Flyers

Wayne Simmonds provides update on contract talks with Flyers

Wayne Simmonds provides update on contract talks with Flyers

One of the Flyers' storylines of the summer that remains unanswered as training camp is now two weeks away is Wayne Simmonds' contract status.

Simmonds is entering the final season of his six-year, $23.85 million contract extension that he signed Aug. 16, 2012, and is eligible to sign an extension with the Flyers.

Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said multiple times he would like to extend Simmonds, who turned 30 on Sunday, but we haven't heard much from the player since his exit interview in April (see story).

That changed Wednesday.

"I think they've had preliminary talks," Simmonds told reporters in Toronto, "but it is what it is at this point. I got to get healthy first and foremost and show that I am the player that I was two years ago.

"For being injured, I didn't have a bad season last year, but it's still not to the best of my ability. So when we continue to talk, we continue to talk. It is what it is right now."

With training camp 16 days away, the clock is nearing midnight if the Flyers and Simmonds wanted to get something done before the season gets underway.

Obviously, they can agree to an extension at any point during the regular season, but Hextall doesn't have an extensive history re-signing players in-season.

Hextall did sign Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to a two-year extension in March of the 2015-16 season, so it's not totally out of his M.O. But you'd think they would want to hammer one out before the season gets rolling.

Simmonds has plenty of motivation this season outside of his next contract (see story). He said Wednesday that his contract status will not change the way he'll play.

"I don't think it's going to change much for me," Simmonds said. "I'm going to be the same player I always am, so it's not going to have much barring.

"I've played 10 years in this league. I've put together some pretty good years, so I don't think I have much to prove other than being the player that I am."

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Where do Flyers fall in toughest NHL rinks to play?

Where do Flyers fall in toughest NHL rinks to play?

There was a moment after the Flyers' 6-1 clunker to the Islanders on Oct. 27 that fans misconstrued a Dave Hakstol comment on social media as the head coach blaming the faithful followers for his team's struggles at the Wells Fargo Center.

Turns out, though, the Wells Fargo Center may be a tougher place to play for the home team than opposing teams.

NHL.com on Friday released its players poll of toughest buildings to play in … and the Wells Fargo Center didn't receive a single vote. According to 61 of the league's top players, the toughest rink to compete in is the Predators' Bridgestone Arena followed by the Jets, the Penguins and the Bruins. Even the Hurricanes received a vote. Sad.

Yes, apparently playing in Raleigh, North Carolina, is tougher than playing in South Philly.

Which brings us back to a comment Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said Oct. 26:

Philly fans across all sports have a reputation. You know it — something about snowballs and a drunk Santa Claus. But Philly fans wear their hearts on their sleeves, and that's what makes them so great. Of course, we cross the line at times, especially Flyers fans.

While the Flyers have struggled at home this season — 4-6-0 at the Wells Fargo Center this season entering Saturday — they've been a pretty good home team in the Hakstol era. Overall, the Flyers have been 74-40-19 at home with Hakstol behind the bench.

That said, the Flyers have been a team that has just been there mostly as it has rebuilt. Flyers fans have largely been patient throughout it, but there are pockets of games where the building here is quiet or quick to turn on the Flyers when things go bad.

Much of that is more of a testament to the team's play on the ice, at least this season.

But for the Wells Fargo Center not to receive a single vote as the toughest rink to play in for opposing players is a bit surprising.

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Flyers vs. Lightning: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers vs. Lightning: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Saturday afternoon could be interesting at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers (9-9-1) bring a close to their five-game homestand and it won't be easy as they host the Lightning (13-5-1).

Let's look at the essentials:

When: 1 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 12:30 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• Saturday's game could be a real positive for the Flyers or extremely disappointing.

If they can beat Tampa Bay, it would not only give them a winning homestand after losing two straight games, but it could also do wonders for their psyche. The Flyers would climb above .500 with a quality win on home ice in their first game without Brian Elliott for at least two weeks.

If they lose, the home swing ends with three consecutive losses, matching their worst skid of 2018-19 as concerns only grow.

• The Lightning sure can score.

Tampa Bay is tied for first in the NHL with 3.53 goals per game, while its power play is fifth (27.1 percent) and penalty kill is fourth (85.7 percent).

Brayden Point leads the Lightning charge with 12 goals and 22 points. In Tampa Bay's 4-3 win Thursday over the Penguins, Point scored a hat trick in a 1:31 span between the first and second periods.

• The Flyers would be wise to stay out of the penalty box against the Lightning.

Get this: Tampa Bay scored four power-play goals in its win over Pittsburgh.

The Flyers, on the other hand, are 3 for 43 on the man advantage since Oct. 13.

• The Flyers won't have to see Andrei Vasilevskiy (broken foot), who is 5-2-0 with a 2.38 goals-against average and .933 save percentage in his career against the orange black.

Instead, they'll get Louis Domingue, who has faced the Flyers twice, allowing eight combined goals on 65 shots.

• Claude Giroux has gone scoreless in his last two games after putting up eight points in his previous three games.

Projected lineup

Forwards
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny 
Oskar Lindblom-Nolan Patrick-Jakub Voracek
James van Riemsdyk-Jordan Weal-Wayne Simmonds
Dale Weise-Scott Laughton-Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Defensemen
Ivan Provorov-Robert Hagg
Shayne Gostisbehere-Christian Folin
Travis Sanheim-Radko Gudas

Goalies
Calvin Pickard
Alex Lyon

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