It sure looks as though the Philadelphia Flyers will be sporting a new look on defense at some point this weekend.
To begin Friday’s practice, defenseman Marc Staal took the ice wearing a black jersey. This was a change from Tuesday, where both Staal and Rasmus Ristolainen were wearing yellow non-contact jerseys. Ristolainen, however, was still wearing his on Friday.
This development comes after 23-year-old defenseman Egor Zamula was benched for the entirety of the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Wednesday. After sending Victor Mete down to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Nov. 13, the Flyers were without a spare body on the blueline.
With Staal’s impending return looking likely to happen at some point this weekend, it might be Zamula’s turn to spend some time with Bobby Brink in the press box.
Head coach John Tortorella said Friday afternoon that Brink will not play Saturday against the Vegas Golden Knights. However, Tortorella did say that he and the coaching staff are working towards finding a time for Brink to return that’s “fair to the group”.
“I’ve done a lot of watching in the last couple years, just from my injuries,” Brink started. “You just try to watch the game and see what makes other players successful”.
The 22-year-old named teammates Cam Atkinson and Travis Konecny as two right wingers that are similar to him that have had success in the NHL.
Neck Guards Take Focus of Flyers Vets
It was Atkinson, Konecny, and Travis Sanheim who turned a couple heads during the Philadelphia Flyers‘ practice Friday morning.
The veteran trio was spotted donning neck guards for the first time, and intend on wearing them during games. Tortorella said after practice that it was “their call”.
“The company I’ve been using, I sent them a message seeing if they were producing anything with protection around the neck,” Sanheim stated. “So they sent me this sample and just trying it out right now. I think I have to send it back so I don’t think I can wear it in the game tomorrow.”
“I think everyone’s in the same boat that they’re trying to get [one],” the defenseman shared.
“It’s been something in the back of my mind, I think everyone’s thought about it,” Konecny added. “I have a wife and kids at home. To me it’s like, why would I not put it on?. . . It’s one of those things you think ‘it won’t happen to me’ kind of thing, and it’s unfortunate how we all had to act on it.”
Tyson Foerster might be one of the next Flyers to join them.
“I might try it for practice and see how I like it,” he offered. “I wore one in junior so it’s not new to me.”
We’ll keep an eye to see if more Flyers players pick up a neck guard in the future, but for now the veterans are leading the way.