Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post,
The first order of business for the Flyers is getting a goaltender under contract. With starter Marty Biron and backup Antero Niittymaki scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on July 1, the Flyers currently have no goalies with NHL experience in the organization.
Biron wants a long-term deal and the Flyers do not, and that could open the door to a free-agent goalie such as Craig Anderson, Scott Clemmensen, Manny Fernandez or Nikolai Khabibulin signing with the Flyers on July 1. There is also talk the Flyers are interested in Atlanta goalie Kari Lehtonen.
The Flyers will spend the month of May trying to re-sign Biron, but if they are unable to come to terms they will break ties and look into making a deal at the NHL draft or on July 1.
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post,
But who will be the Flyers’ No. 1 goalie at the start of the 2009-10 regular season? Holmgren and Biron acknowledged it could be two months before that question is answered.
“I think Marty is a good goalie and I think he had a good couple years here,” Holmgren said. “If we move forward with him, that will be a decision we make in the next little while.”
At 31, Biron is coming off his second full season as the Flyers’ starter. He ranked 13th in the NHL in wins (29), 25th in goals-against average (2.76) and 17th in save percentage (.915).
But the numbers that will define whether Biron stays in Philadelphia will be his average salary and the number of years he is seeking on a new contract.
At $3.5 million, Biron ranked 19th among NHL goalies this season, just below Dwayne Roloson’s $3.667 million. Roloson, who is 39, had almost identical numbers to Biron this season with 28 wins, a 2.77 GAA and a .915 save percentage.
In other words, Biron’s market value is probably exactly what he’s making now. That could be a sticking point is his insistence on a long-term contract.
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post,
Flyers captain Mike Richards will undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder Friday, the Courier-Post learned Tuesday.
According to club general manager Paul Holmgren, Richards is expected to need 10-12 weeks of recovery time.
Holmgren said he was also awaiting an MRI on Richards’ left shoulder, saying he might also require surgery on that shoulder as well. Richards, who Tuesday was named one of three finalists for the Selke Tro phy as the NHL’s top defensive forward, led the Flyers with five playoff points in six games.
from Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star,
First, we had the case of Pittsburgh’s Maxime Talbot starting a fight with Philadelphia goon Daniel Carcillo on Saturday afternoon.
According to almost everybody at Hockey Night In Canada, the fact that Talbot started a fight knowing he was going to be clobbered somehow inspired his teammates to overcome a 3-0 deficit and win the series.
Though analyst Gary Galley first said the fistic defeat would probably spell the end for Pittsburgh, he later agreed with his colleagues that Talbot’s impression of a punching bag had indeed changed the course of the game….
But here’s where the confusion comes in. That evening, the Blackhawks jumped out to a 5-1 second-period lead over the Flames.
They were dominating the Flames the way the Flyers had dominated the Penguins in the early going. Amazingly, Calgary defenceman Adam Pardy went on a Talbot-like suicide mission and attacked Chicago tough guy Ben Eager. The results were the same as Talbot’s strategic gem, a one-sided defeat – with one exception. The Flames didn’t score another goal and are now on the verge of elimination.
from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull at the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Wholesale changes aren’t needed. But the team needs more physicality from its defensemen.
Never was that more evident than Saturday, when two of the Penguins’ goals were scored when players batted pucks out of the air and into the net.
I’m in the minority of people who think the Flyers can compete for the Stanley Cup with Marty Biron as the goalie. Biron wasn’t why the Flyers lost this series. He had a 2.29 goals-against average before Saturday, and only two of the Game 6 goals were his fault.
Re-sign Biron and get a crease-clearing defenseman like Montreal’s Mike Komisarek, a potential free agent. The Flyers missed the injured Derian Hatcher this year more than they will admit.
more on the Flyers…
added 11:27am, from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
There is something seriously wrong with a hockey team that blows a 3-0 lead, at home, in a playoff-elimination game. That part is easy.
Figuring out exactly what went wrong with the Flyers in yesterday’s stunning collapse against the rival Pittsburgh Penguins will be much harder. And that is the challenge that faces the franchise’s leaders - all of whom appeared shell-shocked after the team’s sudden, breathtaking dismissal from the first round of the playoffs.
The turning point of the game, Flyers up 3-0, Maxime Talbot of the Penguins battles Daniel Carcillo of the Flyers and Penguins go to work from then on.
One of the examples of why fighting needs to stay in the game. This fight had some meaning.
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
For a week, Flyers coach John Stevens set the tone, saying his club was playing well enough to win and that good things eventually would follow. Had the Flyers gotten bounced out of the first round in five games, it would have been fair to wonder if Stevens’ apparent complacency was a sign that he was past his expiration date as head coach.
But the Flyers didn’t get bounced. They bounced back. Because they did, they get a chance to play this afternoon at the Wachovia Center in what veteran Mike Knuble predicted “could be one of the better games at that arena, in the history of the rink.”
It certainly shapes up as an intense one.
from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,
John Chapman doesn’t skate, coach or handle a puck but the Philadelphia Flyers scout made the save of the Stanley Cup playoffs earlier this week.
All he did was rescue a mother and her two-month-old baby girl from drowning in a Calgary pond prior to attending Game 3 of the Flames-Chicago Blackhawks series.
The incident occurred last Monday afternoon, when Chapman stopped to visit his daughter in the southeast neighbourhood of MacKenzie Towne and take his faithful Labrador, Bailey, for a romp next to one of the community’s retention ponds.
Along the way, Chapman met a mother who was walking with her young son while pushing her two-month-old daughter in a stroller. The woman went to pet Chapman’s dog when she accidentally let go of the stroller then watched in horror as it rolled down a steep incline towards the pond, which was no longer frozen over.
from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Bottom line, after one period it was 0-0. And the Penguins had expended an awful lot of adrenaline. “With Marty playing like he did, he allowed us to regroup between periods,” Stevens said. “He really gave us a shot of confidence that allowed us to get back to playing.’
They go back to playing tomorrow afternoon at the Wachovia Center. They still trail in this series, but they have been the better team over the last three games. Not by much, not by more than a big save here, a hit post there. But this series is now close enough to steal, close enough that one man, one play, could ultimately decide it. That might frighten some goalies. If nothing else, Biron has proven he’s not one of them.
from CBC Sports,
Being down two games and staring elimination squarely in the eye is tough enough, but for Philadelphia, the task is even more daunting: The Flyers have lost their last five playoff visits to Pittsburgh and have won just twice in Mellon Arena in the past two seasons.
Last year in Game 5 the conference final, the Flyers were trounced 6-0 by the Penguins.
The Flyers are prepared for the Penguins to come out strong from the opening faceoff Wednesday night.
“We expect them to come out really hard in the first few minutes and try to put the game away early and try to get us to quit early and I don’t think any of us are going to do that,” Flyers winger Mike Knuble said.
“We’ve all been there before, we won’t get caught off guard.”
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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