Quick Strikes: Ondrej Palat looks close to returning and other injury updates plus the Flyers fire Ron Hextall

Philly shakes up the front office

The Bolts

Ondrej Palat is on the mend and might find himself back in the lineup against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. That, and more roster health news from Nick Kelly. [Tampa Bay Times]

“When you’re hurt, you’re not going on the ice and you’re doing cardio in the game,” Palat said moments after he sat in his locker. “But you can do as much cardio as you can and still feel not in shape. It’s good that I can skate and I can get in shape. When you do some skating by yourself and go in the game, it’s not the same.”

Also from Kelly, captain Steven Stamkos had to take a “body maintainence day” off from practice. We’ll know more during game day whether the blonde beauty will play.

Brayden Point is a special player. We know that, but the rest of the league has been slow to the uptick. Greg Wyshinski, ESPNNNNNNN takes a stab at figuring out what makes Pointer so special and valuable. [ESPN]

Point was an average skater in Moose Jaw for coach Tim Hunter, and was an average skater when he first arrived in camp. Then he trained under Barb Underhill, an Olympic pairs skater who’s worked marvels with a number of NHL players as a coach.

“She worked a lot with me on getting my ankle to bend more. That way you’re on the better part of your blade, you can glide better, you’re always ready to push off. Keeping me off my heels was a big help,” Point told ESPN.

Joe Smith wrote about Louis Domingue’s opportunity at the starters net. He’s definitely not taking anything for granted.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are currently looking to hire a “Media Buying Manager” for their marketing team. If that’s you, APPLY! And be sure to tell Eric and his crew who told you about them ;)

The Prospects

Since being sent to the Syracuse Crunch, Cory Conacher hasn’t sulked, he’s played some damn good hockey. [Raw Charge]

The timing on the deal was interesting. For Conacher, getting sent to the AHL was probably disappointing. As a competitor, he wants to play at the highest level and that’s the NHL. So to get a contract offer that would guarantee him one of the highest paid seasons of his career at the same time as the demotion must have been a conflict of emotions.

Carrying a 1.33 goals against average and .956 save percentage through the week, Conacher isn’t the only hot Crunch player right now. Connor Ingram deserves to take a bow.

The Orlando Solar Bears returned home for the holidays this past week and faced three tough matches, including two against the best-in-the-league — and farm team of the former NHL affiliate Toronto Maple Leafs — Newfoundland Growlers. It wasn’t a perfect week, but it was pretty good, all things considered. [Raw Charge]

Like many people traveling this week for Thanksgiving, the Orlando Solar Bears returned home from an extended road trip, celebrating the holiday with the beginning of a 5 game homestand. While the offense mostly struggled, the team salvaged their week with a big win against the ECHL’s best team.

And some roster news.

The Game

The biggest news of the day came from the city of brotherly love. The Philadelphia Flyers have fired their general manager Ron Hextall due to a different “philosophical approach concerning the direction of the team.” according to Flyers President and former GM Paul Holmgren. [Broad Street Hockey]

After a week that saw the Flyers trailing 4-0 after the first period twice in three games, many were wondering if this was finally the time that a move was going to be made — a trade, a coach firing, or something else along those lines to shake things up. And after a Sunday that came and went without any of that, it looked like the status quo was going to remain in place at least through tomorrow’s game.

And yes, Gritty is in the running for the vacancy.

The Montreal Canadiens, who have lost four straight, have placed Karl Alzner on waivers. The 30-year-old is in the second year of his five-year contract making him $4.625 million on the cap. Yikes. [Habs Eyes on the Prize]

In the 2017 off-season Alzner was Marc Bergevin’s big signing, inking a five year, $23 million dollar ($4.625 million per year) contract with the Canadiens. He played in all 82 games his first year, registering one goal and 12 assists, but this year found himself out of favour with the coaching staff. His iron-man streak of consecutive games came to an end on opening night, and he appeared in only eight total games, registering just one assist.

Fighting is dead. [Travis Yost - TSN]

At the same time, the league will point out that fighting is naturally evolving out of the sport, with teams focused on assembling rosters that are high on talent and low on unnecessary physicality. (Add this to the fact that a myriad of concussion lawsuits, some of which are not settled, continue to claim that the league hasn’t done enough to protect their constituents from head trauma.)

Highlight of the Night:Dread it. Run from it. Destiny arrives all the same.” - Mike Hoffman