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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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Flyers Who? Flyers vs. Bruins Back in Action

Remember the Philadelphia Flyers? It must be hard to with the Eagles embarrassing loss this past week and the Phillies reaching the World Series again this week without a Flyers game. Haven’t been updating as much as the semester is picking up and the lack of things to say besides that the Flyers need to step it up and play a full 60 minute game of hockey. This 3-game losing streak could all be avoided if they played a full game. Look for Asham to be on the first line with Richie and Gags and hopefully Gags’ first goal. Ryan Parent will be out of action the next few games as he’s nursing one of those famous “lower-body injuries”. Syvret and Tollefsen will be paired up for the first time and Stevens looks to cut down on Pronger’s ice-time so they will see extended play throughout the next few games. Other than that, things are pretty much the same. JVR is back and hopefully our depth in our forwards can take over a Bruins team that lost Savard and Lucic to injuries for the time being.

I’ll be in attendance tonight due to a random swing of events. If you’re going to be at the game, look for me during the 2nd intermission at the hot dog eating contest. I’m hoping to win that Winter Classic Jersey. It’s Dollar Dog Night as well, so it should all-in-all be a good night as the Flyers are back on the ice after an important Philly win last night.

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2009 in Flyers News, Flyers Talk and Other

 

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Flyers Starting Strong

After a crazy homecoming weekend at my school and two-straight wins from the Flyers, I’m having a very good Sunday. The Flyers came out and without a doubt showed up both the Hurricanes and the Devils in their home openers. Now, as I alluded to back in July, the Flyers are coming into their season opener to a “Relentless” orange Philadelphia Phaithful crowd after winning their first 2 games. What could be better than winning a game versus Ovie and the Caps? I’ll be there to show my support for the 2nd straight year, and hopefully they bring it to Washington who are also coming off of a 2-0 start. Should be a great match-up before hosting the Penguins on Thursday. Instead of recapping both games separately, I’m going to go over different aspects of the Flyers’ game the past two days and how it has worked for them.

Here are some notes I have about the past two games:
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Posted by on October 4, 2009 in Flyers Talk and Other

 

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UPDATED: Final Rosters, JVR Makes the Team

Tim Panaccio talked to James Van Riemsdyk today after practice and confirmed with him that he is making the season-opening road trip to Carolina and New Jersey to start off the season. This is great news, and we will have more about the rest of the roster later tonight when all details will be revealed.

The article also reports that Randy Jones was off the ice and cleared out of the dressing room before any of the other players got there. This feeds the growing Jones speculation that he indeed has been sent to the Phantoms. More on that developing story as it comes.

UPDATE:
Roster is finalized.

As you see, it is pretty much the same guys from last year minus Jones. I’m very pleased that Pyorala and JVR both have made the team, and Danny Syvret has done very well. So well that he’s earned a roster spot. Who will be lining up with Parent on Friday night, Tollefsen or Syvret? That is one of the few questions that remains. It’s hard to believe that the season is upon us. I just got my home opener tickets last night. Look for an extended preview tomorrow or Friday.

LET’S GO FLYERS!

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2009 in Flyers News

 

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Final Pre-Season Game, Jones Clears Waivers, Roster Looks

Tonight is the Flyers’ final pre-season game before opening face-off this Friday at Carolina. The roster is finally starting to take shape as Bill Meltzer has listed the starting lineups for what looks to be the same lineup that is going to be taking the ice on Friday night.

Hartnell – Carter – Briere
Gagne – Richards – Pyorala
JVR – Giroux – Asham
Carcillo – Powe – Laperriere

Pronger – Carle
Timonen – Coburn
Parent – Syvret

Backlund/Emery
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Posted by on September 29, 2009 in Flyers News

 

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2 Pre-Season Losses and Gagne Returning Tuesday?

Okay so it’s pre-season. Losing deciding games to Detroit 3-1 and to Toronto 4-0 last night. The good things to take from it is that it’s only pre-season, and the lone Flyers point was recorded by James Van Riemsdyk’s goal versus the Red Wings on Wednesday night. Emery was solid in the two periods he played on Wednesday; stopping 23 of 25 shots. JVR and Finnish tryout Mike Pyorala have been turning heads during camp as well as the younger guys hoping to land a spot on the Phantoms on Flyers. That being said, there isn’t much to take from these two games as hockey is a sport where line chemistry is a big deal and we haven’t played most of our veterans together so it is hard to see how they will pan out. They have tonight off before playing at Toronto tomorrow night, however the rest of the games will not be televised like last night’s was on NHL Network.

In other Flyers related news, Gagne is projecting his earliest comeback to the ice will be on Tuesday when they finally play a home pre-season game versus the Red Wings. I’m not holding my breath for this one. His injury is more of a nagging one so I’d rather him get rested and healthy so he can score 40 goals this season. Basically, hockey pre-season sucks and it’s boring.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2009 in Flyers News

 

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