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Monthly Archives: October 2010

Flyers Start Back-to-Backs in Columbus Tonight

Flyers travel to Columbus to meet up with former Flyer R.J. Umberger and his Columbus Blue Jackets tonight before heading to Buffalo tomorrow. These back-to-back games should be a good for our team who is coming off of a solid win after a long layoff between games last week. The 5-2 win with the Leafs visiting on Saturday was a dominating performance with the Flyers controlling both ends of the ice pretty much the whole game. Being in the crowd, the seats weren’t as packed as usual with the Phillies playing down the street, but it was still a good turnout nonetheless and the Flyers showed some improvement in playing a full 60 minutes.

Mike Richards had been criticized for much of the early goings of the season, but he managed to show up on Saturday and take the game’s first goal, along with a pair of assists and a great game overall. He wasn’t the only one who scored, Ville Leino got a nice little dirty goal down low and Betts, Hartnell, and Briere all contributed as well to the scoresheet. Boosh got the start and he made some nice saves and kept the Flyers in it, stopping 12 of 14 shots he faced. Flyers also killed all of their penalties and finally got a powerplay goal. Their puck movement on the man advantage definitely looked improved, but let’s see what they can do tonight and tomorrow. One game does not rectify all of your previous shortcomings. Consistency is they key in this league.

Part of the reason for the Flyers’ success on Saturday night to me is definitely the line shake-ups. With the exception of our checking line and the Leino-Briere-Hartnell line, our lines were not producing like we thought. Richards skated with Powe and Giroux while Carter skated with JVR and Zherdev. These lines did not take over the game, but still looked better than before. Carcillo took his place back in the line-up and was effective on the 4th line with Betts and Shelley. Especially when he dropped the gloves with Brown in the first period to get the crowd and his team pumped up. We’ll see what happens tonight, but I expect the same line-up and Boosh should get the start again. The Flyers are going to have to contain Umberger and Nash, arguably their two best forwards on both ends of the ice.

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2010 in Flyers Talk and Other

 

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Heading to the WFC, Phils Tonight

I’m getting ready to head to the Wells Fargo Center for a hefty dose of some pre-Flyers and Phillies buzz and some beverages. Have tickets to tonight’s Leafs game, and it’s my first game of the year. I’m pretty excited for both events tonight, and I’m looking forward to seeing Phils updates on the scoreboard during the game. Flyers are taking a back seat right now since the Phils are in the playoffs going into Game 6 of the NLCS and I don’t expect the WFC to be at capacity, but it should be a good game. Toronto has been off to a great start and has been producing points and getting good goaltending from Giguere. We always seem to have good, physical games versus those Leafs so expect Colton Orr to try and quiet the crowd and go after Jody Shelley tonight. Wouldn’t mind seeing Shelley earn that $1.1 million and beat his face in.

I’ll have more on the game and other happenings tomorrow or Monday. For right now, it’s beautiful out and the Phils and Flyers are playing. What more could you ask for? See you in the parking lots if any you are going to either games.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2010 in Flyers Talk and Other

 

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Flyers On a Break

The Flyers own a 2-2-1 record going into their 6th game of the season to continue their 5-game homestand against the Anaheim Ducks. Coming off their 5-1 loss to Pittsburgh last Saturday, the Flyers have had some time off from games until Thursday. They got to enjoy a full day off and have been conducting full practices and skates to keep the legs moving. They have a few things that they need to work on to get above .500, and hopefully they are rectifying some of the glaring holes in their game during this week.

Conditioning from practices this week will hopefully be hard, because the early season is the best time to get in game shape and guys like Chris Pronger are going to need it since he did not play in training camp. The line-up should be shuffled a bit over the next few games to accommodate different looks with guys like Andreas Nodl starting to break into the Flyers line-up. He skated pretty well with Carter and Richards, but I really think that Richie and Carter need to get separated for a game or two to see how they play with other players. I’d love to see a line getting Giroux some time with Carter and Zherdev/JVR. Richards is the kind of player that could very well center a third line with Nodl/Carcillo and Hartnell. Some tinkering could definitely produce results with the depth and talent we have.

The defense is also going to need to tighten up, which will happen in time as Chris Pronger adjusts his game back to usual. Our defense has been playing a little too much though due to the amount of penalties we’ve taken so far, especially in the last 3 games. Bobrovsky has been good, but still shows signs of a young goaltender adjusting to a foreign North American game. I still look forward to his development as our goaltender though. These next two games against Anaheim and Toronto at home are big. Anaheim has struggled out of the gate but look for Sbisa and Lupul to want to play against their former team, and don’t count out Bobby Ryan returning home to have a good game. Hopefully Pronger gets into form to play his former team because Saturday against the Leafs will be the Flyers looking to hand them a loss; something that they haven’t experienced in regulation this season yet (4-0-1).

After this homestand, it’s to Columbus, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Long Island for a little road trip. Those are some good hockey teams and the Flyers can’t afford to get behind in games at this juncture in the season. Slow starts are often hard to overcome, as previous Flyers teams have proven.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2010 in Flyers Talk and Other

 

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Penguins Come to Philly

Thursday night’s loss to the Lightning was an emotional one for Flyers fans as they saw former Flyer fan-favorite Simon Gagne return to South Philadelphia wearing some different colors than his traditional orange and black garb. In the 3-2 loss, we were finally pleased to see Nikolai Zherdev get on the stat sheet with a nice rush with crisp passing by Giroux and JVR to find a streaking Zherdev for an easy tap-in. Brian Boucher got the start and played a great game up until he let in a pretty soft goal that turned out to be the game winner. The 4th line continues to be an effective checking line even without Lappy, and the powerplay is still struggling. The Flyers will hope to rectify that tonight when the Pens come to town for their first meeting in Philadelphia this season.

Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start tonight after going 2-0 in his first two starts. The Penguins have a bit more of a gameplan now after seeing Bobs in their home opener, so let’s hope our Russian friend can keep the puck out of the net tonight.

Scott Hartnell has been very quiet this season. Between stupid penalties, stirring the pot, and points… I feel like Scott Hartnell hasn’t even played a game for us this season (minus the Blues game in which he racked up 21 of his total 23 PIM this season with fighting majors). Danny B is still on his A-game offensively, and Leino is still finding his stride after recovering from his off-season hip surgery. If we can get Scotty and Ville going on the same burner they were on in the playoffs, that line will once again be extremely dangerous. I have been unimpressed as a whole with Carbomb’s play this season. He is -3 and has 2 PIM, and has generally been ineffective playing with top tier forwards in Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. I feel that if he doesn’t pick it up, he should be bumped down to the 4th line in favor of possibly having JVR move to the first line. Call Nodl up to play on the third line, scratch Carcillo to light a fire under his ass or simply scratch the $1.1 million dollar man Jody Shelley. I’ve actually been pleased with Shelley’s play so far and he has laid some nice checks and seems to be a competent hockey player. Defensively, I’ve seen him body players and get the puck. That’s really all I can ask for from a 4th line enforcer winger, so that has been going well. Matt Walker is injured and may require surgery, but if his move to the LTIR frees up some more cap space, so be it.

Tonight’s Prediction
Look for Claude “The Magician” Giroux to get back on the scoresheet tonight with a goal and an assist. The kid is simply too good and this year is the year I finally believe he will get enough ice-time to be the NHL star that we all know he can be. I’d also like to see Richie get his first goal of the year, and tonight may be the night. He always seems to bring his best when playing against the Penguins, and nothing would be better to start off the season 2-0 against the division. Let’s go Flyers! Face-off at 6 PM to accommodate the Phillies starting at 8. Go Phils too!

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2010 in Flyers Talk and Other

 

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Home Opener Tonight: Colorado Avalanche in Town

Tonight the 2010 Eastern Conference Champion Philadelphia Flyers will be returning home to raise their banner in the rafters at the Wells Fargo Center and hopefully getting a win after a win and an overtime loss on the road to start the season. The Colorado Avalanche will be coming to town and Flyers fans are anxiously waiting to see if tonight is the night our defensive anchor comes back to the line-up. The defense has been solid so far without Pronger, but according to Tim Pannaccio, he has been skating with Matt Carle and doing breakouts with him… That has to be good for something. Maybe he returns tonight?

Sergei Brobovsky should get the start tonight and will need to build on the strong performance he showed in Pittsburgh last week. The Briere line should continue to play well, but the Flyers are going to need Richie’s line with Carter and Carcillo to step up and produce some offense. That line has been stagnant to say the least. Nikolai Zherdev has also been quiet since having a stellar pre-season. Look for Claude Giroux to find him for some shots tonight while JVR continues to get better. I can’t say enough with how impressed I am with his growth since last year. His size has made a huge difference and he is much stronger on the boards which can only mean good things for his linemates.

7 PM face-off tonight and then Gagne and the Lightning on Thursday.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2010 in Flyers Talk and Other

 

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Season Preview: Starts in Pittsburgh

The Consol Energy Center’s opening night will have the honor of hosting the defending Eastern Conference Champion Philadelphia Flyers. The homecoming/home-breaking for one of our biggest division rivals and we have a chance to ruin it just like the Canadiens ruined the last memory of the Igloo last spring. I’m pumped.

The Flyers are coming off a Stanley Cup Final run that ended in a 6 game series with Chicago and without some pieces from that team. Losses of Gagne to trade and Leighton and Lappy to injury bring a lot of room for players to step in. Nikolai Zherdev is a man on a mission for another shot at the NHL after spending some time in the Russian KHL league, and he has a shot to now playing with some of our top profile players. Michael Leighton’s play was stellar at times last season, but fell letting in a few soft goals in the Final; including a flukey-type one that ended his team’s run. Brian Boucher is back to take it between the pipes while Russian up-and-comer goaltender Sergei Brobovsky will be dressing as the club’s backup with Johan Backlund on the Phantoms. UPDATE: Apparently Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start tonight in Pittsburgh. Can’t wait to see what this kid has in store for us this season.

Another concern on the injury front has been the absence of Chris Pronger. Pronger had some procedures done on his knee this summer before the start of camp and did not participate in the pre-season. However, we have to recognize that this is Chris Pronger we’re dealing with here, and he doesn’t necessarily need the pre-season. He knows what type of shape he has to be in at this point in his career. Tonight everyone was expecting him to play, and we know he wants to. He will not be playing tonight and Matt Walker Oskars Bartulis will be taking his place. This defense has a lot to answer for. With most of the core intact with Pronger, Timonen, Carle, and Coburn, we should be solid. We also have returning second year player Oskars Bartulis to supplement the new additions of Sean O’Donnell, Matt Walker, and Andrej Meszaros.

There are a few young players on the team who also have a lot of questions to answer this season. Ville Leino stunned and dazzled hockey fans with the opportunity he received in the Eastern Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Finals. Now this is his chance to prove to the Flyers he’s worth a new contract. Zherdev will be hoping to get another contract too, so look for these two young talents to duke it out all year. Claude Giroux and Jeff Carter are also entering the last year on their contracts, and both are due for a pay raise. This will be a problem down the road, especially with Carter’s cap hit already at $5,000 and Giroux still on his rookie contract under $1,000. JVR has added more muscle to his frame to help his play along the boards. He has the talent and skill to play in the NHL, now he just needs the grit and effort to become a true power-forward type player that he can be. I’d like to see him take it to guys on the boards and be aggressive in fighting for the puck. You got size kid, start using it.

The Pens are going to be opening their new building and trying to figure out how to get Paul Martin involved in their powerplay after losing Sergei Gonchar this off-season. They are also without Jordan Staal at this point, so for once I know our center depth is exponentially better than theirs rather than being about even as usual.

Can’t wait for tonight, should be a great game. I’ll have more on the season as it goes on. Not much to say yet since they haven’t played, but I’m sure there will be plenty to talk about soon.

 

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Back in Action, Season Opener This Thursday

Just when I was getting ready to start updating on a regular basis again, I moved and my computer was broke. Finally have it fixed and settling in now, so let’s get ready to talk some Flyers hockey!

Since my hiatus a lot has happened in Flyerdom. Injury news, a whole pre-season of hockey action, and some tryout contracts.

  • Michael Leighton is hurt with a back injury, out for at least a month.
  • Lappy is hurt with post-concussion syndrome, out indefinitely.
  • Bill Guerin was offered a tryout contract at the start of pre-season much to the delight of many Flyers fans. When final roster cuts were announced today, Bill Guerin was on the list.
  • Flyers finished the pre-season 5-2-1, having the first four games end in shootouts.
  • Let’s start with the injuries. Lappy’s case is very unfortunate but it really is important for him to stay off the rink. I’m sure we’d all rather him be healthy than risk him causing more damage. His veteran presence will be missed in both the locker room and on the ice but for the time being he should definitely be out of action. Leighton’s case is really aggravating to me considering we rushed to sign Leighton before free agency and he apparently was experiencing some back pain this summer, yet nothing was done to prepare for a possible injured goalie. Backlund is on the Phantoms since he’s coming off hip surgery and has to clear waivers. This paves the way for Boosh to return to being the starter and Russian rookie sensation (try saying that 4 times fast) Sergei Bobrovsky. For now Boosh is going to be getting the workload, but don’t be surprised to see Bobrovsky(Bob) come in and play a game or two before the end of the month.

    When the announcement of Bill Guerin’s tryout contract finally got to me, I was pretty ecstatic to be honest. Guerin is a great veteran forward who is what a team who is close to winning really wants. He didn’t have a stellar pre-season however, and he was let go. I think if we had more cap space this could definitely have happened regardless of his play, but we are simply strapped for cash at this moment.

    I’ll be back with a game preview before the game on Thursday when the Flyers hope to ruin the homecoming of Pittsburgh’s new stadium.

     
     

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