Flyers

Andrew MacDonald set to return; Flyers could lose another player through waivers

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Andrew MacDonald set to return; Flyers could lose another player through waivers

VOORHEES, N.J. — After the Flyers laid out an initial prognosis that defenseman Andrew MacDonald would miss the first few weeks of the regular season, it turns out the Flyers defenseman will be ready for the season opener on Oct. 4 in Las Vegas.

“He’s good to go,” general manager Ron Hextall said. “I’ve been watching him for awhile. He seems to have an ability to heal quickly and he’s done it again.”

The Flyers also expect to work MacDonald into a couple of the remaining preseason games.

MacDonald’s importance to the Flyers' blue line can’t be understated. Last season, he missed games with a lower-body injury, the result of a blocked shot, and the Flyers proceeded to win just three of their next 15 games, going 3-6-6 during that stretch. 

MacDonald’s presence should also help stabilize the defensive pairings, as he’ll likely work with Robert Hägg, who has struggled recently, to start the season with Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere comprising the top pairing.

After losing Martel, Flyers fear there could be more 

Organizationally, the Flyers appear stacked at the forward position, and so it didn’t come as much of a surprise to see the Tampa Bay Lightning claim 5-foot-9 forward Danick Martel off waivers Saturday (see story).

The move ensures Martel will be on the Lightning’s opening night roster, where there wasn’t much of a fit on the Flyers.

“The system is set up for guys like that,” Hextall said. “Good for Danick. It’s probably not the last time it’s going to happen to us in the next few years. We’ve got a lot of players and we’ve got a lot of good young players. We certainly would have liked to keep (Danick) in the system, but that’s the way the device is made for, to give a guy a chance.” 

If prospects Mikhail Vorobyev, Carsen Twarynski or Phil Myers make the team’s final roster, the Flyers would have to make room by placing a veteran such as, Michael Raffl, Dale Weise or Jori Lehtera on waivers to create the necessary roster space. 

Other injury updates

A day after coming off the ice prematurely, center Sean Couturier is dealing with soreness which kept him out of practice on Sunday. The Flyers still expect Couturier to play in at least one, if not two, preseason games.

Defenseman Travis Sanheim remains on track to resume skating this week. The Flyers' second-year defenseman has not practiced since sustaining an upper-body injury after he was driven into the boards by the Islanders' Matt Martin last Sunday in the Flyers' preseason opener.  

Wayne Simmonds continues to maintain his diligent preseason regimen. The Flyers' power forward says he's “pretty antsy” to get in some needed game action. Simmonds was working with the top power play unit — a group that also included Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek, Shayne Gostisbehere and Mikhail Vorobyev. The Flyers are aiming for Simmonds to see action in at least one of the final two preseason games.

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Gritty slippers for James van Riemsdyk's baby girl will make for adorable picture

Gritty slippers for James van Riemsdyk's baby girl will make for adorable picture

James van Riemsdyk has been a busy guy lately.

He's experiencing fatherhood for the first time as he and his wife Lauren welcomed their baby daughter Scarlett Everly into the world earlier this month. He's in the process of moving into a new home in Minnesota. And he's the Flyers' representative for the NHLPA, which has been critical to the league's return-to-play plan.

So maybe Gritty decided it was a good time to help out his teammate. JVR's little girl already has some Gritty apparel.

“Gritty slippers, so she’ll be introduced soon enough hopefully," van Riemsdyk said Friday on Lunch Talk Live with NBC Sports' Mike Tirico. "We can’t wait for that picture.”

Same with Gritty. Let's give a stick tap to whoever supplied the Gritty footwear for Scarlett Everly. What a clutch gift. You'd expect the orange fella was going to make it happen one way or the other, even with a busy schedule of his own.

While van Riemsdyk probably misses Gritty, he has enjoyed being a dad during the NHL stoppage.

“It has been incredible," van Riemsdyk said last week on a conference call. "The silver lining out of all of this stuff is just the extra time I’ve been able to spend at home and be there for all the little moments and just worry about being a dad first and foremost. That has been unbelievable. Everyone who has kids knows, it’s a life-changing moment and something that’s hard to even describe until you see her and meet her for the first time. That has been awesome."

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Flyers and fans remind NHL of their No. 23 Oskar Lindblom

Flyers and fans remind NHL of their No. 23 Oskar Lindblom

We saw Oskar Lindblom provide smiles in the Flyers' team picture taken during March.

We saw him receive a standing ovation at the Wells Fargo Center in January.

And during times like these, we saw awesome support for Lindblom in a virtual way Friday.

For a series on NHL.com, the league's official Twitter account sent out a question asking who is the best player to currently wear No. 23 in the game, with five options: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Sean Monahan, Dustin Brown, Adam Fox and Sam Reinhart.

Flyers fans flooded the responses with love for Lindblom, the team's forward who is battling Ewing’s sarcoma and wears No. 23. The Flyers' official Twitter account had an awesome tweet, as well.

Lindblom was diagnosed in mid-December. In late April, head coach Alain Vigneault said Lindblom was working out.

"His treatments are doing well," Vigneault said. "I’ve been texting him more on a regular basis since the beginning. We’ll have some news when the season starts again.”

And Philly will continue to show love for its 23-year-old No. 23.

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