Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Anthony J. SanFilippo of the Delaware County Times,
It’s a good thing for the Penguins that the Steelers are in the AFC Championship game, keeping the spotlight off of them.
Making matters worse are reports that there is an internal rift between the players and coach Michel Therrien and that the Pittsburgh coach might not be around if it matters get much worse.
Speculation is that former Carolina Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette could replace Therrien at a moment’s notice.
It’s not just the coach.
Malkin and Crosby are still scoring points — they are the league’s top two scorers — but they are getting little help from teammates and finding that play has gotten a lot more physical compared to last season.
from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull,
With all due respect to Jeff Carter, Mike Richards has been the first-place Flyers’ best all-around player in the first half of the season and should have been selected to the Eastern Conference all-star team.
But Richards was snubbed. So were teammates Kimmo Timonen and Simon Gagne.
All because the fans made some very dumb selections when they chose the starters. That, coupled with the fact that each team has to be represented, left many deserving players off the team.
And, make no mistake, no one is more deserving than Richards, who has excelled on the power play, penalty kill and even-strength situations.
from Anthony SanFilippo of the Delaware County Times,
Danny Briere is close to returning for the Flyers. For the benefit of the team, that’s a positive. For the makeup of the team, it might be a negative.
That sounds confusing, and in the world of the NHL salary cap there’s plenty of confusion.
Briere is a top-tier talent and undoubtedly will add a dynamic dimension to the Flyers by returning, which could come as soon as Saturday against Toronto. Adding a top-line center who racks up points in bunches will give the Flyers one of the best trios in the league in Briere, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.
Then there’s the salary cap. Briere counts for $6.5 million against it. Since he’s on the long-term injured list, his salary doesn’t count until he returns — and the Flyers don’t have enough room under the cap to fit that salary.
from pucksandbooks at On Frozen Blog,
“Let’s go Flyers!” (tepid) . . . “Flyers suck!” (thunderous)
There was last night in our building, in abundance, hatred. Blissful, beautiful, bellicose, and long-lost loathing, united against the orange and black. The universe at last seemed ordered. An observer in the Phone Booth last night couldn’t help but imagine these two teams—so evenly matched last spring, last night, and likely for much of the next decade—engaging in scores more of these heart-stoppers of hatred, but with division pride at stake each time. And near the end of regular seasons, division titles on the line. Except that can’t happen.
What a (Bettman-birthed) tragedy.
Thanks to Gary Bettman, for the past 10 years we’ve wandered in a division of dreck, an outpost of ‘Oh who cares?’ as the winter evenings’ scores scrolled by. But not last night.
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Still stung by his team’s 7-1 defeat at the Wachovia Center last month, Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau recently took some verbal shots at the Flyers for what he perceived as running up the score.
“What goes around comes around eventually,” he told NHL.com. “And it will.”
Boudreau’s Caps play host to the Flyers tonight.
Relayed Boudreau’s comments, Flyers coach John Stevens bristled after today’s morning skate.
“You guys can take this Boudreau stuff and you can take it somewhere else,” Stevens told reporters. “I’m not getting drawn in tit-for-tat stuff. I don’t know where this is going. Bruce coaches the Washington Capitals. I don’t care what he says. I’ve got my team to get ready here. This is obviously an important game, a hard game, and I don’t care what he said, to be honest with you. He can say what he wants….”
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
...OK, puckheads, now that we’ve wasted a few seconds of your time, we draw your attention to tonight’s game between Backstrom’s Capitals and the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.
The last time these two teams met was Dec. 20, when the Flyers pasted the Caps, 7-1. That was their first encounter since last spring’s first-round, seven-game playoff victory by Philadelphia. Needless to say, the Caps were looking forward to tonight.
“We had like 50 shots on them that night [48 to be exact],” Backstrom said of the Dec. 20 game. “It was a weird game. Everybody on the team is very much excited about this game [tonight].”
We like Washington’s chances. The Caps are an Eastern Conference-best 17-1-1 at home.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren on Monday updated the team’s injury list.
“Joffrey Lupul has an abdominal pull, so he is probably out for at least 14 days. Right now, he is on I.R..:.
“Simon Gagne is actually doing better. We’ll still say he’s day-to-day, but we’re kind of hoping he’ll play tomorrow.”
“Antero Niittymaki actually feels a little bit better today, but we’re still probably looking at a week to 10 days before he’s able to play.”
Danny Briere also spoke to the media on Monday, and said that he may be a week or two away from returning to game action. Briere has missed the last 14 games with a groin strain.
from Ed Moran of the Philadelphia Daily News,
The latest news concerns goalie Antero Niittymaki. According to Holmgren, Niittymaki suffered a groin injury in the shootout loss in Los Angeles on Saturday night. The injury was not disclosed right away and he did not leave the game, playing injured in the overtime and shootout.
But he is doubtful for tomorrow night in Washington and the team will not say anything more before today at the earliest. Scott Munroe will be called up from the Phantoms to take Niittymaki’s place on the bench, but for how long no one knows.
“The fact that he stayed in the game, played the overtime and participated in the shootout should mean that it’s not that serious,” Holmgren said. “I just hope it’s not his hip.”
more on the Flyers injury situation…
from CSN Philly,
Simon Gagne appears to have suffered nothing more than a mild, right shoulder strain and is expected to miss about one week.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren told CSNPhilly.com Wednesday morning that Gagne will be re-examined in Vancouver mid-afternoon Eastern time before the team heads for Los Angeles
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Allen Iverson made fun of practice, saying it was overrated.
The Flyers disagree.
“We talkin’ about practice,” goalie Marty Biron said in his best Iverson impersonation after yesterday’s workout here at General Motors Place. “It’s the first one we’ve had in a long, long time.”
Because of a crowded schedule, the holiday break, and weather-related travel woes, the Flyers had not had a full practice since Dec. 19.
“I think we’ve gotten away from what we were doing,” center Jeff Carter said. “We had a couple days off and haven’t really practiced and kind of got sloppy and really weren’t playing our system or style. Just have to go out there and get back to basics, and we should be good.”
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.
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