Flyers

What Petr Mrazek hopes to add to Flyers

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What Petr Mrazek hopes to add to Flyers

VOORHEES, N.J. — Petr Mrazek was the first Flyer on the ice for Wednesday's practice, spending considerable time with goaltending coach Kim Dillabaugh.

"We talked about strategy a little bit, how to square up to the puck, how to help the D and the PK and how to manage things," Mrazek said. "I think we had a good conversation and I'm looking forward to working with him and try and help the team."

Mrazek was also the first guy off the ice, an early indication that he'll make his Flyers debut Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center. Mrazek spent his first day in Philadelphia serving as Alex Lyon's backup and watched his new team from the bench, quickly noticing how the Flyers moved the puck from zone to zone.  

"Everyone was really fast in transition yesterday," Mrazek said. "We were trying to get the puck out of the zone as quick as we can."

Mrazek believes he can help facilitate quick breakouts with the way he plays the puck and working the puck to his defensemen.

"I'm really confident in playing the puck and helping the defense," Mrazek said. "I like to be involved behind the net and put the puck on their sticks and get the puck out of the zone. Especially on the road, it's very important when teams chip the puck behind the net and try to make a play out there."

Playing the puck efficiently will certainly help Mrazek rest easier, as was his first night in Philadelphia. Staying at a nearby hotel, Mrazek was able to get a good night's rest after barely getting any sleep the night he was traded to Philadelphia. 

"I was fine today," he said, "but yesterday when I woke up at four in the morning, I asked myself, 'Is this really happening?'"

Flyers-Penguins 2019 Stadium Series: Sights and sounds behind the buildup

Flyers-Penguins 2019 Stadium Series: Sights and sounds behind the buildup

A beautiful blue sky and beaming sun peered over Lincoln Financial Field ... and a makeshift rink.

Yes, outdoor hockey is nearing in Philadelphia.

In just about a week, the Linc will be lit up and the show will be on for Flyers-Penguins. Next Saturday, the two rivals meet in the 2019 Stadium Series game (8 p.m./NBC).

Many got a taste of the elements Friday afternoon when Flyers players James van Riemsdyk, Travis Konecny and Travis Sanheim, Eagles offensive tackle Jordan Mailata and Wings transition player Trevor Baptiste took part in a media session.

Here are some of the sights and sounds from the day:

Different setting, same objective

The outdoor game is always a spectacle, an event much larger than your average game. For the Flyers, though, the game itself holds great importance. When next weekend rolls around, the Flyers will have 21 games remaining in their playoff push.

They enter this Saturday's action eight points out of the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot, currently occupied by the Penguins.

"These are the sorts of games that can be a big swing," van Riemsdyk said.

The Flyers on Monday night lost to Pittsburgh, 4-1, at the Wells Fargo Center in a game with some extracurricular activity … to nobody's surprise.

"We actually joked about it after the last game there, I'm like, 'I don't know what's going to go on on the ice because it's going to be a battle out there,'" Konecny said. "It's a big event for everyone to enjoy, but it might come down to one of the biggest games for us this year."

Juicing up the rivalry

Whenever the Penguins come to town, it's anticipated.

Now the rivalry heads outside with postseason implications.

Oh, and why not add some extra spice?

Evgeni Malkin did that when he dangerously whipped his stick at Michael Raffl on Monday and then took another swing at the Flyers on Thursday (see story).

The fans will welcome Malkin appropriately.

Konecny and Sanheim aren't getting wrapped up in the drama.

Nah, I really don't pay attention to that media stuff. I just kind of mind my own business.

We know it's going to be a great game, we know everybody is going to be on edge. Going back from when [Claude Giroux] started playing here, they've had that rival from the playoffs, him and [Sidney] Crosby coming up — it's just a big rivalry that's grown and fun to play in.

— Konecny

Not really, I've heard a little bit but not that I'm looking for it. It was obviously a dangerous play and the NHL took their take on it and disciplined him. That's all I can say about it.

— Sanheim

'The fly swatter'

Mailata, a former professional rugby player from Australia, provided the quote of the day. During a photo opportunity, the 6-foot-8, 346-pounder called the lacrosse stick a "fly swatter," to the enjoyment of Baptiste and the Flyers.

Baptiste won the 2015 NCAA national championship at Lincoln Financial Field with the University of Denver.

He, Mailata and the Flyers were great sports Friday.

"It's crazy to think he's only 21 years old," Sanheim said of Mailata. "Same age as T.K."

Go play outside

The Flyers typically play in front of around 19,000 fans for home games.

The Linc can hold 69,000-plus.

"It's going to be a new challenge," Sanheim said. "When you move to the NHL, you get that excitement of playing in front of 20,000, let alone 70,000. It's definitely going to be exciting."

Konecny was a rookie when the Flyers played the Penguins at Heinz Field in 2017. He missed the game because of an injury.

"I had to watch it from TV, I didn't even get to go down to Pittsburgh, so I didn't even get the feeling of what it's all about," he said. "I'm really looking forward to it."

Especially considering his previous outdoor experience ... it's been a while.

"I was 10 on my pond out back behind my house," Konecny said.

"Playing outside is something everyone does as a kid. Especially being a Canadian, growing up, this is what we do — the cold weather brings us all together."

The temperature Friday was pleasantly in the 60s, making for a perfect day to see and feel the buildup of the Stadium Series:





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When will Philippe Myers make his debut?

When will Philippe Myers make his debut?

Philippe Myers walked into the Flyers' dressing room Wednesday morning, glanced into his stall and noticed that something wasn’t quite right.

“I asked the equipment guys, ‘Where’s my gear?’" Myers said. "I thought someone else’s pads were in my locker.”

Turns out it was Myers' equipment. The 22-year-old defenseman had no idea that the Flyers' players have two separate equipment bags — practice gear at the Skate Zone and their game day equipment.

His shoulder, elbow and shin pads that he’s worn with the Phantoms are at the Wells Fargo Center in preparation for Saturday’s game against the Red Wings, and then he’ll pack it all up and take to Detroit.

Until then, Myers is breaking in a new set of equipment, as well as trying to break into the league. There’s a feeling that Myers' debut was imminent once the team recalled him from Lehigh Valley last Saturday, but right now his NHL debut is in a holding pattern.   

“For him to come up here for a week or two weeks, it’s not going to hurt his development,” Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon said. “You have to make sure you balance the schedule for what you need, and what you potentially could need.”

Essentially, Myers has taken over the seventh defenseman role vacated by Christian Folin, who was dealt along with Dale Weise to the Montreal Canadiens. Gordon can’t risk not having that extra defenseman, especially in back-to-back situations in which the second game is on the road. 

Secondly, it doesn’t benefit Myers or the Flyers to receive a quick, last-minute call-up from Lehigh Valley when the defenseman is not acclimated to the speed of the NHL. 

“There is a pace of play that can’t be replicated in the American Hockey League to get a player used to the harder passes, receiving, making [them], bigger, stronger players that are coming down on you," Gordon said. "Right now, if anything, it’s helping his development to experience that pace of play."

Gordon could give Myers that first game and have either Shayne Gostisbehere or Andrew MacDonald sit as a healthy scratch. Gostisbhehere played just 11:24 Tuesday in Minnesota, where he finished as a minus-3 while also committing a heinous turnover in the middle of the ice that led to a prime scoring chance. 

MacDonald, Gostisbehere's partner, has performed like a third-pairing defenseman, blocking a ton of shots, but he doesn’t possess the athleticism and ability to move the puck like Myers does. However, Gostisbehere runs the point on the top power-play unit while MacDonald is utilized on the penalty kill where only Ivan Provorov and Radko Gudas see more time shorthanded.

Right now, Myers wouldn’t be utilized on special teams at all until he is better acclimated to the NHL and has worked extensively in those particular areas. 

Myers will get his shot, and soon. He’s one injury away from being the next man up and Gordon knows how important that first game will be to Myers and his family, who live in Moncton, New Brunswick. The Flyers' coach just can’t say definitively when that game will be.

“Right now, he deserves to be here and the experience of being here and playing and practicing with NHL players every day is beneficial,” Gordon said. 

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