Scott Gordon

Scott Gordon on Philippe Myers: 'He's an NHL player to me'

Scott Gordon on Philippe Myers: 'He's an NHL player to me'

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — When the public address announcer at PPL Center bellowed out Philippe Myers' name during the starting lineup introductions, the 22-year-old defenseman received a hearty applause from the fans.

Last season, he became a popular guy in Lehigh Valley as one of the Phantoms' better players before graduating to the Flyers for a 21-game taste of the NHL.

He returned to the home of the Flyers' AHL affiliate Wednesday night for the club's rookie game against the Islanders' prospects.

And everyone probably knows he won't be back anytime soon.

Myers didn't take long to make his mark Wednesday night as he bounced around a defender on the perimeter and beautifully fed German Rubtsov for the game's opening goal. The play was not representative of a rookie game.

It was big-league stuff.

"He's an NHL player to me. He played like it," Lehigh Valley head coach Scott Gordon said following the Flyers' 5-4 shootout loss (see observations). "There's no panic, he's done a great job of preparing himself the last two years to be an NHL player. He just has to have a good camp and everything else should fall into place for him."

The 6-foot-5, 218-pound Myers transformed himself from an undrafted player into a top-50 NHL prospect. The Flyers appear ready for his full-time impact within their group of defensemen. While Myers possesses intriguing offensive qualities like we saw Wednesday night, he has improved in all other areas. He moves the puck up ice, retreats well and stays within himself.

When general manager Chuck Fletcher called up Myers during February of last season, the Flyers were the NHL's hottest team and gaining steam in the playoff race. Fletcher did not have a problem trusting Myers to play important games.

The experience was extremely beneficial.

"I think the biggest thing that I learned is just try to stay calm and composed under pressure," Myers said last weekend at rookie camp. "Try not to panic out there. I got a little bit more comfortable as the games went on. I'm happy I got those first steps out of the way and that I got my feet wet in the NHL. I sort of know what to expect this year."

Gordon was summoned by the Flyers in December to serve as interim head coach. He remembers catching up with Myers back in Lehigh Valley when the blueliner was starting to get comfortable and catching the attention of others.

"I had gone down to Allentown to pick up some things and I stopped by the locker room and he was there," Gordon said last weekend. "We were just talking about his probably two-week period that I had been gone and he had said to me at that time, he goes, 'I'm getting it now. It's starting to come together where I don't feel like I have to win the game every single shift and just let the game come to me.' That's just maturity."

A maturity that has Gordon realizing he might not see Myers back in Allentown.

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How Joel Farabee separates himself and can 'take somebody's job away' with Flyers

How Joel Farabee separates himself and can 'take somebody's job away' with Flyers

VOORHEES, N.J. — Joel Farabee is as offensively talented as any prospect in the Flyers' farm system.

The 2018 first-round pick can score in a variety of ways, whether it's making a play in open ice or deceiving a goalie in close. His all-around game of speed and skill has him nearing the Flyers at just 19 years old.

That offensive ability is what many are giddy about. It's his ticket to the NHL … right?

Well, Farabee is pretty smart. The winger knows his quickest climb to the Flyers would be snatching a bottom-six role and taking on some not-so-glamorous responsibilities.

He's aware of the Flyers' job opening and its qualifications.

"Honestly, I think by the end of my career, I'll be more of a PK guy rather than a power play guy," Farabee said Tuesday at Flyers rookie camp. "I think the game really well, so I think that helps on the PK. If I can play power play, too, that would be awesome. My strengths are when I can outthink guys, so if you can use me that way, I think that's when I play my best."

It's not all too common to hear a first-round forward gush about his PK prowess. Farabee, though, truly embraces his versatility. He battles along the boards, works hard on the forecheck and thrives on beating opponents to the puck.

With training camp set to begin Friday, the Flyers have a vacancy on their third line. They have plenty of guys that can fill the power play. Their top six is crowded. But a bottom-six role and some potential penalty kill minutes are up for grabs.

Farabee clearly knows.

"I think the game really well, so I kind of know where guys are behind me and what plays they're trying to make, so I think that helps me on my forecheck and where I can break up plays," he said. "I take a lot pride in that part my game.

"I think one of my strengths as a player is being able to play all different kinds of roles. I think I can play top six and I think I can also play bottom six. I think that really helps me out trying to get to the next level when spots are open."

Among the country's freshmen last season, the one-and-done Boston University product finished tied for second in goals with 17 — three of which were shorthanded.

AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley head coach Scott Gordon liked Farabee's mindset.

"If I'm a player and you go through college and junior, you can be the best power play guy — at the end of the day, you join an organization as a rookie, you have to take somebody's job away," Gordon said. "They're not going to hand it to you. You have to really show something that separates yourself from the other guys that are on the power play.

"I look at the options that the Flyers have, good on him to be able to say, 'You know what, the reality is, I might not be able to play on the power play, so how can I get my minutes?' 

"Any player that starts his career in the minors, I think — whether he's an offensive player or not — he should have the mindset to want to be a good bottom-six guy in the American League. It doesn't mean that you don't play offense, but do all the things that a bottom-six guy in the NHL does, whether it's being good defensively, maybe it's a matchup, maybe it's killing penalties, whatever it might be — to give yourself an opportunity to keep you in the lineup because of your versatility."

Like it is with any job, the more you can do, the better.

And Farabee gets that.

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Scott Gordon talks decision to return, Flyers' coaching staff and Ivan Provorov-Shayne Gostisbehere

Scott Gordon talks decision to return, Flyers' coaching staff and Ivan Provorov-Shayne Gostisbehere

VOORHEES, N.J. — Scott Gordon was back at Flyers Skate Zone as the team's annual development camp kicked off Tuesday. Following a morning session, Gordon made his way up to the media room wearing a long-sleeved Phantoms pullover.

He is head coach of the Phantoms again. In mid-April, he was told he would no longer be the Flyers' head coach after serving on an interim basis since Dec. 18. The Flyers hired Alain Vigneault as their new bench boss, creating a decision for Gordon following some disappointment of not landing the full-time gig with the big club.

How long did he mull over the opportunity to return as head coach of AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley?

"Not long," Gordon said.

"I kind of went into it with the expectation of that's where I was going to end up."

Gordon said he "didn't have any interest in being an assistant with the Flyers" and made that clear to Chuck Fletcher prior to the general manager's decision on the head coaching job. Gordon said there were "a couple of situations" regarding interest from other NHL teams, but no conversations about head coaching jobs.

Gordon was ready to be back in Lehigh Valley. After all, there's plenty of appeal to the Phantoms. Not only has Gordon had success in Lehigh Valley, but the Phantoms are also expecting a rush of young talent infusing their roster.

Names like Joel Farabee, Morgan Frost, Isaac Ratcliffe, Matthew Strome, Maxim Sushko, Felix Sandstrom and Kirill Ustimenko are all potentially joining the likes of Carsen Twarynski, Mikhail Vorobyev, German Rubtsov and Mark Friedman, just to name a handful.

"Part of the thing that makes the job great down there is we do have some great prospects," Gordon said.

"It's something that has been building over time."

While Gordon would love to be leading the Flyers, he's impressed with the club's mostly new coaching staff and is excited to work with it. Vigneault, Michel Therrien and Mike Yeo all bring vast experience to the table. Vigneault has two Stanley Cup Final appearances on his résumé, Therrien owns one and Yeo hoisted the Cup in Pittsburgh as an assistant. Altogether, the trio has 2,512 games of NHL head coaching experience.

"All three of those guys have had levels of success in the NHL," Gordon said. "Pretty remarkable to have three quality coaches on one staff. It should be a good thing for the Flyers."

Gordon has also liked the additions of Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun, specifically because of what the two accomplished blueliners can do for Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere.

"As good as Provy and Ghost are, they're two veteran defensemen who have been in the league [only] three or four years," Gordon said. "Those guys, whether they end up playing together anymore or end up playing with Niskanen or Braun, they're playing with people that aren't cutting their teeth while they're still young in their careers. That's a huge thing for the team — guys that have been in the Stanley Cup Final, winning the Stanley Cup, that's huge for the development of the those guys." 

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