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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:

07-08 Season
2008-09 Season
2009-10 Season

2010-11: Sept. 2010 // Oct. 2010 // Nov. 2010 // Dec. 2010

Roster Schedule Flyers TV
2010-11 Media Guide

January 31
8:32 p.m.

2011 brought not just an All-Star weekend, but an entire All-Star Week for the Flyers this season.

Rather than the typical 3-4 days, the Flyers will have had a full six days off in between games, with their last game coming on Jan. 25, a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens.

And the Flyers do not want history to repeat itself from last year after they had an extended break due to the 2010 Winter Olympics, where they went 6-7-3 in March, including a win-less streak of five straight games.

  Laviolette // Pronger

"I don't put too much stock into that," said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette on looking at past performances after breaks in the schedule. "I look more at the mindset of your team, how you're playing and the set of circumstances that go on during that stretch of games you're talking about."

Thus, the Flyers took part in a late afternoon practice at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla. on Monday, officially hitting the ice at 4 p.m.

Most of the Flyers took time off to do various things. Whether it be laying on the beach in South Florida, down to Central America for some R & R or spending time with the family down in Disney World. We'll keeping you guessing with each of those.

The break, albeit important, does raise concerns with how well the team was playing beforehand.

"Well I think we've proven that we have a very different team than we did last year," said Chris Pronger. "I think that our play thus far speaks for itself. It's very very difficult to compare team's from one year to the next. There's very different dynamic and make up to each team every year."

In fact, the Flyers have rattled off two straight wins before the break and are on a streak where they have won six of their last seven games and since  the New Year, have posted a 10-2 record making it their most successful month to date.

As every year brings, all NHL teams head into the most grueling part of the season. The Flyers head into February facing 12 games in a 26-day span, not to mention three games in the next five days.

Beyond that comes March, April and the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but without looking too far ahead, Laviolette likes what he sees right now.

"We have a good group here. They believe in each other, they believe that we can win every time we take the ice and I think that's important. When you believe in each other and you believe you can win every game, you've got a dangerous combination."

January 30

9:15 p.m.

While he may have been slightly overshadowed by some other performances in Sunday's All-Star Game, Danny Briere certainly wasn't silent.

Briere scored twice for his Team LIDSTROM, including once to split a 7-7 tie and temporarily give his club the lead.

In the end TEAM LIDSTROM took home an 11-10 victory over TEAM STAAL, which also happened to be his current Flyer teammate Claude Giroux's team.

"It was a good defensive play in our zone," said Briere on his first tally. "We got a breakout going the other way, and Henrik Sedin had a great heads-up play. He held on to the puck, cut to the middle and I used my speed going wide. That's what happens when you play in this kind of game. You know that there's always a chance that the puck is going to come back to you at some point. You just try to get open and that's what I did."


In total, Briere now has three goals and four assists for seven points in two NHL All-Star Games. He posted five points (1G,4A) to earn MVP status in his first time around, the 2007 Game in Dallas.

Despite scoring twice, the weekend wasn't about scoring or pressure. It was about family.

“It was fun, a great weekend," said Briere. "Especially sharing this experience with my boys. Having them on the bench, too, during the game (was great). I had a blast.”

His family also includes Giroux, who currently lives with Briere back in South Jersey. Playing in his first of which will probably be many All-Star contests, Giroux potted a goal and an assist by setting up Game MVP Patrick Sharp for a nice one-timer.

"There's a lot of good players here and I was just trying to keep up," said Giroux. "It was a good experience and there are a lot of good guys, so it was a lot of fun and I'm pretty lucky to be here."

Giroux, Briere and head coach Peter Laviolette will embark on the unofficial second-half of the season which begins on Tuesday night in Tampa Bay.

“After having fun and being laid back for the past couple days, it’s going to be different," said Briere. "A lot more intensity, especially on Tuesday against Tampa. It’s a big game.”

January 29
10:54 p.m.

The night took awhile to get started for Flyers' Danny Briere and Claude Giroux.

With each of them participating late in the Super Skills Competition (excluding non-result participation in which Danny Briere acted as a "passer" during the accuracy shot contest), the event was already on its fourth competition, and Claude Giroux's TEAM STAAL was already up by an 18-6 tally.

When it was finally time for the reps in Orange and Black to strut their stuff, the results among the two were almost too close to call.

In the Skills Challenge Relay, a time of 2:09 was the team to beat when Giroux's team took to the ice. He took on the sharpest angle of the one-timers category and it took him nine attempts, but after hitting the post a total of three times (including his first two shots) he got the job done in 2:34.

  Briere Post-Event
  Briere & Family
  Giroux Reaction

Participating in the Accuracy Shooting portion of the Relay, Briere hit all four targets out of seven attempts to end his team's relay with a time of 2:33 and narrowly beating out Giroux's team.

Point #2 to Briere in the household rivalry.

(We gave Danny a point on Friday for being selected first in the Fantasy Draft)

Up next a category that both players had a good amount of experience in - the Elimination shootout.

Briere scored on his first attempt, going top shelf on Carey Price to move on and into the second round.

Giroux on the other hand, went backhand on Tim Thomas, but hit the post on his attempt, thus eliminating him from moving on.

3-0 Briere in the Briere-Giroux rivalry.

In second round, Briere went in on Carey Price, but was stopped on a backhand he attempted to slip through Price's five-hole.

Despite having been outdone by Briere in their mini head-to-head rivalry, Giroux's TEAM STAAL handily defeated Briere's TEAM LIDSTROM by a score of a 33-22.

For that we'll have to give two points to Claude.

The standings thus far show Briere ahead by a 3-2 count. Stay tuned for tomorrow's finale as TEAM STAAL (Giroux) faces off against TEAM LIDSTROM (Briere) in the NHL's All-Star Game, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

* * *
4:01 p.m.

In the perhaps what can be considered the second phase of All-Star weekend, the Skills Competition is set to take place tonight at 7 p.m.

With the team's now having been chosen, the next step is for each team captain (Staal & Lidstrom) to pick which player they'd like to compete in which skills event.

That happened just a little while ago and the results are:

For TEAM LIDSTROM, Danny Briere will participate in the NHL's Skills Challenge Replay, the elimination shootout, as well as be a "passer" for all his his team's shooters in the accuracy shooting contest.

For TEAM STAAL, Claude Giroux will go against Briere in the Skills Challenge Replay and the elimination shootout.

Full Details are what each event consists of is below:

1. Fastest Skater
During the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater™, the first event of Honda NHL SuperSkills®, six players from each team will compete, including one Rookie and five All-Star skaters. The contest will consist of six preliminary races with two players skating at one time taking one lap of the ice; the players from each team with the fastest time will then meet in one final match race. A total of eight points are available – one each to the winner of the six individual races and two points to the winner of the final race.

2. Breakaway Challenge
The fan favorite BlackBerry NHL Breakaway Challenge™ returns again this year, the event Alex Ovechkin has made his own by taking home the title each of the first two years. A test of the amount of creativity a player can insert into a breakaway, three shooters from each team – one Rookie and two All-Stars – and one goalie will participate. Fans in-arena and watching on television in the U.S. and Canada will be able to vote for their favorite player by texting the number that corresponds to the player of their choice to 81812. Each skater will attempt four shots – with no limits. Shooters can start their attempt from anywhere with full access to the offensive zone, including behind the net. NHL penalty shot rules do not apply. The shooter with the highest fan vote will score four points for his team, second place will score three points and third place will score one point.

3. Accuracy Shooting
From 25 feet in front of the net, shooters take aim at four foam targets attached to the inner side of the goalposts. The objective is to hit all of the targets in the fastest time. A total of six players from each team, including one Rookie and five All-Stars, will compete, with two additional All-Stars from each team serving as the all-important passers. A total of eight points are available. The winner of each match scores one point. The players with the fastest time from each team will go head-to-head in the final round for the title of the NHL’s most accurate shooter and two additional team points.

4. Skills Challenge Relay
This new event for 2011 will feature 16 players from each team, including two Rookies and fourteen All-Stars, in an all-around competition that will showcase the one-timer, passing, puck control, stick-handling and accuracy shooting in four exciting relays. In the one-timer event, three shooters (with the assistance of one passer) must score three goals over an eight inch barrier; in the passing event, one passer must complete a pass into each of the six nets set up around the rink; in the puck control event, one skater will skate through a series of cones while keeping possession of the puck; in the stick handling event, one skater will control the puck through a series of obstacles; and in the accuracy shooting event, one player will take aim at four targets. Each skill must be completed before moving on to the next skill in this timed relay event worth a total of eight points. Four groups will go through the relay – two for each team. The group with the fastest time will score four points, second place will score three points and third place will score one point.

5. Hardest Shot
Bruins blueliner Zdeno Chara not only won his third consecutive XM NHL Hardest Shot™ competition in 2009, but his blast of 105.4 miles an hour broke the all-time record previously held by Al Iafrate and set in 1993. The event returns this year as six players from each team, including one Rookie and five All-Stars, compete in six head-to-head matches. Two players will square off in each round, valued at one point each. The highest recorded shot (by radar in mph) will earn one point for his team. The players from each team with the hardest single shot will meet in a final match, with two points scored to the winner, to determine the NHL’s hardest shooter.

6. Elimination Shootout
The battle between Team Staal and Team Lidstrom will be ultimately decided as all of the All-Stars and Rookies compete in the Discover NHL Elimination Shootout™, a time-honored game of “hockey survivor.” Shooters who score will move on to the next round in the shootout, with the All-Star goalies rotating after every third shooter. Rounds of the shootout will continue until only one player scores and the other(s) don’t; the last scoring shooter wins. Every goal scored will count as one point for his team.

January 28
10:59 p.m.

BRIERE (Team LIDSTROM: Blue Jerseys)

GIROUX (Team STAAL: Red Jerseys)

Danny Briere was first to go.

To TEAM LIDSTROM that is. Briere was drafted by Nik Lidstrom in the sixth round (12th overall).

"Honestly, even myself, at the beginning I didn't think I was going to be nervous but you're sitting there and looking up and waiting for your name to be picked," said Briere. "Luckily I did get called early so it wasn't as bad."
Danny Briere poses for photos and meets the media on the Red Carpet prior to the NHL Fantasy Draft.

His roommate, housemate and teammate is now his opponent.

Claude Giroux was taken in the 13th round (25th overall) by TEAM STAAL.

"Maybe," said Giroux when asked if he was going to try and take a shot at Briere. "I told him to keep his head up and I'm sure there will be some cross checking and slashing, but his three kids are chirping too, saying that [Team] Blue is going to win so I have to prove them wrong."

The first overall selections for each team were Carolina goaltender Cam Ward, chosen by none other than teammate Eric Staal for TEAM STAAL, while Nik Lidstrom went with offense and Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos.

The final pick in the Fantasy draft went to Toronto's Phil Kessel, and while you might think that is a tough pill to swallow, Kessel received 20,000 dollars to donate to a charity of his choice and a new car.

The following is a breakdown and complete roster of each All-Star Team:
2. Steven Stamkos, C, Team Lidstrom
4. Duncan Keith, D, Team Lidstrom
6. Henrik Sedin, C, Team Lidstrom
8. Shea Weber, D, Team Lidstrom
10. Tim Thomas, G, Team Lidstrom
12. Daniel Briere, C/W, Team Lidstrom
14. Dustin Byfuglien, D, Team Lidstrom
16. Jonathan Toews, C, Team Lidstrom
18. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Team Lidstrom
20. Jonas Hiller, G, Team Lidstrom
22. Brad Richards, C, Team Lidstrom
24. Keith Yandle, D, Team Lidstrom
26. Brent Burns, D, Team Lidstrom
28. Martin Havlat, RW, Team Lidstrom
30. Anze Kopitar, C, Team Lidstrom
32. Matt Duchene, C, Team Lidstrom
34. Loui Eriksson, LW, Team Lidstrom
36. Phil Kessel, RW. Team Lidstrom

Lidstrom's Rookies: Evgeny Dadonov, RW; Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D; Cam Fowler, D; Taylor Hall, LW; Kevin Shattenkirk, D; Derek Stepan, C.

1. Cam Ward, G, Team Staal
3. Alexander Ovechkin, RW, Team Staal
5. Daniel Sedin, W, Team Staal
7. Zdeno Chara, D, Team Staal
9. Rick Nash, W, Team Staal
11. Henrik Lundqvist, G, Team Staal
13. Marc Staal, D, Team Staal
15. Patrick Sharp, LW, Team Staal
17. Dan Boyle, D, Team Staal
19. Carey Price, G, Team Staal
21. Jeff Skinner, C, Team Staal
23. Kris Letang, D, Team Staal
25. Claude Giroux, RW, Team Staal
27. Erik Karlsson, D, Team Staal
29. Corey Perry, RW, Team Staal
31. Patrik Elias, LW, Team Staal
33. David Backes, RW, Team Staal
35. Paul Stastny, C, Team Staal

Staal's Rookies: Logan Cuture, C; Tyler Ennis, LW; Michael Grabner, RW; Jamie McBain, D; Tyler Seguin, C; P.K. Subban, D.

* * *
3:19 p.m.

Earlier today in Raleigh, N.C. the coaches for the NHL All-Star team were determined in a ceremonial "coin-flip".

It was determined that Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette & Vancouver's Alain Vigneault will coach Team Lidstrom (captained by Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom), while Chicago Blackhawks' coach Joel Quenneville will coach Team Staal (captained by Carolina's Eric Staal).

However, the coaches for each team do not select or participate in the player draft.

In a prime-time event later at the Raleigh Convention Center, the NHL will host a Fantasy Draft in which the captains and alternate captains will choose and determine the roster for each All-Star Team.

This is the first year of the format.

A LIVE stream of the Pre-game Fantasy Draft show will be available on philadelphiaflyers.com beginning at 6 p.m. ET. Fans can click on the link below to view the program:

Click on the link above to watch the NHL Fantasy Draft's pre-game show.

Starting approximately at 8 p.m. the All-Stars will officially be selected in the Fantasy Draft which can be seen on VERSUS.

* * *
1:16 p.m.

The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that defenseman Matt Walker has been assigned to the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, according to general manager Paul Holmgren.
Walker, 30 (4/7/80) has appeared in four games for the Flyers this season, all in the month of January.  He missed the first 3 ½ months of the season due to a pair of hip surgeries.  The first took place on October 20 to repair a torn labrum and bony impingement in his right hip, while the second was performed on December 16 to remove inflamed synovial tissue in his left hip.
The Flyers return to the ice following the All-Star Break on Tuesday, Feb. 1 when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning (7:30, CSN, 610 WIP).  They’ll return home on Thursday, Feb. 3 to host the Nashville Predators (7:00, CSN, 610-WIP).

January 25
12:08 p.m.

All the talk prior to Tuesday’s game against the Canadiens wasn’t necessarily about the Habs themselves, rather where in the calendar this game fell.

The last time the Flyers had a game before a lengthy break in the schedule was a 5-0 loss at home to the Florida Panthers.

This time, the Flyers were careful not to let history repeat itself.

“We certainly played better approaching a break this time rather than last time,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “There are points in the year where you don’t play a game the way you want to play it and the Florida game was certainly one of them. I’m still not 100% percent sold that it was break orientated or we just had an off night but we’ve played some big teams in the East and we came into the Florida game flat for whatever reason. It’s not acceptable, but certainly going into this break we’ve talked about it because it did happen and we thought that we responded with a really strong effort.”

  Laviolette // Giroux // Carcillo // Pronger

“We talked about it before the game and it was important for us to play a good 60 minutes,” said Claude Giroux. “I think at the start we weren’t playing the way we should have but after we got those two power play goals we started rolling. Like I said, the four lines played well and the defense did an amazing job tonight too. It was a great team effort tonight.”

If their two-goal output on their power-plays, one being a 5-on-3, at the end of the first period didn’t make a statement right away, they certainly did in the second period.
Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 29 of 31 shots to earn his 21st victory of the year for the Flyers.

Carcillo came right out of the gates and gave the Flyers a 3-0 lead, but perhaps even more impressive was a two-minute shift by Giroux, Carter & Zherdev that led to numerous scoring chances.

“I’m not sure of the length of that one but I wouldn’t be surprised if it approached 2 minutes,” added Laviolette. “It stayed pressed in the offensive zone with guys popping and as you defend you seem to get more tired when you don’t have the puck and it’s more fun when you have the puck. It was a long one and they were gasping when they got off.”

In their 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens, the Flyers earned their 1,000th home victory in franchise history, becoming the first expansion team (post-Original Six) in the National Hockey League to accomplish such a feat.

Fitting that the victory would come against the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs became the first NHL franchise to earn their 1,000th win on home ice.

The break that keeps getting talked about is one that will occur from Wednesday through Monday, Feb. 1 when the Flyers will depart for Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning on Feb. 2. In total, it will be a full seven days off the ice for all but two Flyers.

January 24
5:04 p.m.

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren updated us on the status of James van Riemsdyk. He still remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury, but is doubtful for Tuesday's game vs. Montreal.

van Riemsdyk suffered the injury late in the game vs. the New Jersey Devils when he lost an edge on the ice.

On another note, forward Dan Carcillo was not at practice on Monday. He returned home to deal with a family matter. He is expected to be back in Philadelphia for the game vs. Montreal.

* * *
4:37 p.m.

Sure the Flyers will be concentrating on Montreal on Tuesday, but they will also be facing another challenge. Don’t look too far ahead to yet another break in the schedule.

“We talked about it briefly this morning,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “We didn’t do very well last time we had a break and all you can do is address things and bring it to attention that we’re not done yet. We still have some work to do and it’s a big game, and an important game.”

The last time the Flyers were in this situation was Dec. 19, the day before their final game heading into quite a long holiday break.

The result? An uninspired 5-0 loss at home to the Florida Panthers on Dec. 20.

“That has to be on our minds,” said Flyers’ captain Mike Richards. “We can’t have another effort like that.”

  Laviolette // Hartnell // Richards

Following Tuesday’s game against the Canadiens, the Flyers will head into a six-day break to allow the NHL’s All-Star Game to be played. All but three members of the Flyers will get a rare vacation away from hockey. The lucky three that will be headed to Raleigh, N.C. - Danny Briere, Claude Giroux and head coach Peter Laviolette.

With that loss still fresh in their minds, everyone from the players and coaches are certainly aware to not let the same mistake happen again. At least not to this Montreal Canadiens team.
Ville Leino

The Habs are unbeaten in regulation in their last five games, going 3-0-2, while nine of their last 11 games have been decided by one goal with a record of 7-1-3 during that stretch.

“They’re playing well,” said Richards. “They’re a great, defensive oriented team with great goaltending, so we’re going to have our work cut out for us to earn some goals. They have some guys that can score too, so it’s a team that always in the past has given us problems in the regular season and it seems like every time we played them it’s a close game.”

“I think they’re a team that you know you have to play hard against,” added Laviolette. “They have good players, good goaltending and we’ve had some great games against them… so yeah I think that we would be ready to play.”

The Flyers have won two of the three meetings, including the most recent, a 5-3 victory at the Bell Centre in which Chris Pronger suffered a broken bone in his foot.

Overall, the match up is very even. Both teams have posted eight goals and have had their scoring spread out with five different players recording those eight goals.

January 23
7:11 p.m.


If you’re following along at all this season, the one word that has been repeated over and over again is depth. Depth at defense, depth in solid goaltending and of course depth in offense.

In today’s highly anticipated rematch of the Stanley Cup Final between the Flyers and Blackhawks it was the Jeff Carter-Nik Zherdev-Claude Giroux line’s turn to the shine.

“I thought all the players played well, but that line certainly cashed in offensively and had some good chances and good looks,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette, who had to scramble during the early morning, 11:30 a.m. CT start-time after losing forward James van Riemsdyk to a lower-body injury.

  Laviolette // Giroux // Carter // Pronger

After a scoreless first period, the line started to skate well and gain some steam.

“We were skating and just moving the puck quick, obviously the [Defense] helped us out but we had some chances and when we did we ust put them in the net, ” said Giroux.

Carter kicked off the scoring for his 21st of the year to break a two-game scoring drought. Despite having not scored the past two games, Carter has tallied in five of his last seven games, recording six goals.

Carter’s goal was also part of a second period where the Flyers fired 19 shots at Blackhawks’ goaltender Corey Crawford.

Zherdev also did his part on the line by giving the Flyers a 2-0 cushion early in the third period on a great wrap-around goal, which turned out to be the game-winner. He added an assist to give him a two-point game.

Oh yeah and then there’s Claude Giroux, who factored into every Flyers goal on the day, recording a career-high four assists. The first-time NHL All-Star also extended his point streak to six games in which he has posted eight assists and 10 points.

All told, the Giroux-Carter-Zherdev combination accounted for nine points in the team’s 4-1 win at Chiacgo.

Many of the players where asked after the game if the victory was a little more satisfying, considering the way the season ended last year, but you might be surprised at their answer.

“We came into a loud building against a very good hockey team,” said Laviolette. “We played a very sound hockey game and walked away with two points and continued to win. That’s what give me satisfaction.”

“Yeah, we were pretty excited for this game,” said Giroux. “I don’t if we thought we had something to prove or something like that, but I think we played well and every guy on the team showed up tonight.”

It’s obviously nice,” said Carter. “We all know with the way last year ended, but nothing was said in the [locker] room before [the game], I think each guy individually knew what was going on today and it was a big two points for us.”

“We needed the two points because we lost the last game and it gets us back into the win column,” said Pronger.

* * *
12:16 p.m.

Flyers general manger Paul Holmgren announced just prior to today's game vs. Blackhawks that forward James van Riemsdyk is out of the lineup and is suffering a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

van Riemsdyk has 23 points (12G,11A), is a plus-15 and has 18 penalty minutes in 44 games thus far. He has scored goals in his last two games and posted points in four of his last six contests.

January 21
4:44 p.m.

As the Flyers get set to take on the Devils, it’s only fitting that a key message that Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette likes to preach is to make sure his team does not become complacent or satisfied.

In other words “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.”

  Laviolette // Briere // Giroux

Particularly in this case, although New Jersey is in last place in the entire NHL and the Flyers are in the NHL’s top spot right now, the Devils have worked the Flyers very hard in four of the six meetings thus far.

Two of the four have been decided by one goal, including one game going past regulation that went in NJ’s favor by virtue of a 2-1 shootout victory.

Although the Flyers are 3-0-1 against their Atlantic Division rival, Laviolette saw something very different in the Flyers last meeting against the Devils.

“Jersey’s playing real well right now and I think we need to bring our ‘A’ game if we want to come out with the two points,” said Claude Giroux, who career-wise, has nearly a point-per-game with 10 points (2G,8A) through 11 outings.

Since their 2-1 loss to the Flyers on Jan. 8, the Devils have indeed looked like the Devils team of old, winning four of their last five games and scoring an average of 4.5 goals-per-game in those wins.


Over the past several weeks, Brian Boucher & Sergei Bobrovsky have split time in net. Both have been incredibly successful.

Boucher has posted a 2.66 goals-against-average and was perhaps slighted a little bit after being a part of the unusually offensive 7-5 loss at Boston on Jan. 13. His record is a 4-1-0 with a .916 goals-against average.

Bobrovsky has gotten the start in two straight games and in this New Year has been a perfect 4-0-0 with a 1.99 GAA and .934 save percentage, stopping 113 of 121 shots he’s seen.

As for Saturday’s dance with the Devil, Boucher would be a good candidate considering his numbers this year. In three starts, he has gone 2-0-1 and put together an impressive 1.30 GAA and .950 save percentage.

A stat that definitely factors in with the coaching staff ‘s decision.

“I haven’t talked to the goaltenders just yet, but certainly we always look at things like that,” added Laviolette.

January 20
11:34 p.m.


Some say it would be a cause for concern that the Flyers for two straight games now have been on the verge of losing a good lead on their opponent.

The key phrase in that statement was “on the verge”. The Flyers could have responded in two ways.

Panic, go on the defense, stop playing their game and ultimately losing the lead and perhaps the game or they could have rebounded from a lapse in their game plan and momentum shift from their opponent to take it back from them and earn a victory.

For the past two games, and several times throughout the season, the Flyers have done the latter.

  Laviolette // Richards // Briere // Giroux // Pronger

“Going into the third, [Ottawa] gained the momentum, they were now in the game and they felt like they could win it and we had to take that back from them,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “When you get into a game like that, the game seems flat and the players are trying to change that when the bounces aren’t going your way.  The response in the third period is what I am really pleased with.  If you play enough games, you see it go a different way and in the third period, we showed up, competed and made sure those points came with us.”

Thursday’s game against Ottawa posed the same challenge as the Florida Panthers did on Dec. 20. A team at the bottom of the standings can often be overlooked, which in today’s NHL is very dangerous. Well the Flyers learned their lesson once and were bound not to repeat it.

Up 3-0, two quick goals brought the game to within one goal for the struggling Senators by the end of the second period.

The Flyers responded with three unanswered goals in the third period. The third period also saw a combined 116 penalty minutes and a slew of fighting majors, including the first bouts of the season for Jeff Carter and Claude Giroux.

“Well I think that’s a good thing,” said Pronger of his team not panicking. “I think we understand that you don’t want to be able to flip the switch and turn it off like we did.  Then turn it back on, push down on the gas even harder to either get a bigger lead or keep a lead.  But I don’t think anybody on the bench or in the locker room is panicking whether we are up or down or build a lead or whatever.  We understand the game is 60 or 65 minutes and you’ve got to play to the end.” 

The Flyers faced a similar, and perhaps even greater challenge in Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime win of the Capitals.

Once again holding a 2-0 lead, the Caps stormed back to tied the game up and force overtime, before the Flyers snatched back momentum and defenseman Andrej Meszaros played the hero by scoring the game-winner.

In fact, dating back to the game against the New York Rangers on Sunday, The Flyers have allowed six goals in the last three games (181:08 of play).  Those six goals have been scored over a total time span of three minutes and 22 seconds. 

(Ottawa’s goals tonight were 1:14 apart… Washington’s goals on Tuesday were 40 seconds apart and the Rangers’ goals on Sunday happened in a span of 1:24)

“I thought we did the same thing in Buffalo a few games ago where we laid off and came back strong in the third period,” said Danny Briere, who scored his team-leading 25th goal of the season, which also ties him for fourth in the NHL. “I mean its good to see. It shows a lot of resilience that we’re not going to get away, especially in our building. It’s important to send that message also.”

The Flyers have now won four straight games and haven’t allowed more than two goals in that span. Their record improves to 31-11-5 and at 69 points, the Flyers now have separated themselves from the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have 62 points – second most in the Eastern Conference.

The Flyers will try for their second five-game winning streak on Saturday when they take on the New Jersey Devils in a Saturday matinee at 1 p.m.

January 19
5:26 p.m.

“Things went really good today and I know he’s felt good the last few days, so I think there’s a good chance he’ll play tomorrow.”

Those are the words of Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, when asked if the former League MVP and Norris Trophy winning defensemen will return to a Flyers team that is already sitting at the top of the NHL leader board.

For those of you out there that said the Flyers will no doubt drop their level of play and would be hanging on to remain of the top teams in the East after Dec. 15 with the absence of Chris Pronger from the lineup, where do you think the team goes from here?

  Holmgren // Laviolette // Pronger

The Flyers, to date, are the No. 1 team in the National Hockey League and the only team with 30 wins thus far. Their 30-11-5 record gives them 65 points through 46 games.

They are tied with the Vancouver Canucks with 65 points (29-10-7), while their closest Eastern Conference (and Atlantic Division) opponent is the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have a 29-14-4 record for 62 points, but have played one more game than the Flyers (47).

“It’s been a lot of fun,” said Pronger of seeing his teammates bring the team to the top of the standings. “Obviously guys have stepped up very well in my absence. Matt Walker has played very well and Oskars Bartulis. You look up front and the depth that we have. If it’s not one line, its’ another line or another line… if you watch the games you can see teams having a tough time matching up against the depth that we have.”
Chris Pronger will no doubt be the subject of all reporters at Thursday's morning skate.

They have won seven of their past eight games and have just four regulation losses in their past 20 games, going 15-4-1 in that span.

Speaking of that depth, the Flyers lead the NHL in goals-per-game (3.41) and actual goals scored (157 - not including shootout goals). They are the only team in the NHL to boast four players who have 40 points or more thus far (Briere - 41; Giroux, Carter, Richards - 40) and are tied with the Dallas Stars with six players who have posted 30 or more points.

As far as the defense goes? The Flyers have the league leader in plus-minus in Andrej Meszaros (+29) and have their top five defensemen with a plus-10 or better rating.

Pretty impressive, but what really has the team and the fans of Philadelphia excited is the potential to be that much better when Pronger returns to the lineup.

And according to a report by ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun, that will as soon as tomorrow as the Flyers take on the ice against the Ottawa Senators.

“I feel pretty good, but when you get out there and push it in game situations you never really know,” said Pronger following the team’s morning skate. “[Doctors] said everything’s healing up well and everything showed up well on the X-Ray.”

Fans will have to wait until after the team’s morning skate for official confirmation, but one thing is certain, should Pronger return to the lineup, the NHL’s best team, just got a whole lot better.

* * *
12:46 p.m.

Danny Briere spoke to the media moments ago to confirm that he has been selected to appear in the NHL All-Star game on Jan. 29-30 in Raleigh, N.C.

Briere joins head coach Peter Laviolette and Claude Giroux as representatives of the Flyers.

  Briere Reaction

"I think it's pretty cool for me and Claude to go," said Briere. "But I've said it all along with the season we've been having, not just me or Claude, there's lots of guys that deserve to go. It's a pretty big honor."

Currently, Briere leads the Flyers in both goals (24, T-6th in the NHL) and points (41) through 43 games. He is tied for the team lead in game-winning-goals (5, T-5th in the NHL), while his plus-minus rating this season is a plus-16.

This will be Briere's second trip to the NHL All-Star game. He first appeared in 2007 when the event was hosted in Dallas, Texas. Briere was named the game's MVP after he posted one goal and four assists for five points.

Perhaps the biggest reason Briere admitted he was very excited to participate is not for his own self, but for his three kids.

"The one thing I can tell you is that I'm really excited to have the chance to take my kids. They're at the age where it's the prime age for these types of things."

Briere replaces Calgary Flames captain Jerome Iginla, who has pulled out because of family reasons.

January 18
11:25 p.m.

Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette thought his team played pretty well on the road.

So why not recreate road life?

After going 7-3-0 against some tough opponents, the Flyers’ first test on this homestand is another tough opponent with the Washington Capitals and Alex Ovechkin and Co.

Although they are finally back at home for an extended amount of time, the Flyers chose to stay at a hotel for tonight’s game for many reasons., but none more important that to stay focused on the task at hand.

  Laviolette // Richards // Meszaros // Bobrovsky

“Well first I give them a lot of credit because you come off a road trip and then you’re asking them to back to a hotel for the afternoon,” said Laviolette. “There is just something, we did it a few times last year when the chips were down and we had to win hockey games and we came off a long road trip and both times we had success doing it. I don’t know the rationale or the reasoning behind it but there is something to the fact that when you come off of road trips and you get home and get settled in, you play a flat game.”

“Well, I think we started doing that last year,” said Braydon Coburn. “I don’t know if it’s a superstition or whatever.  I don’t know if Peter [Laviolette] explained it to you, but he says that when you come home from a road trip after being out of town so long, there’s a lot of things that need to be attended to but the most important thing is that game.  It gives you a chance to just focus on the game and put those distractions aside until we get some time to deal with that stuff.”

It might seem strange because the Flyers aren’t fighting for their playoff lives. They don’t have a bad record at home, and despite a little wintry mix outside, the weather and road conditions didn’t make transportation an issue.

“With people that have families and kids at home, it’s good to just focus on the game and not have distractions after being on the road for a while,” said Flyers captain Mike Richards. “We are 3 and 0, I think right now, when we have done it.  So hopefully that continues if we ever have to do it again.  Hopefully not though [laughs].”

The Flyers started tonight, as solidified their standings, in first place in the Eastern Conference. With the win, the Flyers have now won three straight games and seven of their last eight games, which has propelled them to a 30-11-5 record for 65 points.

The Flyers become the first team in the NHL with 30 wins, and should Vancouver (64pts) lose in regulation, Philadelphia would be owners of the best record (with points) in the NHL.

Andrej Meszaros has two goals this year. His most recent – a slapper from just above the circle and past Washington goaltender Semyon Varlamov for a game-winning-goal in overtime.

“I was just trying to hit the net because the guy was kind of on me and he was going at me,” said Meszaros. “I was trying not to hit him because that would be a breakaway for them.”
The game-winner was his first since February 6, 2010 when Tampa Bay beat Calgary 2-1 in overtime.  That GWG also came in overtime, at the 1:58 mark.  He has had exactly one game-winning goal in each of the last four seasons, and had two in 2005-06.
In addition, Meszaros padded his NHL-leading plus-minus rating by two points in the win vs. Washington. He currently has a plus-29 rating , four better than Anaheim’s Toni Lydman.

Just as important as the offensive side of the puck, was the defensive side.

Braydon Coburn’s assignment for the game was superstar Alex Ovechkin, and while Ovechkin did score, he was held at bay for most of the game by Coburn.

“Well, you want to try and play him tight,” said Coburn. “He’s a fast guy so you always want to put yourself in good position.  He’s pretty dynamic at getting around so you just want to be in a good defense position most of the time.”

“He played really well,” said Richards. “Him and Kimmo [Timonen] were playing with each other.  He’s a big boy with lots of speed and can handle Ovechkin’s size.  Not many people can do that, and he played well with him tonight.”

January 17

3:23 p.m.

The Flyers finally got a chance to be re-acquainted with their family and friends on Monday.

“It feels really good to be home,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “Just getting to see some kids around the rink and guys back in their familiar surroundings and get practice in. Practice looked sharp today. I think guys are excited to get home. It was a long, long time away.”

For the last 28 days, the Flyers have been on the road for all but one home game, while the next 29 days will see the Flyers play just two games on the road (Jan. 23 at Chicago & Feb. 1 at Tampa Bay).

  Laviolette // Briere // Pronger

Shifting back to the road swing, nine of the Flyers’ last 10 games have been away from the Wells Fargo Center starting with their post-holiday West Coast road trip.

Road swings like that have a knack for creating losing streaks, points lost and eventually falling in the standings.

Not these Flyers.

Out of the last 10 games, they posted a 7-3-0 record to earn 14 out of a possible 20 points, including going 6-3 on the road.

“We’re not doing anything fancy on the road. We’re playing as simple [hockey] as it comes and we’re having success doing so,” said Flyers captain Mike Richards.

“Being at home here for the next few days will be nice,” said Scott Hartnell. “I think it’s more of being prepared to play on the road. It’s always harder to get up for the games for when the crowd is cheering for the home team, but our penalty kill has been great on the road, our power play has been scoring some timely goals and we’ve been playing hard for 60 minutes.”

Looking ahead of the Flyers is a schedule that the hometown crowd should get excited for. Starting on Tuesday, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals come to town, which kicks off a three-game homestand, four of the next five games in Philadelphia and a stretch of eight of their next 10 games at the Wells Fargo Center.

“It’s kind of a new chapter. We’re turning a new page for us,” said Danny Briere. “We focused on that road trip and we certainly did what we had to do on the road trip, but now it’s as chance for us to make up some ground even more.”

With last night’s games in the books, the Flyers sit first overall in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference with 63 points with a 29-11-5 record. They are three points ahead of their closest opponent, the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have 60 points and have played one more game than The Flyers.

It may be a little too early to look at the President’s Trophy race, but the Flyers are one point behind the Vancouver Canucks (29-10-6 – 64 pts) for the top spot in the entire NHL. With the Flyers set to play Washington on Tuesday, they could take over the lead and become the NHL’s first 30-win club.

Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger participated in a full practice today with all of his teammates, aside from the easygoing skate in Central Park last Saturday.

“It’s the first time really that I’ve seen him,” said Laviolette. “He’s been away and we’ve been away from him. He looked okay in the skate I the park that we had, but that was really casual. Today there was more structure to the practice. There were more drills, defensive zone coverage, offensive zone and puck movement.”

Repeatedly Pronger has felt better and better with each skate and is now consistently getting a chance to test out the foot in practice, but the other factor that comes into play is timing and getting back into game shape.

Pronger has been sidelined since Dec. 15 at Montreal and has missed the last 12 games, but is in no immediate rush to return, unless he is completely healthy.

“Because it is weight bearing I haven’t really pushed on it a lot up until the last few days,” said Pronger. “Really it’s not so much right now. It’s afterwards [practice] with the swelling and soreness and trying to gauge how that is.”

Although he’s been ruled out for Tuesday’s game vs. Washington, Pronger will have an appointment with the doctor on Wednesday where Thursday’s fate might see him as a possibility in the lineup.

January 15
1:13 p.m.

Although clearly not happy about Thursday’s loss to the Bruins, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette was quick to point out two very important factors he preached to his club.

The first, being that it was a game which featured five lead changes, a 12 combined goals and more than a few unfortunate bounces that were simply out of the normal and not under any one’s control. 

The second was that they got to get right back on the horse and play their style of hockey the very next night.

“I know it sounds funny and I’m usually pretty honest with my team, I thought we played hard [against Boston],” said Laviolette. “It was just a weird game. In the end, we weren’t horrible defensively, it wasn’t anyone’s fault. It was just one of those games where you kind of wrap it up and throw it away and that’s what we talked about this morning.”

  Laviolette // Shelley // Briere

The result of was a 5-2 victory over the Thrashers in Atlanta, however the score is a little more deceiving than what the actual game played out.

After nearly 35 minutes of scoreless hockey, an offensive explosion let out that saw Philly and Atlanta combine for four goals by the end of the second period.

None more important for the Flyers than enforcer Jody Shelley’s goal to get the Flyers on the board and tie the game up at 1-1 after Atlanta opened up the scoring 36 seconds earlier.

“It felt great,” said Shelley. “It’s one of those things where you want to contribute in any way and when you can score as a fourth line, especially in a 0-0 game, it’s nice for me and [Darroll] Powe, [Blair] Betts and [Dan] Carcillo to get on the board.”

Tied at 2-2 entering the third period, the Flyers rallied to score three unanswered goals sparked by Danny Briere to give the Flyers the lead for good.

“Before that our line had a so-so game and all we were telling ourselves was to try and stay positive, something good is going to happen, something good is going to happen,” said Briere. “It took awhile but it finally did.”

Danny Briere is resembling the energizer bunny he became famous for in Buffalo. He just keeps going and going and going.

Briere scored his 24th goal of the season, which turned out to be the game-winner for the Flyers vs. Atlanta, but it also marked his fifth straight game he has lit the lamp.

It is Briere’s first five-game goal-scoring streak as a Flyer (his career high is six straight games with a goal with Phoenix back in 2000-01). He also becomes the first Flyer since Geoff Sanderson back in 2006 to record goals in five straight games.

Briere now has a six-game point streak (6G,2A) and points in eight of his last nine games for a total of 15 points (8G,7A) in that span.

It is by no means limited to Briere. His line, since being reunited after a few games off at the end of December, has provided a majority of the scoring and regained their swagger as of late.

Hartnell had an assist last night vs. Atlanta, which gives him points in three straight games (3G,2A) and five of his last six games, where he has six goals during that stretch.

The third partner on that line, Ville Leino, also has a three-game point streak (1G,2A) and points in four of his last five as well (1G,5A).

The Flyers are now 6-2-2 in the second half of games on back-to-back nights and will wrap up their swing of nine road games in their last 10 overall contests on Sunday when the Flyers travel to Madison Square Garden and play the Rangers.

January 13

1:54 a.m.

Few expected a run-and-gun shootout of a game between the Flyers and Bruins. After all, the 12 goals scored in the 7-5 loss to the Bruins were double the amount of their first two games combined (3-0 Bruins on Dec. 1 & 2-1 Flyers on Dec. 11).

“We both had the lead in the third and I think both sides would have wished they would have done a little bit better clamping down, but that’s just the way it was and they got a couple nice bounces tonight and they got the two points,” said defenseman Sean O’Donnell.

  Laviolette // O'Donnell // Boucher // Briere

The loss brings an end to the Flyers’ four-game winning streak and marks their first regulation loss when winning after two periods of play this season out of their previous 24 occasions, having gone 22-0-2.

Despite the loss, some Flyers streaks will continue on.

Danny Briere now has a five-game point streak (5G,2A), including goals in four straight (5) and points in seven of his last eight games for a total of 14 points (7G,7A) in that span.

His partner in crime, Scott Hartnell has no official streak going on, but has now recorded seven goals in his last seven games, while Kimmo Timonen now has a four-game assist streak (5).

The Flyers’ record sits at 27-11-5 and 59 points, still placing them in first place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

If there is one positive aspect of the loss it’s that the Flyers will have a chance right away to getting back to their style of play when they play tonight at Atlanta. Philadelphia is 5-2-2 in the back end of games on back-to-back days, however are 0-1-1 in back-to-backs that both games were played on the road.

The game wasn’t without controversy though. Trailing 5-4 midway through the third period and while in their own end, Bruins’ defenseman Johnny Boychuk flipped a shot that seemed to go over the glass and hit the protective netting above, thus forcing a whistle, and most importantly a power play for the Flyers via a delay of game penalty on Boston.

“I didn’t see it. I was far away on the bench. They [players] had the best view of it [because] they were down there,” said Laviolette. “We had players reacting like it definitely hit the netting and then the play kept moving on and we got caught behind the play.”

Instead what occurred was quite the opposite. The Bruins broke out of their own zone and rushed down the ice eventually scoring the game-tying goal at 5-5.

“It should have been a power-play for us and it turned into a goal for them,” said Danny Briere. “We both stopped playing because he shot it directly out into the netting. It was tough for [Brad] Watson to see because he had his back turned, but I though one of the other three guys would have seen that and called it, but it’s a bad bounce what are you gonna do?”

Defenseman Sean O’Donnell, who scored his first goal as a Flyer tonight to give the team their fifth goal of the game, was also on the ice and saw the same thing as his other Flyers teammates.

“I was on the ice. It hit the netting for sure,” said O’Donnell. “It’s just one of those things where you let up for a second because you think they’re going to blow [the play] down and when they don’t it just kind of takes you a second to get back in your rhythm… It was still down in their end when it happened and it’s no excuse.”

* * *
6:30 p.m.

Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette confirmed that Matt Walker would make his Flyer debut tonight vs. Boston after missing the first 42 games of the season.

Walker has officially been taken off long-term injured reserve, according to general manager Paul Holmgren.

“He said to me ‘this is the best I’ve felt in years’,” said Holmgren. “I’m looking forward to seeing him play and see how he does. I think his presence, his physicality are going to help us right now.”

Walker has been sidelined the entire first half of the 2010-11 season after undergoing two different surgeries.

On Oct. 20, Walker had surgery on his right hip to repair a boney impingement and a torn labrum called for 10-12 weeks of recovery time. He 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.

Walker suffered another set back in the second week of December and shortly thereafter went under the knife again on Dec. 16 to repair a cam impingement in his hip as well as a little bit of a labral debridement. He was originally expected to be out four-six weeks.

A cam impingement deals with the ball-and-socket joint to the hip. If the head is not shaped normally, the abnormal part of the head can jam in the socket when the hip is bent.

Which brings us to today, a little past the four-week mark.

January 12
2:42 p.m.

A view of Boston Commons in the middle of the blizzard

After the team’s 5-2 win over the Sabres at Buffalo, the Flyers escaped the snowy upstate New York conditions and landed in Boston just in time.

That is… just in time to be snowed in by another storm that has blanketed the entire Northeast and continues to dump approximately 15-20 inches on Bean town.

Hence Mother Nature has forced Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette’s hand to cancel practice and give his club a day off to spend in their hotel rooms or any place that they can find open.

“We worked out today, we’ve got a nice health club here, so instead of risking anything outside with the weather, we just stayed in and got a good workout in,” said Laviolette.

“We got a quick workout in and now we’re playing Angry Birds right now,” said Nodl while sitting on his bed with his iPad in his room with roommate Andrej Meszaros. “We can’t really do anything. We’re in Boston and we’re stuck in the hotel.”

The Flyers loss to the elements is the only thing they have succumbed to recently.

Owners of a four-game winning streak, the Flyers have vaulted back to the top of the Eastern Conference with a 27-10-5 record for 59 points, a full three points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins (26-14-4 – 56 pts) who have also played two more games than Philly.

One of the reasons? A balanced attack.

The Flyers have eight players, which is tied with Detroit for the most in the NHL, who have scored at least 10 goals through the midway point of the season. Briere (22), Giroux & Carter (16), Richards & Hartnell (14), Zherdev (13), Leino & van Riemsdyk (10).

“We have a lot of guys that there seems to be good depth on our team,” added Laviolette. “I think you need a mix of players, but we certainly have a lot of talented players.  I think it brings out a good balance on the lines and a good balance from the back end, and we’re able to play a style that is conducive to generating offense, and there’s a lot of guys who are having good years.  So I would agree that our depth is our strength.  I think that when you have that depth, you become more difficult to defend.”
Andreas Nodl and James van Riemsdyk crashing the net against Tim Thomas.

In the middle of a nine out of 10 games on the road swing, naturally you might expect the Flyers to hit a rough patch.

Not this team.

The Flyers have the best road winning percentage in the NHL with a 14-4-3 record (.738) and tied for the second most road wins in the NHL (14).

Their next road challenge will be against the Bruins at the TD Garden tomorrow night (7 p.m. ET, CSN, 610 WIP).

The Flyers are 1-1-0 against the Bruins with the last meeting going to the Orange & Black in a hard fought 3-2 win that was tied going into the third period.

Laviolette expects much of the same in tomorrow’s tilt.

“I think the games have been excellent.  I think they bring out the best in us and we bring out the best in them, and they usually lead to pretty good hockey games.  I would imagine that tomorrow’s no different.  Over time too, especially recently, things kind of spill over from one game to the next, and you see certain teams on the schedule and you’re ready to play.  I would imagine it’s going to be a pretty good hockey game tomorrow.”

* * *
1:47 p.m.


Flyers GM Paul Holmgren updated the media on Chris Pronger's rehab earlier:

"Chris Pronger saw Dr. Steven Riakin and was given the go ahead to move his rehabilitation to the next level. Chris will join the team in Atlanta and take part in practice."

Pronger will skate with his teammates for the first time since the Flyers 5-3 win at Montreal on Dec. 15, where he suffered his foot injury.

* * *
2:02 a.m.

  Laviolette // Briere // Bobrovsky

One would think that Danny Briere had a chip on his shoulder.

Danny Briere leads the Flyers with 22 goals, which also ranks sixth among all NHL players.
After all, prior to tonight’s game he had 21 goals and 33 points in 38 games, but was surprisingly left off the NHL’s All-Star team.

“I think it’s surprising to only have one with the season that we’re having,” said Briere following the Flyers’ 5-2 win at Buffalo.

In that win, Briere recorded season-high (and tied a career-high) four points which included a goal and three assists to put him at almost a point-per-game pace with 22 goals and 15 assists for 37 points in 39 games. It was his fifth career four-point game.

His 22 goals lead the Flyers, while his 37 points rank second on the team, one point behind captain Mike Richards who has 38 points.

“Haha, no I don’t think it had anything to do with that,” said Briere. “It was just one of those nights were I was getting the bounces and a good effort from my linemates as well. Scotty [Hartnell] and Ville [Leino] both played a strong game.”

Its not like this sort of game is an anomaly either. Briere has been steadily producing all year round especially as of late.

“Yeah I was a little confused about that too, but his roommate there got to go [Claude Giroux],” said Hartnell about Briere not being selected. “Danny’s having a heck of a season and it gives him more motivation to shove it up whoever didn’t pick him [laughs].”

Briere has goals in three straight games (4G), points in four straight (4G,4A) and has posted at least a point in six of his last seven contests for a total of 12 points (6G,6A) in that stretch.

Having been out of the net for the past three games and 11 days, Sergei Bobrovsky took a little while to settled in between the pipes. Once he did, the door was shut.

“It wasn’t difficult,” said Bobrovsky. “I was just waiting for my opportunity to play and getting ready, so when I do get a chance to play I can perform well.”

Bobrovsky allowed two goals in the first period, neither of them the result of bad play or miscues, but once the first period ended, Bobrovsky owned the game.

He stopped all 26 shots he faced in the final two periods of play and a total of 38 of 40 shots to earn a 5-2 win over the Sabres. It was Bobrovsky’s first victory in just over four weeks (5-3 at Montreal on Dec. 15).

“He was sharp and you know we weren’t very good in front of him,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “Defensively we left some guys open and the puck was bouncing a little bit.”

The victory gives Bobrovsky 16 wins on the year which ties the most amount of wins a Flyers goaltender had last year (Leighton: 16-5-2 & Emery: 16-11-1). Bobrovsky is now 16-6-3 with a 2.55 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage as the Flyers are just past the midway point of the 2010-11 season.

January 11
3:01 p.m.

The NHL wasn't the only League who announced their All-Star rosters today. Flyers' defensive prospect Erik Gustafsson was named to the Eastern Conference Team in the AHL All-Star Classic to be held in Hershey, Pa.

The 22-year-old Gustafsson was signed by the Flyers as a free agent on March 3, 2010 and received his first call up to the Flyers on Dec. 29, but did not play.

He currently leads the Phantoms with 27 points and 23 assists. He is first among all AHL rookies in assists (23) and is second for all AHL defensemen. His 15 power-play assists place him fourth in the league among all players and first among rookies and blueliners.

* * *
11:31 a.m.

The National Hockey League selected the remaining 36 All-Stars today, and Claude Giroux has been chosen to represent the Flyers in Raleigh, N.C.

"Obviously, it is pretty exciting and should be a really good experience," said Giroux when hearing the good news. "I really don't know what to say.  I never thought I'd be able to accomplish this but it is exciting.  Hopefully I can perform well."

Giroux, who turns 23 tomorrow (1/12/88), will be taking part in his first NHL All-Star game.  He enters tonight’s game at Buffalo ranked second on the Flyers roster in scoring with 16 goals and 20 assists for 36 points in 41 games.  He leads the Flyers with six power-play goals, and is among four players tied for the league lead with three shorthanded goals.

A native of Hearst, Ontario, Giroux was drafted by the Flyers in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.  In 167 career NHL games, Giroux has scored 41 goals and added 69 assists for 110 points.

During the 2008-09 season, Giroux was selected to play in the American Hockey League’s All-Star Classic after playing the first half of the season with the Flyers’ AHL affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms, but was with the Flyers when the game was played and did not participate. 

Giroux will join Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette, who will co-coach one of the teams, in representing the Flyers at the event. 

Below (and attached PDF) is a list of the 2011 NHL All-Stars:



Corey Perry – Anaheim Ducks
Jarome Iginla – Calgary Flames
Eric Staal – Carolina Hurricanes
Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Sharp – Chicago Blackhawks
Matt Duchene – Colorado Avalanche
Rick Nash – Columbus Blue Jackets
Loui Eriksson – Dallas Stars
Brad Richards – Dallas Stars
Ales Hemsky – Edmonton Oilers
Anze Kopitar – Los Angeles Kings
Patrik Elias – New Jersey Devils
Claude Giroux – Philadelphia Flyers
David Backes – St. Louis Blues
Steven Stamkos – Tampa Bay Lightning
Martin St. Louis – Tampa Bay Lightning
Phil Kessel – Toronto Maple Leafs
Ryan Kesler – Vancouver Canucks
Henrik Sedin – Vancouver Canucks
Daniel Sedin – Vancouver Canucks
Alex Ovechkin – Washington Capitals

Dustin Byfuglien – Atlanta Thrashers
Tobias Enstrom – Atlanta Thrashers
Zdeno Chara – Boston Bruins
Nicklas Lidstrom – Detroit Red Wings
Brent Burns – Minnesota Wild
Shea Weber – Nashville Predators
Marc Staal – New York Rangers
Erik Karlsson – Ottawa Senators
Dan Boyle – San Jose Sharks
Mike Green – Washington Capitals

Jonas Hiller – Anaheim Ducks
Tim Thomas – Boston Bruins
Cam Ward – Carolina Hurricanes
Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens
Henrik Lundqvist – New York Rangers


Cam Fowler – Anaheim Ducks
Tyler Seguin – Boston Bruins
Tyler Ennis – Buffalo Sabres
Jeff Skinner – Carolina Hurricanes
Kevin Shattenkirk – Colorado Avalanche
Jordan Eberle – Edmonton Oilers
Taylor Hall – Edmonton Oilers
Evgeny Dadonov – Florida Panthers
Michael Grabner – New York Islanders
Derek Stepan – New York Rangers
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Phoenix Coyotes
Logan Couture – San Jose Sharks

January 10
6:37 p.m.

The National Hockey League will pick it’s 36 players to join the six, fan-elected, starters for the 2011 All-Star Game and Skill Competition on Tuesday and while each team is assured to get at least one representative, the Flyers could get anywhere from one to seven players considering the way the season has gone thus far.

Highly unlikely that they will get upwards of four to seven players, the Flyers will no doubt received two-three players which begs the question: who will get chosen?

“I’d love to be named. It’s quite an honor,” said Briere, who while in Buffalo played in the 2007 NHL All-Star Game and was named MVP. “With this team, with so many guys having good years it makes it difficult… I’m just proud to have a good season on a good team.”

Briere is certainly among those at the top of the list with 21 goals through 38 games, which leads the Flyers and is tied for sixth in the NHL and a plus-minus rating of plus-17 that is tied for eighth in the NHL. Both statistics put him in good position to shatter his career high.

  Laviolette // Briere // Giroux

Claude Giroux, who garnered 206,323 votes without even being named on the ballot, certainly wouldn’t refuse an invitation if one came his way.

“Obviously it will be a great honor, but at the same time there are a lot of good players in this League,” said Giroux. “If I’m not chosen I won’t be too mad about it, but if I do get chosen it will be pretty cool.”

Giroux ranks second on the team in points (36) though the team’s 41 games thus far, including 16 goals which matches his career-high. He is just 11 points shy of his career high in points.

After the first six players (by position) were chosen in the fan voting, the remaining players are chosen by the NHL hockey operations department and the general managers of the teams throughout the League.

Which makes it hard to narrow down the Flyers field. In addition to the before-mentioned Briere & Giroux, Flyers captain Mike Richards continues to lead the team in scoring with 37 points as well as lead the team in assists (24).
Danny Briere was All-Star Game MVP in 2007 after posting five points (1G,4A).

On the blueline, Kimmo Timonen quickly earns praise from his teammates for the steady shutdown play he brings every game.

Despite his foot injury, Chris Pronger led all Flyers in All-Star voting and would be considered to be a shoe-in to play if his status allows him.

In addition to the players named, an additional 12 rookies will be added. This most likely gives 22-year-old goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky a good chance to participate in the mid-season classic.

Bobrovsky owns a 15-6-3 record to go along with a 2.57 goals-against-average and .915 save percentage in his first year in the League. He was named the NHL’s rookie of the month for November by registered a 7-1-2 record with a 2.02 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in 11 starts.

Tuesday’s announcement will most likely feature one or more snubs of Flyers to make the trip to Raleigh, but whoever is named and whoever isn’t named to the team, one thing is very clear about this year’s Flyers team. The team has been positioned at the top of the standings because of a full 23-man effort and while nice to be recognized, the more important feeling is coming to the rink every day with that sense of accomplishment and that one goal.

“This year has been a lot of fun,” said Danny Briere. “Everybody comes here happy, excited to be at the rink. It makes a difference and it makes it a lot more fun to play the game.”

January 8
5:51 p.m.

Brian Boucher is feeling it… and hearing it.

The Boooosh chants almost everywhere he plays, but none louder than in the Wells Fargo Center. Espcially one packed as today’s game was with a standing room only crowd of 19,859.

“I felt pretty good all year long,” said Boucher. “I’ve tried not to let the other stuff be a factor. Just try to come to the rink and do my job, be prepared to play, and try to have fun with it. Like I said, I’m just happy to get the opportunity to play, get wins and have fun.”

Boucher was sharp right from the get go from a very determined New Jersey Devils team that was playing their first game without their captain Jamie Langenbrunner.

  Laviolette //   Boucher //   Meszaros //   van Riemsdyk

In total, Boucher stopped 34 of 35 shots for his ninth win of the season and made several key saves that included a great point-blank save at 12:23 of the second period and no doubt the save of the game on former Flyer Dainius Zubrus, who broke in all alone with under 20 seconds to go in the game, but came up empty from Boucher.

“He was good for us last year at the end and we wouldn’t have had success without him but consistency-wise from the start of the year he’s been solid,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “Bob [Bobrovsky] got that run there in the middle and we went with Bob [Bobrovsky] for awhile but I don’t think Brian [Boucher] did anything wrong. He played extremely well at the beginning of the year and nothing’s changed. He’s been consistent and gives us a chance to win and tonight he did a little more than that.”

The Flyers are now 26-10-5 for 57 points at the halfway point of the 2010-11 season.  They reached 26 wins at the halfway point of a season for just the seventh time in team history.  The last time was 2005-06, when they had 27 wins at this point.  Prior to that year, the Flyers hadn’t had 26 wins at the halfway point since the 1986-87 season, when they had 27.

Just as Sergei Bobrovsky was towards the beginning of the season, Boucher has been a crucial part of the Flyers hot streak.

He won his last three games, posting a 1.66 goals-against-average and .939 save percentage, while improving his record to 9-4-2 with a 2.32 goals-against average and .916 save percentage overall this season.

“I think we’ve just carried over what we did last year in the playoffs,” added Boucher. “Our goal this year was to put ourselves in a better position come spring time. We’ve done a good job thus far but we still have a lot of work to do.”

As a result, the Flyers currently sit in first place in the Eastern Conference and, should the Penguins lose tonight in any fashion, will remain in first at the official midway point. They are also in a tie for second place overall with Detroit and two points behind the Vancouver Canucks who sit at 59 points.

With the Flyers' 2-1 victory over the Devils earlier, head coach Peter Laviolette will be one of the coaches in the NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, N.C. on Jan. 29-30.

“I’m not sure how it will play out with the players in there," said Laviolette. "It’ll be fun. I’ve never been to one before so it will be fun. More than anything I think my spot there is the reflection of the organization and the players and their commitment to being successful. I’m grateful for that.”

The Flyers lead the Eastern Conference with a points percentage of .695, improving to 57 points in 41 games (26-10-5). The Flyers are guaranteed of topping the Eastern Conference. Both Alain Vigneault of the Vancouver Canucks and Laviolette will be making their All-Star Game debut.

January 7
4:09 p.m.

Chris Pronger has skated twice so far… That’s just about 3 ½ weeks since his surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot, specifically his first metatarsal, which was projected to keep him out of the lineup for 4-6 weeks.

“I don’t know. It’s still very early,” said Pronger on when he would return. “I just got the big boot off and now I have the little boot on.

“There’s not a whole lot I can do from the legs perspective. I can ride the bike a little bit, but you’re not really using your whole leg so it kind of throws everything all out of whack, but other than that, not a whole lot.”

  Laviolette // Pronger

There is no official time-table set, however should everything continue to improve and heal, that would put him back in uniform somewhere as early as the last few games before the All-Star break (Jan. 29-30) or returning to his teammates for the Tampa Bay road trip on Feb. 1.

A thought that Pronger would very much welcome because like most injured players, he is certainly in support and there at practice with his teammates, but is not one to watch from the pressbox or on TV for each game.

“Yeah I’m not a big fan of watching the games when you’re on the sidelines,” added Pronger. “It’s tough to kind of sit there and do that. I’m usually working out or doing something during the game to try and keep your mind off of it.”

In other news, Matt Walker skated today with the team wearing a yellow “no contact” jersey for the first time since his surgery on Dec. 16 to remove inflamed synovial tissue on his left hip.

“It’s hard to tell from practice, but I thought he looked good,” said Laviolette.

The Flyers will look to make it a clean sweep of their home-and-home series against the Devils in a Saturday matinee at the Wells Fargo Center.

On the line is a possible trip to the All-Star game for Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. He will clinch an All-Star coaching berth if the Flyers get at least one point against New Jersey OR if the Penguins lose to Minnesota.

Joel Quenneville of the Chicago Blackhawks will coach one All-Star team, while two head coaches (one from the Western Conference and one from the Eastern Conference) will be named co-head coaches.

After all of the NHL regular-season games are played through Saturday, Jan. 8, the head coach of the team with the highest points percentage (points earned divided by total possible points) in each conference will co-lead the team.

In the standings however, the Flyers could leapfrog the Pens, who currently have 56 points, and take over first place with 57 points, depending on the outcome of the Pittsburgh-Minnesota game later that night.

January 6
11:54 p.m.

For the first time in four games, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette put the dynamic line of Ville Leino, Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell back together.

The result was a 3-2 victory at the Prudential Center in the opening game of their home-and-home series vs. the Devils.

“More than anything it was just a break,” said Laviolette. “I said back then it would not be long term. I think sometimes just to freshen it up, but when those three guys are skating and working for each other they’re pretty difficult to play against.”

The line combined for the team’s first three goals and a total of seven points (4G,3A) and a plus-8 rating.

  Laviolette // Hartnell // Briere // Leino

“It was a good game for our line,” said Leino. “Tonight we worked hard and we’ve been kind of missing that so it was good to get going again.”

Hartnell provided two goals on the evening for his second multi-goal game of the year, while Ville Leino recorded his first three-point game of his career by registering three assists.

Perhaps no one is more excited than Danny Briere, who scored the game-winning goal and added an assist on the night, playing at the center position.

“It was just fun the way our line was able to come out and get a couple key goals at the end of the second [period] and the third,” said Briere.

“It’s no surprise. He works hard and he’s got a great shot,” said Hartnell. “The game-winning goal was a quick release right from the slot and the second got deflected but he definitely adds an offensive element to his game.”

The Flyers put an end to their season-high five-game road trip with a 3-2-0 record and will face off against the Devils in a Saturday matinee at the Wells Fargo Center at 1 p.m.
* * *
11:33 p.m.

The Flyers have recalled 5-11, 203-lb defenseman Danny Syvret from their American Hockey League affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, according to general manager Paul Holmgren.  Syvret will be available for tonight’s game at New Jersey and will wear #26.

The 25-year-old Syvret has posted five goals and seven assists for 12 points in 19 games for the Phantoms this season since being acquired in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks on November 21st.  He signed as a free agent with Anaheim in the offseason and appeared in six games for the Ducks this year, recording a goal and an assist.  He also had four assists in eight games for Anaheim’s AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch.

Syvret is best known as a Flyers for scoring his first NHL goal in the 2010 NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park. It was the only Flyers goal of the game.

January 5

5:33 p.m.

The next two Flyers games may not look threatening, but one thing that every player in the locker room knows that this upcoming home-and-home series against the New Jersey Devils is a crucial one.

“There a team that’s in our division and is a rival of ours,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette.”There’s been a lot of games between us and them, but I truly think the game is about us. We’ve had two really good practices. Lots of energy, lots of skating and lots of work put in.”

Despite their NHL-worst 22 points and 10-27-2 record, and Flyers’ Eastern Conference best 53 points and 24-10-5 record, the Devils-Flyers rivalry remains strong and as the old saying goes, there are no easy games in the NHL.

  Laviolette // Briere //   O'Donnell

“It doesn’t matter which players they have in the locker room. Look at them last year,” said Danny Briere.  They finished second in the conference and almost all of their players are back. It’s weird, but you can’t take it lightly.”

A 5-0 loss to Florida at home and 2-1 loss at Columbus back in October is proof enough, but if the Flyers are specifically looking at the Devils, then all they would need to recall is their two meetings this year.

The first one went the distance with the Devils edging the Flyers by virtue of a shootout, 2-1, while the second one saw them battle back from two New Jersey leads and three third-period goals to take away a 5-3 victory.

While the Devils are looking to climb out of the NHL’s basement, the Flyers are in a tight race in their own division being tied with the Penguins (25-12-3) and the Eastern Conference with the Tampa Bay Lightning (24-11-5) each sitting at 53 points.

* * *
2:28 p.m.

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren updated the status of defenseman Chris Pronger earlier this afternoon.

"Chris was seen by Dr. Raikin today," said Holmgren. "His foot is healing nicely. He has been given the green light to do some light skating starting tomorrow. Chris will be re-evaluated on Jan. 12."

Pronger underwent successful surgery on his first metatarsal in his right foot on Friday, Dec. 18. He is believed to have suffered the injury during the second period of the Flyers at Montreal game on Dec 15. He did not return to play the final period in the club’s 5-3 win.

There is no time-table for his return to action, but Holmgren originally said that the surgery would sideline Pronger 4-6 weeks. Today marks the third week since he suffered the injury.

Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette was a surprise guest at Mrs. Thompson’s 3rd grade class at Kresson Elementary School in Voorhees, NJ.   Laviolette (big guy, dark sweater) was there to talk about the Flyers and celebrate his daughter Elisabeth’s birthday.   He provided the class with goalies masks, key chains, activity books and autographed pictures from the players.

January 4
6:27 p.m.

Laviolette //   Boucher //   Leighton

A day after being placed on waivers, Michael Leighton waited to see if he would get picked up by another NHL club.

“It’s been tough not knowing what’s going to happen,” said Leighton. “Obviously waivers is never a fun thing to be on and you never know what’s going to happen. Getting sent down is disappointing for me obviously, but on the other hand I get a chance to play and I got to look at that as a positive.”

Well the 24-hour noon deadline came and passed and Leighton cleared waivers to remain a part of the Flyers organizations and he was certainly relieved.

“It’s a great organization,” said Leighton. “You know I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to get picked up by another team on waivers. This is where I want to be so it’s tough to say that I don’t want to go to the minors and play for a different organization.”

Michael Leighton will report to the Flyers' AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms after clearing waivers.

After clearing waivers, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said he would report to the Flyers’ AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, where he will see regular practice and playing time.

Thus the ultimate reason for Leighton being waived.  All parties involved agree carrying three healthy goaltenders is not an ideal situation for the organization and each of the goalies themselves.

“We’re rotating through practice and it’s not a good situation for anybody,” added Leighton on carrying three goaltenders. “For me being the odd man out, its probably harder for me, not getting the practice time that I want, but on the other hand the other guys who are playing want to get their practice time in too, but like I said a decision had to be made.”

That decision is one that all of Leighton’s teammates saw as a particularly tough one to make.

“It sucks,” said Flyers captain Mike Richards. “You never like to see a guy leave. It’s tough and it’s not going to get easier, especially with a guy we’ve had success with before that is extremely well liked around the hockey team too, but it’s a business, it’s the worst part of the business and it’s going to be tough to see him go.”

With the first half of the risk factor over, Leighton will most likely join the Phantoms after their game in Albany on Wednesday, before making a West Coast trip of their own to Abbotsford, British Columbia on Friday, Jan. 7.

“It would be nice to stay in the NHL, but I like the guys here, the organization, the fans and this is where I want to be, up here, so I just have to keep working, work hard and try and work my way back.”

* * *
5:07 p.m.

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren updated the media today on two Flyers on the mend.

“Pronger’s CT scan shows healing. It will be read by Dr. Raikin tomorrow and we will know more then," said Holmgren. "Zherdev has a lower body issue. He will be held off the ice tomorrow [January 5] and re-evaluated on Thursday.”

January 3
12:11 p.m.

UPDATE: The Flyers today placed goaltender Michael Leighton on waivers, according to Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren.

* * *
10:59 a.m.

There remains one last day to vote and help put your favorite Flyers in the NHL All-Star game in Raleigh, N.C. on Jan. 29-30.


Voting ends just before midnight, officially at 11:59 p.m. ET, and the final ballots are being cast and counted.

The most recent update came on Dec. 28 and sees the Flyers at the following position:

 (as of Dec. 28)
Chris Pronger (D): 266,479
     - Leads the Flyers & Ranks 3rd overall among defensemen; 9th among all players.

*Sergei Bobrovsky (G): 237,575
     - 2nd on the Flyers; 3rd among all goaltenders & write-in candidates
Kimmo Timonen (D): 215,243
     - 3rd on the Flyers & 5th among all NHL defensemen 

Mike Richards (F): 207,340
     - Leads all Flyers forwards 

*Claude Giroux (F): 206,323
     - Leads all NHL forwards who are write-in candidates
Danny Briere (F): 184,866
Jeff Carter (F): 105,631

- Also in Flyers news, defenseman Erik Gustafsson, who was recalled from the Phantoms under emergency conditions on Dec. 29, was returned to Adirondack this morning.

January 2

11:11 p.m.

The Flyers wrapped up their West Coast (or Western Conference if you want to get technical) road trip tonight in Detroit with a 2-2-0 record.

At first glance that’s hardly a stellar record, but consider the opponents.

Three of the four are teams are currently the first, (Detroit) second, (Vancouver) and fourth (Los Angeles) place teams in the Western Conference, and the fourth team is one point in the standings behind the fourth seeded Kings.

Not a bad trip to go .500, especially considering tonight’s win over the Red Wings, was the first time since the Flyers won at Detroit in over 22 years – Nov. 4, 1988, a 4-3 victory in which Murray Craven scored the game-winning goal with 13 seconds left in the third period.

  Laviolette // Leino // Boucher // Hartnell

Sunday’s 3-2 victory by the Flyers ends a streak of going 0-14-2 and four different US Presidents occupying the Oval Office.

As interesting of a note as that is, Laviolette doesn’t put much stock into it.

“I don’t believe in that stuff. How are you supposed to coach that? What do you do? Usually the play on the ice dictate’s things. There are different players here. Everything’s different, so there’s no sense in bringing it up.”

James van Riemsdyk kicked off the scoring for the Flyers after a scoreless first period with his ninth of the season, while Dan Carcillo and Scott Hartnell also provided goals in the second period to give the Flyers a 3-0 lead.

“We regrouped, we had a meeting, we looked over some film the last couple of games and really took care of our end today and Boosh played an incredible game today too.”

They needed every bit of that lead and while the Red Wings made things interesting, the final 10 minutes of the game had a playoff desperation to it.

“Even in the third period, where we lost it, I really like the way we played,” said Laviolette. “We were aggressive. We didn’t give up much, we made a mistake on the first goal, but we were still pressing; we were still looking for things and we’re in with scoring opportunities.”

Desperate Red Wings trying to tie it up and send it to overtime, while the Flyers desperately tried to hold the lead.

The Flyers came out on top and walked away with a very important two points.

The official road trip doesn’t end until Jan. 6 when the Flyers play at Newark, N.J. against the Devils as part of a home-and-home series against New Jersey.

The Flyers will say goodbye to the Wells Fargo Center once again as they will begin another four-game stretch on the road, bringing their total of nine road games in their last 10 contests.

If only it could be his birthday every game day.

Brian Boucher now is a shade over his number 33 in age. At 34 years old, the native of Woonsocket, R.I. was stellar in net once again.

Boucher stopped 25 of 27 shots, including point blank chances by Zetterberg & Co., and a breakaway by Darren Helm, to give the Flyers a 3-2 win in Detroit. Not an easy task considering the Flyers are rolling three goaltenders at the moment and his last appearance was a 6-2 loss at Vancouver to start the Flyers road trip.

“It seemed like he was in control from start to finish,” said Laviolette. “There was no panic in him or from the team. He played a great game from start to finish.”

Flyers forward Danny Briere has generously donated his pair of World Junior Championship tickets when the USA plays Canada on Jan. 4 to 15 children who are being treated for cancer at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

All 15 children will be joined by a parent and will watch the game from a luxury suite located at center ice. In addition, Briere is also providing a hotel room for each family so they won’t have to rush to the game.

Briere played for Team Canada in the 1997 World Junior Championships where he had six points (2G,4A) in seven games and helped lead them to the gold medal.

* * *
4:42 p.m.

Tonight’s game is a homecoming of sorts for Flyers forward Ville Leino.

The 27-year-old native of Finland began his North American career in the Motor City back in the 2008-09 season, and as the Flyers prepare for their game against the Detroit Red Wings, Leino has been looking forward to this game for quite some time.

“I’ve been thinking about it since the first day of the season,” said Leino, who now stands just down the hall looking at his former locker room for the first time since Feb. 6, 2010.

Not even a full year has passed since the Flyers sent defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen and a fifth round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft for Leino, however he is the first one to admit that it definitely seems like a lot longer than that.

“It’s been a long time and it feels kind of weird to be back here. It’s just going to be a fun day,” added Leino.

Leino’s playing time (and statistics) were no where near what they are currently.

He played just 13 games back in 08-09, but posted a respectable five goals and nine points off of his call up from the Red Wings’ AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids.

It didn’t pan out in more minutes the following year, however as he recorded just seven points (4G,3A) in 42 games prior to being sent to the Flyers.

“There’s good and bad,” said Leino of his memories in Detroit. “The last weren’t so good and some of the other days where I wanted to play more and didn’t really play as well I wanted, but I have good memories of playing for my first team and it’s the first time I got to the [United States] and we got to the [Stanley Cup] Final.”

Once in Philadelphia, the situation seemed the same; not enough room in the lineup and limited playing time.

Then came the Stanley Cup playoffs, where Leino, through some injuries of his teammates, began playing with Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell.

The result was seven goals, 14 assists and 21 points in 19 games to set a Flyers’ rookie playoff scoring record in a single season.

This season, Leino’s numbers are climbing and climbing. He currently sits at 26 points (9G,17A), which is more points than his previous three regular seasons combined.

Hindsight being 20/20, it’s fair to say that the trade worked out more in the favor of the Flyers than Wings.