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Who’s the Boss? (Hint: Not Tony Danza or Mike Richards)

One of the big changes the Flyers made when shipping Mike Richards to Los Angeles besides losing one of their marquee players was that they also lost their captain who served the past two years. The announcement of the new Flyers captain for the 2011-2012 season is surely months away with training camp not even underway yet, but it is fun to speculate who might be filling Mike Richards role as the official team leader. There are plenty of good veteran choices such as Pronger, Timonen, and Briere that have had experience honing the ‘C’ on previous teams. The question is; who does Laviolette and Holmgren think best fits this team? Will he go with one of these three guys, or maybe go for a younger guy? With all the new faces on this years’ team, it is difficult to tell.

Pronger and Timonen are aging blue liners entering this season recovering from injuries sustained during the past season. Pronger had back surgery to remedy his ailment, and recovery from a procedure like that is never easy. Either of them could make the case to be the team’s captain with their leadership qualities on and off the ice. Both guys have been team leaders during their tenures here and have been active in the locker room and on the ice (supposedly, from what fans can gather). Danny Briere is finding his spot on the team after catching fire during the 2010 playoff run and carrying it into last season and always has the right things to say to the media while being a veteran leader. While any of these guys would make a good selection, there is really only one guy I see wearing the ‘C’ this season.

If Chris Pronger is healthy enough to start the season, he will be the Philadelphia Flyers’ captain. Pronger is a true veteran leader who has won a Cup and has no problem calling players out for not carrying their share of the load. He is aggressive, witty, and loves playing games with reporters during interviews. Above all, he clashed with Richards’ reclusive and laid back approach to captaincy. If the front office is serious about culture change, then they will put Pronger at the helm to do things his way this time around without stepping on Richards’ toes. We’re stuck with him for another five years, and I think Pronger is the answer at this juncture. Timonen and Briere might turn out to be chosen if I’m wrong or Pronger cannot start the season, but no one knows at this point.

In a perfect world, I see Pronger as captain with Timonen/Briere/Giroux splitting time as assistant captains. Pronger will remain captain until he retires, and then the torch passes to Claude Giroux or James van Riemsdyk. I say Giroux because if you take away the three candidates I previously mentioned, then what returning Flyer do you give it to? I’d like to think Giroux is the best option at that point. I don’t see any of the new Flyers becoming captain this year. Betts, Shelley, Coburn, Hartnell, and Meszaros are all good players and great in the team’s locker room, but I don’t see captain material in those guys. Lappy would be a good fit if he was fit to play… but for now it is a waiting game. I will be very surprised if Chris Pronger is on the active roster this fall and is not named the next captain of the Philadelphia Flyers

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2011 in Flyers Talk and Other

 

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2011 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals Rematch: Philadelphia (2) vs. Boston (3)

Here we are again. Last year the Flyers made history after coming back from a 3-0 series deficit to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Tomorrow at 3 PM, another series between the Flyers and Bruins will start in Philadelphia with both teams coming off of hard-fought seven game series in the first round. Both of them have questions marks surrounding some of their games, and the past two years have provided some hard-hitting and entertaining hockey between these two teams. What’s going to happen this time around?

You can bet your bottom dollar that this series will be just as physical and nasty as the Buffalo series, if not more. Boston just defeated their arch rival the Montreal Canadiens, so they have to be feeling good. But not too good, because even though last year is history (literally), the collapse is sitting well in Boston’s minds. The good thing for the Flyers is that the psyche of the team might go down if they can jump ahead in the series early. The bad thing is, they’re going to want revenge for last year’s playoffs. Both teams are strong defensively and have histories of playing old-time, bruiser style hockey. This rivalry was re-ignited last year during the Winter Classic and ensuing playoff series, so we’re in for a good one this round. Here are my keys to this series:
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Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Playoffs

 

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Flyers Have Work to Do

The Flyers are up 2-0 in the series right now and have outscored Montreal 9-0 in the first two games as they head to the Bell Centre for Montreal’s two home games. The scoreboard has made the Flyers look like they’ve steamrolled the Habs so far, but that hasn’t exactly been the case. The first period so far this series has been a problem for us and the Habs seem to come out more aggressive to start the game. Yet, we managed to come away with a 1-0 lead in both games and then start a dominant second period. That can’t happen tonight, especially in a hostile building. Montreal is a good team and you have to expect them to up the ante in front of their home crowd to avoid a 3-0 hole. They have yet to score a goal on Leighton, so they’re going to be hungry as hell looking for that one goal to set them off and gain some confidence. As a fan, I was very disappointed on Tuesday night as I watched the first period, and I hope it is not a repeat performance tonight. There’s a lot of storylines emerging in this series as Leighton has not allowed a goal since the first period of Game 7, and the Flyers have found their offensive stride and have gotten key goals from their best players as well as other players who aren’t always on the stat sheet.
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Posted by on May 20, 2010 in Playoffs

 

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Eastern Conference Finals Preview: (7) Flyers vs. (8) Canadiens

The roads both of these teams took to get here were not exactly the easiest ways to do it. Waiting till the end of the season before clinching a playoff berth, and playing two series against quality Eastern Conference teams; the Flyers and Habs are 4 wins away from the Stanley Cup Finals. Never before has a 7th and 8th seed met in the playoffs, so history has been made yet again. Tonight they start their series off in Philadelphia as both teams are fresh off of a seven game series. Here are what I believe the two most important keys to this series:
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Posted by on May 16, 2010 in Playoffs

 

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History Has Been Made

What can you say about last night’s win that hasn’t been said already? We all knew the story, even the ones who jumped on the bandwagon knew what last night’s game meant. Yet, what I was a part of last night will stick with me forever.

I walked into the Wach last night for the viewing party and got my courtesy “LET’S GO FLYERS” sign. There were drunk high school kids, die-hard fans, and casual fans all around me who all wanted the same thing: one more game, and one more round. The chants were cranked up to 11 as my friends and I made our way to our seats (Section 108/109). It filled up quickly as orange quickly swallowed the dark red color of the seats. The Flyers crew was walking around, and popped up on the screen from time to time to get the fans into it. What happened next gave me as big of goosebumps as I’ve ever had an actual Flyers game: Lauren Hart coming on screen with a recording of a recent rendition of “God Bless America”. You thought it was loud when we got there? Kate Smith stole the show. I was not even a thought when she sang on this particular recording, yet I as well as everyone else in attendance knew the significance of this song. My arms were prickly with goosebumps as the last chords of the song ran out, and then it erupted as the VERSUS feed came onto the screen and showed us fellow Flyers fans going nuts.
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Posted by on May 15, 2010 in Playoffs

 

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Flyers Force Game 7!!!!

Last Friday night the Flyers were going into Game 4 at home down 3-0 and not many people thought they could actually come back and win against a defensively-sound Bruins team. The fans kept the noise going at the Wachovia Center to help their Flyers avoid a sweep and send the series back to Boston where not many people thought they could win in a hostile building. Well, Game 4 ended in dramatic fashion with Boston evening things up late in the 3rd and forcing overtime. The returning Simon Gagne became the hero and scored the game winner to extend the series to at least 5 games. Game 5 exhibited great play by the Flyers as they took advantage of the Bruins who came out pretty flat for the game. Locking up defensively and getting some offensive help, the Flyers easily took the game 4-0 even after losing Brian Boucher to injury and having to put Leighton back in. The series was going back to Philly for a Game 6, and a must-win for Boston…
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Posted by on May 13, 2010 in Playoffs

 

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The Ilya Kovalchuk Sweepstakes

Jeff Carter would be gone. That’s one of the only scenario that I could see happening. He is the only top forward on our team that holds interest from other NHL clubs that does not have a no-trade clause. Would you be willing to part with his goal scoring ability and defensive play? I’m not, and I don’t see Holmgren willing to either. However, since the Flyers are one of the teams heavily invested in talks with the Thrashers, this debate becomes a news story.

Even if we could get someone to waive their no-trade clause (Gagne or Briere) they would not be interested in moving to Atlanta, that’s for sure. Leave a Cup contending team with a loyal fan base to a building franchise like Atlanta? Gagne has been here his whole career, and shows no sign or want to leave Philly. Briere is getting paid out the ass right now and has yet to have as good of a season as his first one with the Flyers during their ECF run in the 07-08 season. Of course, he has been plagued with injuries but that doesn’t change the fact that he has not been producing as much as he did in Buffalo or when he first came here. Obviously, Richards will not be traded and would not be needed to waive his NTC as he is the face and captain of our franchise for the next decade. What are our other options?
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Posted by on February 2, 2010 in Flyers Talk and Other

 

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