Wholesale Philadelphia Flyers Jersey

Defenseman joins Flyers in time for tonight's game vs. Coyotes.

The Philadelphia Flyers have recalled defenseman Mark Alt today from their AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, according to general manager Ron Hextall.

Alt will be available for tonight’s Flyers-Coyotes game at the Wells Fargo Center and wear jersey #39.

Hextall added during the team’s morning skate that defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere will be out of tonight’s game, as will rookie forward Nolan Patrick. Both players are day-to-day with upper-body injuries.

Alt comes to the Flyers after appearing in all 10 games for the Phantoms. He leads the team’s defense in scoring with six points (2g-4a) and has a plus-6 rating in that span. The six points in 10 games is also his best start to his professional career.

“He moves very well. He’s a good, solid two-way guy and that’s what he prides his game on,” said Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol at the morning skate. “He moves the puck pretty well, makes the first pass. He’s a big, strong presence and he’s put his time in there. He’s been at the American League level and has played very well.”

Should Alt get into the lineup it will be his second game in the NHL after making his debut at the end of the 2014-15 season on Mar. 28, 2015 vs. San Jose Sharks where he went scoreless and logged 9:25 of ice time.

Defenseman Samuel Morin was recalled by the Flyers from Lehigh Valley on Sunday, but did not take part in the Flyers full morning skate. Hextall said that Morin was dealing with a minor injury and his status would be updated as to whether he will play.

In parts of six seasons with the Flyers organization, and five full seasons with the Phantoms, Alt has a total of 74 points (14g-60a) in 247 career games.

Wholesale San Jose Sharks Jersey

Montreal Canadiens’ Carey Price (31) makes a save against the San Jose Sharks’ Timo Meier (28) in the third period of their NHL game at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. on Tuesday, October 17, 2017.

Timo Meier will never forget the excitement of watching the Swiss national team upset Joe Thornton and Team Canada in the “Miracle on Swiss” at the 2006 Torino Olympics as a nine-year-old boy.

With he and New Jersey Devils top pick Nico Hischier’s recent emergence, Meier is hopeful that he’ll get his own taste of Swiss glory on the international stage before the sun sets on his young-NHL career.

“That’s the goal,” Meier said. “We’ve been underdogs, but it’s not like that anymore. When you play against the Swiss, you know that they can play.”

In 2015, Meier became just the second Swiss-born player selected with a top-10 pick at the NHL Draft, joining Nino Niederreiter, who was drafted at No. 5 in 2010. In June, Hischier, who Meier will square off against Friday when the Sharks meet up with the Devils at the Prudential Center in Newark, became an instant-national hero when he was chosen with the first-overall pick in the 2017 draft.

Between Hischier and Meier, Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators, who’s widely considered among the best defensemen in the league, and Kevin Fiala, the 11th pick in the 2014 draft, Swiss hockey is starting to lay down a solid foundation for success in future Olympics, assuming the NHL rejoins the world’s top-hockey tournament in the future.

Former-Sharks defenseman Mirco Mueller, who was traded to the Devils in June, is also a Swiss native.

Meier could sense the buzz around Swiss hockey when he returned to his native land to train over the summer.

“It never happened before that a Swiss player got drafted first overall,” Meier said. “It definitely made hockey bigger back home.”

The Sharks power forward considers Hischier a friend. They played together on Team Switzerland at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championships, and Meier helped Hischier get set up in Halifax after he was drafted by his former-junior team, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Halifax Mooseheads, at the 2016 Canadian Hockey League import draft.

After seeing him up close, Meier isn’t surprised that Hischier, who was dubbed “the Swiss McDavid” as a 16-year-old, is already making an impact at the NHL level.

The 18-year-old is centering the Devils top line with Taylor Hall and Drew Stafford, he’s collected seven points in seven games and he scored his first two NHL goals Thursday night in his team’s 5-4 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators.

Like McDavid, Meier said that Hischier is the prototypical modern-NHL player.

“He’s a very smooth skater,” he said. “He has a great view of the ice. He’s a very smart player. He can compete and make plays, and also put it in the back of the net, and he’s not afraid to go in front of the net in the dirty areas.

“Overall, he’s a complete player.”

Sharks coach Pete DeBoer is equally impressed by what he saw from Hischier during his preparation for Friday’s game.

“The tape I’ve watched on him, you can tell why he went first overall,” the Sharks coach said. “He creates offense in a league where that’s hard to do. At his age, to be able to come in and do that… He got two last night, it looks like he could have had two the night before, and one or two the night before that.

“It’s just the tip of the iceberg with what you’re going to see from him.”

2. Geeky stats suggest a Devils backslide, too.

After we suggested Thursday that a regression to the mean was inevitable, the Devils went out and improved to 6-1 on the season with a clutch overtime win in Canada’s capital.

The crux of the argument here is that the Devils are young, they have an untested blue line and it’s unlikely that they’ll continue to boast the NHL’s best power play over an 82-game season.

Puck Daddy’s Ryan Lambert threw a little more meat on the skeleton by diving into the advanced stats this morning.

Without making a power point presentation, here’s some of the nuts and bolts in plain English.

— The Devils have a shooting percentage of 14 percent. Last year, the Washington Capitals led in the NHL in shooting percentage at 10.46 percent. The Anaheim Ducks were ranked 15th at 9.07 percent, so the Devils number is sure to drop in due time.

— New Jersey ranks in the league’s bottom-10 in shots on goal for and against, shot attempts for and against, unblocked shot attempts against and goals against per 60 minutes. Allow me to translate, they’re getting crushed territorially and it will come back to haunt them over the long haul.

— One in every five goals that the Devils have scored have come from “low danger areas,” which is three times the league average. In short, the Devils are getting more than their share of bad goals and those will dry up over the course of a season.

3. The Devils backup goalie situation is similar to the Sharks.

Another reason why the Devils are off to such a scorching start is that they’re getting exceptional goaltending from both starter Cory Schneider and backup Keith Kinkaid, who will take the blue paint against the Sharks Friday.

Kinkaid stopped nine of nine shots after coming in for the injured Schneider Thursday night, improving his save percentage to .950 in two appearances on the season.

DeBoer knows first hand what Kinkaid brings to the net as he coached him during his final season with the Devils.

“He’s a good goalie,” the Sharks coach said. “It reminds me of our situation here where you’ve got a backup that’s capable of going in and winning games, stealing games. He’s a real-talented kid. They’ve got a 1.a / 1.b situation here.”

Wholesale Pittsburgh Penguins Jersey

The history between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals is long and brutal, if you’re a Caps fan.

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals have met 279 times total, not including Oct. 11’s tilt (a 3-2 Penguins victory). The Penguins have the advantage all time in the regular season (106-95-16) and the postseason (38-24).

Since entering the league in the 1974-75 season, the Capitals have qualified for the postseason 27 times. Of those seasons, the Capitals have been eliminated by the Penguins nine times. That means that one third of the Capitals’ postseason exits have been at the hands of the Penguins.

They have only beaten the Pens in the playoffs once, in 1993-94. The Caps went on that year to lose in the conference semifinals to the New York Rangers.

The question is this: why can’t the Capitals—an ostensibly good team—figure out how to beat the Penguins? Is it a matter of skill? Psychological? A combination of both?

I’m sure the Caps would like to know.

How the Skills Match Up

The Capitals have no lack of skill. They have qualified for the playoffs nearly every year since they drafted Alex Ovechkin first overall in 2004. Other talented forwards on their current roster include Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and T.J. Oshie. Consistent scorer John Carlson leads the blueline, and Vezina Trophy winner Braden Holtby minds the net.

Yet all of this skill in the regular season has been for naught when facing the Penguins in the postseason. Not that these players have not performed well. In the playoffs last year, Backstrom and Oshie led the team in scoring, while Holtby posted a .909 save percentage.

The Capitals have had a weak defense for years. They have made moves to try and remedy this, acquiring Kevin Shattenkirk at the deadline last season and signing former Penguins Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen. These moves are commendable, and these blueliners are not bad players. But the Capitals still fail to realize that what their defense lacks most is speed—and this lack of speed has cost them dearly against the Pens.

The President’s Trophy Curse

It is well-known in hockey that teams that accrue many Presidents’ Trophies are rarely Stanley Cup winners. There’s no scientific evidence to back this up, of course, but it’s worth noting that the Caps have won the Presidents’ Trophy three times and the Stanley Cup zero times. (The Penguins, by the way, have won the Presidents’ Trophy once and the Stanley Cup five times.)

What makes a playoff team? The Capitals just recently had players like Justin “Mr. Game 7” Williams on their roster. Oshie has been one of the Caps’ most consistent playoff performers. And yet even those players have been unable to reverse the Caps’ trend of early playoff exits to the Penguins.

Because the Capitals are not a playoff team. They dominate the regular season; they have a plethora of division championship and Presidents’ Trophy banners. But once the regular season ends, so does the Caps’ success—especially against the Penguins.

The Penguins know the difference between regular season and playoff hockey. Under head coach Dan Bylsma, the Pens thrived in the regular season but failed in the postseason. Now, with Mike Sullivan, the Penguins are a true postseason team. The Capitals, however, have yet to realize that difference.

Wholesale Vegas Golden Knights Jersey

Opening night against Stars ends long wait, will be 'great day for our franchise'.

It was about seven hours until faceoff. To the Vegas Golden Knights, it seemed like forever.

Owner Bill Foley had been waiting for this moment since the NHL awarded Las Vegas an expansion franchise June 22, 2016. General manager George McPhee had been waiting since he was hired July 13, 2016; coach Gerard Gallant since he was hired April 13; and many of the players since they were acquired in the NHL Expansion Draft on June 21.

Now they were about to play the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on Friday (8:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN360, TVA Sports, FS-SW, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV) in the first regular-season game in franchise history.

“It’s a great day for our franchise,” Gallant said after the morning skate. “We’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time. …

“It’s just an exciting time. You want to get that game started. You want to start it right now.”

The Golden Knights as an organization are still focused on the long term more than their first game. Managing their assets in the wake of the NHL Expansion Draft, they had nine defensemen on the 23-man roster. They had a new backup goaltender, Malcom Subban, claimed on waivers from the Boston Bruins on Tuesday.

Vadim Shipachyov, expected to be their No. 1 center, and Shea Theodore, arguably one of their top six defensemen, were with Chicago of the American Hockey League, at least temporarily, because they could be assigned to the minors without being exposed to waivers while McPhee continued to work on trades.

But the Golden Knights as a team — the coach, the players — weren’t about to concede anything, even on their first game day, even against the Stars, considered a contender in the Western Conference. Forward James Neal, who did not play in the preseason while recovering from hand surgery, was set to debut. A roster spot opened when goaltender Calvin Pickard cleared waivers.

“We’ve got a lot of talented hockey players on our team, and I think we’re going to go into every game competing with any team that we play,” Gallant said. “The NHL’s a close league. I don’t think the teams from the top to the bottom … There’s not much difference. I think we’re going to have a good year, and we’re going to be right there.”

The Stars were careful to respect the Golden Knights. They know Gallant and the players from their previous NHL teams, even if they don’t know how they’ll fit together and perform for Vegas.

“There’s a lot of good NHL players on that team,” Stars coach Ken Hitchcock said. “There’s a tremendous amount of character on that team, and they’ve really focused on that, and there’s a lot of competitive guys there. So we just look at it as a good NHL team now with a lot more experience than I think people thought going in.”

Stars goaltender Ben Bishop looked back on when he played for the Tampa Bay Lightning and Gallant coached the Florida Panthers.

“I know they like to push the pace,” Bishop said. “They like to get those odd-man rushes. They’re pretty good down low. I kind of have an idea what to expect. But you never know out there, especially the first game. There will be some nerves that first 20 [minutes]. I think people will be flying around that first 20 minutes.”

If those first 20 minutes ever come.

“Everyone’s happy and excited, happy to be done with training camp and get things rolling,” Vegas forward Cody Eakin said. “Everyone’s worked hard to get to this point and ready to get out there.”