Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post,
With Marty Biron ($3.5 million) and Niittymaki ($1.225 million) scheduled to become free agents this summer, there is very little chance both will be back next season.
Neither would render much of a return in a trade. The market for goalies is relatively thin this winter, but there are a handful who will become unrestricted after this season, including Chicago’s Nikolai Khabibulin, Colorado’s Andrew Raycroft, Edmonton’s Dwayne Roloson and even prodigal son Brian Boucher.
The Flyers might be better off letting Biron and Niittymaki duke it out and direct their attention to a hard-edged defenseman.
With Ossi Vaananen currently in Stevens’ doghouse (less than 5 minutes of ice time the past two games) and Braydon Coburn not as dominant as expected, the Flyers could use a no-nonsense 25-minute-a-night defenseman to pair with Kimmo Timonen.
The top defensemen on the market are Florida’s Jay Bouwmeester and Anaheim’s Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger.
from Jack McCaffery of the Delco Times,
Until there is a more fundamental reason to arm himself with padding and stand before rubber hockey bullets, Marty Biron will try to provide the Flyers with the only service a goaltender can: A last resort.
It wasn’t supposed to come to that already —- and it may not have reached that point yet. But it has been heading that way at slapshot speed for a 31-year-old goalie with dwindling chances that he will still be one of Flyers consequence come age 32.
Highly compensated now but with no contract beyond the end of this season, Biron slowly but clearly has been sliding from the Flyers’ long-term plans —- that despite his gymnastics last spring, which helped open access to the NHL’s Final Four.
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post,
With back-to-back games against the torrid Boston Bruins slated for tonight at the Wachovia Center and Saturday afternoon in Boston, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren assessed his team’s recent play with these words:
“I think we’ve struggled lately,” he said of the Flyers’ 5-4-2 stretch. “We’ve got 33 games left and it’s going to be a dogfight. In my opinion, we’re not playing good enough to get into the playoffs.”
Message sent. But was it received as intended?
from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull,
In his last 14 games, Niittymaki is 10-2-2. He has started three of the Flyers’ last four games, and his emergence makes one wonder if the Flyers would try to deal Marty Biron (15-10-5, 2.88 GAA, .905 save percentage) before the March 4 trade deadline.
Biron can become an unrestricted free agent after the season. He has had an up-and-down regular season _ much like last year. Biron, of course, raised his game in the first two rounds of last year’s playoffs and carried the Flyers to the Eastern Conference finals.
The Flyers would like to acquire a big, physical forward or defenseman.
a little more on the Flyers…
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
After the Flyers’ 3-2 loss to Florida Tuesday, captain Mike Richards implied that the huge penalty discrepancy his club has this season was due, in part, to the franchise’s bad-boy reputation that goes back more than three decades.
In other words, the Broad Street Bullies are haunting the current Flyers.
For the season, the Flyers have had 174 power plays and have been shorthanded 238 times.
That minus-64 discrepancy is the highest in the NHL. By far
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post,
Many around the league believe the Flyers are one veteran defenseman away from being a serious playoff threat. With the NHL trading deadline March 4, Holmgren is expected to look closely at defensemen who will become unrestricted free agents after this season, and he could use the Flyers’ depth at forward to acquire one.
Atlanta’s Niclas Havelid, Colorado’s Brett Clark, Phoenix’s Derek Morris, Nashville’s Dan Hamhuis and the Islanders’ Brendan Witt are expected to be on the trade block in the next six weeks. With Scottie Upshall, Lupul and Knuble, the Flyers have the assets to land one of them. Holmgren optimistic
more on the Flyers…
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post,
It is difficult to gauge how much a healthy Forsberg would command on the open market, but since the Colorado Avalanche paid him $1.1 million last season for 42 days, it’s a safe bet the Flyers could get him for about the same price.
Which begs these three questions: Why? Why? Why?
In his prime, Forsberg was an absolute force capable of winning playoff series by himself. But that was 10 years ago, before he signed with the Flyers in 2005 and began a three-year injury odyssey that included abbreviated stops in Nashville and Colorado, along with countless trips to foot surgeons and skate manufacturers.
Since having his foot surgically reconstructed in the summer of 2006, Forsberg has played in 66 NHL games in 2 1/2 seasons. After signing with the Avalanche late last season, he played in only nine of their 18 games and missed three more playoff games….
But does anyone really believe Forsberg will be anything more than a distraction on a team that has its best chemistry in years?
The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that center Danny Briere underwent a successful surgical procedure on his groin/stomach area, according to General Manager Paul Holmgren.
“Danny had successful surgery this morning to repair a nerve entrapment,” said Holmgren in making the announcement. “His recovery time will be a minimum of four weeks.”
The procedure was performed today by Dr. William Meyers at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia.
via Wayne Fish of PhillyBurbs,
More and more, it looks like this is going to be a lost year for Flyers center Daniel Briere.
Briere, who will undergo his second abdominal surgery of the season today in Philadelphia, has played in only nine games this year.
He\s attempted two comebacks already and both have failed. The current one was a gallant attempt but ultimately, he simply has a chronic problem which probably requires long-term rest.
The official prognosis indicated Briere might only miss two weeks of action. But that seems somewhat unrealistic, given the history of this problem. Even the worst-case scenario—six weeks on the sidelines—might not be reasonable.
At some point, the Flyers might have to consider shutting down Briere for the season. They have too much money, $52 million over six years, invested in this player. If the problem becomes too chronic, he might never be right.
from Chris Nichols of Sportsnet,
The Philadelphia Daily News reports that Danny Briere is headed back to the doctor after barely practicing at the pregame skate this morning. He will not play tonight against Atlanta.
In what coach John Stevens did not hesitate to call a setback, Briere was not re-activated and was on his way for another re-evaluation because his groin and his abdomen are sore again.
“Clearly, it’s a setback” Stevens said. “If you can add a player of his calibre you want to do that, but at the same time, if he’s not healthy, he’s not healthy and we have to get ready to play a game with the guys that are healthy.
“He’s going to get re-evaluated again and see where it goes from there, but clearly he’s sore where we hoped that he wouldn’t be and he’s not ready to go.”
update 5:27pm, from TSN,
The Philadelphia Flyers announced on Wednesday that Daniel Briere will undergo an exploratory surgical procedure on his groin area, and will miss at least two weeks of action.
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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