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Posted On Sunday, 01.01.2012 / 11:20 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Live from New Year's Day practices

Bobrovsky gets start for Flyers

One of the biggest questions heading into Sunday's practice day apparently has been answered.

According to goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, he will not be starting in the Winter Classic. That means backup Sergei Bobrovsky, who turned in a strong performance in Thursday's win against Pittsburgh, will Play against the Rangers Monday afternoon.

Peter Laviolette has not spoken to the media yet, so the announcement is not official. But, Bryzgalov said he will not play and several players said after Sunday's practice that Bobrovsky is being rewarded for his consistent performance this season.

Bobrovsky has a 1.55 goals-against average in his past eight games. Bryzgalov, meanwhile, has lost four straight and has allowed 18 goals during that span.

Bryzgalov, brought in during the off-season as a free agent to answer the Flyers goaltending problems, has struggled in the month of December. But, he is the unquestioned No. 1 and this is the biggest and most high-profile regular-season game the Flyers will play during the 2011-12 season and there was some expectation that Bryzgalov would get the start for those reasons.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.01.2012 / 10:38 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

Medal and relegation round schedule set for WJC

EDMONTON - So now that pool play in each bracket is complete, it's time for the teams in each bracket to congregate in Calgary for medal and relegation-round competition in the 2012 World Junior Championship.

In Group A, Sweden, Russia and Slovakia were the top three teams and in Group B, Canada, Finland and the Czech Republic earned spots in the medal round. The United States joins Denmark, Switzerland and Latvia in the relegation round, which will also take place at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.

Canada is the only country to win all four games in regulation during preliminary-round play, outscoring the opposition, 26-5. Sweden, the Group A winner and also unbeaten, outscored its foes, 26-11.

The teams receive a day off on New Year's Day but will commence action on Monday.

Quarterfinal Round
Monday

Finland vs. Slovakia, 5 p.m. ET
Russia vs. Czech Republic, 9 p.m. ET

Semifinal Round
Tuesday
Sweden vs. Finland/Slovakia winner, 5 p.m. ET
Canada vs. Russia/Czech Republic winner, 9 p.m. ET

Wednesday - Placement Round (5th/6th), 11 p.m. ET
Thursday - Bronze medal game at 3:30 p.m. ET
Thursday - Gold medal game at 10 p.m. ET

RELEGATION ROUND
Tuesday - Team USA vs. Latvia, 1 p.m. ET
Wednesday - Latvia vs. Denmark, 1 p.m. ET
Wednesday - Switzerland vs. Team USA, 5 p.m. ET

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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Posted On Sunday, 01.01.2012 / 10:06 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Live from New Year's Day practices

Family time for Flyers

With practice complete, it is time for the families to take the ice at Citizens Bank Park.

As mentioned, it is always one of the highlights for the players. This year is proving to be no different.

Some youngsters are out there playing a bit of shinny, skating through other skaters treating the session as perhaps the greatest public-skating session of their lifes.

As always, there were indelible moments that won't be forgotten.

Scott Hartnell had several kids on the ice with them. Suffice it to say, they already have the Hartnell Down move down pat

Max Talbot, who enjoyed a family skate last season as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2011 Winter Classic at Heinz Field, took him mom out for a twirl, holding her arm as she navigated the crowded ice surface.

Rookie Zac rinaldo was out on the ice with his father, both men deep in conversation -- perhaps about all the early-morning ice sessions of Zac's youth.

Defenseman Brandon Coburn, meanwhile, was rocking a baby as he glided across the ice.

Other players posed for pictures with family and friends, talked on the phone with those that could not be on hand or just skated leisurely around, soaking in all the details of a picture-perfect morning.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.01.2012 / 9:18 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Live from New Year's Day practices

Outdoor touches everywhere

While the Flyers are trying to make Sunday's practice as normal as possible, there is no denying that it is different -- mainly because it is out-of-doors in the home of baseball's Philadcelphia Phillies instead of their usual practice site in Vorhees, N.J.

In Vorhees, the playing surface is not surrounded by 48,000 seats and the lighting is soft and artificial. Here, the rink is smack in the middle of a vast expanse of seats and the sun is just starting to come over the facade of the stadium, beating down in the far corner of the left-field end of the rink surface.

Many players are wearing eye black to battle the glare. Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, meanwhile, is going retro for practice with his Philadelphia-themed Winter Classic mask and the brown pads and old-school blocker that were commonplace in the 1970s and early '80s.

The Flyers spent the first 15 minutes of practice working some transition drills before moving on to line rushes.

Certainly, Philadelphia will take the full hour allotted for practice before giving up the ice surface for a family skate, which is always the highlight of the practice day. Many members of the Flyer family are watching practice from the far side of the rink while the media observes from the home-plate side.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 9:52 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

Wedgewood preserves Canada's 3-0 lead on U.S.

EDMONTON -- The U.S. National Junior Team put the pedal to the metal in the second period in an effort to pare the three-goal deficit they faced after the opening 20 minutes in Group B preliminary-round play of the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship at Rexall Place.
 
Unfortunately for the Americans, Canada goalie Scott Wedgewood wouldn't allow it. Wedgewood stopped 12 shots in the middle period and extended his personal shutout streak in the tournament to five periods. Wedgewood has made 20 saves through 40 minutes.
 
Wedgewood was even taken out by U.S. forward Emerson Etem at the top of the right circle when he attempted to clear the puck. Etem, perhaps not wanting to collide with Wedgewood head-on, slid to the ice but tripped up Wedgewood with 4:19 remaining in the second. The Americans actually denied the Canadians on a 5-on-3 power-play for a little over a minute.
 
While there were no goals scored in the second, there was plenty of excitement and big hits. Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak (6-foot-6.5) of Team Canada leveled Austin Watson (6-foot-3) in the Canadian end midway through the period.
 
Mark Stone, Jaden Schwartz and Brett Connolly each scored goals in the first when Canada opened a 3-0 lead.
 
It certainly wasn't the start the U.S. needed coming off two straight losses to Finland on Wednesday and the Czech Republic on Friday by a combined 9-3 aggregate.
 
Stone began the barrage with his team-leading seventh goal of the tournament off a quick release from the slot after gathering a pass from Jonathan Huberdeau. Schwartz, Canada's captain, extended the lead to 2-0 when he took a feed from Stone in the slot and buried an attempt from in close on starter Jack Campbell.
 
Connolly then scored at the 15:59 mark of the first on an unassisted goal. After skating into the right circle, Connolly ripped a shot that beat Campbell to the long side for a 3-0 cushion.
 
The U.S. was totally outplayed in the opening 20 minutes by a quicker and stronger Canadian group. Campbell turned aside 16 shots. Wedgewood is making his first start since posting a 26-save, 5-0 shutout, against the Czech Republic on Wednesday.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 8:55 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

Canada jumps out to 3-0 lead on U.S.

EDMONTON -- Mark Stone, Jaden Schwartz and Brett Connolly each scored goals and Scott Wedgewood needed to make just eight saves as the Canadian National Junior Team holds a 3-0 lead on Team USA after one period in preliminary-round action at Rexall Place.
 
It certainly wasn't the start the U.S. needed coming off two straight losses to Finland on Wednesday and the Czech Republic on Friday by a combined 9-3 aggregate.

Stone began the barrage with his team-leading seventh goal of the tournament off a quick release from the slot after gathering a pass from Jonathan Huberdeau.
 
Canada captain Jaden Schwartz extended the lead to 2-0 when he took a feed from Stone in the slot and buried an attempt from in close on starter Jack Campbell.
 
Connolly then scored at the 15:59 mark of the first on an unassisted goal. After skating into the right circle, Connolly ripped a shot that beat Campbell to the long side for a 3-0 cushion.
 
The U.S. was totally outplayed in the opening 20 minutes by a quicker and stronger Canadian group. Campbell turned aside 16 shots. Wedgewood is making his first start since posting a 26-save, 5-0 shutout, against the Czech Republic on Wednesday.


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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 8:23 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Remembering Brad McCrimmon

PHILADELPHIA -- Brad McCrimmon made his mark on many players all over the NHL during his 18 seasons as a player as well as his coaching career. It was that coaching career that took him to the Lokomotiv team in Russia this year, and led to his tragic death in September's plane crash.

McCrimmon spent five seasons with the Flyers, and in today's Alumni Game, his presence was felt as each player had a No. 10 patch on their left shoulder.

"About a month ago I requested to do it and the entire organization thought it would be a great idea," said Mark Howe, McCrimmon's defense partner for three seasons during which the Flyers went to the Stanley Cup Final twice. "Brad was a very important part of the team in the '80s and a dear friend to a lot of people in the locker room and it was only fitting he be remembered as part of the team."

The players certainly were proud to do something to memorialize McCrimmon.

"Brad McCrimmon was a tough loss for all of us," said Rick Tocchet. "For me especially. He was one of the main reasons I stuck in the NHL. I sat beside him in the locker room. He was a big part of my life, teaching me how to be a pro."

Contact Adam Kimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 8:11 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Desjardins soaking it all in

PHILADELPHIA -- When Eric Desjardins walked out of the dugout for today's Alumni Game, he wanted to make sure he remembered every second of it.

"I had the iPhone from my son," Desjardins told NHL.com. "I wanted to have memories. Sometimes there are so many things going on, it's tough to get it all in. I wanted to have something to look after and remind me I was here."

Desjardins put in his usual solid effort, playing 14:52, and didn't look much different from the player who spent 17 seasons in the NHL, his final 11 with the Flyers.

"It felt great," he said of the reaction he received from the fans. "It was a lot of fun. Not only to come back and play for the Flyers, but outdoors like this in the big stadium, it was a great feeling."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 8:06 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

No little save for Little

PHILADELPHIA -- Growing up in Medicine Hat, Alta., Neil Little admitted he was a fan of the dynasty Edmonton Oilers teams of the 1980s. He got an up-close look at one member of that dynasty in today's Alumni Game when Glen Anderson had a penalty shot in the third period.

Anderson, who scored 498 goals on his way to a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame, broke in alone, but Little -- who played two NHL games -- got his shoulder on the shot, knocking it high and wide.

"Yeah, how about that?" Little told NHL.com. "That was enjoyable."

Little stopped 11 of 12 shots he faced in just over 27 minutes of action. While he never got a long run in the NHL, he's been a part of the Flyers' organization as a player and scout for all but one season in Finland since 1993.

"That was special," Little said after the game. "I was a little nervous off the bat, but that's to be expected. After that it was fantastic. Just soaked it up and enjoyed the moment.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 7:45 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

Ready to rock at Rexall

EDMONTON - Here are the lineups for the New Year's Eve clash between Canada and the U.S.

Canada lineups
G-Scott Wedgewood
Howdon-Connolly-F.Hamilton (Harrington-Murray)
Huberdeau-Stone-Strome (Gormley-D.Hamilton)
Bournival-Pearson-Jenner (Oleksiak-Pysyk)
Schwartz-Gallagher-Scheifele (Beaulieu)

U.S. lineups
G-Jack Campbell
Czarnik-Arnold-Zucker (Tinordi-Merrill)
Rau-Archibald-Bjugsted (Clendening-Johns)
Coyle-Etem-Miller (Trouba-Gravel)
Saad-Brickely-Watson-Tynan

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Quote of the Day

I didn't even know how to celebrate. I threw my hands up, they gave me a hug, so I guess that's all I needed.

— Sabres forward Tim Schaller on scoring his first NHL goal Sunday against the Bruins