Flyers, Capitals engage in another line brawl


Flyers, Capitals engage in another line brawl

It was Rivalry Night. That’s how it was billed on NBCSN before the puck dropped, but it didn’t require any advanced marketing. The Flyers and Capitals handled all the necessary promotion once the game began.

“When you play home and home, you build up a bit of bad blood, I guess,” Luke Schenn said. “It started out the same way [Wednesday]. It was a wild first period.”

Early in the first period, with the Flyers up two goals in what would become a 6-4 win at the Wells Fargo Center (see Instant Replay), Schenn checked Capitals center Ryan Stoa into the boards. It was a good hit and a hard hit and, by most accounts, a clean hit. Didn’t matter. Clean or no, it started a lengthy line brawl between the two teams.

Schenn and Tom Wilson went at it. Vincent Lecavalier and John Erskine went at it. Wayne Simmonds and Connor Carrick went at it. It seemed like everyone went at it.

While Simmonds was scrapping with Carrick, he somehow managed to grab Erskine from behind with a free arm, which allowed Lecavalier to give Erskine a good shot over the top. There were so many bodies throwing so many punches that it felt for a time like a cartoon fight -- indeterminate legs and arms flailing about from an animated dust cloud.

When the fracas finished and the limbs were untangled, the two teams were hit with a combined 56 penalty minutes. Erskine and Lecavalier all received game misconducts and watched the remainder of the evening’s proceedings from their respective locker rooms. Listening to all the infractions get announced over the PA system sounded a bit like the hockey version of an old movie gag.

“I made a hit and got asked to fight and stuff like that,” Schenn said. “That’s the way it goes sometimes. Obviously, you don’t want to see guys like Vinny get kicked out of the game. That’s a bad trade-off for us. But sometimes guys are standing up for each other and that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

While players were being pulled off each other, fans at the Wells Fargo Center chanted “Holt-by.” You no doubt remember why: Back on Nov. 1, Capitals goalie Braden Holtby played the unfortunate part of Ray Emery’s punching bag during another big brawl between the two teams.

In a coincidental twist noted by calendar aficionados and hockey fight historians, Wednesday marked the 10-year anniversary to the day of the still-infamous brawl between the Flyers and the Ottawa Senators. The Flyers and Senators combined for an astounding 419 penalty minutes that evening. A decade later, it remains a dubious NHL record.

“It was exciting for hockey and for our fans,'' Flyers goaltender Robert Esche said at the time. The story didn’t mention it, but you imagine Esche giving that quote while icing his face and fists.

Future Flyers Report: Joel Farabee's college career kicks off strong

Christina Daly/NBCSP

Future Flyers Report: Joel Farabee's college career kicks off strong

With college hockey now underway, it’s a full-go on the Flyers’ farm. The Flyers have a decent number of NCAA prospects, so this week’s Future Flyers Report will feature college players.

The Flyers have three games this week — Tuesday against Florida, Thursday at Columbus and Saturday against the Devils. Before this week begins, let’s check up on the Flyers’ prospects.

• Hockey East will be a conference Flyers fans will want to keep a close eye on with 2018 first-round picks Joel Farabee (Boston University) and Jay O’Brien (Providence College) in it.

Farabee’s career began Friday when No. 8 BU opened with a weekend series at No. 11 Minnesota State. Farabee was scoreless with a penalty Friday but scored his first goal Saturday.

With the Terriers down 3-0, Farabee called a shorthanded goal in an effort that should excite Flyers fans. He broke up a play in the defensive zone, tripped head-first and still won a foot race for the puck before depositing it into the cage with a nifty little move in tight.

Farabee was touted as a two-way winger, and the type of effort he showed on his first college goal is an example as for why scouts were high on him. He has the potential to be not only a top-six winger but a really effective penalty killer. Both things that the Flyers desperately need.

• As for O’Brien, he has yet to register a point in three games with Providence but has seven shots on target, including four in the Friars’ last game Saturday, a 3-0 loss to No. 2 Notre Dame.

• We wrote about Wyatt Kalynuk this summer, asking: “Have the Flyers found the late-round gem they covet in Wyatt Kalynuk?” This came after a tremendous freshman year at Wisconsin.

Kalynuk’s sophomore season kicked off with a bang with a two-goal, three-point, plus-5 effort Saturday night in the Badgers’ 7-5 win over Boston College to complete the weekend sweep.

Per the Wisconsin State Journal’s Todd Milewski, Kalynuk and his partner Tyler Inamoto became the first Badgers to finish as a plus-5 since Kyle Klubertanz did Jan. 12, 2008.

• Noah Cates’ collegiate career has gotten off to a solid start at Minnesota-Duluth. Cates has centered the team’s third line and has a goal and two assists in four games this season.

My linemate Jordan Hall profiled Cates this summer here.

• Tanner Laczynski has two assists in two games into his junior season. ESPN recently had Laczynski on its Hobey Baker award watch list.

• Wade Allison has yet to play this season for Western Michigan as he recovers from a torn ACL.

Quick hits
• Morgan Frost, still pretty good at hockey. Frost has points in all but two games this season. He had back-to-back three-point efforts last Wednesday and Friday. He has 15 points in 10 games.

• Isaac Ratcliffe has seven goals and 13 points in nine games this season. He has points in all but one game, had a five-game goal streak end Thursday and is currently on a seven-game point streak.

• Carter Hart’s pro career has gotten off to an up-and-down start. He was strong in his first game, stopping 31 of 34 shots in a win but then allowed four goals on 16 shots last Wednesday.

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Flyers stock watch: Scott Laughton seeing increased production, ice time

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Flyers stock watch: Scott Laughton seeing increased production, ice time

After a 1-0 loss to the Golden Knights on Saturday, the Flyers find themselves with a 2-3-0 mark through five games.

Who are the risers and fallers in our weekly stock watch? 

Stock up

Scott Laughton
Laughton’s three even strength goals leads the Flyers through five games. Starting the season on the fourth line, Laughton has also seen an increase in ice time as he’s jumped up to play with Mikhail Vorobyev and Wayne Simmonds. The left winger has also proven to be an invaluable contributor on the Flyers’ penalty kill leading all forwards in PK minutes. Saturday against the Golden Knights, Laughton’s aggressiveness led to a shorthanded breakaway. If Oskar Lindblom misses significant time, Laughton may even jump up to the Flyers’ second line once Nolan Patrick returns.

Radko Gudas
Radko Gudas should have no concerns that he’ll be replaced by Christian Folin anytime soon after Folin’s poor performance in Colorado. Gudas has not only contributed offensively with three assists in a 7-4 win in Ottawa but he’s been a steadying presence for Travis Sanheim, who is starting to develop a cohesion with Gudas as the team’s third defensive pairing. While he may be a below average puck mover, the puck possession metrics also favor Gudas despite starting a majority of his shifts in the defensive zone. 

Dale Weise
Weise started the season as the Flyers’ 14th forward and appeared to be a healthy scratch until injuries and ineffectiveness forced Dave Hakstol to utilize the 30-year-old winger. To Weise’s credit, he's effective when he plays with an edge, which he has done in his past two games. He has the speed to jump in hard and strong on the forecheck, creating takeaways and giving the Flyers’ fourth line a spark and some much-needed energy. Weise recorded two assists against Ottawa for his first multi-point effort in his last 47 games.  

Stock down

Andrew MacDonald
It’s been a slow start for MacDonald, who revealed on Friday that he’s not playing at 100 percent after coming back early from an offseason injury sustained prior to training camp. MacDonald also believes the two preseason games he played may have been premature. As a result, the Flyers’ defenseman has struggled in the first week and a half, allowing a team-high six goals at even strength. The MacDonald-Hagg pairing has also yielded a lot of time in the Flyers’ zone and a significant amount of shots on net.

Travis Konecny
Two games into the season, Dave Hakstol was ready to abandon Konecny’s role on the top line with Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux. Konecny’s ice time has taken a direct hit, playing nearly 16 minutes in the opener in Vegas to just under 12 minutes in each of his past two games. With just one assist in his first five games, Konecny doesn’t seem to be playing with the same degree of confidence he had at the end of last season when he scored 18 goals over a 33-game span. He still hasn’t weeded out the high-risk plays that can lead to opposition scoring chances.

Nolan Patrick
For a player that many expected a big sophomore season out of, it’s been a tough start for Patrick. He didn’t have a strong preseason and it appears it has carried over into the start of the regular season. Patrick left the game in Ottawa in the first period with an upper-body injury and never returned. Prior to that game, Patrick was a minus-5 over his first three games, failing to register a point centering a line with Oskar Lindblom and Jake Voracek. We haven’t seen the jump and assertiveness in Patrick’s game that we saw when he finished his rookie campaign strong.

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