Tyrell Goulbourne

Goulbourne 'shot in the arm' Flyers needed

Goulbourne 'shot in the arm' Flyers needed


An NHL tough guy is born … or should we say bourne?

Flyers rookie winger Tyrell Goulbourne took his opening NHL shift and made it a rather memorable one, leveling one of the league’s top defensemen, Alex Pietrangelo, which set up Scott Laughton and the team's first goal Saturday afternoon.

Surprisingly, it was Goulbourne who had a sense of fear coming in.

“It was amazing,” Goulbourne said. “I can’t really explain how it felt. I was scared before the game. My legs were shaking. It felt really good after that first shift. I just wanted to get a hit in there. Laughts kind of teed him up nice. I just wanted to finish my check. I’ve always been an energy type player.”

“Everybody’s excited for a player to go out and have success on his first shift,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “It empowers him and for sure it’s a shot in the arm for the entire bench. Obviously, he had a big impact on that first shift to go out and play the way he plays.”

While the Flyers certainly don’t need to resort to overpowering teams physically, Goulbourne’s intensity and toughness are an element embraced when coaches and GMs are looking for a lift at some point throughout an 82-game schedule.

“You see him coming and you kind of want to get out of the way,” goalie Brian Elliott said. “I didn’t know what happened on his first shift, but the boys were saying that it was definitely a good one.”

Before Pietrangelo and the Blues knew what hit them, they were trailing 4-0 just 31 minutes and 45 seconds into the game, as the Flyers cruised to a 6-3 victory (see observations).

A game that also proved to be a not-so-memorable return for Blues center Brayden Schenn, who played for the first time in Philadelphia since the offseason trade.

Schenn was held pointless, finished as a minus-1  and won just five of 17 draws. Not only did the Flyers own Schenn in the faceoff circle, but Claude Giroux welcomed him back with a surprising check that knocked him down at center ice.

“He kind of gave me a shot and I gave him a shot right back," said Giroux, who scored his 14th goal, matching his scoring output from last season. "I think he just fell, but it was pretty funny."

Officially the midway point of the season, Giroux is once again top five in scoring and on pace for a 100-point season.

“You want to be the best player you can be at all times,” Giroux said. “Being able to have that chemistry with Coots makes my job a lot easier. I think when you get older you kind of learn from your mistakes.”

The Flyers scored six goals in back-to-back games for the first time since February 2013 after defeating the Islanders, 6-4, Thursday. Finally, consistency is beginning to set in within the team’s secondary scoring lines.

“I think we got everyone going early in the game and guys are ready,” said center Sean Couturier, who scored his 20th and 21st goals of the season. “Guys come out strong and we established our game, and I think it obviously helps a lot when you get a good start and go from there.”

Slow starts have been a Flyers trademark over the first half of the season. Their 2-0 lead after the opening 20 minutes was the first Flyers first-period lead since Dec. 7 at Vancouver.

Now just cut and paste that first shift from Goulbourne moving forward.

Planes, Trains and Frozen Toilets — Goulbourne's wild journey to Flyers

Planes, Trains and Frozen Toilets — Goulbourne's wild journey to Flyers

VOORHEES, N.J. — New Flyers forward Tyrell Goulbourne had to overcome an unusual obstacle on his way to the NHL — a frozen toilet.

Promoted from Lehigh Valley earlier this week, Goulborune was supposed to join the Flyers in time for their tilt with the Islanders on Thursday, but the weather had other plans. The 23-year-old’s flight was cancelled because of the malfunctioning bathroom in coach, setting off a chain reaction that ultimately resulted in his missing the contest.

“I think I missed four flights,” Goulbourne said. “Four of them were pushed back. I had to clear customs, go back in, clear it again. It was miserable.”

Goulbourne was on a bus to Toronto for a game with the Phantoms when the call-up came, and tried to quick catch a plane back to Philadelphia for his NHL debut. After spending about 24 hours on the road, he eventually joined the Flyers for practice on Friday.

“It’s kind of the old 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' it sounds like for him,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said, referring to the 1987 movie, “but he made it in last night. It’s good to have him here at practice.”

It was worth it, said Goulbourne, who needed 24 hours to travel all of 350 miles — a roughly one-and-a-half hour flight that he compared to taking a trip to Europe.

“I can relax now a little bit,” Goulbourne said. “It’s tough that I couldn’t play (Thursday), but I’m here now.”

Goulbourne will likely make his debut on Saturday when the Flyers host the Blues, skating on the fourth line with Scott Laughton and Jori Lehtera.

A third-round draft pick by the Flyers in 2013, Goulbourne became a fixture on Lehigh Valley’s penalty kill this season. However, the 5-foot-11, 195-pound left-hander is perhaps better known for his willingness to drop the gloves during his time in the minor leagues.

“I played on the first line in junior,” Goulbourne said. “I’ve never been just a guy to go out and fight. I’ve always played the game both ways, both ends of the ice.

“Having so many fights, that’s what people say. You get that label right away. I’ve always been a guy who plays well in our defensive zone and can contribute offensively, too. But the enforcer, I’ve never really been one.”

The Flyers are hoping Goulbourne plays with the same energy at this level.

“If he’s in the lineup, he’s going to go out and do the exact same things that he’s been doing down in Lehigh Valley,” Hakstol said. “He’s been a real consistent player there. He’s been a hard-nosed, two-way forward.

“He skates really well, and from their staff there, he’s been one of their most consistent players playing that straight-line, tenacious brand of hockey.”

Goulbourne was considered an unlikely call-up. There are several more highly-touted prospects at Lehigh, including Oskar Lindblom, Danick Martel and Mike Vecchione. In fact, Goulbourne was demoted only a year ago, spending 36 games with the Flyers’ ECHL affiliate in Reading.

That’s about the time when Goulbourne realized he needed to reinvent himself if he was ever going to make it to the NHL.

“It’s all been consistency,” Goulbourne said. “My first year, I’d have a really good game, then disappear for a week. It happened last year, and starting this year, I knew I had to change. It’s the last year of my contract, and I wasn’t going in the right direction.

“I changed my whole mindset up, I’ve been consistent, and that’s exactly what they told me to do.”

His promotion is partly a matter of circumstance, too.

“There’s a lot of high-end players on our team down there,” Goulbourne said. “[Flyers general manager Ron Hextall] says we want some energy and some physical play, and I think that’s what I bring to the table.

“I just want to use my speed and get to the areas that are hard to get to.”

Still, even Goulbourne was surprised by the news.

“I was thinking, ‘Is it April or not,’” Goulbourne said. “I was excited. I’ve worked really hard this year, and it’s really nice to be up here.”

There’s another way of looking at Goulbourne getting the nod over the likes of Lindblom, Martel or Vecchione. The Flyers have had some trouble giving 60 minutes of high-end effort game in, game out this season. Adding a rookie to the mix, and particularly somebody with a lot to prove, could give the team the spark it needs.

The Flyers played with a lot of energy in a 6-4 victory over the Islanders on Thursday (see story), despite the fact that Goulbourne never made it to the arena. Yet, Hakstol insists that was a coincidence, and there is no hidden agenda behind Goulbourne’s promotion.

“I’m not looking for any messages or anything like that,” Hakstol said. “We talked to the team about being better in our own building, about getting off to a better start and sustaining that through 60 minutes.

“That’s not about one guy. It’s certainly not about one call-up. That’s about our group, and the urgency our group played with from the drop of the puck last night is what we want to look at on a nightly basis, especially in our own building.”

Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny stick around as Flyers send 10 to Phantoms

Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny stick around as Flyers send 10 to Phantoms

Travis Sanheim, Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny are still alive.

The Flyers reduced their roster to 39 players on Thursday, assigning 10 players to the Phantoms for their separate training camp, which opens on Friday in Lehigh Valley.

There were no major surprises among today’s cuts.

Goaltenders Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon, both of whom were outstanding during exhibition play, report to the Phantoms as the No. 1 and No. 2 candidates in net.

Stolarz had a 1.36 goals-against average and .944 save percentage in 88 minutes of game action. Lyon had a 0.67 GAA and .972 save percentage in 90 minutes of playing time.

Together, they teamed up for the 2-0 victory on Wednesday against the Devils (see 10 observations).

Also assigned were defensemen Robert Hagg and Reece Wilcox, plus forwards Radel Fazleev, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Tyrell Goulbourne, Corban Knight, Danick Martel and Mark Zengerle.

After four games in three nights, the entire camp roster had a complete off day on Thursday.

Sanheim and Provorov have stood out on defense with the latter virtually certain to make the team.

Konecny was very impressive in exhibition play on Wednesday (see story), and will be given a long leash in camp because of the competition at forward.

Both he and Provorov are just 19 and can only go back to junior if they don’t make the final cut with the Flyers.

Schultz injury
Wednesday’s announcement that veteran defenseman Nick Schultz would miss four to seven days with a lower body injury — a minor MCL sprain of the knee, according to sources — means extra opportunity for several younger defensemen.

Remember, Radko Gudas still is not 100 percent, but getting close to it with his right wrist fracture (see story). The two benefactors here could be Sanheim and Sam Morin. Provorov was going to be around until the very end, anyway.

The Flyers have four preseason games remaining. Schultz is expected to return for at least one of the final two games.

Alt injury
Defenseman Mark Alt, who would likely head back to the Phantoms for a fourth season, is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury suffered during a fight in Wednesday's preseason game. According to a source, it's a shoulder sprain from when he fell in the fight and hit the ice. The Flyers will know more in the next few days.

Inside Golf
The weekly 30-minute segment will feature the Flyers Celebrity Golf Tournament and the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation when it airs on CSN on Sunday, Oct. 2, at 10 a.m.

Harry Donahue visited Trump National Golf Course in Pine Hill, New Jersey, earlier this month to catch up with the Flyers. Others on hand are Mark Messier and ESYHF President Scott Tharp, plus Snider Hockey Chairman of the Board Bill Whitmore to learn about Snider Hockey.

The event raised over $1.6 million. You can catch the broadcast on CSN on Oct. 3 and Oct. 5 at 4 p.m. It will also air on TCN on Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 3 at 5 p.m.