Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Sam Carchidi of Philly.com,
On Dec. 14, they had a 10-game winning streak and were the NHL's hottest team. They were This Is Us in the ratings.
Since then, they have lost 11 of 14, and their playoff chances are diminishing by the day.
They repeatedly say the problem is simple: They haven't been playing a full 60 minutes, that they take a period off.
But then they go out and, well, take a period off, such as the embarrassing third stanza in their 5-0 loss Sunday in Washington.
They say if they play a full 60, they will get back to their form from a month ago. Back then, they could do no wrong; they were proud of their streak and didn't want it to end. They played hard every shift, knowing the streak was on the line, knowing it had made them the talk of the hockey world and had given them an identity.
Four weeks later, the Flyers' identity may turn into this: They could become the first team in NHL history to miss the playoffs after a regular season in which they had a 10-game winning streak.
from Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
The door opened once again and Brian Propp entered, bringing in a chilly blast reminiscent of his Saskatchewan boyhood home. He is 57 now and looks as unassuming as ever, a 5-foot-9 Everyman with a broad, open face and fading traces of freckles across his cheekbones. He stopped and began to sign his name for the orderly line of fans that formed when he was still halfway across the parking lot. The fans chattered excitedly with him and studied him as he bent to the task, but it's likely no one even noticed that Propp was signing with his left hand.
"He took the time to teach himself to do that," former teammate Mark Howe said. "It doesn't surprise me. That's who Brian Propp is."
Sixteen months ago, Propp was vacationing in Annapolis, Md., with his wife and two children when he awoke with a searing headache. He tried to get out of bed for aspirin, but the right side of his body was paralyzed and he collapsed to the floor, breaking two teeth in the fall. This healthy, active man who never lost a tooth in 30 years of playing hockey, including 15 in the NHL, was bleeding on the floor, the victim of a massive stroke.
It was called a goal on the ice, challenged and reversed due to goaltender contact.
What do you think?
from Sam Donnellon of the Philly Daily News,
Anthony Stolarz, Alex Lyon, Harvard's Merrick Madsen, 18-year-old Canadian Carter Hart, Swedish junior Felix Sandstrom and Ivan Fedotov, the 6-6 Russian drafted in the seventh round of 2015 - the same round that Lundqvist was once taken - that's just a partial list of young goaltenders drafted or signed by this team. Wednesday night, as Lundqvist was once again playing the Wells Fargo Center as if playing a rock concert, Fedotov and Sandstrom were competing in semifinal games of the World Junior Championships - one against the United States, the other against Canada and Hart.
Madsen has a 2.13 goals-against average with the Crimson. If the leash is already short on the immediate horizon for Steve Mason with the return to health of the talented but oft-injured Michal Neuvirth, it becomes no more assuring long term. Stolarz did nothing to deserve his demotion other than have a need to keep busy. His replacement at Lehigh Valley, Lyon, has played in his absence like the goaltender who wowed those following ECAC hockey over the previous two seasons....
Leaned on heavily despite Stolarz's promising - albeit limited - play, Mason will likely get the rest Brodeur rarely needed and never asked for, rest that Lundqvist seemed to need too just a night before, when he surrendered four goals on 19 shots.
"Guys are going to have ups and downs throughout the year, but it's a matter of finding your game when it counts," Mason said before this game began. "I think every organization wants that. And when you have them, you've got to treat them well."
His contract is up after this season. As is that of Neuvirth, who suited up Wednesday for the first time since a knee injury sidelined him in mid-November. Conventional thought is one will be treated well, the other dispatched.
And that whoever remains will be there simply to usher in the next great homegrown goaltender - whichever one of the half-dozen or so prospects he turns out to be.
from Sam Carchidi of Philly.com,
They lost a game and a goalie on Friday night at the SAP Center, dropping a 2-0 decision to the physical San Jose Sharks.
Goalie Steve Mason injured his left hand in a first-period collision with Joe Thornton and was replaced by Anthony Stolarz to start the second period. Mason kept the Flyers in the game during a San Jose-dominated opening period, stopping 11 of 12 shots.
General manager Ron Hextall said Mason was "nicked up and we'll know more" on Saturday.
The Flyers, who have lost five of six since their 10-game winning streak ended, play in Anaheim on Sunday.
more on the game
Watch the highlight package below, which includes the Mason injury...
from Sam Carchidi of Philly.com,
In the Mile High City, the Flyers continued an amazing run Wednesday night that has made them the NHL's top team over the last three weeks.
Goals by Roman Lyubimov and Brayden Schenn early in the third period snapped a 2-2 tie and sparked the Flyers to their 10th straight victory, an intense 4-3 win over Colorado at the Pepsi Center.
It is the Flyers' longest winning streak since 1985 and matches their third-longest in franchise history. The club record is 13 straight wins in 1985.
The Flyers play in Dallas on Saturday afternoon, then have home games Monday against Nashville and Wednesday against Washington.
"We have to keep it going," winger Michael Raffl said. "It's so much fun to come to the rink and play games. Everybody works hard and we're working for each other."
Watch the game highlights below...
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
When McDavid scored on a power play in the middle frame to make it 2-0, he skated towards Manning after a fist-pump celebration and the two exchanged some more words. After the game, McDavid let fly that the words he heard from Manning inferred that he’d smacked him into the boards on purpose last season....
“I did all I could defending him last year in the media. Everyone wanted to make a big deal saying he did it on purpose, and they wanted me to to say some comments today (morning) about what went on last year,” said McDavid, who shrugged it off after the morning skate as yesterday’s news.
But it was today’s news Thursday when they came together in the first period and words were coughed up.
“I thought it was one of the (most) classless things I’ve ever seen on the ice. He said some things. I guess we can put the whole if he did it on purpose thing to rest because what he said out there kind of confirmed that. Shows what kind of guy he is the way he doesn’t step up and fight some of our guys,” said McDavid, who had the power-play goal and helped set up Andrej Sekera’ shortie with some great board work in the second.
Manning was taken aback by McDavid’s not-so-friendly fire at him after the Oilers’ loss.
He firmly said last year’s violent crash with McDavid and himself was a hard play, gone wrong.
No malice intended.
“One hundred percent not. Anyone who’s seen the clip sees him catch an edge. I would never intentionally hurt someone. Anybody who knows me, knows I play a hard game, that’s the reason I’m in the NHL. I think I play an honest game,” said Manning.
Below, watch McDavid post-game, the Manning talk starts at the 1:00 mark...
from Sam Carchidi of Philly.com,
Even before they went on their current five-game winning streak, there were signs the Flyers were headed in a different direction that the sad-sack football team that plays across the street from the Wells Fargo Center.
In losses to Tampa Bay and the New York Rangers, you see, the Flyers dominated the scoring chances but ran into hot goalies. They have continued to get more shot attempts recently and have gotten superior goaltending of their own.
Here, then, is how the win-one, lose-one Flyers have transformed into the NHL's hottest team.
Steve Mason, the NHL's No. 1 star of the week, plays much better when he knows he is "the guy" and will get a majority of the starts. With Michal Neuvirth sidelined by a knee injury - he might return in mid-December - Mason has flourished while starting 10 of the last 11 games. He has a .945 save percentage and 1.71 goals-against average in his last four games, all wins.
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
After three games as a healthy scratch, defenseman Michael Del Zotto will return to the Flyers' lineup Sunday night against Calgary, based on Saturday's practice in Voorhees.
Entering the preseason, Del Zotto figured to be the Flyers' No. 1 defenseman. But he injured his left knee against his former team, the New York Rangers, during an Oct. 6 exhibition and missed the season's first 12 games. The Flyers went 6-5-1 in that stretch.
Del Zotto returned to the lineup Nov. 5, but struggled and was benched last week.
"Any time you're not playing, you're not feeling the best about yourself," Del Zotto said after Saturday's practice. "But I've been in this situation numerous times. To me, I just look at it as another obstacle, another piece of adversity to overcome. Deal with it head-on and I'll be better from it."...
Del Zotto is excited for goalie Anthony Stolarz, who is expected to make his NHL debut Sunday. Steve Mason has started six straight games.
"I know he's been waiting a while to get his start; Mase has been playing great for us. He's been standing on his head and keeping us in games," Del Zotto said. "Stolie is excited. It makes you think back to your first game and your first start."
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org