Flyers

Home ice pride is a relic of the past for Flyers

Home ice pride is a relic of the past for Flyers

BOX SCORE

There are 67 historical landmarks in the city of Philadelphia alone.

You may as well put South Broad on that list because the days of the hockey arena being an intimidating, nightmarish place for opposing teams are ancient history.

Thursday’s game against the Hurricanes, a 5-3 Flyers loss (see observations), offered up the undeniable proof.

For starters, the Flyers made the Hurricanes feel right at home by granting Carolina’s request to wear its red home sweaters on the Flyers' home ice. Thirty years ago, the old Hartford Whalers would have had reservations just slipping on a jersey before taking the ice at The Spectrum.   

This isn’t even the Wells Fargo Center from the days of the Legion of Doom. This has the atmosphere of your Wells Fargo branch. Grab a lollipop or two on your way out the door.

Not too long ago, this building would play the movie clip from “Rudy” when coach Dan Devine, played by Chelcie Ross, tells the Fighting Irish in the locker room, "No one, and I mean no one, comes into our house and pushes us around."

Well, the Flyers have won an absolutely alarming seven of their first 18 games on home ice, and we’re still waiting for any form of a pushback. 

You would have thought after another utterly embarrassing road trip in which the Flyers were outscored 9-2 over their last three games that they would have used Thursday’s game as a statement, a chance to reclaim some pride on home ice, especially against a Carolina team that had beaten them soundly just three days earlier.

But not this team. And definitely not this season.

Early on, the Flyers were presented with a couple of chances to deliver solid, clean hits to bring the crowd to their feet, create some energy throughout the arena, and send a message that last place is far from acceptable. 

Michael Raffl could have steamrolled Micheal Ferland at the blue line and Ivan Provorov could have nailed Brett Pesce near the red line — without being penalized. In both instances, the Flyers elected to travel down the path of least resistance.

It became clear toward the end of the second period, with the scoreline 3-0, the most uncomfortable seat in the house wasn’t anywhere near the Hurricanes' bench, but rather located inside the Flyers' penalty box. After all, if you want real, raw emotion from this team, you have to wait until someone feels slighted by a call on the ice. 

Which is what happened when Jakub Voracek slammed his stick into the glass after he was whistled for a holding penalty (see video). The NHL has now created a league in which respect trumps hate, and the real spite is directed toward the men in black and white stripes.

“Obviously there are different ways to show passion, but certainly again, playing a full 60 is a good way to show passion, too,” James van Riemsdyk said. 

Van Riemsdyk was one of several players wearing a plain black shirt with the words “Broad Street” written on the front.

Broad Street called. It wants its shirt back.

If that’s the standard for passion, you can count on one hand how many “full 60s” the Flyers have given this home crowd.

There’s simply no incentive to play with an edge from start to finish.

After every game, the hallway between locker rooms looks like a U.N. peacekeeping assembly with laughing and bro hugs. The Czech players congregate with the other Czechs. The Russians huddle with the Russians, and the same can be said for the Americans, the Finns and the Swedes. 

Don’t expect the Flyers to develop any tension on the ice when there’s a postgame friendship worth preserving. 

Right now, they’re not good enough to win on skill, and they’re not angry enough to do anything to change it.

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

2020 NHL All-Star Game: Flyers' Travis Konecny shows off his career-high stuff for Metropolitan Division

2020 NHL All-Star Game: Flyers' Travis Konecny shows off his career-high stuff for Metropolitan Division

BOX SCORE

Travis Konecny stormed into the NHL All-Star break already with a new career high in assists. The Flyers' winger has 26 helpers and is projected to finish with 44, a sign of significant growth in a breakout 2019-20 season for the 22-year-old.

On Saturday night in the 2020 All-Star Game at Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Konecny put his facilitating on display during the 3-on-3 action featuring the world's best players. He finished with three assists in the Metropolitan Division's 9-5 semifinal loss to the Atlantic Division.

"I had a lot of fun," Konecny said Saturday, via Flyers senior director of public relations and communications Zack Hill. "It was pretty funny, I was watching my parents in the stands and my mom didn't understand why we weren't playing like a real game.

"It's my first game and it's her first time seeing it. I don't know if she was expecting me to be blocking shots and forechecking, stuff like that. I had a lot of fun with it.

"It was a really cool experience, getting to play with some players, too, that I usually won't get the chance to play with was fun."

Konecny playing in his first All-Star Game at 22 years old should be exciting for the Flyers. Claude Giroux was 23 years old for his first All-Star Game back in 2011. The future looks bright for Konecny, who signed a new six-year, $33 million contract back in mid-September.

With 17 goals and 43 points through 47 games, Konecny is eight goals and seven points away from setting career highs across the board.

A breakout, indeed.

Here are more sights and scenes from Konecny's first All-Star Game:

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

Why Flyers fans should be hopeful about post-NHL All-Star break playoff chances

Why Flyers fans should be hopeful about post-NHL All-Star break playoff chances

Today, we break down why Flyers fans should be hopeful for the post-All-Star break stretch. On Sunday, we’ll look at the reasons for concern.

Through 50 games, the Flyers have done two important things. They’ve played well within the division and have dominated at home. 

Those two trends bode well for after the All-Star break because divisional games become much bigger and confidence at home is paramount as the pressure builds.

The Flyers are 17-4-4 at home and 9-2-3 against Metropolitan foes. The marks are notable given the Flyers fell sorely short in those areas last season, when they finished 19-18-4 at home and 10-16-2 in divisional play.

Another positive is the Flyers are getting healthier after the break. Shayne Gostisbehere (knee) could be back Friday in the Flyers’ first game out of the bye week, while Carter Hart (abdominal strain) is expected to return not long after.

But what might be the Flyers’ most convincing piece of evidence for optimism is how they’ve performed against the NHL’s best teams. The Flyers have shown they can play with any club, which is huge for their own belief moving forward.

The Flyers are 11th in the NHL standings at 27-17-6. They've gone 9-5-3 against the top-10 teams and 5-1-1 vs. the top four.

Head coach Alain Vigneault has a history of taking teams to the playoffs, and doing so in Year 1 on the job. At his previous three stops (Canadiens, Canucks, Rangers), each of his first seasons produced playoff bids and at least one series victory.

Vigneault’s track record will be tested over the Flyers’ final 32 games.

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