An Obligatory Check-in with James van Riemsdyk amid Maple Leafs Visit to Philly

An Obligatory Check-in with James van Riemsdyk amid Maple Leafs Visit to Philly

We’ll be keeping an eye on the trajectory of their careers for
years to come, but we are reminded to check in on the James van
Riemsdyk-for-Luke Schenn swap every time the Flyers meet the Toronto Maple
Leafs. JVR makes his first trip back to the Wells Fargo Center since he was
traded on Monday night, and he returns with 11 goals already in 2013 – good for
sixth place in the NHL.

Van Riemsdyk has really begun to flourish for Toronto, his
15 points tying him for the clubhouse lead with All-Star Phil Kessel and
impressive young center Nazem Kadri. JVR has been by far their best goal-scorer
though – the next-closest player on the team is the surprising Matt Frattin
with seven – and he’s been lighting the lamp in bunches, earning his third
multi-goal game of the season last Thursday versus Buffalo. Van Riemsdyk is
also in a tie for eighth on the NHL leaderboard in shots on goal.

There’s no question the change of scenery continues to be a
good thing for the Middletown, New Jersey native. He’s showcasing true All-Star
potential, and perhaps is on the verge of finally living up to his status as
the second-overall pick in the ’07 draft if he can keep up this level of
production.

You hate to let a player go when he has that kind of ability,
but I’m not sure you would say the Flyers got robbed or anything. The change of
scenery has mostly been kind to Luke Schenn as well, who has quickly become
Philadelphia’s most physical presence on the blue line. Schenn is fifth in the
NHL in hitting (second on the Flyers to Zac Rinaldo), and his 41 blocked shots
puts him among the league leaders in that category as well. He hasn’t been
afraid to drop the gloves, either.

It’s too soon to declare either side winners or losers, but
even amid JVR’s breakout year it’s hard to feel bad about the exchange. The
Flyers’ offense has been on a roll of late, climbing to eighth in the rankings with
2.90 goals per game, so it’s not as if they miss him desperately. Despite the
addition of Schenn though, Philly is allowing the eighth-highest goals
against at 3.05, so obviously they still need work on the back end.

Of course JVR drew first blood on his old team two weeks ago,
skating right around Schenn then finding twine to put the exclamation point on a
5-2 Maple Leafs win. However, it could be awhile before we know who has the last
laugh.

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Flyers-Panthers 5 things: Eyeing longest win streak since Ilya Bryzgalov was in net

Flyers-Panthers 5 things: Eyeing longest win streak since Ilya Bryzgalov was in net

Flyers (14-10-3) vs. Panthers (12-11-3)
7 p.m. on CSN and CSNPhilly.com, Pregame Live at 6:30

The Flyers, on the NHL’s longest current win streak, will try to extend it to six games when they host the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Let’s get you set for the matchup with five things to know:

1. Push it to the limit
The Flyers beat the Predators, 4-2, on Sunday to give them their most consecutive wins since March 15-22, 2014, when they also won five in a row.

A victory on Tuesday would mark the team’s longest win streak since Dec. 2-15, 2011, when it won seven straight and Ilya Bryzgalov was in net — yeah, that long ago.

Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol has been pleased with the consistent effort by his club after it collapsed Nov. 11 in a 6-3 loss to the Maple Leafs.

“You go back to that poor performance up in Toronto, which was about a dozen games ago,” Hakstol said Monday. “Since that point in time, I think we’ve really taken pride in the consistency of our play and worrying about what we do on a day-to-day basis. It’s real important that we continue to do that.”

2. Leier hops right in
With Matt Read out approximately a month because of an oblique muscle pull, winger Taylor Leier has been recalled from AHL affiliate and will join Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Dale Weise on the Flyers’ third line Tuesday.

Leier, a 2012 fourth-round pick of the Flyers, gets his chance after proving himself with the Phantoms in 22 games, putting up 20 points on six goals and 14 assists.

The Flyers decided it was Leier over Scott Laughton, who has been sent back down to Lehigh Valley. Leier's earned his second call-up of the season with the Flyers. The first was just for one game on Oct. 25 in which he was a healthy scratch. Last season, the 22-year-old made his NHL debut, going scoreless in six games.

3. Mason on a roll
Speaking of consistency, goalie Steve Mason finally finding a rhythm is a big reason why the Flyers are stringing together wins.

In his last four games, the 28-year-old is 4-0-0 with a 1.71 goals-against average and .945 save percentage. He was honored for his play by being named the NHL’s first Star of the Week.

“Right now, there’s a comfort level with the guys in front of me,” Mason said Monday. “Winning five in a row is nice and we’d like to keep making ground in the standings.”

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: Ever since Michael Del Zotto returned to the lineup from his three-game benching, the orange and black have won five straight. Now there’s no direct correlation, but Del Zotto is providing a stable presence defensively and chipping in offensively with four points (two goals, two assists) over the five-game run.

Panthers: Center Aleksander Barkov leads Florida in assists with 12 and has eight points (two goals, six assists) over his last nine games for a plus-5 rating.

5. This and that
• Mason is 8-3-2 with a 1.95 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in 13 career games against the Panthers.

• Florida goalie Roberto Luongo, who has a 2.15 goals-against average this season, is 9-10-3 with a 2.83 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in 23 games lifetime against the Flyers.

• The Panthers are 1-1-2 since general manager Tom Rowe took over head-coaching duties for the fired Gerard Gallant.

• The status of Radko Gudas (sick) for tonight’s game is uncertain. He’s missed the last two contests.

• Florida defenseman Keith Yandle’s ironman streak of 577 games will come to an end Tuesday as the 30-year-old is expected to miss some time with a lower-body injury.

• It’s unknown if Panthers leading goal scorer Jonathan Marchessault (lower-body injury) will play Tuesday. 

Philly brewery creates Ghost Bear beer in orange and black can

Philly brewery creates Ghost Bear beer in orange and black can

Who doesn't love a good dance around sports league licensing deals?

The bootleg T-shirt business is a cottage industry keeping sports fans in Philadelphia sharply dressed for years.

There's something to be appreciated about the creative marketing that hints at something but doesn't expressly break any rules.

Conshohocken Brewing absolutely killed it with the naming and branding on their latest beer: the Ghost Bear Golden Ale that just so happens to be in an orange and black can.

Now, some hockey fans who watch plenty of Flyers games might say it's in honor of defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, but whose to say it's not simply a beer named after a couple of wonderful emojis. Namely the ghost and the bear,

I, for one, applaud them on their branding. You can pick one up at their local brew pubs or at the release party over in Fishtown on Friday.

And what a world we live in where Joel Embiid wants to create his own line of Shirley Temple beverages and there's a beer seemingly named after a Flyer who gets the healthy scratch.