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The Defense

The Flyers defense was outstanding in the regular season. For most of it, their bottom pairing of Meszaros-O’Donnell led the league in plus-minus and helped shorten the minutes of Timonen and Pronger (when he played) after their heavy workload in 2009-2010. The Flyers head into this off-season with Timonen and Pronger needing the off-season to rehabilitate their injuries sustained during this season, and hopefully they’ll be 100% ready when next season starts. Meszaros, Carle, and Coburn are all locked up for next year at least, even though the potential for one of them to be moved is still there for cap reasons. O’Donnell did an admirable job for us, but I don’t see the Flyers re-signing him on July 1st. Same with Boynton, who was an insurance policy at the end of the year.

Matt Walker is buried in the minors, and I think he’ll stay there because of his $1.7 million cap hit when they could have AHL standouts Danny Syvret or Erik Gustafsson fill his spot. If the Flyers were to move on of their top defenders (probably Carle), then maybe they would sign a cheap free-agent or move Walker up to help the third pairing. Another thing we might be forgetting is that Oskars Bartulis has come a long way since he entered our organization, and should be ready to go this year after sustaining a season-ending injury late in the year. Bartulis and Syvret are likely the best candidates to fill the void left by O’Donnell, but will there be veteran to pair with them if Timonen and Pronger are not able to go come the start of the season? If the rosters stay the same, my pairings would be something like this:

Pronger-Timonen
Coburn-Meszaros
Carle-Bartulis/Syvret

I could also see switching Meszaros and Timonen and re-uniting Coburn and Timonen. But I really like the idea of a strong veteran pair and a physical mid-aged pair with great skating. That’s probably all fantasy though, because they’ll likely split Timonen and Pronger up. Syvret has more offensive skill than Bartulis while Bartulis has a slight height advantage. I personally haven’t seen enough of either to figure out which one works better, but I have always stood by the thought that Bartulis will be a solid 3rd pairing guy for us in the coming years. In my mind, Meszaros and Coburn are the mesh of our defensive corps and will become anchors when Timonen and Pronger are long gone. Of course, we will need some prospects like Bourdon, Hostetter, or Gustafsson to pan out, and probably some free-agent signings/trades. But that’s in the future. Timonen for another two seasons, Pronger is locked up for a while, and we have Coburn and Carle for next year. Meszaros has three years remaining on his contract, so our core is in place if everyone places to their potential and remains healthy.

As far as ability, it’s there. A few tweaks to fix our third pairing, limiting injuries, and execution should all equal another strong year defensively for us. If the goaltending issue is addressed, our defenders should even be stronger with more faith in a proven, new goaltender that can make timely saves to bail them out if need be.

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Let’s Get the Split! Carbomb’s Return? UPDATE: JVR and Parent out, Bartulis and Carcillo In

Tonight the Flyers hope to overcome the 6-5 loss on Saturday night. With one more game left before a couple home games, this one is pretty important. Grab the momentum and go home with a chance to take them both and go up big is something this team would love to do. Saturday nights game was a back and forth track meet with little to no defensive play. Both teams came out firing on all cylinders offensively and looked to score goals, yet the first lines of each respective teams were not the ones doing it. The bottom lines provided most of the scoring and the defensive coverage was pretty terrible. Tonight will be a tighter game, and the Flyers need to do a little more of getting the puck in deep and laying the body to nullify Chicago’s speed a bit. Leighton was yanked in the second period after allowing 5 goals but he will start tonight. Boosh didn’t know where his post was on the goal in the third period that ultimately lost us the game. Ryan Parent clocked less than a minute of ice-time after being on the ice for Chicago’s first goal after we went up 1-0 in the first. He was benched obviously for his lackluster play, and I don’t blame Lavvy. The coverage in our own zone was just lost and they skated around us and scored.

Speaking of Parent, word on the street is that he will be benched tonight. We will be playing only five defenseman, because a certain forward is making his way back into the line-up.

Dan Carcillo will return for the first time since Game 3 of the Montreal series when he was scratched in lieu of Jeff Carter’s return to the line-up. Look for him to play some minutes with the checking line with Betts and Lappy but also don’t be surprised if he gets some time on Richie or Giroux’s line. Hopefully his homage of growing a Broad Street Bullies era mustache will pay off for the Finals, because we need some toughness out there. If he can lay some nice checks, keep his cool and bait some players into taking penalties, it will be just as effective as scoring goals. It’s only a matter of playing tight defensively tonight and coming out strong like they did in the first period. I can see us winning this game if they play like I know they can play.

Image courtesy of the Philly Phour

UPDATE:

Okay so I jumped the gun on this one with the early reports. It appears that Ryan Parent will indeed sit out, but so will JVR so Carcillo and Bartulis will play. I know JVR is a good player, but he hasn’t been doing anything spectacular with the time he’s had since his goal in Game 7 of the Boston series. I think a benching will give us a chance to get Carcillo out there for some energy, and the lines will look a lot deeper tonight with a goal scorer and a guy that can bang on each line. Bartulis in my opinion, is going to turn out way better than Parent ever will so I think he will be used sparingly, but should do alright in his role rotating in with our main four guys.

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2010 in Playoffs

 

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Flyers Look for Redemption During Homestand

I didn’t get to watch the game on Friday night because I was out of market in Reading and apparently the place I was staying gets Comcast SportsNet but not The Comcast Network. Figures. You can find a recap for that game on the Flyers official website or perhaps another Flyers blog we linked to on here. We got a point out of it in overtime and we start a 4-game homestand tonight with the Maple Leafs. Richards and Gagne scored on Friday night, which leads me to believe they both are really trying to step it up for this end of season push to the playoffs.

Bartulis has been cleared to return to play, yet I don’t know if they’re going to put him in the line-up just yet. I expect them to wait till at least the next game, depending on how Ryan Parent is doing. Ville Leino will be in the line-up again since Powe is still nursing a bruised foot. From what I read, Leino played on a line with Carter and Briere and they looked really good. I hope they do that again so I can check it out tonight. Hartnell played with Giroux and JVR, while Asham moved to play with Lappy and Betts. I think I like these changes, as Giroux and JVR now have a veteran gritty player on their team in Hartnell who has a little more speed than a guy like Asham who seems to be able to fit in no matter what line he plays on. I’d like to see Briere and Giroux play together if these lines don’t work, but we will see.

I’ll have more on the game tonight or tomorrow.

 
 

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Vokoun and Hamhuis

The two top stories and possibly only options for the Flyers right now in this trade frenzy that is going to go on over the next 24 hours deal with Nashville Predators defenseman Dan Hamhuis and Florida Panthers goaltender Thomas Vokoun. I think the decision will ultimately come down to which is the cheaper option. Last year, the Panthers organization was breaking Holmgren’s back the whole time when they were asking an insanely high price for Jay Bouwmeester. This year, they might deal their goaltender Thomas Vokoun to the Flyers, but they need him to waive his NTC and will probably have to pay a price to get him. Dan Hamhuis from the Predators is a more likely option in my opinion, because they’d probably like to get their former prospect Ryan Parent back. Hamhuis is on the block since they received Grebeshkov in a trade. Who would you rather have?

Other trade items we hold along with Ryan Parent include the youngster Ville Leino who has yet to show up in the Flyers line-up. Oskars Bartulis is also a player who I can see being shipped off in a package deal. Besides that, the only other option I can see them giving up is Coburn or if they get Hartnell to waive his NTC and go back to Nashville. I doubt Mika Pyorala holds much trade value to most teams, but I could be wrong. The Kings are also a team who keeps showing up in the Flyers talks, yet it’s all speculation. Eklund is right a good amount of the time, but when you speculate everything; you have to be right some of the time.

Cote and Syvret cleared waivers, and Parent was activated today. No word on whether he will start, because apparently Bartulis has a minor injury.

There will be more information hopefully by tonight on these trade rumors. Vokoun is down to Chicago and us for now, and apparently Nashville turned down our offer for Hamhuis already since we did not offer enough. We don’t have that much to spare, so keep in mind that we may not make a trade this year. Flyers on VS tonight at 7:30 at Tampa. Krajicek will be paired with Timonen as usual against his former club. Should be a good game in their last meeting this season, let’s go for the season sweep.

 

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Flyers End Devils’ Streak at Home

The Devils came into the Flyers house last night looking to make history but came up short as the Flyers played to a 3-2 victory last night. After a great ceremony honoring Flyers great Dave “The Hammer” Schultz, The Flyers jumped to a 1-0 lead with Darroll Powe putting a puck past Marty Brodeur with a great pass from Giroux after a great read from Asham. Some game notes:
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Posted by on November 17, 2009 in Flyers Talk and Other

 

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