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Flyers Make Roster Move; Neck Guards Discussed After Tragedy

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Felix Sandstrom, Philadelphia Flyers
Goaltender Felix Sandstrom will try to stay sharp with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He has not played with the Flyers this season. Photo: AP.

The Philadelphia Flyers made a minor move Tuesday, sending goaltender Felix Sandstrom to the Phantoms on a conditioning stint.

The 26-year-old goalie has not played in any of the Flyers’ nine games. Carter Hart (2.30 GAA, .921 save percentage) has been outstanding in his seven games, and Sam Ersson (5.91, .760) has struggled mightily in his two appearances.

Sandstrom spent time last season with both the Flyers and Phantoms.

Neck Guards Discussed

In a much more serious matter, the NHL is discussing the use of neck guards after the tragic death of Nottingham player Adam Johnson, 29, whose neck was sliced by a skate blade in a collision during a game Saturday in England. He appeared¬† in 13 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins during his NHL career, and spent a half season with the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the Philadelphia Flyers’ top farm team.

Some of the current Flyers played with Johnson on the Phantoms in 2021-22.

League Recommendation

During an interview Tuesday on the SiriusXM NHL Radio Network,¬† NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said neck guards “were on the radar” and that the league is strongly recommending that players wear them.

After practice Tuesday, Flyers center Scott Laughton said his thoughts and prayers were with everyone connected to Johnson and his family.

Laughton said that type of tragedy is something “you definitely have to look look at going forward,” and that the league and Players Association need to work together “to see what they can do for protection up there.”

Because of Johnson’s death, the English Ice Hockey Association said neck guards will become mandatory starting Jan. 1, 2024.

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The NHL, Laughton said, will have to work with a company to make a neck guard that is cut proof.

“I think after a tragedy like that, you definitely have to think about it,” he said. “Being a young guy and having so much life after this is something you have to look at. I know they do it with socks and wrist guards.”

Laughton said he used to wear a neck guard “in minor hockey. In pro (hockey), you took it off.”

That seems like it’s about to change.

Military visit

Thirty active-duty military members visited the Flyers Training Center on Tuesday and mingled with the players. The service members were from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and U.S. Marine Corps.

“It puts it in perspective for me when you hear some of the stories,” coach John Tortorella said. “What we do as entertainment means nothing.”

The Flyers will have Military Appreciation Night on Saturday when they host Los Angeles.

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