Flyers needed a new voice, and they're getting an earful from Scott Gordon

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Flyers needed a new voice, and they're getting an earful from Scott Gordon

Scott Gordon usually has a little something for his players after a shift that Dave Hakstol didn’t.

A few choice words.

Sometimes positive, sometimes critical, but make no mistake, the most observable difference between the two Flyers head coaches are the verbal cues Gordon provides throughout the course of a game.  

“That seems definitely noticeable,” James van Riemsdyk said. “He likes to give you some feedback, good or bad sometimes. Certainly, that’s a little bit of a difference.”

Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said last week that Gordon’s input on the bench at times is “a little too much,” but regardless, it’s a clear deviation from what they had grown accustomed to under Hakstol, who had more of a deadpan stare when caught on camera, especially during a stoppage in play.

Unlike Gordon, who’s in constant communication with his players during the course of a game, Hakstol was more selective.

For those who played with Gordon with the Phantoms, his ongoing feedback is nothing out of the ordinary. But for those who haven’t, it comes as part of the adjustment to a new coach.  

“There’s a balance there,” Andrew MacDonald said.  “You can do it in a way where you tell guys and get the message across, but at the same time, kinda beat them down so to speak, which I think he’s done a real good job of. I think as a player, as long as (the coach) is being fair with it — both ways — I think it’s really healthy.”

Gordon’s former player while with the Phantoms, Danick Martel, has mixed reviews regarding Gordon’s techniques. Perhaps some of that is derived from now playing for a Tampa Bay Lightning team that may not need much constructive criticism at all times.

“Maybe sometimes he panics," Martel said. "That’s why he talks a lot. You’re trying to figure out everything in one second, instead of calming your team down and now all the players know how to play,” Martel said. “He brings a lot of energy, a lot of character. He’s trying to bring everyone’s best every night. I think he’s good at it.”

But Gordon’s message doesn’t just start and stop with the drop of the puck. He firmly believes the postgame analysis is critical in cleaning up problem areas and ensuring they don’t linger, which is why the 12-18 hour period after a game is when mistakes can be corrected. 

“It’s a lot of video,” Jake Voracek said. “We watch a lot of video, which is good, and with that a lot of learning points. It’s been really good for us. I think we’ve been playing better because we’ve been on the same page.”

“I always try to have some postgame review to touch on something," Gordon said, "especially here where you don’t have the practice time, which forces you to work on the little things, the things you talk about. It’s one thing to put it on the board (during intermission), it’s another thing to show video of it.” 

Friday afternoon was just Gordon’s second full practice with his new team. He spent half of the workout reinforcing neutral zone and defensive zone coverages, including zone breakouts — an area where the Flyers had performed slow and sloppy under Hakstol.   

“I feel like every drill we’re doing is pretty much the routes he wants us to take,” Radko Gudas said. “He wants us in certain spots. It’s a different look from what we had before and everybody’s trying to get into it as fast as we can. The sooner we get it, the better for the whole group.”

The fact that the Flyers are embracing change seems to be a convincing sign that change was long overdue.

The team needed a new voice, and now they’re getting an earful for sure. 

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Flyers brought back to earth by Coyotes, suffer a first since Oct. 19

Flyers brought back to earth by Coyotes, suffer a first since Oct. 19


Despite putting up 21 goals over their five-game winning streak, the Flyers had a propensity to score them in bunches when an opponent started derailing.

On Thursday night, the Flyers never got going and were pulled back to earth in a 3-1 loss to the Coyotes at the Wells Fargo Center.

Arizona goalie Darcy Kuemper was the biggest difference. The 6-foot-5 netminder who brought an NHL-best 1.97 goals-against average and .936 save percentage to Philly stopped 28 shots.

With 4:43 left, Matt Niskanen scored the Flyers' lone goal and it ricocheted off a Coyote. Arizona iced the game with an empty-netter (see highlights).

The Flyers (16-8-5) suffered just their second regulation loss at home (9-2-4). The last time they failed to pick up a point at home was Oct. 19 when they lost to the Stars, 4-1.

Thursday night's defeat halted the Flyers' winning streak at five games and their point streak at seven. The Flyers had earned at least a point in 18 of their previous 22 games.

The Coyotes (17-9-4), who were allowing the NHL's second-fewest goals per game at 2.31, improved to 10-3-3 on the road.

• The Flyers went on two power plays in the final six minutes of the second period but could not solve Kuemper.

During those two man advantage opportunities, the Flyers put five shots on Kuemper and also misfired three times.

James van Riemsdyk found Morgan Frost with a slick backhanded pass from behind the net but the 20-year-old missed wide.

• Speaking of Frost, he had a tough game. The rookie had a turnover and some difficulty making plays.

He has gone scoreless over his last seven games following his loud start in which he scored three points in his first two games.

Maybe head coach Alain Vigneault takes him off the first line to relieve some pressure.

"Young player, in my estimation, has got a lot of confidence in himself, which is real good," Vigneault said postgame. "Tonight, there were a couple of plays with the puck, like some of our other guys, that the execution might have been a little bit off. But I think overall, the young man is working hard and trying to get better."

Will he stay on the top line?

"I'm going to watch the game and make [changes], if I have some changes to make, [Friday]," Vigneault said. "I like what the young man can bring to the game."

• Vigneault opted to play seven defensemen instead of slotting call-up Mikhail Vorobyev in at fourth-line center.

It's not a bad approach when you have seven healthy blueliners playing well. It also could mean the Flyers aren't ready to trust Vorobyev on the fourth line again.

The Senators game on Saturday looks like a better matchup for Vorobyev, who is in his fifth stint with the club since the start of last season.

• Brian Elliott hadn't lost in regulation since Oct. 29. The Flyers' backup goalie finished with 15 saves.

He allowed a first-period power play goal to Phil Kessel after Claude Giroux was whistled for a ticky-tacky slashing penalty. He then yielded a backbreaking third-period goal to Conor Garland with 7:03 left in the game.

The goalie was not the problem, though.

Sean Couturier was not a problem, either.

• The Flyers wrap up their three-game homestand Saturday when they welcome the Senators (1 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Next week, the team opens a three-game road trip, which features matchups with the Avalanche on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN), the Wild on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and the Jets on Sunday (5 p.m. ET/NBCSP+).


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'Tis the season for ... Jawnaments? Jawnaments!

'Tis the season for ... Jawnaments? Jawnaments!

If you live in Philadelphia or the surrounding area, it's safe to say there's at least one ornament on your tree representing the city — whether it be a memento from a previous championship Philly has seen, famous landmarks or even the skyline, you're repping one way or another.

Throw everything you thought you knew about Philly ornaments out the window and make way for Jawnaments ... yes, you read that correctly.

Jawnaments. I swear, there is no place like Philadelphia.

Jawnaments is an Etsy shop that has been around since 2017 but they recently released a ton of non-traditional Philadelphia-inspired ornaments. And they're a thing of beauty.

Can you only function throughout the week because of the daily coffee you grab at Wawa and want to highlight that on your tree this year? They've got you covered.

Haven't received a parking ticket in the city in a while and just miss the stress and anxiety they bring with them? Yup, they've got that covered too.

The Tastykake Krimpet and Kandy Kake ornaments look good enough to eat ... even a classic soft pretzel with yellow mustard is an option.

And since Gritty is just about everywhere in the world ... it he. On an ornament. Oh sorry, *Jawnament.

Trust me, there are a ton of other options but you're just going to have to check out the full shop to see the beauty of it all.

You might even have to get a mini tree that's dedicated to the city you know and love. Heck, keep it up all year!

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