Shayne Gostisbehere couldn't have asked for a better offseason

Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers

Shayne Gostisbehere couldn't have asked for a better offseason

VOORHEES, N.J. — Consider Shayne Gostisbehere's summer to be the calm before the storm. He couldn't have asked for a better offseason considering this same time last year he was recovering and rehabilitating from hip surgery. 

"I have a lot less doubt, just I'd say, body-wise," Gostisbehere said Monday after skating with about 18 other players and prospects for an hour at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey. "Obviously last year coming off surgeries and stuff. You have your doubts mentally if I'm going to hold up. I think the biggest thing for me is how good of a summer I just had, how strong I got. I feel like I'm in great shape. I'm ready for the season. Build it up to break it down."

Much of Gostisbehere's offseason conditioning program centered around upper-body core strength while adding muscle that he believes will help him battle defenders along the boards, fight for loose pucks and just improve overall stamina.

Whatever that workout regimen was, it seemed to put more weight on his shoulders than his contract negotiations. Set to become a restricted free agent on July 1, Gostisbehere signed a six-year, $27 million extension ($4.5 million cap hit) in early June, reaffirming the organization's belief in him coming off a disappointing 2016-17 season. If he can string together seasons comparable to his rookie year of 2015-16, Gostisbehere will be a bargain compared to other young defensemen (see list below).

"The biggest thing for me is the organization as a group believes in me and looks at me as part of the future, and I think that's the biggest thing especially with so many young D prospects coming up," Gostisbehere said. "I think that was the biggest thing for me and my family. I'm happy to be in Philly and happy to be in Philly for a long time."

And now he'll have the financial flexibility to help his girlfriend, Gina, who just enrolled in Jefferson's College of Nursing. 

More importantly, "Ghost" and his agent secured peace of mind and eliminated any stress that comes with extended negotiations, much like the scene between the Boston Bruins and RFA forward David Pastrnak.  

"Yeah it actually went pretty smooth," Gostisbehere said. "It took about a month or so. I thought it went pretty smooth. We came to a decision quick. I think it was good to happen earlier in the summer so I could focus on the rest of summer and have a good summer."

Gostisbehere has done everything this summer within his power. Now he braces for something much more powerful outside his control: the weather. As Hurricane Irma bears down on the Caribbean, Gostisbehere's family and friends who live in the Miami/St. Petersburg area are anxiously waiting to see where Irma makes its next move and how powerful the storm might be if, and when, it reaches the Florida coast.

"Obviously, you wish it would make a U-turn and go the other way and die out in the ocean but it's part of life," Gostisbehere said. "I think the best thing you can do is prepare. I remember we probably had six or seven hurricanes growing up, some major ones. I was in my mom's belly for Hurricane Andrew.

"My whole family lives down there. They've been through it before. It's easy. We have hurricane shudders. Just bear down and just prepare for the worst and get through it. They're more than welcome to come up here. I know they've dealt with it before, and if it gets too bad, we'll make some plans."

• • •

Shayne Gostisbehere (PHI)
Contract: 6 years, $27M
AAV: $4.5M
Signed: June 2017

Colton Parayko (STL) 
: 5 years, $27.5M
AAV: $5.5M
Signed: July 2017

Seth Jones (NSH)
: 6 years, $32.4
AAV: $5.4M
Signed: June 2016

Rasmus Ristolainen (BUF)
: 6 years, $32.4M
AAV: $5.4M
Signed: October 2016

Jaccob Slavin (CAR)
: 7 years, $37.5
AAV: $5.3M
Signed: July 2017

Morgan Rielly (TOR)
: 6 years, $30M
AAV: $5M
Signed: April 2016

Best of NHL: Anthony Duclair scores hat trick, Coyotes beat Senators in OT

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Best of NHL: Anthony Duclair scores hat trick, Coyotes beat Senators in OT

OTTAWA, Ontario — Anthony Duclair gave the lowly Arizona Coyotes another two points.

Duclair scored in overtime to complete a hat trick and the Coyotes beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 on Saturday for their second straight victory.

Antti Raanta made 30 saves to help the Coyotes improve to 4-15-3. On Thursday night in Montreal, they rallied to beat the Canadiens 5-4 for their first regulation victory of the season.

"I think it was a well-earned win to be honest," Duclair said. "We carried that momentum from the Montreal game and all four lines were rolling and we just played a solid 60 minutes."

Duclair scored at 1:23 of overtime, his shot trickling through Condon's pads and over the goal line (see full recap). 

Anisimov's third-period goal leads Blackhawks past Pens
PITTSBURGH — Artem Anisimov scored a power-play goal in the third period, and the Chicago Blackhawks continued their winning streak against the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 2-1 victory on Saturday night.

Anisimov scored his 10th goal of the season just 21 seconds after Pittsburgh tied the game. Gustav Forsling scored his second for the Blackhawks, who won their eighth straight against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins.

The Blackhawks have won three of their last four games after taking two of their previous seven.

Corey Crawford made 35 saves for Chicago, including a right-pad stop on Phil Kessel in the final 20 seconds (see full recap). 

Lee scores 2 goals, Islanders beat Lightning
TAMPA, Fla. — New York Islanders coach Doug Weight had a simple message after a big lead was slipping away: Stay calm.

Anders Lee scored twice and the Islanders held on after nearly blowing a four-goal lead, beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3 Saturday night.

"He was just telling us what we needed to hear," New York right wing Josh Bailey said of Weight's message on the bench midway through the third. "He was just getting his point across. We just needed to calm down a little bit, realize we're in a good position. We've still got the lead in the third period on the road against the top team in the league." (see full recap). 

Ovechkin returns after puck to face, Caps snap Wild's streak
WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin returned from taking a puck to the face, T.J. Oshie had a goal and an assist and the Washington Capitals snapped the Minnesota Wild's winning streak at four with a 3-1 victory Saturday night.

Behind goals from Oshie, Dmitry Orlov and Evgeny Kuznetsov and 30 saves by goaltender Braden Holtby, the Capitals stopped their skid at two and won their fifth consecutive game at home.

Ovechkin was bloodied in the second period when a puck ramped off his stick and into his face, but Washington's captain got some repairs and was back on the ice for the start of the third. He set up Kuznetsov's goal late in the period.

Nino Niederreiter scored for Minnesota, which lost for the first time since Nov. 8. Backup Alex Stalock stopped 40 of 43 shots in his first career start against the Capitals (see full recap.) 

Selfish, undisciplined play dooms Flyers in OT loss to Flames

Selfish, undisciplined play dooms Flyers in OT loss to Flames


The Flyers' emotions got the best of them Saturday afternoon, and in turn, they got the best from Sean Monahan.

Monahan's second-period power-play hat trick was the result of the Flyers' selfish, undisciplined penalties, which allowed the Calgary Flames to erase a two-goal deficit and take down the Flyers, 5-4, at the Wells Fargo Center (see observations).

Michael Frolik capped the Flames' comeback, converting on a 2-on-1 chance just 1:18 into overtime.

"It's not deflating — it pisses you off," Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said, "when things are a little bit within our control at that point in time. They're penalties that could have been within our control. That obviously turned and changed the hockey game drastically."

Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere was the primary culprit behind the Flyers' lack of discipline.

After a fracas in front of the Flyers' bench that saw Michael Raffl take a stick up high, Gostisbehere was the recipient of an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for yelling at referee Tim Peel. The Flyers successfully killed that two-minute minor and then Gostisbehere was sent back to the box 65 seconds later for elbowing Flames forward Micheal Ferland against the boards.

"I think I was upset overall," Gostisbehere said. "I took it out on the wrong guy. Just wasn't a good team player in that sense on that play — heat of the moment. Obviously, there are no excuses for something like that to happen. I wasn't thinking about my team there. I really let my team down."

"It varies from ref to ref," Brandon Manning said. "In Ghost's case, it was a point to where he was fed up. It wasn't what Ghost said directly. I think it was just a matter of things building up and the time and situation of it."

Monahan didn't score on Gostisbehere's unsportsmanlike penalty, but he did convert on the elbowing call, which completed his first career hat trick. He scored his first goal with Dale Weise in the box for high-sticking and then scored his second goal just three minutes and 44 seconds later, with Manning in the box for slashing and snapping Matt Stajan's stick.

"It's something I've been bad for lately and (what) I've tried to work on is keeping my stick down instead of going after the stick," Manning said. "I was a little surprised he pulled up and kind of backed off and I was just trying to get around him. That's the way it is. They're calling that a penalty now."

While the Flyers' top line has been a three-man show recently, it was the Flyers' No. 1 line that took center stage, as Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Ferland combined for four goals on 22 attempted shots, many of which were high-quality scoring chances.

The Flyers, now 8-8-4 and losers of four straight, jumped all over the Flyers with three first-period goals and taking a 3-1 lead after the opening 20 minutes. It also marked the second straight game the Flyers wasted a two-goal lead. Thursday, the Flyers scored two early goals, led for nearly 57 minutes and then watched it vanish in the final minute of regulation in Winnipeg.

"We were outshooting them pretty badly at one point and then the penalties gave them a chance to get back in the game," Sean Couturier said. "We got to be better on the PK, but at the same time, we've got to be more disciplined."

"We kind of just lost our heads there," Wayne Simmonds said. "I think groaning and moaning at the refs, but some of those penalties are penalties. We got to get better. We got to keep our heads and we just got to focus on the play because we had the game and then we let it go."

Radko a no-go
Radko Gudas was unavailable for Saturday's game against Calgary after he elected to have a phone hearing with the NHL's Department of Player Safety following his slashing penalty to the back of Mathieu Perreault's head Thursday in Winnipeg.

Gudas was ruled ineligible and sitting out Saturday's game will be applied to his suspension. According to the league’s collective bargaining agreement, “no decision to issue supplemental discipline is made before the player has the opportunity to explain his actions.”

With Andrew MacDonald still not ready for game action, Mark Alt replaced Gudas in the lineup and played 13 minutes and five seconds.

Another Johnny Hockey homecoming
South Jersey's Gaudreau had a successful trip back home establishing a new career-high nine-game point streak. Gaudreau scored Calgary's first goal on a breakaway, which was his fourth straight game with a goal.

Gaudreau also assisted on a pair of Monahan's power-play goals, giving him a three-point night.

"Yeah, this is a big win for us," Gaudreau said, "especially after the last game we had (an 8-2 loss to Detroit last Wednesday). Some big performers tonight, power play looked good, had a huge kill at the end there in the third and a big goal Frolik, so it was a good team win there."