Flyers

2019-20 Flyers season grades: Philippe Myers

2019-20 Flyers season grades: Philippe Myers

The 2019-20 NHL regular season has concluded and the next time the puck drops will officially kick off the race to the Stanley Cup. The Flyers are hungry and ready to battle it out, but that is thanks to the hard work from back in October. 

In an End to End series, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Brooke Destra, Joe Fordyce and Jordan Hall will be grading players based on individual performances. 

Today we will be looking at Philippe Myers.

Destra

Normally an injury as severe as a fractured patella would cause a player to be out for a significant amount of time to recover. Luckily for Myers, he missed only a single game because just days after his injury, the NHL season was officially suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak. 

This could be viewed as a silver lining — considering Myers will now be ready to roll come the round robin and playoffs that will follow. Before his injury, we were able to see significant growth in the 23-year-old’s game — which made the thought of losing him for the remainder of the regular season much more difficult. 

It took just under a month before Myers was called up to the big club to start his season with the Flyers, and it made for an interesting dynamic, given how busy things were at the blue line. The Flyers went from having a couple solid defensemen, to having too much talent from top to bottom … it’s a good problem to have. 

If Myers continues to control the reins instead of attempting to be too flashy, he’s in for a bright future in the NHL.

Myers gets a B for 2019-20 — and expectations are definitely high for next season. 

Fordyce 

I think when Myers first came up in the '18-19 season, he did some things that caused people to put the cart before the horse with this young defenseman. During this season, Myers had some really bright spots, but also would get into stretches when it seemed he couldn’t get out of his own way. 

Myers played 50 of the Flyers' 69 games. The key number that stands out when looking at Myers' season is that he was a plus-17, good for second on the team behind only Sean Couturier and the best in terms of defensemen on the Flyers. There are several factors that go into that rating and while it’s a great rating, Myers still has some work to do. He showed promise this season, and with even or better ratings in eight of his last 10 games, Myers’ future could be bright. 

B for Myers.

Hall

There was a lot of excitement about Myers entering the 2019-20 season and understandably so. The 23-year-old defenseman has an NHL build at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, he’s a fluid skater with offensive skill, he was ranked a top-50 prospect by the NHL Network the previous season and looked primed for a full-time impact.

While Myers had a so-so training camp and preseason, missing the team’s season-opening roster, he made it back to the big club and showed plenty of promise. With time, he started looking more comfortable and like a regular. The undrafted product recorded 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) and a plus-17 rating in 50 games.

Myers has said he’s at his best when playing a composed game and not trying to do too much, which leads to his impressiveness offensively and making things happen. At times, he would press and be hard on himself, but that’s common for any young player who cares.

All in all, a solid B for Myers, who looks like a fixture on the team’s blue line.

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Ice cream and a memory vs. Carey Price remind us Carter Hart is just a kid ... but ready for the moment

Ice cream and a memory vs. Carey Price remind us Carter Hart is just a kid ... but ready for the moment

When Carey Price was at his most dominant, winning the Vezina Trophy (top goalie) and Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP) in 2014-15, Carter Hart was just 16 years old. 

The precocious but innocent kid had just begun molding his game at the junior hockey level with the WHL's Silvertips in Everett, Washington.

Price was at the sport's pinnacle.

"He was my favorite goalie growing up," Hart said.

On Wednesday, the night before his 22nd birthday, Hart found himself stretching next to Price at the center-ice line in front of the scorekeepers' bench.

There was Hart, on the same NHL stage as his idol, facing him in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The NHL postseason is serious business, requiring the utmost competitiveness and focus. Hart, whose youthfulness often belies his maturity, fully understands the beast that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But the postseason makes for special moments and memories. NHL players all looked up to someone at some point. For Hart, he allowed himself to appreciate the storyline ahead.

"Definitely really cool," Hart said last Sunday about the upcoming best-of-seven first-round matchup with Price's Canadiens. "Just had the chance to actually meet him the other week and talk with him for the first time, so that was something pretty cool. For your first playoff series, playing against Carey Price will definitely be a lot of fun; I look forward to it."

Price, who turns 33 years old on Sunday, was unable to spoil the youngster's birthday. By midnight, Hart and the top-seeded Flyers had a 1-0 series lead after earning a hard-fought 2-1 victory over eighth-seeded Montreal. Hart is 3-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and .966 save percentage through three games in the NHL's return-to-play 24-team tournament.

On the ice, the Flyers were able to celebrate around Hart after he turned away 27 of 28 shots, with 16 of those saves coming in the second period when the Flyers really needed him.

Off the ice, they made sure to celebrate Hart's birthday a little early, making the best of the circumstances in the Eastern Conference's Toronto bubble.

“I think some guys got him some ice cream yesterday after the game and just sang him happy birthday," Shayne Gostisbehere said Thursday with a smile. "He’s been pretty good.”

“Let him do his thing,” Scott Laughton chimed in about Hart.

“Yeah, let him do his thing," Gostisbehere echoed.

After a short and sweet exchange with Price, Hart did his thing in Game 1.

“Just said hello quickly in warmups, good luck and it was just time to go play," Hart said.

If Hart continues to play the way he has this season and to start the tournament, he could remember the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs for much more than a memorable matchup with Price.

But there's a kid in everyone. Then again, Hart is only 22 years old.

"He’s a special kid," Derek Grant said last week. "He’s so calm. He puts his mask on, you don’t know how old he is."

With his mask off, Hart hopefully enjoyed a little ice cream and soaked in the moment.

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Canadiens head coach Claude Julien hospitalized with chest pain

Canadiens head coach Claude Julien hospitalized with chest pain

Canadiens head coach Claude Julien has been hospitalized because of chest pain, the team announced Thursday.

Julien is not expected to return to the bench for the Canadiens' best-of-seven first-round playoff series against the Flyers. Assistant coach Kirk Muller will take over head coaching duties in the interim.

Julien was behind the bench leading Montreal in Game 1 Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. The Flyers beat the Canadiens, 2-1, while the series continues Friday with Game 2 at 3 p.m. ET.

Here is a statement from Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin, via the team's official website:

Good afternoon. I'm here to inform you of the reason Claude Julien was not here this morning at practice. Claude experienced chest pain during the night. We immediately consulted our doctors and it was agreed to transfer him to the hospital by ambulance. He's presently there and he's undergoing tests to determine the exact nature of his condition. This has nothing to do with COVID.

We don't expect him to be back during this series against the Flyers. Kirk, Dominique [Ducharme] and Luke [Richardson] will share the responsibility, however, Kirk is the associate head coach and he will assume the responsibility of head coach until Claude's return.  

We understand that Kirk does not speak French, but these are exceptional circumstances and we're asking you for your understanding. Out of respect for Claude and his family, I will not answer any further questions about his medical condition.

The veteran coach led the Bruins to a Stanley Cup championship in 2011. The 60-year-old began his NHL head coaching career in Montreal and has been with the club for parts of seven seasons.

"There’s no doubt that there’s a deep bond and a deep respect because we know the jobs that we’re doing," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said about Julien before the series.

Vigneault, 59, also began his NHL head coaching career in Montreal. From 1981-83, Vigneault and Julien were teammates on the Central Hockey League's Salt Lake Golden Eagles.

"I didn't see him after the game," Vigneault said Thursday afternoon in a video interview following practice. "I've known Claude since I was 20, so we go way back, good friends. I'm going to reach out with him; I just found out the news, I want to say 20 minutes ago, just before jumping on the bus. I'm not aware of exactly what happened."

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