Quick Hits: Vigneault on Patrick, Alumni Camp Finale, Broadcaster Stories
Quick Hits: August 19, 2019
1) While the Flyers addition of Kevin Hayes should be beneficial to Nolan Patrick, it is also a challenge to Patrick to elevate his game on a more consistent basis. While new head coach Alain Vigneault hopes to see a sort of 2A/2B dynamic emerge in the middle of the five-on-five lineup, for now there's a definite pecking order than has Patrick third on the depth chart.
Last month, Vigneault said that bringing out the best in Patrick is one of his key goals in the season to come.
"I have talked about Patrick a lot with Chuck [Fletcher], and also talked some with Scott Gordon. Having Kevin here should benefit Nolan in developing into the kind of player we all think he will become," Vigneault said.
Last season, Patrick had five goals and 11 points at the statistical midpoint of the season, and eight goals and 23 points in the second half. However, from Jan. 14 to Feb. 16 of this season, Patrick had a 13-game run in the second half where he produced 12 points, including a pair of two-goal games and the first three-point game of his NHL career.
Underlying Patrick's surge was a lineup depth chart move by then head coach Gordon to move Claude Giroux back from left wing to center for several weeks, have Sean Couturier centering the second line and moving Patrick to the third line. The move did not benefit Giroux offensively but Patrick had his most productive stretch of the season during that time.
Similarly, Vigneault believes that having Patrick as the third center of a 1-2-3 punch with Couturier and Hayes will be beneficial to Patrick's game without overtaxing Giroux by taking off left wing.
"With Couturier and Hayes slotted into the situations they'll probably play, we can also get Nolan into matchups that will be favorable for him and his line. At the same time, he can continue to develop, and we can be better as a team for that. You don't want to talk about first line, second line, third line, fourth line. You want everyone to be able to be effective for you, and contribute in different ways. That takes depth," Vigneault said.
2) The 2019 Flyers Alumni Fantasy Camp wraps up today at the Skate Zone in Voorhees. Defending champion Team River Rock, coached by Mark Howe and Joe Watson, will take on Team Toyota, coached by Danny Briere and Martin Biron, in the Flyers Alumni Fantasy Cup championship at 11:45 a.m. ET. Earlier in the morning, at 10 a.m., Team CDW (coached by Keith Jones and Ian Laperriere) will play Team Tito's (Bill Barber, Bill Clement, and Brad Marsh) in the consolation game.
3) Last night's farewell celebration in the Tropicana Ballroom was a blast for everyone in attendance. The highlight of the night was a panel Q&A featuring Bill Clement, Steve Coates and Martin Biron, and moderated by Lou Nolan. The stories they told about their careers were hilarious. Some, such as story behind Coatesy's infamous breakaway where he dumped the puck into the corner and skated to the bench, I had heard before. Others were new to me.
Martin Biron told a good story about interviewing John Davidson and forgetting that JD was no longer with the St. Louis Blues organization and another about what it was like to play against Danny Briere. Then there was the unprintable phone call question about Brian Propp and Paul Holmgren that Coatesy fielded on the Flyers Fone before the days of seven-second delay; and then the listener calling back on the next show to demand an answer to the same question. Bill's tale about getting increasingly tongue-tied and sweating bullets on camera during his first hockey broadcast was also great.
4) Speaking about broadcasting stories, Chris Therien was not there last night, but Bundy does such a good impression of Bill Barber's voice and speech pattern that, if you closed your eyes and both were talking, you couldn't tell which one is the real Bill Barber. One time on WIP, stuck for an intermission guest segment, Bundy interviewed "Billy" (actually Chris himself doing Bill's voice). Apart from Barber being perhaps a little too effusive in describing how Bundy was the backbone of the Flyers blueline when he coached Chris, no one ever caught on or commented that the segment guest was an imposter Bill Barber.
5) The Flyers Community Caravan tour, featuring games, inflatables and autograph-signing appearances by Flyers Alumni will resume after Labor Day with two events:
* Fri. Sept. 6 (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.) at First Friday on the Delaware (Mill and Radcliffe Sts.) in Bristol, PA.
* Sat. Sept. 7 (1 p.m. to 3 p.m.) at the Kennett Mushroom Festival in Kennett Square, PA (300 E. South St.)
6) August 19 Flyers Alumni birthday: A five-time NHL All-Star and member of the Team Canada squad at the 1976 Canada Cup, Flyers Hall of Fame defenseman Jim Watson was born on this day in 1952 in Smithers, British Columbia. A chronic back issue forced the younger Watson brother's retirement in 1982 at age 30.