Flyers

Hurricanes call off celebrations just as Flyers turn to Cam Talbot

Hurricanes call off celebrations just as Flyers turn to Cam Talbot

VOORHEES, N.J. — There will be no celebration for the Carolina Hurricanes in the event of a victory over the Flyers on Saturday.

According to team captain Justin Williams, who sent out a tweet Thursday afternoon, the Hurricanes are shutting down their celebratory “Storm Surge” — a cub scout-like on-ice skit that has brought an energy and excitement level to PNC Arena following the team’s victories this season.

The creativity and enthusiasm of the "Surge" took off after Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry labeled the Hurricanes players as “a bunch of jerks” for their antics. The team immediately responded by mocking Cherry and selling T-shirts that read “Bunch of Jerks” across the front.

James van Riemsdyk, whose brother Trevor is a defenseman with Carolina, has found a certain amusement with the celebration that even included Trevor showcasing his basketball skills. 

“It definitely seemed a little wacky at first, but as athetes, we’re here to be entertainers as well, so if that’s part of it, then that’s part of it," van Riemsdyk said. "Some of them have been pretty clever. I don’t really have a problem with it. My parents have gone down to a bunch of the games, and they’ve even noticed a difference from last year to this year. The fan experience and the engagement of the fans has been night-and-day different.”

Regardless of whether the Hurricanes shut down their postgame antics or not, Cam Talbot wants to ensure the 'Canes have no reason to celebrate on Saturday. Talbot will start the game in Carolina, another sign the Flyers' organization is turning its focus toward next season.

“I think that’s pretty much why they brought me in is more or less an audition,” Talbot said. “It’s taken me a little bit longer to get this opportunity. Have to do my best with it even though it has been a long layoff and get back into it as quick as possible.”

Talbot has played just two games with the Flyers since the team acquired him from Edmonton on Feb. 16, and he’s made only one start — a 6-3 win over the Devils on March 1.

Interim head coach Scott Gordon said earlier this week he’d like to get Talbot “two or three” starts over their final five regular-season games. 

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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:

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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.

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