Evgeni Malkin

Penguins' Evgeni Malkin may have complimented Flyers fans

Penguins' Evgeni Malkin may have complimented Flyers fans

At least Evgeni Malkin understands he is not well-liked in Philadelphia, nor are his Penguins.

That is clear.

The three-time Stanley Cup champion Malkin was unhappy with Penguins fans Sunday when they sarcastically cheered Matt Murray for some saves after the goalie had allowed two markers in just over two minutes of a game against the Bruins. Murray, who has won two Cups with the Penguins, surrendered three goals in the first period of the game Pittsburgh eventually won, 4-3.

Malkin was annoyed by the mock cheers for the 25-year-old Murray.

Via a story by The Athletic's Rob Rossi, here's what Malkin said:

It was stupid.

I’m not understanding our fans. Muzz won two Cups for us. You boo him — why? If you come to the arena, support our team. All of us. We try. We play so hard this year. We work so hard through injuries. We play good hockey. Maybe not last couple games, not early this game. But we try.

I understand: You pay money for ticket, you do what you want. But it’s tough to sit on bench and hear that. I don’t like it. We hear that in Philly, not Pittsburgh.

What Malkin likely meant by his Philly comment was that the Penguins expect to be jeered in Philadelphia by the rival fans, but not by their home fans in their own building.

That irked the 33-year-old Malkin, who has played in Pittsburgh his entire 14-year career. Malkin was sticking up for a teammate, which anyone can respect.

What's also clear is Malkin probably wouldn't love playing in Philly full-time. Everybody knows the city's tough love with its sports teams. Boos are expected when expectations aren't met.

Carter Hart put it well in December:

“Sure, they get on us when we’re not playing well, but as an athlete in a big sports market, what more could you ask for?” Hart said. “They’re loyal and they’re passionate.”

Maybe Flyers fans will sarcastically cheer Malkin Tuesday night. You've got to love their creativity.

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Flyers' top 5 moments from Wired: Stadium Series

Flyers' top 5 moments from Wired: Stadium Series

It was open mic night at Lincoln Financial Field for "Wired: Stadium Series" — NBC’s one-hour special on the outdoor game at Lincoln Financial Field on Feb. 23. 

Here were the top five moments from the show:

Farewell to the 'Wayne Train'

After scoring the game-winning goal in overtime, Claude Giroux was congratulated by teammates and eventually embraced Wayne Simmonds.

“Come here, big guy. I love you. Whatever happens, I'll always love you,” Giroux said.

In the locker room, the players passed around the Player of the Game helmet as Jakub Voracek gave it up for Simmonds.

“Hopefully you’re gonna stay around. This is for you, buddy,” Voracek said.

T.K. stirs the pot

With roughly seven to eight players wearing a mic, it was just a matter of time before Travis Konecny would be caught chirping at the Penguins' players. After Nolan Patrick laid out Jack Johnson following a knee-to-knee collision, Konency let Johnson have it.

“Hey, atta boy, Johnson. Atta boy! You eating that up? Karma is a f***ing b****, eh? Eat up, bud, eat up,” Konecny said.

Later in the game, Konecny was giving it to Evgeni Malkin, the result of his stick-swinging incident at the Wells Fargo Center in that game 12 days prior. Konecny even refers to Malkin as a "f***ing nerd.” 

Hagg and Malkin exchange blows

When sorting out the penalties between Robert Hagg and Malkin, who received matching minors for crosschecking the other player, referee Dan O'Halloran was having none of it and proceeded to keep the rest of the guys in line.

“Those two are getting crosschecking penalties. Anybody else want one? Phil, you want one? Alright, let’s get the f*** out of here. Let’s go,” O'Halloran said.

Simmonds' big hit on Dumoulin

Simmonds' game-changing check to Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin sparked an all-out melee that left Simmonds defending himself, with him asking the Penguins: “Who wants it? It was a clean f***ing hit.”

Later, Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist told teammates on the bench, “Prison rules now, boys. Prison rules.”

Just prior to the second period, Pens coach Mike Sullivan wanted to let O'Halloran know that his team’s defense was decimated with injuries, which led to this exchange:

Sullivan: “So, our guy’s out with a concussion from a direct shot to the head. Simmonds leaves his feet and drives his shoulder right into his jaw. So, he’s out with a concussion, and (Kris) Letang’s out now because he got him in a headlock down to the ice. So, we lose our top defense pair on that one play. Just so you know.”

O'Halloran: “Do you have a question?”

Classic response from a veteran referee.

Pederson's cameo

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson read off the starting lineup to the players in the locker room before dropping the ceremonial first puck prior to the game. Cameras also caught the laid-back, down-to-earth head coach having a quick exchange with Giroux just before opening faceoff.

If you missed Tuesday night’s premier, you can catch "Wired: Stadium Series" on NBC Sports Philadelphia on the following dates/times. You can also stream it here.

Thursday, March 7 — 6:30 p.m.

Friday, March 8 — 5 p.m.

Thursday, March 21 — 7 p.m.

Tuesday, April 2 — 7 p.m.

Saturday, April 6 — 5:30 p.m.

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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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