It seems like years since the Flyers last played, at least for me. They went into the break with back-to-back home-and-home series sweeps against the Devils and Canadiens. They ended at 6th seed in the Eastern Conference, with 8 points behind Buffalo. The rest of the East is behind us in a tight race that is sure to heat up over the next month. Most of our remaining games are against these teams, so the Flyers will have to be ready.
The Olympics ended yesterday in stunning fashion with an overtime game between the USA and Canada for the gold. I was pulling for USA the whole tournament obviously, yet I stood there defeated to see none other than Crosby score the game-winning goal. It wasn’t that spectacular of a play; I was more impressed with Iginla’s pass. However, it is the one that they’re going to remember and of course during the medal ceremony he was the last one to receive his and the cameras never left him. It had to be him, of course. They couldn’t have wrote the fairy tale any better. Flyers leaders Chris Pronger and Mike Richards come back with gold as well, and Kimmo Timonen comes home with bronze. Not a bad Olympics for our guys, and they come back healthy (not to mention Oskars Bartulis from Latvia who was in the tourney as well).
The Flyers get back in action tomorrow night in a 7:30 face-off in Tampa Bay. Leighton should get the start, as we’re expecting to hear that Emery will be placed on LTI. Syvret was put through waivers in hopes they can get his injured body to the Phantoms and put him on LTI to cut back on some extra bodies and cap space in our defensive corps. This comes as no surprise as Tim Panaccio reports, since Ryan Parent was cleared for contact in practice.
It’s hard to not read into these moves as well, considering rumors are rampant right now before the 3 PM trade deadline on Wednesday. I’ve heard everything from Marty Turco coming here to Thomas Vokoun. Turco is more likely since Vokoun is not like to waive his NTC. Apparently the Kings are still interested in Scott Hartnell, so does that mean we get Jack Johnson to bolster our blue line? I’m not sure the validity of any of these, yet Eklund has been reporting the past month that he’s pretty positive the Flyers will be making a move for a goaltender. They seem confident enough in Leighton, but a trade is still possible. I’ll have more on these rumors this week as the deadline gets closer. The next 24 hours are going to spring a lot of talk and speculation.
I’m hoping that Briere can continue what he started last time he played with his hat trick, and I’m hoping Gagne can overcome his fears and use the rest of the season to build some steam heading into the playoffs. A month from now, there will be 7 games left. The playoffs are around the corner and there isn’t any room for ANY excuses. Put up or shut up boys. Prongs, Richie, and Kimmo are coming off impressive Olympic campaigns. Hopefully they can get something going for the rest of our well-rested team.