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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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How to Beat the Salary Cap?

Late last week, the Flyers signed former NHL forward Nikolai Zherdev. As speculated in my previous post and pretty much everywhere in the hockey blogger community, Zherdev would be getting a small contract from a club who was willing to take a gamble on the young forward. The Flyers were rumored to be in the front-running for it, and they landed a one-year deal supposedly worth $2 million. Not a bad price to pay for a guy that could pan out to being quite an offensive force out there with a roster that already has the talent we do. Of course, with this signing comes the inevitable question of where do we go from here?

In this day’s NHL, you can be over your salary cap by up to 10% during the off-season, but must trim it down before the season starts. Using CapGeek.com as my source (they’re pretty reliable), I’ve noticed that the Flyers are bit over $1 million in cap space. $1,422,263 to be exact. I’m sure we will be shedding Bartulis’ contract by putting him down in the AHL this year and that would free up $600,000. But what up the other $822,263? Dropping Cote would cut $550,000… but that would still leave us at $322,263 to free up before opening night. This is where my previous angst of the Shelley signing comes into play. We would be about $500,000 under the cap granted we sent down Bartulis and Cote and did not sign Shelley. Also, the Meszaros contract is quite big at $4 million a year; even if I do think he has an upside.

This cap hell has led many to speculate that somebody has to be traded, and it’s true. Someone has to be traded in order to get prospects or cheap players back and create more salary room. Pundits have been throwing Simon Gagne around as he has apparently attracted interest from the Kings, but no deals have been made. Talks have been going on, and they will be just that, talks. As long as the Ilya Kovalchuk Show goes on and we wait for him to be signed with a team willing to overpay him for his services, Gagne will remain a second option for a team that needs a scoring winger. Scott Hartnell’s name has been flying under the radar, along with Jeff Carter. Hartnell’s contract and NTC would get in the way, but the Kings apparently had interest in him a few months ago. Carter’s move makes the most sense because we won’t be able to sign him for the pay raise next year, considering Giroux is up for a contract extension next year. Trade Carter for some prospects and/or some picks, and you have $5 million to work with for emergency cap space, and maybe even another goalie signing. Turco or Esche maybe? Another veteran presence to battle with Leighton for a spot would be great.

Even so, I’ll be back soon with another post.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2010 in Flyers Talk and Other

 

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Flyers Splashes in FA Signings, Gagne Trade Rumors, Zherdev Signing?

Since last week when I wrote about possible free-agent scenarios, I did not expect what the Flyers have right now. The Flyers acquired young defenseman Andrej Meszaros from the Lightning for a 2nd round pick in 2012, and signed free agent veteran defenseman Sean O’Donnell who just finished a season with the Los Angeles Kings. They also signed veteran gritty forward Jody Shelley to a three-year deal, while being able to re-sign Coburn.

So that was the first day of free agency, and I loved the fact that we got O’Donnell and Meszaros. From this standpoint, they will be playing on the third pairing and are a HUGE upgrade over the likes of Parent/Krajicek/Bartulis. Even if Coburn drops down to that pair and Meszaros moves up, it just made our defense one of the best in the league. The only problem with this signing is Meszaros’ $4 million cap hit per year which may be a tough pill to swallow for some, considering that is more than both Coburn and Carle’s. Then there was the Shelley signing…
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How We Got Here

The Flyers are in the Stanley Cup Finals. The FLYERS are in the Stanley Cup Finals. Not Pittsburgh, not New Jersey, not Washington, not Boston, not Buffalo, not any of the top-seeded Eastern Conference teams. The 7th seeded Philadelphia Flyers have made it all the way and now only four wins separate them from their first Stanley Cup in 35 years. With a long 82 games season and three grueling rounds of NHL playoff action, it is easy to look past exactly what got us here. Here’s a look at some main events leading up to this wonderful playoff run:
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Posted by on May 28, 2010 in Playoffs

 

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History Has Been Made

What can you say about last night’s win that hasn’t been said already? We all knew the story, even the ones who jumped on the bandwagon knew what last night’s game meant. Yet, what I was a part of last night will stick with me forever.

I walked into the Wach last night for the viewing party and got my courtesy “LET’S GO FLYERS” sign. There were drunk high school kids, die-hard fans, and casual fans all around me who all wanted the same thing: one more game, and one more round. The chants were cranked up to 11 as my friends and I made our way to our seats (Section 108/109). It filled up quickly as orange quickly swallowed the dark red color of the seats. The Flyers crew was walking around, and popped up on the screen from time to time to get the fans into it. What happened next gave me as big of goosebumps as I’ve ever had an actual Flyers game: Lauren Hart coming on screen with a recording of a recent rendition of “God Bless America”. You thought it was loud when we got there? Kate Smith stole the show. I was not even a thought when she sang on this particular recording, yet I as well as everyone else in attendance knew the significance of this song. My arms were prickly with goosebumps as the last chords of the song ran out, and then it erupted as the VERSUS feed came onto the screen and showed us fellow Flyers fans going nuts.
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Posted by on May 15, 2010 in Playoffs

 

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Flyers Return to Boston for Another Must-Win

Friday night’s OT win was simply fantastic. Yes, the Flyers let the Bruins battle back, and yes, Recchi should have been covered on that last goal. And yes, Boosh should have been in better position. It doesn’t matter though, because Simon Gagne came back to play and help his team and he scores the OT winner… the kind of goal that a team can build on and get the ball rolling. Boston won the first 3, don’t see why we can’t win the next 3. Tonight will be another hard-fought game and should be a close one. The hardest game will be tonight because Boston will NOT want to go back to Philly with a chance to even up the series. The Garden should be popping tonight and the Flyers will have to come out from the get-go and get their lines rolling. Dan Carcillo injured his knee in Game 4 and will be a game-time decision. I’m sure he’ll play because he apparently looked good during practice.

If the Flyers improve their special teams (mainly their penalty kill) and don’t get behind early, I don’t see why they don’t take this game. If these guys play inspired hockey like they have been and do the right things, they go back to Philly with a chance to tie the series at 3, but tonight’s game comes first. I’m not ready to put my jerseys in the closet, I’m not ready to shave my beard, and I’m certainly not ready to see the season end tonight.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2010 in Playoffs

 

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Gagne Possibly Returning for Must-Win Game 4

Simon Gagne returned to the ice to participate in a full skate with the team yesterday and will be a game-time decision for tonight’s game. Tonight the Flyers look to avoid being swept in their own building by the Bruins and hope to bring it back to Boston for a Game 5. The Red Wings staved off elimination last night and sent their series to a Game 5 against the Sharks, hopefully the Flyers can do the same. If Gagne is ready to play, he will help out our team immensely. Not necessarily for scoring, but having some consistency in the lines will really help. Jared Ross will probably be scratched if he were able to play. Gagne could be lined up with any of the top lines so the possibility of less double-shifting by guys like Richie and Giroux might help out. The Bruins will be without Krejci for the rest of the season because he dislocated his wrist when Richards steamrolled him in Game 3 (that led to the Bruins second goal).

Although the injury plain may be evening out, the Bruins still have a good shot at ending this tonight. Between Rask and their defense’s play, there is not much they need to do differently. The Flyers out-shot the Bruins on Wednesday and controlled the play for the first two periods yet still could not get it done after Recchi’s deflating PP goal early in the 3rd. If the Flyers believe in themselves and truly do not want this season to be over, they’ll come out hard tonight in front of their home crowd. Coming down from 3-0 is not impossible, it just hasn’t been done more than twice and the last time it happened was in 1975. You win tonight, you go back to Boston with a little momentum. You win that one, you put a lot of doubt in their minds that they can finish this off and come back to Philly. You take that one in front of your home crowd, and it’s a Game 7 rubber match in Boston. Gotta get through tonight first.

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2010 in Playoffs

 

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