Bill Meltzer: Meltzer’s Musings: Raffl, Linseman, Quick Hits

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RAFFL CONFIDENT HEADING INTO SECOND SEASON

Flyers forward Michael Raffl recently did an interview with Austrian-based Web site Hockey-News.Info. The player said that while he was happy with his rookie season in from the standpoint of successfully breaking into the NHL, he felt that there many opportunities he was given that he didn’t seize to their full advantage.

Specifically, Raffl felt that he could have produced a little more offensively when given the opportunities to play on scoring lines. As a rookie, Raffl moved all around head coach Craig Berube’s lineup, including relatively brief regular season and playoff stints as the left winger on the top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. Raffl also saw time on the third and fourth lines, and played some center as well as wing. He finished with nine goals and 22 points in 68 regular season games and one assist during the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the New York Rangers.

Raffl told Hockey-News that he visited with Voracek in the Czech Republic for four days this offseason and also spent a week in the United States. Otherwise, he has spent the summer at home in Austria training for next season.

The player, who turns 26 in December, has been trying to focus on reporting to Flyers training camp in the best condition of his playing career; a mandate that Berube gave to every player in the team before they left for the summer, and which Ron Hextall reiterated upon becoming general manager. All players were told to expect a physically grueling, skating-intensive training camp in September.

Raffl said that he has been in communication with the organization several times during the summer. The dialogues generally relate to how his summer training and program is going and to his overall health. He has been doing on-ice training for several weeks. Recently, Raffl has been practicing with members of Austrian team Villacher SV as well as fellow NHL player Michael Grabner.

The Austrian forward, who signed a two-year contract extension that will raise his salary from a shade below $800,000 to $1.1 million, said that he has not been told what his role in the lineup will be next season. Raffl added that he’s not worried about it right now, because his role will be based on what happens at training camp.

Grabner is Raffl’s closest friend in the NHL outside of his Flyers teammates. The two Austrian players spent Christmas together last year. The two players have appeared together at several off-season charity events this summer in Austria.

******** QUICK HITS: AUGUST 11

* Flyers alum Ken Linseman celebrates his 54th birthday today. Known as much for his chippiness with his stick as his considerable skill with the puck, “The Rat” was no stranger to controversy during his career.

Drafted by the Flyers with the seventh overall pick of the 1978 NHL Draft, Linseman had already played in the rival WHA as an underaged player with the Birmingham Bulls. After posting 25 points in 30 NHL games for the Flyers in 1978-79, Linseman spent his first full season with the Flyers during the memorable 1979-80 campaign.

That year, playing for a team that posted a record 35-game unbeaten streak and fell two wins short of winning the Stanley Cup, Linseman centered the Rat Patrol line with rookie Brian Propp and veteran Paul Holmgren (a 30-goal scorer in his career year) as his linemates. Linseman posted 79 points in 80 games during the regular season and 22 points in 17 playoff tilts.

As a matter of fact, for the duration of his Flyers career, Linseman was one of the best playoff performers in franchise history. He posted 53 points in 41 playoff games.

In his final Philadelphia season before being the key component of the Aug. 20, 1982 trade with Hartford that brought Mark Howe to Philadelphia, Linseman led the Flyers in scoring (92 points) while also racking 275 penalty minutes. Many of the PIMs came by virtue of high-sticking (he took 21 such penalties – and those are just the ones that got caught), slashing (nine) and misconducts.

Linseman returned to Philadelphia for a brief second stint in 1989-90 in a trade that sent former team captain Dave Poulin to the Bruins. The Rat was in decline by this point, and posted 14 points in 29 games.

* Today in Flyers History: In a cash transaction with no players or draft picks exchanged, the Flyers sold the contract of John Paddock to the Quebec Nordiques.

* On this day in 2009, the Flyers signed Zac Rinaldo to an entry-level contract. The club selected the agitating forward with the 178th overall pick of the 2008 NHL Draft.

This post originally appeared on www.hockeybuzz.com and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.

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