Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Hextall 'optimistic' on Flyers' Mason; Gostisbehere making strides

TORONTO _ Steve Mason will be re-evaluated by a specialist Monday in Philadelphia, and Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said Saturday he was optimistic that the goalie will not be sidelined for a long period.

Mason apparently injured his back late in Friday's practice at the Skate Zone in Voorhees.

"The doc has not had his hands on Mase yet," Hextall said in Toronto, where the Flyers will face the Maple Leafs on Saturday night. "….He's got all the information from Jimmy (McCrossin, the trainer) and he sees him (Mason) on Monday. I don't want to say he might play Tuesday or he might play in two weeks. I don't know."

Hextall said he was "optimistic that it won't be long, but until you get the information, you don't know for sure. I don't anticipate it being a long time, but that could change."

Ray Emery will face the Maple Leafs, and the Flyers will use the same lineup as they did in Thursday's 2-1 shootout loss to Florida. Defenseman Michael Del Zotto and forward Chris VandeVelde will be healthy scratches.

The Zepper arrives. Rob Zepp, 33, who grew up near Toronto and was a Leafs fan, was recalled from the AHL Phantoms will serve as Emery's backup _ and could make his NHL debut Sunday night in Winnipeg. Coach Craig Berube said he had not made up his mind yet on Sunday's goalie.

Zepp said his strong play for the Flyers in this year's preseason gives him confidence if he is called into action. In three preseason games, Zepp was 1-1 (one no-decision) with a 2.02 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage.

"When the call came, a lot of things run through your mind. It's kind of been a long time coming," said an appreciative Zepp, who is in his 14th professional season. "It's been a long road, but I was very excited to get that call."

Zepp, whose helmet reads "Zepper," conceded that "throughout your career, you always have your doubts" that you will reach the NHL, "but I always believed in myself and believed I could do it _ and felt I just needed an opportunity."

Zepp spent seven years in Germany before signing a two-way contract with the Flyers in July. Before playing in Germany, he kicked around the OHL, the ECHL, and the AHL.

Playing in Europe is "no longer a death sentence" for someone trying to reach the NHL, Hextall said.

Gostisbehere update. Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, who had tore his left anterior cruciate ligament while playing for the Phantoms on Nov. 7, continues to make progress and could begin skating next week, Hextall said.

Team orthopedist Peter DeLuca performed surgery on Gostisbehere.

Breakaways. Look for center Ryan White, who has recovered from a torn chest muscle and has been skating with the team, to be sent to the Phantoms next week….Former Flyer James van Riemsdyk has 13 goals and 28 points for the Leafs, who are 14-7 at home and 19-10-3 overall….The Flyers are starting an eight-game road trip; they are 3-9-3 on the road….Former Flyer Reggie Leach made a five-hour drive to attend the game; he said he watches all of the Flyers games on TV.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.