Remembering When a Pandemic Cancelled the Stanley Cup Final

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Photo: Wikipedia Commons

By Rob Riches, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

By now, we're all familiar with the precautions being taken to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Public gatherings of certain sizes are recommended to not take place, schools are closing, more people are working remotely and sports leagues around the world are suspending or outright cancelling their current seasons. 

It's surreal to picture a world without sports. We almost take for granted how much of a welcome distraction they can be, as we all navigate the problems and hassles of everyday life. But, as hockey fans can tell you, shutting down isn't anything unprecedented.

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NHL Season Preview: Flyers and NHL Predictions

The beginning of a new season for both the Flyers and the NHL means it’s another chance to be wrong about the upcoming season. Surely, no one could have predicted all of the changes made mid-season by the Flyers during a year that quickly snowballed into another missed playoff appearance.

With the start of another season, our Flyers staff takes a shot at some predictions for both the Flyers and the rest of the league.

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Flyers expand analytics department under Chuck Fletcher

By Rob Riches, Sports Talk Philly staff 

Entering his first full season as general manager, Chuck Fletcher will continue to emphasize analytics for the Flyers, the team announced Wednesday afternoon. 

Ian Anderson, who joined the club in 2014 as manager of hockey analytics, has been promoted to director of hockey analytics. Jacob Hurlbut, who has been on board since 2016, has been promoted to lead developer. 

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Jim Jackson, Keith Jones caught with hot mic on Flyers broadcast

1-7-2019_FlyersvsBlues_3rd_credKateFrese-2(Photo: Kate Frese)

By Rob Riches, Sports Talk Philly staff 

With an 0-5-2 record since the league-mandated Christmas break and a 30th-place spot in the standings right now, it's safe to say things are particularly dreadful for the Flyers.

Players are frustrated, fans are incensed and the team just appears to be in a cataclysmic free-fall. In a season that has already seen the Orange and Black fire a general manager, a head coach and flirt with utilizing a league-record number of goalies, things don't seem to be on the up-and-up.

That frustration appears to have made its way up to the broadcast booth, or at the very least, has been picked up by the (active) microphones in it. After taking the ice against the Blues on Monday -- ultimately a 3-0 loss -- NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Jackson and Keith Jones were overheard with some sharp criticisms of the team they're tasked with watching.

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Report: Jori Lehtera to be prosecuted in Finland

10-13-2018_FlyersvsGKnights_2ndedit_credKateFrese-3(Photo: Kate Frese)

By Rob Riches, Sports Talk Philly staff 

Just as the Flyers' preseason was getting underway in September, reports out of Finland named Jori Lehtera as a suspect in a large-scale cocaine bust, with the potential to be formally charged down the line.

According to a new report from Finland's MTV (not to be confused with Music Television), that time has come. Prosecutor Antti Virtanen of Pirkanmaa District in southern Finland has charged Lehtera and 21 others in a substantial cocaine ring, and proceedings are set to begin next Monday.

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Flyers thumped by Jets, 7-1

By Rob Riches, Sports Talk Philly staff

For about 25 hockey minutes on Sunday, the Flyers showed they were able to hang with one of the league's elite clubs. 

Though they fell into an early deficit, they were able to find twine, and generate shots to the net. Nothing was easy, but it felt like they could hang in there with a top-flight club.

Midway through the 2nd period, though, was where it all began to unravel. The Flyers allowed three goals in the 2nd stanza to Brandon Tanev, Dustin Byfuglien and Blake Wheeler, completely taking all the wind out of their sails in a 7-1 loss.

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NHL Season Preview: Flyers and NHL Predictions

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(Photo: Kate Frese)

The 2018-19 NHL season opened on Wednesday night, but it officially begins for the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night with their season opener in Vegas.

It's a new year, which means it's time for our staff to take their best shot at what will come from the Flyers season and the NHL season.

The Flyers staff at Sports Talk Philly put together a series of predictions, both on the Flyers and the rest of the league. Here are the results:

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Report: Jori Lehtera a Suspect in Finnish Cocaine Investigation

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(Photo: Kate Frese)

By Rob Riches, Sports Talk Philly staff 
 
Flyers center Jori Lehtera has been named a suspect in a large-scale cocaine bust in Finland, according to a report from news source MTV3 (not to be confused with Music Television).

According to the report, 23 people are listed as suspects, with seven currently in police custody, after arrests were made over the summer at Lehtera's lake cottage in Tampere. Two kilos of cocaine primarily distributed in the Tampere area were said to be part of the ring, while €650,000 of property ($765,115.65 USD) was seized from the investigation as well.

Lehtera was not among those summertime arrests, but has denied any involvement after police interrogation.

The report is in Finnish, but here's a brief summary, courtesy of Google Translate:

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Lindblom, Hart shine as Flyers top Rangers, 6-4

By Rob Riches, Sports Talk Philly staff

In a preseason that has seen plenty of young talent shine for the Flyers, Oskar Lindblom and Carter Hart continued to impress.

Lindblom scored two goals in the first period, while Hart turned in spectacular save after spectacular save -- 17 of which came in the 3rd period alone. Ten different players recorded at least a point for the Flyers, as they were able to roll to a 6-4 win against the New York Rangers. 

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Report: Ex-Flyers goalie Ray Emery dies at 35

By Rob Riches, Sports Talk Philly staff 
 

Ray Emery, a former goaltender who played three of his nine NHL seasons with the Flyers, has passed away at the age of 35, according to reports out of Hamilton, Ont.

Andrew Collins, a Toronto-based photojournalist, reported this morning that Hamilton police were investigating a drowning in the Hamilton Harbour, with help from the Hamilton Beach Rescue and Hamilton Fire Department. Emery had supposedly dove into the water around 6 a.m., and never resurfaced. Late Sunday morning, the victim was identified as Emery.

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