Flyers

Mikhail Vorobyev finds 'a real good place to start' in NHL debut

Mikhail Vorobyev finds 'a real good place to start' in NHL debut

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LAS VEGAS — Mikhail Vorobyev and Ivan Provorov decided to forgo the bus and walk the short distance together from the team hotel to T-Mobile Arena prior to Thursday’s season opener.

Not even remotely observed on the streets of Las Vegas, Vorobyev had to wonder how he could get noticed once he stepped on the ice of the arena.

If anything, that stroll between teammates was a chance for Provorov, who happens to be one week younger than Vorobyev, to impart a little wisdom on his fellow Russian teammate about what he could expect in his NHL debut inside one of the most energy-filled arenas in hockey.

“Just enjoy it,” Provorov said of his advice. “I told him it was going to amp up compared to the preseason, and then I just let him be with his own thoughts and stuff. It’s not an easy thing coming into your first game, especially in this building with the crowd like that.”

A few days earlier, Vorobyev called just making the team “a dream come true” and was tasked with centering a pair of 30-goal scorers flanked to each side in James van Riemsdyk and Wayne Simmonds. That’s a luxury most third-line centers in the league don’t have.

“I am so happy,” Vorobyev said. “I was pretty nervous before the game, but after the first shift I felt good and my partners helped me a lot.”

There were parts of Vorobyev’s night that stood out on the scoresheet. His first NHL point — an assist — a plus-2 rating and just over 14 minutes of ice time in the Flyers’ 5-2 win over the Golden Knights (see observations). As you scroll across the page, you notice one of the areas that he still needs to improve as Vorobyev won just 14 percent of his faceoffs.

“That’s a lot coming at a young player in this atmosphere,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “He handled himself well. We’ll see on tape some things he can do a little bit quicker in terms of coverages, but he’s seeing the coverages. For a young player, that’s a real good place to start.”

But the one play that endeared Vorobyev to his teammates and even the coaching staff took place in the third period when he stepped in between a pair of Vegas players in an attempt to protect Nolan Patrick. 

“Yeah, that’s huge,” linemate Simmonds said. “We’re trying to talk about team tough and someone gets hit, and Misha is the first guy on this team that steps up for his teammates. It’s all for one and one for all.”

And one game that this Flyers rookie will certainly never forget.

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Jeremy Roenick's #AtHomeAllStar video has surprise twist ending

Jeremy Roenick's #AtHomeAllStar video has surprise twist ending

The thing about athletes and former athletes is that they're stuck at home just like the rest of us. Only their homes are way bigger and half of them have putting greens in their backyards.

Former Flyer Jeremy Roenick shared a video where he runs a little sports obstacle course of sorts as part of a #AtHomeAllStar challenge. And he's definitely got a pretty sweet backyard.

Roenick shows of the requisite hockey skills but then dabbles in other sports. It's mildly entertaining and absolutely pointless.

The twist ending is perhaps the best part. I can relate to that part, at least.

I feel like there was a missed opportunity to do a cannonball into that pool though.

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Former Flyer Rick Tocchet knows NHL is in difficult spot with coronavirus outbreak

Former Flyer Rick Tocchet knows NHL is in difficult spot with coronavirus outbreak

With much of the sports world’s future unclear, the one thing that is crystal clear is that the situation caused by the coronavirus is something that nobody expected.

Former Flyer and current Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet feels this has all been a learning experience. 

“I didn’t think it would be that long, I thought maybe two or three weeks," Tocchet said in a video interview last Thursday with NBC Sports Philadelphia, "but then you see how serious it is.”

Tocchet as a player was as tough as they come. He did everything as a member of the Flyers' franchise and won three Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins (two as an assistant coach, one as a player). Tocchet, despite being a coach, has that player’s mentality, and the current league suspension has forced him to change his daily approach a bit.

“I’m a routine guy," he said. "When you take routine away from hockey players, you get a little stir crazy, so I try to have a routine every day.”

Part of Tocchet’s routine is checking in with his players and watching video on his computer, preparing for when and if the NHL season returns. But that won’t be an easy process for hockey, which is different as far as conditioning than the other major sports. 

“Guys need to skate, they need ice," Tocchet said.

“Guys aren’t skating, and to be able to just hop back in there, you have to give these guys a seven-to-10-day training camp.”

How the NHL season returns remains to be seen. Multiple scenarios of beginning with the playoffs have been hypothesized. Regardless of what happens, the likelihood of someone being unhappy is high. 

“I don’t know what’s fair or not," Tocchet said. "If they said teams that are in now get in, I think we’d have to swallow that, and you’re in.”

Tocchet’s Coyotes are currently four points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, so that would be an unfortunate break for the former Flyer who is looking to reach the playoffs for the first time in his third year as head coach in Arizona.

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