Flyers

Flyers injury update: Key players return to practice after NHL All-Star break

Flyers injury update: Key players return to practice after NHL All-Star break

Updated: 3:36 p.m.

As expected, the Flyers are getting healthier just in time for the start of their post-NHL All-Star break playoff push.

Shayne Gostisbehere (knee) and Michael Raffl (upper body) practiced Thursday ahead of Friday’s game against the Penguins in Pittsburgh (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Gostisbehere underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Jan. 14. The defenseman’s return would give the Flyers seven healthy blueliners, which may push Robert Hagg out of the lineup. Head coach Alain Vigneault could also go with a matchup-based approach on which defenseman sits moving forward.

It turns out, though, Gostisbehere is not quite ready for Friday. He'll travel to Pittsburgh but won't play. A return Saturday against the Avalanche at the Wells Fargo Center is possible (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP+).

Raffl missed the Flyers’ 3-0 win over the Penguins with his injury. His return helps the Flyers’ bottom six and penalty kill.

Carter Hart (abdominal strain) has improved but will miss a minimum of seven more days. The news is not alarming. The Flyers announced on Jan. 15 that the goalie would be out two to three weeks, so this is still on line with what the team expected. The Flyers will play it ultra safe with Hart’s injury as he is vital to the team’s postseason chances and, of course, its future.

“Carter’s going to be a few more days, a couple more practices," Vigneault said Thursday. "Carter skated before practice today, felt real good, so slowly but surely, we’re getting a couple of bodies back and we’re on the right track.”

The Flyers called up Alex Lyon and Connor Bunnaman from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. The two were sent down to simply stay fresh and play games during the Flyers’ NHL-mandated bye week from Jan. 22-30.

According to Hockey-Reference.com, the Flyers have a 47.3 percent chance to make the playoffs. They are three points out of third place in a deep Metropolitan Division and one point out of a wild-card spot.

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Eric Lindros reveals awesome insight on his career during Twitter Q&A

Eric Lindros reveals awesome insight on his career during Twitter Q&A

There are so many Eric Lindros memories.

During his playing days, No. 88 was a rare breed of size and skill. Lindros' blend of strengths would still be rare in today's game.

His dynamic was intimidating and imposing because of those strengths, so to hear Lindros open up about his toughest opponents is really cool.

"Big E" did just that in a question-and-answer session Sunday on his Twitter account.

It's awesome to see Lindros talk hockey with his fans. He has always respected the knowledgeable fan base in Philly.

"Flyers players are lucky to play in a city where the fans truly know the game of hockey, appreciate the little things and are of course rowdy, but also show heart," Lindros said on his jersey retirement night in January 2018.

Here were Lindros' interactions Sunday night and we look forward to the next time.

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Predictions for who wins Flyers' 2019-20 Yanick Dupre Class Guy Award

Predictions for who wins Flyers' 2019-20 Yanick Dupre Class Guy Award

Going End to End today are NBC Sports Philadelphia's Brooke Destra, Katie Emmer, Taryn Hatcher and Jordan Hall.

The topic: Predicting who wins the Flyers' 2019-20 Yanick Dupre Class Guy Award, presented to the Flyer who best illustrates character, dignity and respect both on and off the ice.

Destra

The best part about the Flyers and their organization is that they are filled with top-notch people. Just about every player on the team could win this award. 

This year though, I’d have to go with Jakub Voracek. He is one of the most respected players on the ice but what stands out the most is the person he is off the ice. The person he is when the cameras aren’t on him. The person he is when it comes to being an ambassador for the phrase, "It’s more than just a game."

There are many examples from this season, but one of my favorites that simply showcases why Voracek should win the Yanick Dupre Class Guy Award dates back to Feb. 27-28, when the Flyers signed Blake Steigauf to a one-day contract.

All throughout this video, you catch glimpses of Voracek with Steigauf, but the one moment that stuck with me was the shot of him waiting for the 15-year-old to come off the ice and into the tunnel before heading back to the locker room. 

All class. 

Emmer

The Flyers' dressing room is full of players with good character and high respect for the game, so this one was hard for me. 

This season, I’m picking Matt Niskanen.   

Niskanen is a highly respected, veteran player in the league and general manager Chuck Fletcher knew that when he decided to bring him in during the offseason.  

Coming into this year, the 33-year-old had 14 NHL seasons under his belt, 10 playoff runs and a Stanley Cup in 2018 — he had the experience the blue line needed.  

Where I think Niskanen really exceeded expectations so far this season is the leadership he brings. He’s highly respected by his teammates and has some of the best well-rounded character you could ask for in your dressing room.

We’re all able to see the example he sets on the ice with the defensive group as well as the team as a whole. He has certainly helped with the Flyers’ success this season. On top of that, he sets an example off the ice by showing respect toward those around him, from the Flyers’ personnel to members of media.

He has been a great addition to the team and I believe he’s the most deserving of the Yanick Dupre Award.  

Hatcher

I’m giving it to Niskanen. This was tough for all the right reasons though. I think you could make a case for quite a few players on the team to take this one home.

There are a lot of great guys in that dressing room that are both the type of player and the type of person you’d want on your hockey team. But when you say “character, dignity and respect,” my mind jumps right to Niskanen. He holds himself and his teammates accountable in the most respectful way following tough contests. He has experienced success and exudes the maturity that comes with that, without ever talking about it or being boastful about it.

He’s the “Steady Eddie” of the team, keeping things in balance on the ice and off it. Never complains, not even with 15 stitches in his nose. And beyond his character contributions, he’s been exactly what Fletcher hoped he’d be in terms of a player — a dependable defenseman that has perfectly complemented Ivan Provorov on the Flyers' top D pairing.

Hall

During his first season in Philadelphia, Kevin Hayes has fully embraced the community on top of augmenting the dynamic in the Flyers' dressing room.

Through a mixture of lightheartedness and leadership, Hayes has brought the Flyers closer together. The 27-year-old center has been a quality teammate and a go-to interview all season.

He has shown nothing but respect and character in his dealings with fans, media members and Flyers employees.

There isn't a bad choice here, but Hayes' value has gone beyond the ice.

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