and the opponent played a factor in tonight’s 5-1 loss to the Penguins, the difference maker in tonight’s game was penalties, penalties and more penalties.

“We’re taking penalties; we’re going to the box,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “Whether they’re questionable or marginal, or whether they’re deserved, there’s an infraction, it’s there. We’re going to the box, again, too many times tonight and it ended up costing us.”

The Flyers gave the Penguins two separate 5-on-3 advantages in tonight’s game, not to mention a four-minute double minor committed by Jeff Carter in the waning seconds of the second period.

“We have to be careful with all of our penalties,” said Jeff Carter. “We really shot ourselves in the foot tonight. We’re in a 1-1, 2-1 game there and take some penalties and the next thing you know its 4-1, 5-1.”

All told, the Penguins wound up with eight power plays and over 14 minutes of time on the man advantage in which Sidney Crosby tallied both goals.

“Well if you give a team like Pittsburgh 5 on 3’s, two of them, in a game and obviously with the skill that they have, and the power play that they have, eventually they are going to capitalize,” said Flyers’ captain Mike Richards. “If you keep putting them on the power play, they are going to keep making adjustments, they are a good enough team to make adjustments throughout the game to what they need to do.”

The Flyers remain among the top three penalized teams in the NHL early on this season, recording 37 minor penalties with 101 minutes in the box.

“If you go back and look at them, they are avoidable,” added Laviolette. “The penalties are avoidable. It taxes the penalty killers, it taxes the defensemen who have to kill the penalties, it takes the role out of the bench. Five on five, through the first half of the game, we’re in the game, we’re moving, we’re trying to generate things and it just keeps coming out. We’re not scoring five on five. That doesn’t help but then we go to the box, we’re killing penalties, now we’re on defense again using the penalty killers a lot, the defensemen a lot and it’s not good enough. Five on five has got to be better. The penalties that we are taking have to come out of the game. We need to be more disciplined.”

Briere gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead with his team-leading fourth goal of the year through the team’s five games.

Just about the only postive in tonight's game, the Flyers are making strides in getting pucks to the net, firing 30 shots on Brent Johnson and their power play got on the board after going 0-for-their last 15, dating back to their season opener in Pittsburgh.

"Our power play has been struggling so we're trying to put more pucks on the net and creating more opportunity,” said Briere. “That's exactly what happened. It was a missed shot by Jeff Carter but when you start shooting the puck more, good things happen and I was able to find the puck off the end board."

The Flyers will have a complete day off of practice on Sunday, which begins a four-day break in game action and return to the ice against the Anaheim Ducks on Thur., Oct. 21. It will be the fourth game in their season-high five game homestand.

10:49 a.m.

This morning was an optional skate for the Flyers, who will take on Pittsburgh tonight at 6 p.m. The Penguins played last night, earning their first victory in their new home, the CONSOL Energy Center with a 3-2 overtime win over the NY Islanders. They did not skate this morning.

Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette revealed Sergei Bobrovsky will indeed get the start in net tonight as the Flyers play their fourth game in the last eight days and third contest in their season-high five-game homestand at the Wells Fargo Center.

October 15
2:22 p.m.

Ready for Pittsburgh… again

Laviolette // Timonen & Pronger

The Flyers schedule sees them play their chief rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins, three of their six times in the month of October, having already played the Pens once thus far, opening the season with a 3-2 victory on the road.

Tomorrow’s game, which has been changed to a game time of 6 p.m., brings the Penguins to the Wells Fargo Center and with all due respect to all of the other teams, this rivalry seems to bring the best out of both clubs.

“Those games… it’s a lot easier to get up for,” said Danny Briere. “[You] don’t need a lot of self motivation when you play the Penguins. The rivalry there, the hatred between the two teams, they’re always fun and intense to play.”

“Those games… it’s a lot easier to get up for. [You] don’t need a lot of self motivation when you play the Penguins. The rivalry there, the hatred between the two teams, they’re always fun and intense to play.” - Danny Briere

“We’re going to have a good challenge tomorrow night,” said Mike Richards. “Obviously with teams that we play more often, there’s always a rivalry, but especially Pittsburgh who we’ve played in the playoffs a couple years ago. It’s not hard to get up for those games.”

Their last meeting was nothing short of intense and emotional with the Penguins opening up their new building and hosting a power play at the end of regulation only to come up short by one goal.

Rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was the star of the game for the Flyers stopping 29 of 31 shots to earn his first NHL victory in his first start.

Laviolette did not reveal who his starting goaltender would be for tomorrow’s matchup, saying that decision will most likely be made in the morning.

He also added that working and going over video of the recent power-play struggles the team seems to be going through are revealing some factors and playing a role in their on-ice practices.

“Not enough support on the puck, not enough movement with the puck, not enough urgency in our step and not enough attack at the net,” said Laviolette. “I think there’s a combination of a bunch of different things. The bottom line is that it has to be better. We have the right guys in the room, I think we’ve proven that.”

Although the Pens are not exactly off to a great start, the Flyers are proceeding with caution with Pittsburgh and know that with the talent in their lineup, injuries or not, they’re still a dangerous team.
Matt Walker during the Flyers' preseason game on Sept. 21 vs. the Devils.
“When you have guys like Crosby and Malkin, they can open up a game in a hurry,” added Briere. “They’re never out of a game, you always have to be careful. They’re a tough team.”

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren updated the status of defenseman Matt Walker following practice today at the Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone.

“We still aren’t sure on what direction we are going to go here," said Holmgren. "He had a decent day the other day on the ice and now he, for the last couple of days, hasn’t been as good. We need to hear back from one doctor and then we will go from there. I would imagine after the weekend we will have a more clear direction on what we are going to do.”

Holmgren continued that the injury occured during a fight he had with Devils' Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond in the Flyers opening preseason game vs. New Jersey on Sept. 21 and may require surgery.

"The way it was explained to me was he felt something pop in the fight he had in New Jersey and it considerably deteriorated since that time.  He tries to do things on the ice and he can’t because everything gets balled up in there.  There are some issues running through these tests and we are trying to figure out the best way to go about handling this.”

Should Walker need surgery it will most likely sideline him for a couple months.

October 14
11:19 p.m.

Laviolette // Boucher

Power Play Not Clicking

The chief concern after tonight’s 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning was pretty obvious. The Flyers power play has just not been clicking from the beginning of this very young season.

“Well, when you lose a game and the power play could have made a difference, it’s frustrating,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette.

The Flyers tonight went 0-for-4 with 6:47 of time on the man advantage, including two man-advantages in which they were 5-on-3’s.

“[We’re] probably trying to get too cute,” said Chris Pronger. “We need to simplify it, get pucks to the net, get traffic. Whenever you struggle to get goals, especially on the power play, there are easy ways to get out of it and the best way is to get traffic to the front and pucks to the net.”

Danny Briere gave the Flyers a little hope with his goal in the third period to close the gap, but still admitted that their woes on the power-play made the difference in tonight’s contest.

“A little bit of everything,” said Briere of what he perceives as the problem. “There’s not much going right. One power play it seems like we’re not able to get control of the puck, the next power play it seems like we’re not able to find the lanes."

Despite the stat that the Flyers sit at 5.9 percent (1-for-17) on the power-play, the good news is that from the players to the coaching staff, all feel confident that the goals will come.

"I'm certain we're going to score power play goals this year," added Laviolette. "We’re not scoring them right now, so we need to continue to look at it, need to work at it, and tonight we didn’t do enough on the power play.  It could have made a difference.”

With such an influx of talent at the forward level, members of the team and coaching staff also feel that is a good problem to have and all that is needed is the right chemistry.

“I still think we’re trying to move people around to find the spots where people are going to be going,” said Flyers captain Mike Richards. “It’s tough going on the ice with different people a lot, but I think that’s just experimenting to get things to work and to get chemistry on the ice. But, I think it’s a point, to answer your question, that we have to work on, but not a concern.”

Simon Gagne gets a warm welcome from Flyers fans in his first return to Philadelphia.
Tonight marked the first trip back to Philadelphia for Simon Gagne. A tribute video was played at the first commercial break of the first period.

“Actually it was nice,” said Gagne. “It was a nice treat thing from the Flyers, a nice ovation from the fans; even on the warm up when I jumped on the ice I heard some cheers and a couple nice signs saying 'welcome back home.' I definitely went through a lot of emotions, that video was something.  They told me before the game that they were going to do something and I was kind of ready for it, but it was still hard to watch, a lot of emotion there, but I’m glad it’s over now.”

* The Flyers dropped their first regulation contest of the season and move to 2-1-1 through four games.  They remain in first place in the Atlantic Division and in third place in the Eastern Conference.

* Nikolay Zherdev’s goal tonight was his first as a Flyer and his 100th career NHL goal.  It was his first NHL goal since March 26, 2009.

* Danny Briere’s goal was his team-leading third of the season.  In 25 career games against Tampa Bay, Briere has scored 11 goals and added 11 assists for 22 points.  The 22 points against the Lightning are more than any other current Flyer.

* Simon Gagne’s return to Philadelphia wasn’t the only significant homecoming in the NHL tonight.  Detroit’s Mike Modano returned to Dallas with his new Red Wings teammates.  Modano spent 20 years with the Dallas/Minnesota franchise before signing with the Red Wings over the summer. 

October 12

Still Experimenting
2:52 p.m.

Watching practice and seeing the intensity of drills the Flyers went through today would lead you to believe that the Flyers lost last night’s home opener and in fact did not sit in first place in the Atlantic Division (and entire NHL for that matter) with five points under their belt after going 2-0-1 in their first three.

However the fact is that the season is still young and as Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette states, it is important to keep working and keep focused.

Laviolette // Briere

I didn’t like the last power play we had last night, but I did see a lot of good things,” said Laviolette. “In St. Louis we had a lot of shots, they just didn’t get through to the net. There was a lot of good movement.”

In fact, the only real negative attention the Flyers have faced in this young season has been on their power play struggles, which through three games currently sits at 7.7 percent, going 1-for-13 thus far.

“We worked on it today and we’ll keep going after it, but I think we have the right guys and Joe Mullen does a good job at preparing those guys, so I think it’s just a matter of time.” added Laviolette.

Being early on in the season it’s really not of concern to the coaching staff or players as in most instances it’s typically the last part of your game that develops into a new season.

“I think it’s just a matter of everybody getting on track. It’s early and the power play is usually the last thing you get to work on,” said Briere. “We have enough bodies here and everybody’s healthy, so he’s trying to mix and match, he’s trying different combinations and at this point it’s about getting on the same page.”

Laviolette did admit to at least one combination he likes to see on the man advantage being Briere, Giroux and Hartnell.

A lot of the attention on getting more minutes and seeing more and more power play time has also been focused on forward James van Riemsdyk who has had three very strong games to start the season, averaging 17:03 of ice time and recording two assists in his three games.

On the defensive side of the puck, Andrej Meszaros is someone fans could see get more time with his steady performance in preseason and the so far this year.

“I think he’s done a really good job in battles with his power. He contains people, he breaks things up he moves things in the right direction. He’s got enough skill to jump on the power play.

With the offensive talented teams that lie ahead for the Flyers, the next two games are sure to see special teams continuing to play a role in both contest, if not the deciding factor.

October 11

Laviolette // Pronger & Carter // Bobrovsky

Emotions carry Flyers on Banner night
11:38 p.m.

Pardon the pun, but the Flyers came out flying tonight. And for good reason.

The Flyers were returning to their home ice for the first time this season after going 1-0-1 in their two opening road games. However this was no ordinary opening night.

The Prince of Wales Trophy was in the house and the Flyers raised their Eastern Conference Championship banner where it will rest forever in the rafters next to their other seven conference title banners.

“It gives you some chills,” said James van Riemsdyk. “Obviously it was a great run last year and obviously we’ve put it behind us, but it really helps sum up how special it was and gives us a chance to move on and just worry about this year.”

So as you can imagine, unlike the last two games, the Flyers came out ready to attack the Avalanche.

“I like emotion, I’m a believer that, you have it, you harness it, and you use it your advantage, don’t use it recklessly,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “Certainly at the start of the game, you can grab that, and the fans, the night was a great night. I think our guys came out hard.  I really liked our first period.”

And with that came a strong forecheck on the penalty kill from the Flyers captain Mike Richards who set up Giroux, who made a beautiful move on Colorado goaltender Craig Anderson to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead.

"That goal was all Richie,” said Giroux. “I was able to be in a pretty good position. He was able to tip the puck to me on the breakaway and I made a little move and it worked.  Any time you can score goals, you obviously gain more confidence.  You feel great about yourself.  Like I said, it was all Richie there and I was pretty lucky to get that puck up."

Moments later Jeff Carter stole the puck on a Colorado defender in the waning moments of yet another penalty kill to go in all alone and in a carbon copy of Giroux’s goal, Cater made it 2-0 to give the Flyers the lead heading into the locker room.

“When you have that kind of vision and patience with the puck you’re bound to make some nice plays, and both of those plays they can do at top speed,” said Chris Pronger of Richards and Giroux. “We could have had a number of chances towards the latter part of the third and their goalie made some great saves. It’s a good start for us.”

Pronger returned to the line up for the first time this season and from all accounts looks like he picked up where he left off.

“Really solid, he moved the puck really well, it seemed, every time the puck was in his hand,” added Laviolette of Pronger. “Pretty amazing because he missed all of training camp and we played a fast team, Colorado’s fast and the game happened really fast.”

After a lapse in the second period and the start of the third, the Flyers found themselves tied, 2-2 with the task of stealing back the momentum from the Avs and with about five minutes left to play in regulation, they did just that.

Jeff Carter tallied his second goal of the night to give the Flyers a 3-2 with 2:38 seconds left in regulation.

“Yeah, I just whacked at it and it was jammed in front and good things happen when you throw the puck at the net,” said Carter.

“I think we would have liked to have kept the same style of play as we had in the first period,” added Pronger. “We kind of let off the gas a little bit there in the second and stopped getting pucks in deep, and because of that they got a little bit of momentum and kind of started coming after us and we were able to rally back in the third.”

The Flyers improved their record to 2-0-1 and have now won each of their last two home openers. They continue their five-game, 13-day homestand on Thursday and face a former teammate when Simon Gagne and the Tampa Bay Lightning come to town.

October 9

Penalties overshadow hard fought game

2:01 a.m.
The Flyers and Blues combined to take 25 penalties with edge going to St. Louis, who received 10 of the penalties and received over 14 minutes of time on the power play.

Still in a much different game than their season opener in Pittsburgh, the Flyers fought off nine of the Blues’ 10 power plays and over came a third period deficit to force overtime and claim a point in the standings.
“I think there were too much of specialty teams to get into that type of flow where you’re rolling your lines over and everything was chopped up,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “I thought we played our best as the game went on. The deeper the game went, the more we took control of it.”

Flyers TV:

The Flyers got off to a slow start for the second consecutive game, taking four penalties in the opening period, including going down, what would have been a full 1:33 of 3-on-5 barring Brad Boyes goal to give the Blues a 1-0 lead after the first.

“No, I look at the penalties that were called against us – they were penalties. They were good calls,” said Briere on whether he thought the penalties disrupted any rhythm of the team’s offense.

“The refs made the calls that should have been made. I think it’s up to us to do a better job of not putting ourselves in the position so we have to take the blame for that. What’s frustrating is if the same calls are not called the other way.”
The Flyers added another six penalties in the second period, albeit four from Scott Hartnell who received 19 minutes in penalties including five for fighting and a 10 minute misconduct towards the end of the period for instigating a tilt with Blues’ forward Brad Winchester.

However chopped up the game was in terms of their power-play or penalty kill units, the Flyers called upon once more for some of their third period magic to force overtime.

Briere tallied his second goal in as many nights after finding a rebound in the slot and firing it top shelf past Halak. At least for the first two games of the year, the Briere-Hartnell-Leino line seems to be continuing their scoring touch.

“We had our chances,” said Briere. “I thought in the second half of the game we played much better, but I guess the positive of it is that we get a point out of it in a tough game on the road.”

James van Riemsdyk came into this year wanting a bigger role, added responsibility and of course more ice time.

Well tonight he received it.

Arguably one of his strongest games of his young career, van Riemsdyk led all Flyer forwards in time-on-ice with 21:13, which included many opportunities on the power play unit. The 21:13 is a new career-high, which surpassed his previous mark of 20:51 vs. Montreal on Apr. 2.

What might be of more importance however is that he is finding confidence and a little chemistry building with his new line mates.

“I think it’s going to be our job to provide that secondary scoring,” said van Riemsdyk of Claude Giroux and Nikolay Zherdev. “Guys are probably going to key in on Richie, Carts or Danny B’s line, so that kind of leaves it up to us to maybe not get as much attention, but we still need to put some pucks in the net.”

With their season opening road trip in the books, the Flyers will now prepare for opening night presented by Ransome International at the Wells Fargo Center when they take on the Colorado Avalanche on Monday as raise their 2010 Eastern Conference Championship Banner. It will also kick off the club’s longest homestand of the season, playing five games in 13 days.

October 7

All about Bob

11:52 p.m.
Sergei Bobrovsky doesn’t speak English too well at the moment.

But in his NHL debut last night in Pittsburgh that’s about the only thing that wasn’t done well from the 22-year old rookie goaltender.

Considering the fact that he was making his first NHL start, in the first NHL game in the Pittsburgh Penguins new arena, playing against Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin and faced with the task of outdueling Marc-Andre Fleury, I would say that’s a pretty good first NHL win for Bobrovsky who backstopped the Flyers to a 3-2 win over their intra-state rivals.

Laviolette // Matt Carle & Sergei Bobrovsky

“I thought that [Bobrovsky] had a solid month, day after day and I think you should always think of the positives,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette about throwing a young rookie into a season opening game against an offensive force such as the Penguins.”

The fact of the matter is that Bobrovsky stepped in against one of the best scoring teams in the NHL and stopped 29 of 31 shots and fought off four of five power plays the Pens threw at him, including a 6-on-4 advantage in the last 1:13 of regulation.

“It didn’t matter to me whether it was Malkin or Crosby,” said Bobrovsky via interpreter. “I was just following the game and making sure I stopped every puck and all the shots because I knew they were coming at that point.”

“I don’t think it was a fluke – the 30 days,” added Laviolette. “It wasn’t based on one or two days, it was based on a body of work. Bobs went in and did his job tonight, and did it very well.”

Bobrovsky by no means eased into the game as Pittsburgh tested the young and, in their minds, unproven goaltender. The Pens tallied upwards of eight or nine quality scoring chances in the first period to go along with their 14 shots, all of which he shut the door, albeit with a little help from the post.

“It could’ve easily been two or three to nothing and he stood on his head,” said Matt Carle. “He was ready to play and once we got our legs under us, we got some ugly goals and started creating chances.”

He made two key saves in the first, including a point-blank, side-to-side save on Mike Comrie, while also stopping all 24 shots through the first two periods as Danny Briere and Blair Betts gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead heading into the final frame.

Perhaps the most curious thing about Bobrovsky is his confidence level, and the confidence level that his teammates have in his abilities.

“He’s a quiet guy and he spends time in the corner doing his preparation just like any good goalie should,” said Coburn, who admitted he wasn’t shocked at all that Bobrovsky got the start. “I thought he was stellar in the preseason and that’s the reason he was starting tonight.”

“It wasn’t anything too out of the ordinary. I wasn’t nervous, I was ready for this,” said Bobrovsky. “I don’t necessarily think it was just me. It was a team game and I thought the team played very well. At times I had to make saves and at times other guys had to make plays, but it was a whole team effort.”

- Bobrovsky is the youngest goaltender in Flyers history to start an opening night game in Flyers history at 22 years, 17 days… the previous record was Ron Hextall at 22 years, 159 days.

- He was the #1 star and made 29 saves to win his NHL debut.  He becomes the first Flyers goalie to win his NHL debut since Antero Niittymaki on February 4, 2004 vs. Washington. 

- Claude Giroux robbed the puck from Pens defenseman Kris Letang and went in all alone on Fleury and deked him one too many times to keep up to score his first of the season… It was his first shorthanded goal of his NHL career. 

- The Flyers record in season opening games is 20-16-7 and 19-14-7 when opening on the road… They won their opener for the second straight year and the third time in the last four years… They also win their road opener for the second consecutive year and third time in the last four years. 
- Kimmo Timonen played 25:34 to lead all players in time on ice.  Matt Carle and Braydon Coburn both registered over 22 minutes of ice time.

- Michael Leighton was officially placed on long-term IR today. Which means Leighton’s salary does not count against the Flyers salary cap.

11:28 a.m.
One of the biggest headliners in camp was the play of 22-year-old Russian goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.

Now it looks like Bobrovsky will be one of the biggest headlines for the regular season.

Bobrovsky will get the start in tonight’s season opener in Pittsburgh announced Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette.

Saunders & Bundy Preview

“It's not just based on a day or two,” said Laviolette. “From the time he’s been here he’s been sharp. Every game, every situation, every practice, every scrimmage, he’s looked really good.

"I think Boosh [Brian Boucher] came in and he played well. I think it’s nice to have two goaltenders [playing well], you’ll see both early in the season, but we had to have a starting point somewhere and I really like the way [Bobrovsky’s] put together a body of work the last month.”

Bobrovsky led the team in preseason action, appearing in five games and posting a 3-0-1 mark to go along with a 1.76 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in 205 minutes of play, allowing six goals on 98 shots.

“He’s came in and proven that he can play in this League, so why not give him a chance,” said Flyers captain Mike Richards.


There remains only one real question remaining with regards to the final lineup for tonight and that of course is whether Chris Pronger will play tonight.

That question, according to Laviolette, will most likely come down to a game-time decision.

“He’s doing good,” said Laviolette. “I haven’t talked to him since coming off the ice, so we have lineup decisions for tonight… but he looked good out there this morning.”

Pronger has not missed a regular season or playoff game as a Flyer, or for the last two seasons, playing all 82 games, plus 13 playoff games with the Ducks in 2008-09.

October 5

Laviolette // Boucher // Carle

We’re Ready
5:55 p.m.

There’s no denying that the questions that have been circling around the Flyers in the last few weeks have been those of injury concerns. Injuries to the forwards, the defense and goaltending.

Well with preseason behind the team now and the season opener just two days away, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette put those questions to bed today.

“We’re ready,” Laviolette told the media today following the team’s morning skate. “The guys have worked hard. They came here in really good shape and we worked on a lot of things.”

We’ve taken a lot of the situations that happen in a game, we’ve reviewed them and gone over them and improved on them. There’s really no way to tell until you start playing games, but certainly I think the guys have worked hard and covered a lot of area.”

The Flyers finished the preseason with a 5-2-1 record and received their best offensive output from newly acquired Russian forward Nikolay Zherdev who posted five goals and six points in six of the Flyers’ eight preseason games, while Jeff Carter also recorded six points (4G,2A) in five of those games.

Still, without the services of Michael Leighton for the opening month, the questions on the goaltending situation will continue to be asked, despite the above average stats that both Brian Boucher and Sergei Bobrovsky have boasted during the preseason.

“Our goaltenders have played pretty well,” said Laviolette. “Yes, your team has to play well in front of the goaltender, but the goaltenders who have played for us, have played well for us.”

We have two guys that are capable of stopping the puck right now and we feel confident with them.”

Boucher went 1-1-0 with a 1.90 goals-against average and .939 save percentage, while 22-year-old rookie netminder Bobrovsky impressed the coaching staff by getting most of the playing time and posting a 3-0-1 mark with a 1.79 GAA and .939 save percentage.


On the defensive side of the puck, a big piece of the blueline returned to ice for a second time with his teammates as Chris Pronger took part in today’s skate.

“He’s getting closer,” said Laviolette. “I thought he looked strong both days. He looks good, he looks like he’s getting back… When Prongs is available in practice and he starts to get close, its good for everybody.  It’s good for the organization, the team, our success. He’s a big player in our lineup.”

One person in particular who was excited was his partner in crime last season, Matt Carle.

“We picked up right where we left off and there’s not too much to be said between us. It’s about simplifying things and playing our own games,” said Carle.

The two combined for a plus-minus rating of plus-41 and 90 points during last year’s regular season, and along with the Hartnell-Briere-Leino line, might be the second-most predictable combination you’ll see stay in tact this season.

Whatever the lineup looks like on Thursday at the new Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, everybody from the players, the coaching staff and management are eagerly awaiting the chance to defend their Conference championship.

October 4
2:04 p.m.

News from Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren just in... the Flyers have released veteran forward Bill Guerin from his professional try out contract. In addition the Flyers have also loaned seven players to their AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms (Johan Backlund, Mike Testwuide, Ben Holmstrom, Erik Gustafsson, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Jon Kalinski and David Laliberte).

“It just got to the point where it didn’t look like it was going to work for us,” said Holmgren on Guerin. “I think we all were hoping that he would add something. I know it was a tough situation for Billy to be in and we all thanked him for coming in on a try out like he did. He’s a class guy and obviously has had a tremendous, tremendous career in the NHL, but we just didn't see him helping us moving forward.”

The 39-year-old Guerin began skating with the Flyers in early September and officially signed a PTO with the club on Sept. 13.

In five preseason games with the Flyers Guerin posted one goal on seven shots and two penalty minutes.

Among the younger players being loaned to the Phantoms, many of them will get a chance to play with the Flyers top affiliate, but Holmgren did make it clear that they did turned a few heads in camp and made for some tough decisions.

“We do have some young kids that we like during the course of training camp and the preseason games,” added Holmgren. “Some of those guys were loaned down today, but its one of those things where we need to move forward.”

Some notables who are moving forward for the time being are 22-year-old Russian goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and forward Andreas Nodl.

The moves leave the Flyers roster at 25 players (14 forwards, eight defensemen and three goaltenders). 

Click HERE for an updated roster

The Flyers will announce their opening night roster in the next few days before they travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins on Thursday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m on VERSUS and 610 WIP radio.

October 3

Sloppy play in second dooms Flyers
12:04 a.m.

Holmgren // Laviolette

Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette was pretty happy with his team midway through the first period when they outworked a stacked Buffalo line up and jumped out to an early 2-0 lead.

That was about to change… quickly.

After giving up back-to-back goals to allow the Sabres to tie it up, the Flyers, whose line up consisted of mostly younger players, gave up a third goal to give Buffalo a 3-2 lead after the first period.

Unfortunately the situation went from bad to ugly as the Flyers gave up another five goals to the Sabres in the second period, while being outshot 14 to 6 in the process.

By the time the final horn sounded the Flyers dropped a 9-3 contest in the back-end of their home-and-home series with the Sabres.

“We didn’t compete in the second period and we got our ears pinned back,” said Laviolette. “The first period was a close period and the third period was a close period. If you don’t compete you get kicked and that’s what happened in the second period. We didn’t play hard enough.”

Also on hand to watch the game was Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren who echoed Laviolette’s sentiments.

“There was nothing really going early on in the second and then we started to play pond hockey and they’re a pretty good team,” said Holmgren. “If you’re going to play pond hockey, they’re going to score. So it was disappointing. I felt bad for Johan [Backlund]. I didn’t think he had a whole lot of support.”

Backlund was seeing his first real game action since Mar. 27 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and even though the score sheet indicates other wise, he felt good physically admitted to no discomfort from his off-season surgery.

“My hip felt really good. It didn’t bother me at all,” said Backlund. “I felt good, but obviously a little bit rusty. I don’t know what to say. It was a tough game.”

“A lot of those goals were back-door goals, you can’t do a lot with them,” added Laviolette. “But we wanted to get him in her and get him some work. It’s his first game in a long time. We just didn’t play very well in the second period in front of him.”

The loss marks the end of the Flyers preseason schedule giving them a 5-2-1 mark. They open the regular season in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Oct. 7 against the Penguins.

Chris Pronger returned to skating today after spending the last few days in the weightroom rehabbing his knee.

It is still unknown whether the Flyers MVP from last season will return in time for the season opener on Thursday, Oct. 7 at Pittsburgh, but Holmgren said today was a positive step for Pronger physically and mentally.

“It went very well today,” added Holmgren. “It’s fair to say that he was pretty good today.”

* With captain Mike Richards not in the lineup, Jody Shelley, Blair Betts & Darroll Powe wore the “A” for tonight’s game.

* Dan Carcillo, Matt Walker and Mike Testwuide all scored for the Flyers. Carcillo also received a 10 minute misconduct penalty and game misconduct midway through the second period.

* In addition to Backlund, Dan Jancevski, Patrick Maroon & Stefan Legein were recalled from the Adirondack Phantoms and also made their preseason debut with the Flyers tonight.

* Defensive pairings for this game included: Marc-Andre Bourdon & Dan Jancevski, Matt Walker & Erik Gustafsson and Oskars Bartulis & Andrej Meszaros.

October 2

Quietly doing his job
2:18 p.m.

You may not have realized it, but with all of the talk surrounding the Flyers big, tough and experienced defensive unit, Braydon Coburn is having one heck of a training camp and preseason.

Thus far, Coburn has appeared in six of the flyers seven games and in all but one of his games, he has logged over 20 minutes of ice time.

He has recorded two assists, but perhaps the most dominant stat that stands out is his plus-minus. Coburn leads the NHL in the preseason with a plus-8. And that is a stat, which is sure to indicate that he will see a lot of ice time and a lot of ice time against other team’s top unit.

Laviolette // Briere

“He’s been really steady for us in the games that he’s played in,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “I think what you’re seeing is a guy that’s really starting to feel good about his game. He was a force for us in the playoffs and was a big part of the reason why we got to where we did.”

Treating the preseason as it were a regular season game and even a playoff type of game is just one of the reasons Coburn has excelled.

“I try to take it really serious,” said Coburn. “You want to try and get ready for the season and these are the games that you need to work on it and try to develop those little habits that are going to make you successful during the year.”

And that other reason is something Coburn has emphasized throughout his NHL career, which the 2010-11 season now marks his sixth in the League, is to be as highly conditioned as possible.

“I thought I came into camp in really good shape again this year and I felt good on the ice,” added Coburn. “I’ve mixed up my training from year-to-year. I’ve put a lot of variety in there as far as training, track training and weight training. I’ve also mixed in a little bit of swimming and bike riding. I try to keep things fresh and do lots of little things to keep everything going.”

Its that kind of training that Laviolette sees has made Coburn such an asset and big role player on a Flyers defensive unit that is thought to be one of the best in the entire League this season.

“Sometimes that gets lost a little bit when you’re behind guys like [Chris] Pronger and Kimmo [Timonen], but he and Matty [Carle] do such a good job in that top four,” said Laviolette. “I think one of our biggest strengths is that we had those four guys and they played against other team’s top lines. He’s not a kid anymore. He’s relied on in a role which puts him against other team’s top players and in all kinds of situations and he’s really starting to excel in those situation.”

If last year’s playoff run is any indication as to what we can see from the Flyers this year, Coburn will certainly get a chance to be in those situations in the near future and is excited about.

“[I’m looking forward to] having a successful year and building on what it is we have going on here. We have a great group and personally I want to have a strong year and be one of the guys that makes a difference on this team and is a dependable player.”

For the first time this preseason, and not a moment too soon, Danny Briere, Scott Hartnell and Ville Leino are back on the same line. At least that was the case during practice at the Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J. today.

Briere stepped on the ice for the first time after suffering an infection in his tonsils and was reunited with his lines mates from the playoffs that had extraordinary success.

“I felt very comfortable right away actually,” said Leino. “It’s just one of those things, you know where the guys are, their in the easy spots for you to make a pass. They know what you’re going to do, I know what they’re going to do.”

“It was nice to practice with them,” said Hartnell. “It’s been a while obviously since the playoffs and we haven’t had too many practice hours together so it was nice to get together, get out there and pass it around together.”

The regular season starts in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Oct. 7 against the Penguins and even though no official word has been given on a final roster and who’s in and out of the lineup, judging from last year’s performance we may just see a 19, 22 and 48 reunion out there.

October 1

Getting his game shape back
10:55 p.m.

Laviolette // Boucher // Carcillo

Goaltender Brian Boucher is used to being caught up in the whirlwind by now.

After an ‘in the lineup, out of the lineup’ type of year he had last year, he came into this year’s camp with one intention. Getting back to the form of a starting goaltender.

Tonight Boucher stopped 32 of 33 shots from the Buffalo Sabres to earn the Flyers a 3-1 win at the Wells Fargo Center. He stopped several good scoring chances while the Flyers were shorthanded on a five-on-three that the Sabres had for over a minute early in the third period when it was a one-goal game.

“I feel good and I feel like I’ve had a good camp,” said Boucher. “You just try to take it a day at a time at camp.  Some days you feel good, some days you feel not so good.  Your goal, like I said the other night, is just to make sure that when the regular season starts you feel pretty good about your game and I think that’s where I’m at right now.”

With Michael Leighton out of action for approximately a month, Boucher is looking to secure the starting job in net for the defending Eastern Conference Champions. A role that having gone through two weeks of training camp, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette is very confident and comfortable in.

“I think he’s had a really strong training camp and tonight was just another example,” said Laviolette. “We had some breakdowns right in front of him defensively, and he bailed us out quite a few times.  But you’re right, he seems to be seeing the puck very well, there’s not a lot of second opportunities and he played well.”

“I feel more comfortable this year,” said Boucher.  “You know the guys. Even though I’ve been here before there’s all new guys so it’s a different situation.  But this year I feel more comfortable knowing the guys and after what we accomplished last year we should feel good about ourselves. I’m healthy and I was banged up a bit last year but now I feel really good.  When you feel real good it translates into your play.”

The Flyers preseason record now sits at 5-1-1 through seven games of their eight-game exhibition slate and now head to Buffalo on Sunday (6 p.m., 1210 WPHT)  to complete their home-and-home series with the Sabres and preseason finale before they take on the Penguins on Oct. 7 (7 p.m., VS) to open the 2010-11 season.

James van Riemsdyk doesn’t believe in a “sophomore slump” or given the fact that he spent most of the off-season with a training specialist, you could say that it's his mission to ensure his second year in the NHL doesn’t turn into the stereotypical second year drought.

“Well its still preseason, but its good to kind of see myself winning some battles and feeling stronger in front of the net,” said van Riemsdyk. “Those are all good signs and I just have to carry that out throughout the season.”
van Riemsdyk potted his second goal in his second straight game, both of which came from driving to the net or in the case of tonight’s game, planting himself in front of the net to ram home a rebound past Ryan Miller.

“We kind of started out slow and after that really worked the system from start to finish, but we still found a way to win and that goes a long way."

* Nikolay Zherdev scored his fifth goal of the preseason.  Through six appearances, he now has five goals and an assist for six points. 

* Jeff Carter contributed two assists, giving him his second consecutive two-point game.  He has four goals and two assists for six points on the preseason in five appearances.   
* Braydon Coburn was plus-1 on the night and is now plus-8 in six games played this preseason. 

* Tonight’s defensive pairings included: Matt Carle & Braydon Coburn, Kimmo Timonen & Erik Gustafsson and Sean O’Donnell & Andrej Meszaros.