Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Bob Ford at The Philadelphia Inquirer,
“Back With a Vengeance,” was the message emblazoned on the pumpkin-colored T-shirts handed out to the customers for the home opener last night. It is a nice sentiment, a promise that the foolishness of a year ago won’t be tolerated again - at least not mildly. Coming just three days after Jesse Boulerice broke his stick on an opponent’s jaw, maybe the timing was a little off, but what can you do? “Back With a Cross-Check and a 25-Game Suspension” wouldn’t fit on the shirt.
These aren’t the Broad Street Bullies, regardless of the shelf time for Boulerice or the 20-gamer earned by Steve Downie in the exhibition season, and they aren’t the Philadelphia Ballet yet, either. The franchise is stuck somewhere in between, searching for an identity, and trying to skate the fine blue line that separates being tough and being stupid.
note 1:22pm, I missed my morning coffee earlier today and forgot to note this was from a tele-conference Campbell did yesterday.
Q. So often in these things we hear about repeat offender things, that each suspension thereafter is harsher. Now we’ve had two against a team in a short period of time. Is there any provision where teams can now be held responsible for their players’ actions as well?
COLIN CAMPBELL: There’s nothing formal that holds a team responsible. I guess if you really look at the issues they have to deal with, their roster situation, they have to deal with paying the player and with other aspects that come with losing two players that they’re paying. But there’s nothing formal that punishes the team for the number of players who are suspended.
from the AP via the Globe and Mail,
Philadelphia forward Jesse Boulerice was suspended 25 games by the NHL on Friday for cross-checking Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler across the face, the second Flyer in three weeks to receive a ban of at least 20 games.
From the AP via MSNBC,
Philadelphia Flyers forward Jesse Boulerice said he expects to be suspended for cross-checking Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler across the face late in an 8-2 rout on Wednesday night.
The hit occurred with 5:41 left and the Flyers leading 7-2. After some pushing and shoving back and forth, Boulerice caught an unsuspecting Ryan Kesler across the face with his stick, leaving the Canucks forward lying motionless on the ice. He eventually got up and skated to the bench on his own.
Boulerice’s coach agreed that a suspension is probably forthcoming.
*Video footage is here
In Snider’s opinion, Holmgren has done a masterful job of “reloading” the proud franchise.
“I liked the way we opened up against Calgary. There were certain things I didn’t like against Edmonton,” he said Tuesday in a phone interview. “But I like the fact that we came back in that game and went ahead….”
“I knew Paul,” Snider said. “I had a lot of respect for Paul. I liked him, but I wasn’t sure how he would take the reins. Quite honestly, he exceeded by far any expectations I might have had.”
And now there’s laughter in Snider’s office again.
“Paul made my statement come true,” Snider said. “We don’t rebuild, we retool.”
via The Hockey News,
The Philadelphia have signed 6-foot-2, 210-pound defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick to a one-year contract.
from Ed Moran of the Philly News,
Join the NHL and see the world.
That was Derian Hatcher’s take on this year’s version of “holding hands in the woods,” or in this case the temporal rain forests of the Whistler Blackcomb Ski resort, where - by the way - it was pouring all day yesterday….
This year, with three off days between Saturday’s 5-3 loss in Edmonton and Wednesday’s game in Vancouver, the Flyers have stopped off in Whistler.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The Flyers took their lumps in the short term by plunging to the bottom of the NHL standings — something that also gave them a chance to draft James vanRiemsdyk second overall in June’s entry draft — and have reversed field nicely. Their opening-night roster featured five former first-round picks age 25 or under (Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Joffrey Lupul, Scott Hartnell and Coburn), plus two others on injured reserve (Upshall and R.J. Umberger), not to mention blue-chippers vanRiesmsdyk and Parent, plus the love-him-or-hate-him pest Steve Downie.
Sadly, the Leafs fall into the other category — of a team that perennially tries so hard to compete in the here-and-now that they are forever caught in between, with never enough assets to legitimately challenge for a championship, but never really bad enough to draft blue-chip youngsters or bold enough to trade “untouchable” core players.
read on & other NHL bits…
From George Johnson at ESPN,
So acute was the embarrassment, so deep the shame, so vivid the feeling of accusing eyes boring into his failures, Derian Hatcher dreaded even going into a Starbucks.
“Well,” laughed Philadelphia Flyers assistant coach Joe Mullen, “at 6-foot-5, Hatch is kind of hard to miss.”
So were the Flyers. A big flop. A massive bust. Worst in a 30-team loop. A league-low 10 home wins. A joke in futile search of a punch line.
The Broad Street Bozos.
from Phil Sheridan of Philly News,
John Stevens had as grim a task as any Philadelphia coach in recent memory, taking over a doomed team after the stunning dismissal of Hitchcock. Stevens handled himself well, establishing his expectations for players and making sure there were consequences when those expectations weren’t met.
But do we know Stevens is a championship-caliber NHL coach? It is no insult to him to answer no to that question. Hitchcock had a pedigree of success and couldn’t get it done with the talent at hand here. Stevens might be the right man for this job. No one knows, including Stevens, Holmgren and the players.
In theory, Biron settles down the goaltender spot. He has a fine career goals against average of 2.55, but that shot up to 3.02 playing behind the Flyers at the end of last season. Niittymaki’s average was 3.38 last year - so the apples-to-apples comparison doesn’t tell us much.
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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