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Orange & Black Breakdown

Game 53: NYI @ PHI (Better late than never edition)

Once again the Atlantic Division is dominating the playoff leaderboard as they occupy 4 of the top 6 slots.  The only team left out in the mix is the New York Islanders.  Surprisingly, this team has carried the play in all 3 games this year versus the Flyers.  We keep passing them off as cellar dwellers, but at some point their young talent will click, right?  My thinking after the jump…

New York Islanders (21-22-8 | 50 pts | 12th in East) vs Philadelphia Flyers (30-16-6 | 66 pts | 4th in East)

What makes the Flyers different from the Islanders?  What do you see littered through the line-up for the Flyers? 

-Former first round picks. 

Where did these come from if they continuously are trading away their stock pile of draft picks each and every year for trade deadline/free agent acquisitions? 

Paul Holmgren has found out how to maximize assets via trades rather than via the draft.  He has eliminated the 3 year development period that most players need coming out of the draft by grabbing guys who have gone through that window on other teams.  He waits until a team sours on a player and grabs them before they have reached their potential. 

Mind you, I’m setting aside from each team the recent influx of first rounders (Giroux, JvR, Cooter for the Flyers; Bailey, Tavares, Neiderreiter, Okposo for the Islanders) because each team is handed a first round pick come time for the entry level draft.  It’s the other avenues that Homer excels at that that really sets these two teams apart.  Outside of ‘Free Agent’ acquisitions (b/c the Flyers will trump the Islanders until New York starts winning again and becomes a desirable spot to land), it really comes down to who has surrounded their stars with a supporting cast that is that can help push your team over the top. 

The Islanders have failed in this department only snagging one high-upside player in Michael Grabner, who was a first round pick for the Canucks.  In the meantime, the Flyers have traded for the likes of Coburn, Meszaros, Schenn, Hartnell, and Voracek.  Most of those guys were top 10 overall picks (Meszaros the odd one out) which meant they had the tangibles and a higher potential to succeed in the NHL.  Homer sees this and is constantly running this idealogy into the ground.  Why wait on your draft picks, when you can scoop up guys before they have hit their stride in the NHL.  Some may say this is a high risk/high reward system, but that is why you put the proper people around you that know how to scout (Homer was once a highly esteemed scout before becoming the Flyers GM).  My greatest in-hockey comparison who never settles with the team he has been given is Brian Burke.  He knows there is high-end talent that may be scuffling that simply needs a philosophy change to help them break loose.  He did it in Anaheim, and he is working his way through the mess that was Toronto.  Lupul is his best reclamation project in Toronto thus far as he saw that he simply needed high-end linemates to be successful (Kessel-Toronto; Carter-Philly).

If you don’t agree with me and my theories, let me know on Twitter or in the comments at the bottom. 

What to expect from the Islanders:

Mark Streit The older he gets, the better he gets on the Power Play.  He is a magician out there as he leads the Islanders in power play points this year.  It was the main reason the Islanders made the splash to get him back in the summer of 2008.  Stay off the power play, or this guy will hurt you.

John Tavares: He has quietly put up a really good season as he seems to finally be finding his niche in the NHL.  He is 9th in the NHL in points with 53.  He isn’t all that fast, but he will beat you with hockey sense and overall even strength play.  He is a terror in the corners as he seems to win most of the puck battles in the corner with his deceptive strength (ala Cooter)

PA Parenteau: I may have beat them up for their lack of high upside talent on their squad, but they did find a diamond in the rough with the pickup of him in the summer of 2010.  He had done nothing in the league up until that point.  Now he has posted a solid 2 seasons on the Island and has great hockey vision.

Google image: ‘Tavares’.  Black History Month For The Win

Keys for the FLYERS tonight:

Simmonds: Is this a hot streak or are we seeing someone who can carry a team through rough stretches?  I’m thinking of RJ Umberger when I see Simmonds play.  He removes people with brute force yet has the finish around the net to contribute.  I for one can’t wait for the playoffs to start and watch him shine in the bright lights. 

Giroux:  Is his slump all but over?  He did miss some wide open shots this weekend that make me think he is gripping the stick too hard.  But that isn’t what makes him special. It will always be the way he sees the ice and his hockey acumen.  People were worrying that he has hit that mid-year slump and that he may be trying too hard.  With all of that happening, he is one point from taking the point scoring lead over from Malkin. 

Briere: Are we bringing him back too soon?  You never know.  You can only hope.  My only worry is that he is of a smaller build and gets irked easily with contact, which can result in a typical Briere stick infraction.  Let’s hope he keep his cool when dealing with the first bit of heat from the his first few games back.

Simmer has the look that you want come playoff time

My BOLD predictions for tonight:

2-0 Flyers **Knock Knock**
-Simmer continues his goal streak
-Voracek tickles the twine with a wicked wrister
-Lavvy goes through 2 packs of gum in this low scoring affair


Continue the discussion with us on twitter (@marcs797 and @thevintern), email (theobbreakdown@gmail.com), or in the comments below

Lets Go Flyers!


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The Orange & Black Breakdown looks to be the ultimate, around the clock source for news and information on the Philadelphia Flyers organization and it’s ever-present quest for the Stanley Cup. Focusing on what the team can do to achieve success is the ultimate goal.

The OBB is written and maintained by myself - Marc Siciliano. I’m a college graduate and media production professional in the sports industry with credits on projects like Hard Knocks: Bengals and 24/7 Penguins vs. Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic. A man of many hobbies, I always seem to find a way to spend a disproportionate amount of my daily routine with two things: Flyers hockey and social media (much to the dismay of my hockey impartial friends on twitter).

So what does this mean for you? The plan is to combine these time-wasting habits passions with my love for writing to provide you with complete coverage of the Flyers from both my head and around the web, 24/7.

This is my second writing stint focusing on the Flyers, but for a much larger audience - so do be gentle. Different perspectives and opinions on the organization are welcome and encouraged. Just because I see it one way doesn’t mean I’m beyond seeing it your way as well, so speak up!

I’m always interested in interacting with readers, so find me on twitter (@marcs797) or email me (theobbreakdown@gmail.com) and let’s talk hockey.

Thanks for reading; Lets go Flyers!