October 28, 2015 |
PLAYING JUNIOR hockey in Canada doesn't usually provide the typical college experience during the ages of 18 to 20. That's not to say what Daniel Briere - who played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League - is doing now is any different, really. Consider Briere's new business school training more of an apprenticeship than a traditional college. He's getting a crash course in the business of hockey. After the Gatineau, Quebec, native retired from a 17-season NHL career over the summer, Briere, 38, was approached by Flyers president Paul Holmgren, who asked the six-year Flyers forward whether he wanted the opportunity to learn.
October 12, 2015 |
ON THE HEELS of what many called a highly successful offseason, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall made it clear in his actions the last few weeks that, despite making plenty of transactions since taking over last May, he's taking the long approach. As if going outside the box and hiring coach Dave Hakstol from a college program instead of going after proven NHL coaches wasn't proof enough, the swiftness with which he exercised his option of sending top prospects Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny and Travis Sanheim back to juniors early on in training camp proved that approach.
October 9, 2015 |
The Flyers open their schedule Thursday night in Tampa and right up until the last moments of their preparations, absolutely no one connected to the organization uttered the "R" word concerning the regular season ahead. "My expectation is not only to make the playoffs, but to hopefully make a run. Otherwise, what do we play for?" forward Jakub Voracek said after practice on Wednesday, just before the team boarded the plane for Florida. "Obviously, we have some young guys coming up, but I don't think this team is rebuilding.
October 7, 2015 |
AFTER ABOUT 30 minutes of conditioning and shooting drills during the Flyers' practice session yesterday, it all started to sink in for Scott Laughton. Someone was missing, which meant Laughton, a 21-year-old center, had made the final cut. "Hard work's just begun and I'm excited for the opportunity," said Laughton, who was drafted 20th overall by the Flyers in 2012. "Definitely when I was 18, starting those five games in the lockout year, I don't think I took them for granted, but definitely know how hard it is to make the league and to stay there too. " The Flyers finalized their 23-man, Opening Night roster yesterday, placing veteran defenseman Andrew MacDonald on waivers.
August 20, 2015 |
WHEN IT CAME time for Daniel Briere to decide in 2007 where his future in hockey would continue, the Quebec native was at a crossroads. The diminutive forward who many thought was too small and fragile to play in the National Hockey League was coming off a career-high 95-point season with Buffalo. The Sabres had the most wins in the league in the 2006-07 season and fell in the conference finals for the second straight season. But the one-year, $5 million contract awarded to him in arbitration the prior offseason had expired, and it was time for him to decide his future.
May 29, 2015 |
TWO MONTHS after Radel Fazleev commanded the attention of Flyers president Paul Holmgren and top Western Canada scout Mark Greig during a visit in Calgary, Fazleev has checked off one of his career goals. The Flyers signed Fazleev, a low-risk, high-reward sixth-round pick to a three-year, entry-level contract Thursday. Fazleev, picked 168th overall last June, wowed Holmgren during one of his Calgary Hitmen games when the Flyers were at the Saddledome in March. He played in just about every situation in Calgary, on the second-unit power play and penalty kill, and earned a reputation for his hunger for loose pucks.
May 22, 2015 |
Jim Montgomery played with Ron Hextall and coached against Dave Hakstol, and he regards them with the same measure of respect, with an appreciation for each's intelligence and open-mindedness. He was a fourth-line center on the 1994-95 Flyers, on a club that reached the Eastern Conference finals with Hextall as its No. 1 goaltender, and over Montgomery's two seasons as a college hockey head coach, his teams at the University of Denver played Hakstol's at North Dakota to a draw: three victories for Denver, three for ND, one tie. He knows the Flyers well.
May 21, 2015 |
By selecting the University of North Dakota's Dave Hakstol to direct the Flyers, first-year general manager Ron Hextall showed he is a risk-taker. "I was never a guy when I played to make the careful move or careful play," Hextall said after he surprised the hockey world by selecting a coach from the collegiate ranks on Monday. "It was always do what you think is right, do it your best, and that's what I feel like I have done by hiring Dave. I believe he is going to be a terrific hire for this organization.
May 20, 2015 |
Dave Hakstol was talking to a TV camera in another room of the Wells Fargo Center, a city that pays little attention to college hockey still buzzing and puzzled by his ascension to the NHL, and Ron Hextall descended from a dais and stepped in front of a black drape dotted with Flyers insignias. Before Hextall, the Flyers' general manager, began answering follow-up questions about his decision to hire Hakstol as the team's head coach, his predecessor, Paul Holmgren, approached him. The two had carpooled to the news conference from the Flyers' practice facility in Voorhees, and Holmgren grabbed Hextall's left hand, turned it palm-side up, and dropped a ring of car keys into it. "I'll drive myself back," Holmgren said to him. Ten months have passed since Hextall replaced Holmgren as GM, but for reasons of substance and symbolism, Monday marked the true beginning of Hextall's tenure - and of a new era for the Flyers franchise.
May 19, 2015 |
NEW YORK - Jon Cooper is the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Jon Marchessault is a 24-year-old center who has appeared in two regular-season games and two postseason games for the Lightning. Jonathan Drouin is a 20-year-old left winger who was Tampa Bay's first-round draft pick in 2013 and scored four goals in 70 games as a rookie this season. Braydon Coburn is around these three men every day, and maybe it speaks to how fully he has assimilated himself into the Lightning's culture and environment since the Flyers traded him 21/2 months ago that, when he was asked Sunday to reflect on that trade, he misidentified the man who made it. "There's a new GM there in Jon Hextall," Coburn said after the Lightning, down one game to none to the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals, practiced at Madison Square Garden.