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The Inevitable Carter and Richards Blog

I thought I might have been able to avoid it; but merely halfway through the offseason, a dry island iceberg has reared its ugly head ever-so-slightly above the surface, smoldering enough to catch the eyes of a Philadelphia Daily News gossip reporter. His accounts yesterday have simultaneously rejuvenated belief in the unsinkable team the Flyers apparently had over a month ago, while also fanning the foolish notions of alcoholism burning deeply below the surface and beyond sight.

I only intend to touch on it once, because quite frankly what’s done is done and a lot of opinions are bound to stay unchanged, but the team did what they felt they had to do to take that final step as an organization. It isn’t the end of the world, and it has more to do with a few drinks and numbers on a corkboard. Simply put – they were hockey moves.

 

“It’s completely frustrating, and we got exactly what we deserved tonight. When you don’t show up and compete, you don’t execute, you don’t play the game with energy, you’re gonna lose.”

-Peter Laviolette

image

It’s ok, Peter. Hockey season is right around the corner


Sounds like a quote from after the playoffs right? It’s actually from a game in November of last season, when the Flyers embarrassed themselves by disappearing for 40 minutes in a terrible, losing effort versus Columbus - a team that went on to finish 13th in the Western Conference.

But it goes further than that, even dating prior to when Laviolette was first brought in and this whole dry island was instituted. He was brought in as a means of correcting an issue of complacency within the team without actually making major moves to the core, relieving John Stevens of his duties after he had turned the Flyers around with little NHL head-coaching experience just a few seasons prior. This was a team oozing with talent, but seemingly incapable of taking that next step year after year.

As a team, the Flyers have underperformed the past few years and everyone who follows them knows it. Otherwise, we would be satisfied with the results, right? Well, are you satisfied?

How many times can you repeat the same experiment with the same results? We all know the win now attitude couldn’t continue to last – something big had to be done to alter the future of the organization before it ultimately crumbled beneath the massive expectations without a proper foundation to fall on.

And to be blunt, would we really care as much as we do if they didn’t have those contracts that enabled us to cling to the notion they were actually the franchise players of the organization to begin with? Regardless of our perceptions and allegiances, this is a business above all, and ultimately the business is winning. If the organization values the talent and potential of Giroux and JVR over Richards and Carter for the long-term, who are we do disagree?

These are the types of trades that can awaken some demons within and really revitalize the blood up and down a lineup marred with inconsistency in recent memory. The organization received at absolute worst a contingent of players in a position to help the team both now and in the future, while also making room to answer some other questions in the lineup simultaneously.

Even if next year proves to be a step back, this team is still deep enough to be a few tweaks away from perennial contention. Couple its front office tenacity with its ability to develop first-round picks (particularly Canadian first-round picks), and the picture is not bleak as it is made to seem by some.

Remember: we don’t need the new guys to necessarily replace Carter and Richards – it’s the total anticipation of JVR, Giroux, Voracek, Simmonds, Schenn, and even Nodl to a lesser extent elevating their collective games in order to offset their departure. Even if the offense proves to be less fruitful, they were one of the top offensive teams in the league last year – it’s ok to not be as offensively potent.

There are many different ways to win, and only 30 teams have done it in the past 30 years. If it were as easy as figuring out one mathematical formula for success or assembling a particular combination of guys, it would be done already and every team would look almost identical. There are an incomprehensible amount of little things that go on behind the scenes that are impossible to predict, even by those in the most elite of positions within your team’s front office. Given everything they know, the organization simply decided to shake up its depth to take a new approach: why try and read between the lines when you can just enjoy the ride?

Continue the discussion with me on twitter (@marcs797), email (theobbreakdown@gmail.com), or in the comments below
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The ‘Welcome to the Flyers’ series continues tomorrow, and coverage will only increase from here as I get my bloggers pants properly hemmed and fitted for the season. I asked them to add some cargo pockets to fit all the cool crap I’ve got in store for the season, so stay tuned.

As always - Lets Go Flyers!

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, Marc Siciliano, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jeff+carter, mike+richards, peter+laviolette

Comments

Paul's avatar

TSN with their story on this subject.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/26/11 at 05:01 PM ET

Avatar

There was an reason why players like Lupul and Upshall were traded. The problem is that carter and richards never got the message and Richards from the TSN story suggests he has moved the party to LA.

Posted by FlyersFan on 07/26/11 at 06:05 PM ET

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Um, trading Richards and Carter is the ‘final step’ of the organization?  Not remotely.  It’s the first step in a pretty significant rebuild.

If there aren’t more steps to come, the Flyers are going to struggle to compete… even in the East.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 07/26/11 at 06:37 PM ET

Primis's avatar

The one thing that I don’t get is.. this makeup was good enough to get to the Cup Finals 2 years ago and to last 6 games.

1 year later, it suddenly wasn’t and house has been cleaned and peopel are still scratching their heads

It seems to me that Philly’s biggest problem is impatience, much as it ALWAYS seems to have been…

Posted by Primis on 07/26/11 at 06:39 PM ET

Marc Siciliano's avatar

The one thing that I don’t get is.. this makeup was good enough to get to the Cup Finals 2 years ago and to last 6 games.

1 year later, it suddenly wasn’t and house has been cleaned and peopel are still scratching their heads

It seems to me that Philly’s biggest problem is impatience, much as it ALWAYS seems to have been…

For the most part I agree with you, but I can see how they may have been impatient.

Lost in the euphoric post-season run 2 years ago was the regular season that started with them being pegged as THN’s cup favorite. They ended up spiraling down the EC standings in the first half and firing their coach, only to save face with a tremendous 2nd half run and a SO victory to put them in the playoffs.

If the Flyers don’t make the playoffs that year, this team may have looked drastically different last season. Instead, it stayed the same all the way down to re-signing leighton to play goalie (sigh). It led to many of the same headaches (thus that quote from Lavi in NOVEMBER) that marred the team in seasons prior - headaches that just seemed inexplicable. At what point do you make the distinction between underperforming and overvalued?

It’s been building up for a while I guess. Perhaps the only way the pressure could have been alleviated otherwise would have been with a win, but who knows..

Posted by Marc Siciliano on 07/26/11 at 06:59 PM ET

Avatar

How many times can you repeat the same experiment with the same results? We all know the win now attitude couldn’t continue to last – something big had to be done to alter the future of the organization before it ultimately crumbled beneath the massive expectations without a proper foundation to fall on.

Washington’s idea of signing a Vezina candidate for $1.5 mil was a better one than trading the #1 and 2 centers.


Remember: we don’t need the new guys to necessarily replace Carter and Richards – it’s the total anticipation of JVR, Giroux, Voracek, Simmonds, Schenn, and even Nodl to a lesser extent elevating their collective games in order to offset their departure. Even if the offense proves to be less fruitful, they were one of the top offensive teams in the league last year – it’s ok to not be as offensively potent.

I actually think the Carter return was excellent. Coutourier is a guy who had no business being out of the top 3, Voracek does some things right and Carter’s a bit too nonchalant for me to feel comfortable giving $5 million for a decade.

However, the Richards return, to me, is pretty ugly, near and long term. Simmonds is the very definition of what you want on a 3rd line, but he’ll never be more than that.

And Schenn…I won’t go into it, but suffice it to say he’s already paid roughly what Richards makes and I would put money on him never scoring 25 goals or putting up 55 points on this level without a radical reimagining of his offensive game (as radical as tocchet going from goon to net front specialist). Richards is a guaranteed bet to do those things even in off-years.

The other problem I have with what you’re saying is that there’s an assumption of improvement by Giroux and JVR when regression is a very good possibility. Richards and Carter were able to put up their 65+ as the focus of opposition video review sessions—something Giroux and JVR have likely never been subject to. I think it’s a bad bet to expect their numbers to go up once everyone studies their tendencies.

Posted by steviesteve on 07/26/11 at 07:18 PM ET

Marc Siciliano's avatar

Washington’s idea of signing a Vezina candidate for $1.5 mil was a better one than trading the #1 and 2 centers.

Yes, but WSH also didn’t go about re-stocking their system with top end talent (Schenn, Cotourier) in the process - they didn’t have to.

the Richards return, to me, is pretty ugly, near and long term. Simmonds is the very definition of what you want on a 3rd line, but he’ll never be more than that.

And Schenn…I won’t go into it, but suffice it to say he’s already paid roughly what Richards makes and I would put money on him never scoring 25 goals or putting up 55 points on this level without a radical reimagining of his offensive game (as radical as tocchet going from goon to net front specialist). Richards is a guaranteed bet to do those things even in off-years.

The other problem I have with what you’re saying is that there’s an assumption of improvement by Giroux and JVR when regression is a very good possibility. Richards and Carter were able to put up their 65+ as the focus of opposition video review sessions—something Giroux and JVR have likely never been subject to. I think it’s a bad bet to expect their numbers to go up once everyone studies their tendencies.

I agree they may have been able to get more for him and agree with your Simmonds assessment, but only time will tell how Schenn actually pans out, and he is the x-factor in this deal. Tomorrow in the welcome to the flyers series I’ll have a scouts take on Schenn that largely disagrees with your assessment, so to each his own, but the potential for him to be a comparable player to Richards is there at the very least it seems.

As for the regression of Giroux and JVR - you’re right - it’s absolutely possible. But with the increased responsibility also comes massive increase in ice time, both in 5v5 play and special teams. If these guys are truly elite players, the increase in ice team should help offset any regression of stats by increased exposure to better defense. This is a big season for JVR..

Posted by Marc Siciliano on 07/26/11 at 07:33 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

+19 Stevie people always forget to take that into account

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/26/11 at 07:36 PM ET

petshark's avatar

I don’t put any stock in the gossip story aside from the likelihood that the team wasn’t as “one-brain” as you would want your team to be.  Hardly any group of people is.  I’m bummed about the tear-down, remodel, whatever you want to call this, because it also makes the Timonen and Pronger contracts look like big busts.  I don’t see the youngsters in this group being ready before those two are done.  I imagine the future might be brighter, it’s just a ways off. 

Yes, shaking up the team’s depth can be beneficial, but you then have to wait for things to settle again.  And that takes longer than shaking it up ever does.

I once compared the Flyers of old to Seabiscuit.  I think this group is a cross between The Right Stuff and Armageddon.  And that can be fun!

Posted by petshark from Nor Cal, and on Twitter @petshark47 on 07/26/11 at 07:51 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

this is purely conjecture but rumor around Cbus is that Voracek had a habbit of spending his time down in the Short North partying (frequently with Mike Commodore) instead of training or resting for games.

This would explain why despite top 6 minutes he’s actually regressed as a player over the course of last year. 

Again, pure rumor

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/26/11 at 10:24 PM ET

Primis's avatar

It’s been building up for a while I guess. Perhaps the only way the pressure could have been alleviated otherwise would have been with a win, but who knows..

Posted by Marc Siciliano on 07/26/11 at 05:59 PM ET

I understand that, but the turnover the Flyers have is completely ridiculous.  It’s constant, it’s ever-present, and quite frankly it’s still netted them ZERO Cups.

I don’t know if Richards or Carter were the long-term answer, but I do know they would be closer to an answer with them instead of Simmonds, Voracek, Schenn, etc.  Basically they traded a gamble that’ll be decided in a year or two, for a gamble that’ll now take 3 or 4 years probably.  Doesn’t make any sense to me whatsoever…  especially since we all know they won’t WAIT 3 or 4 years before moving everyone around again.

this is purely conjecture but rumor around Cbus is that Voracek had a habbit of spending his time down in the Short North partying (frequently with Mike Commodore) instead of training or resting for games.

This would explain why despite top 6 minutes he’s actually regressed as a player over the course of last year.

Again, pure rumor

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/26/11 at 09:24 PM ET

I’d totally give more thought to that rumor if it weren’t for the fact that every other single prospect not named Rick Nash that Columbus has selected seems to disappoint and fizzle in the exact same way.  And I’d argue even Nash had his development screwed-up, he should still be a more-dominant player than he is.

At a certain point, the org just has to be faulted for being a black hole of development… they can’t seem to coach or develop ANYONE at any position.  It’s where prospects go to die, and vets go to get frustrated.

Posted by Primis on 07/26/11 at 11:53 PM ET

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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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