Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at the Globe and Mail,
An 8-2-4 run in the past month and the Boston Bruins’ struggles combined to put the Flyers within four points of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference going into their game Thursday at the Toronto Maple Leafs. The climb hasn’t been easy, but there’s no shortage of belief in the locker-room.
“It’s obviously our goal to catch the Bruins and the Panthers,” NHL leading scorer Jake Voracek said Wednesday. “I don’t see the reason why we shouldn’t. We’re playing good hockey lately. We’ve got to focus on every game, game-by-game, and hopefully we’re going to sneak in.”
On the morning of Jan. 17, the Flyers woke up in Buffalo 13 points back of the Bruins. Boston has gone 5-7-3 since then, and a knee injury to centre David Krejci stands to make the next four to six weeks even more of a challenge.
Philadelphia needed the Bruins to go on a skid to make the playoffs even a long-shot possibility. But the Flyers have also been much improved to get on track.
“An all-around team game turned our season around,” coach Craig Berube said. “Our team defence first and foremost is what we really turned around. Starting with that, and the penalty killing has gotten better. That’s part of the team defence. All-around, our defensive play is way better.”
from Randy Miller of NJ.com,
Besides Colaiacovo, Schenn has sat out the Flyers' last two games. Before that, Andrew MacDonald was a healthy scratch three games in a row.
MacDonald probably is untradeable because of his contract - he's in the first season of a six-year, $30 million extension - but Schenn perhaps could be moved even though he's a $3.6 million cap hit through next season.
Coburn remains a candidate to go, as well, but the Islanders and Calgary Flames may be the only contenders with enough free cap space to take on his contract, which carries a $4.5 million cap hit through next season.
The Flyers probably would prefer to keep Grossmann, whose deal through next season is for a $3.5 million cap hit, but he has value as a shot-blocking blueliner with size and could be moved for a decent return.
Defenseman Nick Schultz probably could have brought a nice return, because he has a cap-friendly contract that, until last week, ended after this season. But he's now going anywhere after signing a two-year, $4.5 million extension on Feb. 18.
What's decent return for the Flyers' trade bait?
via the Philadelphia Flyers,
Flyers owner Ed Snider met with the media following a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals and gave his thoughts on the team's recent success and weekend sweep over the Nashville Predators and Caps...
Does this feel like 2010 to you?
“No I can’t compare years. All I know is they’ve made it really exciting. Let’s face it, how many weeks ago were we written off by all the press and just about everybody else. Just the fact that we are in the hunt is exciting. I don’t know where it’s going to end up but if we end up making the playoffs it will be quite a story.”
What was going through your mind at that time about four weeks ago when you say everyone was writing you off?
“In my mind I was almost writing them off too. But seriously, these guys just never ever stop believing in themselves. They won’t stop, they won’t quit and we’ve got a lot of nice new pieces. I think [Ryan] White has added a lot to our team, a real hustler. We’re just playing a tough brand of hockey. It’s hard to play against us. I don’t care what team you talk about, it’s hard to play against them.
We just beat two outstanding teams over the weekend. Washington has what, won four in a row, and have really been playing extremely well. Coby [Coburn] made that really big block at the end on Ovechkin and I thought that was fabulous and really great.”
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
- The chatter that began over the summer about Johnny Boychuk wanting to sign with his hometown Oilers this summer when the 31-year-old defenseman becomes a free agent persists even as his value to the Cup contenders on Long Island continues to grow.
As huge a get as Boychuk was for GM Garth Snow when he acquired Boychuk on the eve of the season from Boston (who chose not to use their precious cap space on him while fearful of losing the defenseman for nothing), keeping the righty will be a more challenging task…even as the Islanders appear to be in an outstanding position relative to the cap.
The number will start at $6M per.
- So, if the Jacobs ownership was 10 minutes away from firing GM Peter Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien when the Bruins were down 4-1 to the Leafs with time running down on Game 7 of the first round in 2013 before their historic rally to win it, as we were told by a man who knew the plan, then what will the fallout be if Boston misses the playoffs this time?
We’re betting that the GM will be named Cam Neely by the time of the Entry Draft.
- Hey, have you heard about the NHL renaming the Adams to COY? Not to be confused with the CYA Trophy, about to won yet again by Philadelphia’s “Mr. Snider.”
from the Philadelphia Flyers,
The Philadelphia Flyers have signed 6-1, 200-lb defenseman Nick Schultz to a multi-year contract extension, according to general manager Ron Hextall.
Schultz, 32 (8/25/1982), has appeared in 55 games for the Flyers this season, recording two goals and 11 assists for 13 points. He has already recorded his highest point total in a season since 2010-11, when he had 17 points (3G, 14A). Schultz has also picked up 33 PIM this season and is a plus-6.
continue for more on Schultz...
Kimo Timonen after his first practice with the Philadelphia Flyers this season.
Timonen says it will probably take 7-10 days before he appears in a game.
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
"We're playing a good team game now and everybody is contributing," captain Claude Giroux said after the Flyers overcame an awful 15-minute second-period stretch and outlasted sad-sack Buffalo, 2-1, on Sunday.
Thanks to a nine-game points streak (6-0-3), the Flyers are just six points behind Boston for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Boston lost to Calgary in overtime Monday night....
"The odds are still against us . . . but I like the resiliency of our group," general manager Ron Hextall said. "We believe we can make the playoffs. We like our depth."
from Dave Isaac of the Courier Post,
Heading into Monday night’s action, the Flyers were five points shy of a playoff spot with 26 games to play, seven of them before the March 2 trade deadline.
GM Ron Hextall isn’t tempted to be a buyer in his first trade deadline.
“We’re not gonna make a deal to try to put us in the playoffs,” Hextall said. “I believe we can make the playoffs with this team right now and quite frankly, to add a piece right now that’s gonna help us that’s gonna be better than what we have is gonna be very costly. We’re not going there.”
Rumors involving young Flyers apparently carry no weight. Hextall still has his eye on the future. And as much as he’d like to avoid the position he was in last summer, when he had very little money to work with, he doesn’t feel like he has to make a trade in the next two weeks.
“Would it be nice to get some flexibility? Of course,” Hextall said. “Is it necessary right now? No, it’s not. We can do things at the draft and we can hold the way we have been.
“I can’t define any direction (regarding trades) right now because of where we’re at and I don’t know what would come our way in certain deals.”
“They’re not playing the right way, for the most part. They’re not working together very well. To me, they have to work harder and they have to play a simpler game.
“They have to work together, and I don’t see that right now.”
-Craig Berube, head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers on Claude Giroux, Brayden Schenn and Jake Voracek. Read more on the Flyers from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull.
via the Philadelphia Flyers,
Following the team’s morning skate in Montreal, Flyers GM Ron Hextall announced that goaltender Steve Mason will be out for approximately 2-3 weeks with a lower-body injury.
Mason left the Flyers-Capitals game at Washington midway through the second period and did not return. He has missed a total of 10 games this season, both with separate lower-body injuries and all within a span of 52 days (Dec. 19-27 & Jan. 10-27). Overall, Mason has a 11-12-7 record with a 2.30 GAA and .925 save percentage.
With an injury to Phantoms goaltender Rob Zepp, the club recalled rookie Anthony Stolarz from their AHL affiliate in Lehigh Valley yesterday, who will serve as back up for Ray Emery tonight vs. Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
Emery owns a 9-9-1 record with a 3.34 goals-against average and .886 save percentage this season.
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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