Flyers

An Isaac Ratcliffe-Morgan Frost-Joel Farabee line, 'effortless' Philippe Myers, more on Flyers rookie camp

An Isaac Ratcliffe-Morgan Frost-Joel Farabee line, 'effortless' Philippe Myers, more on Flyers rookie camp

VOORHEES, N.J. — A nice crowd turned out at Flyers Skate Zone on Saturday morning to watch the team's prospects open rookie camp.

There's no shortage of talent in this year's group as the camp features seven roster candidates for the 2019-20 season.

Let's get into five observations:

1. Orange you happy?

A trio in orange had everyone's attention.

With the forwards wearing different colored jerseys to make up lines, Isaac Ratcliffe, Morgan Frost and Joel Farabee were put together. To no surprise, they stood out.

Last season, the 6-foot-6 Ratcliffe scored 50 goals with the OHL's Guelph Storm, the playmaking Frost amassed 109 points with the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and the do-it-all Farabee won national Rookie of the Year with Boston University.

All three are turning pro this season. And if all three start the year with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley, the Phantoms will be a hot ticket for Flyers fans. In fact, fans will get a chance to see them Wednesday night at PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, for the rookie game against the Islanders.

I would have to say I don't know if we've had any forwards come in that have been at the level that some of the kids that we're getting this year.

- Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon

2. The big easy

Ratcliffe is big, but his skilled hands and soft touch for a player his size are what make him impressive. He can get up ice and make plays away from the net. Around the net, though, there's a lot to like when you combine the ability with his frame.

After practice, Ratcliffe worked on deflecting shots. He scored 91 goals in 132 regular-season games over his final two years of junior hockey.

You'd have to believe he has some power play in his future, very possibly this season with the Phantoms.

3. A maturing Myers

Philippe Myers looks like a full-time NHL player. The 22-year-old defenseman moves extremely well for his 6-foot-5 size, has a great stick and he's gained a ton of strength. During the 2018 training camp, he was listed at 202 pounds. Now, he's 218 pounds and it's noticeable.

His comfort level, you can tell this is nothing for him. He just goes out there and it's effortless and he's so sure of himself and confident. I thought he looked good.

- Gordon

General manager Chuck Fletcher promoted Myers in February as the Flyers were gaining relevancy in the playoff race. Myers ended up playing 21 meaningful games.

"It made me want to work that much harder this summer," he said. "I just want to be up here this year, I want to be a part of the team, I want to help the team win. I'm going to work hard at camp and I'm going to earn it.

"They told me that I should be chomping at the bit for this training camp. I want that, too, I want to be a top-four guy, have a bigger role on the team and help the team win. They basically told me that's what my goal should be and that's my goal."

4. Different mix

A group that skated hard and showed chemistry was Mikhail Vorobyev, Maksim Sushko and Egor Serdyuk.

Vorobyev is offensively talented and trying to work his way back to the Flyers, while the Lehigh Valley-bound Sushko brings nice speed and Serdyuk was a sixth-round pick this summer.

Serdyuk was not at development camp, so this is our first live look at the Victoriaville Tigres product.


5. Friedman update

Mark Friedman will not take part in rookie camp or the prospects game as he rests up from minor abdominal surgery.

The Flyers expect him ready for main training camp, which begins Sept. 13.

Friedman is a 23-year-old defenseman who made his NHL debut during Game 82 last season. He'll be entering his third season with the Phantoms.

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Gritty the Maple Leafs' mascot? This parody account has gone too far

Gritty the Maple Leafs' mascot? This parody account has gone too far

How does one even begin to explain how they're feeling after *this*? 

It seemed like another business as usual day in the good ole’ NHL bubble on Tuesday. Six games between Edmonton and Toronto seemed like the perfect recipe for a grand time … right? 

Well, moments following the Leafs win against the Blue Jackets, something came across my Twitter feed that shook me to my core. I sat in disbelief, unsure what to make of this cursed image in front of me. 

It was a blue Gritty — on an account called @/LeafsGrittyNHL. 

I’m sorry … what? 

As President of the Gritty Committee, this is an outrage. Everyone knows the mascot belongs to the Flyers and while this is clearly a joke — some jokes just aren’t funny. 

Seriously, take a look … it just feels wrong. 

This mystery account even tweaked Gritty’s precious billboard he made for the Flyers in the bubble. 

If the Leafs want a blue mascot so badly, go get Cookie Monster. Gritty is taken. And I’m sure Carlton the Bear — the Leafs’ actual mascot — won’t be too happy about this either. 

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The Flyers were never on a hot streak — they're just that good

The Flyers were never on a hot streak — they're just that good

Four and a half months without playing hockey is quite a significant stretch of time. 

Even though that could be the length of a typical offseason, players still have the ability to train and stay as ready as possible for the following year. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, many were not able to even skate for the majority of the pause following the announcement of the NHL's hiatus to keep up with social distancing guidelines. 

This raised a lot of concern for when play would ultimately resume — conditioning, chemistry and the ability to pick up right where things left off

Just a few weeks into the pause, it was clear those were concerns for players as well. 

“I think our team had come together in a great way and we were really playing for one another and everyone was buying into the system that A.V. put together,” Kevin Hayes said in early April. “And now there’s a possibility that we’ll never see the outcome of that … I assume that we’re going to be this good all the time, but who knows if we’re going to have this feeling again.” 

Looking back to right before the pause, the Flyers were the talk of the NHL. They won nine out of their last 10 regular-season games, had the duo of Carter Hart and Brian Elliott making them a threat at home and on the road and it was clear that the team’s chemistry was unmatched. 

Luckily, Hayes and the Flyers will be able to see the outcome of the work they put in, but would they be that good again? Would that feeling of being on top return once play resumed? 

If you watched the Flyers’ exhibition against the Penguins or their first round-robin game against the Bruins and wondered how the team stayed hot during all that time — you must not have been paying attention. 

Since the calendar year turned, this team was more than a feeling, it was more than a hot streak — it was the hottest team in the NHL. 

And yes, there is a big difference. 

There’s a reason the Flyers are one of the top teams in the East, there’s a reason they were able to pick up right where they left off after the hiatus. It’s time to start acknowledging the Flyers for what they are — and that’s a legitimate contender — now more than ever.

Before anyone truly knew how long the wait before playoff hockey would be tangible, if at all in 2020, the Flyers looked like a well-oiled machine. 

Through the span of the last 25 games of the season, the Flyers never lost consecutively. They evaluated poor outings and came out swinging the next night. One of the best examples falls back to Feb. 6-8 when the Flyers were set to play the Devils and then Capitals. 

The Devils finished their season 28-29-12 for a grand total of 68 points. They had more games played (69) than points themselves. This should have been an easy win for the Flyers, but instead, they were shut out, 5-0, on home ice. It was probably one of the ugliest losses of the season — and the players knew it. 

After an embarrassing loss to the worst team in the Metropolitan Division, it was time to face the first-place Capitals. It was an opportunity to right the ship and make a statement that the previous game was not the identity of this team. And boy, it looked like they were on a mission. 

Not only did they take down Washington in its home barn, but steamrolled over it. The Flyers pulled out a 7-2 victory, Claude Giroux earned his 800th career point and they were able to silence Mr. Great Eight himself, Alex Ovechkin, while he was on the hunt for his 700th career goal. 

The Flyers endured absurd travel at the start of the season, the always brutal midseason West Coast road tip and injuries popping up at the most difficult of times — and all while competing in the tightest division in the league? That’s no small feat. 

Because of their hard work throughout the season, Travis Konecny earned his first All-Star appearance, Alain Vigneault is a Jack Adams finalist and Sean Couturier a Selke finalist. Giroux earned quite the career milestone in points, along with Jakub Voracek, who earned his 200th career goal. Hart boasted an impressive home record of 20-3-2 and won nine of 11 starts following the All-Star break. Ivan Provorov ranked eighth overall in defenseman with average time on ice with 24:51 and played his 300th career game in just four seasons. They overcame the news in December when it was announced their teammate and friend Oskar Lindblom had been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma. It has been a season like no other. 

It’s not a fluke. The Flyers aren’t hot — they are on fire.

With the additions made in the offseason of Kevin Hayes, Matt Niskanen, Tyler Pitlick and others, the Flyers went from a roster with a few strong players to one of the most complete teams this franchise has seen in the past decade. Rookies Joel Farabee and Nicolas Aube-Kubel found their home with the big club in no time and only solidified things further. 

Whether it’s the top line or the fourth line, you never know who’s going to step up and take control of that game. It’s great for the Flyers and absolutely terrifying for any opposing teams. 

So, instead of looking at the opposing team and wondering what they did wrong — why not look at the Flyers and see what they’ve done right?

If you’ve paid attention from the start of the season, this should be no surprise. 

The rest of the NHL better look out — this team isn’t going anywhere but up for the foreseeable future. 

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