UNIONDALE, N.Y. – It looked like a scene straight out of Wrestlemania.
Just ask Jake Voracek.
As Islander defenseman Johnny Boychuk was about to take run at Voracek along the boards at 5:41 of the third period in Sunday night’s game, the Flyer right winger stuck out his shoulder in a defensive gesture.
Boychuk crumbled to the ice like he had been high-sticked in the helmet.
The referees assessed a five-minute major penalty and Voracek reluctantly headed to the penalty box.
When Boychuk got up, fans began to applaud and Voracek joined in.
Apparently Boychuk didn’t like the gesture and pointed menacingly at Voracek.
Cue Vince McMahon. Stay tuned. The teams play again on March 23 in Philadelphia.
“The explanation I got was if I hit I hit him in the head I would have got a game,’’ Voracek said after the game. “I don’t know why I got five. I tried to protect myself.
“To be honest, maybe the puck was a little further (away) than I thought. I thought the puck was close to me.’’
About the histrionics. . .
“A tough hit,’’ Voracek admitted. “He’s getting off the ice, he’s pointing at me. I don’t know, like it’s Wrestlemania or something.
“It’s a hockey game. He’s the guy who sucker-punched 19-year-old Nolan Patrick last year at the end of the game. Give me a break. We’ll see what happens next game.’’
>Giroux proud of ironman streaks
When they ask a captain to lead by example, they’re not just talking about performance.
They’re referring to the old adage, “if you can play, you can play.’’
In other words, a leader should battle through the normal bumps and bruises on a nightly basis.
Throughout his career, Giroux has done that and more.
On Sunday night, he was scheduled to play in his 232nd consecutive game, tying him for the team lead with Ivan Provorov, who has never missed a game in his two-plus seasons.
Of equal significance, Giroux also has a 252-game streak on his resume, which ranks ninth on the Flyers’ alltime list.
Rod Brind’Amour is the alltime leader with 484 straight games.
So what goes into putting one of these streaks together? Training? Luck? Competitive nature?
In Giroux’s case, probably all three.
Consider this: In his career, he has missed only 15 of a possible 821 games.
“Of course you’re proud of it,’’ Giroux said before Sunday night’s game against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. “I think we have good trainers here. I got people to kind of show me the way.
“Early on in my career, I had veterans to tell me how to take care of my body. There are parts of the season when you play a lot of games in not a lot of nights. That’s usually when you get hurt. Being able to take care of your body helps out a lot.’’
Giroux’s teammate, Voracek, recently had a 242-game streak ended. And Voracek also has a 286-game streak in his past.
“You want to play as many games as you can,’’ Giroux said. “Obviously you want to be able to help the team.’’
In hockey, though, injuries sometimes can’t be avoided.
“Sometimes it can be a freak accident,’’ Giroux said. “You can fall weird on the ice and hurt yourself. That (a streak) means you’re able to stay healthy, for me the last few years.’’
>Flyers headed to Prague
It looks like the Flyers will be headed to Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, for a couple games to start off the 2019-20 season, according to sources.
The reported opponent is the Chicago Blackhawks.
Of course, Flyers’ Czech natives Radko Gudas and Voracek are excited about the news.
“That (Prague) is my hometown so that would be great,’’ Gudas said. “It would be unbelievable to play there.
“If that’s the case, it would be the highlight of my career. Anytime you get to play in Europe, it’s special.’’
The NHL hasn’t been to Prague in over 10 years. The last action was between the New York Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“That was the first NHL game I saw,’’ Gudas said. “That was a nice taste. A couple years later I played for Tampa, so that was special for me.’’
Is there a real hunger for NHL hockey in the Czech Republic? There are certainly enough Czech players in the NHL and the country has become an international powerhouse.
“The Czech nation is fanatic about soccer and hockey,’’ Gudas said. “I believe it would be great for the town and country to get a game like that. They’re crazy fans in Czech. . .they would love it.’’
Come to think of it, they would really go crazy if they could somehow get ex-Flyer and Czech icon Jaromir Jagr into one of the games, particularly if the series starts with an exhibition (pre-season) game.
There’s also a possibility that one of the games could be played in Kladno, hometown of both Jagr and Voracek.
“Maybe sign him (Jagr) to a one-day contract,’’ Gudas said with a laugh. “I think the Czech people are all for it (Flyers-Blackhawks). It will be a big deal.’’