Posts Tagged ‘Flyers’

Flyers 3, Penguins 2: The Streak Was Bound To End Eventually But Screw This Game Anyway

December 15, 2010

I had a sinking feeling the Pens were gonna lose tonight, but that’s not worth any Nostradamus points, cause I had the same feeling before the recent Devils and Maple Leafs games and the Pens won both of those in regulation. Really, they were destined to lose eventually, and 12 straight wins is still incredibly impressive, so I’m not that annoyed…

Dammit, homepage, I’m really trying not to get mad at you guys tonight.

Basically, there’s not much to say tonight other than the Pens got slightly outplayed by a team that’s currently even deeper than they are offensively and defensively. I wish that weren’t the case — I wish I could point to a specific breakdown or an unlucky bounce or two or a blown call here or there (there were several, but ended up mostly a wash) and say that the Penguins should’ve won so I can sleep tonight feeling superior, but really, the Flyers just did a little more than the Pens to win the game, gave up almost no significant scoring chances 5-on-5, and came away with the win.

Deryk Engelland has played mostly ok in his starts this season, but he looked slow and out of place tonight, finishing the game with only 9:48 of ice time — either Dan Bylsma saw what I saw and benched him, or Engelland had an undisclosed injury. The Engelland/Lovejoy pair has been mostly passable throughout the season, if at times unspectacular, but if the Penguins are gonna make a move at the trade deadline in a couple months, I can foresee them going after a Jordan Leopold / Phillippe Boucher type veteran defenseman to fill the 6th D spot. Right now it’s not a huge issue, but Engelland and Lovejoy still have a ways to go to prove they won’t be playoff liabilities, and if a late-season blue line injury forces both of them into the Pens’ lineup, particularly with Goligoski’s defensive deficiencies already evident, the Pens will suddenly face a glaring hole.

Malkin looked decent in his return, an assessment which I don’t intend to sound disingenuous as he provided both Penguin goals, but he was forcing constant inessential passes through traffic and turning the puck over too frequently, and his retaliatory penalty in the Third led to the Flyers’ go-ahead goal. He still has a ways to go before I (and the other less-forgiving Pens fans) will completely set aside my current Malkin FrustrationsTM. I realize I just used the phrase “ways to go” twice in the same short recap, but it’s late and I’m tired and the Pens just lost to the Flyers in a boring game and we can all deal with it.

The Flyers assume First Place in the Eastern Conference for the time being, though they’re also one of the few teams in either conference that’s been essentially 100% healthy the entire season (besides Michael Leighton, who is unquestionably a crucial component of Michael Leighton’s family). This isn’t really a knock against their success over the past month and a half, just a reminder that the rest of the conference won’t necessarily be as far behind them talent-wise come Playoff time, particularly if Jordan Staal returns to his previous level of utility and Danny Briere suddenly remembers he’s Danny Briere and misses the next three years.


Penguins 5, Flyers 1: If You Give A Million Penguin Power Plays A Million Chances, They’ll Eventually Produce Hamlet

October 18, 2010

Before the season, I have to admit, I wasn’t totally enthused about the Pens’ re-signing of Brent Johnson, and not because I questioned Johnson’s ability as a backup or his performance in ’09-’10, but because I wanted the Penguins to go after a backup who could potentially get hot for a few games and challenge Fleury — perhaps someone in the Johan Hedberg / Martin Biron price-and-skill range — rather than a very clear backup goaltender, albeit a reliable and inexpensive one like Johnson. Now, six games into the 2010-11 season, Fleury has started three games and lost all three, and Johnson has started three and won all three. Obviously it’s super early and nothing Johnson does now (or probably ever) would or should unseat Fleury as the team’s long-term #1 goaltender, but for the meantime, Johnson is pushing Fleury for that starting job much in the way I’d hoped a Hedberg-type would have, and at the exceedingly reasonable cost of a two-year $600,000 cap hit (while also pulling the Penguins from 1-3 to 3-3).

It’s entirely possible Johnson will start letting in Scott Gomez dump-ins along the ice from 30 feet and this entire newfound confidence in his ability to challenge Fleury while helping the Penguins win in the short-term will immediately dissipate, but at least for the first six games, Johnson’s sudden steadiness couldn’t have come at a better time. Ideally, he can keep this up for a while and split the next 10 starts or so with Fleury 50/50, and after some confidence-redeeming Fleury spot-starts, Fleury can go back to being their 80/20 starter and playing like it. Or maybe he’ll keep letting in Scott Gomez dump-ins along the ice from 30 feet and I’ll have to keep copying and pasting my “Seriously, I’m not just whining, Fleury is factually not playing well” posts.

As for the Flyers game itself, the Pens got 700 power plays and finally scored on a few of them, the Flyers had trouble finishing and basically folded in the third, and after the game Mike Richards said a bunch of stuff that would’ve been interpreted as bitchy whining if Crosby had said it (gets going about a minute in):

Wrapping Our Loser Penguin Heads Around The Hawks/Flyers Cup Final

June 10, 2010

My reactions to the Stanley Cup Final, in no particular order:

— Numerous friends of mine have already commented something along the lines of “Eff Hossa anyway,” echoing Ron Cook’s pre-Finals column about how choosing between the Flyers and Hossa was a Penguins fan’s “worst nightmare.” Do people really still have a grudge against Hossa? He was a free agent who signed with a team that wasn’t the Penguins, then the Penguins got the ultimate revenge on him (and he managed 0 goals in 7 Cup Final games last year), then he signed with some other team in the Western Conference who the Pens will play once a year. Do we really need to waste energy still being mad at him? There’s plenty of other players out there to hate. How bout this dude? Oh Aaron Johnson of the Oilers, you little S.O.B….

— The Blackhawks again proved, as the Penguins sort of proved last year, just how legitimately different the NHL is nowadays than it was one decade ago. Now, a team can win with scoring depth, puck possession, and skill/effort, whereas for about a decade, the Cup just got tossed to whatever team played the staunchest, stay-at-home holdy defense to protect insurmountable 2-goal leads and drive fan interest southward (meaning, down, not towards the south). Obviously playing good defense is still a priority, but both the Hawks and the Flyers are aggressive, up-tempo teams with a bevy of skilled forwards and puck-moving defensemen; the days of system trumping skill are over, at least until some other coach figures out a loophole.

— Building off the previous point, even though the Flyers’ Cup run included a chokey Devils team, an 8th-seeded Canadiens team, and a team that still unironically employs Mark Recchi, the Flyers are a really, legitimately good club. I predicted in the preseason (literally about my only correct prediction) that they’d struggle early on, fire John Stevens, and get hot at the end of the year in time to be dangerous in the Playoffs. They still have the same roster that us Divisional fans feared before the season; it’s not like their forward depth came totally out of nowhere, plus Claude Giroux re-elevated his game, Danny Briere was shockingly healthy/nonterrible, and Michael Leighton filled in more than admirably in net in the early rounds. As long as they plug in another passable goalie or two, the Flyers should absolutely be a factor in the Eastern Conference again next year, especially if Giroux and James Van Riemsdyk continue developing and Jeff Carter isn’t playing on two robot feet that leak oil fumes and cause him to forget he’s playing playoff NHL hockey, or whatever happened.

— I always feel like face-offs are overrated unless your team gets slaughtered on them for a bunch of games in a row, and in this series, Philly got slaughtered on them a bunch of games in a row. It isn’t one of the Top 20 reasons Chicago won, but it helped.

After the jump, the list of players I was and wasn’t impressed by:


This Bruin Just Ripped On My Girlfriend

May 4, 2010

Interesting billboard in Boston:

Hmm, I happen to date a Flyers fan. I guess Dating Advice Bear and I will just have to agree to disagree. For the record, adult male bears frequently murder bear cubs so the mothers go back into heat, so I’m not sure we should accept dating advice from these assholes.

Personally, I stick to the rule of never dating a girl who traded away all her forwards so she needs to use Mark Recchi AND Miroslav Satan on her power play. Fortunately this rarely comes up.

NHL Trade Deadline Review: Golden Gods And Worthless Pieces Of Crap

March 4, 2010

Thursday after the NHL Trade Deadline: The day every hockey site on the internet issues their Deadline “Winners and Losers” or “Deadline Report Cards,” always qualifying the lists with the standard admission “We won’t really know who the real winners are for months or years to come…” but proceeding with the gimmicky analysis nonetheless.

It’s true that some of the trades can’t be definitively analyzed the day after they occur, and the majority of the trades are too inconsequential to even merit either team being dubbed a “winner” or “loser”, but who wants to read a level-headed, non-kneejerk, middle-of-the-road writeup about a bunch of third-line wingers getting traded for draft picks? The answer is that no one [effing] does.

That’s why, instead of backing down from a Deadline Winners/Losers column, I’m taking an even more extreme step and naming my Trade Deadline GOLDEN GODS and WORTHLESS PIECES OF CRAP, i.e., teams that will definitely win the Cup because of their deadline pickups versus teams that will plunge into a ten-year pall of defeat because of their actions at the deadline. NO IN-BETWEENS. Let’s get started.


Phoenix – Added F Wojtek Wolski, F Lee Stempniak, D Mathieu Schneider, D Derek Morris, F Alexandre Picard, G Miika Wiikman, F Petteri Nokelainen

So many dudes!!! Wojtek Wolski is a top-tier talent with 30-goal potential who needs a change of scenery, and Derek Morris and Mathieu Schneider are required to get dealt at every trade deadline, so they should bring some solid having-been-traded experience to the Coyotes’ blue line! Phoenix is our first GOLDEN GOD and is now the favorite for the Stanley Cup.

Pittsburgh – Added F Alexei Ponikarovsky, D Jordan Leopold

Awwwww yeahhhhh Alexei Ponikarovsky’s name has been said a lot the last few weeks and now the Pens got him and also they got Jordan Leopold so OUTTA THE WAY conference this team is a DEADLINE GOLDEN GOD and are now the favorite for the Stanley Cup!!!

Anaheim – Added D Lubomir Visnovsky, D Aaron Ward, G Joey MacDonald, G Curtis McElhinney

Lubomir Visnovsky is a legit veteran power play specialist who can take the reigns from Scott Niedermayer when he retires, and Aaron Ward is veteran veteran veteran Cup! Two more goalies and moving Vesa Toskala’s contract? The stuff of GOLDEN GODS. Anaheim has just won the Stanley Cup.



Penguins 2, Flyers 1: No Such Thing As A Crappy Win (Except When It’s Really Crappy)

January 25, 2010

Yayyyyyy!!!! What a terrible way to win a terrible game!

How many crappy things happened in this game? Let us count the crapways:

Crappy Thing #1: Brent Johnson lets in another goal from 270 degrees behind the net. He plays fine after this, but still, it’d be nice if this stopped happening.

Crappy Thing #2: The Flyers get a goal waived off and a two-minute penalty assessed on a play where there never was an audible whistle. Only two possible explanations for this:

A) Simon Gagne grappling with Malkin didn’t become a penalty until the split-second in between the Flyers’ initial shot on goal and Mike Richards’ rebound, and the refs’ intent to whistle was established riiiiight before the puck went into the net.

B) Simon Gagne grappling with Malkin was a penalty before the Flyers’ initial shot on goal, but the ref just plum didn’t get around to blowin’ that dang whistle.

You can’t call this penalty a “two goal swing” even though the Pens scored on the resulting power play (if you get scored on by the Pens’ power play right now, it’s your own damn fault), but it was definitely a one-goal swing in that it literally took a goal off the board from the Flyers for something that NBC never totally explained. The Philly fans barely even booed (especially in comparison to the goalie interference penalty on Hartnell earlier in the period, which was also a bad call) because no one knew what the hell was going on.

Bunch more crappy crap to cover, so let’s move on:


Random Prediction: The Flyers Are Gonna Trade Jeff Carter

December 16, 2009

The Penguins manhandled the defense-and-goalie challenged Flyers last night, 6-1, and while I’m not ready to completely spell doom for the Laviolette-era Flyers, it’s clear that the team is in need of a major trade both to shake things up in the short-term and maximize their asset management in the long term. I’ve long argued that a team’s defense has more to do with coaching, a system, and flat-out effort than actual personnel, but nevertheless, the Flyers just don’t appear to have the bodies on D or a goaltender capable of carrying them on a deep playoff run.

Simply put, even after the Pronger trade, the Flyers have a glut of forwards, but lack a true starting goaltender and defensive depth behind the aging Pronger and the offensive-minded Kimmo Timonen. And, with the Flyers right up against the cap, they’d have to shed salary the other direction in any deals they make, which severely limits their options.

Let’s go down the list:


Bruce Boudreau: Hypocrite, Or Really, Really Big Hypocrite?

December 7, 2009

If we know one thing about Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau, it’s that the man will absolutely not tolerate dirty plays in the NHL. Boudreau was pissed about Daniel Carcillo punching Matt Bradley in the Caps/Flyers game this past Saturday, delivering this strongly-worded quote:

“[Bradley] might have been ready, but as he was dropping his gloves, Carcillo was already cold cocked and ready to throw them. He knew as soon as Bradley was ready to accept his challenge, the punch was there and [Bradley]’s gloves and hands were still down [at his waist].

“No matter how you cut it — and it’s not like this guy is in his first year and first chance doing it — whether it is in this league or in the American League where I saw him for two years, he was just as big an idiot there. It is just a dirty play.”

“That’s two in two nights and we’re trying to get that crap out of the game…”

Here here! Bruce Boudreau, you are a man of principles! You would never defend a player for multiple dirty, injury-threatening, game misconduct-worthy incidents within a short timespan!

Just for the hell of it, let’s take a look at what Boudreau had to say after the NHL suspended Alex Ovechkin two games for his knee-to-knee hit on Carolina’s Tim Gleason last week:


NEWS IN BR…F: Tuesday, November 17

November 17, 2009

  • Flyers Snap Devils’ 8-Game Win Streak; Lemaire’s Job In Jeopardy

  • College Basketball Begins; ESPN Ticker To Be Useless For Next Five Months

  • Belichick Getting Tired Of Mike Martz’ Texts To Hang Out

  • Knicks Fans Concerned Iverson May Take Shots Away From Whoever’s On Their Team Now

  • Chargers Still Not Totally Sold On Chargers

Pronger Signs Extension, Will Be Sucker-Punching Crosby In The Face Into His 40s

July 8, 2009


One day after announcing at his introductory press conference that he would “love to finish his career” with the Flyers, Pronger agreed to a seven-year, $34.9 million extension.

Well, he hasn’t even started his Philly career, so I’m not sure how he knows he wants to finish his career there, unless he’s just assuming that his non-stop cheapshotting to the point where refs simply can’t call them all will be more than welcomed by Flyers fans, but still…

Much as I love to irrationally rip on the Flyers brass, I think the Pronger trade was an outstanding move. They did talk up Luca Sbisa a ton last season and basically just 180’d their enthusiasm for him, but two presumably late first round picks in the NHL aren’t really that big of a deal, and the 20-25 goals lost by the departure of Joffrey Lupul should be more than compensated by the full-time insertion of Claude Giroux and James Van Riemsdyk, and helps to offset some of Pronger’s cap hit.

Yes, Pronger’s old, but he’s a physical (dirty) force who moves the puck well, and his skills shouldn’t deteriorate nearly as dramatically as the New-NHL-useless Derian Hatcher. The Flyers are acquiring the best player in the deal, they have tons of forward depth to make up for a couple years of not drafting in the first round, and the trade unquestionably makes them a better team right now, regardless of whether or not Sbisa eventually flourishes in Anaheim.

So, well done. A-holes.