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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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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 Open Season in Pittsburgh; Who’s Leaving?

The Flyers full schedule was released today and the beginning jumps at you since we will be hoping to christen the new Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh with the same way the Mellon Arena went out; with a big loss. I like opening on the road, and it worked well for us this past season as we got off to a good start. This team will have a lot of expectations yet again this year, but this will be more than last year’s “on-paper” expectations. They were two wins away from a Cup with a good core group of young forwards and some veteran defensemen anchoring the blue line. The odds for the Flyers to win the Cup last year are probably increased in the world of sports betting, but not every Flyer from this year will be returning.

Krajicek, Asham, and (finally) Mike Rathje will be UFA’s on the Flyers who you will probably see gone. Krajicek will definitely not return to the Flyers, as I don’t see a scenario where we would sign him when we have some young guys looking to fill the 6th defensive spot. Rathje is injured and won’t earn anymore money finally, and Asham will probably be sent packing. I actually like Asham a lot too, he’s a good player who was a solid winger on that 3rd line this year and I think he will do well wherever he goes, I just hope we can find a way to sign him.

Carcillo, Coburn, and Syvret are the 3 main RFA’s that have not been signed yet, and I expect Carcillo and Syvret to get some nice 2-3 year deals. Coburn, however, has apparently garnered some interest to other teams, but the Flyers fully expect to sign him and keep him in their defensive rotations if they can afford it. If he is to be traded, or anyone else for that matter, expect it to be done this weekend when the 2010 NHL Draft will be taking place. The Flyers are actively pursuing a goaltender, and I’m just hoping that Tim Thomas rumors are just that, because I don’t want a 33-year old goalie to solve our problems.

Jeff Carter and Scott Hartnell are the two biggest names being thrown around at the moment, especially because of their big cap hits and the need to sign Hamhuis ASAP. Carter has a $5 million cap hit and does not have a NTC, which Hartnell does. I know the Flyers don’t want to necessarily move Carter, but I think it is the most logical choice. If you can get a top-tier defenseman, winger, or goalie out of it, go for it. Even if the return from Carter is something another team wants and we get involved in a multiple-team trade, I don’t care. Richie, Giroux, and Briere are your top 3 centerman. Even if Carter was a third line center, are you going to pay him that much to do that? If we weren’t so cramped for cap space, I’d love to keep our favorite regular season scorer (see what I did there?).

Hartnell would help out a lot of teams who need a physical presence, but he’d have to agree to the trade. I don’t think he wants to go anywhere, and who could blame him? You were one of the better players in your team’s run to the Cup (last few rounds anyway), and you know they are poised to do it again. Finding someone to take him will also be tough considering the money he makes.

Who would you want to see come to the Flyers? Trade for a goalie? Sign another good scoring winger with the free agents out there? Tim Thomas? Corey Schneider? Recchi? Selanne? Guerin? Kariya? Whitney? Fedotenko?

 
 

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Flyers Keep the Ball Rolling

The Flyers are 3-0 so far in their home stand as of today, because they won a tough game against the Hurricanes. Although they didn’t play as dominant as they did the previous one against the Rangers, a win is a win, and two points are two points. They came our revving and the 4th line continues to “wow” people as Carcillo continues to show that the Upshall trade was not exactly what we thought it was. I know Scottie was a fan favorite here, but in all honesty, Carcillo is one of the players who has benefited most from the coaching change. Lav’s style is favorable to players like him and Darroll Powe. Powe is playing at a high level right now with two of our best forwards, and Carcillo continues to get better with two veterans who are helping him out. His discipline has been much better as of late and he has not taken as many stupid penalties since Laviolette has taken over. Carter and Pronger both scored to win the game, while Carter notched another one with an empy-netter with less than a second left.
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Posted by on January 23, 2010 in Flyers Talk and Other

 

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Flyers Have a Big Weekend Ahead

Well I’m back to school and I know updates have been very sparse, but I hope to continue to update as frequently and as much as I can. The Flyers have a huge weekend ahead of them as they play three Conference opponents with two of them being division rivals who are higher in the standings. Here’s some thoughts on what has been going on in Flyer country recently and such:

More recently, Laviolette has changed his lines up and personally I love the idea of Giroux playing with Asham and JVR. Last year, Asham and Giroux were playing on a line great together when they paired with Powe and Briere at times. I think JVR fits in well with them as he used his quickness and his size to fight for pucks. Giroux’s behind the back pass last night? RIDICULOUS. Powe seems to have found some room with the Richie and Gagne line, and I can’t help but like that call as well. It brings an active young guy in to break up the passing lanes and leave room for Gagne to get more confidence back… which brings me to the next point of my ramble…

Mike Richards has seemed to have stopped shooting the puck. He’s always been a young leader loved for his veteran-type play at times, one of those qualities sometimes being his patience with the puck. I’m all up for being patient, but when he’s on the rush he waits too long to make a decision and he gets snuffed or his pass gets knocked down. He needs to shoot if no ones open. Good things will happen, especially when guys like Powe are crashing the net and Gags is usually coming in late to snipe a rebound or something. I just get frustrated when he brings the puck in on a scoring opportunity and doesn’t get anything off of it. He was doing much better when he shot the puck. I love that Jeff Carter shoots the puck. I thought it was awesome that his line mates kept feeding him when he was in his hunt for the hat trick last night. Anyways, I digress.

Tomorrow the night the Rangers will be in town to continue their 6-game home stand. In comes a division rival that has the Flyer four points behind them with two games in hand and they need to make up for lost time and move up in the standings. Then on Saturday and Sunday, matinee games against the Hurricanes and Penguins, in that order (Penguins game being on NBC). The Flyers have been playing much better hockey since starting to come out of their slump going into the new year, and they need to continue it.

The last time they met the Rangers, Gagne had a hat trick in leading them to a 6-0 shutout victory at Madison Square Garden. They need to do what they did early in that game by attacking early, pressing the forecheck, and making Henrik Lundqvist work for every save. They can’t let a great goalie like that take over the game, and they need to contain players like Gaborik. Emery is back at his starting job, so he will take it tomorrow but I’d see Leighton possibly getting the start against his former team on Saturday and letting Emery handle the Penguins on Sunday. Updates this weekend.

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2010 in Flyers Talk and Other

 

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Time for a Rebound?

After how excited I was about Tuesday night’s game, I’m a little timid about tonight’s. Will tonight make or break our season? No, but I sure as hell am tired of getting commented on these Facebook groups to bring a Winter Classic at Beaver Stadium between the Pens and Flyers. These kids think they know everything about hockey because they watched us get smashed the other night. That’s all they talk about, and yet I bet over half of them don’t even know who Mario Lemieux or Rick Tocchet is. I guess Philly sucks according to these guys, but I’d take it over Pittsburgh any day. That city is miserable.

Besides that, the Flyers have a big game tonight. Blair Betts returns to the line-up after re-injuring his shoulder. Will he be our savior tonight? I’m hoping for it. Nodl and Backlund were sent back to Adirondack.

Come on Flyers, you need this. I need this. Your fans need it. Send Pittsburgh home without any points. Get the two points tonight and practice hard until Saturday afternoon when the Rangers come to town. Let’s do this.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2009 in Flyers Talk and Other

 

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The Pennsylvania Rivalry Continues

Last night’s game by the Flyers was one of the best games I’ve seen them play all year. They came out hungry, went after the puck, and I’ll be damned if they lost even ONE one-on-one battle along the boards last night. A notable performance was that of Claude Giroux, who was everywhere fighting for the puck. The whole team played great even after OKT went down and the defense had to pick up for his injury. The third period last night was their best third period of the season. They came out revving to go and thats what they need to do EVERY game. It was a team effort through and through. Although last night was great, I hope they put it behind them. Tonight is the night where we figure out whether this team is really turning it around.
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