dale weise

Who's odd man out when Wayne Simmonds returns?

Who's odd man out when Wayne Simmonds returns?

Going End to End today is NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Tom Dougherty and Jordan Hall.

The topic: What should the Flyers do when Wayne Simmonds returns?

Dougherty
This question really is, who comes out of the lineup when Simmonds comes back? Since the NHL roster limit is, well, no longer a limit, the Flyers can carry extra forwards.

That doesn’t mean Ron Hextall will not send a promising 21-year-old back to Lehigh Valley. Oskar Lindblom, because of a paper transaction, is eligible for the AHL playoffs.

Lindblom is the wild card here. Has he shown enough to stick with the Flyers? I think he has despite all of his positives (there are plenty) not showing up on the score sheet.

But, I thought the same thing after the preseason. The reality is, Lindblom hasn’t produced points. If the offense showed up more in the preseason, he probably would have stayed.

I’m afraid that is going to bite him again this time around. It shouldn’t, though.

When Simmonds returns, Lindblom should stick around. Think of it this way, Simmonds, or Lindblom, is the Flyers’ trade deadline acquisition. So someone draws out.

Thursday, Jordan Weal was in the press box. He hasn’t produced and has been given ample opportunity. Taylor Leier was back in. That spot is the one we’re looking at.

Sure, Dale Weise and Jori Lehtera could take turns going in and out too.

We should ask whether Lindblom is an upgrade over Weal, Leier, Lehtera and Weise.

Yes, he is. Which means Lindblom’s (probably) going back to the AHL.

Hall
With the way the Flyers had been playing, you almost forgot about Simmonds.

But of course, that would be silly. When Simmonds is doing what he does best, the Flyers are at another level. In fact, they're 16-1-1 when he scores a goal.

So who comes out when he comes back?

I'd like to see it be Weise. He's been scratched before and simply doesn't bring a whole lot to the table.

Simmonds returns to the second unit, while Lindblom slides to the third line but still plays a role. However, it would not surprise me if Lindblom heads back to the AHL for further development while the Flyers trust the guys that have been here.

Since Weal hasn't produced, he must now show he can understand the responsibilities of a bottom-six spot, specifically as a fourth-liner. If he can do that, he'll bring a nice scoring element alongside complementary players.

How's a third line of Lindblom, Scott Laughton and Michael Raffl sound? And a fourth line of Lehtera, Valtteri Filppula and Weal?

Ultimately, though, it very well could end up being Lindblom sent down and Weal or Leier as the scratch when Simmonds is back in action.

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.

Flyers searching for a New Year's identity

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USA Today Images

Flyers searching for a New Year's identity

New Year’s Day has long been that one day of self reflection while providing an opportunity to find the necessary improvements to bottle into a New Year’s resolution.  

Collectively, the Flyers are no different.

Identifying a team identity would serve as a good starting point. So what is that identity?

“That’s a tough question,” said goaltender Brian Elliott, who's playing on his third different team in three years. “I think we know that we can play with and beat any team. We’re right there in that wild-card race and we have to keep inching up. There’s going to be a lot of three-point games and you can’t just win one and lose one. That’s not going to do it in this league.

“I think we’re still trying to find what our identity is,” said forward Dale Weise. “One night when you see in Tampa that we can compete with anybody in the league, and then the next night, no disrespect to Buffalo, we can get dominated by some teams down in the standings. I think going forward we need to find what that identity is and find some consistency.”

More importantly, is that identity passed down from management and the coaching staff or is it developed internally from the leadership group to where it spreads throughout the entire organization?

“It’s probably a two-way street,” said head coach Dave Hakstol. “I think everybody has to do their part in building that identity. This is a group that has success through its depth. That identity hasn’t wavered or changed. We went through a real tough stretch where we couldn’t get the results, but that still didn’t change the identity of our team.”

The Flyers may have a positive outlook for 2018, but to produce better outcomes, it’s essential to learn and correct the mistakes from 2017, which saw the Flyers finish the calendar year with a 35-33-14 record, or 84 points in 82 games. 

And now they embark on a pivotal four-game homestand vs. Pittsburgh, the New York Islanders, St. Louis and Buffalo where points will be at a premium. The Pens and Isles are both ahead of the Flyers in the wild-card hunt. The Sabres currently have the fewest points in the East. And while the Blues are a formidable foe, the Flyers shut them out earlier in the year out in St. Louis.

This is where some consistency would be a huge boost.

“First 38 games (this season) we’ve been very inconsistent. When you look at the winning and losing, that’s obvious. Even when you’re having a bad day, you have to find a way,” said forward Jake Voracek. “We know we can come back at any time. Obviously, we were short in Buffalo and we were short in Florida, but in some games when we're down 3-0 to get some of those points. So I’d say that identity is that we really never give up.” 

Flyers prefer the warmth
With the 10th anniversary of the Winter Classic outdoor game and the Flyers' upcoming game against the Penguins, it’s a reminder how those two factors will merge next season when the Flyers host the Pens at Lincoln Financial Field on Feb. 23, 2019.

Despite early morning temperatures in the single digits, it was still a balmy 16 degrees at puck drop between the Sabres and Rangers at Citi Field in NYC, making it the second coldest outdoor game in NHL history.

As a kid, Claude Giroux would skate outdoors on the pond in Northern Ontario in temperatures that were minus-30 to minus-40.

“When you’re a kid, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re cold or not, you just play through it. You’re just having so much fun, the weather’s not really an issue,” said Giroux.

As far as next season’s game against Pittsburgh?

“A little bit of cold. The wind makes a big difference. When you’re skating on one side, you’re going way faster from when you’re skating on the other side. I actually enjoy a little bit of snow,” Giroux said. “I think when we played in Pittsburgh there was a little bit of snow.” 

World Junior Championships snow?

“That was too much snow,” Giroux said followed by smile.

A better Provorov?
Prior to the Flyers’ New Year’s Day workout, Ivan Provorov’s younger brother, nine-year-old Vladimir, was going through a rigorous workout with father Vladimir, who was barking out instruction in Russian. Ivan’s brother was skating around cones while shooting through a small gap near the cross bar with one net lodged against the other.      

“He’s pretty good. I think he’s definitely ahead of where I was at 9 years old,” said Ivan. “He skates two or three times a day when he has a chance, watches highlights and just loves hockey.”

Ivan says the younger Vladimir has an advantage since his father was able to experiment with Ivan growing up in Yaroslavl, Russia before Ivan left to play in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania at age 13.

“I think it’s the same way, except now, he sort of knows what works and how and which way to push and in which direction,” said Ivan. “I think he knows right now which way to go.”

Vladimir currently plays forward and wants to follow in Ivan’s footsteps, but not for some time. He won’t be NHL draft eligible until 2026.