Brown’s reunion with Hayes should make transition to Flyers easier

New forward Patrick Brown played four years of hockey at Boston College along with good friend Kevin Hayes, plus one year with another new Flyer, Cam Atkinson.

If somehow all three wound up playing on a same unit in Philadelphia, would they nickname it “The Eagle Line?’’ It would make sense, since Boston College’s official moniker is “Eagles.’’

Well, the guess here it certainly would be a popular title in the Delaware Valley sports community, since we know how popular everything with “Eagle’’ on it is around here.

Anyway, on a more serious note, Brown held his first interview with the local media on Wednesday after he was claimed by the Flyers on Monday off waivers from Vegas and the 29-year-old Bloomfield Hills, Michigan native acknowledges it will be fun hooking up with Hayes again.

Hayes won’t be playing for about a month following his second abdominal surgery of 2021. But when he does return, there should be a high level of excitement just to be on the same hockey bench with his good friend.

“I’m very close with Kev, we’ve kept in touch through texts over the years,’’ Brown said during a media Zoom call on Wednesday. “In college we were in the same class, I loved watching him play, learning from him. He’s one of the best players I’ve ever seen. He’s an awesome player and I’m glad I get to play with him again.’’

It only took about an hour for the two pals to hook up after the news was announced.

“He sent me a text and we talked for a bit,’’ Brown said. “He let me know if I needed anything just let him know. A whole bunch of the guys reached out, it was really nice and welcoming. It seems like a great group they have here.’’

Brown acknowledged he’s pleased to be coming to Philadelphia for no other reason than this will give him a better chance to stick in the NHL as opposed to Vegas, which did not appear to have any job openings in its lineup.

“It’s a crazy job but it’s the best job in the world,’’ Brown said. “So if someone in the NHL wants me to play for them, I’m excited for the opportunity. I’m glad to be in Philly.’’

Based on coach Alain Vigneault’s comments on Tuesday, Brown is likely to start on a fourth line with Nate Thompson and Nicolas Aube-Kubel. As to the exact position, that might be determined at Thursday’s practice. The Flyers open their season on Friday night at home against the Vancouver Canucks.

“I’m comfortable playing all three forward positions,’’ he said. “I like taking faceoffs, I think that’s one of the strong points of my game. I played on the (right) wing the last couple seasons.’’

It’s clear Brown is not an offensive weapon. In seven years spanning back-and-forth trips between the NHL and AHL with Carolina and Vegas, Brown has just two NHL goals in 33 games.

“. . .Gritty, hard-nosed, high energy,’’ were the words Brown used to describe his game. “I’m willing to go to the dirty areas, the blue paint (goal crease). I like to forecheck hard, get up on the ‘D-men’ and hopefully not spend too much time in our own zone.’’

Although he’s been in the Western Conference the past few years, he knows about the Flyers’ esteemed place in NHL history, including two championships and eight trips to the Stanley Cup Final.

“Philly’s always had a real competitive team,’’ Brown said. “It’s one of the historic teams in the league. I wouldn’t say I know everything inside and out about the Flyers but I’m really happy to be here.’’

>McEwen claimed off waivers

Forward/center Zack MacEwen, 25, was claimed off waivers from the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday. The Prince Edward Island, Canada native has played in 55 NHL games with six goals/nine points.

About Wayne Fish 1449 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.