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Bryzgalov’s Rights: Where to Go From Here?

Yesterday evening twitter feeds and hockey blogs blew up with the news the the Flyers had traded Matt Clackson, a 3rd round pick, and a conditional pick (Holmgren confirmed not a 1st or 2nd) to the Phoenix Coyotes for goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov’s rights in hopes of getting him signed before free agency on July 1st. As Flyers fans, we’ve been speculating since our untimely exit from the playoffs on the Flyers motives for addressing our goaltending issue. This move comes as good news to most Flyers fans who hoped for a goalie to mentor Bob and be ready to win now. But it also comes up as a problem due to our salary cap situation, so how are we going to do this?
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Flyers’ Forwards: Team Toughness, Leino, Carter, Versteeg, etc.

Another big part of the Flyers’ off-season will be the re-signing of their forwards. Ville Leino, Dan Carcillo, Darroll Powe, Nikolai Zherdev, and Andreas Nodl will all be free-agents on July 1st, and the Flyers don’t have the cap space to accommodate all of them. Not all of them will be re-signed, especially with guys like Wellwood, Rinaldo, and Holmstrom hoping to crack the Flyers line-up during training camp. The forwards this year were arguably as deep as any other team, but they lacked execution during the second half of the season and could not seem to fully sync for more than a game at a time in the playoffs. There are a lot of options this off-season to fix the team, and many overlook the play of our forwards because of the goalie situation this playoff. But there definitely was something missing from our forward corps this season, so how can they fix it?
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Game 7 In Philly

Sorry for not being able to update after Game 5, I was home and busy with Easter stuff all weekend.

Game 5’s loss was heartbreaking, whether you count the softie goals by Boosh or the overtime winner… Sunday didn’t start any different. Luckily, the Flyers fought back in it and won with Leino’s OT goal, which came from a smart play by Kris Versteeg. Speaking of Versteeg, I’ve been very happy with his play the past three games or so and he’s finally coming into his role on the Flyers. Him and Carcillo have been great to watch on the forecheck. Pronger played with Lavy deciding to dress 7 defenseman, but only netted about four minutes of ice-time; all on the powerplay. That’s fine with me because having him on the bench and just to settle the powerplay down is a good start before he can come back and play huge minutes.

Richards had a scary moment with Tim Connolly where he checked him from behind and received a 2-minute penalty. The Buffalo faithful were clamoring for a 5 minute and a suspension, but I don’t think they will get their wish. The play was dangerous, and Richards finished his check to a guy from behind, but it was not malicious enough for a suspension. The play was at full-speed, and Connolly was changing direction. Richards should have rode him into the boards instead of extending his arms out, but it was simply a hockey play. The 2 minutes was appropriate, maybe even 4. The fact that Richie was on the PK and did not want to commit to a full body tie-up makes it harder to judge. So far, no word on any disciplinary action yet. Maybe Lindy Ruff should take his own advice and quit whining. Anyways, I digress…

Tomorrow night the Flyers CANNOT spot Ryan Miller another 2 or 3 goal lead. Hell, it’d be nice to get ahead of them on the scoreboard for once. Let’s see if they can come back from a multiple-goal lead. If they can get the crowd into it early and score a few, that momentum can carry them all the way to the next round.

Brian Boucher will be getting the start, as he should. I’d like to see Bobs back on the bench and Leighton in the press box instead, but we’ll see. Getting Bobs back into at least a back-up role can set him up for playing if we need him again. Leighton is by no means ready to play an NHL playoff game, and yesterday showed it. Boosh has always shown that he can bounce back from poor outings, and I expect him to play really well tomorrow night. The Flyers know they can win against this team, and Buffalo has to start doubting themselves now after giving up so many leads this series.

Ryan Miller may start to feel shaky too. Watching his post-game interview, he’s whining about Mike Richards getting away with “mass murder” and seems really perturbed by the Flyers. Let’s see if he has enough in him to steal another game in Philly. I don’t think so. Not this time.

Tomorrow, the puck drops at 7:30 and the sea of orange will be permeating everything that is Flyers hockey. The first 10 minutes will be huge. Will it be a track meet, up and down the ice? Or will it be a cautious, defensive-minded game where both teams are prudent and scared to give up the first goal? Let’s see what happens tomorrow. I’m not going to make a prediction, but after losing 10 years off my life during the past two games in overtime, I hope the Flyers can close it out in regulation. JUST WIN!

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2011 in Playoffs

 

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Game 4: Swing-Game

Game 3 was the definitive test to see which team was going to take a hold of the series and control their momentum, but Game 4 tonight will be the swing-game. Up 2-1, the Flyers are facing a Buffalo team that needs a win to avoid going into Philly down 3-1. The Flyers want to win tonight to bring this series closer to an end, but they’ll have to match Buffalo’s work ethic. The Flyers have been one of the best road teams in hockey all year, let’s hope they can finish one out tonight.

A few notes about Game 3:

Nikolai Zherdev finally got a start, and scored the eventual game-winning goal. Nice to see Z get on the score sheet, hopefully he can help create more chances.

Speaking of that goal, it came from Richards and Versteeg; two players many fans have been demanding more of lately. Versteeg made a great play along the boards to force a turnover and found Richards, “Mr. Patience” as Coatesy calls him, who waited a few seconds before finding Zherdev for the easy tap in.

James VanRiemsdyk was once again an absolute BEAST on the ice. The big playoffs we’ve all been calling for seems to be coming to fruition… Let’s hope it continues.

Jeff Carter finally got on the scoreboard with a POWERPLAY GOAL. That smart guy who writes on this site predicted a Carter goal, and what better way than on a struggling powerplay? Let’s see if he can string two strong games together.

The star of the night, Brian Boucher made 35 saves on 37 shots. Albeit one goal he probably should have had, Boosh was a rock in set and kept things steady throughout the game. The defense did a great job of collapsing around him and keeping Buffalo to the perimeter, especially in the last 10 minutes of the 3rd period with Buffalo pressing and a few Buffalo powerplays.

If the Flyers put another effort in like the past few games and can find a way to get their powerplay consistent, they should be able to take this game. They’re the better team than Buffalo, and Miller is starting to get frustrated. Boosh needs to play another strong game to slow down our goalie carousel, and the Flyers need a full 60-minute defensive effort with some help from our scorers. I’ll to try and use my magic and will… maybe Mike Richards can get one tonight? It’d be nice to see our captain get his first of the playoffs tonight.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2011 in Playoffs

 

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