Flyers

Flyers' turmoil won't hinder Carter Hart's development

Flyers' turmoil won't hinder Carter Hart's development

For a lot of 20-year-olds, the environment would eat them up.

Carter Hart isn't your average 20-year-old.

He's precocious and together. He's different, the exact reason why he's here already and performing for the Flyers.

So why worry and send him away?

The Flyers are losing at a perturbing clip with performances that aren't exactly conducive for goalie success. A winless skid has ballooned to eight games, patience is being tested and frustrations are growing, possibly boiling into more drastic change (see story).

With the Feb. 25 trade deadline getting closer and closer, the Flyers entered Wednesday 30th among 31 NHL teams at 15-22-6 and 36 points. The club is allowing the league's second-most goals per game (3.63), owns a minus-37 goal differential and has been outscored 96-61 since Nov. 13, a stretch in which the Flyers are 6-15-5.

But Hart is the one who actually breathed some life into the Flyers. The team has won consecutive games just once since Nov. 13 and it happened in Hart's first and second career starts. His record is starting to take a hit at 2-4-1 as the Flyers haven't helped him much offensively, but he has played well enough in all but one game.

If his play has been fine, then the concern is the other factors — losing, frustration, etc. — possibly becoming a detriment to the development of Hart, deemed the franchise's future in net.

During a May 2018 phone interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia, Garry Davidson, the general manager of Hart's junior team the Everett Silvertips, described Hart in a way perfectly applicable to the current situation.

People that haven't met him and don't work with him day in and day out just see what he does on the ice, but for me it's that whole maturity and professionalism that he's already completely grasped. Because there are guys his age that are going to be going to the pro game that are going to have to learn all of those things and some of them will never learn it and will come up short. But he's got that already going for him.

There's been no sense of the Flyers' adverse setting becoming too much for the 2016 second-round pick in his first year of professional hockey.

"I think as long as he's playing well, I don't think that should bother him," Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon said. "Obviously he's thrilled about the opportunity."

Hart prepares the same way through highs and lows. He keeps everything in perspective. He makes adjustments. Working with a sports psychologist since he was a teenager has helped him always see positives.

Following a 3-0 loss Monday in which Hart could hold off the Blues for only so long, the rookie said he doesn't feel like he has to be perfect through the Flyers' struggles.

"I'm not really thinking it like that," Hart said.

"A lot of these games here, we're one or two steps [from it] going our way … we're not far off. I know it doesn’t look like that, but if you look at our most recent games, we're not far off. There are some games where we definitely deserved better fates and I think we just have to keep working, stick to our game and just compete."

Hart will continue to do that. He should be here until he shows us he can't.

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

Podcast: Jim Jackson, Marc Zumoff, Tom McCarthy talk careers in sports, and more

Podcast: Jim Jackson, Marc Zumoff, Tom McCarthy talk careers in sports, and more

On a brand new, cross-sports podcast, Philadelphia's play-by-play broadcasters Jim Jackson, Marc Zumoff, and Tom McCarthy sat down this week to reminisce about their careers, chat about the future, and plenty more.

Here's a segment-by-segment rundown of the show:

0:40 - Personal appearance during the stay-at-home orders.

4:47 - Listening to their own broadcasts.

9:10 - Managing long seasons.

12:35 - Selling radio.

14:48 - Mount Rushmore of broadcasters.

29:01 - First job in the business.

35:24 - How they became the play-by-by broadcaster for the Flyers, Phillies, and Sixers.

43:38 - Optimism in the face of COVID-19.

You can listen to the full episode, in all its glory, below.

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

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

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.

Because of coronavirus outbreak, James van Riemsdyk sees possible 'unique opportunity' for NHL playoffs

Because of coronavirus outbreak, James van Riemsdyk sees possible 'unique opportunity' for NHL playoffs

There always seem to be the people out there pleading for the NHL to become more marketable, more fun, more appealing.

If there's a silver lining to the suspension and uncertainty of the 2019-20 season amid the coronavirus outbreak, it could be the doors opening for some experimentation by the league.

Wednesday morning saw the calendar flip to April. The 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs were originally scheduled to start April 8. Nobody knows when or if they'll begin. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the NHL has been out of commission since March 12 and on Tuesday extended its isolation period to April 15.

Every NHL team has at least 11 games left on its regular-season schedule. The Flyers, who are a point behind the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals, have 13 games left.

With each passing day, the hopes of finishing the 2019-20 season in full weaken.

"That’s been the hardest part, for not only us but I feel like everyone in the world — there’s all this uncertainty around everything," James van Riemsdyk, the Flyers' NHLPA representative, said Tuesday night in a conference call. "It’d be nice to be like, ‘You know what, you sit at home for a month and then everything will go back to normal.’ I think that would obviously be a lot easier for everyone to handle than these daily to weekly updates on stuff and you’re kind of still unsure about what’s going to go on. A lot of people feel like, I’m sure, just running in place right now trying to stay busy and keep yourself in shape.”

Will the NHL find a way to drastically change its plan throughout the summer to play 2019-20 in its entirety? Should the league ax the remainder of the regular season and jump right into the playoffs? Could the postseason format change? Is the season going to resume at all?

A veteran of 11 seasons, van Riemsdyk knows all options will be on the table.

"I’d like to think we’ll find a way, but ultimately we want to guarantee the safety of everyone involved whether that’s players, staff, fans, families — we don’t want to do anything at the expense of any of that," van Riemsdyk said. "This is a way bigger issue than sports.”

He sees the NHL's predicament as a possible tryout opportunity for the league.

“Ultimately it’s going to come down to timing and how we can fit everything in," van Riemsdyk said. "In a perfect world, you’d like to finish the regular season and play it out as it may and go from there. But if some of those timeframes become a little bit too shortened where we can’t fit that in, it kind of creates a unique opportunity, in my opinion, to maybe try something a little bit unique with the playoff structure.

"I know that’s been talked about in the last couple of years especially is try to maybe add some more teams to it. If we’re in a situation like we are this year, it’s basically a free chance to try something a little bit outside the box maybe and see what might work.

"We’ll cross those bridges when we get there as far as time-wise and when we’re able to start things up and how that might look.”

Sixteen of the NHL's 31 teams qualify for the postseason. Each round features a best-of-seven series. The NHL playoffs have always been must-see entertainment. They could be a whole lot more fun, for all viewers, with a look that will be different to everybody. After all, 2019-20 has now become much different than other seasons in the past.

“If it gets to the point where we don’t have enough time to play out the regular season, which I’m sure everyone obviously would like to do," van Riemsdyk said, "then we can be more creative in the sense of trying something a little bit outside the box with the playoff structure potentially.”

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