Bill Meltzer: Meltzer’s Musings: ‘Battle on Hamilton’ Preview, Injury Updates and More



Coming off Thursday night’s 4-0 home win over New Jersey and prior to a slate of three games in as many nights, members of the Philadelphia Flyers will be in Allentown, PA, tonight to help inaugurate the new PPL Center. Thirteen players who are still in the Flyers’ NHL training camp will participate in a mixed-roster scrimmage with members of the American Hockey League’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Game time tonight is 5 p.m. EDT. The sold-out event has been dubbed “the Battle on Hamilton,” as the PPL Center is located on Hamilton St. in Allentown. The new arena holds a capacity of 8,641 for hockey.

Flyers forwards participating in the scrimmage are Brayden Schenn, Michael Raffl, Zac Rinaldo, Jay Rosehill, Scott Laughton, Jason Akeson, Blair Jones, Zack Stortini and Chris VandeVelde. The defensemen making the trip are Luke Schenn, Michael Del Zotto, Shayne Gostisbehere and Samuel Morin. Additionally, Flyers head coach Craig Berube will be behind the bench.

Of the participating Flyers players, seven or eight are likely to open the regular season in the NHL: the Schenn brothers, Raffl, Rinaldo, 13th forward Rosehill, Akeson and Del Zotto. Among the other players, there may be one additional player who makes the opening night Flyers roster.

Rookies Laughton and Gostisbehere seem more likely to start the season with the Phantoms. Enforcer Stortini will almost certainly be assigned to the Phantoms. Jones and VandeVelde are still in the hunt for an NHL roster spot, but VandeVelde will probably end up with the Phantoms. Jones is in a battle with the injured Pierre-Edouard Bellemare for an opening night job with the Flyers. The 19-year-old Morin is not yet eligible for the AHL.

The Flyers players who are playing in Allentown will report to the arena with their teammates. Those who are not participating will practice at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ. Practice time is 11 a.m. EDT.


Flyers captain Claude Giroux practiced in full with the team yesterday in Voorhees. After practice, he reported progress with the lower-body injury he sustained on the first day of camp. However, he did not want to set a timetable for his return. Craig Berube said it would left up to Giroux to decide if and when he felt ready to play in a preseason game.

Following yesterday’s practice, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall provided updates on several injured Flyers players who have not practiced the last few days. The list is as follows:

* Pierre-Edouard Bellemare has an upper-body injury and is day-to-day. Berube said the player would not be available for Sunday’s game in Newark against the New Jersey Devils.

* Sean Couturier has an upper-body injury and is day-to-day. The injury is said not to be anything serious.

* Ray Emery has a lower-body injury and is day-to-day. Goaltender Rob Zepp practiced in Emery’s place again yesterday.

Additionally, center Ryan White will miss approximately five months dating from the time he tore a pectoral muscle and underwent surgery. White’s timetable would allow a return in the second half of the regular season, either with the Flyers or Phantoms. He will start the season on injured reserve.

Phantoms defenseman Matt Konan is still on the Flyers’ roster due to an undisclosed injury. Under the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) rules, teams are not permitted to demote injured players.

Lastly, unsigned 2013 third-round pick Tyrell Goulbourne’s name has not yet appeared on any roster cutdown list. He missed all of rookie camp due to an upper-body injury (suspected to be a concussion, but not confirmed) sustained during the Western Hockey League preseason. Over the summer, the Flyers offered the 20-year-old Goulbourne an AHL contract but the player declined in the hopes of earning an entry-level NHL contract out of training camp.


The Flyers announced five roster cuts yesterday. Veteran forward Darroll Powe (AHL contract) and rookie Taylor Leier (entry-level NHL contract) have been assigned to the Phantoms. Non waiver-exempt young defensemen Brandon Manning and Oliver Lauridsen as well as veteran forward Andrew Gordon were placed on waivers for purposes of assignment to the Phantoms.

Excluding IR-bound players with major injuries — such as Kimmo Timonen, Chris Pronger and White — and injured prospects who will not make the NHL roster (Konan and Goulbourne), the training camp roster now stands at 28 players:

Forwards (16): Jason Akeson, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, Blair Jones, Scott Laughton, Vincent Lecavalier, Michael Raffl, Matt Read, Zac Rinaldo, Jay Rosehill, Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, Zack Stortini, R.J. Umberger, Jakub Voracek.

Defensemen (9): Braydon Coburn, Michael Del Zotto, Shayne Gostisbehere, Nicklas Grossmann, Andrew MacDonald, Samuel Morin, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Mark Streit.

Goaltenders (3): Ray Emery, Steve Mason, Rob Zepp.

The Flyers seem most likely to opt to carry 13 or 14 forwards and seven defensemen heading into the regular season. They would carry eight defensemen and 13 forwards only if Morin ends up getting a nine-game trial with the big club before the team makes a decision on whether to return him to his QMJHL team or burn a year on his entry-level contract.


* WHL: With a newly signed NHL entry-level contract in hand, Flyers 2014 first-round pick Travis Sanheim made his return to the Calgary Hitmen last night along with 2014 sixth-round pick Radel Fazleev. Unfortunately, their first regular season game of 2014-15 did not go as the two Flyers prospects would have liked.

Calgary dropped a 4-2 decision to the Medicine Hat Tigers, largely on the strength of a three-goal outburst by the Tigers in the second period after Calgary took a 1-0 lead to the first intermission. Samheim (minus-two, one shot, roughing minor at the end of the second period) assisted on a late second period power play goal that trimmed Calgary’s deficit to 3-2. The Hitmen were unable to re-tie the score in the third period and the Tigers added a late empty net goal.

Fazleev did not record a point in the game. He was minus-two with one shot on goal.

* SHL: Defending Swedish Hockey League champion Skellefteå AIK was too much for visiting Brynäs IF Gävle to handle yesterday, as SAIK cruised to a 4-1 win. Flyers 2014 fifth-round pick Oskar Lindblom did not get on the scoresheet but his line with Jonas Nodquist and Adam Brodecki accounted for the lone Brynäs goal in the game, as Brodecki scored a rebound goal to briefly tie the score at 1-1 early in the second period.

Lindblom, who had one shot on goal in the game, skated 14:28 of ice time and was plus-one on the night. Overall this season, he has one goal and zero assists in five games while averaging 13:14 of ice time. He played a season-high 15:30 in last Saturday’s loss to Luleå HF. Brynäs currently sits in 11th place in the 12-team SHL.

* QMJHL: Flyers 2014 second-round pick Nicolas Aube-Kubel, who narrowly missed completing a Gordie Howe hat trick in Val-d’Or’s last game, has two goals and one assist in two QMJHL regular season games to date. The Foreurs were idle last night and also have tonight off. The club returns to the ice tomorrow to host Gatineau.

* KHL: Flyers 2012 seventh-round pick Valeri Vasiliev is in the starting lineup today for Avangard Omsk in a home game against HC Sochi. Former Flyers defenseman Erik Gustafsson leads Avangard in ice time and ranks in the top five in the league in that category.

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

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