Kukla's Korner Hockey
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."
"I was a little taken aback by it, but I think right now it's what's best for the team, I guess. I can learn a lot form up there. When I was injured the whole year (two seasons ago), that's where I sat and I learned a lot and it helped me in my rookie year. It's a good learning curve right now. It hits home, for sure, and makes me work that much harder."
-Shayne Gostisbehere on being a healthy scratch tonight. Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer has more.
“When he’s confident, he’s one of the better players in the league.”
-Jakub Voracek on Radko Gudas. John Mtisz of the National Post has more on Gudas.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
"I think that if you asked Mase or Neuvy right now if they've played at the top of their games, they'd say no," Flyers GM Ron Hextall, himself one of the franchise's iconic netminders, told ESPN.com before Friday's game in Toronto. "We have full confidence that both of them will get to the top of their games and give us real good goaltending. Quite honestly, the last thing I was worried about going into this season was our goaltending. And, as I sit here today, I feel the same way. I feel very strongly about both guys.''
Mason, who has been a steady presence in the Flyers' net since coming over from the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2012-13, sports a .880 save percentage after posting a .918 last season. He smiled and shrugged on Friday when I brought up the "What's wrong with the Flyers goaltending'' narrative.
"When people see the start of the year -- and it hasn't been great, I'll be the first one to admit that -- they hit the panic button. You just have to laugh it off," Mason said. "People are always going to have negative things to say about you. [Given] the amount of work that I put into getting comfortable with my game again and getting back to where I have confidence in it, I'm not going to let a handful of games sidetrack that at all.
"You just focus on being better. It's pretty simple. It hasn't been good enough. You put the work in and try to build off solid performances.''
via the Philadelphia Flyers,
Flyers GM Ron Hextall announced this afternoon that goaltender Michal Neuvirth will be out of action 4-6 weeks with a lower-body injury.
Neuvirth stopped six of seven shots in the first period of Saturday's 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild, but did not return after intermission to start the second period. He was replaced by Steve Mason, who stopped 19 of 20 shots and took the win.
Neuvirth is 4-2-0 this season, his second with the Flyers, and has posted a 3.54 GAA and .859 save percentage in nine appearances.
from Travis Yost of TSN,
One of the primary drivers behind the success of the Philadelphia Flyers one season ago was, surprisingly, strength between the pipes. Dave Hakstol’s team conceded just 126 goals at 5-on-5 (sixth best in the NHL) despite a high volume of shots against. I think there was a fair argument to be made at season’s end that the Steve Mason/Michal Neuvirth combination was worthy of team MVP honors.
The goaltending uptick has been a peculiar strength of the Flyers for a few years now. Ever since the Mason era began, the Flyers – an organization often victimized by substandard netminding in the past – have enjoyed a reasonable advantage over competitors.
In the past three seasons, the Flyers have stopped 92.9 per cent of the shots they have faced at even-strength, a number only bested by the likes of the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings. That kind of goaltending advantage has meant a lot of additional goals in Philadelphia’s pocket – and a good handful of wins above expectations.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
There were some raised eyebrows on Canada Day when Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced he was bringing Alexander Radulov back to the NHL after a four-year absence.
But the gamble appears to be paying off, with Radulov earning the respect of his teammates and the adoration of the fans.
Radulov had a hand in all three Montreal goals Monday night as the Canadiens squeaked past the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 at the Bell Centre.
Radulov’s last full season in the NHL was in 2007-08; a comeback in 2012, with Nashville in the playoffs that year, was aborted after he and Andrei Kostitsyn missed a curfew.
“When I was younger, I made mistakes and I don’t want to step in that again,” Radulov said. “Time flies and you learn. That’s why I give 100 per cent. It wasn’t easy for me to come to this league and I appreciate the GM gave me a chance and I can’t play bad.”
Below, watch Radulov post-game and also game highlights...
Patrick Burke with the explanation.
Dale Weise will have a hearing today with the Department of Player safety for this hit last night.
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
The Flyers' dynamic defenseman was accidentally sliced in the face by Kyle Clifford's skate early in the game. He has an ugly gash but didn't need stitches.
"I got really lucky it didn't get me too bad," Gostisbehere said. "I'm just thankful it wasn't worse. I'll take this any day over whatever could have happened. God was with me on that one. I thank him for that."
more on the Flyers 4-2 win over the Kings...
Below, watch game highlights of Philadelphia's 4-2 win over Los Angeles...
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.
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