Flyers Notes: Laperriere Focuses on Details, Flyers 1st Captain Passes, Flyers National TV Schedule
As another season approaches, this is a hodge-podge of notes regarding the Flyers. Rookie Camp got underway on Thursday, and Phantoms head coach Ian Laperriere met with the media following Day 1.
Laperriere is running the on-ice activity for Rookie Camp with the majority of the Flyers brass, including head coach Alain Vigneault, watching from above. Using lessons learned from his time on Vigneault’s staff, Laperriere is focused on the details on the ice, notably how quickly players can take instruction and apply it to their game.
“For me at the American League level, the NHL level, you know what's the difference between an okay team and a great team. It's the details,” Laperriere said. “We all play the same systems. There are only a few systems in the neutral zone and in the defensive zone. At the end of the day, what makes a good team from an okay team is the details. That's what I'm going to teach those kids in the minors. I'm going to repeat, repeat, repeat. I’ve got two teenage boys at home, so I know how to deal with teenage kids. Now I'm going to have 23 in the minors and I'm really looking forward to it.
“My thinking when they told me I was going to run rookie camp, I'm going to try to help them out. Give them little pointers that AV is looking for here, like system-wise and details to help them succeed in those two games in a weekend. Their camp started. That's what I told them. It's not rookie camp, it's training camp. It's not development camp, it’s camp. That's your chance to make a good first impression for a lot of those kids that AV never saw. Chuck saw playing in junior. It’s their chance to shine. My job, I feel right now, is to help them and give them a couple pointers for those kids who have success.”
The Flyers have a brief on-ice session on Friday morning. They will face the New York Rangers rookies in back-to-back exhibition games on Saturday and Sunday.
Lou Angotti, 1st Flyers Captain, Dies at 83
Some sad news from the Flyers organization on Thursday. Lou Angotti, an original Flyer and the team’s first captain in the 1967-68 season, passed away at the age of 83.
Angotti only played one season with the Flyers, their first in franchise history. Prior to his time in Philadelphia, Angotti played two seasons with the Rangers and two seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks.
“The Flyers are saddened by the passing of Lou Angotti, an original Flyer and our first captain,” a statement from the team said. “Lou came to an entirely new hockey team and new city in 1967, and his leadership proved invaluable in bringing our team together and helping us win our first division title. Our condolences go out to the entire Angotti family.”
Following his time with the Flyers, he played one season with the Pittsburgh Penguins before returning to the Blackhawks for the next four seasons. He closed his NHL career in the 19-73-74 season with the St. Louis Blues, then played one season in the WHA with the Chicago Cougars.
Angotti posted solid numbers in his lone season as a Flyer, scoring 12 goals and 49 points in 70 games.
Flyers to Appear on National TV 13 Times
The national TV schedule was released for the NHL on Thursday and the Flyers will, as usual, be featured prominently. The Flyers will have 13 games televised across ESPN, ABC, and TNT, the new national home for the NHL.
The following five games will be televised on TNT:
- Wednesday, Oct. 20 vs. Boston Bruins - 7:30 PM
- Wednesday, Oct. 27 at Edmonton Oilers - 10 PM
- Sunday, March 20 vs. New York Islanders - 2 PM
- Wednesday, April 13 vs. New York Rangers - 7 PM
- Sunday, April 24 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins - 4 PM
Four Flyers games will appear on national television as part of ESPN and ABC:
- Thursday, Jan. 13 at Boston Bruins - 7 PM (ESPN)
- Saturday, March 5 vs. Chicago Blackhawks - 3 PM (ABC)
- Saturday, March 12 at Carolina Hurricanes - 3 PM (ABC)
- Tuesday, April 12 at Washington Capitals - 7 PM (ESPN)
Finally, four games will be broadcast exclusively on both ESPN+ and Hulu:
- Tuesday, Dec. 21 vs. Washington Capitals - 7 PM
- Thursday, Jan. 6 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins - 7 PM
- Thursday, March 24 at St. Louis Blues - 8 PM
- Monday, April 25 at Chicago Blackhawks - 8 PM
NHL Players Close to 100 Percent Vaccination Rate
The NHL regular season doesn’t get underway until Oct. 12, still more than three weeks away. By the time the puck is dropped on the 2021-22 season, the NHL expects that nearly 100 percent of its players will be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher recently announced on Tuesday that the team is nearly at 100 percent vaccination rate among players, coaches, and staff, and will be by the season opener on Oct. 15. The Carolina Hurricanes also recently announced that their team had reached a 100 percent vaccination rate.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said at the NHL’s Media Tour on Thursday that he expects a very few amount of players to not be vaccinated come opening night.
"Our latest information really suggests 10 players or less will not be fully vaccinated by opening day of the regular season," Daly said. "Now, that is subject to change, obviously, because it's dependent on who makes the roster and who doesn't make the roster and what the status of those players are, so it's really a projection at this point. But I think we're safe in saying that it's going to be less than 15.”
For context, there could be up to 736 players on an NHL roster as the season begins if all 32 teams keep the maximum 23 players allowed on the active roster. Daly also said that up to 25 teams will be fully vaccinated by opening night of the season and that the league’s overall percentage will be at approximately 98 percent vaccinated.
"A 98-99 percent vaccination rate League-wide is tremendous," Daly said. "Nobody who deals with the players on a regular basis under protocols can be unvaccinated, so those people have to be vaccinated as well. It creates a safer environment for everybody. It gives us the best chance to get back to normal and to grow the sport and to protect everybody's health and safety in doing that.”
Flyers Search for New Goal Song, Season Promotions Announced
Finally, a little bit of fun for Flyers fans that lies ahead. Earlier in the week, the team announced that they will have a new goal song this season. That’s not all that much of a surprise, as the song has changed numerous times over the years.
This time, however, the fans have input. Up to Thursday, Sept. 23, fans are able to go to philadelphiaflyers.com/goalsong and enter the name of the song and the artist. Original compositions are also being accepted with files able to be submitted.
Following the submission period, the Flyers will review the fans submissions and create a list of finalists. Fans will once again vote on the list of finalists and the winning song will be unveiled on opening night when the Flyers face the Vancouver Canucks on Friday, Oct. 15.
Additionally, the Flyers also announced a list of promotional giveaways for the upcoming season, as they prepare to welcome back full-capacity crowds to Wells Fargo Center. The list of giveaways is below:
- Friday, Oct. 15 vs. Vancouver Canucks - Flyers Season Schedule T-Shirt
- Monday, Oct. 18 vs. Seattle Kraken - NHL Network Reusable Tote Bag
- Saturday, Nov. 20 vs. Boston Bruins - Star Wars/Flyers Poster
- Tuesday, Nov. 30 vs. New York Islanders - Flyers Beer Stein
- Tuesday, Dec. 21 vs. Washington Capitals - Ivan Provorov Nesting Dolls
- Thursday, Jan. 20 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets - Various Jawns
- Monday, Feb. 28 vs. St. Louis Blues - Gritty Fanny Pack
- Thursday, March 13 vs. Montreal Canadiens - Coors Light Socks
- Saturday, April 9 vs. Anaheim Ducks - Ryan Ellis Chia Pet
Right away, a few jump out. It’s common for the Flyers to have t-shirt and poster giveaways, and they have even done the beer stein giveaway in the past. Ivan Provorov nesting dolls? Gritty fanny pack? Those are new ones.
The Ryan Ellis Chia Pet is another familiar giveaway from years past. A nod to Ellis’ long beard, the Flyers have also previously had Chia Pet giveaways involving Gritty and Jake Voracek.
Finally, there is an obvious standout. Various jawns on Jan. 20 when the Flyers take on the Blue Jackets? As the press release notes, “here in Philly, this could mean anything.”
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.