Flyers

Dave Hakstol delivers challenge to Flyers: 'Let's sack up'

Dave Hakstol delivers challenge to Flyers: 'Let's sack up'

VOORHEES, N.J. — Dave Hakstol pays little attention to outside noise.

He's an internally motivated head coach — patient just like his general manager and not easily swayed by external pressure.

But that doesn't mean he never gets pissed off. He's not oblivious to reality. He may not hear the cries or see the pitchforks that rise with the fans when things go wrong, but he understands the emotion of adversity.

He's far from immune to it.

At 4-6-0, the Flyers have their most regulation losses through the first 10 games of a season since 2013-14, when they started 3-7-0. They've allowed an NHL-high 40 goals. Their netminders sport an .865 save percentage, tied for last in hockey, while only two teams own a worse goal differential than their minus-9.

Thursday night's 3-0 loss to the Bruins was the newest and most poignant frustration to the 2018-19 season.

Hakstol, in his fourth season, this one bringing the highest of expectations, delivered what sounded like a real challenge to his players.

He needs more. He wants more. He expects more, just like everybody else.

This challenge was felt.

"My message is this: Let's go and be a little bit better, let's give each other that push and that boost and that confidence," Hakstol said Friday after practice at Flyers Skate Zone. "Hey, let's go to battle, let's sack up a little here and let's go get it done. And that's what's going to get us going in the right direction."

Change is often what's demanded when wins aren't being produced or play is not up to standards. Part of Hakstol's next change will be in net Saturday afternoon against the Islanders at the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers will turn to Michal Neuvirth, who is set to make his season debut. The oft-injured goalie has been out since Sept. 21 with a lower-body ailment.

When asked if a goalie switch could jump-start the Flyers, Hakstol became passionate. It would be silly to lean on an injury-plagued Neuvirth to play savior, but the bench boss is certainly looking for something — anyone — to fuel the Flyers' fire.

He made that abundantly clear.

"We don't need a goaltender to go in and necessarily be the spark. That's not what we're asking, we're going to ask everybody to go out and do their job," Hakstol said. "But somebody's got to be the spark. I'll guarantee you that. Somebody's got to be the spark to push us in the right direction. 

"I don't know whether that will be a goaltender or a defenseman or one of our forwards. I don't know if that's going to be a great defensive play or a highlight-reel goal or a big save, but yeah, we need a spark from an area of our lineup to just push us in the right direction. That's what builds some of the confidence and some of the swagger that we're talking about."

Hakstol sounds ready to sack up. The fans are ready for it. He believes his players are, too.

"I think we have what we need inside of our dressing room," Hakstol said. "I believe we have a good team. I wholeheartedly believe we have a good team.

"I don't believe there are drastic changes that need to be made. I look at our team, and I just don't think that's the case. If I saw holes, I would tell you what I thought. I think there's enough here and then some."

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Flyers sign Mark Friedman to 2-year contract extension

Flyers sign Mark Friedman to 2-year contract extension

VOORHEES, N.J. — Mark Friedman took the ice Monday afternoon with a new contract for the next two seasons.

The Flyers signed the 24-year-old defenseman to a two-year, one-way contract extension with an average annual value of $725,000. Friedman was set to become a restricted free agent in the offseason.

Friedman has given the Flyers good depth to their crowded blue line. Head coach Alain Vigneault liked what he saw from Friedman in the 2014 third-round pick's six games with the club during the regular season.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder is reliable, quick on his feet and plays with purpose. Friedman looks like he'll be the Flyers' eighth defenseman during the NHL's return-to-play 24-team tournament. He was a part of the afternoon session Monday at Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone as the team opened training camp in preparation for the resumption of the season.

Friedman will compete for a roster spot next season and serve as a dependable call-up option if he's with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

In the offseason, the Flyers will have to decide if they want to re-sign veteran Justin Braun, who has been good for them and can become an unrestricted agent. The Flyers' defense will get only more intriguing in 2020-21. The blue line is an area of strength for the Flyers, who are young at the position and have prospects nearing, as well.

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2020 NHL playoffs: Flyers training camp roster, practice schedule for 24-team tournament

2020 NHL playoffs: Flyers training camp roster, practice schedule for 24-team tournament

For the first time since March 11, a span of 124 days, the Flyers were back at Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone on Monday to hold formal training camp practices as they gear up for the return-to-play 24-team tournament.

The Flyers are allowed a max of 30 skaters and an unlimited number of goalies for training camp, which will be held over the next two weeks before the team travels to its Eastern Conference hub city Toronto. Come the tournament, the Flyers' roster can consist of at most 31 players, which includes goalies.

Practice begins at 10:30 a.m. ET Monday and all camp sessions are not open to the public. The Flyers will have one group of players practice from 10:30 am. to 11:30 a.m., and a second group practice from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. The team will release the list of players in each group later in the morning.  

For more information on the Flyers' tournament schedule and key dates ahead, click here.

Below is the Flyers' camp roster:

Forwards

Andy Andreoff, No. 10
Nicolas Aube-Kubel, No. 62    
Connor Bunnaman, No. 82     
Sean Couturier, No. 14
Joel Farabee, No. 49
Morgan Frost, No. 48
Claude Giroux, No. 28
Derek Grant, No. 38
Kevin Hayes, No. 13
Travis Konecny, No. 11
Scott Laughton, No. 21
Tyler Pitlick, No. 18
Michael Raffl, No. 12
Nate Thompson, No. 44
Carsen Twarynski, No. 81
James van Riemsdyk, No. 25  
German Rubtsov, No. 50
Jakub Voracek, No. 93   


Defensemen

Justin Braun, No. 61
Mark Friedman, No. 59    
Shayne Gostisbehere, No. 53
Robert Hagg, No. 8
Philippe Myers, No. 5
Matt Niskanen, No. 15
Nate Prosser, No. 39
Ivan Provorov, No. 9
Travis Sanheim, No. 6
Andy Welinski, No. 3
Tyler Wotherspoon, No. 26
Egor Zamula, No. 54


Goalies

Brian Elliott, No. 37
Carter Hart, No. 79
Alex Lyon, No. 34
Kirill Ustimenko, No. 67

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Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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