Steve Mason and Brian Gionta scuffle after the final horn of the Flyers' 2-1 win over the Canadiens on Thursday. (USA Today Images)
Steve Mason channeled his inner Ray Emery on Thursday night, sort of.
After the final horn sounded in the Flyers’ 2-1 win over Montreal (see story), a scrum ensued involving Mason and Canadiens captain Brian Gionta.
“Just sitting around talking there,” Mason said. “He gave me a little shot there. Nothing major.”
Gionta saw things a bit differently.
“[Mason] threw a couple punches, and I stayed in there,” Gionta said. “You defend yourself, you know what’s going to happen.”
Mason was handed roughing and high-sticking minors for his involvement in the melee. Gionta was assessed two minutes for high-sticking.
Matt Read and Brendan Gallagher also joined in on the fun, but nothing much became of it thanks to the officials breaking it up.
Has Mason ever experienced anything like that before?
“Ball hockey,” he said laughing. “In the summer time.”
Danny Briere said it was strange to come to the Wells Fargo Center and get dressed in the visitor's locker room (see story). But the experience wasn't just odd for him.
Flyers captain Claude Giroux, who once lived in Briere's house in Haddonfield, N.J., was a little put off by the experience, too.
"It’s weird," Giroux said. "Me and Danny were pretty close. We lived together. When he came to the faceoff, I wanted to make sure I won it even stronger. He’s one of my good friends, but on the ice it’s a different story."
Briere was welcomed back by his former teammates and coach, who all gave him praise as a video highlight reel of his time as a Flyer played on the big screen (see 10 observations).
"We all love Danny," coach Craig Berube said. "We liked his time here."
All of the Flyers were happy to return home from their six-game, 12-day road trip, but Michael Raffl might have been the happiest of all.
Raffl's dad, Peter, was at the Wells Fargo Center for Thursday's game. And he didn't just get to see his son play in front of the home crowd, he got to see him score a goal (see Instant Replay).
"It's so amazing," Raffl said. "I was so happy when I saw him this morning. He didn't get the chance to watch so many games that I played and I don't think he's ever saw an NHL game so that's something special for me tonight."
McGinn for VandeVelde
In an unexpected move, the Flyers on Thursday signed Chris VandeVelde to a one-year deal, and then returned Tye McGinn to the Adirondack Phantoms (see story). VandeVelde had previously been signed to a minor-league deal.
The reason? Illness. McGinn was recalled by the Flyers after Vinny Lecavalier was placed on injured reserve with a non-displaced fracture in his lower back. But he’s been sick the entire time, and never played. Out of need, Berube said, the Flyers brought in VandeVelde.
The 26-year-old took warmups before Thursday’s game and made his Flyers debut against Montreal. He centered Adam Hall and Zac Rinaldo on the fourth line.
“He was fine,” Berube said of VandeVelde. “He did a good job in the middle. He looks like a good faceoff guy to me. He knows how to play the game. As long as he is competitive on an every-shift basis, he’ll be fine.”