Flyers

End to End: Should we be concerned with Flyers' Nolan Patrick?

End to End: Should we be concerned with Flyers' Nolan Patrick?

Updated: 4:45 p.m.

Going End to End today are NBC Sports Philadelphia's Tom Dougherty and Jordan Hall.

The question: Should there be concern over Nolan Patrick?

Dougherty
With the Flyers off today, we didn't expect an update on Patrick's status, but here we are. The Flyers revealed that Patrick will miss seven to 10 days with an "upper-body injury."

But it’s safe to speculate that Patrick could have a concussion. He left Wednesday’s game in Ottawa after this innocent collision where his head made contact with the boards.

Patrick suffered a concussion last season. It doesn’t take much to get one. But Patrick will be out seven to 10 days, which is a very specific timeline. That could mean it's another "upper-body injury" for Patrick, who was also whacked with a high stick in the first period Wednesday. Still, we won't know exactly what his “upper-body injury” is because being transparent about injuries isn’t in the Flyers’ nature. Losing Patrick for any significant time period would be devastating.

Already without James van Riemsdyk, the Flyers’ forward group is basically the same as last season except for Mikhail Vorobyev replacing Valtteri Filppula as the third-line center. Take Patrick out of the equation and the Flyers are in deep trouble.

The 20-year-old hasn’t found the scoresheet yet this season, but he’s shown flashes. I haven’t been discouraged by his play. Slow start, sure, but that’s it. But without him, the Flyers’ center group is depleted. If Patrick is out for a lengthy period, moving Claude Giroux back to the middle would likely be the team’s best card to play.

And that’s not ideal, either, because the top line finally clicked Wednesday.

Hall
We had to wait and see about the severity of Patrick's upper-body injury suffered in the first period of Wednesday night's 7-4 win over the Senators.

It could have been a possible concussion as head trainer Jim McCrossin was examining the area of Patrick's head on the bench. Patrick missed nine games last season because of a concussion, so there's a recent history there.

As for Patrick's somewhat slow start, don't be too concerned. In our Fearless Forecast predictions piece, I wrote how Patrick has more of a steady growth to his game than one crazy jump. Patrick just turned 20 years old last month and he's going to get more comfortable in the NHL, but that could still be developing.

Here's what his uncle James Patrick said to NBC Sports Philadelphia in June 2017.

He almost always wants to be comfortable and then he really starts to exert himself. I felt like every playoff round in three years that he played with Brandon, the first game it was always like, 'Come on, let's get going.' He had to feel out who's good on their team, who he might be intimidated by, whatever, and then by Game 4, he was the best player on the ice. 

It's almost like, 'OK, I have to feel it out first,' but then, 'OK, now I know what this guy is about, now I'm going to run him, I'm going to play hard, I'm going to be hard on him.' He will play that way.

He's just always been when he feels comfortable, then he starts to really excel.

So, Patrick might be a natural slow starter.

Is his production worth watching? Absolutely, but I wouldn't be overly concerned with zero points through three games and 3:30 of a period thus far. 

More on the Flyers

Former Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald to attend Flames training camp on professional tryout

Former Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald to attend Flames training camp on professional tryout

After being bought out by the Flyers in mid-June, Andrew MacDonald is getting his next shot.

The soon-to-be 33-year-old defenseman will try to make the Flames' roster by attending Calgary's training camp on a professional tryout.

NHL teams often take fliers on veteran players as they shape their rosters because it simply can't hurt. The Flyers are doing so this training camp with winger Chris Stewart (see story).

While he wasn't a fan favorite in Philadelphia because of his contract, MacDonald was one of the most respected players in the Flyers' dressing room. You'd think the Flames are taking into account what they've heard from others around the league about MacDonald and his impact off the ice.

MacDonald has played 586 career games and 23 in the postseason. Calgary has won just one playoff series over the past 10 seasons. During 2018-19, the Flames went 50-25-7 with 107 points during the regular season — second best in the NHL to only the Lightning — but were bounced in the first round of the playoffs.

Calgary has a pretty strong defense, led by James Norris Memorial Trophy winner Mark Giordano, so making the roster won't be easy for MacDonald.

The Flyers bought out MacDonald for better cap flexibility and to open the door for some of their younger defensemen to take the next step. With the additions of Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun, the Flyers have solid, accomplished guys to augment the younger group of Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, Philippe Myers, Robert Hagg and Samuel Morin.

"This guy is a consummate professional," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said of MacDonald in June. "We asked a lot of Andrew and by that I mean he was a player that played the left side, played the right side, he'd be a healthy scratch and then we'd put him back in the lineup. We asked him to play with young players and mentor them and bring stability to our back end.

"He's just a quality person and a guy that played a very effective two-way game for our team, but we are in a cap world and we made that tough decision today to try reallocate some of those dollars to maximize our chance to stay in the hunt on some players."

The Flyers will pay MacDonald $1,916,667 in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

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Little boy preciously confuses Flyers mascot Gritty for Cookie Monster

Little boy preciously confuses Flyers mascot Gritty for Cookie Monster

Gritty will take this as a compliment.

After all, who doesn't love Cookie Monster? The big, blue, furry creature eats cookies for all three meals of the day — that's living.

Gritty knows how to live, too. The Flyers' mascot was confused for the Sesame Street character by an adorable little boy admiring Cookie Mon--err, Gritty on the cover of Philadelphia Magazine.

The video was posted on Twitter Tuesday morning by @shegabstoomuch.

"Whoaaaaaa," the little boy says in awe.

"Wow, who is that?" he's asked.

"Cookie Monster!"

Tremendous.

Gritty will not endure a sophomore slump in 2019-20. He has been working on his figure this summer, staying in shape for the upcoming season.

Does he sneak in a cookie from time to time? Of course he does.

So our little guy wasn't far off.


(Eric Hartline/USA Today Images)

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