VOORHEES, N.J. – Bobby Brink was so excited he was almost too nervous to call home with the good news.
Instead, when the rookie right wing found out he made the Flyers’ opening night roster and might even start play in Columbus on Thursday night on the top line, he fired off a text. He promised he would call his family after Tuesday’s practice.
Both Brink and fellow rookie Tyson Foerster, also a right wing, qualified for the big club. Foerster might be sitting out the first game but his future prospects look bright.
General manager Daniel Briere said Brink probably was the best player throughout the entire training camp. How does that make Brink feel?
“That’s high praise,” he said. “Makes you feel pretty good when your GM says something good about you.”
Bobby’s dad gave him the middle name “Orr” (as in Bobby Orr) at birth, so it’s safe to say this is a hoceky-oriented family which must be living a dream come true right now.
Did he have an inkling how exciting that call home would be?
“It will be pretty cool,” he acknowledged. “My dad is probably more excited than I am. Same with my mom. I think it’s a pretty cool deal. It will be a fun phone call.”
He doesn’t carry the honor of that middle name lightly.
“My dad named all three of his kids after hockey players,” Brink said. Those include the two legendary Richard brothers of Montreal fame — Maurice “The Rocket” and younger brother Henri.
Currently it looks like Brink will play with center Sean Couturier and left wing Joe Farabee on the top unit. Morgan Frost will center a second line with Owen Tippett on left flank and Cam Atkinson on the right. The third line will have Noah Cates centering Travis Konency on the right side and Scott Laughton on the left. The fourth or PHD line will have Ryan Poehling at center with Nick Deslauriers on the left and Garnet Hathaway on the right.
Brink sounds thrilled by the idea of playing with Couturier and Farabee.
“Right now I’m playing with two really good players,” he said. “They’re experienced. They’ll help me out a lot. I think we can make a lot of plays together.”
Suffice to say, the excitement level couldn’t be higher.
“I’m really excited, a really cool moment making the opening night roster,” Brink said. “And I’m really excited for the start of the season here.”
Brink looked a bit nervous his first couple preseason games but then settled down and put together a two-point (plus shootout goal) game at Boston and that opened some eyes on the Flyers’ coaching staff.
“It’s my first training camp,” he said. “It took a couple games to just feel normal out there. But after that I felt pretty good.”
According to Brink, the camp was an open, honest and fair competition.
“Danny (Briere) and ‘Torts’ (coach John Tortorella) said there was going to be opportunities at camp and they put us in a lot of good positions,” Brink said. “I think there were some guys who really took advantage of the positions they were put in.”
Foerster might just have to wait his turn but he’s thrilled to be traveling with the Philadelphia contingent.
He didn’t score in the preseason but he did impress the coaches by doing a lot of the “little” things right.
“I like scoring and you want to score goals,” he said. “But I think my main goal here was to prove that I was good in my ‘D’ zone, strong on the puck, hit guys. I’m not afraid to battle. Points will come I think but showing the little things is what I really wanted to do.”
If defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen cannot make it back from injury for the opening night game at Columbus, the defense pairings could look like this:
Cam York-Travis Sanheim
Marc Staal-Sean Walker
Nick Seeler-Egor Zamula
The Flyers will carry only seven defensemen with rookie Emil Andrae waiting in the wings.