Flyers

James van Riemsdyk erupts, a Scott Hartnell look-alike and Flyers crush Rangers in NHL 20

James van Riemsdyk erupts, a Scott Hartnell look-alike and Flyers crush Rangers in NHL 20

The Flyers had one more trip to Madison Square Garden on tap.

The game was originally scheduled for April 1 and would have given the Flyers an opportunity to complete a four-game regular-season series sweep of the Rangers.

However, because of the coronavirus outbreak, which has suspended the 2019-20 NHL season, the Flyers remain 3-0-0 against New York.

So, we decided to give the Flyers their shot at a sweep on NHL 20 Thursday night as NBC Sports Philadelphia aired a simulation with the amazing trio of Jim Jackson, Keith Jones and Taryn Hatcher on the call.

The Flyers jumped all over the chance by racing out to a monstrous lead and holding on to beat the Rangers, 6-4. James van Riemsdyk was a force with four points (two goals, two assists), while Nicolas Aube-Kubel (one goal, one assist), Claude Giroux (two assists), Ivan Provorov (two assists) and Travis Sanheim (two assists) had multi-point efforts.

By the way, how about Jackson's setup? Outstanding.

Leading the way, van Riemsdyk scored a second-period goal and a first-period power play tally. He was in his office for both of them.

After his second marker, van Riemsdyk had the look of "another goal, not a big deal."

After van Riemsdyk's first-period goal, Giroux came in from the top rope on his celebration. Provorov, a little nervous.

During the third period, Tyler Pitlick punctuated the blowout by making it 6-1. His rebound goal was so powerful, it ripped through the net.

In the first period, Carter Hart weathered the storm as the Rangers were all over him.

The Flyers had a chance to strike first thanks to the 21-year-old goalie. Jakub Voracek did the honors for the orange and black by slinging home a rebound past Henrik Lundqvist.

The sequence all started off a nice play by Justin Braun. Voracek was all smiles and then did some visualizing on the bench.


There was a bold and daring Flyers fan at MSG. Let's hope he got home safely. He enjoyed his New York trip.


As the MSG public address announcer was announcing van Riemsdyk's first-period goal, the Flyers scored again with Scott Laughton ballooning the lead to 3-0.

After the Rangers responded, the Flyers answered right back courtesy of Aube-Kubel.

Is it just me or does Aube-Kubel look like a clean-cut Scott Hartnell in NHL 20?


Anyway, the Flyers led 4-1 at first intermission and 5-1 at second intermission.

Ryan Strome scored two of New York's goals and Artemi Panarin added one, but the Flyers stayed in control throughout.

Let's consider that a sweep.

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Flyers sign prospect Linus Hogberg to entry-level contract

Flyers sign prospect Linus Hogberg to entry-level contract

One down, a few more to go?

The Flyers on Saturday signed prospect Linus Hogberg to an entry-level contract. The rights to Hogberg would have expired Monday if the Flyers didn't ink the 2016 fifth-round pick.

During 2019-20, Hogberg, a 21-year-old Swedish defenseman, had 14 points (five goals, nine assists) through 50 games with the Vaxjo Lakers playing against men in the SHL. The 6-foot-1, 176-pounder is regarded as a strong skater and intelligent passer.

Hogberg will start the 2020-21 season with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. The Phantoms are gaining on the blue line with prospects Egor Zamula and Wyatte Wylie turning pro, as well.

(Joe Siville/Philadelphia Flyers)

Lehigh Valley could be gaining more with Wyatt Kalynuk and David Bernhardt, who remain unsigned. Bernhardt, another Swedish defenseman, needs to be signed by Monday or his rights will expire. It's uncertain if the Flyers will ink the 2016 seventh-round pick.

It appears Kalynuk has decided to forgo his senior season at Wisconsin as he plans to turn pro in 2020-21.

Kalynuk is an offensive-minded defenseman who has developed a ton with the Badgers. His rights were set to expire next summer. Now that he is leaving Wisconsin, it would be surprising if he's not signed soon by the Flyers.

"Philly has had lots of people here and been very instrumental in his growth as a player," Wisconsin head coach Tony Granato said. "I think when they drafted him, they recognized out of the gate that this guy could be a big part of their organization moving forward. They’ve been hands on, they’ve been here a lot, they’ve done it respectfully in a way that they’ve helped him a ton in preparing to get ready for the next step.”

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2020 NHL playoffs: Without fans, will Stanley Cup Playoff games lose authenticity?

2020 NHL playoffs: Without fans, will Stanley Cup Playoff games lose authenticity?

Hockey has been on the mind all week and even the simple discussion of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs has excited fans for the return of their favorite sport — even if things are going to look different this time around. 

While the majority of new rules and procedures were laid out Tuesday thanks to commissioner Gary Bettman, there is still a lot of unknown territory. This format has never been done before, but having a plan in place is the first step to turning concepts into something tangible. 

One of the biggest changes won’t be the additional eight teams, the hub city locations or the fact the NHL has the potential to run into the late summer months, but rather the element — or lack thereof — of fan attendance. 

The safety of fans and players is without a doubt the biggest priority and as we adapt to the “new norm” for the foreseeable future, this is just one of the many things that will have to be endured. 

On the surface, it stinks. Surprisingly enough, you’re allowed to feel this way while also being excited for the hopeful return of the league and games. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are some of the most thrilling weeks in all of sports and a large portion of that is due to the atmosphere created by the fans rallying behind their favorite teams.

So without them in attendance, will games lose their authenticity and lower the overall level of interest? 

Absolutely not. 

Fans have been craving the moment they would have live sports to look forward to and even if that means they can’t physically be in the stands, it doesn’t take away the level of devotion they have.

Of course it will be different — there’s no denying that, but someone rightfully needs to be awarded the Stanley Cup for 2019-20. There are a handful of options to help fill the void, such as playing fan reaction videos on the arena vision screens during thrilling moments of a game. Hearing the “crowd” through the screen would certainly add a level of normalcy, though it wouldn’t fully replicate the atmosphere. 

There are new moments that fans could look forward to in regard to this as well — the sights and sounds that are often coated within cheers or boos. A crisp stop on skates, receiving a puck, solid check along the boards, chirps from one team to another and the celebrations following a goal. 

Also, if things are too quiet, there is a chance to get a look into life on the bench with the players. Hearing teammates interact with one another is always enjoyable when they are mic’d up for games, so imagine having that for a full 60 minutes? It’d be new for everyone, but what a fun concept it would be. 

This is a prime opportunity to view things glass half full, rather than finding negative aspects to this plan. There are still many moving parts before playoffs become a reality once again, but if things are truly done in a safe manner — I say make the most of the situation at hand and drop that puck. 

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