Wanna blog? Start your own hockey blog with My HockeyBuzz. Register for free today!

Quick Hits: Stadium Series, Memorial Cup, TIFH and More

June 4, 2023, 10:27 AM ET [50 Comments]
Bill Meltzer
Philadelphia Flyers Blogger •NHL.com • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Quick Hits: June 4, 2023

1) On Saturday, the NHL announced the 2024 NHL Stadium Series will take place Feb. 17-18 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. In the first game, on Saturday, Feb. 17, the Flyers will visit the New Jersey Devils. On Feb. 18, the New York Rangers will play the New York Islanders. The news already leaked a few weeks ago but it was not officially confirmed by the NHL until yesterday.

The 2024 Stadium Series will be the sixth outdoor game for the Flyers. The team lost to the Boston Bruins at Fenway Park in the 2010 Winter Classic, to the New York Rangers at the 2012 Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, and the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 2017 Stadium Series game at Heinz Field (now Acrisure Stadium). In 2019, the Flyers staged a memorable late-game comeback in a driving rainstorm and defeated the Penguins in overtime at Lincoln Financial Field. The Stadium Series win over the Penguins was also notable as the final game of longtime fan favorite Wayne Simmonds' Flyers career.

2) The championship game of the 2024 Memorial Cup is tonight at 7:00 p.m. EDT in Kamloops, British Columbia. It will pit the QMJHL champion Quebec Remparts against the WHL champion Seattle Thunderbirds. On PhiladelphiaFlyers com, I wrap up the Memorial Cup run by the OHL champion Peterborough Petes, featuring Flyers prospects JR Avon and Brian Zanetti.

3) Hockey is a business and, like any business, there's going to be turnover of good people who were hired by now-former managers. Every knows it's part of the deal. Nonetheless, it's not pleasant.

I feel for former Lehigh Valley Phantoms assistant/head coach and Flyers alum player Kerry Huffman, who was collateral damage in Pittsburgh as pro scouting director in conjunction with Ron Hextall's ouster as general manager and Chris Pryor being let go as assistant GM. "Huff" is a good hockey man but, even more, a truly good person. Same goes for "Sarge".

Likewise in Philly, I feel for longtime hockey ops employees Kjell Samuelsson and John Riley, who are no longer part of the development staff. Additionally, 67-year-old Mike O'Connell (the senior advisor on player development) was let go.

At least Kjell's daughter Allie Samuelsson (who works on the PR/communications side for the Flyers) wasn't tasked with writing the press release about her dad being let go after 10 years on the player development side and the last 24 years in the organization as a minor league assistant/head coach and development coach. Previously, had playing stints of five-plus seasons and three seasons with the Flyers.

As part of the organizational rebuild, it was inevitable that there were going to be Hockey Operations staffing changes. There may be more to come this offseason, as all the changes so far since Danny Briere became GM and Keith Jones became president of hockey operations have been in the player development staff. With the NHL Entry Draft looming and free agency season looming in the upcoming weeks, the amateur and pro scouting staffs presently remain fully intact.

The Flyers' have a lot of older veteran scouts on the pro scouting side, ranging in age from 50 (Sami Kapanen) to 78 (John "Chappy" Chapman, who has done both amateur and pro scouting in his prolific career, has continuously been in the NHL for 30 years, was hired by Bob Clarke in Florida and then brought to Philly by Clarke in 1995). Nick Beverley, 76, has almost continuously been in pro hockey for the last 56 years: playing (1967 to 1980), coaching (1980 to 1985. 1995-96 as interim Toronto Maple Leafs head coach) or scouting (with brief interruptions, 1985 to present). Chuck Fletcher hired Beverley, after a 15-year pro scouting stint with the Nashville Predators, in 2021.

Two-stint Flyers alum player Dave Brown is the head pro scout. He left the Rangers to come back to the Flyers in 2006. "Brownie" will celebrate his 61st birthday on Oct. 12. Fellow Flyers alumni players Al Hill, 68, and Ross Fitzpatrick, 63, were respectively hired by Clarke in 1998 (Hill) and 2006 (Fitzpatrick).

That's a whole lot of hockey knowledge and experience and, in many cases, decades of loyal service to the organization. On the flip side, it's also one of the oldest pro scouting staffs in the NHL. One wonders if it will at least be supplemented with additional voices and a succession plan in the near future. That process started with Alyn McCauley, then 40, coming aboard in 2017 and Kapanen being hired a year ago to do European pro scouting and player development work.

The recent expansion of McCauley's role and promotion from director of player personnel to assistant general manager will see McCauley manage the pro scouting side and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Holdover assistant general manager Brent Flahr will continue to manage the amateur scouting side and have a very influential voice at the NHL Entry Draft.

Riley Armstrong has been promoted from Phantoms assistant coach to director of the development program (Kjell Samuelsson's most recent role). Nick Schultz was promoted from player development coach to assistant director of player development.

4) Today in Flyers History: June 4, 2010

After winning Game Three of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final in overtime, the Philadelphia Flyers made an early statement in Game Four that they were driven to send the series back to Chicago knotted at two games apiece. The message came through loud and clear.

Early tallies by Flyers captain Mike Richards (power play) and Matt Carle gave the Flyers a quick 2-0 lead. Former Flyers forward Patrick Sharp cut the gap to one goal at 18:32 but the red-hot Claude Giroux restored a two-goal margin in the final minute of the opening period to send the Flyers to the dressing room with a 3-0 advantage. The goal was Giroux's 10th of the playoffs.

A scoreless second period followed as goaltender Michael Leighton made 13 of his 31 saves for the game, and Chicago counterpart Antti Niemi countered with 10 of his 26 saves.

At 6:43 of the third period, the scorching Ville Leino notched his seventh goal of the playoffs (fifth in his last seven games) to build a 4-1 lead. The extra insurance proved vital, because Dave Bolland and Brian Campbell soon scored closely spaced back-to-back goals to trim the Flyers lead to 4-3 with 4:10 remaining in regulation. Finally, Jeff Carter iced the win for Philadelphia with an empty net goal.
Join the Discussion: » 50 Comments » Post New Comment
More from Bill Meltzer
» Quick Hits: Flyers-BOS Wrap, Michkov, Kolosov and More
» Flyers Preseason Gameday: 10/2/2023 vs. BOS
» Quick Hits: Flyers-NJ Wrap, Adversity, Brink, Andrae, Tuomaala, and more
» Flyers Preseason Gameday: 9/30/23 vs. NJ
» Preseason Gameday: 9/29/23 @ BOS