Flyers

Shayne Gostisbehere's conditioning loan to Phantoms shows decisions are ahead for Flyers

Shayne Gostisbehere's conditioning loan to Phantoms shows decisions are ahead for Flyers

Shayne Gostisbehere and the Flyers want to make sure the defenseman is fully back up to speed.

He was not when he returned briefly Feb. 6 in the team's 5-0 loss to the Devils.

On Thursday, Gostisbehere was sent to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley on a conditioning loan. The 26-year-old blueliner underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Jan. 14 and missed 10 games. After coming back in the defeat to New Jersey, Gostisbehere did not feel like himself, dealt with some lingering pain and has missed the last seven games, including Thursday night's matchup with the Blue Jackets.

“When you look at it, serious injury, three weeks to a month, and we gave him two 25-minute practices — little unfair," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said Feb. 7. "Maybe we should have considered sending him to Lehigh Valley for a couple of days and a couple of games because that is a fairly significant injury."

A conditioning loan can last for a maximum of 14 consecutive days. Gostisbehere is obviously not expected to use all 14. The Phantoms play road games Friday and Saturday night, then don't play again until the following weekend.

When Gostisbehere returns to the big club, Vigneault will once again be faced with difficult (and possibly game-to-game) decisions moving forward thanks to seven healthy defensemen. Philippe Myers has shown glimpses of big-time potential alongside Travis Sanheim, while Robert Hagg entered Thursday with nine points (three goals, six assists) and a plus-18 mark over 22 games since Dec. 15.

Hagg, 25, is set to become a restricted free agent in the offseason, while Gostisbehere, 26, has seen his name pop up in trade rumors going back to last season.

The NHL trade deadline is Monday of next week and the Flyers appear to be getting healthier on defense.

More decisions are good problems to have for the playoff-hopeful Flyers.

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Ever wonder series: What the heck is Gritty?

Ever wonder series: What the heck is Gritty?

Squeaky paws. Majestic beard. Colorful belly buttons (with piercings). Dance moves that can never be beaten. Wild entrances. Orange from head to skates. Internet sensation. Lover of hot dogs. 

Only one, uh, thing comes to mind, right? 

That right there is the power of Gritty. 

While he is only in the second season of his head mascot duties with the Philadelphia Flyers, it seems like he’s doing a pretty great job with it. 

But when the zamboni dust settles and the mascot that stands seven feet tall comes into the picture … you can’t help but wonder — what the heck is Gritty?  

Well, we got to digging … 

Brian Allen, the designer of the Gritty, recalled the days that went into creating concepts for the mascot — all two of them. Within that 48 hours though, 25 different ideas were brought to the table. 

“They wanted it to be a monster,” Allen said. “We didn’t want him to be associated with any kind of species or anything like that, so we went in the other direction — because if you make something that’s sort of a blank slate, like Gritty is, it’s so much more fun.”  

Did you know at one point, there was a design that gave Gritty wings? Which — at first — sounds crazy, but it would’ve been another thing the mascot had that the Penguins didn’t. You know, the ability to fly. 

In retrospect, that might have been for the better. Gritty already has too much power, imagine if he added flight to his résumé.

 “He’s sort of a misfit," Allen said. “I just think that makes him so much more fun.” 

This makes sense — given the ample amount of detail that went into his origin story. The Flyers noted that in 2018, Gritty emerged from the construction that was going on at the Wells Fargo Center, where he had been hiding out for who knows how long. Seriously, if his dad was a “bully,” he’s been around for a long time — though how he snuck over from the Spectrum and set up camp in the bowels of where the Flyers now play is another interesting question. 

At the end of the day, Gritty captures the essence of what it means to be a Flyer and we wouldn’t want it any other way. 

If you want to learn more about how Gritty became the mascot we all know and love, watch the full video above

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Flyers' playoff hype video will leave you wanting to run through a wall

Flyers' playoff hype video will leave you wanting to run through a wall

After what felt like months of waiting, the hockey world finally received some exciting news on Tuesday when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman broke down the 24-team playoff format that had recently been approved.

While there were many important bits we learned (that you can read more about, here), one part became incredibly clear — the Flyers clinched a playoff spot … in probably one of the weirdest ways in league history. 

Even though it was near impossible to not get into the 2019-20 playoffs … sorry, Sabres, Devils, Senators, Red Wings, Ducks, Kings and Sharks.

While there isn’t an official start date yet, that doesn’t mean the city can’t begin preparing for the wild ride that is hopefully about to take place this summer. A new light was ignited within Flyers fans, realizing the reality that could happen — but even the team itself is more than ready to finally drop the puck once more. 

It’s hard to forget the most memorable celly of the season, which came after Kevin Hayes scored an overtime goal against the Blue Jackets — earning the win and deeming himself the champion — rightfully so, if I might add.

Well, the Flyers tapped into that energy and shared a quick video of that wonderful moment to their social media:

Things didn’t stop there, though. Gritty had to join in on the fun and made sure to let the whole world know about the last time a Philadelphia team had a bye week in the postseason. It had something to do with 41-33, a farm animal (I think it was a goat?) that couldn’t catch and a backup quarterback doing something pretty “special” … yeah, you know. 

The hype continues to grow, as the Flyers released a full hype video about this opportunity Wednesday morning. It captured the emotions held in the past 77 days without hockey, how different this season felt compared to previous years and what the players and organization had been doing to “stay ready” while social distancing.

“Philly will be ready — and you’ll wish you stayed home.” 

Yeah … who else is ready to run through a wall?   

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We’re in. #StayReady

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