Flyers

Flyers left scratching their heads after Jakub Voracek's 2-game suspension for interference on Johnny Boychuk

Flyers left scratching their heads after Jakub Voracek's 2-game suspension for interference on Johnny Boychuk

VOORHEES, N.J. — If you were left scratching your head (or maybe doing something worse) when the NHL Department of Player Safety announced Jakub Voracek's two-game suspension Sunday night, you weren't alone.

The Flyers, ultimately trying to deal with it but also comprehend it, seemed just as puzzled by the league's action.

They've witnessed Kurtis Gabriel ram a defenseless Nolan Patrick face first into the boards and watched Evgeni Malkin recklessly whip his stick near Michael Raffl's head.

And they've seen both Gabriel and Malkin receive one-game suspensions.

"Those are definitely the ones that you're kind of thinking about, especially since we're directly in those games, so you see it firsthand and it leaves you scratching your head a little bit," James van Riemsdyk said Monday after morning skate. "But ultimately it's a tough job for the player safety department to try to go through all that, it's a thankless job because you're always going to have one team that's upset with how things go, but certainly in this situation, I definitely feel we may have a pretty decent case for feeling the way we do."

Everyone knows the play by now (see story).

With the Flyers holding a comfortable four-goal lead 5:41 into the third period of Saturday night's 5-2 win over the Islanders, Voracek braced himself for a hit from Johnny Boychuk by throwing some weight back toward the New York defenseman.

Boychuk seemed surprised by Voracek's awareness and ended up down on the ice, never returning to the game. As he exited, he angrily pointed at Voracek and had words for the Flyers' winger (see story).

Without Voracek Monday night against the Senators, Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon will once again roll with seven defensemen and 11 forwards.

Gordon said he was "disappointed" with the two-game suspension.

Big picture of things, I think the hit on [Patrick] was a lot more severe, more intention than what Jake was trying to do. I think Jake was trying to protect himself, guy is sprinting down the boards, has no intention of slowing down, sees Jake in front of him and never slows down. Jake's not just going to stand there and absorb the hit. 

As it was, he started above the top of the hash mark and by the time the contact was done, he ended up below the hash mark, so I don't think there was a lot of force on Jake's end of it as much as the force of Boychuk going into Jake, pushing him back the other way. Jake's a lighter man, he probably would have received the worst part of the hit.

How Boychuk falls and what the actual injuries are, I don't know. ... He obviously was alert enough to yell at Jake as he was going off the ice, so I don't know if he had a concussion or not, he very well could have. I think it was more how he landed and maybe not expecting that Jake was going to be as firm on his feet as he was.

Sean Couturier admitted he was a little surprised by the two-game suspension.

Not only are the Flyers losing their third-leading scorer while five points out of a playoff spot with 14 games remaining, but there's growing confusion over what's allowed and not allowed on the ice.

"I don't know if it's just really against us. I guess all you want is maybe a little more consistency," Couturier said. "I think everyone wants that. Sometimes we're on the good side, sometimes we're on the bad side."

As for this specific incident …

"Those plays happen all the time," Couturier said. "Me, personally, I like to use my back to protect myself and brace for the hit and create separation from the player to the puck. Maybe it was just a misjudged play off the rim there, but I feel those plays happen often.

"There are starting to be a lot of questions surrounding hits, the way you protect yourself, the way you hit. I'm not going to change the way I play, those types of plays happen sometimes. It's a part of the game.

"It sucks to see someone hurt, but it's a part of the game."

According to a report by Dave Isaac of the Courier-Post, the NHLPA has filed an appeal for Voracek's suspension. Per a report by Sportsnet's Chris Johnston, the appeal will be heard Tuesday afternoon by the NHL. Still, a player can't play during the process of an appeal.

Voracek did not take part in Monday's morning skate, therefore he was unavailable for comment.

The Flyers must move forward for now.

"I guess all we can ask for as players is consistency with all this stuff," van Riemsdyk said. "That's all we can hope for, if that's the standard, then hopefully they withhold it for everything."

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Old acquaintances, new acquaintances and Flyers flavor as Alain Vigneault gets head start

Old acquaintances, new acquaintances and Flyers flavor as Alain Vigneault gets head start

These are chaotic times for Alain Vigneault.

Exciting, of course, but chaotic — much different than last April and throughout the 2018-19 season when he was without a job.

"After a year off and figuring out I'll never be the golfer that I thought I would be, it's time for me to get back to work," he said Thursday with a smile.

Back into the workforce in full force.

Not only does Vigneault have a new job, he's got two of them … starting at once.

He was introduced as the Flyers' new head coach Thursday. He is also the bench boss for Team Canada in the 2019 IIHF World Championship from May 10-26.

As busy as it is, coaching in the worlds will give Vigneault a head start on getting to know two of his most important players with the Flyers: Sean Couturier and Carter Hart.

Team Canada will also provide a unique situation with plenty of Flyers ties.

The tournament will serve as a job interview of sorts for Flyers goalie coach Kim Dillabaugh. The statuses of the team's assistant coaches Dillabaugh, Kris Knoblauch (power play), Ian Laperriere (penalty kill) and Rick Wilson (defensemen) appear nebulous with a new head coach in town.

Because of his time with Hart, Dillabaugh will join Team Canada.

"Right now, we have a solid, young goaltender that all I've heard about were positive things," Vigneault said of Hart and the Flyers' situation in net. "We're going to be able to work with him at the world championships. We decided [Wednesday], with Hockey Canada, to also bring a goalie coach — we're going to bring the Flyers' goalie coach to the world championships. He's worked with Hart and he's had real good progression with him."

On Thursday, near the top of Vigneault's to-do-list was to discuss the Flyers' staff with general manager Chuck Fletcher and meet the current assistant coaches. Fletcher said: "We're going to talk a little bit more today and a little bit over the next week or two. I don't think it's going to be a rush to hire or a rush to judgment here."

Couturier will be playing for his new coach and his old coach Dave Hakstol, who is on Team Canada's staff. Former Flyers general manager Ron Hextall is also a part of Team Canada's management group.

Don't expect Vigneault to seek out advice from Hakstol regarding the Flyers. That would be a tad bit awkward.

"I'm going to lean on him for the tournament but I'm not going to ask Dave or Ron Hextall anything about players with the Flyers," Vigneault said. "I've said to Chuck that I want to come here with everybody fresh, clean, no preconceived notion. Players are going to come and they're going to show me what they can do. 

"Those would be two great sources for me to ask, but I'd rather trust my eyes, talk to the guys, get to know them and get a personal feel for who they are, what they can do and what they can bring."

Players like Couturier, Hart and Claude Giroux shouldn't have a problem showing what they bring to the table. They're three of the Flyers' surest bets right now.

Giroux chatted with Vigneault on Thursday at Flyers Skate Zone.

"Everything I've heard about him is this passion to win," Vigneault said of the Flyers' captain.

As for Giroux on his new coach: "Very excited," he said via text message to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Marc Farzetta. "Heard a lot of great things."

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2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule: Craig Berube, Blues can close out Jets

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2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule: Craig Berube, Blues can close out Jets

The Blues went 38-19-6 under interim head coach Craig Berube to storm into the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Berube, a former Flyers player and coach, now has St. Louis on the verge of the second round. The Blues host the Jets in Game 6 Saturday night with a chance to finish off their opening-round series.

Below is the full schedule for Day 11 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. You can watch the entire playoffs on the networks of NBC. 

Dallas Stars at Nashville Predators (tied 2-2)
Game 5, Western Conference first round
3 p.m. ET | TV: NBC | Live stream here

Winnipeg Jets at St. Louis Blues (STL 3-2)
Game 6, Western Conference first round
7 p.m. ET | TV: NBCSN | Live stream here

Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals (tied 2-2)
Game 5, Eastern Conference first round
8 p.m. ET | TV: NBC | Live stream here