The Flyers' week-long break will come to an end this Thursday when they host the Rangers.
While off, the Flyers set to work on a few things. Their powerplay unit, which is 29th in the NHL needed work; the entire team went to the Philadelphia Eagles game on Sunday as a bonding experience; and they have a couple players potentially returning from injuries which will create a few decisions.
When it was determined that Max Talbot would be a top-nine forward heading into the season-opening 3-1 loss to Toronto on October 2 there was an immediate problem with the Flyers.
No disrespect to Talbot, who is one of the hardest working penalty killers in the NHL, but he is not a third line left winger on a team that is desperately searching for a goal-scorer. And with no wiggle room under the salary cap the Flyers are finding out the hard way that no depth at forward is going to hurt them this season.
Free agent defenseman Hal Gill knows the reality of the situation he's in.
Playing on a player tryout, Gill left a good impression on the Flyers in their 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers at home on Tuesday. Gill registered an assist, was a plus-1 and had four blocked shots.
"I think in a normal situation when you have a contract you’re just worried about progressing and getting ready every game," Gill said. "In this situation I wanted to speed up the process, but it was good.
"It’s nice to get out there and be competitive and play. I felt good. It’s preseason where you are still learning a new system and timing needs to get there, but it is nice to get out there.”
With the possible exception of World Cup Soccer, there is no contest in sports more intense than playoff hockey at any level. Tonight at 7pm The Webster Bank Arena will play host to the AHL’s opening round of the Calder Cup Championships. This years contest starts with an historic battle between the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, proud affiliate of the New York Islanders, and Hartford’s Whale, the New York Rangers sister club.
While the two teams have met some 130 times in the last 11 years, they have never faced each other in the playoffs. While Bridgeport holds a slight advantage in this years’ regular season 10 game competition, the only advantage that earns them is home ice. This is only an advantage if the fans come out and make it one. The fans that do show up can expect to see professional hockey at its best. Here is how I see it: