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Special Teams Focus Kicks off latter stages of camp

New looks to the first and second unit as Flyers begin building special teams

by Bill Meltzer @billmeltzer /

VOORHEES, NJ - Over the first two days of the Flyers training camp, the team focused on battle drills and skating conditioning. 

The primary focus then shifted to systems and 5-on-5 structure as the team prepared to play four games, including a split-squad set, over the span of five nights. 

With so little preparation time and quick turnaround, there was no time available to do special teams work under the direction of new power play coach Kris Knoblauch.

Additionally, the sheer number of players in camp during the first week meant a lot of different line combinations were used in separate sessions. With a slew of young players in camp to evaluate, many of the Flyers "core" group of veterans - including team captain Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier - did not make their first appearance of the preseason until Thursday night's road game in Boston. 

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OTF: Morin, Vecchione to make NHL debuts against NJD

More news, notes & lineup information ahead of tonight's Flyers-Devils game

by @NHLFlyers /


Prior to the morning skate in Newark, NJ, Flyers GM Ron Hextall announced that the club has recalled defenseman, Sam Morin, from their AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. 

Morin will make his NHL debut tonight when the Flyers take on the Devils at the Prudential Center for their final road game of the season. He will wear No. 50.

"I'm just going to be ready go. It's a great opportunity for me and I just can't wait," said Morin. "It's a dream come true for me and I've worked all my life for it. I'm so excited."

Morin's parents will be making the 10-hour drive down from Quebec and will arrive in Newark in time to be there for the occasion. 

Morin was paired with Shayne Gostisbehere at the morning skate, someone who he has been paired with before at training camp and in several Flyers preseason games adding to his comfort level for his debut.

"I'm just going to play my game. Play physical and see what happens. I'm here to play hockey and have fun in my role."

The 21-year-old Morin has three goals and 12 assists for 15 points with 120 penalty minutes with the Phantoms this season, his second since turning pro. 

He has appeared in 144 out of 146 possible games from the start of his AHL career, playing in 68 of the club's 70 games this season and all 76 games in his rookie campaign. 


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OTF: Hextall update on Michal Neuvirth

Flyers GM announces status of Neuvirth, Mason and Gudas

by @NHLFlyers /

Flyers GM Ron Hextall gave an update on the status of goaltender Michal Neuvirth on Sunday afternoon:

"Michal Neuvirth has been released from Pennsylvania Hospital and is at home resting. All diagnostic testing has come back normal. He will be reevaluated tomorrow afternoon."

Neuvirth started the Flyers-Devils game on Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center, but left 7:37 into the opening period and was taken to Pennsylvania Hospital for observation. 

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OTF: Vecchione skates; McDonald in & Neuvirth starts

News, Notes & Lineup information from the Flyers morning skate

by @NHLFlyers /

Following a full team morning skate and based off of line rushes, Colin McDonald figures to be in the lineup tonight vs. the Devils playing alongside Chris VandeVelde and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.

"He's a little bit of a different player than the other guys that are available," said Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol on the recall of McDonald for tonight's game. "He's just got that veteran presence and he'll carry that with him and he'll bring that into the lineup and into our locker room tonight."

The recall comes at a time when the Phantoms are also making a playoff push and McDonald admits that has been his focus the entire way, but is excited for the opportunity to join the Flyers.

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OTF: Manning returns, Mason back in

News, Notes & Quotes from the morning skate in Minnesota.

by @NHLFlyers /

A light optional skate this morning at XCel Energy Center gave way to some lineup news for tonight's game.

The first of which was that defenseman Brandon Manning will re-enter the lineup after missing the last five games. Manning has 10 points (3g-7a) on the blueline this year while averaging 17:50 of ice time. 

"I'm feeling good. Feeling strong and I did some contact a few days ago so I'm not even thinking about that," said Manning on recovering from his upper-body injury.

Manning is also third on the team's defense in hits at 105, despite missing 15 games this season. He will be paired alongside Radko Gudas, who leads the team, and ranks third overall in the NHL, averaging 4.2 hits per-game. 

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OTF: Weal out; Weise in + lineup changes

Checking in on news to come out of the morning skate in preparation for Flyers-Penguins

by @NHLFlyers /

JORDAN WEAL INJURED: During the morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center, Flyers GM Ron Hextall announced that forward Jordan Weal has a lower-body injury and will not be in the lineup tonight as the Flyers face off against the Penguins.

He is considered day to day with the LBI.

Weal has been one of the hottest Flyers as of late, appearing on the left side on the top line with Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds. 

He has recorded all four of his NHL points in the last six games, including three goals and even going 1-for-1 with a shootout goal in the Flyers 2-1 win over the Panthers on Mar. 2.

WEISE BACK IN: With Weal being sidelined, Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol announced that forward Dale Weise will be in the lineup tonight. It will be Weise's first action since Feb. 28 vs. Colorado after missing the last six games. 

"I guess you have a different mindset every time you come back in. First couple times, it's frustrating. You have a chip on your shoulders, you come back and you're motivated," said Weise after the skate. "Like I said, every time I come back in I have a positive attitude. I've mentally reset and I just kind of go from there."

Without getting into specifics, Hakstol did note that Weise will not be inserted into Weal's position alongside Giroux and Simmonds. He sees Weise in a different role for tonight's game.

"He brings a couple different things," added Hakstol. "He brings a little bit of speed and pace to our lineup. We need a real good, tenacious, two-way game out of him tonight."

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OTF: Neuvirth Back In, MacDonald Out

News, Notes & Quotes to come out of the morning skate in Vancouver

by Philadelphia Flyers @NHLFlyers /

Some news & notes to come out of the morning skate at Rogers Arena prior to tonight's game:

- The Canucks had just a handful of players participate in their morning skate due to it being the second of back-to-backs.

Vancouver head coach Willie Desjardins did confirm that Ryan Miller will get the start against the Flyers. It will be the second straight start for Miller, who stopped 35 of 36 shots in last night's 2-1 overtime win over the Flames.

- For the fourth straight game, Michal Neuvirth will get the start in net for the Flyers. He hopes to rebound after allowing six goals in a loss to the Oilers in Edmonton, but prior to that had been on a roll, allowing just two goals or less in his last six games.

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OTF: Weal Injured at Edmonton

Weal leaves game vs. Oilers with upper-body injury

by @NHLFlyers /

Following the second period, Flyers GM Ron Hextall announced that forward Jordan Weal has an upper-body injury and will not return to tonight's Flyers-Oilers game at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

Weal appeared in 10 shifts and logged 6:31 of ice-time through parts of the first two periods before leaving the game.

Prior to the game, Weal appeared in two contests for the Flyers, going scoreless and averaging 14:08 of ice time and seven shots on goal.

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OTF: Lyubimov re-enters the lineup

News & Notes from the morning skate in Calgary

by @NHLFlyers /

Following the Flyers morning skate at the Saddledome in Calgary, there was one change to the lineup to come out of the media sessions. Forward Roman Lyubimov will re-enter the lineup after sitting out the last game vs. San Jose.

Lyubimov was taking part in line rushes at the skate alongside Chris VandeVelde and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, a duo that he has been quite familiar with and playing with most of the season when he has been in the lineup. Coming out will be forward Dale Weise.

"It's a good opportunity for him to go in there and we know that line will be a good, reliable line here on the road," said Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol on Lyubimov.

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OTF: Jordan Weal recalled, new line combinations

Leading Phantoms scorer receives first recall to the Flyers

by @NHLFlyers /

UPDATED (2:35 p.m.): Jordan Weal took part in his first practice session today playing alongside Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek, who both add size. Now with the addition of Weal, speed and playmaking is something we could see plenty of from this new line combination tomorrow vs. San Jose.

"Hockey is hockey. You just have to go out there and play," added Weal who moved to the wing after playing center in Lehigh Valley. "I get to play with some great players so I gotta go out there and work with them and move the puck and create some offense," added Weal.

Unlike last season, Weal has seen a good amount of game action, rather than being an extra forward seeing limited ice time when he arrived midseason last year. That game action has helped his game grow and got him into more of a rhythm. 

His new line mates notice the difference as well. "He's a fast player. A smart, fast player that has a lot of skill, so obviously he can bring a lot to the lineup." said Voracek.

For more reaction and highlights of Weal, including head coach Dave Hakstol's thoughts at practice, watch below…

Video: Hear from new linemates Weal, Couturier and Voracek

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