Flyers

Carter Hart making Flyers management's decision a no-brainer

Carter Hart making Flyers management's decision a no-brainer

It had been so long since the Flyers had last tasted victory that injured goaltender Michal Neuvirth had the honors of presenting the player of the game helmet to Carter Hart following his stellar 37-save performance Thursday that snapped the team's eight-game losing streak.

Prior to Thursday, it was Neuvirth who had backstopped the Flyers to their previous victory, a 3-2 win Dec. 23 over the Rangers.

But Hart took it to another level Thursday night as he faced a flurry of shots over the final 10 minutes in preserving a one-goal victory, a 2-1 decision over the Stars (see observations).

"When you have a goalie that's making big stops and has that coolness to him, for whatever reason, you can definitely feel that on the ice,” James van Riemsdyk said. "I would be curious to see what his heart rate gets to because he seems so cool under pressure."

To give you an indication of how much of a difference maker Hart has been in the brief time he’s been in Philadelphia, the Flyers have just two wins this season when they score two or fewer goals. Take a good guess as to who that winning goaltender is.

In fact, Stars captain Jamie Benn made a concerted effort to bombard Hart’s crease just to make sure the 20-year-old could handle the pressure.

“That’s where he was the whole night, just around the net,” Hart said. “I could sense he’s that type of player. He wasn’t really chirping me but saying a couple of things to me to get a reaction. He came up to me the first time and said ‘Good save’ and then next time ‘You’re getting lucky buddy!’ He’s a good player and someone I’ve seen on TV growing up. It’s pretty cool to hear that from him.”

Hart, in his eighth start, has grown up quicker than anyone could have expected as he improved his goals against average to 2.46 with a .920 save percentage.

Whether it’s Brian Elliott, Anthony Stolarz or Neuvirth, it really doesn’t matter who returns from injury. There’s no going back for this kid. The only reason Hart should ever see Lehigh Valley again is for a rehab start and knock on wood, here’s hoping it never comes down to that.

On the same day Hart stood tall and rescued the Flyers from another potential third-period collapse, Sergei Bobrovsky had a meltdown of his own. 

The Blue Jackets' superstar goaltender was not with his Columbus teammates for Thursday’s game against the Predators after an “incident” in which Bobrovsky “failed to meet expectations and values” of the organization, according to GM Jarmo Kekaleinen.

If Bobrovsky’s departure from Columbus seemed imminent before this latest episode, then it appears to be a foregone conclusion now. The question moving forward as it pertains to the Flyers is why would Bobrovsky be on their radar with Hart clearly ahead of schedule?

The very reason Bobrovsky didn’t win two Vezina Trophies in Philadelphia was the organization’s overreaction to signing what they believed was a franchise goaltender in Ilya Bryzgalov. What they got in return was a $51 million migraine headache.

For once, let’s stick to the plan.

As good as Bobrovsky has been throughout his career, the last thing the Flyers need moving forward into next season is to be handcuffed with another goaltender with a history of failing to meet an organization’s expectations and values.

Especially, when they have an exceptional talent who’s already exceeding them.

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Eric Lindros reveals awesome insight on his career during Twitter Q&A

Eric Lindros reveals awesome insight on his career during Twitter Q&A

There are so many Eric Lindros memories.

During his playing days, No. 88 was a rare breed of size and skill. Lindros' blend of strengths would still be rare in today's game.

His dynamic was intimidating and imposing because of those strengths, so to hear Lindros open up about his toughest opponents is really cool.

"Big E" did just that in a question-and-answer session Sunday on his Twitter account.

It's awesome to see Lindros talk hockey with his fans. He has always respected the knowledgeable fan base in Philly.

"Flyers players are lucky to play in a city where the fans truly know the game of hockey, appreciate the little things and are of course rowdy, but also show heart," Lindros said on his jersey retirement night in January 2018.

Here were Lindros' interactions Sunday night and we look forward to the next time.

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Predictions for who wins Flyers' 2019-20 Yanick Dupre Class Guy Award

Predictions for who wins Flyers' 2019-20 Yanick Dupre Class Guy Award

Going End to End today are NBC Sports Philadelphia's Brooke Destra, Katie Emmer, Taryn Hatcher and Jordan Hall.

The topic: Predicting who wins the Flyers' 2019-20 Yanick Dupre Class Guy Award, presented to the Flyer who best illustrates character, dignity and respect both on and off the ice.

Destra

The best part about the Flyers and their organization is that they are filled with top-notch people. Just about every player on the team could win this award. 

This year though, I’d have to go with Jakub Voracek. He is one of the most respected players on the ice but what stands out the most is the person he is off the ice. The person he is when the cameras aren’t on him. The person he is when it comes to being an ambassador for the phrase, "It’s more than just a game."

There are many examples from this season, but one of my favorites that simply showcases why Voracek should win the Yanick Dupre Class Guy Award dates back to Feb. 27-28, when the Flyers signed Blake Steigauf to a one-day contract.

All throughout this video, you catch glimpses of Voracek with Steigauf, but the one moment that stuck with me was the shot of him waiting for the 15-year-old to come off the ice and into the tunnel before heading back to the locker room. 

All class. 

Emmer

The Flyers' dressing room is full of players with good character and high respect for the game, so this one was hard for me. 

This season, I’m picking Matt Niskanen.   

Niskanen is a highly respected, veteran player in the league and general manager Chuck Fletcher knew that when he decided to bring him in during the offseason.  

Coming into this year, the 33-year-old had 14 NHL seasons under his belt, 10 playoff runs and a Stanley Cup in 2018 — he had the experience the blue line needed.  

Where I think Niskanen really exceeded expectations so far this season is the leadership he brings. He’s highly respected by his teammates and has some of the best well-rounded character you could ask for in your dressing room.

We’re all able to see the example he sets on the ice with the defensive group as well as the team as a whole. He has certainly helped with the Flyers’ success this season. On top of that, he sets an example off the ice by showing respect toward those around him, from the Flyers’ personnel to members of media.

He has been a great addition to the team and I believe he’s the most deserving of the Yanick Dupre Award.  

Hatcher

I’m giving it to Niskanen. This was tough for all the right reasons though. I think you could make a case for quite a few players on the team to take this one home.

There are a lot of great guys in that dressing room that are both the type of player and the type of person you’d want on your hockey team. But when you say “character, dignity and respect,” my mind jumps right to Niskanen. He holds himself and his teammates accountable in the most respectful way following tough contests. He has experienced success and exudes the maturity that comes with that, without ever talking about it or being boastful about it.

He’s the “Steady Eddie” of the team, keeping things in balance on the ice and off it. Never complains, not even with 15 stitches in his nose. And beyond his character contributions, he’s been exactly what Fletcher hoped he’d be in terms of a player — a dependable defenseman that has perfectly complemented Ivan Provorov on the Flyers' top D pairing.

Hall

During his first season in Philadelphia, Kevin Hayes has fully embraced the community on top of augmenting the dynamic in the Flyers' dressing room.

Through a mixture of lightheartedness and leadership, Hayes has brought the Flyers closer together. The 27-year-old center has been a quality teammate and a go-to interview all season.

He has shown nothing but respect and character in his dealings with fans, media members and Flyers employees.

There isn't a bad choice here, but Hayes' value has gone beyond the ice.

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