Bill Meltzer: Meltzer’s Musings: All-Star Wrapup, Prospects, Reggie Leach Then & Now

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FLYERS GET BACK TO BUSINESS

The Philadelphia Flyers return to the rink on Monday afternoon for a scheduled 2 p.m. practice at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ. The team’s post-All-Star break schedule commences on Tuesday when the Flyers host the Arizona Coyotes at the Wells Fargo Center.

Weather permitting, a post-practice update will be posted later today.

In yesterday’s NHL All-Star Game in Columbus, Flyers right winger Jakub Voracek tied an all-time record by racking up six points (three goals and three assists) in Team Toews’ 17-12 win over Team Foligno. Leading the Art Ross Trophy race at the All-Star break, Voracek also led all players in scoring in the highest-scoring game in All-Star Game in the event’s history.

Voracek tied a mark originally set by Mario Lemieux at the 1988 All-Star Game in St. Louis. The legendary Pittsburgh Penguins center racked up three goal and three assists in that game. Voracek’s six-point effort in the city where his NHL career began set a new scoring record for first-time participants in the game. He also broke Mark Recchi’s record (one goal, four assists, five points) for scoring by a Flyers representative at the All-Star Game. Recchi set the mark in the 1992-93 game.

Flyers captain Claude Giroux compiled a goal and two assists for Team Foligno. Apart from Voracek and Recchi, the other other Flyers representative to record three or more points in an All-Star Game was John LeClair’s three-point effort (two goals, one assist) in the 1996-97 game.

********* FLYERS PROSPECT UPDATES

Four Flyers prospects in the CHL leagues were in action on Sunday. Below are updated weekend recaps of the Flyers’ top prospects in junior, European and collegiate hockey. Information for players who were idle on Sunday is repeated from yesterday’s blog.

* WHL: Flyers 2014 first-round pick Travis Sanheim is back in the Calgary Hitmen lineup after missing two games with an upper-body injury. On Friday,he went plus-four with an assist in his team’s 7-0 home win over Swift Current. On Saturday, he posted a pair of assists in the team’s 5-2 home win over Edmonton. On Sunday, Sanheim had a nifty behind-the-back power play assist and was plus-two at even strength in Calgary’s 8-0 pummeling of Vancouver. For the season to date, Sanheim has 10 goals, 43 points and a plus-16 rating in 44 games.

* WHL: Sanheim’s Hitmen teammate, Flyers 2014 sixth-round pick Radel Fazleev, scored a goal in the Swift Current game. He did not post a point against Edmonton. On Sunday, he assisted on Elliott Peterson’s second goal of the game and was plus three. For the season, the Russian left wing/center has posted 14 goals, 37 points and a plus-11 rating in 48 games.

* QMJHL: Flyers 2014 second-round pick Nicolas Aube-Kubel has been one of the hottest players in the league for the month of January. On Friday, he scored a goal in Val-d’Or’s 4-2 win over

Sherbrooke. On Sunday, Aube-Kubel scored a goal and had four shots in his team’s 8-5 loss to Gatineau. Aube-Kubel has scored at least one goal in five straight games (seven goals, three assists) and in seven of his last eight. For the season, Aube-Kubel has 24 goals and 50 points in 41 games.

* QMJHL: Flyers 2013 first-round pick Samuel Morin recently played one of his best games of the season in shutting down Moncton star Ivan Barbashev (2014 Blues second-round pick and one of the top offensive players in the Quebec League). On Friday, Morin’s Rimouski team dropped a 6-3 decision to Blainville-Boisbriand. Morin was an even-plus minus in that game with three shots, three minor penalties and one credited hit. He also scored a shorthanded breakaway goal. It wasn’t exactly artistic-looking — he went in straight, flubbed the puck a bit and the knuckleball fooled goalie Marc-Antoine Turcotte — but they all count the same. On Sunday, Morin had an assist and a fight with Chicoutimi agitator Reid Halabi in a 4-1 win for the Oceanic. He was plus-one on the day. For the season, Morin has 18 points (four goals, 14 assists), 29 penalty minutes and a plus-12 rating in 18 games.

* SHL: Flyers 2014 fifth-round pick Oskar Lindblom did not register a point for Brynäs in either Friday’s 4-2 loss to Växjö or Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Leksand. However, the 18-year-old has earned his way up over the course of the season to date from the fourth line to the second line and now receives regular ice time in a variety of different situations.

* NCAA: Flyers 2014 third-round pick Mark Friedman has been one of the hottest freshman offensive players at any position or in any collegiate division over the last few weeks. The freshman Bowling Green defenseman has posted points (one goal, nine assists) in eight of his last nine games and points in five games in a row. On Friday, Friedman assisted on the lone Bowling Green goal in a 3-1 loss to Lake Superior State. On Saturday, he had power play and even strength assists in a 3-1 win in a rematch with Lake Superior State. Although he is a bit undersized, Friedman has some sandpaper to his playing style (55 PIM) and has also blocked 44 shots. At even-strength he is plus-five to date.

* NCAA: Flyers 2010 fifth-round pick Michael Parks continues to enjoy a strong senior season for powerhouse North Dakota (18-5-2). On Friday, Parks had a goal and an assist in a 2-1 win over pesky underdog Colorado College. In Saturday’s return match, Park assisted on the go-ahead goal (3-2) in the second period of North Dakota’s 5-3 win. For the season, Parks has 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) in 25 games.

* NCAA: Frequently paired with San Jose Sharks prospect and New Jersey native Joakim Ryan, Flyers 2012 fifth-round pick Reece Willcox has been a reliable defensive defenseman with some puck-moving ability in his junior season with Cornell. On Friday, Cornell downed Harvard, 3-2. Unfortunately, Willcox left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury and did not return. On Saturday, Cornell fell to 8-9-0 on the season with a 5-2 loss to Dartmouth. Willcox was out of the lineup. For the season, Willcox has four points (one goal, three assists) and is plus-two in 18 games.

******** FLYERSALUMNI.ORG: REGGIE LEACH THEN AND NOW

In the January installment of the monthly Then and Now feature on the Flyers Alumni Association’s official website, we take a look at the hockey career and the post-career life of Flyers Hall of Fame inductee Reggie Leach.

While Leach had an outstanding Flyers career that saw him score between 45 and 61 goals three times and win the Stanley Cup in 1975, the most inspiring part of his history came after his career. Leach rebuilt his life from scratch and has gone on to do extensive work in Canada’s First Nation communities, counseling youngsters on life choices and offering the benefit of his hard-earned wisdom.

Nowadays, as he approaches his 65th birthday, Reggie Leach is a man at peace with himself and the often difficult journey he’s taken in life. The smiles come easily and he is someone who truly appreciates each and every new day.

December’s Then and Now installment looked at Mikael Renberg and how he has gone back to school to compete his education while moonlighting as a hockey commentator following his active career.

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