Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Bill Fleischman of PhiladelphiaFlyers.com,
Except for those who sit near him in the Wachovia Center, few Flyers fans know his real name. He’s best known as “Sign Man.” Known internationally, that is.
Since 1972, Dave Leonardi has been making Flyers fans smile with the signs he holds up during games. Occasionally, he produces smiles from opposing players. And on at least one occasion, he has annoyed NHL officials working a game.
Years ago, during a game at the Spectrum in which the Flyers thought they were getting short-changed by the officials, Leonardi displayed an eye chart for the officials. When linesman Matt Pavelich skated past Leonardi he said, “You’re a horsebleep artist, too.” Noted Leonardi: “He said horsebleep.”
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post,
The Flyers have taken 251 minor penalties this season—second in the NHL to the Anaheim Ducks’ 266—and they lead the NHL with 11 bench minors for too many men on the ice.
As a result, they have been short handed 228 times this season (second to Anaheim) while being awarded just 167 power plays (second-fewest to the New Jersey Devils).
So the question begs to be asked: Why have the Flyers received 61 fewer power plays than their opponents, while the Minnesota Wild have been awarded 36 more power plays than their opponents?
“I think it has a lot to do with the crest we wear on our jerseys, with all our history and stuff like that,” said Hartnell, who leads the Flyers with 28 minor penalties, which is tied for third in the NHL. “But we have to do a better job individually to keep our sticks where they belong.”
via Ed Moran of the Philadelphia Daily News,
The Flyers announced this morning that they are sending Danny Briere to the Phantoms for a two-game conditioning assignment.
It’s an unusual move for a top player, but general manager Paul Holmgren said it was necessary to make sure that Briere is ready to return to the lineup. It also likely a move to avoid having to add his salary to the team’s cap total before being sure he can play and prevents Holmgren from having to make roster moves to fit him in….
“We are doing this just to make sure everything is okay with Danny,” Holmgren said. “This will give him the opportunity to play in some games prior to re-joining the Flyers. He will play two games with the Phantoms on Wednesday and Friday. He was absolutely receptive to this.”
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….”
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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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