Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
From Mark Spector at the National Post,
“Being a fourth-line player, let’s face it, I didn’t get a lot of ice time. I basically did a job where I knew I was a small piece of a team,” [Dave] Brown said. “I saw all the other pieces around me—skill guys, checkers, goalies, defencemen, penalty killers, power-play guys—and I was basically looking at them from the bottom up. I saw a lot of things from the bench, watching.
“I probably had a 13-year apprenticeship as a scout when I was sitting on the end of bench.”
And when he left the ice, he did so with the respect of many. Even Stu Grimson, whose career Brown nearly ended one night in Calgary in a hellacious rematch, after Grimson had beaten Brown in a fight in Edmonton two nights before.
“I always tell people, beating Dave Brown the first time I fought him was both the single greatest achievement of my career, and the single biggest mistake,” Grimson said yesterday. “He’s a good guy, a hard worker, and has a real humble disposition. A good man.”
more… on “The Toughest Flyer”
More talk from the coaches today, this time from the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Michel Therrien. Here’s the transcript.
Q. I was wondering if you could assess Evgeni Malkin’s play the last three games of this series? What have you seen in him the last three games?
COACH THERRIEN: Yeah, you know what, he hasn’t been productive like he was in the past. But he’s going to have to find a win next game to make sure he’s going to be productive like he used to be as soon as the playoffs start.
Some questions for Philadelphia Flyers coach John Stevens today.
Q. Can you talk about what Kimmo will mean not just on the ice, but off the ice in the room if he does come back and play on Sunday?
COACH STEVENS: Well, he’s a huge part of our team. I mean, through this year he’s progressed and in the playoffs he’s really taken his game to another level. I think just his presence around our team all year, he’s got deep respect by all his teammates. He just has composure all the time. I think that’s infectious on our team.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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