Possibilities open up for playing beyond regular season

STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Flyers chairman Ed Snider welcomes Virlen Reyes (wearing hat) and her teammates from West Chester University at the Flyers-Devils game Thursday night. Reyes is a junior defenseman for the Rams, who recently won the national Division I American College Hockey championship. Reyes, who was raised in Kensington, is a graduate of the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation. She is on the Dean's List with a 3.5 grade-point average. She began playing hockey when the foundation took over daily operations at Scanlon Ice and Recreation Center.
STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Flyers chairman Ed Snider welcomes Virlen Reyes (wearing hat) and her teammates from West Chester University at the Flyers-Devils game Thursday night. Reyes is a junior defenseman for the Rams, who recently won the national Division I American College Hockey championship. Reyes, who was raised in Kensington, is a graduate of the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation. She is on the Dean's List with a 3.5 grade-point average. She began playing hockey when the foundation took over daily operations at Scanlon Ice and Recreation Center.
Posted: April 19, 2013

WITH THE FLYERS' pipedream playoff odds dwindling by the day, opportunities will begin to crop up for players to continue playing in May - though it won't be in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Instead, quite a few Flyers likely will receive invitations to represent their countries in the World Championships in Stockholm and Helsinki from May 3-9.

According to someone familiar with Hockey Canada executive director Steve Yzerman's thinking, both Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds appear to be high on Canada's wish list.

No Flyer has been able to skate in the worlds since 2007, the last time they missed the playoffs.

Since the Flyers entered Thursday night's matchup with New Jersey five points back of a spot with five games to play, neither player was particularly eager to talk about the prospects of joining Team Canada.

"At this point, I don't really want to discuss that," Simmonds said before the game. "We've got five games left this year, it's not something I want to be thinking about right now. Then, after this year, if it comes, it comes."

It's an interesting year to be a part of Team Canada, since Yzerman - also general manager of Tampa Bay and the Canadian Olympic team - will begin to pare down a list of invitees to Canada's Olympic camp to represent the hockey-mad nation in Sochi, Russia, next February. Yzerman has a slew of great players as his disposal this spring, including Steven Stamkos, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, all three Staal brothers, Taylor Hall, and even Martin Brodeur.

Canada has not won the event since 2007.

Both Giroux and Simmonds represented Canada previously - they captured gold together at the 2008 World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic. Giroux is a virtual lock to represent Canada in Sochi. There is also the possibility Giroux declines an invitation. Through Wednesday, Giroux had played the third-most minutes (919:56) of any forward in the NHL. He'd also taken nearly 100 more faceoffs (1,078) than any other player in the league.

Yzerman also could invite Luke and Brayden Schenn. Luke Schenn won silver in 2009 in Switzerland while a member of the Maple Leafs. Scott Hartnell would likely have an outside shot.

Jake Voracek (Czech Republic), Oliver Lauridsen (Denmark), Erik Gustafsson (Sweden), Kimmo Timonen (Finland) and Ilya Bryzgalov (Russia) all likely will be given the option to continue playing. Gustafsson was visited by Swedish national assistant coach Peter Popovic last week, who mentioned the Three Crowns' interest in the Flyers' young blueliner.

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren is on USA Hockey's advisory board for the Sochi Olympics.

'Bryz' back in

After Steve Mason turned in the Flyers' most impressive goaltending performance of the season on Tuesday night against the Rangers, he was back on the bench Thursday against the Devils. Coach Peter Laviolette flip-flopped back to Ilya Bryzgalov.

The Flyers' two goaltenders have traded games consecutively since April 9 - a total of three starts apiece over six games.

"Both of our goaltenders have played really well lately, I think," Laviolette said, when asked before the game whether it was tough to decide on his starter.

Mason picked up the Flyers' first win over the season without Bryzgalov in net against the Rangers. He has posted a .941 save percentage in his four appearances since being acquired on April 3 from Columbus.

Not so Rosy

One day after signing a 2-year extension worth $1.35 million, Flyers forward Jay Rosehill was scratched against the Devils. Rosehill, 27, was a somewhat surprise signing by the Flyers - since the role of a legitimate enforcer has decreased in recent years.

Rosehill sported a swollen black eye at Thursday's morning skate from his fight with New York's Arron Asham on Tuesday, but the team did not issue any sort of injury report and he reported on time with healthy players to the game.

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