Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News,
The Flyers’ captain wouldn’t reveal what was said behind closed doors after a 10-minute team meeting held minutes after Vancouver handed them a 3-0 loss.
“I don’t think I called [the meeting],” Richards said. “It was just kind of something that happened. Everyone was in the room. It was a good time to get things off your chest. Not just myself, everyone in the locker room.”
With an Islanders win, the Flyers are now tied for 10th place in the Eastern Conference - the farthest they have fallen in the standings since November 2008.
Undoubtedly, part of the discussion in the bowels of the Wachovia Center focused on the team’s scoring woes. Once the league’s most potent offense, scoring at a 3.6 goals-per-game clip, the Flyers have gone eight consecutive periods without a goal.
“This is our team right now. I like our team. We just have to work through it. We have to play better.”
We’re in the third month of the NHL season. The grace period is over. This is too good a team to be sitting out of playoff spot.”
“Right now, we’re at the point where talk is cheap. You’ve got to do what you’ve go to do when the game is on.”
-Flyers GM Paul Holmgren. More on the Flyers from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
from Sarah Baicker of CSNPhilly,
Flyers coach John Stevens has received his share of criticism over the past weeks, as the Flyers have lost five of their last six games, slipping from fifth place in the Eastern Conference to ninth place.
Recently, team captain Mike Richards has been a target for blame, as well. Richards has been called out – especially in fan circles – for what has been interpreted as a passive, quiet style of leadership.
Chris Pronger even chipped in earlier this week, saying Richards needed to “show the rest of the players that (the Flyers are) his team.”
Stevens, however, defended the Flyers’ captain at practice Wednesday, and said that it is important to remember there is more than one way to successfully lead a team.
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN responds to an email question regarding the Flyers,
An NHL executive recently told me the heat is on in Philly, that owner Ed Snider not so subtly warned all his team staff before the season that he expected a big year. Gulp. I think John Stevens is a good coach and I would hate to see him pay the price for a collective disappointment, but methinks if the Flyers don’t soon put together a good run, he might possibly be the first casualty of the coaching fraternity this season. I hope I’m wrong. But this is a team that has Cup aspirations. Sitting ninth in the Eastern Conference on Dec. 1 wasn’t in the cards.
more Q & A from LeBrun…
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Briere has missed the last three games - two because of an NHL-mandated suspension and one because of the flu. He was back at practice yesterday and will return to the lineup Thursday against visiting Vancouver.
His return is welcomed. Without him, the Flyers had a total of four goals in the three games. Briere is second on the team with 10 goals, even though he has played in only 17 of the 24 contests.
“You don’t change a team with one guy, but I hope I can help out in that department. That’s my game, the offensive side,” said Briere, who will try to ignite a power play that has failed in its last nine chances.
“Goals have been tougher to come lately, but there’s always stretches like that in a season,” he said. “You have to try to go back to the basics.
“We put a lot of pucks on net in Atlanta, but maybe [we should be] trying to get around the goalie a little more, trying to screen a little more - get our noses dirty in that area to find loose pucks instead of giving the goalie a chance to see everything.”
vis Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull,
Stevens is a classy man who is one of the NHL’s most dedicated coaches, but if the Flyers (13-10-1) are around .500 a month from now, I don’t think he will still be here.
Asked to evaluate Stevens’ job this season, GM Paul Holmgren, who is a staunch supporter of his coach, didn’t exactly give a ringing endorsement Sunday.
“We’re ninth in the conference and I’d like to be in a better position,” he said, “but the coaches are working hard.”
“But it goes back to what I was saying about the players. The results need to be more positive.”
If they’re not, if this team doesn’t show marked improvement in the next month, you’ll probably see a new man behind the bench.
from Chuck Gormley of Flyer Files,
Sooner or later – and many believe it will be sooner – Flyers coach John Stevens will start feeling the heat of the Flyers’ inconsistent play.
After posting an 8-2-1 record in October, the Flyers finished off November with a 1-0 loss in Atlanta, giving them a 4-7-1 record in the month.
They have now lost five of their last six games and have been outsocred 20-12 in that span, falling from sixth in the conference to ninth.
“We’re playing well enough to keep it close, but we’re not getting it to the finish line,” Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger said. “(Saturday) we had too many passengers. We need everyone on the same page for 60 minutes for us to win. Right now, that is costing us games. I’m sure down the road, these points are going to be important.”
from Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly,
A day later, Briere gets suspended two games for driving Hannan into the back boards. Yeah, like Briere drives people with the kind of authority of Chris Pronger.
Briere’s hit was nowhere near as vicious as Jarret Stoll driving Dan Carcillo in the back of the neck, sending him into the boards with whiplash effect in Los Angeles last week.
Did we mention no penalty on that play, either? Of course, Carcillo wears a Flyers jersey. That says it all.
So, now we have Washington’s Alex Ovechkin finally getting tossed from a game for a dangerous hit to Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta, who isn’t much of a saint, himself.
A world-class player Ovie may be, the Capitals’ winger often leaves his feet to bury people and gets away with it. Why? Because he’s Ovie. He didn’t leave his feet this time, but he leaned hard coming across ice to nail Kaleta on the boarding call.
read on and more hockey talk, many which have been brought up on KK in the last week…
via Darren Dreger’s Twitter,
Briere suspended for 2 games for his hit last night on Scott Hannan.
added 5:57pm, video of the hit…
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
If Chris Pronger keeps playing the way he has through the first quarter of the season and remains injury free, he could be on the verge of doing something truly remarkable.
In what has been a rather wide-open race for the Norris Trophy, Pronger has installed himself as the favorite so far. Should he win the Norris, he will have gone eight full seasons (nine years if you include the lockout) between being named the league’s top defenseman, something no other player has ever done before.
Pronger currently leads all players in ice time at 26:47 per game, is on pace for a career-high 73 points and is second on his team – third in the league – to Matt Carle in plus-minus at plus-13.
Anyone who saw this coming, you might want to apply for a job with the Anaheim Ducks, who saw fit to keep Scott Niedermayer instead of extending Pronger’s contract.
more hockey talk…
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org