Flyers

Flyers felt Travis Hamonic deserved match penalty

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Flyers felt Travis Hamonic deserved match penalty

EDMONTON, Alberta — The Flyers believe Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic deserved every bit of the match penalty and automatic ejection that came with it following his illegal hit to the head of Dale Weise Monday night in Calgary.

"I think for sure [it was deserving]," Weise said Tuesday. "I don't think he once tries to play the puck there. I'm not even looking at him. I'm looking at the puck and he just beelines straight for me. I saw a couple of his comments after the game where he says he's just trying to finish his check, but I don't even think he makes an attempt to make a play on the puck. I think it's a pretty dirty play."

Added head coach Dave Hakstol: "I think they got the call right on the ice. It's hockey, it's a tough sport. I do think the right call was made on the ice. It's hard when you're looking at things at full speed in this game. Obviously, we have the luxury of video to look at things in slow motion from all different angles, and that makes it a lot easier to agree or disagree with calls. Having done that, I think they got the call right on the ice."

A match penalty is assessed when a player is deemed to have "deliberately" injured or attempted to injure an opponent. Referees Brad Watson and Trevor Hanson conferred with linesmen Michel Cormier and Ryan Gibbons before ultimately making the decision. Hamonic is now suspended pending league review of the hit, but he believes there was never an intent to injure Weise.

"For me personally, I was kind of surprised I guess," Hamonic said. "Things happen quick out there. I felt like I kept my arms down. I didn't really move out of position. It's unfortunate that he kind of jumps out of the way like that, but certainly no malicious attempt. I think I'm a pretty honest player." 

The hit came on the faceoff following Scott Laughton's goal that gave the Flyers a 5-2 lead in the third period. Watching the replay, Hamonic's elbow gets up high hitting Weise's shoulder and chin but narrowly misses his head. Weise had to be helped off the ice by trainer Jimmy McCrossin and you could see Weise signal to teammates that he was fine as he skated off the ice. 

"I feel good, yeah," Weise said. "I kind of got spun around ballerina-like, so I had to get my bearings. Once I walked off, I was fine. I was cleared and passed the tests." 

Weise returned to the bench after he was evaluated but never returned to action. On Tuesday, Weise participated in the Flyers' optional skate at Rogers Place in Edmonton along with defenseman Radko Gudas, who teammates say would be facing a significant suspension if he was the one delivering that hit.

"Yeah, these guys joke about all this stuff right now," Gudas said. "I've seen it happen. I'm not sure it was really a dirty hit. I don't think he had a lot of time to get out of the way. I don't think it was anything intentional, to be honest with you."

Flyers-Penguins 2019 Stadium Series: Sights and sounds behind the buildup

Flyers-Penguins 2019 Stadium Series: Sights and sounds behind the buildup

A beautiful blue sky and beaming sun peered over Lincoln Financial Field ... and a makeshift rink.

Yes, outdoor hockey is nearing in Philadelphia.

In just about a week, the Linc will be lit up and the show will be on for Flyers-Penguins. Next Saturday, the two rivals meet in the 2019 Stadium Series game (8 p.m./NBC).

Many got a taste of the elements Friday afternoon when Flyers players James van Riemsdyk, Travis Konecny and Travis Sanheim, Eagles offensive tackle Jordan Mailata and Wings transition player Trevor Baptiste took part in a media session.

Here are some of the sights and sounds from the day:

Different setting, same objective

The outdoor game is always a spectacle, an event much larger than your average game. For the Flyers, though, the game itself holds great importance. When next weekend rolls around, the Flyers will have 21 games remaining in their playoff push.

They enter this Saturday's action eight points out of the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot, currently occupied by the Penguins.

"These are the sorts of games that can be a big swing," van Riemsdyk said.

The Flyers on Monday night lost to Pittsburgh, 4-1, at the Wells Fargo Center in a game with some extracurricular activity … to nobody's surprise.

"We actually joked about it after the last game there, I'm like, 'I don't know what's going to go on on the ice because it's going to be a battle out there,'" Konecny said. "It's a big event for everyone to enjoy, but it might come down to one of the biggest games for us this year."

Juicing up the rivalry

Whenever the Penguins come to town, it's anticipated.

Now the rivalry heads outside with postseason implications.

Oh, and why not add some extra spice?

Evgeni Malkin did that when he dangerously whipped his stick at Michael Raffl on Monday and then took another swing at the Flyers on Thursday (see story).

The fans will welcome Malkin appropriately.

Konecny and Sanheim aren't getting wrapped up in the drama.

Nah, I really don't pay attention to that media stuff. I just kind of mind my own business.

We know it's going to be a great game, we know everybody is going to be on edge. Going back from when [Claude Giroux] started playing here, they've had that rival from the playoffs, him and [Sidney] Crosby coming up — it's just a big rivalry that's grown and fun to play in.

— Konecny

Not really, I've heard a little bit but not that I'm looking for it. It was obviously a dangerous play and the NHL took their take on it and disciplined him. That's all I can say about it.

— Sanheim

'The fly swatter'

Mailata, a former professional rugby player from Australia, provided the quote of the day. During a photo opportunity, the 6-foot-8, 346-pounder called the lacrosse stick a "fly swatter," to the enjoyment of Baptiste and the Flyers.

Baptiste won the 2015 NCAA national championship at Lincoln Financial Field with the University of Denver.

He, Mailata and the Flyers were great sports Friday.

"It's crazy to think he's only 21 years old," Sanheim said of Mailata. "Same age as T.K."

Go play outside

The Flyers typically play in front of around 19,000 fans for home games.

The Linc can hold 69,000-plus.

"It's going to be a new challenge," Sanheim said. "When you move to the NHL, you get that excitement of playing in front of 20,000, let alone 70,000. It's definitely going to be exciting."

Konecny was a rookie when the Flyers played the Penguins at Heinz Field in 2017. He missed the game because of an injury.

"I had to watch it from TV, I didn't even get to go down to Pittsburgh, so I didn't even get the feeling of what it's all about," he said. "I'm really looking forward to it."

Especially considering his previous outdoor experience ... it's been a while.

"I was 10 on my pond out back behind my house," Konecny said.

"Playing outside is something everyone does as a kid. Especially being a Canadian, growing up, this is what we do — the cold weather brings us all together."

The temperature Friday was pleasantly in the 60s, making for a perfect day to see and feel the buildup of the Stadium Series:





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When will Philippe Myers make his debut?

When will Philippe Myers make his debut?

Philippe Myers walked into the Flyers' dressing room Wednesday morning, glanced into his stall and noticed that something wasn’t quite right.

“I asked the equipment guys, ‘Where’s my gear?’" Myers said. "I thought someone else’s pads were in my locker.”

Turns out it was Myers' equipment. The 22-year-old defenseman had no idea that the Flyers' players have two separate equipment bags — practice gear at the Skate Zone and their game day equipment.

His shoulder, elbow and shin pads that he’s worn with the Phantoms are at the Wells Fargo Center in preparation for Saturday’s game against the Red Wings, and then he’ll pack it all up and take to Detroit.

Until then, Myers is breaking in a new set of equipment, as well as trying to break into the league. There’s a feeling that Myers' debut was imminent once the team recalled him from Lehigh Valley last Saturday, but right now his NHL debut is in a holding pattern.   

“For him to come up here for a week or two weeks, it’s not going to hurt his development,” Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon said. “You have to make sure you balance the schedule for what you need, and what you potentially could need.”

Essentially, Myers has taken over the seventh defenseman role vacated by Christian Folin, who was dealt along with Dale Weise to the Montreal Canadiens. Gordon can’t risk not having that extra defenseman, especially in back-to-back situations in which the second game is on the road. 

Secondly, it doesn’t benefit Myers or the Flyers to receive a quick, last-minute call-up from Lehigh Valley when the defenseman is not acclimated to the speed of the NHL. 

“There is a pace of play that can’t be replicated in the American Hockey League to get a player used to the harder passes, receiving, making [them], bigger, stronger players that are coming down on you," Gordon said. "Right now, if anything, it’s helping his development to experience that pace of play."

Gordon could give Myers that first game and have either Shayne Gostisbehere or Andrew MacDonald sit as a healthy scratch. Gostisbhehere played just 11:24 Tuesday in Minnesota, where he finished as a minus-3 while also committing a heinous turnover in the middle of the ice that led to a prime scoring chance. 

MacDonald, Gostisbehere's partner, has performed like a third-pairing defenseman, blocking a ton of shots, but he doesn’t possess the athleticism and ability to move the puck like Myers does. However, Gostisbehere runs the point on the top power-play unit while MacDonald is utilized on the penalty kill where only Ivan Provorov and Radko Gudas see more time shorthanded.

Right now, Myers wouldn’t be utilized on special teams at all until he is better acclimated to the NHL and has worked extensively in those particular areas. 

Myers will get his shot, and soon. He’s one injury away from being the next man up and Gordon knows how important that first game will be to Myers and his family, who live in Moncton, New Brunswick. The Flyers' coach just can’t say definitively when that game will be.

“Right now, he deserves to be here and the experience of being here and playing and practicing with NHL players every day is beneficial,” Gordon said. 

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