Notes, quotes and tidbits from Flyers development camp: 3-on-3 tournament day

Notes, quotes and tidbits from Flyers development camp: 3-on-3 tournament day

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers Skate Zone parking lot was filled to the brim.

Among the fans, Tuesday was easily the most popular and heavily-attended day of Flyers development camp, as a 3-on-3 tournament brought a close to the on-ice portion of this year's youth gathering.

Wednesday wraps up development camp with the team's annual AAA Trial on the Isle in Stone Harbor, New Jersey — also a fun and fan-friendly event.

As for the 3-on-3 competition, the Flyers split a full sheet of ice in half, allowing two games to be played at once. That, along with other media availability during the action, makes it difficult to observe everything that happened on the ice.

But with that said, let's give you the highlights from what we saw and heard on the final day at Flyers Skate Zone.

German, German, German!
German Rubtsov, the Flyers' 2016 first-round pick, was head and shoulders above most of the 40 prospects in camp.

He was a treat to watch Tuesday.

The 19-year-old center looks like he already has NHL hands and control. He's nifty with the puck and put a pretty move on Carter Hart to score one of his three goals on the afternoon.

Rubtsov's team, which also featured Radel Fazleev and Tanner Laczynski, won the tournament. Here's the bunch celebrating.

Men among boys
While Flyers general manager Ron Hextall claims development camp is not for evaluation, it’s hard not to look at a couple players who are obviously ready to no longer be a part of it.

During the 3-on-3 tournament, defensemen Travis Sanheim and Phil Myers both looked far too advanced to be playing with players their ages. Sanheim was on Team Grey and Myers was on Team Black. When the two played against each other, it was a pleasure to watch.

Sanheim scored twice in about a minute against Team Black. He ripped a slap shot from 10-feet out on Felix Sandstrom and then tucked a rebound past Sandstrom. Overall, Sanheim scored four times. Myers scored just once but definitely looks above his age level.

Fresh wings
Matthew Strome possesses skills of a first- or second-rounder, but his skating flaws are what dropped him to the fourth round, where the Flyers snagged the winger at 106th overall last month.

Yes, Strome's skating will be a bit of a project, but he can do a lot of other things that jump out in a positive way. 

Strome put his stickhandling on display with a sweet goal on Hart.

Another player that showed his stuff was camp invite Ivan Kosorenkov, who scored a goal while also exhibiting quick skates and talented hands.

Don't be surprised to see him in September's training camp. Sure, development camp isn't for evaluation, but the undrafted winger showed that much at Flyers Skate Zone.

West Coast livin'
As is the life in minor league hockey, Hart is used to long bus rides.

With air travel permitted just for the WHL championship round, travel can be a grind. From Everett, Washington, to Brandon, Manitoba, it’s about a 21-hour drive without traffic.

“Some guys bring Xboxes, TVs in the back and you have a little bit of shelter,” Hart said. “We’re right on the coast there and [Brandon is] in the boonies. It’s a grilling bus ride, but it’s a good way to spend some time with your teammates. It’s a good way to come together.”

When asked Tuesday about Nolan Patrick, Hart said their paths haven’t crossed much.

“It’s a 20-, 25-hour bus ride if we go over there to play,” Hart said. “We only play them once a year. I've only played Nolan three times in my career. So I don’t really know him too well. He seems like a nice guy from when I met him and from what I’ve heard, he’s very skilled. 

“Well, he went second overall so he's definitely skilled. Seems like a down-to-earth guy and I think the Flyers are lucky to have a high-skilled prospect like him."

Patrick did not participate in on-ice activities during development camp after undergoing abdominal surgery June 13 but was at camp all five days.

Hakstol on Lindblom
Oskar Lindblom scored a goal and was impressive all camp.

You could really see his growth.

As a raw 2014 fifth-round pick, these development sessions have been important to the Swedish winger and now he's ready to push for a roster spot in September.

"I just think about it by myself, like fifth-rounder, I just felt like I can play and I can be on this level," Lindblom said last Friday. "So I'm just trying to push myself every day and be better."

Lindblom attracted the eyes of many at development camp. He'll have the eyes of Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol in training camp.

"As you look at some of the completeness of his game, when you look at the skill package — and let's be clear, it's just a skill package because we're not in a competitive situation here," Hakstol said Tuesday. "Even the 3-on-3 games, that's a half-ice 3-on-3 game. That's not the competitiveness that training camp will bring, but I like the maturity that I see in his game on the ice … and the same thing off the ice."

Enter Sandstrom
Three-on-three tournaments are not exactly goaltender-friendly, but Sandstrom was quite impressive.

Sandstrom had a bit of a rough go in the first game against Team White, allowing four goals. But from Game 2 on, he was solid. He made several nice stops from a 20-year-old goalie with no defense in front of him against Team Orange in the second game. For fans of goaltenders, the matchup that was most enticing was Team Black vs. Team Orange, when it was Sandstrom (Black) vs. Hart (Orange). For the record, Sandstrom shut out Hart's team, 4-0.

Who got the better on Tuesday in a totally meaningless tournament? Our pick would be Sandstrom.

Results and what's next
Here are the Flyers' official scoring results from the 3-on-3 tournament.

Olle Lycksell — 5
Travis Sanheim — 4
David Kase — 4
Nicolas Aube-Kubel — 3
Radel Fazleev — 3
German Rubtsov — 3
Linus Hogberg — 3
David Bernhardt — 2
Brendan Warren — 2
Maksim Sushko — 2
Wyatt Kalynuk — 2
Mark Friedman — 1
Cam Lee — 1
Oskar Lindblom — 1
Wade Allison — 1
Phil Myers — 1
Matthew Strome — 1
Noah Cates — 1
Isaac Ratcliffe — 1
David Drake — 1
Tanner Laczynski — 1
Ivan Kosorenkov — 1
Connor Bunnaman — 1
Derek Lodermeier — 1

And if you're interested in heading to the beach to see the prospects on Wednesday, here's the schedule.

Best of NHL: Vladimir Tarasenko records 4 points as Blues rip Oilers

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Best of NHL: Vladimir Tarasenko records 4 points as Blues rip Oilers

ST. LOUIS -- Vladimir Tarasenko had two goals and two assists and got in a rare fight Tuesday night, helping the St. Louis Blues to an 8-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

Brayden Schenn also had two goals and two assists, and Jake Allen stopped 26 shots for the NHL-leading Blues.

Tarasenko's fight came in the second period. In just the third scrap of his six-year career, Tarasenko tangled with Matt Benning and landed a solid right hand much to the crowd's delight.

Tarasenko was reacting to Benning's near-collision with Schenn that was almost a knee-on-knee hit.

It was Tarasenko's second career Gordie Howe hat trick -- a goal, an assist and a fight in the same game. The other one came on Nov. 13, 2014, against Nashville.

St. Louis (16-5-1) scored two goals in each of the first two periods before adding four in a wide-open third.

Tarasenko got his 11th goal 3:16 into the first period on two deflections. Shooting from the slot, he scored when his shot hit Connor McDavid's stick and then Adam Larsson's stick for a 1-0 lead.

Tarasenko has 14 points in his last 13 games (nine goals, five assists) against the Oilers (see full recap).

Stars rally for home win over Canadiens
DALLAS -- Devin Shore and Jason Spezza scored 59 seconds apart late in the second period to lift the Dallas Stars over the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Shore had no goals in the first 19 games this season, but scored for the second straight game to tie it 1-all at 18:22 of the second. Spezza, who also has scored in consecutive games after netting only one goal in the first 19, put in a rebound just less than a minute later.

Shore had an assist on Spezza's goal. So did Tyler Seguin, who scored into an empty net with 27 seconds to play.

Ben Bishop made 29 saves for Dallas on his 31st birthday. He allowed only a power-play goal by Brendan Gallagher at 12:04 of the second. Gallagher scored on a rebound after Charles Hudon sent a slap shot from the blue line.

After that, the Stars killed off all three Montreal power plays in the third period.

Canadiens goalie Charlie Lindgren had 26 saves.

Neither team scored in the first period. The best chance came with 2:15 remaining, when Mattias Janmark skated in alone on Lindgren, who stopped the shot with his glove and smothered the puck on the ice.

Montreal had a 4-on-3 power play to end the first period and start the second. The Stars killed off that penalty and finished 4 for 5 on the penalty kill.

The Canadiens had a scoring chance 4 minutes into the second when Brandon Davidson's wrist shot trickled past Bishop. Gemel Smith knocked the loose puck out of the crease for the Stars.

Gallagher had two close-in chances on rebounds after Hudon's shot and poked the second into the net for the game's first goal (see full recap).

Flyers blitzed by Canucks as losing skid extends to 5 straight games

Flyers blitzed by Canucks as losing skid extends to 5 straight games


There were so many mistakes to be found in the Flyers’ 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night that head coach Dave Hakstol surprisingly admitted even he could have done things differently by pulling Michal Neuvirth after the goalie gave up a third goal in the opening minutes of the second period.

“That one was on me,” Hakstol said. “I should have done that after the third goal to give our team the best opportunity. Once it got to four (4-1), it’s tough to dig out of that hole. The change after three may have been the spark that our team would have needed, but hindsight is 20/20.”

Starting for the first time in 17 days, Neuvirth was pulled with 5:20 remaining in the second period after making 18 of 22 stops. He wasn’t nearly a sharp as he’s been in his previous outings.

“Obviously, I need to be better than I showed today,” Neuvirth said. “It was difficult not skating. I had three days off over the weekend and I had one practice (Monday), so it was difficult. I need to be better.”

With Radko Gudas serving the second game of a 10-game suspension, the Flyers turned in one of the worst defensive games of the season as they allowed the Canucks a handful of prime opportunities based on turnovers, missed assignments and even a poor line change (see observations).

“We had a tough time starting in the neutral zone,” Jake Voracek said. “A couple of times, the defense tried to skate it through. We just didn’t generate enough speed. On the odd-man rush we had a couple of good looks in the second [period]. It is always more open in the second.”

The pairing of Brandon Manning and Shayne Gostisbehere had an especially tough time and it started when Daniel Sedin snuck behind Gostisbehere for an early, first-period breakaway goal.

“That first goal is probably preventable,” Manning said. “Me and Ghost talked about it and we can probably sniff that one out a little bit better. The second one is tough with the young guys trying to get off for a matchup.”

Canucks leading scorer Brock Boeser capitalized on a bad change from the Flyers’ defense when he rifled the first of his two goals far post over Neuvirth’s blocker.

“We gave up two easy goals that we didn’t make our opponent work for,” Hakstol said. “You’ve got to have one defenseman out there. You can’t have two D going. That’s the reality of it.”

“It’s just little details that are costing us games right now, and I think the PK needs to be better,” Sean Couturier said. “On the defensive side, we need to be sharper. Little details, whether that’s picking up your guy or chipping it out or line change. It’s all those little things that add up.” 

For a team that has been in every game at some point of the third period this season, that simply was not the case Tuesday night. Forward Wayne Simmonds admitted some bad habits are creeping into the Flyers’ game.

“I would agree with that,” Simmonds said. “We have to find a way to break those habits. We have to find a way to get a win here, no matter what it takes. We can’t be leaving them for 2-on-1s, 3-on-1s, 3-on-2s or whatever it may be. That’s going to hurt and it did.”

After winning their season opener in San Jose, the Flyers’ abysmal record against the Western Conference dropped to 5-8-4. They’re currently the only team in the Metropolitan Division with more regulation losses than regulation wins. 

“You’ve got to own it,” Hakstol said. “We’ve got to do better. You can’t sit back and rest on a lack of confidence. You give yourself confidence by preparation, work ethic, togetherness and those are things we have to put back into our game tomorrow night.” 

On Wednesday, the Flyers will travel to Brooklyn to face the Islanders for just the second divisional game of the season after blowing out the Washington Capitals, 8-2, in the home opener at the Wells Fargo Center.

Changes coming?
While the rest of the team loaded up for Wednesday night’s game on Long Island, Flyers defenseman Mark Alt took his equipment with him as he’ll rejoin the Phantoms. With Matt Read clearing waivers, general manager Ron Hextall could quite possibly make a couple of call-ups from Lehigh Valley.

“You evaluate everything on a daily basis depending on what happens,” Hextall  said. “You just don’t know. Someone gets hurt, we just can’t put them on IR. We need the flexibility for tomorrow.”

Don’t expect defenseman Andrew MacDonald to be available until Friday at the earliest. MacDonald’s skating still isn’t 100 percent even though he has practiced with the team since last Thursday. 

“It’s kind of a progression thing and we’ll see where it goes and we’ll see how he progresses,” Hextall said.