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Posted On Thursday, 11.20.2014 / 5:27 PM

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

At the Rink: Wild at Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- When the Minnesota Wild signed forward Thomas Vanek in July, the hope was he could boost their offense and their chances of competing for a top-three spot in the Central Division.

It hasn't quite worked out that way; Vanek has one goal and 10 points in 17 games. On Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers, Vanek will play left wing on a line with center Charlie Coyle and right wing Jason Zucker. Coyle will be the fifth center Vanek has played with.

"I think for me it's to find not even a line, but just another guy I can play with," Vanek said. "Right now it's been a rotating door for myself. I've played with [Zucker] a little bit here and there and I feel me and him have a little bit [of chemistry]. Him and Charlie have something. I think I can complement those two guys and we'll see how it goes. With [Charlie's] speed and power, maybe we've got something there."

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Posted On Friday, 11.14.2014 / 3:40 PM

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

At the Rink: Blue Jackets at Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- The early story for the Columbus Blue Jackets has been the number of players coming out of the lineup, mostly because of injuries.

Friday against the Philadelphia Flyers they'll get two players back, as defenseman Jack Johnson returns from a three-game suspension and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was activated off injured reserve.

Johnson will play his usual big-minute role while Bobrovsky will serve as the backup to Curtis McElhinney.

"It's big for us, getting a player like Jack back in the lineup," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said after the morning skate. "Leadership, his physical presence, his talent; they're things that will help our hockey team. There's lots of things you miss not having Jack. The way that he plays the game, big and heavy and down low being able to shut down plays."

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Posted On Saturday, 11.08.2014 / 2:40 PM

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

At the Rink: Avalanche at Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers defensemen Braydon Coburn, who has not played since sustaining a lower-body injury opening night against the Boston Bruins, will return Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche, likely on a pairing with Luke Schenn.

"Today was good," Coburn said after the morning skate. "For me, just to practice with the team, we had a good pregame skate out there. I feel good. … My foot's feeling good; that's the main indicator for me. That's how we gauge it."

The Flyers had the option of allowing Coburn to sit out for an extra few days because after Saturday they don't play again until Nov. 14. However, Flyers coach Craig Berube said if Coburn was ready, he was going to play.

"I think it's important that if he's ready to go and wants to play, he gets a game in and it's over with," Berube said. "… He's ready to go, I want him in there."

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Posted On Thursday, 11.06.2014 / 2:00 PM

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

At the Rink: Panthers at Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- As Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad took the ice at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday, he had a bit of a flashback.

It was a little more than four months ago that Ekblad was here for a much different purpose, the 2014 NHL Draft, when the Panthers selected him with the first pick.

"I kind of remember [where I sat]," Ekblad said after the Panthers optional morning skate. "Off to the side there. I pointed it out to one of the guys."

Since that day in late June, Ekblad has emerged as one of the Panthers' top defensemen. He has one goal and four points in 10 games, and he's averaging 21:41 of ice time per game, fourth on the Panthers and second among NHL rookies.

Not bad for the youngest player in the League, who won't turn 19 until February.

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Posted On Tuesday, 11.04.2014 / 2:17 PM

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

At the Rink: Oilers at Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- In his five 82-game seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets, R.J. Umberger scored 20 goals four games and had 18 in another season.

This season, however, he hasn't had that scoring touch with the Philadelphia Flyers, with one goal in his first 11 games. However, a move to a more offensive-themed line could jump start his production.

Umberger switched spots with Brayden Schenn at the morning skate Tuesday, skating on the left wing with center Vincent Lecavalier and right wing Wayne Simmonds when the Flyers prepared for a game against the visiting Edmonton Oilers.

"[Simmonds] is a puck-possession guy," Umberger said. "He has the puck a lot, wins a lot of battles. I'm hoping that creates a lot more offensive time in-zone, down low. For me, I'm used to being a three to four shots guy per game and I'm not getting many shots, and that's frustrating to me."

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.28.2014 / 7:19 PM

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

Kopitar sits vs. Flyers, Kings go with 19

PHILADELPHIA -- Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar will not play Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers because of an upper-body injury.

The Kings were unable to call up a player from Manchester of the American Hockey League because they have no roster or salary-cap space, leaving them with 19 players for the game.

"Some of us got to step up," center Jarret Stoll said. "There's going to be four or five of us that play more minutes than we usually do, two or three more minutes. Just be smart; staying out of the penalty box is a key issue too. We don't want to put ourselves down where we have to kill penalties and chase the game. Want to just play a simple, smart road game with everybody going -- everybody going minus one guy."

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.28.2014 / 1:52 PM

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

At the Rink: Kings at Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar took part in the morning skate but likely won't play Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers because of an upper-body injury.

Kopitar took line rushes with injured teammate Marian Gaborik, rather than his usual linemates, but after the skate refused to rule himself out.

"I felt pretty good on the ice [Tuesday]," Kopitar said. "We'll see about [the game]. I'm going to prepare like I'm going to play and we'll see how I feel."

Kopitar was injured during the second period of the Kings game Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He's missed one game in the past four seasons.

"I had a day off [Monday] so that obviously helps," Kopitar said. "We had a nice plane coming here. I laid down; it was nice. Cross-country flight, it was great."

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Posted On Saturday, 10.25.2014 / 1:58 PM

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

At the Rink: Red Wings at Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- Shayne Gostisbehere certainly remembers the last meaningful game he played at Wells Fargo Center.

So do the Philadelphia Flyers fans who watched Gostisbehere score one goal, assist on two others and finish with a plus-7 rating as Union College won the NCAA title and Gostisbehere took home the trophy for Most Outstanding Player of the Frozen Four.

Gostisbehere will make his NHL debut Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings.

"It's the NHL and college; big steps there," Gostisbehere said after his first regular-season morning skate. "It's going to be a different game. First NHL game, I'm going to take it shift by shift there and calm my nerves."

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.14.2014 / 1:56 PM

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

At the Rink: Ducks at Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare wasn't sure if coming to the NHL was the right decision.

Now, three games into his NHL career, the Philadelphia Flyers have installed him as their second-line center.

With Vincent Lecavalier out at least two weeks with a lower-body injury sustained during the Flyers' 4-3 shootout loss against the Montreal Canadiens, Bellemare, 29, will play between Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.

"I plan to skate hard and play simply," Bellemare said. "I know those guys are so skilled offensively that we're going to get the chances. My game is pretty much the same as the first ones, play a strong defensive game and the offense is going to come."

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Posted On Saturday, 10.11.2014 / 1:58 PM

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

At the Rink: Canadiens at Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers are in the same place they were last season, but the feeling among the players is vastly different.

Last season the Flyers started 0-2-0, then after falling to 0-3-0 coach Peter Laviolette was fired. Players were confused and frustrated and it showed on the ice.

"I think last year at this time after two games it was a huge panic in here," captain Claude Giroux said. "Guys were trying to figure out what was going on, our coach got fired. It was a big panic."

While they again are 0-2-0, the players are more confident a turnaround could start as soon as their game Saturday against the visiting Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m. ET, TVA, CITY).

"I think we can learn from last year," Giroux said. "Last year after a few games we hit the panic button and tried to change everything. Finally we came back to playing our game, having fun and come to the rink and enjoy being here. When we did that we started winning games. We're going to start with that [Saturday]."

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I think that’s the sign of a good team. When you don’t play well, and you don’t stay focused and you don’t do the intangibles that it takes, you still win the hockey game.

— New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano after their win vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday
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