Downside of deadline day hits now-former Flyer

Downside of deadline day hits now-former Flyer

MONTREAL — Mark Alt was taking shots on the Bell Centre ice in Montreal Monday morning while preparing for the host Canadiens when assistant coach Gord Murphy came over and told Alt there was no need to take shots anymore.

That's because Alt is not a member of the Flyers anymore.

The Colorado Avalanche claimed Alt Monday afternoon, a day after the Flyers placed the 26-year-old defenseman on waivers in hopes of making him eligible for both the AHL postseason and the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“That was kinda weird,” Alt said after hearing the news he's heading out west. “He usually wouldn’t say something like that, so as I skated off, I figured something had happened.

“Very surprised, actually. These things happen and I’m excited for the opportunity. There’s mixed emotions — good and bad. It’s good to have somebody and to be wanted, and at the same time, it’s tough to leave the team. It kinda goes both ways there.”

Alt had been utilized as the Flyers' seventh defenseman. He played in just eight games this season and only nine total as a member of the Flyers. Alt, a second-round pick of Carolina in 2010, was acquired by the Flyers in a trade with the Hurricanes on Jan. 13, 2013 along with goaltender Brian Boucher for Luke Pither.

Alt has yet to record a point in his NHL career.

Deadline Dale
Dale Weise may experience some déjà vu today. 

It was exactly two years ago today when Weise was in Montreal and was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Flyers forward was enjoying a breakout season, scoring 14 goals prior to the deadline deal.

“I think it was no secret I wanted to stay in Montreal,” Weise said. “Two days before I got traded, I thought we had a deal done. We didn’t hear back and then I got a call from (Montreal GM) Mark Bergevin that I got traded. It was difficult.”

In 2014, Weise was dealt to the Canadiens from Vancouver and he’s hoping this two-year trend comes to an end.  

“I think everybody’s watching it,” Weise said of the deadline. “It’s the most exciting time of the year. This is a business and crazy things happen.”  

Ghost giving back
Eleven days after 17 students and faculty members were shot and killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the school's boys hockey team won the Florida state championship.

Flyers defenseman and Douglas High School alumnus Shayne Gostisbehere was thrilled the team rallied together to win a championship and dedicated their state title to the victims of the shooting.

“It’s awesome with obviously everything they’ve gone through to come out on top,” Gostisbehere said. 

Gostisbehere attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school from 2007-09, but never played for the Eagles hockey team. However, Gostisbehere will host members of the state champion hockey squad at the BB&T Center in Sunrise when the Flyers take on the Florida Panthers on Sunday, March 4.

“I know I’ve got some things lined up for the Florida game, so it should be fun.”

"Ghost" is the only alumnus from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to play in the NHL.

Robert Hagg finds himself the odd man out vs. Rangers

AP Images

Robert Hagg finds himself the odd man out vs. Rangers

Rookie Robert Hagg will be a healthy scratch for the first time in his career following his performance Tuesday in Detroit, where the defenseman played just 12:39 and finished with a minus-2 rating, including just four shifts and 2:28 during the Flyers' third-period comeback.

Hagg missed four games with a lower-body injury, and when he returned he played on the left side, paired with Radko Gudas. For most of the second half of the season, Hagg has played the right side with Andrew MacDonald as the team’s second pairing.

“It’s not always about the individual,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “The pair (Hagg and Gudas) didn’t have easy chemistry there. We ended up in some situations with and against the speed and ended up with some bad gaps. The pair and combination wasn’t as effective as we needed it to be.”

Lyon in the crease
If Hakstol wanted to be a very unconventional think-outside-the-box coach, he would start Petr Mrazek for a period and then bring in Alex Lyon for the remaining two periods and beyond.

Lyon will start tonight’s game against the Rangers, the same team he earned his first career win against after replacing Michal Neuvirth following the first period. 

Some of Lyon’s best work this season has been coming in cold off the bench. He owns a .970 save percentage in games he has entered in relief, and a pedestrian .890 save percentage in five games he has started.

“It’s not just based on one performance, it never is,” Hakstol said. “ It’s always based on situation and a player’s body of work. Alex’s body of work has been good. He came in the other night and did an excellent job and that’s part of the decision.”

Shorthanded shortcomings
The Red Wings scored the tenth shorthanded goal against the Flyers Tuesday, matching the Colorado Avalanche for the most 5-on-4 goals allowed this season. 

This season, the Flyers are 4-4-2 in games in which they’ve given up a shorthanded goal, but more importantly, many of those goals have been momentum killers — the difference between tying a game or facing a two-goal deficit.

In the Flyers' 5-1 loss to the Rangers on Jan. 16, New York forward Paul Carey scored shorthanded with ten seconds remaining in the first period that extended the Rangers lead to 3-1, and took away any hope for a Flyers' comeback.    

“The Rangers are going to come with the kitchen sink on their penalty kill and they’re playing without a lot of pressure,” Hakstol said. “At times, you’re going to see two, three and four guys on their PK come up the ice offensively, so we’re going to have to do a very good job of that tonight.” 

Much of the blame can be attributed to the power play’s 1-3-1 setup — Shayne Gostisbehere serving as the only player on the point with Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek in the circles, Sean Couturier in the high slot and Wayne Simmonds down low.

When a turnover or giveaway is committed between the circles and the blue line, typically only Gostisbehere or the player taking his spot at the point is the only player back to defend, leaving the Flyers wide open for a two-on-one shorthanded chance against.   

“We starting off taking a chance with one defenseman out there,” Gostisbehere said. “That’s just the name of the game. I don’t think there’s too many power play units with two D out there right now. I think for us, it’s staying within ourselves and keeping it simple.”