By Kevin K
I am officially back! If you haven't noticed, I took a couple week hiatus from the Philly Phans page to take a little bit of a break. I won't lie to you, I was seriously thinking about ending the Philly Phans two weeks ago because of how much time it was taking from my life, but then something big happened that changed my mind completely. Both Jeff Carter and Mike Richards were traded the day after I went on hiatus and the Flyers announced the signing of Ilya Bryzgalov to a 9 year contract.
This opened up my eyes more than anything because I wasn't the first one there posting the moves on the Philly Phans page.
Now after two endless weeks, I finally will give you me thoughts on the moves the Flyers have made in the past two weeks. As soon as I heard the both Carter and Richards were traded my first reaction (like many) was WTF. WTF are the Flyers doing to their team and why is Bryzgalov coming off as the Yoko Ono who broke up the Flyers. And then I got to really thinking. In my mind the Flyers did something the Eagles, 76ers, and Phillies wouldn't do and that is get rid of the players that couldn't put you over the top. In 2009-2010, the Flyers made a great Stanley Cup run only to lose to the Chicago Blackhawks. Mike Richards and Jeff Carter had another year to prepare and to prove they were on the best team in the NHL in the 2010-2011 season. The thought looked great in the beginning of the year and then the Flyers changed. The Flyers offense was playing lazy and not scoring. So what did the Flyers do? They traded away the two stars of the team who couldn't put them over the top. Look at the 2001 76ers. Allen Iverson was at the top of his game, but could not put the 76ers over the top. The Sixers then wouldn't trade Iverson at max value because of just that, he was a star. The 2004-2005 Philadelphia Eagles lead by QB Donovan McNabb. The prime of his career and he couldn't get the Eagles over the top. It took five more years before McNabb was moved, five years too late. Neither Iverson nor McNabb got their Philadelphia teams back to the Championships. Could this mean that Richards and Carter wouldn't either? Possibly.
Now we all knew it was going to take some money to sign Bryzgalov, money in which the Flyers cleared quickly by trading Carter and then Richards. Yes the Flyers lost two key offensive stars, but it takes goaltending to win a Stanley Cup, and the Flyers haven't had a good, solid goalie like Bryzgalov since Hextall. Now we know how good Bryzgalov was in the NHL before joining the Flyers, and for his sake I hope he plays and wins multiple championships for the Flyers, if not he will forever be known as the Yoko Ono of the Flyers.
Now to Free Agency, the ULTIMATE WTF! The Flyers not only brought in Jagr, but also Talbot (both former Penguins and hated rivals of the Flyers). Many fans are still going crazy over these moves, but I say let it be. The Flyers now have players playing in their NATURAL positions and not looking to move centers to wingers. They have the offense to continue scoring even without Richards and Carter. Jagr is a great pick up for the Power Play, which the Flyers were so bad on in the playoffs and Talbot is a great pick up for the Penalty Kill, which will be even better this season because of him.
Many fans are still scratching their heads over the complete overhaul change of the Flyers for the upcoming season, but the Flyers may actually be better than they were in 2010-2011.
The key to being a better team was signing the goalie, which they have done. The Flyers still have some cap space to make another move, whether via trade or Free Agency.
Keep an eye open the next few days on what the Flyers will do.
FORMER FLYER WATCH
Ville Leino signed a deal with the Buffalo Sabres. Leino was a key to the Flyers offense the past two seasons, but a dispute with money forced the Flyers hand to let him test the market.
Brian Boucher signed a deal with Carolina. You do not get much classier than Boucher and I am one who is very happy he landed with a team. After the signing of Bryzgalov there was no room on the roster for Boucher.
Dan Carcillo and his suspension signs with the Chicago Blackhawks. Carbomb joins the squad that beat the Flyers in the 2010 Stanley Cup and brings grittiness to the Blackhawks team. Many Flyers fans will miss him, I really will not.
Sean O'Donnell also joined the Blackhawks. The veteran defenseman played one year with the Flyers and showed great leadership qualities with the team.
Simon Gagne joined Flyers West in the LA Kings. Gagne was rumored to be in pursuit by the Flyers, but he joins his former teammate Mike Richards in LA.
Kris Versteeg was traded to the Florida Panthers. Versteeg was acquired by the Flyers during the 2011 season and looked to make his back to the Stanley Cup. He did not and found himself traded by the Flyers in the offseason.
Miller Stands on Head
By Kevin K
There were three key factors in the Flyers 1-0 Game Four loss over the Buffalo Sabres.
One: Defense in the first period. Yes you may attack me and say that the Flyers defense played great all game, but there was one key play that ruined the game for the Flyers, the goal. In the first period the Flyers left Pominville wide open in front of the net with no wingers dropping back to cover on defense. Pominville received the pass from Niedermayer and put it home for the lead and ultimately the win for the Sabres.
Two: Missed opportunities for the Flyers. There were chances down the stretch for the Flyers that either Miller put aside or the Flyers failed to take the shot. It seems that sometimes the Flyers look for the pretty pass before they look to shoot. The problem with this is that the only way to beat Miller is to shoot on Miller.
Three: Ryan Miller. Yes Ryan Miller and Ryan Miller alone is the only reason the Flyers are tied in the series with the Sabres. Not the referees, not the Flyers goal-tending, it was and will remain to be Ryan Miller. The Flyers were able to put constant pressure on Miller in the third period. Flyers and Sabres fans alike were going crazy on how Miller constantly robbed the Flyers from goals. Most notably, stopping his former teammate, Danny Briere, wide open in front of the net.
With about two minutes left in the first period, Jeff Carter collided knees with Buffalo defense-man Tyler Myers. Myers came back on the ice in the second period, with no sign of Jeff Carter. After the game Carter was limping and ruled "day-to-day" without the Flyers saying anything else. Carter is set to be re-evaluated today in Philadelphia.
I, as well as actual reporters, do not expect Jeff Carter to play in Game Five in Philadelphia.
Who I expect to play in Game Five is defense-man Chris Pronger. Pronger has been taking wrist shots at practice the last few days and putting zip on them.
I do not know about you but I sit here in anticipation waiting to see how the Sabres react to the maniac of Chris Pronger in the game for the Flyers.
Report: Carter Signs
By Kevin K
According to a report by the Canadian sports network TSN from Bob McKenzie, "Jeff Carter has agreed to terms on an 11-year, $58 million contract extension with the Philadelphia Flyers. AAV of $5.27M."
Holmgren recently said that, "It’s important to get the guys that we consider key parts of the team down on kind of a longer-term deal".
This news coming only days after Claude Giroux inked a 3 year deal with the Flyers.
According to Philadelphia Sports Daily: The deal would be worth $5.27 million per season against the cap
No Fear ....
By Kevin K
The Philadelphia Flyers took out the Habs last night in a 4-2 victory to clinch a Stanley Cup Birth. It will be the Flyers first return to the cup since 1997, when they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings.
Just like Game Four, the Flyers were outplayed in the first ten minutes of the game, with a Habs goal within the first minute. Mike Richards made a tremendous play himself, taking out Halak and scoring a short-handed empty netter to tie it at 1-1.
The second period was all Flyers. Aaron Asham stepped up with a nice goal of his own. Just about a minute later, a tick tack toe pass to Jeff Cater gave the Flyers a 3-1 lead after two periods.
The Flyers then started playing defense, but the Habs kept the pressure on. Scott Gomez put a goal in with thirteen minutes left in the game. Then the Flyers started playing aggressive again.
Chris Pronger was hit with a double minor penalty yesterday after a high stick on Subban, who cried to the Ref for more time. That Power Play didn't help the Habs, as they were put in the box with 1:45 left in the penalty to Pronger.
The Flyers continued to pressure the Habs, but the Habs were able to get it on the Flyers end and pull Halak. Then Richards broke towards the empty net, kept the puck in play and Carter finished it with 22 seconds remaining in the game. THE FLYERS ARE GOING TO THE STANLEY CUP! A 4-2 win over the Habs gives the Flyers a Game Five Victory.
Mike Richards was not afraid of superstition, as he grabs the Prince of Wales Trophy.
The Flyers will face the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals. They met once earlier this season, where the Flyers won 3-2 with 2.3 seconds left in the game. Last time these two teams met in the playoffs, 1971, where the Blackhawks swept the Flyers
Three Stars of the Game.
1. Mike Richards (1 Goal, 2 Assist)
2. Jeff Carter
3. Aaron Asham
Three Stars of the Series
1. Michael Leighton- his three shutouts say it all
2. Simon Gagne- continues to play strong
3. Chris Pronger- played a lot of time, and changed the momentum with every hit and blocked shot he made.
Coming this week: Breaking down the Blackhawks, Stanley Cup Preview, Predictions, and more
Carter's Return Spells the End of Fan Favorite
By Kevin K
We reported earlier that Ian Laperierre was back in the Flyers lineup today, with Andreas Nodl scratched. Now there are reports that Jeff Carter returns for the Flyers today, playing wing on the Richards-Gagne Line.
This means the end of fan favorite Dan Carcillo, who is also scratched today. Fans put away your "Fear the Stache" shirts and your Carcillo jerseys, because he will not be feared in Montreal.
This brings back a scorer for the Flyers, but the question remains about the teams chemistry with Carter back. The other day I wrote about how Jeff Carter could compare with Eric Lindros of 2000. where he came back in the Eastern Conference Finals and really killed the Flyers chemistry.
Currently less then an hour until puck drops, and your lines have been set.
Ian Laperierre and now Jeff Carter back for the Flyers, with Nodl and Carcillo your scratches.
Let's Go Flyers !
By Kevin K
Carter skated 15 min. minimum this morning. As CSN reported last night, he figures to be a player in this series afterall.
Jeff Carter wants to be back in the lineup tomorrow, if not then by Game Three.
But what do you do with him? That is the big decision Peter Laviolette has to make. Danny Briere has been solid taking his place at the center position and has built chemistry around the players he is with .... goal scoring says it all.
If Carter plays his minutes will be reduced, but it can cut out the playing time of some guys who are really helping the Flyers win, like Ville Leino.
This is a little worrisome just because everyone wants to feel apart of this Flyers run .... but does it go to far in possibly ruining it for the Flyers if Carter returns.
Flyers fans, lets flash back ten years to the Eastern Conference Finals of 2000 versus the Devils. Eric Lindros came back into the Flyers lineup in game 6, after having concussion problems (I know its not an ankle, but it's and injury nonetheless). The Flyers seemed to lose the chemistry they had as Lindros scored the only goal for the Flyers in a loss that forced game 7. In game 7 Lindros went out, once again, with a concussion after a brutal hit by Scott Stevens. The Flyers lost that game 7.
Now I am not saying that Jeff Carter is Eric Lindros, I am just saying, what happens if Carter gets hurt in that situation and the Flyers don't have the chemistry or the players, like Ville Leino, to back him up.
Flyers Lead Series 3-1
By Kevin K
The Philadelphia Flyers went down 1-0 after one period, but after that the Flyers took off sending the Devils back to hell. The Flyers took game four tonight with a 4-1 final. Jeff Carter scored twice, Danny Briere (1), and Danny Carcillo (1).
Jeff Carter, who was never good in the postseason, finally broke through tonight for the Flyers with a two goal game.
Brian Boucher had 30 saves on 31 shots, an amazing game out of Boosh.
According to CSN Philly's John Boruk the Flyers are 17-2 throughout history when hold 3-1 series edge, last time they blew it was against the Devils about 10 years ago, both goalies (Boucher and Brodeur) were in net then as well.
Boruk also said that Simon Gagne has a lower body injury, did get X-Rays and was wheeled out of locker room. It does not look good. Gagne will most likely not play game 5.
Note: The Devils are the only hockey team this postseason NOT to win a road game. The Flyers have taken a 3-1 series lead and are now one win away from making the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Biggest Game of the Year
By Kevin Kee
The Philadelphia Flyers head into the biggest game of the season today against the Rangers. On Friday they had the chance to clinch a Playoff spot but fell short.
Today the Flyers face off against the Rangers again, this time its for the final Playoff spot on the last game of the season. The Flyers biggest play-maker, Jeff Carter, came back in the lineup on Friday and will play today.
Last week I had the opportunity to watch this Flyers team play against the Red Wings. The team looked as if they were ready to play, except for two Flyers, Hartnell and Carle. Scott Hartnell tended just to stand around and take stupid penalties. When Carle stayed in front of his own net and couldn't clear the puck out of the zone.
These two players have to step up today in order for the Flyers to clinch the final playoff spot in the East.
Trouble Maker, Sean Avery will not play today for the Rangers.
Game is today at 3 on Comcast Sportsnet