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.
Offseason Surgery Watch
By Kevin K
Mike Richards: Richards requires wrist surgery.
Chris Pronger: Will have surgery on his back. This may have also caused his discomfort in his hamstring.
Kris Versteeg: Told Philly Sports Daily he will have offseason surgery on his abdominal area.
Blair Betts: needs surgery on his finger.
Michael Leighton: return of Leighton not so great, he needs surgery on his hip.
Andrej Meszaros: needs surgery on his wrist.
Flyers face elimination
By Kevin K
Usually I would stay positive and give you a recap of the game along with my cheers and jeers of the game, not today. Today I complain. Today I rant. Today I am angry.
I am done with this whole "Home Ice Advantage" when it obviously doesn't change the game. The Flyers have LOST two of the three home games, including a Game Five loss Friday night. Sure the Flyers fought back to tie up the game only to lose in Overtime, but when you have a terrible Power Play, the Flyers aren't going to succeed.
There is no flow to the Power Play, no rush along with stupid passes to set up the perfect play. IT ISN'T WORKING! Today at practice the Flyers focused on their Power Play woes, putting in four forwards (JVR, Richards, Briere, and Giroux) with one defender (TImonen).
This setup may help them only because JVR has showed up and played aggressive throughout the Playoffs. However, CAPTAIN Mike Richards hasn't done much. Sure he has setup two pretty goals by Zherdev and Briere, but he has done nothing else. Richards is supposed to take over the game as our Captain, but it seems as if he isn't showing up. Richie needs to step up his play if the Flyers want to win the next two games and somehow make it to the next round.
Now the Flyers face elimination with a huge question mark at goaltending. Who is it going to be? Boucher allowed two cheap goals early on in Game Five, Bob looked bad in a Game two win for the Flyers, and Leighton looked solid in Game Five off the bench, allowing a rebound to go in the net (in which Matt Carle was right there, but didn't do his job). Right now the goalie for Game Six is a game time decision; however, look at the other side of the ice. ONE solid, strong goalie, carrying the Sabres to victory on his back. The Sabres are not working with three backup goalies, they are working with ONE solid goalie. One goalie that is carrying the team with him. Now this has been a constant problem for the Flyers since Ron Hextall and seems as if it will continue to be.
Now the Flyers are on the brink of elimination. How will they come out in Game Six? Will they play like they did last year against Boston, or will they play like their run is over?
We will know on Easter Sunday.
Keep it on the Philly Phans Facebook and Twitter for the late breaking news on Game Six.
Flyers Poised for a Playoff Run
By Kevin K
With the shootout victory over the Stars on Saturday the Flyers clinched a playoff berth. Last season, the Flyers also clinched the Playoffs after a shootout win; however, that win occurred on the final game of the season and now the Flyers have three more weeks on the schedule.
There should be no reason for the Flyers to let up on the gas pedal. Yes they are in the playoffs but that is all the clinching game gave you on Saturday, a playoff berth. The Flyers cannot let up on the gas pedal. They need to continue to play strong because they do not want to go into the playoffs on a losing skid.
There is also another reason for the Flyers to continue playing strong, home ice.
“We’ve never talked about clinching a playoff berth. We’ve always talked about home-ice, all rounds, starting in our building, Game 7 if it comes to that. That’s why we continue to push," Laviolette said.
The Flyers need to take their coaches mindset. Lavy turned the Flyers into the Eastern Conference Champions last year and will not let up until Mike Richards raises Lord Stanley's Cup over his head.
Lavy has yet to announce a Playoff goalie. He says he will continue to work them like he has been. Lavy also said that he will have a goalie for game one, but that's it.
Sam Carchidi of the Inquirer thinks differently. Carchidi believe that Sergei Bobrovsky is going to be the playoff goalie with Boucher stepping in if Bob falters.
Both goalies have played consistently well this season; however, neither of them have recorded a shutout yet.
Game Three Semi-Preview
By Kevin K
"It's not like it's a new situation for us, we went through it. The good thing is we get to come back here in Philly and play the next two games. We have to focus on the game tomorrow, its going to be the biggest game of the season for us and we are going to start with this one," Simon Gagne said yesterday at the Stanley Cup Press Conference.
The Flyers need to focus and play their best in order to win Game Three. They need to go after rebounds and out physical the Hawks in order to score.
"We know it's going to be loud in here and it's something we can hopefully push through and feed off them and play consistently throughout the game a little bit better then we have," said Mike Richards on the Flyers return to Philly in Game Three.
The Flyers tend to work off the fans intensity at the game and that's what they plan on doing in Game Three. The Flyers are in a hole right now and with a win tonight, they can slowly dig out of that hole and make it a series.
"Not the time to get discouraged, not the time to try to do different things on the ice. I think if we keep plugging along, the way we have been playing and doing the things we've been doing, I think the results are going to come," -Mike Richards.
"That's all we can look at, we have to tighten up and get a little better," Chris Pronger said.
"You gotta enjoy the moment, it's not everyday you get here. You gotta kind of relish it and soak it up, you never know when it's going to be your last time," Chris Pronger said in response to him "having fun".
It is time for the Flyers not only to enjoy the moment, but capture it.
LETS GO FLYERS
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
Game 1 Preview and Prediction
By Kevin K.
I still can't believe it, the Philadelphia Flyers not only are in the Eastern Conference Finals, but have Home Ice Advantage, as a 7 seed!
Now throughout the Playoffs, Home Ice hasn't meant a lot, just ask the Capitals, Penguins, Devils, and Bruins, but Philadelphia is different. The fans are loud and powerful on the ice, don't believe me? Ask Head Coach Peter Laviolette who said "Our fans have been very good here. Our players seem to feed off of that. I'm glad we're home for these first two games."
Yes they feed off of it, with only one loss in Philly during the Playoffs, the team seems to feed off the energy of the fans.
Now Montreal is no joke, Halak has been spectacular for the Canadiens and is the only reason why the Habs have upset both Washington and Pittsburgh. The Defense of the Habs is also very frustrating and shut down the top scorers on the opposing teams. The difference, however, is that the Flyers do not have scorers like Ovechkin and Crosby, the Flyers all score and that is what has made them difficult to beat.
The Habs don't only have to stop Richards in this series, they have to stop Gagne, Briere, Pronger, Giroux, and more (that is if Hartnell, JVR, Leino, and Carcillo are back to their old scoring ways).
The scary part for me as that Halak has been so hot and so good, and once you get a hot goalie it is very hard to lose.
This is going to be a tough series for the Flyers, especially with only one full day off before the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals. The best thing for the Flyers, however, is playing home in front of the best, most intimidating fans in the NHL.
History will happen ......
Prediction: Flyers in 7 ..... yes the Flyers are going to the Stanley Cup.
Notes: Ian Laperriere participated in this morning's skate, but he still doesn't know when he'll be cleared to play. “It felt good,” said Laperriere, who wore an oversized, reinforced helmet and a yellow jersey during the skate. “I feel fine.”
Game 7 Preview
By Kevin K
"Great moments... are born from great opportunity. And that's what you have here, tonight, boys. That's what you've earned here tonight ...... Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can!"
Tonight the Philadelphia Flyers go against all odds in Game 7 against the Bruins. Just one week ago the Flyers were down 0-3 in the series and one game away from elimination.
Just one week ago I wrote this, "There is no words that can describe the disgrace of the Flyers tonight. I will not allow excuses or fans saying "at least we were in the Playoffs". NO, PLEASE STOP ! The Flyers haven't won a Stanley Cup in 35 years! It has gotten so bad that I have to watch and re-watch the Broad Street Bullies Documentary that was on HBO last night just for a taste of the Stanley Cup. I am sick of this. No one stepping up and no one scoring goals. The Flyers are allowing a defensive team, who normally can't score goals, own them. I am sick of it. I put my heart and soul behind this team thinking that they could do something special, obviously once again I was wrong."
I am now eating those words. Yes the Flyers, the team that has the ability to do something special are. They came back in this series with goal scoring, defense, and great goal-tending. The Flyers have also had Lady Luck on their side, with the return of Gagne and Leighton.
Just those two moves alone helped the Flyers get back in the series and rejuvenate this team. The Flyers are now one game away from history, and I think they can do it ..... scratch that, I know they can do it.
Chris Pronger and Mike Richards are leading by example for the team and will get this teams head into game 7 in Boston. I believe that these two men will get the teams heart racing .... and ready to defeat the Bruins.
One game at a time. There is no focus on Montreal right now, the focus is clearly set on the Boston Bruins. It is time for the Flyers to be apart of history.
Fans, do not be surprised if Rask is pulled for the Bruins tomorrow in favor of Timmy Thomas .... who was the backup goalie for Team U.S.A. during the Olympics and an All Star Goalie for the NHL.
It is time to step up, play hard, and never give up. "It ain't about how hard you hit, it's about how hard you can get hit & how much you can take & keep moving forward."
LETS GO FLYERS !
Flyers Back From the Dead
By Kevin K
There are moments that a sports fan will never forget, this win and series versus the Bruins is one of those moments. Only two teams have ever forced a game 7 and won a series after being down 0-3 in a series, that number moved to three with a Flyers' Victory.
The Flyers have literally come back from the dead in this series, and from against all odds have forced a game 7.
According to Amy Fadool, of CSNphilly.com there are only three pro sports teams in history to come back from an 0-3 deficit, the last one to do so was the Boston Red Sox ... Boston may now be on the other end of it.
I will continue to say it, the Flyers must take one game at a time, game 7 is not a guaranteed win, especially in Boston.
The Flyers two big offensive weapons this series pulled through again for the team, as Captain Mike Richards and Danny Briere scored the Flyers two goals. The Flyers goaltender, Michael Leighton, allowed one goal with one minute left in the game ..... then the Flyers played strong defense and ended it; sending the series back to Boston.
Peter Laviolette talked after the game about game 7, he said "Our game will have to be better in Boston than it was tonight".
It is time to believe in this team. They have strong leaders and a strong head coach. This team could pull off the biggest series win in Sports History. They have done the impossible already, but the War is not over yet. They Flyers have to play one more against the Bruins in Boston Friday at 7 ..... once again a must win for the Flyers.
The winner on Friday will play the Montreal Canadiens, who defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in 7 Games, in the Eastern Conference Finals. Both Boston and the Flyers would have home ice advantage in that series.
LETS GO FLYERS ! ONE GAME AT A TIME !
Teams that lost after being up 3-0: 1942 Red Wings. 1975 Penguins. 2004 Yankees. Coming Friday: 2010 Bruins
Flyers Back On Top
By Kevin K
Last night the Philadelphia Flyers took a 2-1 series lead on the New Jersey Devils. The Flyers completely outplayed the Devils in the third period and worked well together out playing the Devils solid defense. Marty Brodeur could only stand on his head for so long in this hockey game.
Brodeur was challenged from start to finish. The Flyers kept putting the pressure on the Devils goal keeper.
Boucher was playing solid as well, but so did the defense in front of him. Braydon Coburn could have saved the game back in the first period. At one point a shot was trickling past Boucher, Coburn grabbed in from behind Boucher and cleared the puck out of the zone. That goal could have been a game changer, but the defense did their job.
It finally took Overtime to end the game. Mike Richards had three solid shots on Brodeur, one that got right to the stick of Danny Carcillo who put it home on the empty net.
The Flyers won the game 3-2. Goals scored by Claude Giroux, Mike Richards, and Danny Carcillo.
The puck will drop on Tuesday in Philadelphia for Game 4 at 7:30