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Flyers Score Three in the Third Period to Sink Ottawa

20 Nov

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Claude Giroux got the Flyers going with a power- play goal in the first period in the Flyers win over Ottawa Photo by Webster Riddick.

Claude Giroux got the Flyers going with a power- play goal in the first period in the Flyers win over Ottawa Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—Earlier in the season, the Flyers had a penchant for taking one or two goal leads only to have the other team come back and win the game.

When Ottawa Senators center Kyle Turris scored the game-tying goal with 16:48, it was looking like one of those bad nights for the Flyers, who had jumped out to a 2-0 early in the second period.

But the Flyers (8-10-2) refused to fold and exploded for three goals in the third period for a 5-2 win over the Senators Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers have won four out of their last five games and are 5-1-2 since a fight-marred shutout loss to the Washington Capitals.

“It was a very good response by our team,” said Flyers head coach Craig Berube. “I thought the whole third period we played to win that game. It’s encouraging, it’s good to see. … You’re looking for your team to play and skate for 60 minutes. Sometimes, you’re going to do that and not get a break and lose, but if you do it on a consistent basis, you’re going to win more than you’re going to lose.”

Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen had a big night for his team with a goal and two assists. It was his goal past Senators goalie Robin Lehner with 8:30 left that put the Flyers on top for good. Twenty-three seconds later, Wayne Simmonds added an insurance goal to make 4-2. Adam Hall’s empty-netter in the final seconds capped an impressive third period.

“The way earlier in year has been going for us it’s been a lot of bad losses or tight losses, but when we’re able to turn these games into two points for us in the third period, that’s a good sign,” Timonen said. “The team looks good right now. They’re skating, we’re working and doing the system pretty well. The boys are playing unbelievable. It’s a lot of good things going for our team. Hopefully, we can keep doing it.”

It also helped that the Flyers got a little bit of luck. With 10:30 left, Turris pushed in a shot that was headed for the back of the Flyers net. But the puck hit the left skate and bounced the right skate of defenseman Nicklas Grossmann. The official behind the net ruled that it was no goal.

“I tried to get some guys out of the crease and I felt the puck coming off my left foot and after that, I just hit it with my reflexes,” Grossmann said. “I didn’t see the puck coming in, just reflex and a lot of luck.”

The play was reviewed by the replay officials and the call was upheld. Photographic evidence suggests that the puck might have snuck past the goal line, but it wasn’t conclusive enough to overturn the call.

With the ruling in their favor, the rejuvenated Flyers began their push to win game thanks to the scoring of both Timonen and Simmonds.

“We said no matter what happens if it’s a goal we were going to stay with our structure,” Simmonds said. “We were going to get opportunities all game. We’re confident in ourselves. We know what we have to do. Today was great because everybody did their job and we came up with the win.”

Meanwhile, Flyers goalie Steve Mason had another outstanding performance with 32 saves including a huge save on a penalty shot by Turris late in the third period.

“He played well,” Berube said. “He’s been playing well all year. A big save on that penalty shot. That was a huge timely save.”

The Flyers started the scoring with 3:16 left in the first period on a power-play goal by center Claude Giroux who got a pass from Timonen to the right of the Senator’s goal. In the second period, the Flyer upped the lead to 2-0 on a by center Sean Couturier who was set up on a pass by Timonen.

Later in the second period, Ottawa got its first goal of the game on a goal by left winger Clark MacArthur before Turris tied it in third period.

Flyers, Giroux End Scoring Woes in Win over Edmonton

9 Nov

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Claude Giroux celebrates his first goal of the season in the third period of the Flyers win over the Edmonton Oilers. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Claude Giroux celebrates his first goal of the season in the third period of the Flyers win over the Edmonton Oilers. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—There are several ways you can look at the Flyers 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on a Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.

One way is to say it was inspiration from the players-only meeting after Thursday’s embarrassing shutout loss to the New Jersey Devils. They played 60-minutes of solid hockey, especially in the third period when they scored two goals. They outshot the Oilers 34-26.

“I think some choice words were said in that meeting and we all gotta be accountable,” said Flyers right-winger Wayne Simmonds. “I thought we came today and played a much-better game for 60 minutes. We stuck with our structure and we got two more goals in the third period which is always nice.”

Or you can be a cynic who sees the glass as half empty and say the Flyers were playing a last-place (Pacific Division) Oilers squad (4-12-2) that gives up 3.8 goals per game. This is a team the Flyers should beat. The only problem with that logic is that the Flyers (5-10-1) are at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division standings.

Given the way the Flyers have struggled to score, the team is simply happy with the win and is hoping that it will give them a boost of momentum for their three-game road trip that will take them to Ottawa (Nov. 12), Pittsburgh (Nov.13) and Winnipeg (Nov15).

“I thought that we played a real good third period tonight,” said Flyers head coach Craig Berube. “I thought that we kept playing and doing the right things. I like the way we got the puck deep and forechecked tonight. I like getting 30-plus shots a game and putting pucks on net.”

Another bright spot for the Flyers is that team captain Claude Giroux finally ended his scoring slump and smacked a slap-shot past Edmonton goalie Devan Dubnyk to give his team a 3-1 lead 8:34 left in the third period. It was his first goal of the season.

“It was big,” said Flyers left winger Jay Rosehill. “The bench was really happy and all pumped up. (Giroux) had a big smile on his face. A guy like him isn’t going to go scoreless very often. To get a nice goal like that we needed was big, so I expect him to start rolling now.”

It was especially huge for a visibly frustrated Giroux who had two excellent scoring chances for goals in the second period, but just could not find the net before getting that third period goal. After that second point-blank miss, he shattered his stick in frustration on the Flyers bench.

“Jake (Voracek) and (Scott Hartnell) did a good job of finding me,” Giroux said. “I think we were real aggressive today-the whole team.  The (Oilers) are really talented offensively and we had to make sure that we had a good effort.”

When Edmonton left winger Taylor Hall pushed a shot past goalie Steve Mason to cut the Flyers 3-2 with 6:35 left in the game, fans might have been wondering how the Flyers were going to blow this game given some recent history.

Vincent LeCavalier put that notion and the Oilers to rest with 5:27 left in the third when he took a pass from Braden Schenn and slid it past Dubnyk to put the game away for the Flyers.

Oddly enough, it was Rosehill, known more for his toughness, who got things going for the Flyers in the first period when he took a pass from Mark Streit about four yards in front of the Oilers goal and smacked it past Dubnyk.  He also got the best of Luke Gazdic in a fight that put him in the penalty box for five minutes.

“Rosey did a great job,” Berube said. “He scored a goal and had a big fight. Rosey has done everything we’ve asked of him.”

Later in the first period, Streit assisted on another goal when found a streaking Scott Hartnell who put the puck in the net to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead. Edmonton cut the lead to 2-1 in the second period on a goal by left winger David Perron.

Flyers goalie Steve Mason finally had a solid game with support from the offense. He finished the game with 24 saves.

Flyers Scoring Slump Continues in Loss to New Jersey

8 Nov

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday

Wayne Simmonds said Flyers are thinking too much during scoring slump.

Wayne Simmonds said Flyers are thinking too much during scoring slump.

PHILADELPHIA—Statistics that say that you have a probability to lose under certain circumstances are only true when your team finds itself in said situation and makes that stat true.

Coming into Thursday’s game against the New Jersey Devils, the Flyers were 0-6 when the other team scores first. Given the Flyers inability to put the puck in the net on a regular basis, there is always a high probability that they would be finding themselves on the losing end of the score again.

Now make it 0-7.

Just one-minute and 57 seconds into the game, New Jersey got on the board first when Adam Henrique deflected a shot from teammate Eric Gelinas that got past Flyers goaltender Ray Emery.  That gave the Devils what could construed as an “insurmountable” 1-0 lead given the Flyers lack of scoring punch.

New Jersey got two more goals in the third period from Cam Janssen and a late empty-netter by Jaromir Jagr to complete a 3-0 shutout of a Flyers squad that couldn’t seem to find a way to score against an aging Martin Brodeur (22 saves). The 19,604 fans gathered at the Wells Fargo Center voiced their frustration by serenading their team with boos as they walked off the ice.

“It just means we’re not doing our jobs,” said Flyers right winger Wayne Simmonds. “The fans react to what they see and it’s not good enough.”

It marked the second straight home game in which the Flyers did not score a goal. They haven’t scored on their home ice since an Oct. 29 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

After the game, the Flyers had a players’ only meeting to figure out how they can break out of their scoring woes. Simmonds, who would not elaborate on what was said during the confab, said the team’s inability to put the puck in the net is more of a mental issue than anything else.

“We’re not penetrating, we’re not getting quality shots,” Simmonds said. “I think we’re thinking too much about passing instead of shooting. When things aren’t going for you tend to pull up for the extra play instead of just throwing stuff at the net. When you get bounces, you get stuff off other team’s skates and sticks. You get the dirty goals. I think that’s where we gotta start. It starts in practice (Friday). I think we gotta come to practice tomorrow. We gotta stop in front of the nets and bury every puck we can.”

Whether the players-only meeting will eventually help the Flyers remains to be seen, but they have to start somewhere.

“The only way I know is to work hard and play hard for your teammates,” said Flyers defenseman Hal Gill. “That’s what we gotta keep working on and find a way to make the puck drop and get that first goal. Things are going to come, we’re going to get guys to score goals. I think we believe that we just have to fight through the times that it’s not happening.”

The one area that really killed the Flyers was their inability to put together anything on their power-play opportunities. Not only were they 0-for-3 on the power play, they could only manage three shots. Head coach Craig Berube was not pleased with his team’s effort with the man-advantage Thursday night.

“We got outplayed and outworked,” Berube said. “That can’t happen. I think there’s some games, if you go back, the power-play looked good, but the puck didn’t go in. On a consistent night, you got to outwork the penalty kill. You go to create momentum for your team. We did not do that tonight.”

Rock Bottom: Capitals Shutout Flyers in Fight-Filled Contest

2 Nov

 

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Steve Mason gives up to goal to Washington's Jason Chimera as the Capitals scored five goals in the second period. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Steve Mason gives up to goal to Washington’s Jason Chimera as the Capitals scored five goals in the second period. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—With Washington’s prolific goal-scorer Alexander Ovechkin out with an upper body injury and his teammates playing the final game of a five-game road trip, you would think that this would be an opportunity for the Flyers to score a few goals and possibly steal a win.

The Flyers were also hoping that left winger Steve Downie, who was acquired by the Flyers from the Colorado Avalanche in a trade for Max Talbot, would provide some scoring punch. That didn’t work either. He left the game in the second period and was taken to Pennsylvania Hospital to be treated for concussion symptoms.

Instead, the only team doing the stealing was the Capitals who took what they wanted in a 7-0 shutout of the Flyers in front of 19, 702 disgruntled fans at the Well Fells Fargo Center.  The fans took their disgust out on team general manager Paul Holmgren by chanting, “Fire Holmgren.”

“I can’t blame the fans,” Holmgren said. “We’re as frustrated as they are.”

The booing and chanting came during the second period when Washington (6-7-0) scored five goals to pretty much end the competitive portion of the game. The fortunes of a team that can’t score got even more complicated by their inability to stop the other team from putting the puck in the net.

In short, the Flyers (3-9-0) got their collective rear-ends handed to them on the scoreboard. It was no doubt the low point of what has been tough season.

“It can’t get a whole lot lower, can it?”  Flyers head coach Craig Berube asked rhetorically after the game. “Everybody’s been involved in these games before. You can’t sit there and dwell upon it. You gotta play a game (Saturday against the New Jersey Devils). Compete tomorrow, work real hard. That’s what you do.”

Speaking of Holmgren, he addressed the team during the second intermission to express his own disgust at the way the Flyers were playing.

“We played pretty good for 15 minutes. Once they scored their first goal, we just stopped playing,” Holmgren said. “We were afraid to play the game. We were afraid to make plays. We were afraid to battle for pucks, afraid to skate after pucks. It was tough to watch. I’m sure the players are very embarrassed.”

Flyers goalie Ray Emery engages in a brawl with Capitals goalie Braden Holtby. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Flyers goalie Ray Emery engages in a brawl with Capitals goalie Braden Holtby. Photo by Webster Riddick.

The only thing Flyers fans had to cheer about was a third-period melee which resulted in 114 minutes of penalties. For the game, the teams had 164 minutes worth of penalties.  It started with Wayne Simmonds fighting Capitals right winger Tom Wilson and that escalated into a brawl between Vincent LeCavalier and Caps defenseman Steve Olesky.  Just as Brayden Schenn was mixing it up with Washington defenseman Alexander Urbom, Flyers goalie Ray Emery sprinted down the ice to put a beat down on Capitals net-minder Braden Holtby.

“As a group we were frustrated tonight, our fans are frustrated,” Emery said. “Things didn’t go our way. We all grew up playing hockey and sometimes that happens. We don’t take losses like that.”

Berube said the third period brawl showed that his team wasn’t going to lay down and quit.

“They care,” Berube said. “They’re frustrated. That’s what it boils down to.”

Vincent LeCavalier gets into a brawl with Capitals defenseman Steve Olesky in the third period of a 7-0 loss to Washington. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Vincent LeCavalier gets into a brawl with Capitals defenseman Steve Olesky in the third period of a 7-0 loss to Washington. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Added Holmgren: “They were getting slapped around. It’s a response. Do I have an issue with it? No.”

If this game was scored on a 10-point must system, the Flyers would have won hands down. It’s too bad the Flyers can’t score the way they can fight. If they shot pucks into the net the way their fists hit the faces of Capitals players, they might be Stanley Cup contenders. The video of this brawl will probably go viral on social media sites and will also go to the NHL offices for possible suspensions.

Two Washington players Nicklas Backstrum and Joel Ward had hat-tricks against the Flyers defense.

In the first period, the Flyers out shot Washington 8-4, but when the clock hit zero to end the period, it was the Capitals with a 1-0 lead.  With 2:32 left in the period, Washington was able to get on the board when Nate Schmidt took the puck that caromed off the stick of  Simmonds and passed it to Erat Martin, who found Backstrom in front of the circle to left of the goal. Backstrum shot the puck past Mason for the score.

What made things even more disheartening was that the Flyers held the Capitals without a shot on goal for the game’s first 15 minutes.

“We played pretty good (in the first period), they got the goal, we didn’t respond,” Berube said. “That’s what I saw.”

Things didn’t get any better for the Flyers in that fateful second period either as Washington exploded to score five goals-three within the first five minutes of the period. The Caps scored the first of those goals in 1:24 of the period when Ward got in a shot past Mason.  A little over a minute later, left winger Jason Chimera scored to make it a 3-0.

That goal got Mason pulled from the game, but that didn’t stop the Capitals from scoring. Backstrum got his second goal on another shot between the blue line and circle that went past Ray Emery. Just five minutes into the second period the Capitals had an insurmountable 4-0 lead.

Washington added two more goals-including Backstrum’s third and another in the third to complete the rout.

 

Flyers End Four-Game Slide With Win over the Rangers

25 Oct
Matt Read put the Flyers on the period with an unassisted goal in the first period.

Matt Read put the Flyers on the board with an unassisted goal in the first period.

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

PHILADELPHIA—Never mind that the New York Rangers are missing several players from their starting lineup and that they are among the worst teams in the NHL (3-6), the Flyers were desperate for a win over anybody.

This is definitely true for a Flyers (2-7-0) squad that has had trouble scoring more than one goal in most of their games this year.  They have yet to score more than two in their first nine games of the season.

Suffice it to say, the Flyers 2-1 win over the Rangers Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center was progress or at least a step in the right direction.

Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn scored what turned out the winning goal with 16:27 left in the third period when he took a pass from Matt Read at the point and shot it past New York goalie Cam Talbot.  Head coach Craig Berube said he was glad to see his team score enough goals to get their second victory of the season-his first as the Flyers coach.

“Getting a win is the most important thing obviously,” said Flyers head coach Craig Berube. “Wins are wins in this league. You play games where you play really well and you don’t win. You’ll play games where you play average or not so good and you win. It’s good for the confidence. That’s what we play for is to win hockey games.”

The goal scorers for the Flyers were not the guys from the team’s top scoring lines. But when you’ve been in a sweltering desert of not putting the puck in the net, you’re happy to get a goal from just about anybody.

The Flyers will definitely take Read’s short-handed, breakaway goal midway through the first period.  He separated the puck from Rangers center Derick Brassard near center ice and streaked in front of Talbot and shot the puck through the five-hole (between his legs) for the goal.

“You always know the length of the pads these days, that five hole’s always open, so you just sit tight and shoot it in the five-hole,” said Read, who also had an assist on Coburn’s game-winning goal.

Meanwhile, Steve Mason had another brilliant in goal for the Flyers with 30 saves. For him, it was an effort that didn’t go to waste because the offense didn’t score enough goals. The Rangers only score of the game came on a goal by center Brad Richards late in the first period.

“You just have to ready for anything,” Mason said. “You know the next save could be the turning point in the game. I think (Cam) Talbot made a huge save coming across on Brayden (Coburn) and that could have swung the momentum in their direction. But it was my job just to make the saves.”

It also helps to have a few breaks go your way as well.  Midway through the third period, an apparent game-tying goal by Rangers center J.T. Miller was overturned by the replay officials, who ruled that the puck was kicked into the net.

“It was a kicking motion, I knew it right away,” Mason said.

But there are still some areas of concern for the Flyers. They were 0-for-4 in the power play including a five-minute power play that came when Rangers left winger Benoit Pouliot hit center Max Talbot and pushed him into the boards.  Pouliot was given a game misconduct and ejected.

“For some reason, it’s not going in right now, but you have slumps like that during an 82-game season,” said Flyers captain Claude Giroux. “The last three years our power play has been the top of the league. We just have to keep working on it and it will come.”

Meanwhile, Talbot, with a band-aid on his nose, was back on the ice in the third period. He said he was checked by doctors and was eventually allowed to get back in the game.

“Not disoriented. It’s a weird feeling obviously,” Talbot said. “I don’t wish that on anybody. No symptoms (concussion), no headaches or anything.”

 

 

 

 

Flyers Scoring Slump Continues in Loss to Pittsburgh

18 Oct

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Flyers Forward Wayne Simmonds deflects a shot from Claude Giroux past Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury for the Flyers only goal of the game. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Flyers Forward Wayne Simmonds deflects a shot from Claude Giroux past Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury for the Flyers only goal of the game. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—Coming into Thursday night’s game, Flyers captain Claude Giroux said that a win over the Pittsburgh Penguins would be a turning a point for a Flyers team that is at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division standings.

For a 1-7 Flyers squad, the ability to put the puck in the net on a consistent basis would be the first step to salvage a season that appears to be going nowhere fast.

The Flyers 4-1 loss to the Penguins at the Wells Fargo Center wasn’t what Giroux was hoping for because his team, in spite of its best efforts, simply could not score more than one goal.   It was yet another night of trying to make sense of a scoring slump that seems to have no end in sight.

“I think if we would have won that game, it would have been a big turning point, but it didn’t happen,” Giroux said. “We gotta lot of time to look at tapes and look at what we’re doing wrong. I think if we play 60 minutes, responsible and disciplined about our game, we’ll be fine. We’ll start winning games. It’s just a matter of time. We just need to start believing it before we start playing.”

The good news for the Flyers is that they are off for the next six days and will have some time to figure out a way out of their scoring slump.

“You’ve got to pick your head up and come to work and get ready to play,” said Flyers head coach Craig Berube. “They’re the only guys that are going to dig us out of this hole- the guys in the locker room. They gotta start believing in each other and believe in themselves and playing hockey like they can.”

Meanwhile, Flyers goalie Steve Mason did everything he could to keep the Flyers in the game. He had 32 saves, but allowed three goals. When you’re offense is not scoring, a goalie’s best efforts are not enough.

“It’s not easy right now. We’re struggling to create offense and I’m trying to make the save I need to make and just be patient and eventually, it’ll come,” Mason said. “When you’re only scoring one goal a game, it’s tough to win hockey games. It puts pressure on us in the defensive zone and we’re going have to start creating opportunities to score.”

After a scoreless first period, the Penguins jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Jussin Jokinen on a pass from center Eveni Malkin with 10:17 left in the period. Malkin snatched the puck away from Michael Raffl near the blue line and passed it to Jokinen, who slapped the puck past Mason for the score.

Three minutes later, Penguins forward Chris Kunitz rebounded a shot by Matt Niskanen past Mason for Pittsburgh’s second goal of the period.

In that second period, the Flyers played poorly on both offense and defense. They managed just five shots on goal in the period and just seemed lifeless.

“We were brutal,” said Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds. “We weren’t executing, weren’t getting pucks deep. We turned over pucks in the neutral zone. They’re a good transition team. We couldn’t break the puck out of our zone and they took advantage of that.”

The Flyers finally got on the board on a power play with just two seconds left in the period when Simmonds deflected a shot from Giroux into the Pittsburgh net past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (24 saves).

That goal the Penguins cut the lead to 2-1 and that’s as close as the Flyers would get because it was back to the salt mines of their never-ending scoring drought. The Flyers managed work harder and had several chances to score, but just came up short

“We score a late goal with three or four seconds left, so we had momentum going in (to the third period),” Simmonds said. “We tried to build on it … But nothing ever came of it.”

On a night when the Flyers held the Penguins to 0-for-4 on the power play, they didn’t put anything together offensively.  When you don’t score, a good offensive team like Pittsburgh is going to put you away. Late in the third, a goal by Sydney Crosby and empty-net goal by Malkin sealed the Flyers fate while sending fans to the exits.

Rejuvenated Ray Emery Returns to Philly Ready to Win

11 Jul

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

http://www.thechrismurrayreport.org

Flyers Goalie Ray Emery  will be competing for starting spot at goaltender this upcoming season. Photo by Chris Murray

Flyers Goalie Ray Emery will be competing for starting spot at goaltender this upcoming season. Photo by Chris Murray

PHILADELPHIA-Flyers goalie Ray Emery returns to the City of the Brotherly Love with a better understanding of what means to keep fighting on in the face of difficult circumstances.

During his last stint with the Flyers in 2010, he was diagnosed with avascular necrosis or AVN in his right hip and it nearly ended his career.  Luckily, the doctors caught the disease before it spread and did a bone graft to repair it.

“It was a shock to me,” Emery said. “Being an athlete you feel invincible. When somebody gives you news like that, you almost don’t believe it.  I’m very fortunate that I had that operation. It stopped the deterioration of my hip and the function came back to 100 percent.

“I was that close to not being able to play the sport.”

The 30-year-old Emery said coming that close to seeing his career end has given him the confidence to get through difficult stretches of games during the course of a season.

“You gain confidence just because of past experiences,” said Emery, who credits the Flyers with helping him find the doctors needed to treat his condition. “It’s just kind of a process involved when overcoming things that pop up.”

A rejuvenated Emery comes back to the Flyers after helping to lead the Chicago Black Hawks to the 2013 Stanley Cup title.  He signed a one-year contract with the Flyers last week worth $1.65 million.  The Flyers also signed former New York Islanders defenseman Mark Streit and former Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent LeCavalier.

Emery is coming off a regular season where he went 17-1 backing up fellow Black Hawks goal tender Corey Crawford.   Emery also had an average of 1.94 in goals against (number of goals scored on him) and a .920 save percentage.

To start the 2013 season, Emery set an NHL record by winning 12 straight games as the goalie for the Black Hawks.  During his first stint with the Flyers in the 2009-2010 season, he was 16-11. He had a 2.64 goals against average and .908 save percentage.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren believes the Flyers are a better team with (from left to right) former New York Islanders defenseman Mark Streit, goalie Ray Emery and former Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent LeCavalier. Photo by Chris Murray.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren believes the Flyers are a better team with (from left to right) former New York Islanders defenseman Mark Streit, goalie Ray Emery and former Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent LeCavalier. Photo by Chris Murray.

Emery’s hip injury in March of 2010 kept him out of the Flyers run to the Stanley Cup finals. Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said he’s glad to have him back, but still wonders what would have happened if he had Emery in the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals.

“He’s one of the better goalies in the league,” said Holmgren. “If you look at Ray’s record since he’s been in the NHL all he does is win. You can even go back to the short time he was here. I remember his last game, he shutout Calgary 3-0 (in 2010) and then we got that phone call that his hip was bad.

“Everybody remembers our goaltending situation after that. Who didn’t we have playing after that? If we had Ray Emery that year, who knows? It’s easy to look back and say who knows, I guess.”

Oddly enough, during the Black Hawks march to the Stanley Cup, Emery was on the bench mainly because he had a groin injury prior to the playoffs and because Crawford was hot and Chicago was winning.

“That’s how it goes. Like I said there’s a certain part of you that wants to be in there,” Emery said. “But it’s your team. It was so exciting watching your team and being part of it.”

Coming to the Flyers, Emery will be competing for the starting goalie position with Steve Mason.  Even with the possibility of having to split time, Emery said he’s willing to do his part help the team to win.

“It’s more about the relationship,” Emery said. “It’s more about making it comfortable and getting the most out of both guys.”

Since starting his NHL career with the Ottawa Senators in 2002-2003, he has   compiled a 126-63 record. He was the goalie for the Senators when they lost to Anaheim in the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals.

Emery is one of 22 Black players currently playing in the NHL.

At this year’s NHL Draft, two Black players—Seth Jones, taken fourth by the Nashville Predators, and Darnell Nurse who was the seventh pick by the Edmonton Oilers-are the first to be taken in the top 10 of the NHL Draft.

Emery said he doesn’t mind being a role model to get more Black kids interested in the sport.

“It exciting when you’re a kid to have someone that if you’re interested in hockey and you’re a Black kid to have someone to look up to,” Emery said. “When I was a kid I had Grant Fuhr and Tony McKegney, a select few guys to look up to. I hope we can expand the game to different demographics. I think that’s a good thing.”