Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly,
Who in your mind has improved the most in the East and in your division?
Hextall: Oh, boy. Boy, that’s a good question.
Looks to me like the Rangers and Penguins took steps backwards.
Hextall: People maybe look at Tampa in the East and say they improved. I always say, if you don’t improve from within, you can only make so many steps. ... You can’t sign free agents X and Y and say, ‘Oh, we’ve gotten so much better.’ Maybe you look at Minnesota two years ago and say they were the exception with [Zach] Parise and [Ryan] Suter. You say, ‘Well, they should be a lot better.’ It didn’t work out quite like some people thought it would. For the most part, you can’t go out and sign a free agent or two and say you took this huge step. Because of chemistry and everything else that goes into it. If you don’t get better from within, your chances of moving too far ahead are slim.
That’s where we focused this summer. Getting better from within. Not just on the ice, but some of our staff and minor league team. Little things we can improve in here like the analytical part or coaching part. There’s things we can get better. It’s not just the product on the ice which is a byproduct of all the little things that you improve on, whether it’s medical devices or training programs. Our team was very diligent about training [this summer]. Our team last year? I don’t think was in great shape. I really don’t, for whatever reason. We better be in better shape this year. 1 and 7 [start]? We can’t do that again. We got to be ready to go on opening night. We gotta fricking go! That type of thing far outweighs signing a decent free agent.
With Steve Mason struggling in net and Ray Emery injured again, Flyers GM Ron Hextall says “to hell with it”, signs himself to six-year, $18-million deal as Philadelphia’s newest goaltending savior. (I know, I know, this article is supposed to be about far-fetched predictions. But I had to throw this near-fetched one in there for a change of pace.)
-Adam Proteau of The Hockey News where you can read nine more of these "predictions".
“I think they’ll be a playoff team. There’s a big difference between getting a playoff spot and being a contender for the Cup and I still think they’re a little bit away from that, but I think they’re moving in the right direction.”
-John LeClair on the Philadelphia Flyers. More from LeClair on the Flyers by Katie Strang of ESPN.
from Randy Miller of NJ.com,
NJ.com: What are you expectations for next season? A lot of people see the 2014-15 Flyers having to fight for one of the final Eastern Conference playoff spots, then potentially being dangerous in the playoffs if your goalie gets hot. Your team doesn't appear to be the full puzzle yet, but seem to have the makings of a pretty good team. Agree?
Hextall: “We've got a good team. We expect our players every night to go out and be the best they can be and collectively be a cohesive unit. When you have that type of cohesion and players playing hard and playing for the cause every night, you can accomplish good things. Look at the Rangers last year. Who'd have thought they'd be a Stanley Cup Final team? And they beat us by one goal in Game 7 (in the first round)? So we’ve got a good team and our expectations are high. I don't know if the belief from people is we don't have high expectations. That couldn't be further from the truth. All I’ve said all along is we’re going to continue to get better every year.”
via the Philadelphia Flyers,
The Philadelphia Flyers have agreed to terms with free agent defenseman Michael Del Zotto on a one-year contract, according to general manager Ron Hextall.
Del Zotto recorded 16 points (3g-13a) and 18 penalty minutes in 67 regular season games this past season, which he split with the New York Rangers and Nashville Predators. He was traded by the Rangers on Jan. 22 to the Predators, where he posted five points (1g-4a) in 25 games.
via the Philadelphia Flyers,
Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen has been diagnosed with blood clots in his lower right leg and in both lungs. Kimmo is currently being treated for this disorder back in his home country of Finland. His return to play is yet to be determined.
added 3:43pm, from Tyler Tynes of the Philadelphia Daily News,
“He was as shocked as anybody,” Hextall said today in a conference call. “I haven’t talked to him yet, I’ve reached out to him twice. He texted me. He seemed very frustrated, but I think we are happy for him and his three children that he’s doing fine.”...
Hextall said that this could be a “long term situation” and that he’s not going to pressure young prospects to fill his role this fall, but rather sign a veteran to the squad.
“I hate to even speculate,” Hextall said. “The best I can say is that it could be a long term thing. Can he play at some point next season? I don’t have the answer to that. I know he’s in stable condition and doing well.”
from Mary Clarke of CSNPhilly,
If they're going to win the Cup, Roenick believes they'll have to do it with a different goaltender.
"I like Steve Mason," Roenick said on Philly Sports Talk, "but I don’t think Steve Mason is the answer to winning a Stanley Cup."
Mason posted a 33-18-7 record, .917 save percentage and 2.50 goals-against average in his first full year with the Flyers. The 26-year-old once won the Calder Memorial Trophy, in 2008-09, as the league's rookie of the year with the Blue Jackets. But he regressed in his next three and a half seasons before Columbus eventually shipped him to the Flyers for Michael Leighton and a third-round pick.
"I think you need an upper echelon defenseman, I think you need an upper echelon goaltender," Roenick said. "The Flyers do not have [either].
"I think that’s something that you’re going to have to look at in terms of improving your team."
more including video of Roenick making the remarks...
from Bernie Parent at Philly.com,
We have Paul Holmgren as team president, who started out as a hockey player, made his way up to a scout, and then a general manager. And along comes Ron Hextall, who was one of the greatest goalies the Philadelphia Flyers organization has ever seen, who moved on to be a scout, then a successful assistant general manager with the Los Angeles Kings, and back to his home sweet home of Philadelphia as our new general manager. We now have two hockey-oriented minds making the decisions.
The best part of all of this is that these qualities stick with you, and I see all of these qualities and values expressed in Hextall’s position as general manager.
The heads of the Flyers organization have played so many roles on their way up the ladder and are experienced in all areas of the game of hockey. I think all of this passion, dedication, and team identity that radiates from Hextall will reflect into his managing.
Hextall took “don’t mess with my teammate” to the next level. Whatever it was you thought you were going to get away with, Hextall ripped that right out from under you.
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
They will have to huff and puff to make the playoffs, buying some time for their promising defensemen to gain some minor-league seasoning before likely being ready in two years - or perhaps in the second half of 2014-15.
The good news, from the Flyers' perspective, is that coach Craig Berube, who did a commendable job after replacing Peter Laviolette early last season, will have his first full training camp to reinforce his defense-first system.
And for the first time in ages, the Flyers will go into camp knowing they have a legitimate No. 1 goalie, Steve Mason. Former general manager Paul Holmgren signed some players to long-term deals that left Hextall with no cap flexibility, but Holmgren deserves credit for acquiring Mason in one of his best trades.
Speaking of bad contracts, the Flyers still are trying to trade Vinny Lecavalier, who signed a five-year, $22.5 million deal last season. Nashville and Ottawa are among the teams that have shown interest. Teams want the Flyers to pay a big part of his salary.
There also are reports that teams want the Flyers to include a prospect or a draft pick in any deal including Lecavalier.
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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