Flyers-Jets: What you need to know

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Flyers-Jets: What you need to know

Flyers vs. Jets – 1 p.m., CSN
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia

For the third time this season, the Flyers failed to win three straight games after opening their five-game homestand with a disappointing 5-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday.

The Flyers have not won more than two games in row all year after they had four win streaks of three or more games in the 2011-12 campaign.

Next up for the Flyers is an afternoon matchup with the Winnipeg Jets. The orange and black have struggled against the Jets over the past few seasons, going 2-10-1 in the past 13 meetings between the two teams.

Records
Flyers: 8-10-1 (Fourth in Atlantic Division, 10th in Eastern Conference)

Jets: 7-8-1 (Third in Southeast Division, 11th in Eastern Conference)

Last meeting
The last time these two clubs faced off, Brayden Schenn and Tye McGinn each scored tip-in goals set up by passes from Jakub Voracek to help pace the Flyers to a 3-2 win over the Jets on Feb. 12 in Winnipeg. Kimmo Timonen added a power-play marker and Ilya Bryzgalov made 24 saves as the Flyers earned their second consecutive victory over Winnipeg after dropping the previous six dating back to the Jets’ time in Atlanta.

Saturday’s matchup will mark the second of three contests between the Flyers and Jets this season. It is the only game that will be played at the Wells Fargo Center in the season series.

Previous games
The Flyers failed to capitalize on the momentum gained in back-to-back wins over the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins and looked tired in a 5-2 loss to the Panthers on Thursday night. Luke Schenn and Voracek got the Flyers on the board in the third period, but the game was already over by the time they beat Panthers netminder Scott Clemmensen.

Andrew Ladd, in his 500th career NHL game, registered three points and Blake Wheeler scored twice to lift the Jets to a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. Ondrej Pavelec made 27 saves for Winnipeg, which has won the first two contests of a five-game road trip after losing three in a row on home ice.

Who's hot
After a slow start to this lockout-shortened season, Voracek has been absolutely on fire for the Flyers as of late. The 23-year-old has four goals and five assists during his current four-game point streak. He is tied with the injured Matt Read for the team lead in goals with seven, and is leading the Flyers in assists (12) and points (19) through the first 19 games.

For the Jets, Evander Kane enters Saturday with at least one point in each of his last five games (two goals, three assists). The 21-year-old forward has three tallies and eight helpers in 10 career games against the Flyers.

Who's not
Max Talbot has yet to find the back of the net for the Flyers this season. He has just four assists and a minus-4 rating through 19 games. In comparison, Talbot had six goals, five assists and was a plus-2 in his first 19 contests with the Flyers in 2011-12.

Veteran forward Olli Jokinen, who signed a two-year, $9 million deal with the Jets this offseason, has gotten off to a horrendous start in Winnipeg. In 16 games, Jokinen has just two goals and two assists. He also has a team-worst minus-9 rating.

Keep an eye on ...
Danny Briere has had tremendous success against the Jets/Thrashers’ franchise in his career. In 31 games against Winnipeg/Atlanta, the 35-year-old has potted 14 goals and assisted 19 more to go along with his plus-10 rating.

After scoring both goals in Winnipeg’s loss to the orange and black earlier this season, Ladd is earning a reputation as a Flyers killer. The Jets’ captain has nine tallies in his last 10 games against the Flyers.

A lot of Winnipeg’s offense comes from its defensive corp. The Jets have received 33.6 percent of their points from defensemen, which ranks first in the NHL this season.

Did you know?
Voracek has nine career three-plus point games and two of them have come this week alone. He had a career-high four assists against the Islanders on Monday and netted his first NHL hat trick two nights later against the Penguins.

Injuries
Flyers: Read will be sidelined for six weeks after suffering torn rib cage muscles in Wednesday’s win over Pittsburgh.

Scott Hartnell (left foot) will make his return to the Flyers' lineup against the Jets. On Thursday, Hartnell said he wasn't 100 percent and was another week away from a return.

Andrej Meszaros is still recovering from a left shoulder injury. General manager Paul Holmgren said Meszaros is expected to miss another 7 to 10 days after a team doctor cleared the defenseman for “limited” practice on Thursday.

Jody Shelley (hip) and Michael Leighton (finger) are on injured reserve.

Jets: Offensive defenseman Tobias Enstrom is out indefinitely with a right shoulder injury.

Forward Antti Mietten (upper-body) and goalie Al Montoya (lower-body) are both on injured reserve and remain sidelined.

Defensive Zach Redmond is expected to miss the remainder of this season after undergoing surgery to repair a laceration to an artery in his right leg after a teammate accidentally stepped on him during Thursday’s morning skate.

Sound off
How many points will Voracek finish with this season?

Rick MacLeish's Flyers teammates react to his passing

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Associated Press

Rick MacLeish's Flyers teammates react to his passing

PITTSBURGH -- Former Flyers captain and Hockey Hall of Famer Bob Clarke was Rick MacLeish’s teammate for 12 years and two Stanley Cups.
 
“Ricky was the most talented player the Flyers had during the 1970s,” said a saddened Clarke on Tuesday, after the announcement of MacLeish’s death at 66 late on Memorial Day (see story).
 
“Life after hockey wasn’t fair to Ricky. He left us far too soon.”
 
The center from Lindsay, Ontario, had been hospitalized in Philadelphia since mid-May while suffering from multiple medical issues, according to his daughter Brianna.
 
Here’s what other teammates had to say:
 
“Ricky was a special player for the Flyers,” said Bill Barber. “He always came up with scoring the big goals and he was instrumental helping us win two Stanley Cups. He will be greatly missed.”
 
Gary Dornhoefer was MacLeish's linemate with Ross Lonsberry for almost six seasons.
 
“I’ll tell you what, he was probably the fastest player on the ice,” Dornhoefer said. “As far as a wrist shot is concerned, there was no one better at getting that shot away and accurate. Ross and I would talk and say ‘let’s just give Ricky the puck and he’ll put it in.’
 
“If you look at the amount of goals he scored [328 as a Flyer], well, that’s why we kept giving him the puck. Ross and I had cement hands, so we’d pass the puck to him. The Flyers could have a mediocre game, but because of his skills as a player and the athlete that he was, he could carry us.
 
“He was that gifted. I always felt that during the years he played, he never got the recognition that he properly deserved. He was that good. It saddens me that he was such a young man and is no longer with us. That really hurts.”
 
Bob “The Hound” Kelly agreed.
 
“Rick was probably the most gifted, natural centerman that the Flyers have ever had,” Kelly said. “He was a tough kid who skated and worked hard.
 
“Although he played in the shadow of Clarkie, he was every bit as good as Clarkie. Clarkie was more of a natural leader where Rick was just quiet and simply went out there and played his heart out. He was a great guy and it is very sad that we had to lose him at such an early age.”
 
Joe Watson made a few comparisons.
 
“I’d put him up there with [Claude] Giroux, [Eric] Lindros and [Peter] Forsberg in terms of natural skill,” Watson said. “He was a great player and we’ll certainly miss him.”

Flyers 2015-16 Redux: Defensemen - Part 1

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Flyers 2015-16 Redux: Defensemen - Part 1

Too many bodies and not enough room at the inn.

That pretty much describes the dilemma the Flyers will face this offseason in addressing their defense, which dramatically improved once Shayne Gostisbehere arrived in November.
 
If there is one thing the Calder Trophy finalist showed, it's you can't have enough quick, young feet with the ability to create offense on the back end.

Gostisbehere gave Flyers fans a glimpse into the defense's future — it's loaded with young talent. The line behind Gostisbehere is long — the deepest pool of young defensive talent in club history.
 
All eyes will be watching this fall to see whether Ivan Provorov can catapult himself ahead of Travis Sanheim, Sam Morin and Robert Hagg and win a roster spot, which means at least one blueliner must go from the 2015-16 roster.
 
“We're not going to change philosophically in terms of young players,” general manager Ron Hextall said April 27, the day after the players cleared out their dressing room stalls following the playoff loss the Washington Capitals.
 
“They have to come in and be better than someone else that's here and, if that happens, we proved last year that we'll make room in our roster for a young player that proves to us that he's ready to play at this level and make our team better.
 
“I'm not putting a player on the team so we can say we're a young team. They're going to come in here and earn a spot.”
 
Here is a deeper look back on this year’s defense:
 
Michael Del Zotto

Age: Turns 26 on June 25
Stats:52 GP; 4G, 9A, 13 PTS, -8, 23:24 MIN
Cap hit: $3.875 million.

Missed the final 28 games of the regular season following surgery to repair a broken left wrist that had been bothering him since being injured initially on Dec. 21 against St. Louis. No doubt the injury played a pivotal role in limiting Del Zotto's offensive effectiveness just one year after rejuvenating his career with the Flyers with 10 goals and 32 points and earning a two-year contract extension. Del Zotto's best years are still ahead of him. He hit his 400th career game in November. He seemed to get it this year, as to when not to join the attack. Just imagine a lineup with Del Zotto, Gostisbehere and Provorov. The 2016-17 season will see what kind of contract he can earn as an unrestricted free agent.
 
Shayne Gostisbehere

Age: 23
Stats: 64 GP, 17G, 29A, 46 PTS, +8, 20:05 MIN
Cap hit: $925,000.

What can you saw about the most dynamic and impactful Flyers rookie since Mikael Renberg, who was the franchise's last Calder finalist back in 1993-94. With bonuses, Gostisbehere earned over $1 million this season. If Mark Streit never gets injured, chances are we don't see Gostisbehere until late in the season. Yet, the way things turned out, he became a Calder finalist.

His offense from the back-end includes things fans have been yearning for: speed, agility, youth and a great shot, as well. He quickly began to quarterback the power play in Streit's absence. "Ghost" led all NHL rookie defensemen in points while setting a couple franchise records, including goals by a rookie blueliner (17).

His rawness on the defensive end was evident all the way through, yet that was expected. It's a fair tradeoff for what Gostisbehere produces at the other end. He had strong chemistry with defensive partner Andrew MacDonald. Offseason hip/abdominal surgery should not be a concern.

The sky's the limit with this kid.
 
Radko Gudas
Age: Turns 26 this June 5
Stats: 76 GP, 5G, 9A  14 PTS, -3; 19:50 MIN.
Cap hit: RFA who earned $991,666 last season.

In the beginning, there seemed to be no middle ground with Gudas. You either loved him or you hated him depending upon whether he threw a questionable hit and was faced a suspension or used his physical edge to the Flyers' advantage. By season's end, however, Gudas seemed to settle in as a consistent defensive presence.

Still, you worry about his questionable hits. His 304 hits were second in the NHL this season. He's the only defenseman the Flyers have who scares people on the back end.

His 157 blocks were second only to Nick Schultz's 174. Gudas is surprisingly mobile given his girth. He played his 200th career game in April and spent much of the season paired first with Del Zotto and then Brandon Manning. He was effective in the playoffs against the Caps.
 
Andrew MacDonald
Age: Turns 30 on Sept. 7
Stats: 28GP, 1G, 7A, 8 PTS, +10; 20:07 MIN
Cap hit: $5 million

The Flyers didn't want to pay Matt Carle $5 million per year in 2012. The fans never appreciated him and when Carle left for Tampa as a free agent, it took a while for the organization to realize Carle gave them what they wanted on the back end, which is why the Flyers overpaid in trading for and then re-signing MacDonald.

The problem was MacDonald lacked on the defensive side and quickly got caught up in a numbers game, which resulted in his starting the season with Phantoms.

Del Zotto's injury allowed MacDonald's re-entry to the Flyers and he played very well as Gostisbehere's partner right into the playoffs. He was among the team's best players in postseason. MacDonald's time spent in the AHL also saw him improve his defensive play.

MacDonald deserves a chance to remain a Flyer, but again, numbers and cap hit will again stand in his way.

Flyers legend Rick MacLeish dies at 66

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Philadelphia Flyers

Flyers legend Rick MacLeish dies at 66

Rick MacLeish, the smooth-skating centerman with a potent wrist shot whose goal lifted the Flyers to their first Stanley Cup, died late Monday night.

MacLeish was 66.
 
The center from Lindsay, Ontario, had been hospitalized in Philadelphia since mid-May while suffering from multiple medical issues, according to his daughter Brianna.

“With the passing of Rick MacLeish, the Flyers have lost one of their legends,” Flyers president Paul Holmgren said. “A good father, grandfather, teammate and friend, Rick will be missed by all who were fortunate to come and know him over the years.
 
“His happy and friendly demeanor was front and center everywhere Rick went. Today, our thoughts and prayers are with Rick’s wife, Charlene, his daughters, Danielle and Brianna along with his grandchildren. May he rest in peace.”
 
MacLeish was the Flyers’ first 50-goal scorer and second 100-point player behind Bobby Clarke, with both milestones achieved in 1972-73. A three-time NHL All-Star, he won two Cups with the Flyers.
 
He will forever be known for his power-play-tip goal in front of Boston goalie Gilles Gilbert in the first period of Game 6 of the 1974 Cup Final. Bernie Parent made the goal stand the remainder of the game.
 
MacLeish played 16 seasons, including 12 as a Flyer. He was an integral member of the Flyers’ 1974 and 1975 Cup squads.
 
MacLeish's 697 points are second only to Clarke (1,210) in club history among centers, and he ranks fourth in all-time points (697), fifth in assists (369) and sixth in goal-scoring (328).
 
His 741 games in orange and black are tied for sixth overall, and his 12 hat tricks are second only to Tim Kerr (17). MacLeish scored 54 goals with 53 assists (107 points) in 114 playoff games.
 
After leaving the Flyers, he also played in Pittsburgh, Hartford and Detroit, amassing 759 career points in 846 games.
 
Drafted fourth overall by Boston in 1970, MacLeish became a Flyer as part of three-team trade involving the Bruins and Toronto that same year.
 
Known for his effortless motion and blazing speed on the ice, MacLeish had a reputation as an unmotivated player early in his career until his breakout season in 1972-73.
 
“You can’t motivate someone who doesn’t want to play, and the Flyers didn’t keep you if you weren’t committed to winning,” teammate Gary Dornhoefer once said.
 
“It might have taken MacLeish a few years to mature as a hockey player, but he earned his keep as a member of the team.”
 
MacLeish was the Flyers’ first legitimate sniper, often wristing his deadly shot from the circles.
 
During the 1974 playoffs, he led the Flyers in both goals (13) and points (22) and finished second to Parent in the Conn Smythe Trophy voting for playoff MVP.
 
After his retirement, MacLeish dabbled in owning race horses and worked with the Flyers' alumni.
 
Among his last major public appearances with Cup teammates in Philadelphia was at the closing of the Spectrum party on Jan. 16, 2010, hosted by Flyers chairman Ed Snider, who died in April.