Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull at the Philadelphia Inquirer,
In the last two games, each goalie has been superb.
In the Flyers’ 2-0 win over Los Angeles tonight, Biron made 34 saves and notched his second shutout of the season. It was also his 25th career shutout. The previous night, Niittymaki excelled in a 4-2 win at powerful Washington….
Coach John Stevens was asked if he would consider using two goalies in the playoffs.
“My focus right now is getting our team into the playoffs,” he said. “I think by that time, someone is going to take the lead role and then somebody is going to be the guy we count on.”
from Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Team officials privately, and coach John Stevens publicly, say the trade deadline probably won’t provide a big headline. There are salary-cap constraints and a limited number of available players who could make a big difference and, anyway, they like the team they have now.
“If the deadline comes and goes and the team that’s here is the team that’s here, I think we’re pretty confident this group can compete with anybody,” Stevens said. “I don’t think we’re looking for anybody to come in here and save the day. If we were to make any changes at all, I think it will be to complement what’s already here and not to resurrect anything.”
from Jack McCaffery of the Delco Times,
Without substantial new investment, Stevens has aligned his seven defensemen so snugly that should the March 4 trade deadline pass without Paul Holmgren adding one more big body to the group, the Flyers will be no less likely to make a serious postseason push….
Holmgren still could add a defenseman at the deadline. Injuries happen, and the Flyers’ defense was fractured during the last postseason. Derian Hatcher is still threatening to make a return. Luca Sbisa likely will rejoin the team for the playoffs. Lasse Kukkonen remains with the Phantoms, providing depth.
But for now, the Flyers’ defense is set, complementary and effective, with just enough youth, just enough experience, just enough offense, defense and skill to work.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Since Ron Hextall’s excellent first tour of duty in the Flyers’ net from the 1986-87 season to 1991-92, the revolving door in the Flyers’ goal has been mesmerizing. The search for a true No. 1 has been endless.
It started with Tommy Soderstrom in 1992-93, followed the next season by Dominic Roussel. Then came Hextall’s second tour of (twilight) duty, followed by the likes of Garth Snow, Sean Burke, John Vanbiesbrouck, Brian Boucher, Roman Cechmanek, Robert Esche, Niittymaki and then Biron.
By our count, that’s 11 masked men who have had legitimate handles on the Flyers’ No. 1 job over 16 seasons. The New Jersey Devils have had the same guy in net for the past 15 seasons. The Flyers? They’ve averaged about 1.5 seasons per starting goalie. Talk about a short shelf life.
Find out what it’s like to be a professional hockey player on ‘Day In The Life,’ airing tonight at 7:00pm ET on the NHL Network.
from Rory Boylen of the Hockey News,
Here are two tilts I always get up for because the potential for them to grow into something more than just another game is teetering on the edge of all-out war.
Detroit vs. Columbus
These are the culprits from the Friday game I alluded to earlier (and if you haven’t seen Steve Mason’s stacked-pads save on Henrik Zetterberg, two words come to mind: Dear Lord). The Red Wings, so dominant for so long in the barren Central Division, finally have a foe similar to that itch you can’t reach in the middle of your back. The Blue Jackets aren’t deep, they aren’t overly talented and they definitely don’t have much experience past the first 82 games of a season, but they have a hard-working team, a Ken Hitchcock system and this special kid named Mason.
more and a look at Philadelphia/Washington too…
from Rob Parent of the Delco Times,
Real hockey men are paid to feel, play, manage and coach as if all 82 games are vital. But what would the Flyers’ front office men say to the thought of trading Danny Briere?
If timing is everything, they’d rightfully say the time is all wrong to think about taking Briere and his huge contract and asking him if he’d mind them waving it across such trade routes as phone lines, e-mail addresses and bars during the general managers meetings.
Briere is a youthful 31 who has had a belly tear for much of the season. He might be over it soon, which would be welcome news for a Flyers team that has been suffering from viral strains of up and chuck lately. Once free of such bugs, this will be a team that shapes up well for the stretch drive, even as it continues to develop into what at some point will be a bit of a financial headache for upper management.
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post,
When the Flyers and Rangers make their season debut today on the NHL on NBC, don’t expect analyst Mike Milbury to give Philadelphia goaltender Marty Biron a lot of love….
“(Biron) is an OK goaltender, but he’s not an A-1. The team in front of him is a pretty good team, but it’s not Detroit either. They are going to need better goaltending to take them to the Promised Land.”
Putting too much credence in Milbury’s opinions is a dangerous thing.
This is a guy who as a defenseman with the Boston Bruins once climbed into the stands at Madison Square Garden, pulled the shoe off a fan and hit him over the head with it.
This is a guy who as coach of the Wales Conference All-Stars, forced the NHL to change its selection rules after he chose enforcer Chris Nilan over the legendary Guy Lafleur.
Craig Custance of Sporting News Today has a Q & A with Flyers GM Paul Holmgren…
Q: Is there a specific area you’d like to address before the deadline?
A: There are some areas I wouldn’t mind shoring up. We’d like to get a little bigger up front, if we could….
From Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The Flyers will continue to use goalies Marty Biron and Antero Niittymaki the rest of the season.
But it has become clear that the order has changed.
Biron, who was the main reason the Flyers reached the Eastern Conference finals last season, will now have to play his way back into the No. 1 spot.
Until further notice, Niittymaki is the main man.
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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