Bill Meltzer: Flyers Preseason Game Day: 9/28/14 @ NJ; Battle on Hamilton Wrapup & More

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PRESEASON GAME 5: FLYERS @ DEVILS

Beginning a stretch of three preseason games in as many nights, the Philadelphia Flyers travel to the Prudential Center in Newark tonight to take on the New Jersey Devils. Game time is 7:00 PM EDT. There is no television broadcast for tonight’s game but the game will be broadcasted on the radio on 97.5 the Fanatic.

On Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers faced little resistance in strafing the Devils for three consecutive power play goals in the first period and cruising to a 4-0 win. Brayden Schenn (power play), Vincent Lecavalier (power play), Shayne Gostisbehere (power play) and Scott Laughton scored goals for Philadelphia. Steve Mason (eight saves in 29:55) and Rob Zepp (16 saves in 29:58) shared the shutout in goal.

Yesterday morning, the Flyers held a small-group practice at the Skate Zone in Voorhees for players who were not playing in a mixed-squad scrimmage in the evening with Lehigh Valley Phantoms players at the PPL Center in Allentown. Injured Flyers captain Claude Giroux (lower body) and fellow forwards Sean Couturier (upper body) and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (lower body) all participated on the ice in Voorhees. Goaltender Ray Emery (lower body) remained off the ice.

The Flyers’ preseason roster currently stands at 29 players, excluding three long-term injured players and two injured prospects who have not yet been able to be reassigned:

Forwards (17): 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, Chris VandeVelde, 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.

*************** BATTLE ON HAMILTON: TEAM ORANGE DOWNS TEAM WHITE, 5-3

Yesterday evening, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms inaugurated the brand new PPL Center with a mixed squad scrimmage with Flyers players. Team Orange (with Flyers head coach Craig Berube behind the bench) downed Team White (with Phantoms head coach Terry Murray behind the bench) by a 5-3 score. The event was a sellout.

A host of Flyers’ officials were in attendance at the game, including general manager Ron Hextall, club president Paul Holmgren, scouting director Chris Pryor, player development coach Kjell Samuelsson and pro scout Al Hill. When Hextall was shown on the jumbotron in the third period, the crowd gave him a huge ovation.

The new NHL-caliber facilities at the PPL Center are spectacular. The dressing room, weight room and attached medical facility are all first-rate. In talking to Murray at the postgame press conference and during the game to various Flyers’ team officials, having state-of-the-art facilities for conditioning, video, practice, etc. are all conducive to player development. Likewise, from a scouting and front office perspective, the PPL Center will aid in the recruitment of high-end AHL veterans and late-blooming prospects who have their choice of offers from various organizations.

Truth be told, none of those benefits existed during the period when the Flyers had their AHL affiliate in Glens Falls, NY, after the closure of the Spectrum forced the relocation of the former Philadelphia Phantoms. There is a night-and-difference between the resources in the new building and those available in and around the outdated Glens Falls Civic Center.

During the postgame press conference, Murray said that the fact the Flyers now have all of their farm teams — including the Phantoms in Allentown and the ECHL’s Reading Royals — in close proximity is a tremendous luxury in having immediate access to call-up players. The Flyers have not had such an advantage since the time the Phantoms were based out of the Spectrum and the team’s ECHL affiliate was the (now defunct) Trenton Titans.

From the coaches’ standpoints, the most important thing about the scrimmage last night was that no players got hurt. There was, however, a scary moment in the third period.

Team Orange left winger Taylor Leier collided at the net with Team White goaltender Anthony Stolarz, landing on the goalie in the crease. Stolarz experienced a brief “stinger” and was tended to by Flyers’ trainer Jim McCrossin as he regained his faculties. Stolarz, who said after the game that he felt fine, soon got up and was no worse for the wear. Leier gave him an apologetic tap on the pads and play continued.

The caliber play on the ice was what one would expect from a scrimmage under these conditions. There were a few displays of puck skills, especially by rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, and almost no physical play.

The defense played was pretty loose for much of the time, which led to numerous odd-man rushes. It was not quite as loosely played as an All-Star game — sticks got into passing lanes, and there was some puck support as players tried to avoid falling into bad habits — but it still wouldn’t be confused with the intensity of a real game (even a preaseason one).

There was a lot of stickchecking and wide angles taken in defending the rusk so as to minimize injury risk. The newly made ice surface was rather soft, but Stolarz said after the game that he thinks it will improve as the weather gets colder.

There was only one minor penalty — an accidental trip in the second period by Team White’s Petr Straka — in the scrimmage. The final seven minutes of the third period were conducted under the AHL’s new overtime rules, with manpower going first to four-on-four and then to three-on-three.

Flyers agitator Zac Rinaldo, who was credited with two assists for Team White, said afterwards that the relaxed and non-physical nature of the scrimmage allowed him to just have fun. He did far more stickhandling than he would ordinarily do in game conditions in his role for Philadelphia. Rinaldo and other players held back from delivering body checks when they had opportunites.

The official scoring of the game was, well, not very reliable. Several goals with a clear-cut scorer were credited to the wrong player. Most but not all were corrected.

On the final scoresheet, Team White defenseman Brett Flemming was credited with two of his team’s three goals, although it looked like Rinaldo may have tipped in the first one. Matt Hatch (number 68) appeared to have the second on a late-game line rush with Stolarz pulled for a 4-on-3 attack.

There was also a clear-cut second period Jason Akeson goal for Team Orange that explicably got credited to Michael Raffl (who had scored 28 seconds earlier on a semi-breakaway against Stolarz). That one was eventually corrected. Likewise, a sniper’s goal in the third period by Team White’s Petr Straka got credited to enforcer Derek Mathers, who was not on the ice at the time. That one also eventually got fixed. For whatever it’s worth, the final scoresheet looked like this:

1st Period- Team White, Flemming (Alt, Rinaldo), 3:29.

2nd Period – Team Orange, Raffl (Laughton), 1:14. Team Orange, Akeson (Laughton, Del Zotto), 1:32. Team Orange, Leier (Alderson, Cousins) 15:49

3rd Period – Team Orange, Alderson (Cousins, Leier), 4:06. Team White, Straka (Schenn, Rinaldo), 7:23. Team White, Flemming (Noebels, Gordon), 18:00. Team Orange, VandeVelde EN (Knapp) 19:51.

The rosters, which were selected by Flyers personnel in Voorhees and then forwarded to Murray, were as follows:

TEAM ORANGE

Forwards

12 Michael Raffl

37 Jay Rosehill

42 Jason Akeson

46 Darroll Powe

49 Scott Laughton

52 Nick Cousins

58 Taylor Leier

61 Brett Hextall

64 Brandon Alderson

66 Andrew Johnston

76 Chris VandeVelde

77 Austin Fyten

Defense

15 Michael Del Zotto

22 Luke Schenn

48 Steven Delisle

50 Samuel Morin

53 Shayne Gostisbehere

60 Maxim Lamarche

Goalies

67 Connor Knapp

70 Martin Ouellette

TEAM WHITE

Forwards

10 Brayden Schenn

35 Andrew Gordon

36 Zac Rinaldo

41 Blair Jones

45 Zack Stortini

51 Petr Straka

57 Derek Mathers

65 Kevin Goumas

68 Matt Hatch

79 David Marshall

80 Sean Wiles

81 Marcel Noebels

Defense

38 Oliver Lauridsen

39 Mark Alt

43 Brandon Manning

54 Robert Hägg

59 Jesper Pettersson

82 Brett Flemming

Goalie

65 Anthony Stolarz

A special thank you goes out to Phantoms PR manager Dan Fremuth. The team did a tremendous job of taking care of us up in the pressbox and downstairs after the game. Dan was very attentive despite the commotion of all the inaugural event activities. Those sorts of things do not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

********* TODAY IN FLYERS’ HISTORY: THE ACTON-PEETERS ‘TRADE’

The Flyers have long been an organization that tests NHL rules and regulations. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the events that triggered the league’s “Acton-Peeters Rule”, which prohibits NHL teams from immediately reacquiring a traded player.

Back in 1989, the NHL still had an annual waiver draft at the end the preseason. Each NHL team could only protect a certain number of veteran players from the draft, and it was not uncommon for other teams to claim a player or two that the original team would have preferred to keep on the roster.

Flyers general manager found himself in this situation in 1989. He did not have room to protect either checking center Keith Acton or backup goaltender Pete Peeters from the waiver draft. He wanted to keep both players without exposing them to the draft. So what could he do?

Clarke’s solution: Find another team willing to stash Acton and Peeters on their own protected list and then return the two players to the Flyers immediately after the waiver draft. He found an agreeable accomplice in Winnipeg Jets general manager Mike Smith.

On Sept. 28, 1989, the Flyers traded Acton and Peeters to Winnipeg for future considerations. On Oct. 4, the Jets returned the two players — who never reported to Winnipeg — to Philadelphia. In exchange, the two sides agreed to cancel the future consideration and the Flyers sent the Jets a 1991 5th-round pick that originally belonged to Toronto.

The draft pick was eventually used by Winnipeg to select Finnish forward Juha Ylönen, who later spent four-plus seasons with the team (which by then had become the Phoenix Coyotes). So at least the club did end up getting something out of the arrangement that was essentially one GM doing another one a favor.

The NHL permitted the trade but made clear it was not happy with what the Flyers had done. All of the parties involved denied that what happened was anything other than a coincidence.

Acton and Peeters claimed they had no advanced knowledge that the initial trade was an on-paper transaction, and they’d end up staying with the Flyers. Peeters said he went back to his home in Alberta for a few days and was preparing to report to the Jets when he learned he’d been traded back to the Flyers. Acton cryptically said he’d been “here and there” in the interim (translation: he never left the Philadelphia area) and was “relieved” to find out he’d been re-obtained by the Flyers.

Clarke said the trade was made in good faith and, while the Flyers didn’t want to lose either player to the waiver draft, he had no idea the team would be able to get them back on the roster. Clarke said that Smith called him a few days after the trade and told the Philadelphia GM that the Jets had re-evaluated their opening night roster plans, and there wasn’t room for Acton or Peeters after all.

Smith told NHL president John Ziegler the same story. Winnipeg claimed there had never been discussion of stashing the players in exchange for a draft pick, and that Acton and Peeters would have stayed with the Jets had there been available spaces when the club determined its opening-night roster.

In permitting the trade reversal, Ziegler declared that there were no rules broken nor direct evidence of a prearrangement by the two teams to reverse the trade. However, the NHL soon adopted a new rule that specifically prohibited similar transactions in the future.

********* QUICK HITS: SEPTEMBER 28

* WHL: Flyers prospects Travis Sanheim and Radel Fazleev are in action today for the Calgary Hitmen as the team hosts the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Game time is 6:00 PM EDT.

* QMJHL: Flyers prospect Nicolas Aube-Kubel, who has two goals and one assist in two regular season games to date, is back in action today as the Val-d’Or Foreurs take on the Gatineau Olympiques. Game time is 4:00 PM EDT.

* Flyers goaltender Ray Emery celebrates his 32nd birthday today.

* Flyers Alumni birthdays: Tough guy forward Tom Sestito, now with the Vancouver Canucks, turns 27 today. Checking line forward Steve Kasper turns 53.

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

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