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Tag:Philadelphia Flyers
Posted on: January 2, 2012 6:02 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 8:51 pm
 

Rupp turns tide for Rangers' Winter Classic win

By Brian Stubits

PHILADELPHIA -- You always hear about how important the next minute after a goal is. The game can flip like a switch in a heartbeat. One second a team is celebrating their goal, the next they're reminded to get back in the game.

That's how the 2012 Winter Classic flipped and how the Rangers came away with the win. For the first 35 minutes or so it was all Flyers. They had the chances, they had the possession and they had the lead.

The Rangers have guys who can do that. Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards ... they both come to mind. Mike Rupp can flip momentum in a game too, but that's usually by dropping his gloves, not by dropping pucks in the other team's net.

It was Rupp's goal just 49 seconds after Matt Carle gave the Philadelphia Flyers a 2-0 lead in their (neighbor's) house. That's when the Rangers finally seem to find their footing on the patchwork outdoor ice of Citizen's Bank Park, just shy of 38 minutes into the game. Or maybe it was his Jaromir Jagr salute after the goal that juiced up the Rangers. Either way, they had life.

"The crowd's going, you're down 2-0," Rupp said after the game while sporting the Broadway Hat, the Rangers' victory token this season. "Any game that you get that next shift -- there's times where you're looking to maybe pick a fight, you're trying to get a big hit, you're trying to play in their zone -- just to change the tide a little bit. I think a goal is the best way you can but it's just trying to throw things at net and keep it simple."

That's a good way to describe it, it was simple. It wasn't a thing of beauty -- nothing that's going to make Rupp look like the scorer that he isn't -- just a wrister from the slot with a defenseman trying to close the shooting lane.

"It was a key moment of the game because they had all the momentum on their side," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "Again, the game is a series of momentums, how quickly you get it back vs. losing it. We go down 3-0 that's tough sledding, as far as trying to come back there. We end up scoring the next goal right there and it puts you right back in."

As for that salute? Well at first Rupp didn't want to talk about it, pulling a Peter Laviolette and saying "I don't know what you're talking about" with a smirk. But it happened, and he knew it.

"No pre-thoughts, just kind of excited in the moment," Rupp said.

The Flyers and Scott Hartnell sure seemed to notice it as he appeared to be chirping at Rupp before the third period. You were thinking that's how Rupp affects a game for the better for his team, with a little tangle, not a stick and dangle.

"He [Hartnell] just wished me a happy new year and I did the same," Rupp said, leaving what's said on the ice to stay on the ice. "So, hopefully he has a good year and he wished me the same."

More Winter Classic Coverage

Good thing for the Rangers that didn't result in a fight. It was within the next few minutes -- when Rupp would have still been serving a five-minute major if he did fight -- that he struck again.

It was Rupp again that tied things up and took us back to square one, before the lights were making an impact on the ice. His high, short-side goal somehow leaked by Flyers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.

From there it was all Rangers, save for the final two-minute flurry from the Flyers after the flurries had finished falling at Citizen's Bank Park.

"We've been a good third period team all year long," Tortorella said. "We just wanted to just try to get pucks to the net and grind away. I thought we really started grinding -- and really in the conditions that's the only way you're going to be able to play. It suited well for us. I don't think we did a good job in the first half but I think we found ourselves as it went on."

As big as that first goal for Rupp was, the key to this game for New York might well have been the first period. The ice was tilted -- against the wind, mind you -- in favor of the Flyers. They dominated play. It was all Philly. Still, the Rangers took the long walk back to the clubhouse through the third base dugout at a 0-0 tie. The Flyers had some very good chances to notch the first goal then but couldn't get it in.

That won't be as obvious of a key to victory as Rupp's two goals, but it certainly was.

"Early on in the first period there a couple breakaways, some breakdowns, he makes the saves there," Tortorella said. "He was put right on the center stage there and answered."

Lundqvist is used to center stage. He owns center stage. But Rupp? It's not often he gets to have the leading role. That would explain his humility with the Broadway Hat on. Either that or he was really humiliated. Artem Anisimov interrupted his interview after the game and asked 'Why they give you Broadway Hat?"

"Just wanted to see how dumb I look because it doesn't fit," Rupp responded. "Good question."

It might have looked dumb, but it had to feel great. The whole thing had to feel great, really. From playing in the Winter Classic again and getting the snow he wished for last year -- albeit briefly -- to scoring two goals, his first two since returning from injury.

"It was a great experience again and it feels good to win this time," Rupp said, referring to last year's Winter Classic loss while a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. "I just got to shoot the puck twice and fortunately it went in.

"You want to contribute; I was able to tonight so it felt good."

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: January 2, 2012 5:28 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 7:35 pm
 

Brayden Schenn's first NHL goal comes in Classic



By: Adam Gretz

PHILADELPHIA -- Brayden Schenn was one of the key players acquired over the summer by Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren during his overhaul of the teams roster, going to Philadelphia in the trade that sent former captain Mike Richards to Los Angeles.

One of the top prospects in the NHL, Schenn entered Monday's Winter Classic having appeared in just eight games for the Flyers after starting the season in the American Hockey League (mainly for salary cap purposes) and missing some time with concussion symptoms. He had yet to record a point for the Flyers or score a goal in the NHL.
More Winter Classic Coverage


That all changed at the 12:26 mark of the second period when he snapped a scoreless tie, breaking the ice on what had been 32 minutes of scoreless hockey.

After a Matt Carle shot from the point was stopped by Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Schenn drove to the front of the net and banged in the rebound.

"It went in and I kind of almost blacked out I got so excited," said Schenn after the game. "It's good to get out of the way, and the family and friends were in town to see that so it was nice to score and get it today, but the win would have been just as nice."

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 2, 2012 2:25 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 7:27 pm
 

Seating views for Winter Classic



By: Adam Gretz


PHILADELPHIA -- Tickets to the NHL's Winter Classic are a lot of money. It's probably the most sought after ticket on the NHL's regular season schedule, and whether you're buying them at face value or off the second-hand market you're going to spend a large amount of coin.

Depending on where you're sitting in the stadium, your view of the game may not be all that great, especially when compared to your usual views inside an NHL arena. Of course, that's one of the drawbacks to putting an ice rink in the middle of a venue that wasn't designed for watching hockey.

I can't speak for the views in Buffalo, Chicago or Boston in recent years, but based on last year's game in Pittsburgh at Heinz Field, and this year's game at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, the upper deck is most definitely the best seat in the house for actually having a good view of the ice.
More Winter Classic Coverage


Seats on the lower level, especially towards the front rows, offer almost no view of the ice. The higher up you are, the better. The best seats in Philadelphia seem to be located in one of three areas: The upper deck at center ice (or what would be directly behind home plate on a baseball layout) and in the upper directly behind either goal. 

Before Monday's game between the Rangers and Flyers, I took a walk around the stadium and snapped some photos from the different setions, as seen in the video posted above. 

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: January 2, 2012 1:05 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 1:28 pm
 

Rangers' Marc Staal will play in Winter Classic

By Brian Stubits

PHILADELPHIA -- It's becoming a Staal family tradition.

Just like his brother Jordan for the Pittsburgh Penguins one year ago, New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal is going to make his return in the Winter Classic today as the Rangers take on the Philadelphia Flyers.

Marc Staal has been out all season long, being shut down in the preseason for precautionary reasons. He didn't play for the remainder of 2011 because of a concussion. But with the new year comes a new start and Staal is finally healthy enough to return.

"I sat down and asked him, 'do you want to play?' I've heard so many different things and Marc was talking quite a bit," coach John Tortorella said before the game. "I said 'Staals, I don't care about anybody else's opinion, are you OK to play?' He said he was, so he's playing."

The next question becomes about what the Rangers can expect from Staal in this game. He hasn't played since last season's playoffs so presumably there's a lot of game rust to get rid of.

"If Marc Staal tells me, and as I've told you all before, I needed a yes or a no. I got a yes from my trainer, I got a yes from my doctor and more importantly I got a yes from the player," Tortorella said. "He's going to play. I don't care if we're playing in a creek somewhere, he's going to play.

"As far as the minutes and the things that go along with Marc Staal, that's going to take time as far as where he's going to sit within our lineup. He'll play in the third period today and we'll make judgments as we go through. We're not putting him in a top four position and we'll make judgments about his game as it goes along here and he starts playing again."

As for who the Rangers will sit, Tortorella said before the game that he hadn't even made the decision yet.

"I haven't even talked to the player yet because not even all the players are even here yet. I'm still not sure."

That's going to be a knee to the gut for whichever player that will be. Imagine preparing to play in the Winter Classic only to arrive at the stadium and be told you're out. Ouch.

The Winter Classic's faceoff was moved back to a 3 p.m. ET start because of temperature and concerns over the glare on the ice

More Winter Classic News Here

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: January 1, 2012 3:32 pm
Edited on: January 1, 2012 5:41 pm
 

Winter Classic start pushed back to 3 ET

By Brian Stubits

For the second consecutive year, the Winter Classic will not begin when it was initially scheduled.

The NHL announced on Sunday that the start of the game, originally slated for 1 ET, has been pushed back two hours to begin at 3 ET.

From the NHL's release:

The revised start time is based on tomorrow's weather forecast and should offer optimal game conditions for players and fans.

The result will be felt in a few ways, all of which are positive in my mind. First of all, by 3 the sun should be below the top of the stadium, meaning it won't be shining directly on the ice. That will help keep the temperature down, the ice crisp and perfect as well as reducing a lot of the glare the players were going to have to deal with.

The Flyers had an early practice on Sunday and had to deal with the glare and heat. Players, like Jaromir Jagr in the photo above (soul patch included), were sporting the ol' eye black to help with that problem.

As soon as the practice was done, the ice crew laid down tarps over the logos because the sun can also make the logos on the ice bleed, a problem we saw a little bit in the Chicago Classic.

Remember, the Alumni Game was also pushed back to 3 ET on Saturday and that went off well after the change in start time. And it's unlikely to have much of a negative impact, if any.

"Time change? I think once you see what happened to the first game that was played here, I'm sure that you have to think about
it," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "So it doesn't change anything as far as they just move your hours up a couple as far as your game and all that, so it doesn't change anything."

It means that the game will come to a close under the lights of Citizen's Bank Park like it was last year in Pittsburgh.

Personally, I don't get why the NHL doesn't push these games back anyway. It certainly didn't deter the viewing base on television as last year's game was the most-viewed Winter Classic so far.

If the NHL can get off the insistence of having the game at 1 ET every season it will open up the opportunities to go West. That's one of the big deterrents at the moment for placing in the Pacific and Mountain time zones. But maybe the NHL is realizing that the glare of the sun doesn't help matters and prime time games might be better for the play, let alone the viewership.

Another benefit from the later start, our friends on the West Coast can actually sleep in and still watch the game.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: January 1, 2012 3:05 pm
Edited on: January 1, 2012 5:45 pm
 

Winter Classic preview: What to look for

By Brian Stubits

It's hard to remember the Winter Classic is just another game on the schedule. In reality it is just that. The winner of this game gets nothing more than two points in the standings.

But in practical purposes, the Winter Classic is anything but normal. It is annually the most-watched game of the season and it's not even close. It's commonplace for players and even coaches on occasion to do some chirping before games. But general managers throwing down the gauntlet like the Rangers' Glen Sather did a couple months ago? Yea, that's no ordinary game.

Plus, you know, they play it outside and all.

Without further ado, let's look ahead to the NHL's annual "celebration of hockey" on Tuesday in Philadelphia between the Flyers and the Rangers.

The weather

It goes without saying this is the only game of the season when this matters now that the NHL has stopped the Heritage Classic in Canada.

The initial game-day in the extended forecast called for rain and warm temperatures. That has been altered, for the good. Now the game-time temp is supposed to be 41 degrees and the only element to deal with will be the wind, where it is expected to blow in excess of 20 MPH.

So the ice itself should be alright for the game. As for the wind? It might have an impact, but we're not talking football here where the ball will be affected by strong gusts on field-goal attempts or deep passes. It sure beats precipitation fogging up visors.

Home-field advantage

Not in this game. There is virtually zero home-ice advantage of which to speak in the Winter Classic. Both teams are equally inexperienced with the sheet of ice in Philadelphia. Despite two times the amount of fans in the building, the noise level doesn't factor in. As a matter of fact, it's diminished with fans so far from the ice and no roof.

"I think you go back to our building over there when it matters and when it counts to have our fans behind us, I think it's really important," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said on Sunday. "We are looking forward to getting here and on this ice out here in front of that many people and having a great game."

But the points stands, don't expect the Flyers to have a big advantage just because they're the home team and the Citizen's Bank Park seats will be full of folks garbed in black and orange. Of the five Winter Classic games played to date, only one of them has seen the home team come away victorious and it took the Bruins an overtime period to beat the Flyers in 2010.

One advantage that I suppose you can credit to the Flyers is the fact that they have multiple players who have experienced Winter Classics before thanks to that game at Fenway Park two years ago. I put little stock into that, however. Once the game begins, experience means squat. Rangers coach John Tortorella agrees that won't mean much.

"We have kept our schedule, our whole way we have gone about our business has stayed the same and it will say the same tomorrow," Tortorella said. "We go day-to-day as far as how we prepare and that's what we have  done  right  on through this, we'll be doing the same thing as we get ready to play tomorrow."

Goals not galore

More on Winter Classic

Just continuing to look at the trends of past games, don't expect to see a lot of scoring. Only the game at Wrigley Field between the Red Wings and Blackhawks showed off much in the way of offense as the teams combined for 10 goals. The other three games combined have only seen nine goals (the Penguins won in a shootout).

That could just be as simple as a coincidence, there certainly is not a big sample size we're talking about here. Or it might be a real trend. I'd like to think that some of the uncontrolled elements play a role the lack of scoring in games, particularly factors such as glare, discomfort and surroundings.

I'll take my chances and say don't expect a lot of scoring on Monday. That's a bit easier to say knowing Henrik Lundqvist will be manning one crease.

Fighting chance

Half of the Winter Classics thus far have seen a fight. Each of the last two renditions featured impromptu boxing matches. So it's not like the players are going to shy away just because of the spotlight.

In the case of these two foes, there is a lot of dislike to put it mildly. Only the Blackhawks-Wings tilt compares favorably to this year's matchup in terms of a true rivalry. So it's likely some bad blood will spill over.

That seems especially plausible when you realize that last year's fight between the Penguins and Capitals featured Mike Rupp facing John Erskine. You'll recall that Rupp signed with the Rangers in the offseason so he'll be on the ice on Monday.

Players to watch

First for the Rangers, keep tabs on Brandon Dubinsky. The young Rangers forward was off to a very tough start this season, it had to be frustrating. It wasn't until Dec. 22 that he scored his second goal of the season. For a guy that had 24 goals last season, that's quite a drop.

However he is starting to return to the mean. What, you thought that only worked in the regression sense? Not exactly. Dubinsky enters the Winter Classic having scored a goal in each of his last two games and three of the past five.

For the Flyers, I'd love to say Ilya Bryzgalov but he's just going to be sitting on the bench, enjoying his tea in a thermos. Now if NBC can just get him mic'd up for the game, they'd have the best on-ice commentator in the sport for the broadcast, with all due respect to Darren Pang.

However it does mean that the actual Flyers starter, Sergei Bobrovsky, will be worth keeping an eye on. He's been playing very well lately for the Flyers and with Bryzgalov's struggles, this could be an opportunity for Bobrovsky to stake a big claim that he should continue to get a lot more playing time. Remember, it was just a season ago that he was their starter and came to the NHL with a lot of promise.

Prediction

I'm a sucker for trends, so I'm going to stick with them in this game. I've got the visiting Rangers winning a low-scoring affair. Plus, in a situation like that I'll take Lundqvist over Bobrovsky. I'll put my name down for a 3-1 prediction in favor of New York.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: January 1, 2012 11:25 am
Edited on: January 1, 2012 5:56 pm
 

Bryzgalov says Bobrovsky starting Winter Classic

By Brian Stubits

Ilya Bryzgalov had possibly the greatest goalie masks I've ever seen made especially for the Winter Classic. He has been largely seen as the MVP of HBO's 24/7 series. But he's not going to start when the big game begins on Monday in Philly.

While Flyers coach Peter Laviolette hasn't announced who his starter will be and Sergei Bobrovsky wouldn't say, Bryzgalov had no problems about releasing the team's plans.

"I have great news and even better news. OK, great news is I’m not playing tomorrow night," Bryzgalov told the gathered media. "Better news is we have a chance to win the game tomorrow night."

That's why so many people enjoy Bryzgalov. The self-depricating humor and refreshing soundbites. So I think that news will make a lot of people disappointed, Bryzgalov included.

"Yes, I did ... of course, I said yes. I'm a human. I'm not made from the steel. But it is what it is, I had a good practice today again like yesterday and two days ago. We just keep moving forward and have lots of games in front of us, lots of hockey. I heard it was still main goal in Philadelphia to win the Stanley Cup and prepare for this."

So that means the start will go to Bobrovsky, who started Philly's last game, Thursday's win over the Penguins.

The question everybody wants to know from The Universe -- Bryzgalov's new nickname -- what will his mindset be tomorrow? You know you'll never get a classic, cliched quoted with Bryz -- thankfully.

"Make sure I not forget early in the morning my thermos, put some iced tea and enjoy the bench," Bryzgalov quipped.

Later on Sunday Bryzgalov sent a tweet with a photo simply labeled "My thermos."

It's a touch disappointing for Bryz to not be playing from a fan perspective but it's pretty easy to see why Laviolette would start Bob. In three of his last four starts, Bryzgalov has given up at least four goals including five in his most recent start, Tuesday in Tampa Bay. On the season his goals against average is 3.01 and he has a save percentage of .890. Flat out, he just hasn't been getting it done recently. So in that regard, it's no surprise.

It's a reminder that no matter how big the hype is around the Winter Classic, it's just another game in the 82-game regular season.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 29, 2011 10:43 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2011 10:46 pm
 

Jagr leads Flyers to win in Pittsburgh

jagrBy: Adam Gretz

PITTSBURGH -- Jaromir Jagr heard the boos everybody expected him to hear on Thursday night in Pittsburgh.

They were at their peak in the opening minutes of the game, and at times were deafening whenever he touched the puck, or, heck, had any sort of noticeable impact on the game. This was not a surprise. He's heard it from the Penguins fans every time he's returned to Pittsburgh in an opposing sweater, and this time he was doing it in the orange and black of Pittsburgh's biggest rival after deciding to sign with them instead of making a return trip to the Penguins over the summer during what was a free agency gong show.

He did his part to silence the boos on Thursday, and by the time the third period rolled around, with the Flyers well on their way to a 4-2 win and a key two points in the standings, they were definitely more subdued.

Jagr was arguably the best player on the ice from start to finish, scoring a goal, generating a number of scoring chances and even making a defensive play early in the first period that robbed Penguins forward James Neal of what looked to be a sure goal. And that was the play that seemed to make Jagr smile the most in the locker room after the game when it was brought to  his attention during what was his third different media scrum. He not only laughed, but also made it a point to call several media members back into the room and told them to remember that play when it comes to their Selke vote at the end of the season.

"Guys when you go to vote for Selke," Jagr laughed. "Selke. Right here."

"Somebody says I don't backcheck, show them that clip. I think it was the best play of my hockey career, I've never been so close to my own net. I have to go tell coach."

He was clearly joking about it being the best play of his career (the own net comment can probably be up for some debate), but it was definitely a pivotal play early in the game and kept the Penguins off the board. It was just one of a number of  highlight reel plays made by him over the course of the game, including his 12th goal of the season and numerous other scoring chances. He finished the game with two shots on goal while attempting five others, and some of his best chances were on the plays that didn't result in a goal or even a shot.
More on Jaromir Jagr, Flyers


During a shift early in the first period, for example, he was twice left wide open in front, only to whiff on one pass and fire a second one through the goal crease. Later he had another prime scoring opportunity on an odd-man rush as he took a pass between the circles and let go a quick wrist shot that was gloved out of the air by Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

"I had so many chances today," said Jagr. "I think I probably had the most chances I had in any game I played this season. I probably could have had five goals if I would be good player. Fifteen years ago I would have scored five. Not anymore. That's the difference between Jagr now and Jagr 15 years ago."

In kind of a sour mood on Wednesday during his first interactions with the Pittsburgh media, Jagr was clearly more relaxed on Thursday night. Scoring a goal and getting a win probably didn't hurt.  But this night wasn't just about Jagr's return to Pittsburgh or his legacy among Penguins fans.

Again, he's been back several times as a member of the Washinton Capitals and New York Rangers.

That wasn't true for Max Talbot. Thursday's game was the very first time he played in Pittsburgh as a member of another team.

Talbot, of course, spent the first six years of his career with the Penguins and played a major role in some of the team's biggest games over the past four years. He was a playoff hero during the 2009 Stanley Cup run when he fought then-Flyers forward Daniel Carcillo during Game 6 of the conference quarterfinals and then made his now-famous gesture to the Flyers crowd, while he also scored the Penguins' only two goals in their Game 7 win against Detroit in the Stanley Cup Finals. He was not only a key role player on the Penguins' bottom two lines, he also scored five Stanley Cup Finals goals during the 2008 and 2009 postseasons, each one seemingly bigger than the one before.

While it was obvious as to what sort of reception Jagr was going to receive, there was quite a debate before the game as to how Talbot would be welcomed. He was a popular player, as well as an important one, but he too signed with the Pittsburgh's chief rival, inking a five-year contract the same day the Flyers added Jagr. During a video tribute early in the first period there was initially some boos, before he was ultimately given a standing ovation. Of course, he too scored a goal for the Flyers, clinching the win with an empty net goal late in the third period.

"I knew I was going to have a little tribute," said Talbot. "But when the puck dropped I totally forgot about it so I was kind of surprised by it."

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com