Flyers

Flyers notes, quotes and tidbits: Dick Vermeil pays a visit

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Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers

Flyers notes, quotes and tidbits: Dick Vermeil pays a visit

VOORHEES, N.J. — With a rare four days between games, the Flyers packed a lot into an hour-long practice on Tuesday morning.

They also had a special guest cap it off.

Dick Vermeil, an NFL head coach for 15 seasons, including seven with the Eagles (1976-82) and a Super Bowl ring with the Rams (1999), visited the Flyers thanks to an invitation from captain Claude Giroux. Vermeil, who turned 81 years old last week and looks like he could still coach, spoke to the team following practice.


(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)


(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

Vermeil met with the Flyers after media availability, so it's unknown what wisdom he imparted on the group and staff. But a little motivational pick-me-up from such a figure must have served as a nice boost during an extended break from game action.

Vermeil, all smiles and never one to hide his emotions, left with a team-signed Giroux jersey.

As for practice, the Flyers worked on many areas, featuring 1-on-1 drills, 2-on-1, 5-on-none and special teams.

"It all depends on what the schedule is," head coach Dave Hakstol said. "You try to manage the schedule. The practice days are really valuable, no question, and we've made a real point to make sure we get as many practice days as we possibly can. If we're going to take something out of the mix, it's going to be the morning skate. So we've done that when possible to this point. Now we have a pretty busy stretch from here on until Christmas."

The Flyers practice again Wednesday before welcoming the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night (7 p.m./NBC Sports Philadelphia). The team is enjoying the mini break but also sees the value in staying fresh with practice.

"I think the guys feel better when we skate," forward Travis Konecny said. "It's going to be good for us to rest, as far as that goes, but at the same time, when we skate, we feel better."

A 'Gudy' sighting
Defenseman Radko Gudas, who has missed the Flyers' past two games because of an upper-body injury, fully took part in practice and did not seem limited.

But that doesn't mean he has been cleared for Thursday's game. Gudas said he still must meet with team doctors before a decision is made regarding his return to the lineup.

"There's nothing really I can say at this point right now," Gudas said. "Trying to get back into it.

"I hate watching hockey, especially when my team is playing. That's the toughest for me every time, I want to go out and jump in there. Anything I can do to make it faster, I'm trying to do as much as I can."

The Flyers' defense has been snakebitten with injuries to Gudas, Andrew MacDonald (injured reserve, lower body) and Shayne Gostisbehere (missed three games, upper body). Gudas has been out since last Wednesday, when he took an inadvertent hit from Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad.

No worries here
Early in practice, Konecny was seen hobbling and hunched over in pain as drills continued. He slowly but surely rejoined the action and finished practice, even sharing a laugh with assistant coach Ian Laperriere as he got back in line.

"Puck off the foot," Konecny said afterward. "I'm fine."

Still no Patrick
Rookie center Nolan Patrick did not partake in practice but skated beforehand. Patrick has not played since Oct. 24 and is on injured reserve with an upper-body ailment.

Lines, pairings and goalies
Here were the Flyers' groupings in practice, with the goalies in no particular order.

Forwards
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Travis Konecny-Valtteri Filppula-Wayne Simmonds
Jordan Weal-Jori Lehtera-Dale Weise
Taylor Leier-Scott Laughton-Michael Raffl-Matt Read

Defensemen
Ivan Provorov-Robert Hagg
Brandon Manning-Shayne Gostisbehere 
Travis Sanheim-Mark Alt-Radko Gudas

Goalies
Brian Elliott
Michal Neuvirth

Radko Gudas suspended 10 games for slash to Mathieu Perreault

Radko Gudas suspended 10 games for slash to Mathieu Perreault

Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas was suspended 10 games Sunday night by the NHL's Department of Player Safety for his slashing penalty to the back of the neck of Jets forward Mathieu Perreault.​

The incident occurred 9:50 in the first period of the Winnipeg game that saw Gudas receive a five-minute major and a 10-game misconduct as a result of the play.

Gudas has already served one game of that suspension, as he sat out Saturday’s home game against the Calgary Flames awaiting Sunday morning’s phone hearing.

Gudas will forfeit just over $408,000 as a result of his actions. The Flyers defenseman won’t be eligible to return to the lineup until Dec. 12 when the Flyers host the Toronto Maple Leafs.

This marks the longest suspension of Gudas’ career. He was slapped with a six-game suspension for his blow to Bruins forward Austin Czarnik in a 2016 preseason game. His first suspension in a Flyers sweater came back on Dec. 2, 2015, when he received three games for an illegal check to the head of Senators center Mika Zibanejad.

The suspension may ultimately help Gudas, who has appeared to be favoring his shoulder in recent games, limiting his ability to deliver his typical bone-jarring hits.

Flyers to host Penguins at Linc in 2019

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USA Today Images

Flyers to host Penguins at Linc in 2019

The Flyers will host the Penguins at Lincoln Financial Field on Feb. 23, 2019, as part of the ongoing Stadium Series, the NHL announced Sunday night.

The 2019 “Battle of Pennsylvania” is a renewal of the first outdoor game between the two divisional rivals that saw the Penguins beat the Flyers, 4-2, at Heinz Field on Feb. 25, 2017.

“On behalf of the Philadelphia Flyers, we are thrilled to host the 2019 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series at Lincoln Financial Field,” Flyers president Paul Holmgren said.

“Lincoln Financial Field will provide a perfect setting for these cross-state opponents and their passionate fan bases,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said.

For a Flyers franchise in search of its first win outdoors, the 2019 game will mark the fourth outdoor game in team history. The Flyers played the Boston Bruins in the 2010 Winter Classic, losing 2-1. In 2012, the Flyers hosted their very first Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park in a game that saw the New York Rangers win, 3-2.

With seven Stanley Cups between the two storied franchises, the Flyers and Penguins have produced some of the game’s greatest players, and details are still being worked out for an alumni event that will likely be held in Pittsburgh after a similar game was played at the Wells Fargo Center on Jan. 14, 2017, as part of their 50th anniversary celebration.

A Comcast Spectacor executive said other games, such as a Penn State collegiate game or an AHL event involving the Phantoms, could eventually be played prior to the Flyers-Penguins game, but those specifics still have to be worked out. 

“There is no doubt that the Penguins and Flyers will put on a great show for the passionate fans in Philadelphia, and those watching at home, adding to the history between these two teams,” Mathieu Schneider, NHLPA special assistant to the executive director, said.

On Saturday, the NHL announced the Chicago Blackhawks would host the Boston Bruins in the 2019 Winter Classic on Jan. 1, at Notre Dame Stadium.