Posted On Wednesday, 03.25.2015 / 1:52 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blackhawks at Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- There was a bit of a gasp when the Chicago Blackhawks looked at one end of the ice and saw medical and training staff attending to goaltender Corey Crawford during practice Wednesday.

Crawford was hit in the mask by a Bryan Bickell shot, but after a quick stop off the ice he was back in the crease to finish practice. Coach Joel Quenneville confirmed Crawford would start in goal against the Philadelphia Flyers (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TVA Sports).

"Happens sometimes," Crawford said. "Was a shot, hit me in the head. Just a shot. Happens sometimes. Just a weird play, that's all."

While Crawford downplayed it, his teammates had a bit of concern.

"We're hoping he's OK," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "We all know what he's meant to us this year. I talk about [Patrick] Kane or some of our other players we've played without, but it's another thing to lose a goaltender, especially one like Crow [Crawford]."

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Posted On Saturday, 03.14.2015 / 11:10 AM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

Flyers' Umberger set for season-ending surgery

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers forward R.J. Umberger will have surgery Wednesday to repair torn muscles in his right abdomen and hip, the Flyers announced Saturday. Recovery time is expected to be about 10 weeks.

Umberger, 32, has a career-worst 15 points in 67 games this season, and has been scratched from the lineup the previous two games. His nine goals are the second-fewest of his career, after the eight goals he had in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.

Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said Umberger's injuries have bothered him for a while.

"I had a good talk with him two days ago," Hextall said. "I would say probably more of the season than less."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.10.2015 / 2:11 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Stars at Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- After a lost weekend, the Philadelphia Flyers returned to work Tuesday looking forward, not back, starting with their game Tuesday against the visiting Dallas Stars.

The Flyers went into the weekend four points behind the Boston Bruins in the race for the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They were less than 15 seconds from cutting that deficit to two points, leading the Bruins 2-1, when the Bruins tied the game and won in overtime. Then the Flyers lost 5-2 to the New Jersey Devils on Sunday after the Bruins defeated the Detroit Red Wings, and by Sunday night they were seven points behind the Bruins.

"Sunday was awful, can't really sugarcoat it any other way," Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds said. "It wasn't ideal. But you've got to forget about that one quickly. If you don't forget about it, it's going to be a detriment to the team. Short memories and keep going."

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Posted On Thursday, 03.05.2015 / 5:43 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blues at Flyers

Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo's first game with the St. Louis Blues will come in a familiar place.

Bortuzzo, acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday, will play Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center, a building he knows well from his four seasons with the Penguins.

"This building is obviously fun to play in," Bortuzzo told the Blues website Thursday. "I had a couple good battles in here. It's exciting."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.03.2015 / 1:44 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flames at Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- The Calgary Flames got crushing news Monday when it was announced their captain and top defenseman, Mark Giordano, would miss the rest of the season because of a torn biceps tendon.

But there's no time to worry about his loss; there's a game Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

"It's just natural when you hear news like that," Flames defenseman Kris Russell said. "It's disappointing. But we've got a game tonight and the Flyers aren't going to feel sorry for us that we lost [Giordano]. So we have to make sure we come out and really compete and try to bring his character and leadership and step up."

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Posted On Saturday, 02.28.2015 / 2:16 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Rangers at Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers don't have a time machine so their focus has to be on the present, starting with a visit from the New York Rangers on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, NBC, City).

That means back-to-back losses against the Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs, teams behind them in the standings, have to be ignored.

"They're over with," Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds said. "It's done. There's nothing you can do about it now. Can't go back in a time machine and replay those games. We'd like to, but you can't do it. Have to focus on the task at hand, and that's the New York Rangers."

The Flyers have lost four straight to the Rangers, including three games in 10 days in November.

"They're a good team," Flyers forward Jakub Voracek said. "One of the best teams in the League. You can tell that from the standings. … They play good defense with very good offensive players. That's probably the worst combination you can have to play against. They play a very tight-checking game and they are very good defensively. When you make a mistake they can make you pay."

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Posted On Saturday, 02.28.2015 / 12:28 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2015 NHL Trade Deadline blog

Zuccarello thinking about Rangers, not trade talk

PHILADELPHIA -- New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello said Saturday he's doing his best to ignore rumors he could be playing elsewhere after the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline passes Monday at 3 p.m. ET.

Zuccarello has 12 goals and 35 points in 58 games this season and can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. In a similar situation last season, the Rangers traded captain Ryan Callahan at the deadline to the Tampa Bay Lightning rather than risk him leaving as a free agent after the season.

"I got a game today," Zuccarello said Saturday after the Rangers' morning skate at Wells Fargo Center prior to their game against the Philadelphia Flyers (8 p.m. ET, NBC, City). "That's all I'm focusing on. That's the only thing I can control. … Try not to think about it. Work hard tonight and do whatever I can to win hockey games, that's my focus. This is my team."

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Posted On Sunday, 02.22.2015 / 12:09 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Capitals at Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- Goalie Braden Holtby will start his fourth straight game for the Washington Capitals against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. It will be his NHL-high 51st start.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz said he isn't worried about Holtby getting tired, even after he made 30 saves Saturday in a 3-2 shootout win against the New York Islanders.

"I don't see it as an issue," Trotz said Sunday of Holtby's playing time. "I thing we've been managing it pretty well. When you give him days off he spends two hours on the ice anyway. I'm not worried about him right now."

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Posted On Saturday, 02.21.2015 / 12:17 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Predators at Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- Nashville Predators coach Peter Laviolette said he enjoyed the five seasons he spent coaching the Philadelphia Flyers, a tenure that included a trip to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.

But Laviolette also knows from experience how vocal Flyers fans can be toward the opposition. Though his tenure was mostly successful, he said he's ready for just about anything when he returns to Wells Fargo Center for the first time since being fired after three games last season.

"You never know what to expect when you come back," Laviolette told the Predators website Friday. "Certainly for me, the fans here were always really supportive of me and the teams we always had here. The building was great. But you never know what the reaction is going to be."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.19.2015 / 1:46 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Sabres at Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers had their nine-game point streak ended Tuesday. They believe the key to starting another streak is having short memories.

"You've got to shake it off as quick as possible," Flyers defenseman Mark Streit said. "At this time of the year you always want to win and every point is crucial. At the same time, you need a really short memory. A lot of key games, busy schedule. Things just happen. You don't want to lose, but it happens. You have to turn the page and move on and focus on the next one."

That comes Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres.

The Flyers' 5-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday was their first regulation loss since Jan. 19. Their 6-0-3 stretch got them within six points of the Boston Bruins for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot into the Stanley Cup Playoffs; the Bruins' shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday leaves the Flyers seven points back with 25 games remaining.

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Quote of the Day

It was a big dream. [Messi] is probably the best athlete out there, so it's a big honor, for [Kuznetzov] as well. It's maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the best player in soccer right now. I'm a big Barcelona fan and Messi fan, so it's huge. You can take [Michael] Jordan, [Mark] Messier, [Wayne] Gretzky, those kinds of [people]. It's an honor to meet. It's nice to be in that position.

— Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin told told Monumental Network after meeting soccer star Lionel Messi prior to Argentina's practice at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Md. on Friday