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Archive for the ‘Flyers’ Category

A Big Thursday Update…

Posted by David Foley On February - 19 - 2009

A lot going on today in the world of sports, so let’s get to it.

Flyers, Biron Look to Stay Hot

Tonight the Flyers will host the Sabres at the Wach. Bob Ford takes a look at Marty Biron’s hot play of late. One Flyer who hasn’t been so hot has been Jeff Carter: he failed to score in last weekend’s two wins over the New York teams. When Carter scores the Flyers are 19-2-6; when he doesn’t they are 11-14-3.

One Less Option at Tackle for the Birds

Jordan Gross, a young offensive tackle for the Panthers, agreed to a 6-year deal to stay in Carolina today. He would have been a free agent, and very likely would have been a target for the Eagles to fill one of their two vacant tackle spots. Plan B for the Birds? Turn to the draft for at least one tackle, move Herremans there from guard, or sign a free agent. This is going to be a very interesting offseason.

NBA Trade Deadline Comes and Goes

The deadline just passed at 3 pm ET today, and as of now it appears the Sixers didn’t make any moves. I really would have liked to see Philly trade Andre Miller considering there are doubts whether he’ll resign with the Sixers. Keep in mind, some moves are announced after the deadline so there is still a possibility that the Sixers made a move, it just isn’t extremely likely at this point.

Does Jeff Carter Have a Girlfriend?

Posted by David Foley On February - 16 - 2009

This one falls squarely in the “WTF” category, but it’s worth discussing for it’s strangeness alone. You know how when you type something into Google, it automatically suggests a search topic based on what is looked up the most? Well I was googling “Jeff Carter” today (just to look up his stats, I swear!) when I made an interesting discovery…

The top search based on Jeff? “jeff carter girlfriend” Exactly as typed. Being the ever-curious journalist (Ha! Right…) I decided to look into this a bit further, so I searched for “jeff carter girlfriend.”

Turns out there’s a forum called “Jeff Carter’s Girlfriend” and while it is mainly a bunch of anonymous people making fun of each other, I was still intrigued by it’s existence.

A little further down the search page was a question on WikiAnswers: “Does Jeff Carter of the Philadelphia Flyers have a girlfriend?” The answer? “yes.” Well that does it; I’m convinced!

I was mainly amused that so many single ladies (and a few guys too I’m sure) are looking to see if one of the bright young stars of the game is available or not. No better place to pry into a stranger’s life than the internet, right? The following picture was posted on Jeff Carter’s Girlfriend

Jeff and Mike havin' a good time...

Maybe that’s the proof we’re looking for? You know Ritchie is totally wing-manning it for Jeff there too! Either way, here are a few of my favorite comments from the forum:

“oh he is bisexual…that is a fact…believe me.”

“ive been dating jeff since the summer.. he treated me like shit after EVERYTHING i did for him..i loved him with all my heart. We met at avalon it was def. love at first sight, i still dont know what went wrong..Sooner or later ill have to move on.”

Jeff Carter is HOT and nice and he is probably amazing in bed

Pleeeeaaaase, its always the pretty ones that don’t try all that hard.  They think because they’re so hot you should have the privilge of their company.  Find yourself a nice fug…he’ll never leave you…”

“he is not dating arielle. arielle is a lame-ass bitch who just wishes. Nice job trying to convince ppl that u r dating jeff carter arielle, too bad it didnt work!”

The horrible grammar and spelling mistakes aren’t mine, and most of these posts are from anonymous people so take it for what it’s worth. Still funny as hell though. Evidently there still is some controversy regarding whether he really is single or not, so if anyone knows for sure definitely fill us in.

Not that I care…or…anything.

New Record For Richards/Giroux May Send Briere To Wing

Posted by Chris Shafer On February - 15 - 2009

richardsLet it be known right now without any doubt that when Mike Richards is on the ice opposing teams must be aware of his presence at all times whatever the situation. When a team forgets about the Flyers captain it usually comes back to haunt them. Today in a pounding of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Gardens Richards set a record that proves the previous statements to be true.

1:18 into the 2nd period in the nationally televised game against the Rangers, with the Flyers up 1-0 having the only goal carrying over from the first period, Philadelphia found themselves losing all the momentum that they had. They were on the penalty kill, but instead of it being a 5-4 powerplay for the Rangers the Flyers found themselves down two men. It was then that Braydon Coburn was able to pick up the puck and pass it straight up the middle to a breaking Mike Richards. The captain skated down the ice with Rangers in his wake skating hard just to catch him. He let go of a deceptively weak wrister that sunk just under Henrik Lundqvist’s glove hand. The goal marked the 3rd time that Richards had scored while two men down on a penalty. No one else in NHL history has ever done something like this three times. The record seems even more incredible when you take into consideration that the Flyers captain just turned 24 four days ago on February 11th.

Continue reading about Richards chances on beating Wayne Gretzky’s SHGs record, the destruction of the Rangers in Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon, and watch a video of Richards’ record breaking goal.

On another note rookie Claude Giroux has been a pleasant surprise. Coach Stevens tried him at center between the young, fast Scottie Upshall and the other high energy rookie Darroll Powe to create a line being called “The Pixie-Stick” line among certain groups for its high energy, speedy, and physical play. In the past two games they have been the most active and dominant line on the Flyers even beating out Richards’ and Carter’s lines. Giroux earned the first star in MSG Sunday with a 3 point performance including the first goal of the game.

So what does that mean for Briere, the Flyers star center? He’s hoping to come back later this month, but his normal position at center may already be taken. The Flyers have played with the lines a bit this season, but the original intention was to ride through the season with 3 scoring lines centered by Richards, Carter, and of course Briere. Though Giroux was originally a winger his 51 points in 19 postseason games performance in the QMJHL playoffs last season came at the center position. He knows how to play it well. In fact his game has appeared even better when put in the middle. This could force Briere to wing upon his return. It is unsure of where he would play, but if no wingers are traded at the deadline it could mean a trip back to the AHL for Powe, who has played incredibly for a rookie this season, and an all-star winger for Giroux in Briere. Having options for an already deep lineup is a great problem for the Flyers to have.

The Flyers Own New York

Posted by David Foley On February - 15 - 2009

The 5-1 win over the Islanders yesterday was nice, but expected. Today the Flyers made a much bigger statement by dominating the Rangers at MSG 5-2.

Mike Richards became the first player in NHL history to score three 5-on-3 shorthanded goals (his SH tally in the second gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead), and Claude Giroux continued his hot play with a goal and two assists. If the youngster can keep playing like this it’ll add yet another offensive threat on a team full of guys who can find the back of the net. The Flyers put a five spot on the board, and that was with Jeff Carter not even registering a point.  That’s a scary prospect for the rest of the NHL.

My only concern? The Flyers were outshot yet again (37-20) and seemed to lay back once they had a 5-0 lead. It seems a bit nit-picky after two big wins this weekend, but the defense really needs to step up and limit the workload of the goaltenders. Giving up that many shots isn’t going to fly once the playoffs roll around. Give big time credit to Marty Biron, stepping up to start back-to-back games for Antero Niittymaki (who was out with the flu). Biron stopped 73 out of 76 shots he faced this weekend, and it really goes without saying that if he can keep up this level of play the Flyers will have a great shot at winning the East.

Goalie Controversy? What Goalie Controversy?

Posted by Chris Shafer On February - 12 - 2009

niittymakiFlyers head coach John Stevens remained cool, calm, and collected the other day as he announced no actual goalie controversy in Philadelphia. He said Niittymaki had the hot glove, and he was in fact going to ride that glove until it cooled down. Of course he didn’t have to wait very long as the Flyers brand new starting goaltender for little under a week let in 5 goals against the struggling Ottawa Senators tonight only managing to fend off 18 of the 23 fired shots in his direction.

Yes, Coach Stevens was completely correct about there being no such controversy in Philadelphia. There can’t be goalie controversy if there aren’t in fact any starting goalies.

Continue Reading for full list of UFA goalies and implications for the Flyers.

Guess Who’s Back?

Posted by David Foley On February - 12 - 2009

Tonight the Flyers are taking on the Sens at the Wach, but the big news for the Orange and Black has to be the impending return of El Capitan, Mike Richards. Richie missed the last three games with the flu and is hoping to come back tonight. The Flyers, and my fantasy team, have certainly missed him.

The Senators were expected to be a playoff contender coming into the regular season but instead have tanked thanks to a lack of depth and inconsistent goaltending (although rookie goalie Brian Elliot has been outstanding since being recalled.) Key for the Flyers tonight? Shut down Daniel Alfredsson and they should be in pretty good shape.

USA! USA!

A special shoutout has to go to the US soccer fans (all 30 of you…HAHAHAthatwastooeasy) who showed up for the USA-Mexico World Cup qualifier last night in Columbus. The US prevailed 2-0 and I was impressed by how into the game many of the American fans were. I’m fairly certain I heard more than a few chants involving “asshole” coming out of the US section, and one shining moment came after a Mexico goal kick, when the goalie was treated to a loud chant of “YOU SUCK, ASSHOLE!”

Hell, we just beat those bastards in the one sport they claim to be good at…why not rub it in a little bit? Then again, the Mexicans also lost to Jamaica and tied CANADA (they have soccer up there?) so I guess this may not be as big an accomplishment as we’d like to think. The US has now beaten Mexico in 11-straight matches on American soil.

Niittymaki vs. Biron…who ya got?

Posted by David Foley On February - 11 - 2009

In the orange corner…

Antero Niittymaki

Antero Niittymaki, 28-year old career backup (to this point)…13-4-4 with a 2.48 GAA and a .920 save percentage (good for 8th in the NHL). Antero has by far been the more consistent option between the pipes for the Flyers, but his lack of playoff experience makes him a bit of an unknown as we get closer to the postseason. As of now, while he will still share time with Biron, it seems as though Niitty is the Flyers new #1 goalie.

In the black corner…

Martin BironMartin Biron, a 31-year old who came into the season as the starter…15-11-5 with a 2.96 GAA and a .904 save percentage (ranking him 32nd in the NHL). Was terrific in the playoffs last season and helped carry the Flyers to the Eastern Conference Finals. Has had an up and down season but is mired in a slump right now. He has lost his last 4 starts and has a GAA of 3.98 in his last five appearances.

Who do you think gives the Flyers the best chance to win the Cup?

My take: For the rest of the regular season I’d ride the hot hand, and whoever happens to be playing the best heading into the playoffs is the default #1. If he struggles in the postseason though I wouldn’t hesitate to give the other guy a shot. This might be why John Stevens insists he doesn’t have a goalie controversy on his hands…because he knows his #1 will be whoever happens to be playing the best late in the season. Right now that guy is Niittymaki, but that could change with one or two bad appearances.

A Few Interesting Links…

- Rich Hofmann addressed the Eagles’ need for a reciever in his Daily News column today…but do the names Reggie Williams or Bryant Johnson do anything for you? Didn’t think so…

- Good to see Chase Utley back at the Phils’ Spring Training facility:

Chase Utley is here and his recovery from off-season hip surgery is moving quickly. Utley did some light running today, then took ground balls — nice and easy — for the first time. He said he will be swinging a bat soon.

Both Utley and manager Charlie Manuel said today that opening day remains a realistic possibility for Utley — if he doesn’t have any setbacks.

- Danny Briere is back at practice for the Flyers, and his return date is tentatively set for February 25th.

- Former Phillie Bobby Abreu signed a one-year deal with the Angels for $5 million. This really is a perfect fit for Bobby…now he can take his no-heart, lackadaisical performances to a place where the fans either won’t notice or won’t care.

- ESPN 2 dropped the ball a bit with their “Interactive Tuesday” broadcast of the Nova-Marquette game. Bravo RimjobLarry!

- Lil Wayne made an appearance on Around the Horn yesterday. I watched for all of five miunutes until Woody Paige and Jay Marrioti gave me a headache and forced me to change the channel.

- Evidently the NBA spells “Horse” G-E-I-C-O. Absolutely pathetic.

Enjoy the Sixers-Grizz game tonight everyone! Can they really win four in a row?!?

The Trade Deadline Is Approaching: New Faces Wearing Orange And Black?

Posted by Chris Shafer On February - 10 - 2009

briereCall whoever you need to call. Shout it in the streets. The Flyers are fast approaching crunch-time for the playoffs on the back of two big wins this weekend. Right now they sit 6 points back from the surprisingly good Devils in second place for the division and 4th in the conference. The Flyers do however have two games in hand which they hope to capitalize on. The race for the Atlantic is very much alive. In fact among Eastern Conference competition they are the only team in the top 8 with only 52 games played. The other 7 all have played 54. This is exactly where the Flyers wanted to be at the beginning of the season; right there with the best teams in the conference. This of course hasn’t been easy to accomplish. A major piece of the puzzle is still out. Danny Briere is still healing from surgery, but all signs point to his return on the way.

So what does that mean for the Flyers as they push towards the playoffs once again? It means they are adding a well rested point per game player back into their lineup to add to Gagne, Richards, and Carter. That makes the Flyers easily the deadliest and deepest offense in the NHL with the ability to skate three legitimate scoring lines every night. While there is talk that players will have to come off the books in order for Briere to return to the lineup the Flyers have already made moves in order to deal with the situation. Recent 1st round draft selection, Luca Sbisa, has been sent back to the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes with Randy Jones and Ryan Parent both returning from injuries suffered in the preseason. Defenseman Lasse Kukkonen has been waived back to the Philadelphia Phantoms while rookie talent Parent has been brought up to bring a shut-down presence to the Flyer blueline.

So with all this motion in the organization is it possible for the Flyers to go after the biggest defender on the market, Jay Bouwmeester of the Florida Panthers? Of course it is. A deal involving Joffrey Lupul and Matt Carle for Bouwmeester, who is scheduled to become a UFA after this season, could easily free up the needed cap space to bring both Bouwmeester to Philadelphia and put Briere back in the lineup. Other things would have to be sent to Florida such as picks and prospects of course, but the basic understanding is that Florida wants to win now. They even have issued a press release claiming that they promise to make the playoffs this season or 4 tickets to games next season are on them. So what team in their right mind would give up such an important player to their recent success at the trade deadline? Well Florida has a bit of a situation on their hands with the all-star blueliner. Going into this season he was a restricted free agent that Florida was barely able to make a one year deal with. He didn’t want to be on a Florida team that continued to lose. While that may have changed with the Panthers recent regular season success there has also been promises that if Bouwmeester and the organization do not reach a long term deal by the trade deadline he will be moved. If Philadelphia could acquire him the boost he would give to this defensive core would be nothing short of spectacular. The price has to be right though because the Flyers, should they acquire his services, would obviously like to retain him for an extended amount of time. Situations like this can be tricky so it’s best not to get excited at the possibility of another big name defender in this lineup to add to Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn. Paul Holmgren has a tendancy to find gems in places people least expect them to come from so it’s very possible that the Flyers could go in a totally different direction.

Whatever happens at the trade deadline, the Flyers do expect to add another all-star piece to the puzzle should Bouwmeester never leave Florida. His name is Daniel Briere. He has been here all along frustrated that he cannot be with his team in during the dog-days of winter. With spring though comes the final stretch followed by the playoffs. You can be sure he wants to be out there on the ice by then.

For more information on the Flyers Trade Deadline watch please visit my article here

Ready for Round 2 with Beantown?

Posted by David Foley On February - 4 - 2009

The Sixers were a Ray Allen last second three from taking down the best team in the East last night (granted without Kevin Garnett) but still came up short. Tonight the Flyers will try to finish the job against the Eastern Conference leading Bruins.

A few key players to keep an eye on:

- Martin Biron: If he does indeed get the start as expected, this is a great opportunity for him to show Coach Stevens and the rest of the organization that he deserves to be the #1 guy. If he struggles…all bets are off. History is certainly on his side however; in his last 10 starts against the B’s he is 8-0-1 with a 2.00 GAA.

- Mike Richards: Had a four-game point streak going until that debacle in St. Louis. In his last six against Boston he has 5 G and 3 A.

- David Krejci: A good sign for the Flyers: the impressive young Boston center man has now gone his last 3 games without a point. The negative? Krejci still has 53 points in 51 games this season and is too talented to struggle for long.

- Patrice Bergeron: This will be his first time facing the Flyers since October 17,2007 when Randy Jones gave him a concussion and ended his season.

Credit for a majority of the miscellaneous stats goes to NHL.com (Flyers/Bruins Game Preview). Puck drops at 7:00 PM ET.

Elton Brand Update

Brand was a non-factor in yesterday’s loss to Boston, playing just 9 minutes and being held scoreless. There was speculation that he might be shut down yet again, but today the Daily News’ Sixerville blog is reporting that he is being listed as “Day-to-Day” and should play tomorrow night against the Pacers.

For all you goalies out there…

Here’s an interesting NHL.com story about goalie masks. On of the artists quoted worked on a personalized mask at one point for Ron Hextall. The article also discusses how Ottawa rookie goaltender Brian Elliot decided to decorate his mask upon arriving in the NHL.

Flyers Ready for Round Two in Florida

Posted by David Foley On January - 30 - 2009

At least one Philadelphia sports team is playing in Tampa this week…unfortunately it’s not the Eagles.

The Flyers will face the Lightning at 7:30 ET tonight after looking flat in a 3-2 loss to the Panthers on Tuesday. Antero Nittymaki is expected to start, but as ESPN.com points out in their game preview Antero is 0-4-0 with a 4.28 GAA against Tampa. He also hasn’t faced them since October of 2007.

Some other interesting news on the Flyers front: according to Rich Hofmann’s Philly.com blog don’t expect Peter Forsberg to be in the orange and black anytime soon…

Forsberg says today that he won’t be coming here to play this year, or anywhere on this continent. The key quote out of Sweden goes like this: ‘There won’t be any NHL this season, that’s totally clear. If I can play it will be in the (Swedish) Elite Series and Modo.’

Feel free to talk about the game in the comments section below.

I’d also like to take this opportunity, this being my first Phinally Philly post and all, to say I’m really excited to be working with everyone here. Hopefully as time goes on this will become a major source of news and discussion for Philadelphia sports fans across the globe. I’m proud to be a part of it.

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