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Flyers’ Neuvirth comes off the bench to ‘shut the door’ in win over Canucks

Flyers coach Dave Hakstol has been pushing a lot of different buttons trying to find the right combination to get his team out of its recent downward spiral toward mediocrity.

From tinkering with his lines trying to find something that works to scratching a healthy top-four defenseman, Hakstol has played just about every card left in his hand.

And on Thursday night, the second-year head coach had one final play, a card he hasn’t put on the table yet during the Flyers’ recent stretch of seeing valuable points slip away.

With the Flyers down one goal after surrendering three goals in the second period, Hakstol made a goaltender change, from Steve Mason to Michal Neuvirth, for the third.

“We thought it was a good time just for a change for our team coming out of the second period,” Hakstol said after a 5-4 shootout win over Vancouver at the Wells Fargo Center.

“It was a tough second period. A lot of different things going on there, so it was two-fold. I think Mase would probably admit there was one more save there he can make, but at least equal or more than that, it was just a time to make a change for our team and try to push for a little change in direction, and Neuvy went in and did a good job” (see full story).

Relaxed Robert Hagg has plan for his development

VOORHEES, N.J. — There’s a forgotten man among the Flyers’ parcel of defensive prospects. Not that Robert Hagg pays any attention to that.

Hagg has a laidback persona to him, perhaps a tad too casual. Talk to him and he’s calm, speaks at a harmonious clip to accompany his Swedish accent. That’s not a knock on his work ethic, more on where he is as a prospect.

The defenseman is coming off his first pro season in North America. He’s still too relaxed with the puck and needs to play with more urgency on a consistent basis, but he has the tools to be an effective NHL player. While he’d love to make the Flyers this year, he knows there may be more opportunity to hone his own game in the AHL.

So what’s another season spent in Allentown?

“You have to see your own development, what’s best for you,” Hagg said last week at the Flyers’ development camp at Skate Zone. “It’s not good for you to sit on the bench and play 12-15 minutes. You want to play a lot. We have that opportunity to do that at Lehigh to play 20-25 minutes. That’s most important” (see full story).

Wade Allison learns how to be a pro before heading to Western Michigan

VOORHEES, N.J. — Wade Allison was struggling to find his shot, so he sought the advice of someone who’s been here before: Cole Bardreau, who attended development camp last summer.

Allison noticed how the puck was coming off Bardreau’s stick on the first day of development camp, and how he didn’t have the same torque coming from his own shots.

“I asked him after practice, ‘Hey, can you help me out with this?'” Allison said. “I was trying it and pucks were not going off my stick the way I wanted and I was looking over and was like, ‘Wow, that was impressive.'”

For Allison, it was his first development camp. The Flyers selected him with the 52nd overall pick, their third second-round pick, in last month’s NHL draft.

The Flyers don’t use the camp as an evaluation tool. That comes in September when training camp begins. General manager Ron Hextall said the camp’s intended to teach players fundamentals to work on during the summer and how to be professional hockey players (see full story).

Betting on himself, Alex Lyon realistic about chances with Flyers

VOORHEES, N.J. — Alex Lyon is betting on himself even though the numbers are stacked against him.

When the Yale product signed a two-year contract with the Flyers in April, it instantly became a one-year deal because the team had to burn a year to land his services.

So the goaltender came to the team’s development camp last week at Flyers Skate Zone having one season to prove himself capable of earning another contract with the orange and black, and he’ll come back in September for training camp aiming to steal an NHL job.

A job that, at least on paper, seems unattainable, but that’s exactly how Lyon wants to play his hand.

“I’m betting on myself to prove my worth within the organization,” he said. “And that honestly, it’s somewhat consoling for me because I feel like I have the ability to play professional hockey at a high level, whether it’s at Lehigh Valley, whether it’s in Philadelphia, whether it’s somewhere else” (see full story).

By all means necessary

“It was just like being in a big, warm fucking blanket, like everything’s OK,” Chris said.

Sitting on the rooftop of Anderson Hall at Temple University, Chris is telling a story with his backpack next to him and an electronic cigarette in hand. He’s wearing a button-down shirt with a green undershirt, shorts and knockoff Converses.

“I’ve lived like I’ve had tons of money and I’ve had no money,” he said. “I’ve lived in really nice places and in really shitty places, so I have so much to draw from now. It’s weird to think back to some of the places I’ve been at because it doesn’t seem like me.”

For some, the high is better than an orgasm. Chris, who declined to give his last name, acknowledges this, saying in some ways it is and in some ways it isn’t. Like an orgasm, it takes you to a different place. It helps you escape from whatever demons are eating away at your soul.

It’s relatable to being drunk, as both accomplish the same goal. Except there’s one difference, Chris says, which attracted him to heroin rather than alcohol and over any other drug he’s used.

“Alcohol is kind of like a detachment from everything,” he said. “Where heroin still makes you forget all your problems, but you feel more a part of life. You feel like you did something you really like, that really warm, fuzzy feeling. It’s a million times stronger than that” (see full story).

Small town to big city, Justin Duerr finds creative freedom

Being a weirdo in a small town with not a lot to do and a traditional, conservative community isn’t the ideal place for someone with a creative mind to flourish.

For Justin Duerr, an artist and musician, spending his entire life in Wenksville, Pennsylvania was out of the question. At age 16, he dropped out of high school and moved to Philadelphia with his brother, Marc, and some friends, including Kevin Riley, who’s in two of Justin’s bands.

“When you get into any kind of major city,” Duerr said at his West Philadelphia home on a breezy December Monday, “people have the freedom to decide [who they want to be].”

Duerr, who has had art featured in galleries throughout the city, starred in a 2011 documentary, “Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles,” which showed at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

Now, he plays in four bands, including Northern Liberties with his brother and Riley. Another band is Geb the Great Cackler, which is a two-piece with his fiancé, Mandy Katz. Philadelphia has been a huge influence on his art and music (read full story).

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