Flyers

Flyers training camp observations: Carter Hart's injury status, Sean Couturier's special absence, more

Flyers training camp observations: Carter Hart's injury status, Sean Couturier's special absence, more

First came Alex Lyon with goalie coach Kim Dillabaugh. Next was Brian Elliott to accompany them in warmups before Wednesday's training camp practice at Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone.

Carter Hart never walked out of the Flyers' dressing room as practice went on without the 21-year-old goalie who had to exit Tuesday's scrimmage and did not return because of an undisclosed issue.

What's the latest on the Flyers' franchise goalie as the NHL's return-to-play 24-team tournament inches closer? Let's get into that and more with five observations from camp:

A feel for the Hart

Hart on Wednesday was deemed "unable to participate," according to the Flyers. As we know, teams are not allowed to release specifications for any injuries/illnesses throughout camp or the tournament, per a mutual agreement between the NHL and NHLPA to respect an individual player's right to medical privacy during this time.

As a result, it's uncertain why Hart is out and a timeframe for his return is unknown (see story).

Head coach Alain Vigneault, however, was able to provide a slight remedy for the nerves of Flyers fans.

"We’re not allowed to comment on the injuries," Vigneault said after practice. "I would say to you that I’m not concerned."

Hart's timeline will truly be a day-to-day process given how little the team is permitted to disclose. Every day will be a game of is he out there? 

The Flyers' run prior to the March 12 stoppage has become even more paramount because it earned the club a bye past the best-of-five qualifying round, which now buys it some more time — if needed — with Hart. The Flyers have an exhibition game July 28 and open their three-game round-robin slate Aug. 2 before the team's main priority begins — the first round of the playoffs on Aug. 11 (see Flyers' schedule).

The Flyers scrimmage Thursday, are off the ice Friday, practice Saturday and leave Sunday for the Eastern Conference's hub city Toronto.

"Any player missing any time in practice at this time, especially after the layoff that we’ve had, sets them back a little bit," Vigneault said. "Obviously it depends on the amount of time. He’ll have to do a little bit of extra work when he is capable of coming back."

While Hart's status will be worth monitoring each day moving forward, the overall takeaway is that his status to open the postseason does not sound in doubt, which is a major positive for the Flyers.

I do believe that Carter, the way he played throughout the year and how he improved throughout the season, has earned the right to start in the playoffs. That being said, though, we have four games until then. There’s no doubt that Brian is going to play in those four games. In my mind right now, Carter's the guy, but you never know what can happen.

Carter’s a young goaltender, a lot of young guys have stepped in and because they’ve played big games in their leagues prior to it, have just stepped in and picked off exactly where they were. Carter, we believe, can do that, but I do think that the experience of Brian gives us a great tandem and whoever we put in goal, they’re going to do a real good job for us.

- Vigneault

Moose is loose

Another positive for the Flyers: Elliott looked sharp in practice Wednesday and is a 35-year-old netminder who knows how to spell his goalie partner when problems arise.

Elliott has made a career for himself in tandem work. He impressively picked up Hart twice during a couple of important junctures in the regular season (see story).

After suffering injuries over his first two seasons with the Flyers (see story), Elliott was healthy and clutch in 2019-20 on a one-year deal. His health will also be vital during the playoffs.

"I’ve felt better and better each day," Elliott said Wednesday. "Today I felt really good. It’s just getting back that competitiveness and battle level, things like that. I think we’ve done a good job of trying to ramp things up and getting a little bit more systems, a little special teams today. That’s good for us because we get to look through bodies, look through screens and try to really react to just play the game. That's what’s fun about goaltending; sometimes it gets a little much when guys are just coming down and shooting on you. Now we’re getting into game situations where it’s a little bit more fun for us."

Vigneault was able to rely on Elliott during the regular season, especially away from home. Elliott has 43 postseason starts on his résumé.

"There’s no doubt that for our team it’s a huge bonus to have a guy with his background and his experience," Vigneault said. "It’s a bonus for Carter to have somebody there that he can relate with and bounce ideas off. With Kim in that trio, both goaltenders and him, I think our whole group is really confident. Goaltending is a big part of season success and it's a real big part of playoff success. We're no different than anybody else — we’re going to need our goaltender to be at the top of their game and I think we’re all very confident that any one of those two guys will do a great job for us."

'Good news for the Flyers family'

Two days after being named a Frank J. Selke Trophy finalist (see story), Sean Couturier was missing from practice Wednesday.

Vigneault sported a big smile when he mentioned the reason behind the 27-year-old center's absence.

"Next time we see him, he’s going to be a father," Vigneault said. "That’s good news for him, it’s certainly good news for the Flyers family — we've got another beautiful young child coming on the way."

Couturier and his wife Laurence were headed into labor. Vigneault said the two were expecting a baby girl.

Elliott, who is a father to two boys, was happy for his teammate despite knowing the team's departure to Toronto is coming up Sunday and the Flyers could be away for two months if the club goes on a deep run.

"I feel bad for him, you’re having a kid and you’ve got to leave right away," Elliott said. "It’s such a magical moment and you want to be part of it as much as you can. It’s going to be tough leaving a new mom and a baby behind short term, but I’m really happy for them. It’s such a cool time. I’m just glad that they're able to do it while he’s here. I can’t wait to meet another one of the Flyers family, for sure."

'I might miss his first birthday'

Claude Giroux became a first-time father last August. The Flyers' captain knows how hard this extended time away from family can be for everyone. Giroux's son Gavin was born Aug. 26, 2019.

"I was home for three months and got to know him as a person, got a good connection and had a lot of fun together," Giroux said. "We were together every day. Right now it’s tough, you want to be there to see him grow. I might miss his first birthday, so it’s really not easy."

Giroux then found a reason to crack a quick smile. 

"He's going to have a chance to watch me play on TV," Giroux said.

Roster talk

During the tournament, the Flyers will be allowed a roster of no more than 31 players, which includes goalies.

Vigneault said he'll have an answer on Saturday for which players will be coming to Toronto. The Flyers have 34 players in training camp (see story).

If Oskar Lindblom is able to be one of the Flyers' 31 players (see story), here's my guess on who will stay back: Kirill Ustimenko, German Rubtsov, Egor Zamula and Tyler Wotherspoon.

If the Flyers want to play it safe and bring four goalies, they'll have to leave another forward or defenseman behind.

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 Flyers analysis for 24-team tournament

Lindblom has new contract, his comeback is on with Flyers

Wait, where's Hart? Flyers' goalie exits scrimmage, does not return

• What round-robin schedule change could mean for Flyers' strategy

• What happened? Voracek says calm down, he's fine ... now you know

Key Flyer missing, buzzing rookie, don't forget Ghost and more

• The Flyers' lineup, practicing celebrations, no hiding these two and more

• A 'dangerous card' in the Flyers' hand, Giroux still wows and more

• Fans can purchase Flyers playoff shirts with new slogan

• What it was like to go back to work at Flyers practice in different times

• Juicy opponent for Flyers' exhibition game; some start times announced

• Flyers release training camp roster as they gear up for 24-team tournament

Analyzing the Flyers' schedule to open 24-team tournament

5 questions on Flyers' chances in 24-team tournament

Predictions for Flyers' best Game 1 lineup to start 24-team playoff

Who are the Flyers' top 5 reinforcements for 24-team tournament?

• Flyers sign a player to extension at position of strength

What to know as NHL, NHLPA finish big step, announce schedule

Things get even better for Flyers in NHL's 24-team tournament

Finding the Flyers' best 1st-round matchup for Hart

Flyers have two top 50 pending UFAs; will they re-sign them?

• Everything Flyers fans need to know for NHL's 24-team tournament

Hockey insider details Flyers’ hotel, importance of training camp 

Key dates, protocols announced as Flyers near next steps toward return

2020 NHL playoffs: Schedule, scores, updates, odds, game times, TV channels and live streaming

2020 NHL playoffs: Schedule, scores, updates, odds, game times, TV channels and live streaming

The first round of the NHL playoffs kicked off Aug. 11 and are officially in full swing. Between the two bubble cites in Edmonton and Toronto, there has been more than enough hockey to go around. While it’s every fan’s dream to have hockey on for the greater part of the day, there is a lot to keep up with — given the amount of games played daily with their turnaround times. 

So, in an effort to keep everyone up to date for each series in the first round — we created this playoff tracker. Consider this your one-stop shop for everything and anything you need to know. From who has the edge in the series, odds on who has the better chance at advancing per DraftKings, schedules, analysis and where to stream — it’s all right here for the taking.

This will be updated daily with the latest news and information from all eight series. 

East 
 

Blue Jackets vs. Lightning 

Series is tied 1-1

Series odds: CBJ +180 TB -225

Game 1: The puck dropped at 3:09 p.m. ET, but no one knew at the time it was going to run over six hours. This first game became the second-longest playoff game in the modern NHL era, going into five overtimes. You would think the team that had the goaltender that mad a record 85 saves, would have been the winners, but that wasn’t the case. 10:27 into that fifth overtimes, Brayden Point scored that game-winning goal for the Lightning on Joonas Korpisalo.  

Game 2: Blue Jackets’ net minder Joonas Korpisalo has brought his A-game in the first two games of this series. After stopping 85 shots in game one, he stopped 36 of 37 Thursday to help his team to a win over the Lightning. 

Remaining schedule 
Game 3: Saturday, Aug. 15 — 7:30 p.m. ET (Watch or stream on NBCSN)
Game 4: Monday, Aug. 17 — 3 p.m. ET (Watch or stream on NBCSN)
*Game 5: Wednesday, Aug. 19 — time TBD
*Game 6: Friday, Aug. 21 — time TBD
*Game 7: Saturday, Aug. 22 — time TBD

Bruins vs. Hurricanes 

Series is tied 1-1

Series odds: CAR +110 BOS -132

Game 1: After the Blue Jackets-Lightning game going far over the allotted time for their game, this series’ first game was pushed to the following day with an 11 a .m. start time. This now gave them back-to-back games to open the series. Also going into double overtime, Selke finalist Patrice Bergeron scored the game-winning goal. 

Game 2: The hurricanes were out for revenge Thursday night when they faced the Bruins in their second matchup of the series. Even though Boston finally started clicking on their power play (scoring two goals, after having no luck prior since the round robin began), it wasn’t enough to overcome the Hurricanes. 

Remaining schedule 
Game 3: Saturday, Aug. 15 — 12 p.m. ET (Watch on NBC)
Game 4: Monday, Aug. 17 — 8 p.m. ET (Watch or stream on NBCSN)
*Game 5: Wednesday, Aug. 19 — time TBD
*Game 6: Thursday, Aug. 20 — time TBD
*Game 7: Sunday, Aug. 23 — time TBD

Capitals vs. Islanders 

The Islanders lead the series 1-0

Series odds: NY -167 WSH +137 

Game 1: Norris Trophy finalist John Carlson was back in the lineup for the Capitals, but still wasn’t enough to help his team to a win. The Islanders scored four unanswered goals to rally back after being down two to take the first in this series. 

Remaining schedule 

Game 2: Friday, Aug. 14 — 8 p.m. ET (Watch or stream on NBCSN)
Game 3: Sunday, Aug. 16 — 12 p.m. ET (Watch on USA)
Game 4: Tuesday, Aug. 18 — 8 p.m. ET (Watch or stream on NBCSN)
*Game 5: Thursday, Aug. 20 — time TBD
*Game 6: Saturday, Aug. 22 — time TBD
*Game 7: Sunday, Aug. 23 — time TBD

Flyers vs. Canadiens 

The Flyers lead the series 1-0

Series odds: MTL +340 PHI -455

Game 1: The Flyers had a great jump at the start of the game, but things quickly shifted in favor of the Canadiens about 10 minutes in — and then they continued to control he game through well into the second period. If it wasn’t for Carter Hart, the Flyers would have been in deep trouble. 

Remaining schedule 

Game 2: Friday, Aug. 14 — 3 p.m. ET (Watch or stream on NBCSP)
Game 3: Sunday, Aug. 16 — 8 p.m. ET (Watch on NBC)
Game 4: Tuesday, Aug. 18 — 3 p.m. ET (Watch or stream on NBCSP)
*Game 5: Wednesday, Aug. 19 — time TBD
*Game 6: Friday, Aug. 21 — time TBD
*Game 7: Sunday, Aug. 23 — time TBD

West 

Flames vs. Stars

Series is tied 1-1

Series odds: CGY -109 DAL -112

Game 1: The Flames came out swinging right from the jump to try and get an early edge on the Stars. Along with the strong efforts of goaltender Cam Talbot, Flames’ Dillon Dube dominated through that first period, scoring the first two goals. Matthew Tkachuk and Corey Perry also dropped the gloves early on, making for quite an entertaining first 20 minutes of hockey. 

Game 2: In one of the most intense games of the day, the Stars and Flames went to battle in the third period. Things were a little too close for comfort when the Flames came from behind, scoring twice with less than ten minutes to play — but in the 59th minute, Stars’ Jami Oleksiak gave his team the go-ahead goal and carried them to a win. 

Remaining schedule 
Game 3: Friday, Aug. 14 — 10:30 p.m. ET (Watch or stream on NBCSN)
Game 4: Sunday, Aug. 16 — 2 p.m. ET (Watch or stream on NBCSN)
*Game 5: Tuesday, Aug. 18 — time TBD
*Game 6: Thursday, Aug. 20 — time TBD
*Game 7: Saturday, Aug. 22 — time TBD

Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights 

The Golden Knights lead the series 2-0 

Series odds: CHI +1150 VGS -2500

Game 1: When the puck first dropped, the two teams looked far more balanced than they should have for a first and 12th seed. It might have taken some time, but the Golden Knights eventually shifted their gears into motion and never looked back. The third period put the Blackhawks away, when Reilly Smith scored not one, but two power play goals against Corey Crawford. 

Game 2: If there’s one thing that holds true in the playoffs, it’s that you should never underestimate Patrick Kane. In the second period, he tallied an assist for every Blackhawks goal. Their third goal, curtesy of Dylan Strome, tied the game and was the last one scored in regulation. Just over seven minutes into overtime, Reilly Smith scored the game-winning goal, officially getting the Golden Knights their second win of the series. 

Remaining schedule 
Game 3: Saturday, Aug. 15 — 8 p.m. ET (Watch on NBC)
Game 4: Sunday, Aug. 16 — 6:30 p.m. ET (Watch or stream on NBCSN)
*Game 5: Tuesday, Aug. 18 — time TBD
*Game 6: Thursday, Aug. 20 — time TBD
*Game 7: Saturday, Aug. 22 — time TBD

Coyotes vs. Avalanche 

The Avalanche lead the series 1-0

Series odds: ARI +445 COL -625

Game 1: The scoring opened up late in the third period with the Avalanche, who then tallied a second goal in just 10 seconds. They didn’t stay silent for long and scored the third and final goal of the game just over a minute later. The Coyotes were shut out and had a mere 14 shots on goal. 

Remaining schedule 

Game 2: Friday, Aug. 14 — 2 p.m. ET (Watch on NHL Network)
Game 3: Saturday, Aug. 15 — 3 p.m. ET (Watch on CNBC)
Game 4: Monday, Aug. 17 — 5:30 p.m. ET (Watch or stream on NBCSN)
*Game 5: Wednesday, Aug. 19 — time TBD
*Game 6: Friday, Aug. 21 — time TBD
*Game 7: Sunday, Aug. 23 — time TBD

Canucks vs. Blues 

The Canucks lead the series 1-0

Series odds: VAN -120 STL +100

Game 1: It’s safe to say the first two periods were very evenly matched — if the Canucks scored on the power play, the Blues followed suit, if the Canucks had an unassisted goal, so did the Blues. Going into the third period, it could’ve been anyone’s game, but Vancouver finally found the stride they were looking for, scoring three more times. With three power play goals and only 22 shots on goal, the Canucks left Blues’ net minder Jordan Binnington flustered, leaving the first game of the series with a .773 SV%. 

Remaining schedule 

Game 2: Friday, Aug. 14 — 6:30 p.m. ET (Watch on NHL Network)
Game 3: Sunday, Aug. 16 — 10:30 p.m. ET (Watch on CNBC)
Game 4: Monday, Aug. 17 — 10:30 p.m. ET (Watch or stream on NBCSN)
*Game 5: Wednesday, Aug. 19 — time TBD
*Game 6: Friday, Aug. 21 — time TBD
*Game 7: Sunday, Aug. 23 — time TBD

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

Canadiens head coach Claude Julien released from hospital

Canadiens head coach Claude Julien released from hospital

Canadiens head coach Claude Julien has been released from St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, the team announced Friday, after having a stent placed in a coronary artery.

Doctors expect a full recovery as Julien is headed home to Montreal after he was hospitalized because of chest pain.

"Coach Julien would like to convey his most sincere thanks to everyone at St. Michael's Hospital for the wonderful care he received during his stay," the Canadiens released in a statement Friday. "He also wishes to personally and sincerely thank everyone who has sent their well wishes during this time."

Julien, who is not expected to return for Montreal's best-of-seven first-round playoff series against the Flyers, was behind the bench leading the Canadiens in Game 1 Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena. The Flyers beat Montreal, 2-1, while the series continues Friday with Game 2 at 3 p.m. ET.

Assistant coach Kirk Muller will take over head coaching duties in the interim.

The 60-year-old Julien has been with the Canadiens for parts of seven seasons over two different stints. He guided the Bruins to a Stanley Cup championship in 2011 and is Boston's all-time leader in wins with 419.

From 1981-83, Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault and Julien were teammates on the Central Hockey League's Salt Lake Golden Eagles.

"I've known Claude since I was 20, so we go way back, good friends," Vigneault said Thursday afternoon in a video interview following practice. "I'm going to reach out with him."

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