Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post,
A year ago, Paul Holmgren cleared enough space under the NHL salary cap to sign Danny Briere, Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell to contracts worth a combined $115 million.
Because of those contracts and the ones he’ll need to give restricted free agents Jeff Carter, R.J. Umberger, Randy Jones and Riley Cote, Holmgren will find himself trying to shed salary while trying to add draft picks and a puck-moving defenseman at this weekend’s NHL draft.
From Sam Carchidi at the Philadelphia Inquirer,
General manager Paul Holmgren called Mr. Dvorak a solid player and “fun-loving guy who couldn’t wait for practices to end so he could go and have a few beers. He was a throwback-type guy.”
The two were teammates for two seasons in the early ‘80s.
“He was an older player when he came here, but he was a strong player and a pretty good offensive player,” Holmgren said. “He would be a good player in today’s game.”
Holmgren said Mr. Dvorak reminded him of the “wild and crazy guys,” Georg and Yortuk Festrunk, played by Dan Aykroyd and Steve Martin. The actors played bizarre (and hysterically funny) Czech brothers in a recurring skit for Saturday Night Live.
Dvorak arrived in Philadelphia unable to speak a word of English, played his first NHL game at age 31, and was named the Flyers’ top defenseman in 1984. He also made quite an impression on many hockey fans, judging from the small pile of emails I’ve received about his death since yesterday. A very sad loss.
Update 12:52pm ET: More on Dvorak’s life at International Hockey Legends.
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post,
Flyers right wing Sami Kapanen has decided to end his NHL career with the Flyers and play in his native Finland next season, the Courier-Post learned today.
Kapanen, who will turn 35 on June 14, has agreed to return to KalPa Kuopio of the Finnish League, where he played 10 games during the 2004-05 NHL lockout
From Lyle Richardson at The Hockey News,
GM Paul Holmgren would like to re-sign restricted free agents Jeff Carter, R.J. Umberger and Randy Jones, but with over $47 million already committed to next year’s payroll, Holmgren probably won’t have enough cap space to retain the three even though the upper limit is expected to rise to around $56 million next season.
Holmgren also has to consider whether to retain any of his unrestricted free agents. Vaclav Prospal, Jason Smith, Jaroslav Modry and Jim Dowd fall into that category and if speculation in the Philadelphia media is anything to go by, Holmgren will cut those players loose and focus on re-signing his younger talent.
But not retaining his impending UFAs won’t solve Holmgren’s cap problem; he’s going to have to consider other options.
more… plus a look at the Dallas Stars
from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Yesterday, Holmgren confirmed what many following this team during the postseason had suspected, that Smith, the Flyers’ captain, had suffered a separation of an already-ailing shoulder in one period against the New Jersey Devils on April 4, then separated the other shoulder the following period. It forced him to miss the final game of the regular season and the week of practice leading into the playoffs, forced him to alter his physical style, and forced him to receive repeated injections to numb excruciating pain.
He did not miss a playoff game, his minutes vacillating wildly as the injuries around him piled up. “I don’t know how he did it,” Holmgren said. “Jason Smith and Derian Hatcher brought toughness to a new level, in my mind. Neither of them should have been playing.”
from Ed Moran of the Philadelphia Daily News,
This summer, Holmgren’s focus is going to be much narrower. The base of the team he built, the one that showed it was talented enough to get to the Eastern Conference final - a year after finishing dead last in the NHL - is intact.
Keeping it that way will be the first task. The Flyers have restricted free agents that include R.J. Umberger, Jeff Carter and Randy Jones. Losing any of those players would be a blow. Holmgren has to find the salary-cap space to sign them.
And then, he must add to the defensive corps. Jason Smith is an unrestricted free agent; he will not fit into the Flyers’ plans and neither will Jaroslav Modry.
Derian Hatcher’s health will be an issue. He missed a lot of hockey with persistent knee problems.
Q. Someone comes up to you two months from now and says “how do you remember this season?” what will you say to them?
COACH STEVENS: I just told the guys that I have been in the game a long time. Working with this group has been one of the more enjoyable experiences I’ve had in pro hockey. It really has been. We’ve made tremendous strides this year, and we’ve come an awful long way.
And if you look back, we played the one, two, three season in the East in the playoffs and I thought we did a remarkable job. You give Pittsburgh credit. To me they were the number one seed in the East in terms of what I’ve seen.
And they’re very deserving of moving on.
Penguins defeat the Flyers 6-0 to advance to the SCF.
This game was over midway through the second period. Flyers gave it their all, but the talented Penguins were just too much for them.
from the Philadelphia Inquirer,
The Flyers said the keys to winning are doing what they did in Game 4: strong forechecking and getting quality shots on goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
“The first couple of games, I think we let him off the hook,” Richards said of Fleury. “Not going to the net and trying to pass around him too much. . . . But when you get pucks to the net and he’s having trouble seeing them, there are going to be rebounds.”
The Flyers also need to move the puck easily out of their zone, keep possession enough to score, and reduce the Penguins’ chances.
Q. We keep hearing that you’re not feeling that well, and that’s why there’s been this uncertainty. Do you have concussion symptoms, and if so, what are they?
BRAYDON COBURN: Right now, I’m just kind of dealing with some things with the eye and stuff like that.
So every day it’s been getting better. Tomorrow we’re reevaluating it again.
Q. Do you think you’ll play tomorrow?
BRAYDON COBURN: Yeah, I think there’s a good chance.
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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