Flyers

Brian Elliott is Flyers' finalist for 2019 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

Brian Elliott is Flyers' finalist for 2019 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

Brian Elliott is becoming a master in Masterton nominations.

The 33-year-old goaltender was chosen as the Flyers' 2019 finalist for the award that recognizes the one player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey.”

The Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association voted Elliott as the nominee.

This season marks the fifth time in Elliott’s career he has been a representative for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy despite never winning the award. He was nominated four times during his five years with the St. Louis Blues.

“It’s definitely a meaningful award — your dedication to the game,” Elliott said. “I’ve always been a guy that just loves the game, loves to be at the rink and around the team. Whenever you get nominated for something like that, it’s definitely humbling.”

In his first season with the Flyers, Elliott suffered the first significant injury of his career during a game in Arizona on Feb. 10, 2018, extending his body to make a save. The injury required major surgery to repair the abdomen and core muscle area. Doctors realized Elliott also required hip surgery, but the Flyers' netminder postponed an additional surgery in an attempt to be ready for the playoffs. 

“He could have gone in and had them both fixed and been ready for September, but he wanted to play at the end of the year. Credit to him, he’s a high character guy and a battler,” former GM Ron Hextall said.

Once the Flyers were ousted in six games to the Penguins in the first round of the playoffs, Elliott had the second procedure — hip surgery — and proceeded to remain in Philadelphia throughout the offseason under the watchful eye of the Flyers' training staff. 

Elliott believed he had “turned the corner” this season before suffering a recurrence of his hip injury in a game against the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 15.

That setback forced him to miss another three months of action this season.

“It was definitely a test of your mind and trying to stay positive when you have some dark days, but that’s what the game is all about,” Elliott said. “You want to come back and have that drive and have that power, and execution that you had before the injury. It was such a challenge and when you can come out on the other side, either winning a game or overcoming an obstacle, I think that’s the biggest joy you can get out of it.”

Of the 31 team nominees, the PHWA will select three finalists who will attend the NHL’s awards ceremony in Las Vegas once the season has concluded when the winner will be announced.

The Flyers have had three players win the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy that has been awarded every season since 1968. 

Ian Laperriere was the last in 2011 after suffering post-concussion syndrome following a slap shot to the eye and face while blocking a shot.

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2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule: Capitals, Hurricanes set for Game 7 clash

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2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule: Capitals, Hurricanes set for Game 7 clash

There were two Game 7 matchups Tuesday night.

On Wednesday night, we've got another one and it should be good as the defending champion Capitals try to put away the Rod Brind'Amour-led Hurricanes, who are in the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

The first-round series hasn't lacked fireworks or physicality. Game 7 should be no different.

Below is the full schedule for Day 15 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. You can watch the entire playoffs on the networks of NBC. 

Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals (tied 3-3)
Game 7, Eastern Conference first round
7:30 p.m. ET | TV: NBCSN | Live stream here

Don't lose perspective with Flyers prospect Jay O'Brien

Don't lose perspective with Flyers prospect Jay O'Brien

Updated: 5:13 p.m.

The Flyers saw both ends of the spectrum with their first-round picks from the 2018 draft.

While Joel Farabee shined at Boston University this season (see story), Jay O'Brien struggled to find his game at Providence College.

After a freshman season comprised of injuries and five points (two goals, three assists) in 25 games, it appears O'Brien's time with the Friars is over.

According to a report Tuesday by Jeff Cox of the New England Hockey Journal, O'Brien has entered the NCAA transfer portal and is expected to play for the Penticton Vees of the BCHL during the 2019-20 season. However, per separate reports, O'Brien's decision for next season is still being decided.

O'Brien, a playmaking center, will have three years of college eligibility remaining.

Now, before anyone starts debating O'Brien's future, let's remember the importance of perspective with teenage prospects. 

O'Brien was perceived as a bit of project when the Flyers' previous regime of Ron Hextall and Chris Pryor selected him 19th overall last summer. Taking O'Brien at No. 19 was viewed by many as a reach, but the Flyers' scouting staff was high on the Thayer Academy product and trusted its evaluation. The Flyers took O'Brien over other centers Joseph Veleno, Rasmus Kupari and Isac Lundestrom.

This season, Veleno put up 104 points in the QMJHL, Kupari had 33 points over 43 games in Liiga (Finnish pro league) and Lundestrom appeared in 15 games with the Ducks.

O'Brien, because of his smaller stature (5-foot-11, 174 pounds) and being drafted out of prep school, had an adjustment period playing Division I hockey (see story). Multiple injuries also didn't help his cause with the transition.

But patience with O'Brien was always going to be imperative. The Flyers drafted him on a lot of upside after taking more of a guarantee in the quick-rising Farabee five picks earlier. The 19-year-old O'Brien isn't lacking in ability or work ethic. Providence head coach Nate Leaman, who led the Friars to a national title in 2015, called O'Brien's skill set "elite."

"It takes time to learn to play at the speed, to play with the lack of space," Leaman said in January during a phone interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia (see story).

"These guys that come right from high school, it takes time and I know Philly has told us that they understand that also."

O'Brien paid little attention to pre-draft rankings last summer.

"I don't even know where I was," he said at development camp. "It doesn't mean much to me. It's not really where you get drafted, it's what you do after you get drafted."

He'll have a new path in 2019-20, another chance to prove himself. There's still plenty to like, with plenty of time.

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