Leighton Returns, Bob’s Scratched, and I’m Confused
By. Casey Simpkins
In my first blog as a Philly Phan, I pondered the goaltending dilemma that would inevitably arise for Flyers upon the return of Michael Leighton. Now here I am, two months later, and the goaltending carousel I once feared is now reality, as Michael Leighton will make his first start of the 2010-2011 season tonight when the Flyers face off against the Kings in Los Angeles, and rookie Sergei Bobrovsky won’t even be on the bench.
Looking back on my first article, I personally saw Bob stealing the show and being the Flyers clear number one goaltender at this point, but the Flyers goaltending situation never ceases to amaze me, as Bob is a healthy scratch tonight in LA. After a ridiculous month of November in which he posted a 2.02 GAA in 11 starts, the entire city fell in love with the rookie, but he began to look tired and really cooled off in December, posting a 3.23 GAA in 6 starts (7 appearances).
With Bob struggling, I was weary about the Flyers chances of winning with a tough December schedule, but then Brian Boucher came to the rescue going 4-1 with a 2.02 GAA in five December starts. Peter Laviolette continued to ride Boucher through most of mid December as he managed to shut down teams such as the Canadiens, Capitals, Bruins, and Penguins in that time span. When it seemed as if Boucher was the hot man in net for the Flyers, they unfortunately hit a seven-day break in their schedule, and Bouch got torched for 4 goals in 25 minutes when the team returned to action against Vancouver on Tuesday night.
So, now it’s Michael Leighton’s turn I suppose. We all know tonight has huge implications on the Flyers goaltending situation moving forward, so hopefully everyone has off from work for the holiday and can stay up late tonight to see how Leighton looks in between the pipes. If you watched the Flyers skills competition, he looked well positioned and calm as he did for the majority of last season, but it’s apparent that wasn’t the real deal, and having your first test come against a high powered team like the Kings is no easy task.
In my opinion, there is no way the Flyers will keep three goalies moving forward, so what will they do? Well it’s pretty simple actually: either demote a goalie or trade one. Many believe that the decision to scratch Bob tonight could be a sign that he will be sent down to Adirondack, but I just don’t want to believe that. I mean we’ve all seen him struggle recently, but I don’t think the organization is ready to demote a kid that could possibly be representing the Flyers in the NHL All Star Game on January 30th. If anything, I think sending him down at this point will only destroy his confidence and in turn hinder his development. I personally want the Flyers to seek a trade involving Leighton or Boucher. Considering his higher salary and higher trade value, I see the Flyers looking to shop Leighton over Boucher, but you never really know with the Flyers.
My theory is that they should attempt to showcase Leighton in the next few games and attempt to trade him by the All Star break but that’s just one Phan’s opinion. What do you guys think they should/are going to do?
Flyers News and Notes
By Kevin K
Paul Holmgren confirms that Jody Shelley received a 2 game suspension resulting from an incident in last night’s punch on Andrew Alberts during last night game at Vancouver.
There is a fairly good chance Timonen will play Thursday in LA. He's being held out of practice as a precaution. Erik Gustafsson was recalled from the Phantoms as insurance in case Timonen can't play.
Moment 1: The Comeback
By Kevin K
Philadelphia loves a come back story ... especially one that deals with the Flyers coming back down 0-3 in the series against Boston and winning. Didn't hear about it? Need I remind you!
Every Flyers fan will remember where they were when the Flyers came back down 0-3 in the series to come back and win the series.
Game 7 tells the story of this series against the Bruins ...... Boston races out to a 3-0 lead, but the Flyers slowly chip back by stealing a goal at the end of the first to cut the lead to 3-1. Then The Flyers explode in the second period with two more goals to tie the game 3-3.
3-3, hmm that sound familiar. The series and game was tied 3-3 in the third period, then your star and game changer, Simon Gagne, put it past Rask for the lead and ultimately the win for the Flyers!
They did it! They made history tonight! The Flyers are the third team in NHL history and fourth team in Professional Sports history to come back down 0-3 to win the series. The last team to do it was the Red Sox in 2004 against the Yankees, that team won the World Series.
Can you believe it?
After the game, Coach Peter Laviolette said, "Games 7's are made for men and those are men in there".
The Flyers fought back and beat the Bruins in historical fashion. This series epitomized Philadelphia Sports in 2010.
The Comeback as one may say, sums up 2010 Philly Sports in just that .... a comeback.
Whether it was the Flyers over the Bruins, the Eagles over the Giants, the Union over Toronto, or the Comeback of Doug Collins and the 76ers or even the Comeback of Cliff Lee with the Philadelphia Phillies ..... 2010 can be described by only one word: Comeback.
Moment 5: The Save
By Kevin K
The Philadelphia Flyers advanced to the playoffs on April 11th in dramatic fashion against the New York Rangers. The Flyers went down 1-0 early, but outplayed the Rangers throughout the game. It took up to the third period for Matt Carle to tie the game.
The Flyers went into Overtime with the Rangers, and then ultimately a shootout. Danny Briere amazed us with the first goal for the Flyers to put them up 1-0. The The Rangers came back with a goal of their own, after Richards wrist shot was slapped away. Claude Giroux came up and scored! Jokinen was the Rangers last chance, and Boucher comes up with the save to push the Flyers into the Postseason.
Now known as "the save", Boucher saved the Flyers season and kept the Playoff hopes alive. We all know what happened next as the Flyers went past three teams and made it to the Stanley Cup finals. Remember, it all started with "the save".
Moment 9: Back to the Cup
By Kevin K
The Flyers capped off an amazing Playoff run with a trip to the Stanley Cup against the Blackhawks, in which the Flyers lost.
During the Conference Finals the Flyers came out strong and took care of business against the Canadiens. The Flyers took the series in 5 games after a great series by Captain Mike Richards.
The Flyers beat the Habs 4-2 in Game 5 to go back to the Stanley Cup for the first time since they played the Red Wings in 1997.
The magic of the Flyers postseason was capped off with the Prince of Wales Trophy. The Flyers were where they shouldn't have been. They overcame adversity and made it to the Stanley Cup Finals.
More of the Magical Playoff Run to come