1) The current edition of Elliotte Friedman's 31 Thoughts includes some interesting comments from now-former Flyers assistant coach Rick Wilson. Wilson, of course, came out of retirement last season at the invitation of the Flyers and served for just over half a season as the team's assistant coach in charge of the defense corps.
Wilson told Friedman that he has absolutely no hard feelings that he was not invited back for the 2019-20 season by new head coach Alain Vigneault and general manager Chuck Fletcher. The veteran of 30+ seasons as an NHL assistant coach has been around the block enough times to know that a regime change usually means the new guys want to select their own staff. Wilson is going back into retirement and is not presently interested in returning to coaching.
Wilson also discussed the various individual Flyers defensemen with whom he worked this past season. Specifically, he said that Ivan Provorov was "forcing it a bit" trying to take his game to the next level but has the right attitude and the ability to get there, the play of Travis Sanhein was "very impressive" in their months today, while veteran Radko Gudas did a good job at staying disciplined, Robert Hägg showed himself to be a "good penalty killer" and that he feels both Phil Myers and Samuel Morin are now ready to be full-time NHL defensemen.
According to Friedman, the one Flyers defensemen about whom Wilson did not immediately volunteer his take was Shayne Gostisbehere. The two had some disagreements in their time together. The reporter followed up by asking about "Ghost."
Wilson replied, "I would just say that I’m a little disappointed I couldn’t help him bring more of his best on a consistent basis … he is very talented and it is in there.”
2) The 2019 IIHF World Championship tournament came to its conclusion on Sunday in Bratislava, Slovakia. Both the gold medal and bronze medal games went down to the wire. Ultimately, Alain Vigneault's Team Canada squad came up short in the gold medal game against a doggedly determined Team Finland, losing 3-1. Team Czech Republic lost a 2-1 heartbreaker to Russia via shootout, and did not win a medal.
Flyers defenseman Philippe Myers played a very active and effective gold medal game for Team Canada, showing off his mobility, size and heavy shot from the point (including a shot that rang off the goal post after beating netminder Kevin Lankinen cleanly). He finished his first senior-level national team tournament for Canada with one assist in seven games played.
Flyers center Sean Couturier played his usual yeoman two-way game for the Canadians. Unfortunately, in the gold medal game, he remained snakebitten offensively (1g, 2a) in the tournament.
Flyers goaltender Carter Hart played very well in three starts during the preliminary round. He backed up Pittsburgh Penguins netminder Matt Murray throughout the medal round.
In the bronze medal game earlier in the day, Russia defeated the Czech Republic via shootout, 3-2. The Czechs were unable to protect a pair of one-goal leads and were, thereafter, stymied by brilliant 48-save goaltending by Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Czech team captain Jakub Voracek, who finished the tournament with 16 points (4g, 12a) in 10 games, played 21:58 in the bronze medal game. He did not get an attempt in the climactic shootout. Defenseman Radko Gudas, who fired a half-dozen shots on goal against Russia, logged 24:43 of ice time. Gudas finished the tourney with four points (1g, 3a), +10 and 8 PIM in 10 games.
3) 2019 Memorial Cup: The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies defeated the tournament host Halifax Mooseheads, 4-2, on Sunday to win the 2018-19 Memorial Cup championship; the second straight year that a team from the QMJHL has won the CHL championship. Isaac Ratcliffe and the OHL champion Guelph Storm made it to the Memorial Cup semifinal before bowing out to Rouyn-Noranda, 6-4, on Friday. Ratcliffe scored two goals in a losing cause.
4) Today in Flyers History: On May 27, 1975, the Flyers defeated the Buffalo Sabres, 2-0, in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final to win their second straight championship. Bob "the Hound" Kelly broke a scoreless deadlock in the opening seconds of the third period, and Bill Clement later added some insurance with a breakaway goal off a nice lead pass from Orest Kindrachuk. Just as with the previous year, Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Bernie Parent received the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player in the playoffs. For more, click here.