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One Piece Added: Dan Hamhuis to the Defensive Corps

This afternoon the Flyers reported that they acquired the rights to Nashville defenseman Dan Hamhuis. Hamhuis should not be a name that is new to you if you followed trade rumors at the trade deadline this season. He was one of the main players the Flyers were looking for along with Florida goalie Thomas Vokoun. However, Nashville, like back in March, will not be able to re-sign Hamhuis when he hits free-agency July 1st, so the Flyers gave them their former first-round pick Ryan Parent for the rights to Hamhuis and a conditional 2011 NHL Draft Pick.

This is great news for Flyers fans, who I think will find Hamhuis a lot more welcoming than Ryan Parent’s play the past two seasons. Our top-four defenseman are already some of the better in the league between Pronger, Timonen, Carle, and Coburn. The question is now, for how much do we sign this Hamhuis guy and where will he fit? He can throw his body around, and is reliable in pretty much any situation. I haven’t watched a lot of him obviously, but from what I’ve seen and heard there is nothing but good things about this guy. The best part? He’s 27 and is still coming into his own. Sounds like a great move by Homer and Co.

Braydon Coburn is the only defenseman out of our top four that I can see going if we were to dump salary in order to sign Hamhuis. Maybe get a team to pay his tender since he’s a RFA. However, I believe Coburn could be a strong 3rd pairing guy and make our defensive depth great, so maybe a forward would be better. You have to think we still might make moves for a goalie soon, and I’m expecting a blockbuster trade before or at the NHL draft, depending on how free agency goes. Jeff Carter or Hartnell would be obvious trades to make to clear cap space and get something good in return, but Hartnell would need to waive his NTC and a lot of teams will be asking for VanRiemsdyk or Giroux. There’s no way we part with Giroux, but it wouldn’t be so shocking if JVR was sent packing for something big, would it?

We’ll have more soon.

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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 Up 1-0, Game Two Tonight

Let me start by first saying that Wednesday night’s game was great, and the opening period was everything playoff hockey is that’s missing in the regular season. The teams were at a feverish pace and were going at it up and down the ice. The Flyers had a little trouble with discipline as they gave up 5 power plays, but managed to kill all of them off (including a double minor on Bartulis for drawing blood on a high stick). They got ahead 2-0 on a Devils team that relies on their stars for offense and the Flyers defense was ready. Seeing Ilya Kovalchuk so frustrated was a nice sight to see and I hope they continue that. If they keep frustrating him, the more he’s going to try and do more and most likely will mess up and try to do everything himself. Boosh was in position pretty much all night and played a very good game. His one goal was a shot that changed direction while he was semi-screen so I’ll give him that one. A win’s a win.
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Posted by on April 16, 2010 in Playoffs

 

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JVR Returns to Continue the 15-Game Streak


-John Tavares getting a souvenir from trying to accentuate a Chris Pronger hit earlier this season (Prongs was penalized for it).

The talk in Flyerdom after their 3 days off is the final game at the Islanders tonight. The Flyers have won 15 straight against their division opponent, and look to make it 16 straight tonight to continue the longest active streak of any NHL team against another. They’ll do it tonight with the return of rookie forward James van Riemsdyk who was shaken up a bit during last Saturday’s loss to the Penguins when Timonen’s shot hit him below the knee. After sitting the Devils game, he will be back to help out and replace Carcillo who was suspended for two games for his match penalty against Clarkson on Sunday. Bill Metzler posted the probable lines for tonight’s game:

Hartnell – Richards – Giroux
Gagne – Briere – Leino
JVR – Powe – Asham
Cote – Betts – Laperriere

Carle – Pronger
Timonen – Krajicek
Bartulis – Parent

Hartnell playing with Richie and Giroux is a good move, and probably the best fit to replace Carcillo on that line. Although he played very well with Powe and Asham, it makes the most sense rather than put Cote, Asham, or JVR on that first line. The Briere line should continue to do well. Leino should be able to dangle around the Islanders tonight and set-up some scoring chances. Cote gets another shot for at least another two games, so I hope he’s ready to do his job with his limited ice-time. I wouldn’t mind him dropping the gloves either. Also, notice that Coburn is missing from that pairings list, which is an interesting move considering Parent was scratched in a coaches decision the past couple games. Perhaps Lavvy is lighting a fire under his ass and hoping he picks his play up? Another interesting idea would be if the Flyers were strapped for forwards again due to injury, suspensions, NHL abductions (hey it could happen with our team ya know), etc… What would you think of Coburn playing on the 4th line as a winger? His defensive responsibilities would be cut shorter obviously, and I’ve liked his play when pinching in the offensive zone and getting deep. It’s just his defensive play I’ve been suspect about. Just a thought…

Need these two points tonight, only a possible 12 points left to gain with six games left.

*Image courtesy of the Islanders’ official site.

 
 

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Flyers Drop the Ball in Florida

Talk about a tale of two teams. The Flyers who played in Tampa were not the Flyers who came out on the ice last night in Sunrise. The final score was 6-4, but was not as close as it sounded. Even with two fights to open the game, they came out sloppy and sluggish in the opening stanza and fell behind 2-0 to a good goaltender who we were trying to score at the deadline (Vokoun). It is only fitting that Leighton was pulled after the Flyers fell behind 4-2 in the 2nd period after the huge rumors about the Flyers making a move on a goaltender. He was pretty solid in the opening period. The first goal was a fluke goal going in off of the torso of a Panther after a shot went wide, and that kind of spelled the night for the Flyers. He let in a couple weak goals after that, particularly in the 5-hole. At 6’3 and being a butterfly goalie, he cannot let things like that happen. He takes up the whole lower portion of the ice with his size and positioning, GET THE PADDLE DOWN.
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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 Odds and Ends Following Sunday’s Loss

Sunday’s outcome was a tough pill to swallow. I feel that the Penguins stole that game in those last few minutes after a very unlucky bounce of the puck out of play by Timmonen. The Flyers played a great game, and I’m still bitter about some of those calls (the one disallowing that 2nd goal especially, as well as the Hartnell interference call). There’s nothing they can do about it now, except get ready for Atlanta on Thursday.

Flyers OnTheFly has reported that they will be off today after having a special teams-oriented practice yesterday. Another encouraging tidbit from the Flyers is that defenseman underwent successful surgery to remove a disc fragment in his lumbar spine. From a health standpoint, this is great news because anything to do with the spine is obviously serious business. He is slated to return anywhere after the next 6 weeks, and us Flyers fans wish him a speedy recovery. OKT has not necessarily been terrible, but he still has not has not played as well as he did before he re-injured his knee. He had some decent games back in October and November. Hopefully he gets back on track. I still like the way Bartulis has been playing, and I’d like to see his continued play with Timmonen. He could learn a lot from Kimmo.

The internet buzz this past weekend has still been on the whole Carcillo and Gaborik fight that happened last Thursday. My opinion is no different than that of other reasonable opinions; Gaborik dropped his gloves, and thus loses all “honorable protection” or however Tortorella wants to put a spin on it. Carcillo picked him off of the pile up, and did not punch him. They jawed a bit, exchanged some shoves, then when the gloves come off, Carcillo sees an oppurtunity to take their leading scorer off the ice for 5 minutes and get a few shots in. Would they be saying the same thing if Avery went after Richards or Carter? It’s not even like Carcillo is a big guy either. He is a lightweight, maybe even a small middleweight by hockey fighter standards. I feel like every Rangers-Flyers broadcast I see, Torts is blowing his cap off about something or another. Avery went after Richards in the last 7 seconds of an already decided game. Was Lavvy attacking Avery in the media? No. It’s even funnier that all the Rangers who were asked about the Gaborik incident had something bad to say about Carcillo too. Of course they’re going to side with their player, but maybe Gaborik should think before he acts last time. That’s all I’m going to say about it. The topic is almost a week old and is tired already.

I’m still really excited about Giroux centering JVR and Asham. I feel like Asham is an under-appreciated part of the Flyers team. Powe and Betts are starting to get some more recognition due to their defensive play and great fore-checking along with the Flyers record with and without them in the line-up. Asham, however, seems to have a bag of tricks he pulls out at certain times. Small as that bag is, he has impressed me the past season and a half in Flyers orange, and it’s not often that happens coming from someone who played for a rival (Devils) a season earlier. I like Asham’s strong play along the boards and how he uses his body to protect the puck, allowing JVR to use his long reach and big body to help him dig pucks and get them to the points to set up in the zone. There’s not enough things to say about Giroux and how calm and confident he is with the puck. Not many young players like that can maneuver like he can, and all eyes are on him when he gets steam going through the offensive zone. If they can continue to get scoring chances like that, not many 3rd lines on other teams will be able to fully match-up with us. And then they know what comes with our tenacious 4th line.

Until Thursday, Go Flyers.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2010 in Flyers Talk and Other

 

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