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SEPT - 2011

Roster Schedule Flyers TV

OCT - 31
7:28 p.m.

The Flyers were on the ice this afternoon – twice.

They were by no means being punished, after all they did just earn a 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night. Rather they wanted two clean sheets of ice to work on after the team’s was given a complete day off on Sunday.

One area of play that Laviolette and the coaching squad seem to be hammering into the minds of his team is the power play, which has been a key contributor to the team’s success.

“We’re always working on it; we’ve worked on it for every pre-game skate,” said Laviolette. “I think you look at what you’re doing and look at what you’re generating and you hope to be opportunistic with the puck going in the net. We always look at it to see if we’re generating chances and getting the movement… We have worked on it a lot, but not just today.”

Laviolette // Hartnell // Jagr

The Flyers power play is among the tops in the NHL, operating at over 22 percent (22.2%), going 12-for-54 and sits at seventh in the NHL.

Right on their heels is the Flyers next opponent, the Buffalo Sabres who sit in the 8th position at 21.9 percent, but it’s the Sabres penalty kill that the Flyers will be more interested in cracking.

The Sabres are ranked third among all teams on the PK, allowing just three goals on 37 times a man-down so far this season. They have also allowed just one goal to sneak by in their last seven contests, killing off 22 of the last 23 opponent’s power plays.

Wednesday’s game will also be the first meeting since the team eliminated the Sabres in their epic seven-game series of last year’s Eastern Conference Quarterfinals coming back from a 2-3 series deficit. This time however a familiar face will be on the opposite bench – Ville Leino.

Jaromir Jagr’s week of scoring has earned him the ‘NHL’s Third Star of the Week Award’ according the National Hockey League earlier this afternoon.

Last week, Jagr recorded five goals and seven points in his four games. In addition, he posted his 113th career game-winning goal which ranks third in the NHL all-time behind Gordie Howe (121) and Phil Esposito (118).

The key to his recent success? Jagr attributes it to his comfort level having grown throughout the first weeks of the season.

“I’m more relaxed and probably more comfortable with my teammates and the organization and everything here,” said Jagr. “Don’t forget it’s a totally new organization and totally new League for me.”

The Flyers seem to be hitting the injury bug as of late. General Manager Paul Holmgren updated the status of a few players, one of which was Matt Read, who was also missing from the team’s skate today.

Read, along with fellow forwards Danny Briere and Zac Rinaldo are considered day-to-day all with upper-body injuries.

Chris Pronger on the other hand continues to improve.

“Chris is doing well [and] will see Dr. Goldman tomorrow.”

OCT - 30
5:13 p.m.

It’s a complete day off at the Flyers practice facility in Voorhees, NJ and even though no one is on the ice or in meetings, that doesn’t mean there isn’t news to talk about in Flyers country.

Through the first 11 games of the season, here is a look at some stats to satisfy the fantasy gamer in you, but PLEASE NOTE - these are as of 5 pm on Sunday afternoon with eight teams in action this evening.

We start with the most basic stat of all – scoring.
Claude Giroux is making a run at the NHL scoring race 11 games into the 2011-12 season.

Claude Giroux leads the Flyers with 15 points in his 11 games, which is good enough for a tie for second in the entire National Hockey League, three points behind right wing Phil Kessel (18) of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Giroux is tied for fourth in the league with his seven goals, but is tied for the overall NHL lead with four power-play goals. He also leads the Flyers with two game-winning goals and all Flyer forwards with nearly 20-minutes of time-on-ice. (19:46).

Speaking of scoring, the Flyers own the NHL lead in goals-scored (41) and are tied for the lead in power-play goals scored (12). They currently rank sixth in the NHL on the man-advantage at 22.2 percent, going 12-for-54.

Tied for 13th in the NHL scoring race are new linemates Jaromir Jagr & Scott Hartnell with 11 points each.

Jagr & Hartnell are also owners of four-game point streaks. Jagr has recorded five goals and seven points in his last four games, while Hartnell has recorded nine points during his four game streak, including three multi-point games after scoring just two points in his first five contests.

Hartnell also ranks second on the team in hits (24), while Kimmo Timonen leads that category with 27 through the first 11 games.

Timonen leads the Flyers defense in points with nine, all of them assists. His nine helpers also lead the entire team.

Hartnell & Timonen are also tied for the team lead in plus-minus rating at plus-5 each with rookie Sean Couturier, who is tops among all NHL rookies in that category.

The NHL’s top draft pick in 2011, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, leads the NHL rookie scoring race with nine points, however Matt Read is close by with three goals and four assists for seven points.

Timonen & Couturier are at the top of the list as the Flyers penalty killers. Timonen leads the squad with nearly five minutes of shorthanded time-on-ice per game (4:53), while the 18-year-old Couturier is fourth with nearly four minutes of shorthanded TOI (3:57).

Speaking of time-on-ice, defenseman Matt Carle leads the team with 242:02 in total and an average of 22 minutes per-game.

With 71 games left there are four Flyers (Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Jaromir Jagr and Danny Briere) who will be looking to keep up their point-a-game pace.

Their quest begins Wednesday night in Buffalo, NY when the Flyers begin the front end of games on back-to-back nights.

OCT - 29
4:31 p.m.

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren announced that center Danny Briere has an upper-body injury and will not be in the lineup tonight for the Flyers-Hurricanes game at the Wells Fargo Center.

Holmgren also stated that Briere’s injury is day-to-day.

This is the first game of the season Briere will not play and is the first game he will not be in the lineup since Apr. 5 at Ottawa last season.

Briere ranks second on the team in points (10) with four goals and six assists in the first 10 games of the Flyers season.

He recorded his best game of the season in Thursday’s 9-8 loss to the Jets by posting a four-point night with a pair of goals and assists.

OCT - 28
7:00 p.m.


There is no question that last night’s loss to the Winnipeg Jets was a difficult one on the Flyers, particularly goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. Following the game, Bryzgalov spoke to the media and took the blame for what ended up being a game totaling 17 goals in all.

The game, however, was not all about the goaltending. Bryzgalov’s teammates would not let him shoulder the blame for the loss.

“I don’t think its right to just blame one guy on that, there were break-downs left and right. We were all responsible for goals here and there,” Briere told the media. “I don't think it's right for us to just blame the goaltenders. We also have to look in the mirror at ourselves.”

Today, the Flyers held a meeting at the Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone. Goaltending Coach Jeff Reese met with Bryzgalov one-on-one to ensure his goalie learns from last night’s experience, quickly wipes the slate clean and bounces back.

“It is my job to install confidence in him, and I will tell you what, things are going to turn,” according to Reese. “He is in a different situation than he has ever been before. He is in a different market. He just has to simplify and go out and stop the puck.”

Reese thought that perhaps Bryzgalov was even too hard on himself, but that it says a lot about his character.

“He is a guy that takes a lot of pride in what he does. He cares about what happens and you saw that in the interview last night. He cares about winning. He cares about playing well, and he is a guy that is going to fight through this, and he is going to come out on top.”

Bryzgalov and the team know that confidence plays a big role in being a successful hockey club. With the coaching staff and teammates behind him, it’s to be expected that Bryzgalov will get his swagger back and bounce back quickly.

OCT. 27

1:40 p.m.
Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren issued an update on Chris Pronger's injury that he suffered from getting hit with a stick in Monday night's game against the Maple Leafs.

"Chris saw Dr. Goldman again today. He continues to improve daily. Chris will start light exercise on the weekend," says Holmgren.

Another tough break for the Flyers occurred last night for Brayden Schenn. Holmgren has announced that "Brayden suffered a broken left foot in the game last night. He will be out of action for four to six weeks."

Schenn, 20 (8/22/91), was recalled by the Flyers on October 19 and has appeared in four games, going scoreless.  Schenn has recorded four goals and four assists for eight points in four games for Adirondack so far this season, incluidng a hat trick on October 14 in a 6-3 win vs. Bridgeport.

11:40 a.m.
Nine games has come and gone, and I’m sure if you ask Flyers rookie Sean Couturier they went by in the blink of an eye.

I’m also sure if you ask Couturier he would without any hesitation say that he wants to stay with the Flyers for a 10th game and beyond.

The decision is not his however.

It’s up to the coaching & hockey operations staff of the Flyers whether to return him to his junior team, the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

The decision needs to be made because Couturier is 18-years old and per the NHL & NHLPA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team has nine games to decided whether a rookie under the age of 20 will stay in the NHL or go back to juniors.

Once his 10th game hits it will officially count as a year on his entry-level contract.

Going to their American Hockey League affiliate in Glens Falls is not an option for the team as the AHL does not allow players under the age of 20 to be eligible.

A decision will be made (or has already been made) following the Flyers-Canadiens game in Montreal, because Couturier’s 10th game would be the today as the Flyers take on the Winnipeg Jets at the Wells Fargo Center.

So remains the case for Couturier to stay.

Consider this: The 18-year-old has recorded two goals and two assists for four points in his nine games.

Good, but that’s not likely the sole reason to keep him here. Couturier, to date, leads the Flyers in plus/minus rating at plus-4 in just over 13 minutes of average ice time.

The ice-time he is getting could be the key to the answer.

He averages over four minutes per-game in shorthanded time-on-ice, one of only four players (and two forwards) for the Flyers that do that. Veteran PK specialist Max Talbot is the other forward.

Those minutes do not typically happen unless you’ve gained the complete trust of coaching staff. The only question remains for now is will that same trust be placed in Couturier’s 10th game or pick up somewhere down the future.

OCT - 25

5:23 p.m.

Injuries happen all the time in professional sports and if there’s one injury that players, coaches and fans alike all cringe over is any violent hit to the head area.

Which is why everyone assumed the worse and hoped for the best when they saw Flyers captain Chris Pronger drop to the ice covering his eyes after Mikhail Grabovski caught him with a high stick in the first period of last night’s Flyers-Maple Leafs game.

“I think anytime somebody sees an injury to the face, especially when you know it’s that area, the first thought is ‘I hope his eyes are all right’,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette.  “Certainly with the way he got up and off the ice the way that he did, I think that everybody got a pit in their stomach.”
Chris Pronger moments after getting hit in the face with a stick.

While it’s tough to call being sidelined for possibly 10-14 days good news, in this particular case where the results could have been career-threatening or worse, life-altering, it’s probably safe to say that there is positive news out of the Pronger camp.

With that being said, just a day after the Flyers received the news that they will be without their captain for the next few games, preparation is now underway to cope without him.

“Injuries are a part of it,” said Laviolette. “Every team goes through it. You have to deal with it and you have to get by. We’d much rather have him in there; he’s a world-class defenseman.”

After all, the team has no choice given the schedule ahead.

The team flew to Montreal earlier today to get ready for the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, which kicks off the first of games on back-to-back days and three games in four nights.

“In saying that, we were able to manage without him last night and we’re going to have to do it moving forward,” added Laviolette.

While this is a different team than last year, the coaches and management remain the same, and have been in this familiar position before.

The Flyers were without Pronger for 32 games last year and went 16-9-7 in that span.

It’s a little too early to tell how many games the Flyers will be without him and it’s unknown whether the coaching staff will stick to six defensemen or recall someone from their AHL affiliate in Adirondack, but the Flyers will face their first test tomorrow night against a desperate Montreal Canadiens team that has struggled out of the gates with a 1-5-2 record.

“You go to Montreal and it’s always a great place to go,” said Laviolette. “I think the flag that you throw up is that you know they’re a good hockey team and they haven’t gotten what they’ve been looking for. There’s a little extra intensity and a little extra zip so those games are always a little extra dangerous.”

Chris Pronger’s injury wasn’t the only incident in last night’s game with a high-stick. All-Star Claude Giroux and rookie forward Matt Read also took hits up high.

Pronger’s however, was the only one that occurred without a visor. Which given what happened to defenseman Bryan Berard and even Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman means high likelihood for a more serious injury.

So now the topic about mandatory visors once again comes to the forefront.

“They save a lot of injuries and possible eye injuries,” added Laviolette. “Some guys have been in the league for a long time and I don’t think you’re going to get a lot of them to change; a lot of the young players coming in wear them and they’re there for a reason.”

It was also one of the first things Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren brought to light immediately following the game when discussing Pronger’s injury.

“We made it mandatory in the American Hockey League and it’s not an issue.  Obviously some of these players have been around a long time and for whatever reason they don’t want to wear them,” said Holmgren.  “I think the improvements on the visor over the last few years, compared to what it was ten or 15 years ago, are tremendous.  Other than getting a little sweat in there and some water on the visor, I don’t think it’s a big issue.”

While the argument for or against the use of mandatory visors continues on, Laviolette perhaps described it best when thinking back to the scene of the incident.

“I got two boys playing youth hockey and, as a parent, I’m glad their faces are covered.”

* * *
4:01 p.m.


With the team flying to Montreal today in preparation to take on the Canadiens tomorrow night, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren updated the status of captain Chris Pronger:

"Chris Pronger was seen by Dr. Stephen Goldman today and is progressing very well."

Pronger did not make the trip to Montreal and continues to be on bed rest for the next three days.

OCT - 24

10:23 p.m.

Chris Pronger will be wearing a visor from now on.

We haven’t heard that from Pronger himself, but his general manager Paul Holmgren assured the media that would be the case after tonight’s scary incident in the first period.


At the 11:57 mark of the opening period Chris Pronger was turning to the bottom of the face off circle to jump on a loose puck.  So too was Toronto forward Mikhail Grabovski, who flung his stick at the puck in hopes of getting it to the Flyers net for a goal-scoring opportunity.

His stick missed the puck, but not Pronger.

Replays showed the blade of his stick strike Pronger just above his right eye causing Pronger to hit the ice, cover his face and go off to the locker room with blood on his hands, sweater and face.

As a result, Holmgren addressed the media and stated that the next 3-4 days Pronger will be closely monitored by eye doctors and is likely out of action for up to 10-14 days.

“Right now, he had a little bit of a cut just on the outside of his right eye here.  The eye doctor checked him out thoroughly, and he’s got a little bit of an issue right now with his eye.  We think max, three or four days… no real concern, other than what might happen over the next three or four days, whether it’s swelling or something behind the eye.  So he’s basically going to be on bed-rest for three days, and hopefully he’ll be fine within a couple weeks.”

Pronger did not lose vision in his eye, although Holmgren did state that it was blurred at the time.

No penalty was called on the play, however the Maple Leafs first period were full of stick infractions.

Claude Giroux took a stick up high just 28 seconds into the game and forward Matt Read was victim to a bloody nose after former-Flyer Joffrey Lupul hit him up high and was assessed a double-minor towards the end of the first.

An incident like this however is more and more common in today’s fast-paced game, and while it was a freak accident, Holmgren states the importance of players wearing the protective shield.

“I’m not sure our doctor would clear him to play unless he wears a visor,” added Holmgren. “We made it mandatory in the American Hockey League and it’s not an issue.  Obviously some of these players have been around a long time and for whatever reason they don’t want to wear them.

“I think the improvements on the visor over the last few years, compared to what it was ten or 15 years ago, are tremendous.  Other than getting a little sweat in there and some water on the visor, I don’t think it’s a big issue. I think Chris was really scared after this incident tonight, and I would like to believe he want one.”

* * *
8:29 p.m.

Following a high-stick by Toronto center Mikail Grabovski at the 11:57 mark of the first period, Flyers captain Chris Pronger will not return to the game according to Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren.

No penalty was called on the play.

The Flyers fell victim to three high-sticking incidents during the first period alone.

Claude Giroux was the recipient of the first just 28 seconds into the game by Grabovski, while the third was committed by Joffrey Lupul, who received a four-minute double minor after high-sticking Matt Read with just over five minutes remaining in the first.

Further details to come following the Flyers-Maple Leafs game.

OCT - 23
1:39 p.m.

The saying goes 'Rome wasn’t built in a day' ... and neither were the Flyers.

Those were the sentiments of Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette following practice today, stating that the NHL season is a marathon race, not an all-out sprint.

“We have to continue to stay positive; to teach and to get to know each other,” said Laviolette. “As we grow we’ll get strong by doing that. We have 82 games to build this and get it to where we want to be and your goal by the end of that is to be a team that is ready to compete for the Cup.”

He, along with the veteran leadership on the squad, are on the same page.

  Laviolette // Pronger // Hartnell

“Well, we’re only seven games in,” said Chris Pronger. “I don’t think anybody’s pushing any panic buttons. We need to do things better; we knew it would be a work in progress; we have a lot of new faces and you’re not going to go 82-0.”

With all of that being said, Monday’s game against the Toronto Leafs is a big game, and for many different reasons.

For one, the Flyers hope to quickly snap out of a skid that has seen them go winless in their last two and drop three of their last four games.

In addition, with not many games on the schedule, tomorrow night’s game will be a crucial make-up game that can see the Flyers jump back at the top of the Eastern Conference standings, catching the very team that they are facing off against.

“They’re always a lot more meaningful when they’re conference or division games,” said Laviolette following practice on Sunday. “So I think that that does factor into it a little bit because you’re playing within and you don’t want to give your points to anyone else, but the whole objective is to get as many points as you can over the course of the year.”

The Maple Leafs come into the Wells Fargo Center ranked third in the Eastern Conference with a 5-1-1 record and the NHL’s scoring leader, Phil Kessel, in both points (14) and goals (8), while taking care of business on the defensive side as well with a plus/minus rating of plus-6.

One thing fans can also expect is a close game. The Leafs have played much of their season so far in tight scoring games with five of their last six games being decided by one goal, three of which have gone past regulation play.

OCT - 21
3:46 p.m.

The aftermath of last night’s 5-2 loss at the hands of the Washington Capitals seemed to have caused the Flyers to switch up their lines at practice on Friday.

Although Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette did caution not to read into any line combinations or any experimenting today on the ice.

“We’re just looking at things in practice so I wouldn’t read into things just yet. It wasn’t about the Capitals. Brayden [Schenn] was in so right away that changes a line. We’re trying to look at other players and give a different look… I don’t think that’s the reason why we won or lost a hockey game. Going back and looking at the game, we were sloppy with the puck.” 

One combination that was looked at again by the coaching staff was the reunion of former linemates Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell.

“We’ve played together before so we know each other, so hopefully that can kick-start something,” said Briere. “That’s hockey… sometimes things are going stale and it helps to switch things around and I think that’s what Lavy was trying to do.”

Laviolette // Briere // Simmonds

One thing that seems to have been forgotten or lost in the mix within the Flyers hot start is that this is an entirely new team and as Laviolette puts it, there is a process that has to happen in order to build your hockey team.

“That’s just part of the process throughout the year,” said James van Riemsdyk. “Things get changed, switched around to try and find some different chemistry. I mean you’re never really going to have the same line playing together for the full year, so it happens.”

That process not only sees lines being shifted, but also players coming in and out of the lineup. As was the case with 20-year-old rookie Brayden Schenn who made his Flyers debut in last night’s game against the Caps.

“You have to earn your ice time and that’s what I am going to try to do,” said Schenn following his debut. “There are a lot of good, skilled forwards here and they are going to
play the guys that are going that night.”

“We’ve said it all along coming into the season that there might be some growing pains early in the season as to what the right or best combinations are and I think we’re still at that stage,” added Briere.

What’s indisputable is that today’s practice was a little more up-tempo than usual. Whether or not a message was being sent to the team or it was another part of the process, fans can expect to see a fast, up-tempo and quick stating game against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.

5 in 8
If Flyers fans were tortured at the start of the season by seeing long stretches of days in between games, they certainly won’t any more.

Saturday’s game against the Blues will kick off a five-game span within eight days, including their first back-to-back series of the regular season when they face the Canadiens in Montreal on Wednesday and return home to face the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

That may seem like a negative, but sometimes that can be a good thing for a hockey team, especially coming off of a loss.

“That’s the beauty of the sport,” said Wayne Simmonds. “If you have one off-night, two nights later we get to go again and prove ourselves.”

The good news for both the Flyers and their fans is that four of the five games are home at the Wells Fargo Center.

OCT - 19
7:24 p.m.

The start of the Flyers season has not been short of intriguing storylines, nor has it been short of easy, meaningless or throw away games having to face the defending Stanley Cup Champions, defending Western Conference Champions and one first-ballot hall of fame goaltender.

So it shouldn’t surprise you that tomorrow’s game against the Washington Capitals will be, yet again, a test of the toughest nature.

It will in a way be a battle of the unbeatens. The Flyers come in having yet to lose a game in regulation and own a 4-0-1 record for nine points to rank third in the Eastern Conference.

The Caps come in with a perfect record of 5-0-0 and sit atop the Conference with 10 points.

  Laviolette // Pronger // Bryzgalov

“Well I think both teams will use it as a good test,” said Flyers captain Chris Pronger, who currently owns a five-game point streak. “I know they’re a conference rival that we’re going to be battling with all season so we’ve got to bring our best and see where we’re at.”

The match up will also pit two Russian stars against each other.

Caps captain sniper Alex Ovechkin against Flyers’ no. 1 goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. However, there aren’t too many match ups to look at because up until this season, the two hardly ever faced each other.

“I don’t study him,” said Bryzgalov. “I don’t have much experience playing against him. I’ve only played two games against him and that’s it.”

Bryzgalov owns a 1-1-0 record against Alex Ovechkin’s Capitals team, posting a 2.54 goals-against-average against Washington.

As for Alex himself? Bryzgalov has shut the door. In the two contests, Ovechkin has yet to beat Bryzgalov, recording only an assist in the head to head match up.

Today was the day Brayden Schenn was waiting for. His official recall to the National Hockey League, and from the sound of it, he valued his time in the AHL and feels that he is more than ready to compete at the NHL level.

“I just wanted to come down here and prove that I can play in the American League and put up good numbers, and I showed that,” said Schenn. “Now I got the call and I’m gonna show the same thing in the NHL. I’ve had every opportunity down here to… I’ve played in every situation to help my game, and I gained some confidence so I’m feeling pretty good right now after the shoulder injury. I feel like I’m on top of my game right now.”

Schenn was certainly on top of his game with the Flyers farm team in Glens Falls. He averaged two points per game and helped the Phantoms to a 3-1-0 start, which currently puts them in a tie for the Northeast Division lead.

Now that he’s with the big club, Schenn hopes to help the team continue their success, no matter where, how much and what line he plays on.

“Well it doesn’t really matter who I play with. There are a lot of good forwards there and all I’ve watched so far is, you know, the line is lookin’ good, Reims and Giroux are looking comfortable and good out there, so, it’s really not up to me. I guess we’ll see what happens.”

Jody Shelley has served his time and is ready to get going again.

“It’s a lonely thing you know? You’re here but not playing,” said Shelley, who completed his 10-game suspension (five preseason & five regular season) handed down by the NHL for his boarding penalty on Toronto's Darryl Boyce at the 12:34 mark of the second period in a 4-2 loss to the Maple Leafs on Sept. 21.

What is even more important for Shelley is his experience and mind-set he held with regard to the suspension. He not only sees it in himself, but he sees a league-wide shift in attitude that is better for the game of hockey.

“At first you definitely think it’s hard to look at, but then you realize everyone is adjusting to it and you see guys actually thinking about it going into hits,” added Shelley.  “Like any punishment, even when I was five-years old, you learn from it and you come back better.”

That chance to better himself will begin tomorrow night in front of a friendly crowd at the Wells Fargo Center.

* * *
11:31 a.m.

The Flyers announced this morning that they have recalled forward Brayden Schenn and loaned forwards Zac Rinaldo and Harry Zolnierczyk to the Phantoms.

Schenn appeared in four games for the Flyers’ AHL affiliate, averaging two points per game. He has posted four goals and four assists for eight points which ranks tied for third in the AHL’s scoring race.

He appeared in four preseason games for the Flyers, recording one assist, but remained out of the line up for the final two preseason games due to an upper body injury. He was originally loaned to the Phantoms on Oct. 4 prior to the start of the NHL’s regular season.

Rinaldo appeared in the first five Flyers games to begin the season, recording an assist and leading the team in penalty minutes (28) while averaging 5:28 of ice time.

Zolnierczyk made his NHL debut in last night’s 7-2 win at Ottawa, recording his first goal in the NHL after being recalled by the Flyers earlier that morning. In four games with the Phantoms, he posted a goal and three assists, all of which came in the Phantoms’ 6-3 win over Bridgeport on Oct. 14.

OCT - 18

12:09 p.m.
Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette announced that goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start in net tonight against the Senators.

This will be Bobrovsky’s first start of the 2011-12 season after going 3-0-0 in the Flyers preseason.

In his three preseason games, Bobrovsky posted an impressive 0.40 goals-against- average and .984 save percentage in 151 minutes of play, stopping 62 of 63 shots he faced.

He ranked third among all netminders in both categories to finished the preseason, however he ranked first among all goalies who had seen more than 50 minutes of play.

In his rookie campaign, Bobrovsky started three of the four games against the Senators, posting a 2-1-0 record with a 2.35 GAA.

* * *
9:59 a.m.

It was announced this morning that the Flyers have recalled forward Harry Zolnierczyk from their AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms.

Zolnierczyk will be available to play in tonight’s Flyers-Senators game and will wear no. 29.

The 5-10, 180-pound forward recorded a goal and three assists in four games with the Phantoms prior to his recall, his first in the National Hockey League.

He appeared in five preseason games with the Flyers before being loaned to the Phantoms on Oct. 4.

OCT - 17
5:03 p.m.

Following the team’s 3-2 loss in overtime to the Los Angeles Kings, it was obvious that penalties had cost the Flyers.

They were by no means one-sided calls, with the Kings committing slightly less penalties, seven in total compared to the Flyers eight. However the majority of the Flyers calls (3 out of 4 to be exact) were towards the end of regulation and the team was again, as Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette puts it, was playing with fire.

  Laviolette // Giroux // Carle

“The penalties put us in a jam two games ago and we were able to win,” said Laviolette. “There isn’t much I didn’t like about our game against the Kings except the penalties and if you break it down, if you put it in the simplest of terms it cost us a point.”

The Flyers defense and goaltending stood their ground and held on for a win, but the club also put their PK unit to good work in the third period of the team’s home opener against Vancouver, committing the game’s last five penalties.

The trend however is nothing new. Speculation always seems to be whether NHL officials tend to call a much tighter game in the beginning of the year and ease off towards the end, but the case could be made for the other way around.
Zac Rinaldo mixes it up with Kings' Westgarth vs. LA.

“[It’s] that or the players adapt a little better as the season goes on,” said Danny Briere. “That’s part of it too, but it’s certainly an area we need to improve on.”

Compared to last year’s calls, the Flyers gave their opponent 31 power plays in the first five games averaging a little over six power-plays per-game and killing off 87.1 percent of those penalties (27-for-31).

In the team’s last five games of the season they committed nearly half the amount of penalties yielding just 17 man-advantages to the opposition, averaging 3.4 per game.

After recording three goals in four games during the Flyers preseason, Jaromir Jagr has yet to crack the goal column in this regular season.

It’s not as if Jagr has been left completely off the scoresheet though. Most of his moves have typically generated good scoring chances for the Flyers and produced three assists in the first four games, including a surgeon-like pass to Danny Briere in Saturday’s game to set up the first goal on the power play.

“Sometimes I think it takes one goal and the confidence is going to build up,” said Jagr.

Lets not also forget Roberto Luongo’s superman type lunge to get a glove on an open net chance for Jagr which denied him his first official tally in Orange & Black.

“I think he’s done an excellent job coming in and providing offense for our team and I think it’s just a matter of time before he does find the back of the net,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “Consistently his line is on with scoring chances for four games now.”

When you’ve potted 646 goals in the National Hockey League and are in the Top 10 in overall scoring in the history of the League it’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN Jagr will get his first tally of the year.

And Flyers fans should look for that real soon.

OCT - 15
10:02 a.m.

While the Flyers are preparing to face the Los Angeles Kings and much of the week's focus has been on the trade of Michael Richards, which brought forward Wayne Simmonds to the Flyers, another part of the deal is making headlines for the Flyers as well.
Brayden Schenn has 5 points (3G-2A) in 2 games with Adirondack.

Brayden Schenn recorded a hat trick in last night's Adirondack Phantoms vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (the NY Islanders' AHL affilaite) game in the American Hockey League, bringing his season total to five points (3G-2A) and a plus-minus rating of plus-5 in just two games with the Flyers' AHL affiliate.

The 20-year-old rookie was loaned to the Flyers AHL affiliate in Adirondack on Oct. 4 to gain practice and playing time after sitting out the latter part of training camp due to an upper body injury.

The Phantoms defeated the Sound Tigers by a 6-3 score and Schenn was by no means the lone star in the contest. Prospect Harry Zolnierczyk posted a four-point night with a goal and three assists, while forward Eric Wellwood also recorded three helpers in the win.

Like their parent club, the Phantoms boast a perfect record to start the season, going 2-0-0. The Flyers farm team will travel to Syracuse, N.Y. tonight to take on the Crunch in a 7:30 start.

OCT - 14
5:03 p.m.

Sometimes when Eastern Conference teams meet Western Conference teams one really needs to dig to find storylines.

That isn’t the case for tomorrow’s Flyers-Kings game at the Wells Fargo Center.

In fact, the amount of Philadelphia Flyers connections with the Kings is staggering.

Most obvious being the first appearance in the city of former captain Michael Richards, traded just three months ago. However, you can go down, down more and down even further on the list to see the connection.

  Laviolette // Pronger // Simmonds

Left wing Simon Gagne joined the Kings after one season with the Lightning, and is actually playing on the same line as Richards.

Going back a little further, Justin Williams will once again make a trip back to Philadelphia. The right winger played four seasons with the Orange & Black (2000-04) recording 115 points in his early career.

The list also stretches to the bench bosses. While this won’t be the first visit to the Wells Fargo Center for head coach Terry Murray, who spent three seasons as head coach with the Flyers, it will be the first trip back for John Stevens. Stevens is now an assistant coach with the Kings after spending the previous four seasons as the Flyers head coach.

You can even look higher up into the team’s front office. General Manager Dean Lombardi spent three seasons (2003-06) in the Flyers organization as a pro scout, while the team’s assistant GM doesn’t need an introduction to any Flyers fan out there, former goaltender Ron Hextall.
Justin Williams began his NHL career with the Flyers.

And while this will be a homecoming of sorts for many, the one common mindset around the Flyers locker room is that once the blades hit the ice, the battle lines are drawn.

“When the game starts we’re going to treat him the same as anyone else,” said Kimmo Timonen, who played with Richards for four of his six seasons. “We’re going to play him hard, and I know it’s tough and everything, but we’re all used to it.”

A trade or relocation to a different city is certainly nothing unusual, especially in today’s professional sports. Many of the Flyers have been down the path that Richards will be tomorrow night.

For Timonen, he was personally looking forward to his first return to Nashville and as far as he feels, so too should Richards.

“It’s not tough, you’re actually excited and you want to see how the fans react. I’m hoping they give Richie a standing ovation because he was here for a long time, he was captain and he was doing a great job. He’s a good buddy of mine so hopefully they do a good job for him.”

On the other side of the coin, Wayne Simmonds will be going against his former teammates in LA and one of his closest friends in Drew Doughty, who Simmonds fully expects to get hit by.

“Yeah definitely. Obviously there are no friends out on the ice. It doesn’t really matter because this is our profession and we play this game for a living. No matter what happens on the ice, we’ll still be friends off of it.”

With this being the first time for Simmonds, it certainly isn’t for the current captain Chris Pronger.

“Well having gone through it a number of times myself, it’s always a little different when you play against a former teammate for the first time,” said Pronger. “But once you get into the game, get that first hit and get into the flow, it’s just another game.”

The ‘just another game’ mentality is the exact approach Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette intends to take with his club into tomorrow night.

Laviolette’s team will be familiar with some players on the other bench, and they also may want to keep an eye on their other young talented group of stars in Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty.

However for Laviolette, the message to his team is to worry about the team as a whole, rather than any individual or any opposing line they will face.

“To be honest our focus will be on Los Angeles; their team and what we need to do to make sure that we win a game.”

Puck Drop is 7 p.m. ET on Comcast SportsNet or join the radio on 94 WIP for all of the action.

OCT - 13
4:45 p.m.

Ask any player in the NHL and they will tell you it’s good to be 3-0-0, especially to start the season. Ask any player on the Flyers roster and they’ll tell you that’s exactly the way they wanted and expected to start, but those three games are over and done with.

And the Flyers know that.

“The first three games has been a good start for us. Obviously there are a lot of things we can take away from those games, learn from our mistakes and build on some of the good that we did,” said defenseman Braydon Coburn. “As a team we just have to keep moving forward and keep building towards solidifying our game as a group.”

Although it has been three wins, no three wins have been alike.

  Laviolette // Briere

“Every game has a little bit of a story to tell,” added Coburn. “I think last night’s game was a lot of penalties and a lot of power-play goals. With the home opener there was a lot of emotions at play. We want to try and stay within our system and we know if we do that it gives us the best chance to win games.”

What the three wins have been, is against three very tough opponents, and center Max Talbot is no stranger to being on the receiving end of hot streaks and starts.

“It’s important to have a good start because these points are important when you’re going for a playoff run for position. At the end of the season these points count but you don’t really think about that,” said Max Talbot. “That being said the next game is huge.”

Huge for many reasons. The record books being one.

The Flyers have not began the year with a perfect 4-0-0 record in their last 15 seasons of play (since the 1995-96 season). In fact they have only done it seven times in 43 seasons of play in franchise history.

Many believe the reason for the start has been the team’s development of chemistry in such a quick manner and with so many new faces also comes a new attitude. Even the first-year contingent of players notice the strong bond in the locker room, but aren’t looking too far ahead of themselves with the game on the ice.

“It’s certainly been interesting and these first three games I’ve learned so much being out there,” said rookie forward Matt Read. “I think you can’t really look at the record because it’s a long season. You want to keep you confidence level up but you can’t get ahead of yourself.”

Saturday’s contest, like the first three, also brings in another very tough opponent, and like Wednesday, an unfamiliar opponent.

The Los Angeles Kings are on everyone’s radar to be a serious contender to come out of the Western Conference. For that reason Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette is keeping his team focused on game and the opponent rather than the stats or record book.

“Tomorrow you can come in and get really dialed in for the game coming up,” said Laviolette. “I think we’ll be ready but I think there are things we can do better.”
Mike Richards will return to Philly in Saturday's game against LA.

Saturday’s game also sees the return of several ex-Flyers, most notably the first meeting in Philadelphia for ex-captain Michael Richards in an opposing team’s uniform.

“He’s been a part of this organization for a long time and I’m sure he’ll be received well,” said Laviolette.

Having been involved in trades and moving from team to team twice in his career, center Danny Briere admits that while friendships still remain, that doesn’t factor into the play on the ice. In fact it serves as a little bit of extra motivation to do well.

“I think every competitive hockey player, and we all know Mike is, plays with a little bit of an edge when you’re back in that situation.”

Briere himself knows that all too well. Last year alone, the Flyers center recorded eight points in just four games against his former club, the Buffalo Sabres, and it’s been over four seasons since Briere donned a Sabres jersey.

Let’s hope that isn’t the case when Richards and the Kings take on the Flyers on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center.

After facing 40 shots in Wednesday’s win over the Canucks, goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov was given the day off of practice.

The Flyers no. 1 starter has started all three contests to open the season, posting a 1.67 goals-against average and .940 save percentage, both ranking second in the NHL among the goaltenders who have appeared in at least three games thus far.

Prior to last night’s game Bryzgalov even turned in a shut out streak of over 100 minutes of play (126:53).

In addition to Bryzgalov, captain Chris Pronger also had the day off.

OCT - 12
3:01 p.m.

The Flyers traded forward Stefan Legein and a 6th round pick in 2012 to Los Angeles in exchange for future considerations.

Legein had been assigned to the team's AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, following Flyers training camp in September. Last season with the Phantoms he recorded 17 points (5G-12A) in 41 regular season games.

OCT - 11
5:42 p.m.

The Flyers seem ready to blow the hinges off the gates as they come out onto the ice tomorrow in front of a packed Wells Fargo Center in the home opener, presented by Kia Motors.

Flyers fans will get their first real look at a brand new squad of players, who will be playing together for the first time, and a look at newly-minted captain Chris Pronger as he takes to the ice for the first time in a long time at 100 percent health.

  Laviolette // 'Quest for the Frozen Puck'

Although the Flyers did knock off the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins in their home opener, make no mistake about it, this game will certainly be a challenge and as tough as they come.

The Flyers open against the defending Western Conference Champion Vancouver Canucks, a team that has given them problems in the past.

Claude Giroux scored his first NHL point against the Canucks. It was also the last Flyers victory over Vancouver.
“They’ve been a top team in the league for a couple years,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “It will be a good chance for us to skate against a good-skating team.

“Regardless of the opponent we have to do a good job in making sure that we’re ready to play hockey, but the home opener against the Vancouver Canucks; there’s a lot of reasons for excitement.”

This won’t be the first time the team has had their home opener against the Canucks. They’ve done it twice. Philly skated to a 6-3 victory in 2000-01 and another victory by the score of 7-3 back in 1972-73.

However the last few years have not been kind to the Flyers. Their last victory over the Canucks came nearly three years ago when they took a 3-2 win at Vancouver on Dec. 30, 2008.

The next two years saw three straight losses. However if this year’s team has proved anything in the early going, they are anything but the teams of Flyers past.

Three of the five goals the Flyers have scored so far have come from new players to the team (Voracek, Read, Simmonds). Claude Giroux has scored the other two Flyers goals.

In net Ilya Bryzgalov has allowed just one goal this season so far. He has stopped 42 of 43 shots and has a shutout streak of 110:18 seconds.

Puck drop is 7:30 p.m. on VERSUS, but fans are encouraged to get into their seats early for a special presentation slated to start at 7:20.

OCT - 10
5:01 p.m.

The Flyers once again started the season on the road, and once again brought back two wins against two very tough opponents.

Now comes the easy part. Opening in front of their own fans.

The Flyers will open the their season at the Wells Fargo Center with a tough match up against the defending Western Conference Champion Vancouver Canucks.

  Holmgren // Laviolette // Players talk Home Opener, presented by Kia Motors

And much like the Flyers faithful, the players are ready to put their perfect 2-0-0 record on the line in Wednesday’s home opener presented by Kia Motors.

“It’s definitely a lot better and a lot more fun when they’re on your side,” said James van Riemsdyk, who will be appearing in his third home opener. “They just give you that extra boost on the ice and I thrive when I play there.”

Players even admit that starting on the road not only helped build their anticipation for their return home, but was also an important step into bonding as one team, something that is particularly important with a new-look squad that the Flyers have.

“It was good to get a couple of games under our belt,” said Flyers captain Chris Pronger. “It was as tough layoff for us all summer long and now we’re finally back.”

Unlike Pronger and van Riemsdyk, many new Flyers have yet to see first hand what an opening game at Philadelphia is like.

“I’m expecting the fans to go crazy,” said Wayne Simmonds. “I’ve heard a lot about the fans and how they always expect the best and I think that’s awesome.”

One Flyer in particular knows all to well how crazy Flyers fans can get, and this time he’s glad to be in Orange and Black, rather than Gold and Black.

“I’ve been playing against those fans for about six years so I know what they’re all about. It’s nice to be on the right side this time,” said ex-Penguin Max Talbot.

The team will be looking to build off of their success on the road, but the reason for their success early on isn’t the system that Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette is trying to put in place, it’s something a lot simpler than that.

“I think training camp really helped,” said Laviolette. “I truly don’t believe that systems win games. I think the players do and how hard they play and how well they execute any system is the difference maker for success.”

The Flyers will look to go 3-0-0 for the 11th time in their 43 seasons of play. As of opening in Philadelphia, the Flyers own a 25-12-6 all-time mark in Philadelphia. They have also won their last two home opening games and three of their last four.

OCT - 9
2:23 p.m.

As a result of a ruling by the National Hockey League today, center Blair Betts is back with the Flyers after being claimed off of waivers by the Montreal Canadiens last week.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren made the following statement:

“After the waiver claim, Montreal exercised their right to a physical examination of Blair. Apparently, they found something that concerned them and had asked the league to void the waiver claim. Blair is back on our roster as of today.”

Below is the full statement by the National Hockey League regarding Blair Betts and the Montreal Canadiens:

Forward Blair Betts, who was claimed on waivers by the Montreal Canadiens from the Philadelphia Flyers on October 5, has been returned to the Flyers, per NHL By-Law 11.8 (a),  the National Hockey League announced today. 

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman rendered the decision after reviewing submissions from both Clubs.  By-Law 11.8 (a) states: "The Member Club acquiring a player by waiver claim shall take an assignment of the player's contract. Nevertheless, if the Commissioner determines that a player acquired by waiver claim is not physically fit at the time the claim is made, the Member Club making the claim may refuse to take an assignment of such player's contract and the request for waivers shall be cancelled."

In reaching his decision, Commissioner Bettman stated: "While it is clear that both clubs have acted in good faith in this unique situation (i.e. a waiver claim), I am not prepared to dispute the conclusion of the Montreal Club doctors that Mr. Betts was physically unfit to play at the time of the claim. Therefore, it is my decision that, per League By-Laws, the appropriate resolution to this matter is to restore the parties to the position they were in prior to the waiver claim on Oct. 5."

OCT - 7

6:15 p.m.

Following the afternoon skate at the Prudential Center, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette praised his team’s play, effort and passion in last night’s emotional win over the Bruins.

He did however state that there was plenty of work to be done.

“We have a lot of areas to improve on. We showed some of that today,” said the Flyers bench boss referring to the video meeting held before practice. “I think the execution with what we’re trying to do in regards to the simple things that we’re trying to put into place… our system was a little bit off.” 

While effort looked to be the biggest contributor to the team’s play, the one player who surprisingly caught people’s attention was 18-year-old rookie Sean Couturier who was appearing in his first game in the National Hockey League.

  Laviolette // Pronger // Couturier

“It was great. I mean since I was young I’ve been waiting for this time [to come] and dreaming of it,” said Couturier. “Once I got out there it felt pretty special and then after that it just looked like another game.”

Couturier didn’t look like just another rookie.

The Flyers first-round pick in June played over 14 minutes in his debut, including a surprising 4:34 of time while the team was shorthanded.

If those numbers don’t jump out at you, then this fact should.

Couturier was on the ice in the last minutes of regulation in a tight 2-1 game… and with the extra attacker on for the Bruins.

Such trust wasn’t a surprise to the coach considering what he saw in the preseason.

“He comes with that tag on him as being a responsible player and someone who has been as good defensively as he is offensively for his team. We put him through every situation imaginable in training camp and now with some of the players that have departed, the opportunity presents itself.”

Couturier along with the rest of the team won’t be resting on their laurels or giving themselves a pat on the back for too long despite this two-day break in between games.

Up next is an opponent that has repeatedly given the Flyers troubles and in the preseason traded back-to-back close victories over one another.

The Flyers will help the New Jersey Devils kick off their 2011-12 campaign, and rest assured they will look for the same result as Thursday night in Boston.

* * *
2:16 p.m.
The Flyers did not return home after their big opening night win against the defending Stanley Cup Champions at Boston. Instead they flew to Newark, NJ where they are staying an extra day to prepare for their Atlantic Division rival New Jersey Devils on Saturday.

They are practicing at the Prudential Center on the Devils’ alternate or practice rink.

OCT - 5
5:15 p.m.

The buzz around the locker room today was all about Matt Read. Even more-so than usual during his impressive training camp.

That’s because noted TSN hockey analyst Bob MacKenzie sent a tweet out stating that the 25-year-old from Bemidji State would claim this year’s Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year.

  Laviolette // Read // Coburn

“It surprised me, but I have to worry about myself,” said Read. “I can only worry about myself and do my job every time I’m on the ice.”

Read would be no stranger to picking up awards. While at BSU, he earned CHA All-Rookie Team & Rookie of the Year honors in 2007–08, as well as the CHA’s Player of the Year & First All-Star Team in 2009-10.

Coming into this year’s camp, Read appeared in six of the seven preseason games for the Flyers and averaged over a point-per-game pace recording two goals and five assists to tie for the team lead during the preseason slate.

Offensive numbers are all well and good, but Read’s ability to be placed in all situations is what caught the coaching staff’s eye.

Read’s two-way ability also garnered a plus-4 rating over six contests, which also led the squad.

Now that the Flyers roster is set, Read knows that the regular season is a completely different animal and isn’t taking anything for granted.

“It’s pretty much the same deal. I have to show up for every shift, play well and just take care of the puck,” added Read. “I have to play well defensively and in the offensive zone try to get open and try and create some offense.”

Read, however, is just one example of the Flyers youth movement, which has been a hot topic throughout the summer and into training camp.

After all, how could it not?

The Flyers eighth overall pick in this year’s draft, Sean Couturier, has officially cracked the opening night roster and will start the season with the Flyers.

Let’s not also forget about highly-touted forward Brayden Schenn, who is likely to see NHL action at some point during the year as well. He is currently with the team’s AHL affiliate in Adirondack.

Schenn was even picked by NHL.com’s analyst Dan Rosen to take home the Calder.

So while the trio of rookies not only offer the Flyers lineup some competitive jump. What it may also yield as a byproduct is a competition to capture the first NHL Rookie of the Year Trophy in Philadelphia Flyers history.

* * *
12:10 p.m.

Following practice today, it was announced that center Blair Betts was claimed off waivers by the Montreal Canadiens, according to Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren.

Betts was placed on the waiver wire at noon yesterday, along with defensemen Matt Walker and Oskars Bartulis. Neither defensemen were claimed, however Bartulis has been loaned to the team’s AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms.

“He’s a professional in every sense of the word,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette of Betts. “He’s done a lot for the organization. I was really happy to see him get picked up and get an opportunity.”

The Flyers have also announced that they will set the opening at 22 players. What exact 22 players we will find out come 3 p.m. ET when the team will submit to the NHL office.

OCT - 4

5:01 p.m.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren is about to make his move.

The move of course is the process of finalizing his roster for the National Hockey League’s opening day, which needs to be submitted to the NHL offices in Toronto by 3 p.m. ET.

In preparation for that, he made moves today that seemed necessary to do a full 24-hours in advance of that deadline.

  Holmgren // Laviolette // Pronger // Couturier

During his daily media scrum following practice Holmgren announced that he placed three players on the waiver wire: forward Blair Betts and defensemen Matt Walker and Oskars Bartulis.

Teams will have 24 hours to claim any one of the three players, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are no longer with the organization.

“I wouldn’t read into who’s on waivers,” said Holmgren. “We need to make decisions tomorrow… More than anything it just gives us options tomorrow on what we can do and what we want to do.”
Couturier played in six of the Flyers seven preseason games. (photo: Jack Cassidy)

In addition, he stated that defenseman Erik Gustafsson and forwards Harry Zolnierczyk and Brayden Schenn were loaned to the club’s AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, who are in the midst of their training camp and preseason schedule.

Schenn is someone on that list that fans might be a little surprised, however in similar fashion to the players placed on waivers, fans should not read too much into those moves either.

“I don’t know if this is going to be short-term or long-term with Brayden,” added Holmgren. “I think at the end of the day he needs to play a little bit. He’s healthy now and is ready to take part in things and we need to get him playing.”

The move is by no means unusual, and is certainly not a first in Flyers history.

Just three seasons ago, high expectations from then prospect Claude Giroux were the focus of the Flyers 2008 Training Camp, however Giroux began the season with the Phantoms (then in Philadelphia) to get prime-time minutes with the farm team.

By mid-season Giroux was with the Flyers… and we all know the story from there.

One person who is still around is Sean Couturier, who has had anything but an “off” season this past summer.

Couturier participated in the Flyers prospect camp in early July and in Canada’s World Junior Camp in August.

Coming into Rookie Camp and getting all the way through the team’s official Training Camp, Couturier still has the same attitude towards his goals and his play.

“It’s not a done deal, but obviously I’m pretty happy to still be here,” said Couturier. “It was still a good camp overall, but I have to do even better now that I get to stay up here, so I’m looking forward to it.”

The eighth overall pick has come into camp and impressed the management and coaching staff with maturity beyond his 18-years of age.

“He’s been put into a lot of situations at camp to see whether or not he can handle that. Whether or not he is physically strong enough where he can handle the game.” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette.

After playing six of a possible seven preseason games, Couturier got noticed not so much for his skill but the fact that he was given opportunities in crucial situations that he might just face during a long NHL season.

Regardless of whether Couturier stays past his 10-game eligibility before the team has to make a decision on sending him back to his Canadian junior team or begin the first year of his entry-level contract, the Flyers are taking every minute up until the roster deadline to select their opening squad.

Once that time comes, the focus will not be on themselves, but one game at a time beginning with the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins on Thursday night (7 p.m., VERSUS).

OCT - 2

3:02 p.m.

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren announced that goaltender Michael Leighton has been loaned to the club's AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms today.

Leighton appeared in one preseason game for the Flyers, a 4-3 shootout loss against the Detroit Red Wings in London, Ontario. He turned aside 35 of 38 shots he faced, including 18 of 19 shots he faced in the third period.

In addition, Mike Testwuide, Eric Wellwood and Ben Holmstrom were returned to Adirondack following last night's preseason game at New Jersey.

*  *  *  *
9:14 a.m.

Well, that’s a wrap… at least for the preseason.

The Flyers handed the Devils a 2-1 loss in Philadelphia on Thursday and the Devils gladly repaid the favor by taking a 2-1 victory of their own on Saturday at the Prudential Center.

Despite being the last of the preseason battles for the Flyers, the game was not without fight.

Laviolette // Bryzgalov // Couturier

“I thought we competed really well,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “They had a lot of players in their lineup and we wanted to evaluate a lot of people and I thought generally speaking as a group we played really hard and we could’ve won that game.”

While the Devils dressed stars such as Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, Patrik Elias and Martin Brodeur to face the Flyers, Philadelphia had eight players who were rookies or just half a season of NHL hockey under their belt.

The club received very solid goaltending from Ilya Bryzgalov who was tested twice by sniper, and fellow Russian Ilya Kovalchuk. Bryzgalov stopped 18 of 20 shots in total on the night, but more importantly is feeling more and more at home in the crease.
Couturier is one of several rookies vying for a spot on this year's opening day roster. (Getty Images)

“Yeah, I felt good again this night,” said Bryzgalov. “But unfortunately we couldn’t win. I hope the luck turns around during the season.”

The focus now turns to the regular season, and with it the time of year for difficult decisions to be made.

One of those decisions will be whether to keep 18-year-old Sean Couturier.

Couturier has no doubt turned in a very solid camp. His awareness on the ice, emphasis on two-way play and of course bigger frame are all qualities the coaching staff has noticed during his first go at an NHL camp.

He’s even produced numbers on the scoresheet, recording four points (1G-3A) playing in six of the Flyers seven preseason contests.

“I think since Day One I’ve gotten better and better, and I’ve given a good impression, but I can’t control what they’re going to do with me so I don’t really know,” said Couturier.

Entering this week, the Flyers coaching staff and management will dissect and go over the camp as a whole, hold meetings and decide what not only what players will make the team’s opening roster, but also what players will be playing on the same lines.

There remains roster spots open, however there are more rookies than the parent club can keep on it’s opening day roster, which needs to be turned into the National Hockey League on Wednesday, Oct. 5.

Overall, the Flyers finished their seven-game preseason slate with a record of 4-2-1. They open the 2011-12 season on the road on Thursday, Oct. 6 in Boston against the Bruins (7pm, VERSUS, 94 WIP).

OCT - 1
4:01 p.m.

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren announced today that the club has recalled forwards Ben Holmstrom, Mike Testwuide and Eric Wellwood from their American Hockey League. All three players will be available for tonight's game at New Jersey against the Devils.