Video: Union's Hoppenot Feels Impact of Montreal Headbutt in 2-0 Loss

Video: Union's Hoppenot Feels Impact of Montreal Headbutt in 2-0 Loss

wasn't the Union's night in Montreal, where the Impact avenged their
late-game loss at PPL Park last month, beating Philadelphia by a 2-0
count. The match was chippy most of the way, but never more so than when
Impact defender Nelson Rivas unleashed a nasty headbutt on Antoine
Hoppenot. The Union forward became entangled with Rivas and threw him
off his back, to the ground. Rivas responded by viciously headbutting
Hoppenot in the face, drawing an immediate red card and what we presume
will be a few extra games of suspension. 

Unfortunately (and understandably), Jack McInerney
responded by pushing Rivas to the turf as a scuffle ensued. The
unfortunate part is that Jack Mac was given a red card, so he'll miss
next week's match hosting the Chicago Fire. 

I thought the red card to McInerney was excessive
based on his action on its own, but it's somewhat more understandable in
the context of a referee trying to regain control of a match that saw
rough activity leading up to Rivas' headbutt. Still stings to think
about what might have happened with 20 minutes of 11 vs 10. 

The Union weren't without their chances, but
finishing eluded them. Montreal saw goals from PA native Andrew Wenger
in the 44th minute and Felipe Martins in the 78th. Just before halftime,
former Unioner Justin Mapp sent a short corner to Patrice Bernier, who
crossed it in to Wenger. The super rookie put a header on net that froze
Zac MacMath as it crossed the line. 

The U came out fired up in the second, but missing
McInerney wasn't the ideal way to solve their finishing and fortune
woes. At the other end, one of the more beautiful finishes of the season
came off the foot of Martins, who launched an arial scissor kick to
slam home a cross by Hassoun Camara. Worth a look:

Not the best exchange by MacMath and Freddy Adu there, and the Impact made them pay. 
Here's the full highlight package:

Ivan Provorov's 8-year-old brother is already really good at hockey

Ivan Provorov's 8-year-old brother is already really good at hockey

Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov made his NHL debut just four games ago, and while the 19-year-old is surely tackling a lot of new experiences, he has always had his younger brother, 8-year-old Vladimir, by his side.
Ivan was seen at practice today with his much younger, and eye-poppingly talented, brother working on his skills.

This is not the first time Vladimir has been seen on the ice with his older brother. Last season with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL, Vladimir showed off his puck-handling and shooting skills in a video posted to their Facebook page.

There’s nothing like family bonding and having an older sibling as a role model.

Travis Konecny getting rookie introduction to physicality of NHL game

Travis Konecny getting rookie introduction to physicality of NHL game

VOORHEES, N.J. – There are some things in the NHL that are expected to happen on the ice with rookie players.

They will be challenged. They will be tested. And they will be hit – clean or otherwise.

Four games into Travis Konecny’s career, teams are taking target practice on the Flyers’ smallest player. The London, Ont. forward is listed at 5-foot-10 but 5-9 or less is closer to the truth.

On Thursday night, Josh Manson’s elbow made contact with the back of Konecny’s head during the opening minutes of a 3-2 Flyers loss to Anaheim. Manson served a minor for elbowing.

Konency admitted on Friday afternoon that he placed himself in a bad situation by “ducking” to avoid Mason’s check on the boards.

“That was my fault,” Konecny said. “I tried to duck under the hit and make room for myself. He came through and put a check on me and I got underneath him.”

Konecny doesn’t feel teams are targeting him. At the same time, he doesn’t deny he is taking some hard licks out there. He has four assists, tied for the rookie lead in the NHL.

“It’s part of the game,” he said. “Part of being a young guy, too. Being in the league, I am trying to make space for myself and hit guys.

“Obviously, some guys who have been in the league 10 years, don’t like guys doing that. So I expect it. Doesn’t bother me.”

His linemate, Jakub Voracek, said all of this has to be expected.

“I don’t think he is the only one in the league who is getting this kind of treatment,” Voracek said. “He is a good player. He is small and shifty. They try to get under his skin ... That’s the way it always works.

“You are a new guy, a young guy, especially if you have a good start like he did. You’re gonna get that treatment. He’s a big fellow and he can handle it. ... Sometimes you can be small, but if you can handle things, better to handle it when you are 5-11 than 6-4 and being a p---y.”

Flyers coach Dave Hakstol doesn’t feel Konecny is being targeted.

“I haven’t seen anything out of bounds,” he said.

With Radko Gudas serving a six-game suspension for a head shot during pre-season, the Flyers don’t have a big, punishing player that opponents fear on the ice to balance things out on the scoresheet.

Would Gudas’ presence alleviate the questionable hits on Konecny?

“No, I haven’t seen any difference there,” Hakstol replied. “A night like last night, I mentioned after the game, that’s a big, heavy team we’re playing … you certainly miss a big, heavy body like Gudy on the back end that just naturally matches that physicality.”

Gap coverage
The Flyers didn’t show any lineup changes during Friday’s practice in preparation for Saturday’s game against Carolina.

One element they worked on and saw video was gap coverage between their forwards and defense. It burned them against the Ducks and even Chicago.

“That’s a fair assessment,” Hakstol said. “I don’t think we were very good in that area [against Anaheim] and had been extremely good in that area during the first, couple games of the year. It’s an area we have to do a little better job at.”

The challenge there is that Carolina has some speed and the Canes will attempt to exploit holes in the Flyers’ gap coverage, especially, off transition.