Flyers

Why Flyers should tread carefully with Brian Elliott

Why Flyers should tread carefully with Brian Elliott

There’s a nursery rhyme aspect to the Flyers' goaltending position this season.

Something resembling Humpty Dumpty where (until recently) no matter who’s sitting atop that wall, it’s just a matter of time before they endure a great fall.

Brian Elliott is now attempting to climb back up that wall with a bandaged eggshell following another core muscle injury he suffered in a game against the Devils on Nov. 15.

The 33-year-old goaltender has ramped up his activity level to where he’s a full participant in practice, and on Thursday, head coach Scott Gordon said there’s a possibility that Elliott could see game action next week — more than likely with the Phantoms.

“There’s a lot of things that factor into it,” Gordon said, “To me, there’s no right or wrong. it’s just a feel and what feels right for the situation.”

Elliott is an unrestricted free agent and doesn’t appear to factor into next season’s plans, but on a personal level, he’s looking for employment beyond this season while proving he can be a serviceable goaltender for a team looking for help.

“I’m confident enough that I could step in,” Elliott said. “With how the team is rolling, it would be nice to get a feel for games. It’s a thing we’re talking about right now. I definitely want to be sure to take the necessary precautions to be ready and eventually help the team win some games games down the stretch here.”

Unfortunately for Elliott, the timing for him couldn’t be any worse. The Flyers have been playing their best hockey utilizing the tandem of Carter Hart and Anthony Stolarz. That duo has combined for an unthinkable .940 save percentage over their last 11 games (9-1-1), helping the Flyers cut their playoff deficit from 15 point back in mid-January to just eight points as of Friday morning.   

NBC analyst and former Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher has been part of a similar three-way timeshare, and firmly believes that if it’s not broke, why fix it, or even touch it. 

“To me, you’re chipping away at valuable NHL experience, so I would continue to play those guys (Hart and Stolarz). That’s your future, that’s what you’re looking at,” Boucher said after watching Friday’s practice at the SkateZone. “If you want to send Elliott for a game or two in the minors to see how he responds, you can do that.” 

Unless the Flyers package someone in a trade before the deadline, the team is expected keep three goaltenders on the active roster for the remainder of the regular season. It’s not ideal, but that’s the reality of a goaltending situation that has been unsettling for most of this season.

When the Flyers' braintrust ultimately chooses to give Elliott a start will not be an easy decision, and certainly not one that will be met with a favorable response. The fans have generated a buzz at the Wells Fargo Center recently, and feel a lifeline to the future of Flyers goaltending.

The perfect scenario would be to get Elliott that first start somewhere on the road, and more importantly, at a time in the schedule that wouldn’t disrupt the Flyers' current playoff push.

Otherwise, it could feel like walking on eggshells.

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Claude Giroux has No. 28 junior hockey jersey retired by Gatineau Olympiques

Claude Giroux has No. 28 junior hockey jersey retired by Gatineau Olympiques

At 30 years old last season, Claude Giroux scored 102 points in the best league on the planet.

Imagine a young Giroux playing junior hockey? He was a terror.

Giroux eclipsed the 100-point barrier in each of his three seasons with the QMJHL's Gatineau Olympiques from 2005-08.

Here were his stat lines:

2005-06 — 103 points (30 goals, 64 assists) in 69 games

2006-07 — 112 points (48 goals, 64 assists) in 63 games

2007-08 — 106 points (38 goals, 68 assists) in 55 games (added 51 points in 19 playoff games)

Giroux, who will eventually have his No. 28 retired by the Flyers, had his jersey raised to the rafters Wednesday night by the Olympiques.

Same No. 28, just a different sweater (which is awesome, by the way).

Here are some images from the night, courtesy of the great Flyers senior director of public relations Zack Hill. The first picture is Giroux with his mother Nicole and father Raymond.







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Flyers vs. Penguins Stadium Series weather forecast is looking dicey

Flyers vs. Penguins Stadium Series weather forecast is looking dicey

Lincoln Financial Field prepared for snow Wednesday.

Next will be the rain, which is difficult to work around when it comes to outdoor hockey.

That could be the case Saturday when the Flyers host the Penguins in the 2019 Stadium Series at the Linc. Puck drop is set for 8 p.m. on NBC. The chance of rainfall is at 100 percent during the evening and the rain may not taper off until early Sunday morning, according to weather reports.

All of this is things we've experienced before. We're used to it. Because of that, we're very, very prepared for weather delays. ... We can't play in a torrential downpour, but right now if you look at the weather forecast — and it does change hour by hour — there's no call for severe or heavy rain. So we're really confident based on what we're reading right now that the game will go as planned.

- NHL chief content officer Steve Mayer

Weather conditions are always a factor in outdoor games. You're dealing with an uncovered ice surface and all possible types of Mother Nature.

"Rain in large quantities, that can hurt us," Dean Matsuzaki, the NHL's vice president of events, said Monday on the the AccuWeather podcast. "First and foremost, we have to worry about player safety, so rain, snow, things like that."

It becomes even more substantial when considering the implications of the game. The Flyers and Penguins are fighting for a playoff berth. The Flyers entered Wednesday six points out of the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot, while the Penguins sat not-so-comfortably in third place of the Metropolitan Division (see standings).

"We actually joked about it after the last game [against the Pengins], 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,'" Travis Konecny said last Friday. "It's a big event for everyone to enjoy, but it might come down to one of the biggest games for us this year."

There has been no word of a potential postponement or time change for Saturday night's game. Both the Flyers and Penguins don't play again until Tuesday.

For the latest updates on the forecast, visit NBC Philadelphia right here, while checking out the sights and scenes ahead of the event below.


(AP Images)


(AP Images)

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