Unleash Your Inner Hextall This Valentine's Day

Unleash Your Inner Hextall This Valentine's Day

With today being Valentine's day and with the growing trend of legendary Flyers goalies sharing their one-of-a-kind love advice, we have a special note for you lovers from none other than former Flyer great Ron Hextall.

Okay dorks, listen up. Let's forget my career with the Philadelphia Flyers. The goals I scored, the clanging of pipes, giving Chris Chelios nitemares for the rest of his life.  Even though these  events have opened many doors and won me a Stanley Cup with Flyers West, I am here to introduce you to another side of me. The human side of me. The passionate side. The cuddly side: the "Ron".

I have been to the very top. The top of Rock. The top of Ol Smokey. The very top of a pile of 1988 Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders. But I'm telling you, we are meant for so much more. If you make the active decision to unleash your inner "Ron", to face your doubts, to get in there and cuddle up with your fear monsters, you too can accomplish your goals.

If you think fear and risk are behind us, or if you think Kjell Samuellsson and Mark Howe are going to stop everything before they get to you, you couldn't be more wrong.

On December 31st, 2011, I took one of the biggest risks to date.

Let me paint this picture for you. You are at Dalessandro's in Roxborough. It's crowded.  It's cramped. It smells delicious.  In walks Scott Stevens, Ken Daneyko and Claude Lemieux.  They look angry.  They keep asking for "steaks with cheese".  Ken Daneyko starts getting angry. Drinks are spilled and babies start crying. Those three Devils just laugh and laugh and laugh. I knew it was up to me to set these idiots from East Rutherford straight. There was nothing else I could do.

I ad no choice but to let me "Ron" take over and unleash my inner passion. These fools in that tiny cheesesteak were about to learn a lesson only Ron Hextall could teach them. I got up from my stool, put on my waffle and glove and danced. for. my. life. I danced until I couldn't feel my legs. Leg spins, Harlem shakes, pirouettes, everything. The inner "Ron" was released that day in Roxborough. I danced until the world faded and all that was left was me and the music.

The Devils ran, and I can still hear Scott Steven's whimpering cries as he sped off in his IROC. I did it.  I saved the day. I, Ron Hextall, was a hero. I accomplished something that only a performance of that stature would provide; not thinking about it, not dreaming it, but doing it.

The "Ron" would not let my fear of the unknown hold me back, and I reaped the greatest benefits…and also the best cheesesteak.

Now that I've set the tone, revealed my goal to help people find their inner Ron, I'd like to turn my focus to the month of February and Valentine's Day.

For some, Valentine's Day is a game 7 victory over the Boston Bruins after being down three games to none. For others, it's a soft Patrick Kane goal through the five hole.

Being that I'm the one and only Ron Hextall. The master of the mustache. The good, better and best goalie in all the land, I have the same message for both types of people:  Find your "Ron".

If you are single, allow yourself to do some inner-searching and find the person that you want to be (read: Me) so you are ready and willing to share the next Flyers game and some ice cold brewskies when the time comes. Remember, happy feelings will attract happy PECO power plays.

For those of you that are in a relationship, let your partner be their own Ron. Yes, you read that right. All of you who are in love are now in love with me, Ron Hextall. Don't restrict your partner. Let them fulfill who they are as an individual; especially if it means dancing uncontrollably and cuddling up with a Phillie Phanatic pillow pet. If you love your Ron, let them go, let them do, they will explore and be their own Ron Hextall.  This is the only way the bond between two Ron Hextalls can become stronger.

Don't leash them, don't cage them, just have fun. And do it together. And with your neighbors. And maybe the milkman. And maybe Steve Coates.

Stay horny, my friends.

-The Most Interesting Man in Philadelphia Named Ron Hextall

Ron Hextall

Flyers' defense continues to abandon team through 1-2-1 start

Flyers' defense continues to abandon team through 1-2-1 start

It was the home opener Thursday night and his team went 1 for 7 on the man advantage with five such opportunities in the second period alone.

However, Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol remembers one play more than any other in his team’s 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks at the Wells Fargo Center (see game recap).

The Flyers had swung and missed on their final power play of the middle stanza, when the Ducks came pushing up ice with post-kill energy. Somehow, Anaheim came barreling down on the Flyers with a four-on-two rush seconds after the orange and black just had the benefit of an extra player.

Center Ryan Getzlaf dumped a pass back to winger Corey Perry, who had all the time in the world to wind up and blast one home thanks to 6-foot-4 Getzlaf’s screening of 6-foot defenseman Ivan Provorov.

Just like that, the game was tied when it looked like the Flyers would add cushion and cruise into the third period with a lead to protect.

“Our power play was OK,” Hakstol said. “The bigger thing for me is the goal that we gave up a few seconds after the last power play in the second period. Those are the type of goals as a team that we can’t give up.”

The rookie Provorov couldn’t find his way around the veteran Getzlaf, while defenseman Brandon Manning stayed in retreat, allowing Perry to unleash a slap shot.

“It’s the best league in the world, the best players play here,” Provorov said. “Even a little mistake can cost you, slightly out of position can cost you. I’m still learning.”

Provorov has endured his rookie lumps through the Flyers’ 1-2-1 start. A game after finishing with a minus-5 rating against the Blackhawks, the 19-year-old committed two giveaways and a cross-checking penalty for a minus-1 mark Thursday.

Nonetheless, the Flyers went from a man up to two down in a matter of seconds to relinquish the lead.

“We didn’t handle that well,” Hakstol said. “When you give up a four-on-two after you’ve had those kind of opportunities, it’s going to change the momentum of the game.”

Were the defensemen in a bad spot?

“Yes,” Hakstol said.

Poor defensive coverage cost the Flyers momentum in the second and the game in the third.

About midway through the period, Ducks defenseman Korbinian Holzer carried the puck behind goalie Steve Mason before adeptly finding Ryan Garbutt uncovered with a reverse pass. The Anaheim center scored easily top shelf as Flyers defensemen Andrew MacDonald and Shayne Gostisbehere were caught standing in front of the net without seeing Garbutt.

“We had a little bit of tired legs,” Hakstol said. “We lost coverage on that play. There was a switch. We didn’t lose coverage for long. We had communication, we had talked, but we lost coverage for a split second and that allowed them to make the play to the same side on the backdoor.”

Gostisbehere had trouble working his power-play magic and played big minutes with 22:58 of ice time.

“They’re a big-bodied team,” Gostisbehere said. “We just have to make our plays a little quicker.”

Even on the Ducks’ first-period marker, an outlet pass found its way behind the defense of Provorov and Gostisbehere. Over the first four games, the Flyers have allowed 16 goals, tied for the NHL’s most.

“You’re playing against a heavy team and they put a lot of pressure on the group back there when they’re able to get pucks deep,” Hakstol said. “So, I don’t think it was particular to one or two guys. When you let them gain the zone with some speed and get in on pucks, they’re a heavy team to handle.”

Facing a heavy team or not, the Flyers know defensive execution must be cleaned up.

“I think that from everyone’s personal standpoint we can all be better,” Mason said. “When you lose three games in a row, we can’t worry about what other people are doing, you just have to focus on your own job. From a goaltender’s perspective, personally, I have to find ways to come out and get a win here.”

Flyers' celebratory home opener spoiled by 'big-bodied' Ducks

Flyers' celebratory home opener spoiled by 'big-bodied' Ducks


It should have been a grand evening of celebrating 50 years of hockey in Philadelphia and Ed Snider’s legacy.
Instead, it evaporated into the Flyers' third straight loss, 3-2, at the hands of the Anahiem Ducks (see Instant Replay).
Coach Dave Hakstol could blame his power play for failing six times in seven chances, but even five-on-five, the Flyers lacked. The Ducks take teams to the net and make you pay, as the players on their roster average a 13-pound advantage than the average Flyer.
“You’re playing against a heavy team and they put a lot of pressure on the group back there when they are able to get pucks deep,” Hakstol said.
“You got to try and create gaps and that doesn’t start in your own zone, it starts up ice as a five-man unit. You got to carry good gaps through the neutral zone into your zone to defend some of those plays.”
Anaheim leaves teams black and blue as the Flyers no doubt will discover Friday morning.
“That's just the way Anaheim plays,” Wayne Simmonds said. “They play a rough style, but we're not going to back down from them. This is our building.”
While the Flyers didn’t back down, between turnovers and misreads and players failing to get back up ice, a lot of things went wrong in this one.
The turning point in the game came late in the second period when the Flyers were coming off their fifth power play of the period. The forwards – Travis Konecny, Sean Couturier and Dale Weise – were slow getting back up ice.
That left rookie defenseman Ivan Provorov to handle Ryan Getzlaf one-on-one with Corey Perry behind him near Brandon Manning on a four-on-two rush.
There was a drop pass to Perry and he fired from the circle to tie the game, 2-2.
“They do a good job, killing off three in a row and come down and score,” Simmonds said. “If we put one in on the power play there, it’s probably a different story.
“We’re turning pucks over in the neutral zone. Make sure we’re bearing down on it. We gotta be better at it.”
Among the issues in this one, both young defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere (minus-2) and  Provorov (minus-1) struggled on the offensive and defensive side of the puck.
"Ghost" is having too many shots blocked and fumbling pucks. Provorov is having difficulty making quick reads and pucks are ending up in the net.
Aside from rookie mistakes, some of that has to do with the forwards not backchecking and the Ducks’ overall size.
“They’re a big-bodied team. They pinch hard and they cut down time and space,” Gostisbehere said. “We have to make our plays quicker.”
While the Flyers talked about feeding off the energy of the night, it just didn’t materialize. They got an early power play and produced just one shot with Gostisbehere hitting the post.
The Ducks produced an early goal after a Flyers power play ended with Sami Vatanen’s stretch pass to Jared Boll for a two-on-one.
Boll went to the net, screened out Steve Mason and left a drop pass that Chris Wagner buried. On top of that, a bad line change, as well.
Mason had to defend quite a bit of net in this one without much defensive support.
“From everyone’s personal standpoint, we can all be better,” Mason said. “When you lose three games in a row, you can’t be worrying about what other people are doing.”
“It’s a tough go in the second period. They kill off [four power plays] and then Perry comes down and scores a goal there. We can’t dwell on that. I have to find ways to get back on top here.”
Anaheim’s winning goal midway into the third came when Korbinian Holzer ripped a pass from behind the net into the slot for Ryan Garbutt. He one-timed the puck before Mason knew it was there. There was no coverage on him, either.
“You focus on your own job,” Mason said. “From a goaltender’s perspective, personally, I have to find ways to come out and get a win here.”