Flyers Notes: Winger Straka is low-key about Flyers debut

The timing, totally unplanned, could not have been better.

Two hours before the game Tuesday, as new Flyers left winger Petr Straka was talking to reporters about making his NHL debut, Al Hill walked past him.

Hill, a longtime Flyers scout, happened to set an NHL record by scoring five points in his NHL debut for Philadelphia in 1977.

Straka was excited to be called up from the AHL's Phantoms earlier in the day, but he took a low-key approach to his first NHL appearance.

"It's another game for me," he said before the Flyers played Arizona. "It's a big hockey game for me, but it's the same hockey game I've played for 15, 16 years, so I'm just going to enjoy the moment and hope to leave a good impression."

Straka, 22, said his phone was "on fire" after the news broke. He was recalled to replace Michael Raffl, who was ill. Straka was on a line with center Ryan White - playing in his first NHL game this season - and high-scoring right winger Wayne Simmonds.

"He's a good skater. Fast. A goal scorer who can put the puck in the net," coach Craig Berube said before the game.

In 39 AHL games, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Straka had 11 goals, 17 points, and a minus-3 rating this season.

"I feel much better than I did last year about my play in the AHL," said Straka, who finished with just nine goals last season. "I feel more confident."

Straka became the fourth player on the Flyers to make his NHL debut this season, joining Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Rob Zepp. He grew up about 50 minutes from Flyers all-star winger Jake Voracek in the Czech Republic.


Mason returns

Goalie Steve Mason is expected to start Thursday against visiting Winnipeg. At the morning skate, Mason faced shots from the entire team for the first time since he injured his right knee against Boston on Jan. 10.

"It's been a long process, and the organization has been extremely patient with it," said Mason, who had missed six straight games before he relieved Ray Emery early in the first period Tuesday. "The organization exhausted every possibility to find a solution, and I really appreciate that. We didn't take any drastic measures [such as surgery], so I give our training staff and [GM Ron Hextall] credit for being patient."