Quick Hits: Sept. 12, 2019
1) On-ice at the Flyers training camp will commence on Friday at the Skate Zone in Voorhees. Every player has reported, with the exception of unsigned restricted free agents Ivan Provorov (who is in the area and ready to go if and when a deal is finalized) and Travis Konecny. Thursday is Media Day at the Skate Zone, wherein players are photographed and have video taken for use in publications and broadcasts during the season.
2) If and when there is breaking news on a deal with Provorov and/or Konecny, there will be a separate blog to detail the contract.
3) Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon indicated after Wednesday's Rookies Game that, while personnel decisions are up to Flyers management, he hopes to carry two rather than three goalies on the AHL roster. He said that all three goalies (veteran newcomer J.F. Berube,veteran incumbent Alex Lyon, and rookie Felix Sandström) need playing time to be sharp and it benefits no one to sit out for long. Asked if time in the ECHL was possible for Sandström and Kirill Ustimenko (who is almost certainly bound for the Reading Royals to start the season), Gordon did not discuss the netminders themselves but spoke in generalities.
"For a goalie, shots are shots," Gordon said. "Sometimes, it's harder in the ECHL than the AHL for a goalie because of the quality of the chances he sees."
4) Along with the Flyers' NHL training camp this weekend, the new Flyers Warriors hockey team of injured and disabled military veterans will simultaneously hold their own training camp at the Skate Zone in Voorhees (including physical testing and on-ice work). On Monday, there will be a hockey doubleheader at the Wells Fargo Center, with the Flyers Warriors taking on the Pittsburgh Warriors at 2:30 (attendance is free) and the NHL team opening its preseason against the Islanders at 7:00.
Winners of the Flyers Warriors raffle -- with a grand prize of two lower-level season tickets for the Flyers' 2019-20 season -- will be announced at the first intermission of the Flyers vs. Islanders game. Raffle tickets will remain on sale until Monday at a cost of one for $20 or three for $50. For more information, email Philadelphiawarriorhockey.gmail.com
Over on the Flyers official website, we tell the story of how the team was created and its mission to provide both a therapeutic outlet, camaraderie and needed services to wounded and disabled veterans from our area. To learn more, read about these true warriors
and what the new team means to its participants.
5) On Wednesday, the Wells Fargo Center today announced the opening of its New City Terrace.” In addition to the recently announced SugarHouse casino sponsored Sports Book lounge (officially called the PlaySugarHouse.com Sports Lounge), the central feature of the New City Terrace will be the “Assembly Room."
The New City Terrace can be accessed via the Flyers’ first-ever standing room admission zone,f for which tickets will cost just $25. Over 750 standing room tickets will be made available in the Assembly Room for each Flyers game.
6) Today in Flyers History: On Sept 12, 1997, the Flyers signed defenseman Chris Therien to a three-year contract extension.
Rookie Game Wrapup: Islanders 5 - Flyers 4 (SO)
In the annual Rookie Game, the Flyers were defeated by the Islanders via shootout, 5 -4 at the PPL Center in Allentown on Wednesday night. German Rubtsov (even strength and power play goals) Sean Comrie, and David Kase scored for the Flyers. Phil Myers, Morgan Frost, Isaac Ratcliffe, Mikhail Vorobyev, and Matthew Strome collected assists.
Felix Bibeau (power play), David Quenneville Samuel Bolduc (power play) and Otto Koivula scored for the Islanders in regulation.
Oliver Wahlstrom bagged the shootout winner for New York.
The Flyers were outshot by an 18-9 margin in the first period but skated off to intermission with a 2-0 lead. Felix Sandström was outstanding in goal, with numerous tough saves including a breakaway stop. He went on to stop 24 of 25 shots before giving way to Kirill Ustimenko (14 saves on 17 shots in regulation, 4-for-4 in OT, 1-for-2 in shootout).
The teams ended up trading off two goals apiece in the middle frame, and the Flyers went to the second intermission leading 4-2. Shots in the middle frame were 16-11 in the Flyers' favor.
New York scored twice early in the third period -- once on the power play and once at even strength to knot the game at 4-4. Third period shots were 12-7 in New York's favor, before play moved to 3-on-3 for overtime. After a back-and-forth extra frame, the contest was decided in a shootout.
* From a Flyers standpoint, the first period saw just about every player they'd expect to step up deliver during the opening 20 minutes. The top line trio of Isaac Ratcliffe, Morgan Frost and Joel Farabee was dominant, and Farabee in particular was strong on both sides of the puck. Phil Myers was confident and aggressive and made a gorgeous setup to Rubtsov on the first goal. Even apart from his goal, Rubtsov made several intelligent plays with the puck, including a nicely conceived controlled entry even after getting bumped at the blueline. Sandström was outstanding in net. From there, there was a drop-off toward the lower part of the Philly lineup but it was still enough to take a 2-0 lead to the locker room.
* The Flyers applied heavy pressure on a power play to open the second period but couldn't pot one. They rectified that on their next man advantage. Matthew Strome centered a pass out to Mikhail Vorobyev and Vorobyev made a picturesque set up that Rubtsov re-directed home for a 3-0 lead. New York soon got the goal back with a power play tally of their own by Felix Bibeau. Sandström was unshaken and finished up strong with another breakaway save.
* Ustimenko was greeted with a partially screened goal low to the short-side on the first shot he saw. It was a stoppable goal. A hustling David Kase restored a two-goal lead, stealing the puck, moving across in front and scoring on a glove side wrister from inside the right faceoff dot for an unassisted goal and a 4-2 lead.
* An early third-period boarding penalty on Ratcliffe was converted into a Samuel Bolduc power play goal through traffic as the Isles drew back within 4-3. Ustimenko could have tracked this one a little better. At 4:47, Otto Koivula was left unchecked in the slot to take a pass-out from Erik Brown and tie the game at 4-4.
* On a Flyers PK in the third period, Farabee stole the puck up-ice and generating a shorthanded scoring chance. The Flyers soon went back to the PK on a Josh Couturier boarding penalty in the neutral zone. Philly survived it. The Isles got the better of play through much of the third stanza but the Flyers got the game to OT.
* OT saw great chances at both ends, including Farabee hitting the post and having a breakaway at the end of his shift. Frost hit the post in the shootout, while Farabee couldn't quite stuff the puck through the five-hole. After Wahlstrom scored for the Islanders, Rubtsov was stoned to end the game.
* Frost and Farabee both had a few sequences where they tried to do too much, particularly Frost. The former Sault Ste. Marie star, who hadn't played in a competitive game since the spring, tried a few moves that often worked for him in the OHL -- a toe drag and shoot, stutter-step move on a PK, a spin move in the offensive zone in OT -- that did not have desired result. Farabee had one particularly tough shift where he turned over a puck on a blind pass and got doubled over at the end after a collision with an Islander (he was OK). Overall, though, both played a strong game. Frost made a good defensive play near the buzzer to prevent a potential goal. Their linemate, Ratcliffe, played a feisty and effective overall game. All three line members were up on their skates throughout the night. Farabee and Ratcliffe were especially good on the forecheck.
* Rubtsov, who hadn't played in game action since his season-ending shoulder injury early last season, was arguably the most consistent shift-in and shift-out forward on the Flyers side on Wednesday night. He was in the right position in every zone. Along with defenseman Myers, he was one of the most polished players on the ice for either side.
* Sandström was excellent in net; calm under pressure, on his angles, and very fluid. The 20-year-old Ustimenko eventually settled in but had a rough start. He seemed jittery and reactive in contrast to how in-control the more experienced Sandström was with every fluid and compact movement.
* Apart from the obvious players -- Ratcliffe, Frost, Farabee, Myers, Rubtsov and Sandström -- head coach Scott Gordon praised the work of Mikhail Vorobyev as the game progressed and said Maksim Sushko made a few good plays in the offensive zone. David Kase showed his usual hustle, and got rewarded with a goal. Egor Zamula showed some of his mobility and puck-moving upside. Among the tryout players, Gordon said that Maxim Golod was quietly solid and made some things happen during his shifts.
* Strome made a nice pass-out on the sequence that led to Vorobyev setting up Rubtsov's re-directed power play goal. However, overall, Strome struggled at times with trying to force the play. He skated better in game conditions than he did a year ago, but there is still work to be done in various aspects of his game.
* Pascal Laberge was used on the first power play unit, as Gordon tried to capitalize on the right handed shooter's above-average shot. Generally, though, Laberge was ineffective at even strength and a non-factor on the power play in Wednesday's game.
MORGAN FROST: "It felt good. It was my first real game in awhile. ...After a good week of practice, I think we complement each other well. It wasn't really a surprise that [my line] had chemistry. It was just a matter of execution."
FROST (on his shootout attempt): "Joel gave me that move, right before I went out there. I thought I had room but needed to get it over a couple of inches."
JOEL FARABEE: "Right now, I've just got to focus on recovering from this game. It was really hot out there. We've got to get hydrated and stuff like that. I'm just focusing on main camp now, but I'll definitely reflect and see what I can do better.At the end of the day, I've just got to get ready for main camp."
GERMAN RUBTSOV (via translator): "It was exciting. I was a little bit not feeling like myself early on but after the first goal, I started to feel more comfortable."
FELIX SANDSTROM: "It was a good experience; a tight game going back and forth. It was fun to watch.... I saw a lot of shots early, and that felt good that it happened like that."
SANDSTROM: "I like the game over here [in North America]. There's more shots, and it's more direct at the net. I feel well-prepared from this summer. ...The biggest change is more pucks come to the net, and it's faster. More pucks go from one side to the other. A lot of times in Sweden, the pucks end up in the corners."
SCOTT GORDON (on Rubtsov): He's a talented player. He's going to kill penalties for us if he's here, he's going to play power play, He makes other players a little bit better."
GORDON (on the top line's frequent dominance): "Some of it was transition, coming out of our zone. A lot of Phil Myers' shifts matched up with those guys, so that helped them. But, honestly, all three of those guys can skate. They've got skill. They can protect the puck well. There's an element of speed there. A lot of things that make entries a lot easier."
GORDON (on Farabee's forechecking prowess): "You can talk about being the first in on the forecheck, but he wants to do it. He is hungry for the puck, and it has a big impact on that line."