Flyers

Flyers rolled by Islanders, but let's not panic about Carter Hart

Flyers rolled by Islanders, but let's not panic about Carter Hart

BOX SCORE

The Islanders yanked the Flyers back to earth.

And the Flyers had to yank Carter Hart again.

New York, which can beat you up and wear you down with its physical, forechecking style, handed the Flyers a 5-3 loss Sunday night at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

The Flyers (5-4-1) had their three-game winning streak halted, while Barry Trotz's Islanders (8-3-0) are now winners of seven in a row.

• Let's not freak out about Hart.

Sure, the numbers are not pretty. The 21-year-old has a 5.92 goals-against average over his last three games, two in which he was pulled during the second period. He has allowed 12 goals on 43 shots in that stretch after making 75 saves on 80 shots through his first three games.

But he's only 21. He was playing his first professional games in the AHL at this time last season. He didn't start well with the Phantoms, either, and then turned it on with the Flyers.

Hart's last game was Oct. 19 and he saw only 15 shots. He hasn't seen a ton of action, so he's struggling to find a rhythm. The Flyers were also playing the NHL's hottest team Sunday night.

As bright as his future is, Hart deserves some patience, too.

• Samuel Morin hadn't played an NHL regular-season game since April 6 and looked like it Sunday night.

The 6-foot-6 defenseman was exposed by Mathew Barzal on the Islanders' fifth goal. Shayne Gostisbehere misplayed the goal, as well.

After being a healthy scratch for the first nine games of the season, Morin entered the lineup for Robert Hagg. It's hard to simulate game action no matter how diligently you practice. Morin had a rough season debut and expect Hagg to be back in Tuesday against the Penguins.

• Morin wasn't the only one of the Flyers' defensemen to have a night to forget.

Gostisbehere was not sharp and has three points through 10 games. It looks like he's trying to do too much, which can wear on a player's confidence. During his career 2017-18 season, Gostisbehere had 12 points in his first 10 games.

Travis Sanheim had a pretty assist on the game-opening goal but struggled, as well. On one sequence, the 23-year-old was easily pushed off the puck, which led directly to Ross Johnston's 3-1 goal in the first period.

The Flyers' blueliners, which had been pretty good during the three-game winning streak, took this one on the chin.

• The Flyers were outplayed during the first period.

The Islanders were quicker and tougher on pucks. Fortunately for the Flyers, they received a late goal from Travis Konecny that kept them afloat and down only 3-2 at first intermission.

But it took New York only six minutes into the second period to seize complete control of the game.

The start, though, was just as impactful. The Flyers have been outscored 11-8 in the first period through 10 games. They haven't given games away but they haven't jumped on teams, either.

• The Flyers received first-period goals from Konecny and Jakub Voracek but couldn't generate much the rest of the way. Claude Giroux scored a goal in the final three minutes of regulation off a nice pass from James van Riemsdyk and then the Flyers emptied their net, but it wasn't enough.

• Next up for the Flyers is their first matchup with the Penguins on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

The big question: Who starts in net?

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What it was like to go back to work at Flyers training camp

What it was like to go back to work at Flyers training camp

These are different times; or the new norm as many like to call it.

Everyone is tasked with adjusting to these times. For me, on Monday, July 13, I was tasked with my own adjustments ... in order to watch and report on hockey. Suffice it to say, for me, life — and my simple adjustments, considering all things — could be much worse. I was happy to return to Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey, for the first time since March 11, a span of 124 days.

The Flyers were back to work at their practice facility with the opening of training camp in preparation for the NHL's return-to-play 24-team tournament.

Monday, July 13, was different — and that's OK. I'm going to enjoy as we adjust.

Here was a different day at Flyers practice (with plenty of hand sanitizer and wearing my mask):

Checking in

I arrived to the facility at 9:23 a.m. and hung tight in my air-conditioned car. Not too bad, right?

Gritty was probably back inside on the elliptical and hitting the bench press. Respect the grind.

Typically, I would walk in through the front doors of Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone at my own leisure, head upstairs, get situated and prepare for the day at hand.

On Monday, though, media members permitted back to the facility had to enter between 10-10:30 a.m. for a temperature and symptom check. Wearing a mask (as all were in the facility), I passed my temperature check, filled out a form answering symptom questions, and was on my way upstairs.


Watching practice

There is a ton of space in the common area upstairs. Instead of all reporters cozying up in the more confined media room on that level, the Flyers and Skate Zone set up separate workstations for each writer in the common area with proper social distance.

Very safe and very nice of them.

At one point, I think I nearly drank my coffee through my mask; we made it work.

But I digress.

When the morning and afternoon practices were held, we could stand and watch from the media room, which has windows that overlook the ice. We were asked to maintain social distance when doing so ... no biggie at all. When practices wrapped up (or whenever we needed to), we could head back to our individual and assigned workstations.

During development or training camps, entering the rink area and watching along the boards is an awesome luxury. It provides a terrific vantage point to shoot video, take notes, snap pictures, analyze drills and gain a greater insight of the competition.

Currently, no media members are allowed to enter either of the two practice rinks and understandably so. Not the end of the world as we can still observe from upstairs with a great view.


Good to see faces, even on video

Normally with practice, whenever the first skater heads off the ice following a practice, we all scurry downstairs and toward the Flyers' dressing room for access to interview players and head coach Alain Vigneault.

Conversing with players in person and 1-on-1 is what I've missed greatly during the coronavirus pandemic. Building relationships and telling stories are what make our jobs special. Access to a locker room is so beneficial because it offers you an emotional sense for the story, allows you to see and feel beyond the score of a game and what happened on the ice.

Right now, having close interactions in media scrums or tight quarters is not feasible or logical. But it's still great to see faces of colleagues or Flyers personnel from a distance or via video.

From our workstations using Webex, we were able to interview Vigneault, general manager Chuck Fletcher and players Matt Niskanen, Claude Giroux, Shayne Gostisbehere and Travis Konecny.

Raising your hand virtually ain't so bad. It's like a supremely organized way to work in your question. And everyone could hear us through our masks.


Stick taps to all those involved

So many deserve a ton of credit for creating a safe environment in uncharted waters.

Three folks who are always helping and have made these waters as smooth as possible for us media: Flyers senior director of communications Zack Hill, director of public relations Joe Siville and manager of broadcasting and media services Brian Smith.

Following the final interview around 3:30 p.m., it was time to pack up and hit the road. We usually can stay as long as we'd like to write and work but the Flyers have asked media members to exit the premises approximately 15 minutes after the last virtual press conference. Again, completely understandable.

I've always liked staying at the facility to work. It's pretty quiet and there's a rink. Then I can drive home at a calmer hour.

But these are different times and we all need to adjust. Like a hockey team, everyone plays a part.

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Flyers sign Mark Friedman to 2-year contract extension

Flyers sign Mark Friedman to 2-year contract extension

VOORHEES, N.J. — Mark Friedman took the ice Monday afternoon with a new contract for the next two seasons.

The Flyers signed the 24-year-old defenseman to a two-year, one-way contract extension with an average annual value of $725,000. Friedman was set to become a restricted free agent in the offseason.

Friedman has given the Flyers good depth to their crowded blue line. Head coach Alain Vigneault liked what he saw from Friedman in the 2014 third-round pick's six games with the club during the regular season.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder is reliable, quick on his feet and plays with purpose. Friedman looks like he'll be the Flyers' eighth defenseman during the NHL's return-to-play 24-team tournament. He was a part of the afternoon session Monday at Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone as the team opened training camp in preparation for the resumption of the season.

Friedman will compete for a roster spot next season and serve as a dependable call-up option if he's with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

In the offseason, the Flyers will have to decide if they want to re-sign veteran Justin Braun, who has been good for them and can become an unrestricted agent. The Flyers' defense will get only more intriguing in 2020-21. The blue line is an area of strength for the Flyers, who are young at the position and have prospects nearing, as well.

Sports Uncovered is on all podcast platforms: click here to subscribe now!

Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers