Catching up with Flyers playing abroad during lockout

Posted: October 24, 2012

WITH NO NEW formal bargaining sessions scheduled between the NHL and its players' association this week, we figured this was a prime opportunity to update you on the Flyers' happenings abroad:


Claude Giroux and Danny Briere continue to tear up the German Elite League for Eisbaren Berlin. Giroux led a seven-goal third-period explosion for the Polar Bears by notching the first goal of a 7-1 win in front of 14,000 fans.

Briere assisted on the Polar Bears' final goal of the game. He has three goals and eight assists for 11 points in four games, 10 of which came in the first three games. Giroux has 10 points in four games.

Sunday marked the first time in four games that Briere and Giroux were not on the same line together in Germany. The Polar Bears are traveling to Sweden this week for a European Trophy contest.

With their 30-day contracts up, Wayne Simmonds and childhood friend Chris Stewart (St. Louis Blues) are moving on from German second-tier club Crimmitschau. Simmonds' agent, Eustace King, said both players are signing with Liberec in the Czech Republic's Extraliga. Simmonds, 24, finished with 14 points in his nine-game stay in Crimmitschau.


Ilya Bryzgalov's struggles from last season have continued, halfway across the world in Moscow. Despite the offensive support of a lineup that boasts KHL leading scorer Alexander Radulov (Nashville), Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit) and Mikhail Grabovski (Toronto), Bryzgalov has only one win to show in his four starts for the Central Red Army team.

Yes, Bryzgalov plays for the same famous franchise that the Flyers pounded on Jan. 11, 1976, at the Spectrum as part of the Super Series.

Bryzgalov has allowed 13 goals on 115 shots (.887 save percentage) with a 3.27 goals-against average. He has even been alternating as the backup, sometimes sitting out games under the watchful eye of general manager Sergei Federov. In one of his recent starts, Bryzgalov tripped and fell in the crease for no apparent reason - which was captured and displayed on YouTube for all to see - much to the delight of Russian newspapers and broadcasters.

Bryzgalov could start against Jake Voracek's HC Lev Praha team in Prague on Thursday night. Voracek, 23, hasn't played since Oct. 6 because of a knee injury. A Lev Praha spokesman told the Daily News the team hopes Voracek can return to practice this week. Voracek netted seven points in his first seven games with Lev, a team that also features Boston captain Zdeno Chara.

Ruslan Fedotenko leads HC Donbass in ice time (18:36 minutes per game) this season, but has little to show for it in terms of points. Fedotenko, who signed a 1-year deal as a depth player with the Flyers this summer, has one goal and three assists in 13 games with the fledgling club. Donbass, the first Ukraine-based team in the KHL, is near the bottom of the standings with a 5-9-2-3 record.


Skating alongside Rangers forward Carl Hagelin, Matt Read is off to a strong start for Sodertalje SK in Sweden's second division. Read has collected two goals and eight assists for 10 points in only five games. He's tied for the team lead in points.

Unfortunately, Read will not be joined by Flyers defenseman Nicklas Grossmann in Sodertalje, which is a suburb of Stockholm. A Swedish newspaper report says the club could not find a viable sponsor to saddle Grossmann's insurance costs, which are presumably high coming off knee surgery and a fresh, 4-year, $14 million deal with the Flyers. Grossmann grew up playing for Sodertalje.


Tough guy Tom Sestito, whom the Flyers chose to not risk on waivers in September, racked up an automatic three-game suspension on Sunday in his fourth game with the EIHL's Sheffield Steelers. He received a match penalty and was ejected from the game in the second period for a hit that made head contact.

Sestito also went back and forth chirping with fellow North American Benn Olson - a player he has fought in the AHL - on Twitter, saying Olson "throws pillows" in fights. Sestito, 25, has three goals, three assists and 54 penalty minutes in four games.

Slap shots

Phantoms owner Jim Brooks announced on Monday that the team will officially relocate from Glens Falls, N.Y., to Allentown in 2014, rather than 2013, as originally planned. Lawsuits by neighboring municipalities delayed the construction of the brand-new, 8,500-seat arena in downtown Allentown . . . Of the Flyers' eligible players, only Scott Hartnell, Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Nicklas Grossmann, Jody Shelley and Michael Leighton have not signed overseas. Max Talbot and Bruno Gervais are part of a group of players (with former Flyer Simon Gagne) touring through Quebec on a charity circuit.

Contact Frank Seravalli at Follow him on Twitter @DNFlyers. For more Flyers coverage and opinion, read his blog at