Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Another very important fact is that, unless something pops up unexpected this morning, they made it through the preseason with no major injuries to any key player, except backup goalie Brian Boucher, and his injury should only keep him out for a couple weeks.
Many of the key offseason questions were answered during the preseason. Ray Emery looks real good, and if he plays as well in the regular season as he did in the preseason, he should have a solid year. Chris Pronger will be a bigtime difference maker. JVR looks like the real deal. Danny Briere looks better than ever and is primed for a big year. Mike Richards is showing no effects from offseason shoulder surgery. The Flyers may have found a gem in Myka Pyrola. Danny Svyret looks like he could be a solid 6th defensemen.
Flyers fans should be feeling pretty good about this team heading into the season opener this Friday night at Carolina. The season is a marathon, not a sprint, but heading into the gate for the start of the race, the orange and black looks primed for a great season!!!
Friday, September 25, 2009
This wont be possible cap-wise unless they are able to unload Randy Jones, but according to many sources, he may be put on waivers in the next few days, therefore freeing up the cap space to sign Blair Betts as the 4th line center, as well as Pyrola and JVR. Assuming all that happens, here is what the lines could look like:
If Powe bounces back and forth between Philly & Glen Falls, then so be it. But I really want to see Powe on the Flyers at the home opener, so I dont feel like a schmuck wearing his jersey.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Why would you fire the coach if they start poorly in their first 5 games? Simple, because Paul Holmgren has assembled the best Flyers team since 2004, or dare I say, 1997. Not to mention, he mortgaged away alot of the future to win now. If this team falls short of expectations this season, Homer's job security could come into question. One of Holmgrens complaints about this team over the last couple of seasons has been the inconsistent effort from night to night, which is something the head coach should notice, and take care of, one way or another. Already this preseason, Holmgren has commented that he is not happy with the effort.
Stevens is a good coach, just not a great coach. He doesn't seem like the kind of coach that can get a sluggish team going, which is why many think he wont last the season. Ive heard people saying that the addition of guys like Pronger & Lappy will help solve this problem, but its the coaches job to coach and motivate, and the players job to play.
All of this will be irrelevant when the Flyers burst out of the gate 5-0. Including a 32 save shutout by Razor on opening night (you heard it here first!!) and a physical tone-setting win against the Penguins on Oct 8
8 days till the puck drops for real!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LETS GO FLYERS!!!!!!!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Chris Pronger is a mean looking mother fucker!
JVR might give the team no choice but to put him on the opening night roster
Chris Pronger is a mean looking mother fucker!
Briere looked great! Big year coming from him
Chris Pronger is a mean looking mother fucker!
Emery looked solid, as long as the D does its job, everything should be fine
Chris Pronger is a mean looking mother fucker!
I was a little disapointed that their weren't many tailgaters outside before the game, I know its preseaon, but come on people!!!
Chris Pronger is a mean looking mother fucker!
I cant wait til October 2nd!! LETS GO FLYERS!!!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Pittsburgh over New Jersey (in 6 games)
Washington over Montreal (in 5 games)
Boston over Ottawa (in 6 games)
Philadelphia over Carolina (in 6 games)
Philadelphia over Pittsburgh (in 7 games)
Washington over Boston (in 6 games)
Philadelphia over Washington (in 7 games)
Stanley Cup Finals
Philadelphia over Vancouver (in 5 games)
This conference will be ultra-competitive all season long. I think Pittsburgh will just barely beat Philly in the Atlantic but in the playoffs is when you'll see the addition of Pronger pay dividends. I see Carolina giving Washington a fight until the last couple weeks of the season in the Southeast. I think Montreal and Ottawa will hang with Boston for the majority of the season, but the best team in that division will clearly end up being Boston. I think the Rangers will hang around competing for the 8th spot, but at the end of the day, they just arent as good as Jersey, Montreal, and Ottawa. Although not as good as the West, I think the East playoffs will be more exciting and hopefully provide some memorable moments, culminating with a parade on Broad Street!!!!
LETS GO FLYERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Playoffs: 1st Round
Vancouver over LA (in 4 games)
Chicago over St. Louis (in 7 games)
Columbus over San Jose (in 7 games)
Calgary over Detroit (in 7 games)
Vancouver over Columbus (in 4 games)
Chicago over Calgary (in 7 games)
Vancouver over Chicago (in 6 games)
Obviously you can tell I like Vancouver alot this year, even in a stacked conference. The west is filled with alot of young, up and coming teams like Columbus, St Louis, and LA, who would all have better shots and going deeper in the playoffs if they were in the East. I think this is the year that Anaheim slips back just a little bit, I have them finishing 9th in the conference. I think the only big complaint that people will have with my projections is that LA makes the playoffs this season, most think they are at least a year away, but GM Ron Hextall has done a great job building that team with alot of good young players such as Anze Kopitar, Jon Quick, and Drew Doughty, as well as adding veteran leadership in Ryan Smyth. Time will tell, but I feel pretty confident that this is how the west will play out.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Flyers looked like shit.....the end
But in all seriousness, I was pretty pissed watching the game last night on the NHL Network (and not just because the Leafs announcers were terrible) but the more I thought about it, the preseason in every sport is completely worthless. In preseason hockey, its essentially half an NHL roster paired up with half an AHL roster, so its hard to really get a feel on how good or bad a team is. The only thing you can hope for as a fan is that none of the big guns gets hurt. Im hoping that for 1 game this preseason, they play the majority of the "real" Flyers in an effort to get some chemisty and flow going before Oct. 2nd.
Up today is the final "State of the Flyers" post: the captain, Mike Richards. Richie is a Bob Clarke clone, he plays tough, with alot of grit, and does everything well. He is a born leader, which is why he was awarded the "C" last season. But with the C comes alot of responsibility. Not only was he responsible for being one of the best players on the ice, he was now also the leader of a team that many predicted could win the Stanley Cup. Needless to say, he went through some growing pains as a leader, at times he didnt seem comfortable with all the added responsibilities (at least when answering question after question post game) In my opinion, much of the laid back attitude that this team had last year can be attributed to Richards, I swear if I heard "its only one game" and "we have games in hand" one more time, I was gonna scream! He leads by example, busting his ass every single night, but the problem was, everyone else wasnt, and Richards just dosent seem like the kind of guy to stand up to someone in the locker room and say "quit fucking around and lets get this shit going" Sometimes when you wear the C, you've got to do that, other peoples feelings be damned.
I think the addition of Chris Pronger will be the single biggest help that Richards will ever get in his NHL career. Pronger, whether he wears an "A" or not, will be looked at as the "co-captain" He will teach Richards how to be a pro, both on and off the ice. He will teach Richards not only to lead on the ice, but not to be afraid to piss off a couple teammates in an effort to get them to play harder.
As far as on the ice goes, expect Richie to be solid and consistent as always. He will be vital to the power play and the penalty kill (I expect at least a half dozen shorthanded goals). If the other forwards around him can carry their weight and take pressure off him, expect Richards to have the best season of his career. Prediction: 30 goals, Selke Trophy, and Conn Smythe Trophy
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Up today in State of the Flyers is James van Riemsdyk. Let me start off by saying that I am NOT rooting against him....but the fact is that I dont want him to start the season with the Flyers. I might be the only one who didnt get excited when he had 4 goals in the rookie game last week, to me, that should have been expected, he was the 2nd overall draft pick from 2006 playing against a bunch of guys who probably wont see NHL ice for at least a year. Can we please just be patient with this kid? He is only 20 years old, and has only 7 professional games under his belt. He spent 2 years at UNH, playing pretty well; scoring 28 goals in 67 games, but that was against mostly guys who will barely make it to the AHL. I would prefer to see the Flyers take the Claude Giroux route with him, start on the Phantoms, let him get some more experience and confidence against professional players, and then when the inevitable injury happens, bring him up. If they decide to start him with the big club, and he struggles, it could kill his confidence (remember, he's a 20 year old KID) The fact is, we dont need him to start the year with the Flyers, our top 6 are stacked, and putting JVR on the 3rd line wouldnt do him as much good as playing top line minutes in Glen Falls for a couple months. I expect and hope that JVR will be a solid player for this team for many years to come, let just be patient!!
Prediction-10 goals in 40 games
Up next-last but not least...Mike Richards
Monday, September 14, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Next up in State of the Flyers is Ian Laperrière and Claude Giroux. Laperrière spent his 1st 2 seasons with St Louis and the Rangers, before spending his next 9 seasons in Los Angeles. After that, "Lappy" played his next 4 season with the Avalanche. In just over 1000 career NHL games he has amounted 118 goals and 1794 penalty minutes. Ian does whatever is necessary for the team, he can fight, block shots, work the penalty kill, and hopefully mentor the young guys. He is a "pro's pro" as witnessed by him wearing the "A" in Colorado. As for his role in Philly, I see him being a less hairy version of Scott Hartnell, I can see John Stevens bouncing him around a little bit from line to line to help provide a little bit of a spark and toughness. Dont expect Lappy to light up the scoreboard, but I think his contributions to the team will reach far beyond the scoresheet. Prediction: 12 goals
The gang reports to Voorhees today for physicals, and they hit the ice tommorow. The groundwork for what will hopefully be a championship season gets started this weekend. Im pumped, you're pumped and hopefully the team is as well
LETS GO FLYERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, September 11, 2009
I was looking forward to this day ever since the Flyers were announced to play in the Winter Classic, today they unveiled their Winter Classic jersey, and I LOVE them, old school 1970's white.....but....a black nameplate?! Over the next couple months, I might grow to like it, but my initial reaction is that they should have just went with black lettering on the back. Its weird, I LOVE the white nameplate on the orange jerseys but for some reason, this black nameplate looks kinda tacky. With all that said, Santa will be brining me a #28 Giroux Winter Classic jersey which I'll be rocking at Fenway on January 1st....damn Flyers, you guys are killing my bank account!!!
Next up in State of the Flyers is Danny Briere. Its kinda weird, when he first came to Philly, he was the toast of the town, no one cared about his contract, he was the man! Its amazing what groin problems will do to public perception.
Ill admit, Briere was one of my favorite non-Flyers back in the day. The only bright light from the horrible 06/07 season was that we were gonna have a ton of cap money, and Mr Briere was going to be available. On July 1, 2007, my wish came true, Danny was a Flyer; 8 years, $52 million. When many fans here those contract numbers now, they cringe, but lets hop in the way back machine and review the state of the Flyers when we signed him: we had just come off the worst season in franchise history, we were in desperate need of a top line center, we had a ton of cap money available, and 21 year old's Mike Richards and Jeff Carter werent anywhere close to the players that they are now. It would have been totally foolish for Homer to see all that and still not sign Briere, we all would have torched him at the time. Hindsight is 20/20, but I still say signing him was the right move.
Briere started his first season in orange and black on fire, Ill never forget him scoring the game winner with a couple minutes to go in the season opener against Calgary, then scoring a sick breakaway goal against the Oilers a couple nights later. Danny had a great chemisty with Simon Gagne, then when Gags went down for the season with another concussion, Briere struggled while coach Stevens was trying to find him a new linemate, along came Vinny "worlds biggest visor" Prospal. Briere was reborn and finished the year with 31 goals and 41 assists. In the playoffs he was arguably the teams best player against Washington.
Then came last season, Briere only played 29 games due to a nagging groin injury. When it was time for him to come back, Homer had to waive Metro and Ossi Vannanen as well as trade fan favorite Scottie Upshall to the Phoenix (Hamilton? Kansas City?) Coyotes for Dan "waste of a roster spot" Carcillo just to fit Briere under the salary cap. It was largely due to this, that fans started to turn on Briere. Look, I was frustrated as well that he struggled with injury last season, but come on, its not like he missed half the season with a paper cut, he had a groin injury, which the last time I checked, is very common among hockey players. Would fans have acted the same way if it was Mike Richards or Jeff Carter who were in that situation last season?
Dont hate Briere because of his contract, yeah it doesnt help the salary cap situation, but be honest, if someone offered you a $52 million dollar job, you'd take it as well, if you're going to be mad at anyone about his contract, be mad at Homer. Also if I hear one more person say that we should trade Briere to get his salary out of here, let me remind you....has a no trade clause!!! He isnt ever going to waive it, he has mentioned numerous times how he and his family like living in this area, so they arent going to pack up and leave just because alot of people want them to.
Lastly, I think Briere is going to win comeback player of the year (do they have that award in hockey?) He has been training hard all summer and has mentioned in numerous articles how last years struggles have affected him. With him (hopefully) healthy for the full season, it will almost be like adding a new free agent to the team. Prediction 34 goals (yeah I said it!!!)
Next up: Ian Laperrière & Claude Giroux
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Sideshow Bob (err, I mean Scott Hartnell) is a prototypical Philadelphia Flyer: he's tough, physical, can lay a big hit, and dosent really care what anyone thinks about him. He is one of the most improved Flyers over the last couple years, and I look for him to break the 30 goal mark this year. I see him taking over Knuble's "garbage goal" role as well as continuing to bring the physical presence. With that said, Sideshow needs to cut down on the "dumb" penalties, he led the league in minors which included his infamous glove toss against Tampa Bay, for which he is damn lucky that didnt cost them the game. Prediction 32 goals
Next up: Danny Briere
Monday, September 7, 2009
Kimmo Timonen- One of the most underappreciated and underrated players in the entire league. Maybe because he dosent do anything spectacular, he just does everything really really well: hes a shut down d-man, can QB the power play, block shots, and pretty much everything thats needed out of a defensemen. I look for him to continue to play well and be underappreciated, especially due to the addition of Mr. Pronger
Braydon Coburn- He has improved each season that he's worn the orange & black, and he needs to keep doing that because its a contract year for the young fella. I look for him to have a breakout year thanks to another year alongside Kimmo and with Pronger's guidance, however, as with Kimmo, it may go largely un-noticed with all the big guns on this team
Ryan Parent- Another young d-man, another contract year. Ryan was the top prospect in the Predators system when they shipped him to Philly in the Peter Forsberg trade. He hasnt blossomed into the top line d-man yet, but I think that's largely to due having Kimmo & Coburn in front of him, and now with Pronger added to the "D" I think it will be hard for Ryan to really stand out and make people notice him, but I think he will show enough to earn a contract extension sometime this year. However, if he dosent impress enough, dont be surprised if Homer lets him go (therefore not spending more $$ on an extension) and give one of the young guys in our system a shot (Marshall/Boudron, still on rookie salaries) Just something to keep an eye on
Matt Carle- Yes I understand he is very overpaid and isnt helping our cap situation any. In the grand scheme of things were paying our 5th best defensemen over $3 million a year, but dont forget, he's young (24) but there wont be as much expected of him this season with Matt likely being a 3rd line D-man, but with the help of Kimmo & Pronger, dont be surprised if Carle breaks out this year. And for all you Carle haters out there, I simply ask you this....would you rather have Carle on this team, or the 2 guys we traded to get him, Steve Emenger & Steve Downie?......I rest my case
Randy Jones- The only nice thing I can say is that his $3 million dollar salary comes of the books after this season! One assumes that his money will go towards the extensions of Coburn & Parent. In case you havent realized yet, Im not a huge Jones fan, but trying to look at this whole team optimistically, if he can stay healthy this season, he will be a serviceable 5th/6th defensemen
Saturday, September 5, 2009
My favorite Pronger moment so far came in his introductory press conference when a reporter asked him how he plans on dealing with the likes of Crosby, Malkin, & Ovechkin, his response, "I think you know the answer to that" Then when pressed more for information on the topic he replied with an evil grin, "We dont want to pre-meditate anything now do we?" Seriously, all that was missing was a "moo hoo hoo ha ha ha" and some thunder in the background.
I cant wait for October 8th-the 1st Flyers/Pens game of the season, look for Pronger to set the tone for the season on that night (advice to the Pens, keep your head on a swivel)
I believe Pronger is the most important player on the team this season. He is going to be asked to provide leadership on and off the ice, QB the power play, mentor our young d-men (specifically Parent & Carle) & shut down the likes of Crosby, Malkin, Ovechkin. But if anyone is capable of doing all that....its Chris mother fucking Pronger!!
So lets review:
Acuiring Pronger: Lupul, Sbisa, 2 1st round picks
Signing Pronger: 7 years, $35 million
Watching Flyers dethrone Shitsburgh and win cup: Priceless
Next up...the rest of the "D"
Next up in the "State of the Flyers" are the goaltenders. For many reasons (I think mostly salary) both goalies from last year are gone. Nitty will be in Tampa, and Biron will be in a crowded situation with the Isles. Leaving us with a new tandem between the pipes. Highly controversial Ray Emery is projected to be the starter, with former and once again current Flyer Brian Boucher as his backup.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Next up in the state of the Flyers, is head coach John Stevens. For the most part, Stevens was a career minor leaguer, playing sparingly for the big club. After an eye injury forced him to retire, he coached the 04/05 Phantoms to the Calder Cup. Early in the 06/07 season, he was hired to replace Ken Hitchcock. I give him a complete pass on his 1st season, not even Scotty Bowman would have won with that team. In his next 2 seasons the team reached the playoffs both years, including an Eastern Conference Finals berth in 08. Believe it or not, Stevens is the 2nd longest tenured coach in the East (behind Buffalo's Lindy Ruff) All that being said, if the team dosen't look like a legitimate contender within the first month of the season, mark my words, he will be fired. You can argue that he has done a great job helping develop our young players like Richards, Carter, Coburn, & Giroux, but my (and alot of people's) complaints about coach Stevens is inconsistency. One night, they will play like there hair is on fire and make you say "wow, this team is really really good" and the next night they play incredibly lazy hockey. Alot of people say that is on the players, but I disagree, its the coach's job to get the team fired up for EVERY game, not every 2nd or 3rd game, and at times (many times) Stevens seems just too calm when things aren't going the way that they should. As I mentioned yesterday, I think Holmgren's legacy/job status is on the line based on how well this team plays this year, he has given Stevens a championship caliber roster, probably the best team they will have since 2004, Stevens better get everything out of this team, or he'll be job searching by Thanksgiving.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
As we get closer and closer to the start of training camp, I decided to take the next couple weeks and do a "State of the Flyers" post. Ill start at the top, with General Manager Paul Holmgren. Homer spent 8 seasons rocking the orange and black as well as coaching them for about 3 1/2 years. After Bobby Clarke resigned/quit early in the 06/07 season, the team named the Brett Hull look-a-like as interim GM. Many people including myself thought his tenure would be short, as it was widely speculated that the team wanted a high profile name to take over (rumor has it they tried to get one of the biggest d-bags in the league Colin Campbell to take the job) Although the Flyers suffered through the worst season in team history, Homer laid the groundwork for an immediate turnaround. Among his moves during his first year-
Trading Alexi Zhitnik to Atlanta for a young prospect named Braydon Coburn
Giving a second round pick to Buffalo for Marty Biron (say what you want, he played pretty well here, we've certainly had worse)
My personal favorite was the way he used Nashville- Trading an over the hill Peter Forsberg for Ryan Parent, Scottie Upshall, and 2 first round picks. Then sending those picks back to music city in exchange for Scott Hartnell & Kimmo Timonen, not bad eh?
Homer wasn't done rebuilding, he then proceded to trade Joni Pitkanen & Geoff Sanderson to Edmonton in exchange for Jason Smith & Joffery Lupul. Then he went out and got the #1 center that we needed at the time in Danny Briere (more on him in a future post) We all know how that team fared, very well. Despite battling injuries they made it to the conference finals. I believe that Holmgren thought the team was good enough to win it all if they could stay healthy, not that he really could upgrade the roster if he wanted to, as they Fly Guys were pressed up against the cap, which lead to Glen Metropolit, Ossi Vannanen, and Aaron Asham.
The second full season of Holmgren was pure salary cap hell, among other things, we had to put Vannanen and Metro on waivers and trade Upshall for Carcillo to make cap room for Briere to come back after injury. If the cap had been managed better, likely those moves wouldnt have had to happen. After another playoff loss to the Pens, Homer signed controversial goaltender Ray Emery & pulled off one of the biggest trades in team history-sending Lupul, Luca Sbisa & 2 1st round picks to Anaheim for Chris Pronger. The bottom line is-I think Holmgrens legacy as GM will be determined by the results of this trade. If Pronger & Emery help bring us a cup, than Homer is a genius-if not, Paul Holmgren may lose his job and history will not look back at him very kindly.
Next up-Head Coach John Stevens
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
WHAT!? Richards on the 3rd line? I know, I know, but hear me out.... In my opinion, Richards is the most valuable to us on the power play and the penalty kill. Lord knows we're going to be shorthanded alot this year (especially with the addition of Pronger and Lappy as well as a full season of Carcillo) So by putting Richie on the 3rd line, it will give him a couple less mintues 5 on 5, therefore making him a little bit fresher to score 10 shorties this year and help the best power play in the league along with Pronger. Not to mention, having Richards on the 3rd line will help make Powe look even more awesome than he already does (he's slowly becoming one of my favorites)
WHAT?! Lapierre on the 2nd line with Giroux and Briere? Just watch someone try to take a run at either one of them and see what Lappy does to them....one word...pain!
As far as my "D" pairing go, dont pay much attention to the order of the 1st 2 units, they are both going to play about 48-50 minutes per night, so to classifiy one of them as the 1st unit and the other as the 2nd unit is kind of irrelevant. Call me crazy, but I think our 3rd pairing of Carle and Jones is going to play real well this year. Last year, they played alot more minutes against other teams better players, which isnt exactly a role they should be in, but if you only have them out there for about 10 minutes a night theoretically against the 3rd/4th lines from other teams, it will help them look pretty good.
Now remember everyone, when you're watching me accept the Jack Adams Award this year, you were the first to hear about my coaching strategy
LETS GO FLYERS!!!!!!