Archive | 2:02 PM

Schenn, Meszaros, Briere Return To Practice

6 Dec

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers are getting healthier, slowly but surely. They were missing three players due to maintenance days on Monday, but all three returned on Tuesday.

Andrej Meszaros took a big hit at the end of the Phoenix Coyotes game on Saturday and is probably still recovering from it a bit, but he went full throttle in practice on Tuesday and, according to multiple reports, will play on Wednesday.

Danny Briere was sick and missed Monday’s activities, but was on the ice on Tuesday and showed no ill effects.

Brayden Schenn was not on the ice at the start of practice, but eventually joined his teammates and was a full participant as well. With him in the lineup and James van Riemsdyk likely to return, the Flyers will have yet another new look.

Here is the projected lineup against the Sabres based on the practice lines:

Scott Hartnell — Claude Giroux — Jaromir Jagr
Wayne Simmonds — Danny Briere — Matt Read
James van Riemsdyk — Brayden Schenn — Jakub Voracek
Max Talbot — Sean Couturier — Zac Rinaldo

Kimmo Timonen — Braydon Coburn
Matt Carle — Marc-Andre Bourdon
Kevin Marshall — Andrej Meszaros


Flyers React To NHL Realignment

6 Dec

VOORHEES, N.J. — Some Flyers were on top of the news. Others needed to be informed after practice. Next year, the Flyers’ schedule will look a lot different and so will the standings.

The NHL Board of Governors voted a new alignment on Monday night that adds the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes to the Flyers’ division. Right now it’s known as “Division D,” but that, along with a few more details, has yet to be determined. But from what they know now, the Flyers are excited about the prospect of realignment.

“It’s gonna be different, but it’s gonna be good,” said Max Talbot. “I’m glad that they were able to keep most of the same rivalries in the same conference or divisions. I think it’s gonna be a little bit more traveling for the Eastern Conference teams, a little bit less for the Western.

“Just looking at the votes, the way the owners and the GMs voted, 26-4 I think, it means it was probably the best they could do. It’s gonna be interesting.”

The schedule format will be that teams will play every conference opponent six times and play every non-conference team twice, home-and-home. When that was explained to Ilya Bryzgalov, his first reaction was about the road games.

“You know what, man? That’s much more travel,” said Bryzgalov. “Damn, man.”

It will be more travel, but right now the Flyers have it the easiest in terms of travel for any team in the NHL.

“Obviously if we add more travel, it’s going to be hard,” added Kimmo Timonen. “Because our travel now, it’s really good. But whatever they do, they do. It’s really out of our hands. But I don’t mind the way things are right now, but obviously they have to do something with Winnipeg. So whatever they do, we take it.”

Travel aside, the division rivalries will be heightened even more, not that any of the current Atlantic Division teams needed help getting up for those games. The Washington Capitals in particular will now be under the microscope even more.

“I think that’ll be interesting for rivalries, for sure,” said Braydon Coburn. “I know from past experience anytime you play a team in the playoffs, it seems to breed bad blood. It just seems like in that kind of format you end up maybe playing some people in consecutive years in playoffs and I think that would really conjure up some fierce rivalries.”

Even Without Pronger, Power Play Finds Success

6 Dec

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers’ power play had been middling around the middle of the league until recently. It started the season off on the right foot, going 8-for-30 in the first five games of the season, but from there, it struggled mightily and stood stagnant around 15th place in the league.

Despite having Chris Pronger in the lineup until Oct. 26, the Flyers’ power play wasn’t exactly running the way it should. They struggled to set up in the opponents’ zone, let alone to get shots on net. But Pronger was supposed to be the key cog to the man advantage. Yes, he has a goal and seven assists in 13 games on the power play, but still the Flyers were struggling even with him manning the point with his heavy slapshot.

That makes it even more surprising that over the weekend the Flyers scored five goals on the power play without him. After an atrocious month of November where the Flyers went 7-for-54 for 12.9 percent, they’re off to a blazing start in December, going 5-for-12 over the weekend in Anaheim and Phoenix.

“It’s hot and cold,” said Scott Hartnell who tallied on the power play on Saturday. “Sometimes you go through stretches where you get a lot of zone time, you’re getting some shots and they’re just not going in.

“Last game, one goes off that partition to [Matt] Read in the slot, he buries it off the post and in. Sometimes you get those breaks. Right now we’re feeling it and this week we have a big test with Buff and Pitt.”

Pronger isn’t the only power play contributor that has missed time. Danny Briere, Jaromir Jagr and Matt Read have all missed time. Brayden Schenn had only played four games before this weekend. But right now, even with Pronger on the shelf again, the Flyers have some experience with the players in their lineup. They had the opportunity to practice their special teams a lot with extended practice time out west, so the units they have now actually know each other pretty well.

“What we had on the road was an opportunity and even now at home just to continue to work on it and let guys get comfortable with it and made mistakes and learn movement, just get some sort of continuity with each unit,” said Peter Laviolette.

“We’ll continue to give it the time in practice. They like to practice and work on it, and when they do I think they start getting confidence and they bring that into the game.”

They sure were confident in Anaheim and Phoenix where they went 3-for-9 and 2-for-3 respectively.

“You know, Joey [Mullen] the PP coach, he stated before the games on the weekend, we need to work hard, outwork the penalty kill,” said Hartnell. “That’s what you need to do, it’s not going to be easy. Just because you have another guy on the ice, it doesn’t mean you’re going to get shots, or goals for that matter. We did a great job outworking them. It was huge.”

Whether they can keep it up or not remains to be seen, but the fact that they did it without Pronger is impressive.

“When you have Chris on the blue line, they have to cheat on him a little more,” said Jagr who is tied for third on the team with eight power play points. “They give him a little more room and it gives the power play a little more time to do something.

“When you see somebody else on the blue line, the other team is pressing those guys. When they’re pressing him a little more, you don’t have time. That’s why I think we should play a little bit differently until he comes back.”

Right now, it seems like what they’re doing is working. When the captain returns, it would be awfully hard to turn him down on the power play, but right now they’re doing just fine without him.