Quick Hits: October 21, 2020
1) The International Ice Hockey Federation announced the schedule for the 2020-21 Under-20 World Championships (AKA, World Junior Championships). The tournament will take place from December 25 to January 5 in Edmonton. The tourney will have a similar arrangement to how the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs were conducted in the Bubble in that city as well as Toronto.
Two Flyers prospects, 2019 first-round pick Cam York (University of Michigan) and 2019 second-round selection Bobby Brink (University of Denver), are shoo-ins to return to Team USA for this year's tournament, except in significantly expanded roles from the ones they had last year. York would be the national team's only returning defenseman, as the rest of last year's blueline subsequently aged out of eligibility for 2020-21.
Flyers 2020 second-round pick Emil Andrae, who already plays against pros at the SHL level and has been a regular member of Team Sweden in various age categories (he captained their national under-18 squad last season), is a clear-cut candidate for the Junior Crowns roster.
2019 fourth-round pick Mason Millman, a fleet-footed Saginaw Spirit (OHL) defenseman with both puck-moving ability and a propensity for jumping into the attack up ice, was named to Team Canada's summer evaluation roster. The numbers game for the final roster works against him in a crowded field of skilled blueliners. However, simply being part of the initial evaluation group shows how much Millman's stock rose over his draft-plus-one season.
Flyers 2020 first-round pick Tyson Foerster was also part of the Team Canada summer evaluation roster. If he progresses in 2020-21 at the same rate he did over the course of his draft-eligible season, he'd be a solid bet for the 2021-22 under-20 national team.
2) Jason Myrtetus and I covered a lot of ground on today's edition of Flyers Daily
for the Flyers Broadcast Network. The range of topics include:
* The retirement of Mike Emrick, and the legacies of Hockey Hall of Famers Gene Hart and Doc.
* Why this year's free agent market has moved slower than most offseasons, and why teams have struggled to move out salary without either taking back minimal returns on above-average players or offering sweetners (i.e., high-end draft picks) to unload a contract.
* Are the Flyers still likely to make any additional moves this offseason beyond the Erik Gustafsson signing and the AHL/NHL depth addition of Derrick Pouliot? Could a high-impact trade, such as the widely rumored talks with Winnipeg for Patrik Laine, still be a possibility?
* What will the final signing amount (cap hit/term) be on restricted free agent defenseman Phil Myers? Bridge deal or long term?
* Rumors of an all in-conference, temporary regional (U.S. and Canada) schedule for the 2020-21 regular season.
3) ICYMI: A look back at the 16 seasons
that Mike Emrick spent (three as the play-by-play broadcaster for the AHL's Maine Mariners, 13 as a Flyers play-by-play broadcaster) before he became a New Jersey Devils broadcaster and nationally treasured voice of the game.
4) The late Larry Mickey was born on this day in 1943. Today is a good day to tell a story from a few seasons ago. During the Flyers' 50th Anniversary season, I became friendly with Larry Mickey's son, Cory, who operates a hockey school (3D Hockey) in Buffalo. Cory told me that, while his dad only spent a brief time as a Flyer, he looked back fondly on having been part of Fred Shero's first training camp as a Flyer, and seeing firsthand that young Flyers center Bobby Clarke was destined for superstardom in the NHL.
On April 8, 2017, the Flyers played their final home game of the season (a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in what proved to be Steve Mason's final game as a Flyer0. Cory Mickey came to the game with his family, and I went down from the pressbox to say hello in person. On the way down, I saw Flyers Hall of Famer Joe Watson. I mentioned offhand to Joe that the son of one of his old Flyers teammates was at the game and I was on the way to greet him.
"Do you remember Larry Mickey?" I asked.
"Yup, sure. Played against him for a lot of years and played here with him under Freddie."
"Yes. His son, Cory, is here today at the game," I said.
"Well, bring him over for cryin' out loud!" Watson said in his unmistakable booming voice.
Joe stayed put while I went over to Cory. I formally introduced myself and told him that Joe Watson also wanted to say hi. As we walked along the suite level to where Joe Watson was waiting for us, in the hallway, we came to a halt. Former U.S. vice president Joe Biden was also at the game, and had just stepped out of his own suite, surrounded by security and chatting with someone.
I motioned to where Joe Watson was standing said to a security guard, "Can we just squeeze past? Joe Watson is over there waiting to say hello to the son of a former teammate."
The guard nodded and escorted us past the crowd around Joe Biden to where Joe Watson was standing. Watson proceeded to tell Cory a story about how his late dad livened up long airport waits by pulling the old "dollar bill on a string" practical joke, and was one of the best at getting people to grab for the ever-moving bill.
The moral of the story is that, at least in Philly, no one keeps Joe Watson waiting. Not even a former VP and subsequent 2020 Presidential candidate.