Kukla's Korner Hockey
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…
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Adrian Aucoin barely kept the puck in at the blue line - the Flyers protested that it had gone out of the zone - and fed Matthew Lombardi on the right side. Lombardi then found Yandle in the left circle, and he fired a shot past Ray Emery.
After the game, Stevens was baffled by the lack of a call.
“We thought it was offsides. One lineman had his arm starting up to call it offsides, and the other guy waved it off,” Stevens said. “It’s unfortunate. If they would have just waved it off right away . . . but you still have to kill the penalty. It looked like the guys on the ice maybe relaxed for a second.
“It’s unfortunate it ends up being the difference in the hockey game.”...
On the controversial goal that made it 2-1, Emery said “guys stopped,” when they thought it was offsides, “but it’s no excuse. . . . I know it didn’t look like he [Aucoin] thought he kept it in because he kind of stopped for a second.”
from Frank Seravallii of the Philadelphia Daily News,
“He obviously had a reputation for doing all of these things that we’ve read about,” Chris Pronger said. “All I was hoping for was that he was going to stop the puck. He’s done a very good job of doing that. That other stuff can get blown out of proportion pretty easily.
“You obviously want to support a player who has come in here under a lot of scrutiny with a lot of eyeballs on him. He’s performed very well.”
It’s hard to mount an argument against that. Emery, who has posted a 9-3-1 record, is in the leaguewide Top 10 in both save percentage (.922) and goals against average (2.27). Longtime Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson joked yesterday that he hoped Emery hadn’t “worked on his game too much since he left here” because he was that good.
Off the ice, he has made a believer out of Flyers coach John Stevens.
“I laughed the other day [going to Buffalo], it was a record, he was on the plane before I was,” Stevens said. “I’ve been pleasantly surprised with who he is, how he conducts himself, how team-oriented and how hard he works. He’s really a quiet guy. You can almost say he’s shy at times. He has his own personality.”
from Adam Kimelman of NHL.com,
Philadelphia Flyers All-Star left wing Simon Gagne will have surgery Tuesday to repair issues with his abdominal and groin muscles and will miss about 6-8 weeks.
Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren confirmed that Gagne, who has missed the last two games with a groin injury, will have a procedure performed to repair the rectus abdominus muscles on each side of his groin area.
The surgery will be performed by Dr. William Meyers at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia. Meyers is considered an expert in this field.
Holmgren said Meyers also will perform a laparoscopic procedure to check the status of a pair of small hernias in his right groin.
“Simon is going to have surgery tomorrow to repair or reinforce his rectus abdominus (muscles) on both sides,” said Holmgren. “At the same time he’s going to look and see laparoscopically through his belly button at the smaller hernias and repair those as well.
“We’re probably looking at 6-8 weeks before Simon can play.”
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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