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Things of Significance: Episode 1

A look at what you may have missed in the first episode of Behind The Glass

by Bill Meltzer @BillMeltzer / philadelphiaflyers.com

The first episode of NHL Network's "Behind the Glass" series looking at the Flyers' 2019 training camp aired earlier tonight. Each Monday, a new episode will debut. Episode 2 (Sept. 30) and Episode 4 (Oct. 14) will air at 8 p.m. ET while Episode 3 (Oct. 7) will air at 10 p.m. ET.

Before concluding a pan-out shot from the team training complex at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, there is coverage of a meeting with Chuck Fletcher, Brent Flahr and the hockey operations staff talking with Vigneault and his assistant coaches the day after the second preseason game. The show depicts some candid opinions from Vigneault and assistant coach Mike Yeo in particular.

Beyond that, here are the 5 significant moments & memorable quotes that are worth watching again and again:

1. "I never had that feeling before. Oh, boy!" 

As rough as the real-time sight was of Kurtis Gabriel, unable to put weight on his left leg, slowly navigate his way off the ice and to the tunnel, it became especially brutal was the audio was added to it and the cameras followed him back to the Flyers locker room and outside the door where trainers attended to him.

"I definitely twisted my left knee. I never had that feeling before. Oh, boy! Oh, boy!... It feels like a ligament, like something is stretched here," Gabriel reports.

Poignantly, Gabriel then pleads aloud for the injury to be nothing serious. In the final segment, Fletcher admits that the initial fear was a torn ACL but it turned out to be only a sprain. Even so, Vigneault says in the meeting that Gabriel was likely to be out for a month. 

Epilogue: A mere five days later -- not shown in Episode 1 due to the cutoff date-- Gabriel was back on the ice at practice. Hockey players are a tough lot. 

2. "I didn't think he was very good last night."

The NHL Network cameras, by virtue of their access to the day-after meeting conducted by Fletcher following the game in Uniondale, captured some candid commentary that made it on the air; including things that might be uncomfortable for players to hear. 

The Flyers gave tryout forward Stewart the opportunity to play on back-to-back nights against the Islanders in the first two preseason games. Speaking to Fletcher and Flahr, Vigneault pulled no punches in his assessment of Stewart's performance on the second half of the back-to-back.

"You guys know him [from the Minnesota Wild] better than we do, but I don't think he was very good last night," Vigneault said.

Added assistant coach Mike Yeo, "He wasn't, he wasn't. But I don't know I've seen anyone else even come close to him. I don't know if you have."

3. "Be a [bleeping] Flyer!"

On the first day of camp, Vigneault tells his players, "this is our reality," and then lays out the relatively short time that the players have to learn the new systems that will be installed and be ready for opening night of the regular season.

""What are we asking you to show?" Vigneault asks rhetorically. "That competitive nature. Those hard battles 1-on-1. That blocking the shot. All those little things that make a big difference in a game, that's what we're asking you to show."

The concluding part of Vigneault's message is the most passionate. He says, "I'm going to leave you with this. Going into camp, enjoy your work. You've got have fun with it. You've gotta enjoy it. Put in the time, go out and show it and, last thing, be a [bleeping] Flyer!"

4. "I'd rather play for them than against them!"

In the opening episode, Kevin Hayes shed some insight on his courtship from the Flyers after the team acquired the impending unrestricted free agent's rights from the Winnipeg Jets. The Boston native and longtime New York Rangers also took note of the fact that he's now on the same side as the Flyers' passionate -- but notoriously tough -- fan base.

"I've played in front of these fans before. I know I'd rather play for them than against them," Hayes said.

Hayes also discussed the fact that he played the first four years of his NHL career under Vigneault with the Rangers. He gives credit to Vigneault for helping shape his development as an NHLer, while admitting that there were some rough patches early on in the player-coach relationship.

"I entered the league as an offensive player. Through my four years with AV, he kind of switched my game into a 200-foot game. At the time, I might have not appreciated it but, fast forward six years, I'm very thankful for it. He's a big reason why I am where I am today," Hayes said.

5. "Personal stats don't really matter anymore."

After the opening montage for the show, the first sight that greets viewers is a high-tech car garage. Flyers captain Claude Giroux's vehicle is delivered to him via a platform elevator. He then drives out of the garage exit to head to Voorhees for the first day of camp.

"In a city like Philadelphia, you have a lot of pressure to be successful. We feel like we have a lot to prove. Let's be honest. We haven't won anything or made it far in the playoffs, and that's one thing that really sticks to me. When you get my age and where I am in my career, I think personal stats don't really matter anymore. You just want to be able to win," Giroux says as he drives.

"On paper, we have a team that can make the playoffs and make a little push. .... When training camp comes, it's time to go again. There's always new faces. Especially this year, there's new faces, new coaches. So there's kind of a different feel to it."
 

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