VOORHEES, N.J. – Leaving Las Vegas wasn’t just a movie to Patrick Brown, it was actually a real move.
The Flyers claimed him off waivers and he rushed to pack and get himself and his family to Philly as quickly as possible.
But the hockey gods weren’t done quite yet testing Brown’s inner strength.
Brown barely got his toothbrush out of his travel bag when he found out he had to be placed into the NHL’s COVID-19 quarantine mandate on Thursday, Oct. 14.
That meant no hockey, no nothing for a week.
Brown returned to practice on Friday so OK, that’s it right? End of story? Nope. Although he’s eligible for Saturday’s home game against the Florida Panthers, Brown just found out he can’t fly with the Flyers when they leave on Monday for a three-game western Canada swing through Edmonton, Vancouver and Calgary.
Technically, he’s still in quarantine due to Canada rules, so he’s going to have to get out there on his own.
“The irony of all this is he can practice with us, he’s done his 10 days but when we leave for Canada, he can’t leave with us,’’ coach Alain Vigneault said at the Flyers Training Center, “because he hasn’t done the 14 days that are required if you get COVID to come to Canada. So he should be able to meet us there (in Edmonton) on Tuesday or Wednesday morning. Poor guy, I hope everything falls into place for him.’’
Challenging to say the least. But for what it’s worth, he’s somewhat back in the swing of things and can practice again.
“I’m happy for him,’’ Vigneault said. “There’s a young man who gets picked up off of waivers, he goes into the COVID protocol, his 13-month-old kid (son Wellington) goes into protocol. That’s a long time. You want to make a good impression. You have to stay isolated for a number of days. Finally back today. Really liked what I saw on the ice. He seems like a really nice young man. He was (Kevin) Hayes’ roommate (at Boston College). Hopefully we can get him in here and he can show what he can do.’’
Brown said he’s pleased to at least work with his teammates on the ice.
“It was great,’’ he said. “They were super welcoming, smiling, laughing, having fun. You miss that when you’re in quarantine. So it was great to be out there. It (protocol) was an unlucky situation but my wife and son made the best of it. The team really helped us out and gave us everything we needed.’’
Brown didn’t do any skating over the past week (prior to Friday) but said he was able to do some stretching, yoga, flexibility stuff to try to stay loose.
“I’m just trying to get my legs back to the speed of the game,’’ he said. “I’m excited and hopefully ready to go.’’
One thing productive about the quarantine meantbeing able to watch the team on television and study the offensive and defensive systems of the Flyers. That should help the process when he does return to action.
>Day off for Atkinson
Cam Atkinson was given a “maintenance’’ day off on Friday but Vigneault expects him to play. The old bumps-and-bruises routine. “I have good confidence he will be in the lineup,’’ said Vigneault. Atkinson is coming off a brilliant two-goal effort in Wednesday night’s 6-3 home win over the Boston Bruins.
>Ellis iffy for Saturday
Defenseman Ryan Ellis did not practice on Friday and Vigneault said he’s iffy for the Panther game. Ellis suffered a lower-body injury on Monday against Seattle but played in Wednesday’s game against Boston. Vigneault said he wasn’t as confident with Ellis as he was with Atkinson regarding playing status. If Ellis can’t go, Nick Seeler will fill in. “I figure it (Ellis injury) should be a short-term thing, he should be OK for the trip,’’ Vigneault said.
Carter Hart will start in goal against Florida. . .The Flyers have scored first in all three games and Vigneault knows that’s a big part of the 2-0-1 start. “Statistically, it’s easy to confirm the team which scores first wins 75 to 80 percent of the games they play. Getting off to good starts, sometimes that’s making other teams pay for their mistakes. It’s getting a couple saves early, find your legs and your execution. It’s all that combined. We’ve had good energy, we’ve started on time.’’