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Pens telecast caught cheating

Posted by Chris Shafer On January - 10 - 2010

Perhaps one of the most dangerous precedents in hockey history has been started by Gary Bettman’s “model franchise.” You know, the same one that was about to move to Kansas City due to fan base disenchantment, ended up drafting in the top two selections four years in a row, and eventually won a Stanley Cup last year after some questionable “good luck” throughout the playoffs?

Yeah that’s the Pittsburgh Penguins, complete with two of the top three players in the world. For all those conspiracy nuts out there, I would just like to point out that Gary Bettman is not sitting on the phone calling the officials during Penguins games, but there is clearly something fishy going on. If you witnessed the 7-4 victory earlier this week then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Yes, Gagne definitely scored his 500th career point during a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Though he eventually got it last night in a 4-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning, there still seems to be a certain injustice going on here.

Well, according to Sam Carchidi, this is how it all went down:

An NHL executive said last night that replay officials in Toronto were not given the proper replays by Fox Sports in Pittsburgh on Thursday, when they ruled that Simon Gagne’s goal did not count against the host Penguins.

Gagne swatted a second-period rebound that Penguins goalie Brent Johnson smothered and appeared to carry into the net. It was not ruled a goal on the ice, and when replay officials in Toronto viewed the replays, they said the evidence was “inconclusive” and did not count the goal. A few minutes after the ruling, another replay was shown in the press box, showing the puck past the goal line.

Fox did not send that replay to Toronto officials until after the puck was dropped following the ruling.

“At that point, the ruling was permanent,” said John Dellapina, an NHL executive.

The Flyers’ telecast was using the Pittsburgh video feed and did not have any video to send to Toronto.

This brings up a number of questions:

  1. Have they done this before?
  2. How many times have they done this?
  3. What else could they be getting away with?

If you’re not at least asking some very important questions at this point, then you’re missing something. What use is video replay in the NHL if teams, especially ones like the Pittsburgh Penguins who seem to have good luck flying out of their skates, withhold evidence to keep reviews/calls in their favor?

Granted, the Flyers won that game by a pretty sizable score, but if the Penguins had managed to come back, this would be a game 2 fiasco all over again. For those unfamiliar with game 2 of the playoff series last year, please refer to this:

Other News

The Flyers are now 7-1-1 in their last 9 after a 4-1 win at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Betts scored twice with a goal each by Giroux and Hartnell. The Dallas Stars come into town Tuesday for a 7:00 game.

Leighton performed well yet again. If you take out the Ottawa game, where after 9 minutes he had a 13.16 GAA and a 0.714 SV%, then he is sitting at 1.84 GAA and a 0.942 SV%. Just imagine what Ray Emery could do behind a team performing this well.

Speaking of Emery, last night during a 2-1 Adirondack Phantoms loss to Portland, he let in 2 goals on 14 shots against for a 2.03 GAA and a 0.857 SV%. Numbers aren’t always a fair and reasonable way to show how well someone performed, but it might be another game or two before Emery starts for the Flyers once again.

Hats off to the officials

Posted by Chris Shafer On January - 7 - 2010

Meet NHL official Don van Massenhoven. You know him from such games as the last game of the 2008-09 regular season against the Rangers.

Sometimes in the NHL it’s a very hard thing to stay competitive. The salary cap evens everything out even more. You have to stay on your toes, and you need a group of guys to bring a ton of heart onto the ice every night.

Say what you want about the Flyers’ lack of heart and energy during their slump, but there is certainly an NHL faction that carries it in spades. NHL officials are always hard at work, and tonight during the Flyers victory over the Penguins in Pittsburgh, they were at the top of their game.

Unfortunately to win games in the league though it takes a certain amount of skill. That didn’t stop Don van Massenhoven from trying.

Some points where his heart was evident: Carter’s “offsides” breakaway, Gagne’s disallowed goal, Malkin’s blatant trip on Giroux early in the game, and various missed cross-checks flying about.

The game quickly became a teeing off contest to see which Penguin could push the limit too far before going to the box. The officials kept things in check though. Non-calls quickly became scoring opportunities for the Penguins.

My hat is officially off to Don van Massenhoven, his teammates in the Toronto War Room, and General Manager Gary Bettman. Still the Flyers come away with an 7-4 victory once again proving that the only way to beat the Penguins is to score until the officials can’t get Pittsburgh back in the game.

Carter gets a pair, vanRiemsdyk gets a pair, and Pronger, Carle, and Richards each get one. Gagne gets snubbed while Arron Asham and Michael Leighton also have spectacular games. Without Massenhoven’s help this game would have been an absolute route.

NHL reviews continue to be a joke. Toronto doesn't think Gagne's goal was conclusive enough.

Flyers now shift their attention to Saturday where Emery could make his triumphant return.

Keep your feeds glued to @shafer22 on Twitter, and you’ll know who will be getting the start in net as soon as it’s announced as well as any updates going into the Saturday home stand against the Lightning.

P.S. Pittsburgh fans booing their former player, Dan Carcillo, for laying on the ice after catching a puck in the face? Classy. Just proof that obviously Philly fans are the worst in the free world.

Dan Appreciation Night at the Wach

Posted by Chris Shafer On January - 6 - 2010

Dan Carcillo was certainly the rock star for the Flyers' first home game of 2010.

Few words could describe the whooping the Flyers put on the Maple Leafs tonight. Perhaps, all you need to say is, “Old time hockey,” but that wouldn’t be entirely fair. Wednesday Night Throwdown met a quick trip to the Red Light District as the Flyers netted six.

Leighton had 32 shots against and only let in two thanks to another spectacular outing by the blocking crew of Betts, Laperriere, Powe, and the blueline core. Gustavsson, the “Monster” of a goalie for Toronto, let in six as the Flyers took 32 shots of their own.

Pronger earned three assists, and vanRiemsdyk finally got himself back on the scoresheet with a goal. Richards also added a goal, and a few more assists were spread around.

Still the story of the night was the trio of Dan’s on the Flyers roster.

Danny Briere scored two goals for his 499th and 500th career points. Danny Syvret, who scored in the Winter Classic, also got a goal. Then there was the Dan “the Madman” Carcillo who decided to make the ice his personal playground.

There were plenty of hits, plenty of fights (including a Carcillo leaving a nice little mark on Jamal Mayers’ face), and plenty of goals. The goal of the night however belongs to the man himself even though Briere did his best to take over the night.

Hopefully all this energy carries over to a big away game against the Penguins tomorrow night.

Still those Winter Classic jerseys, which will be the team’s away jersey next season according to sources, are awesome right? Say what you will about the aesthetics of the black name-plates, but I certainly can’t wait to get my hands on one.

In other news, Ray Emery claims he will be back Saturday barring any setbacks. When he does return the Flyers will either send Ryan Parent, who will be out for a bit, to the long-term injured reserve (LTIR) or Mika Pyorala, who has been scratched lately, will be dropped to the minors.

Regardless, the organization says they will carry three goalies until Parent is healthy, which could be a couple weeks. No one knows what will happen to Leighton or Boucher at that point. Any theories would just be pure speculation.

Best of the Decade – Flyers

Posted by Chris Shafer On December - 31 - 2009

The decade for the Flyers will forever be described by the ups and downs. The organization went in as a legitimate Stanley Cup contender and would roll out as such by the end of 2009 despite great periods, slumps, dramatic turnarounds, and even the worst season in franchise history.

The Flyers All-Decade Team

W -- Simon Gagne (2000-Present): 692 GP -- 270 G -- 261 A -- 531 P

Future hall-of-famer Mark Recchi scored the second most points for the Flyers this decade.

W -- Mark Recchi (2000-2004): 451 GP -- 142 G -- 255 A -- 397 P

W -- John LeClair (2000-2004): 350 GP -- 124 G -- 124 A -- 248 P

W -- Mike Knuble (2005-2009): 334 GP -- 120 G -- 115 A -- 235 P

W -- Jeremy Roenick (2001-2004): 252 GP -- 74 G -- 120 A -- 194 P

W -- Danny Briere (2007-Present): 163 GP -- 66 G -- 76 A -- 142 P

W -- Scott Hartnell (2007-Present): 224 GP -- 67 G -- 69 A -- 136 P

W -- Sami Kapanen (2003-2008): 364 GP -- 53 G -- 76 A -- 129 P

C -- Mike Richards (2005-Present): 358 GP -- 103 G -- 171 A -- 274 P

C -- Jeff Carter (2005-Present): 375 GP -- 133 G -- 127 A -- 260 P

C -- Keith Primeau (2000-2005): 370 GP -- 99 G -- 148 A -- 247 P

C -- Peter Forsberg (2005-2007): 106 GP -- 34 G -- 89 A -- 123 P

D -- Eric Desjardins (2000-2006): 437 GP -- 54 GP -- 164 A -- 218 P

Kim Johnsson was an important part of the Flyers' blueline for a number of years.

D -- Kim Johnsson (2001-2006): 324 GP -- 42 G -- 116 A -- 158 P

D -- Kimmo Timonen (2007-Present): 215 GP -- 14 G -- 100 A -- 114 P

D -- Derian Hatcher (2005-2008): 224 GP -- 10 G -- 28 A -- 38 P

D -- Joni Pitkanen (2003-2007): 227 GP -- 25 G -- 96 A -- 121 P

D -- Braydon Coburn (2007-Present): 236 GP -- 24 G -- 69 A -- 93 P

G -- Roman Cechmanek (2000-2003): 186 GP -- 101 W -- 23 SO -- 2.17 GAA -- 0.917 SV%

G -Martin Biron (2007-2009): 156 GP -- 76 W -- 9 SO -- 2.78 GAA -- 0.913 SV%

G -Robert Esche (2002-2007): 153 GP -- 73 W -- 8 SO -- 2.87 GAA -- 0.902 SV%

There is likely some dispute about Biron and Esche, but since both have similar goaltending stats as well as great playoff runs (Esche 2004, Biron 2008), I thought they both deserve a shot to make the team.

Honorable Mention: Justin Williams (2000-2004)  and Chris Therien (2000-2006).

Top 3 Players

Keith Primeau became a Philadelphia legend during the 2004 playoffs.

Keith Primeau -- Say what you want about his salary or his return investment on the scoreboard. Keith Primeau rode into Philadelphia on the Rod Brind’Amour trade. Brind’Amour, a fan favorite of many Flyers fans, was lost in a trade with plenty of rumors swirling around. Primeau caught the wrong end of that, but if he came into Philadelphia as an almost unwelcome salary forward, he certainly left as a legend. In the magical 2004 playoff run he carried an entire team on his back running on heart alone. The old man still had some fight left, and as captain, he brought the team within one win of making it back to the Stanley Cup Finals. Unfortunately the Tampa Bay Lightning, who beat the Flyers in seven games during that final Eastern Conference Final of the old-era NHL, would go on to win the Stanley Cup. With the lockout destroying any hope for a 2004-05 season, many of the Flyers legends including John LeClair, Mark Recchi, and Jeremy Roenick would move on or retire. Primeau stuck with the team and accounted for a goal and six assists in nine games during the 2005-06 season before a concussion ended his career. He coached high school hockey in the area before taking a player development position with the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL. He remains one of the game’s foremost spokesmen for concussion protection and is even donating his brain to science upon his passing. He remains a legend in Philadelphia.

Simon Gagne -- Simon Gagne has seen all of Flyers’ hockey for a decade. Often though, he is an afterthought. Even with injuries he has made his way into the Flyers’ all-time scoring lists, and his love for the city remains even when the fans sometimes forget him. He was a promising young rookie when Brian Boucher carried the Flyers into the 2000 playoffs. He was there to watch Lindros’ career fall apart because of concussions. He was there with Desjardins and LeClair. He fought through the 2004 playoffs of legend and returned to play with the Peter Forsbereg, the one that got away, even through the black season. He’s seen the movement of many friends and teammates, the fall of the Flyers’ greats of the 90′s, and the rise of the new generation post-lockout. Gagne may not be the toughest or most hard-nosed Flyer ever to suit up, but he has seen this team through thick and thin; through injury, defeat, and heartbreak as well as victory.

Mike Richards - The advent of Mike Richards in Philadelphia was nothing short of a phenomenon. After the black year, it was Richards’ complete game that brought this team back to winning. Flyers hockey was once again, fast, hard-nosed, and high scoring. Richards played the game with a lot of heart, and everyone loved him for it. He was rewarded with a contract lasting until 2020 as well as a ‘C’ on his chest. When the team started to appear as if it was lacking heart though, the young captain was the first to take the blame. He reacted defensively when the media prodded into his partying lifestyle away from the rink. It was Richards and his good friend, Jeff Carter that took the fall for the slump of November 2009 whether it was their fault or not. Their scoring, along with some help from Briere and Gagne, would bring the Flyers back into a winning streak to close out 2009. The fans are still not sure what to consider Mike Richards just yet, but there are a lot of expectations on his shoulders.

Honorable Mention

  • Danny Briere -- After the black season the Flyers acquired Danny Briere to put Philadelphia on the hockey map once again. Despite questions about injury and salary he continues to play hard on every shift. The midget scoring machine is easily one of the reasons the Flyers were successful in the latter half of the decade whether people believe it or not.
  • Peter Forsberg -- Forsberg did not stay long, but the great “what if” had come back to Philadelphia, the team that traded him for Eric Lindros right after the draft, for another shot. Injury issues caught up with him once again, but for a short time, when he was on the top line with Simon Gagne, the city of Philadelphia fell in love with him. He remains a fan favorite despite his short stint with the orange and black.
  • Chris Pronger -- The Flyers had come full circle by the end of the decade. They had been the favorites, had gone through the stages of an underdog, had dropped to the league basement, and even returned brighter than ever. Chris Pronger was acquired in a trade on draft day 2009 to get the Flyers over the hump. He was inked to a long-term contract and has so far been as advertised. Many have said that the Flyers and Chris Pronger were a match made in heaven…possibly hell. So far they have been right, but the results will have to speak for themselves.

Top 5 Moments

2004 Playoffs -- The entirety of the 2004 postseason was absolutely magical for the Orange and Black. It was the stuff of legends that will be told in Flyers history for years. Captain Keith Primeau brought a fire that Philadelphia had not seen in a long time, and even though it did not end in victory, it will forever be known as the highlight of the decade.

Lupul Lifts Flyers Back To Top - The 2006-07 season was the worst in franchise history. The black season had ripped a whole in Flyers hockey that many worried would last a long time. The Flyers had not missed the playoffs many times in their history, but that season in particular was terrible. The organization immediately tried to get back on top. They moved Forsberg for Upshall, Hartnell, and Timonen. Coburn was acquired from Atlanta. Biron came in, and the organization signed Briere. The Flyers came out hot in 2007-08, but almost immediately Gagne was lost for the entire season. That was when Richards emerged as a Flyer and, along with many new acquisitions, carried the team back to the playoffs. The orange and black were still not legitimate though. They were not a team to be feared again just yet. They entered a tough series against Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. It raged on until the overtime of game seven where a goal by Joffrey Lupul announced the Flyers’ return to the NHL spotlight.

Flyers vs. Senators Roster Brawl 2004 -- Possibly the most memorable fight in all of Flyers’ history. Everyone knows where they were and what they were doing when this massive brawl broke out.

Hartnell Leads Great Comeback in 2008 -- On December 11th, 2008 the Flyers fell down 5-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes by the 3rd period. Hartnell had a huge fight as well as a hat trick as the orange and black came back to win the game in a shootout. It marked the biggest comeback in Flyers’ history.

Primeau 5 OT Goal in 2000 -- On May 5th, 2000 Primeau worked his magic to win the longest running game in NHL history in the 5th OT over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Future

Under a new head coach, Peter Laviolette, the Flyers are trying to regain their composure as a legitimate Stanley Cup favorite. The core is set up on the blueline and in the offensive zone. Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Claude Giroux, and James vanRiemsdyk have bright futures ahead of them. Even Matt Carle, Braydon Coburn, and Ryan Parent still have some growing to do. Meanwhile veterans like Danny Briere, Simon Gagne, Chris Pronger, and Kimmo Timonen will keep this team together.

The season right now is still a question mark, but could this be the generation that brings the Stanley Cup back to Philadelphia? We’ll find out in the next decade.

Important Flyers updates to close out ’09

Posted by Chris Shafer On December - 31 - 2009

Briere, Gagne, and Coburn help lead the Flyers to a four game winning streak to close out 2009.

Flyers on Four Game Win Streak to End 2009

The Flyers offense seems to have finally caught a second wind, and it has led to an incredible four game winning streak on the road to close out the 2009 calendar year. A ridiculous 16 goals in four games was only made that much better by the 6 total goals against with Michael Leighton, the human rebound machine, between the pipes.

The Flyers offense and defense both rallied behind the mid-season waiver pick-up from Carolina in incredible fashion whether it be Carle’s goal-line efforts against the Hurricanes or Gagne’s natural hat trick tonight to silence the Rangers.

Leighton gets the shutout in the 6-0 thrashing and has some impressive stats. Through the four wins he has a 1.44 goals-against-average along with a 0.958 save percentage. Granted he is out of position a lot and hands out heart-attack rebounds like candy. Still the Flyers have been able to find ways to keep rebounds out the net while sinking some pucks of their own.

Four Game Stat Reel

  • Simon Gagne: 4 -- 2 -- 6
  • Mike Richards: 3 -- 3 -- 6
  • Danny Briere: 3 -- 2 -- 5
  • Jeff Carter: 2 -- 3 -- 5
  • Claude Giroux: 1 -- 4 -- 5
  • Blair Betts: 3 -- 0 -- 3
  • Ian Laperriere: 0 -- 3 -- 3
  • Scott Hartnell: 0 -- 3 -- 3
  • Oscars Bartulis: 0 -- 2 -- 2
  • Chris Pronger: 0 -- 2 -- 2
  • Dan Carcillo: 0 -- 1 -- 1
  • Braydon Coburn: 0 -- 1 -- 1
  • Kimmo Timonen: 0 -- 1 -- 1

Winter Classic is Next

Major props to the Broad Street Bikers are in order for making it to the NHL Winter Classic Webpage. We have done several stories here at Phinally Philly on the bikers, including an interview with one of them, Andrew Moriarity.

On the NHL Winter Classic Website you can do all kinds of things including watching Fenway’s continued transformation into an outdoor ice rink as well as live weather updates.

The weather updates may become more and more important as January 1st inches closer. With forecasts calling for either snow or freezing rain on New Year’s day, fingers are crossed all over North America.

No one is sure yet who Laviolette will choose to play between the pipes though. Will he ride Leighton’s hot-hand, though certainly dangerous, or will he go with Boucher? At this point it’s anyone’s guess, but the Flyers may really be healthy for the Winter Classic with the exception of Emery. There is still no word on Parent, but his injuries don’t seem serious. The good news is that Ray Emery is skating again and will be back in a couple weeks.

I don’t think I need to convince everyone to tune in for the game at 1 P.M. on January 1st, hangover or not. Set your alarms and get the aspirin ready.

Olympic Rosters Almost Set

As it stands right now, only five Flyers are headed to Vancouver for the 2010 games. An injury to Gagne kept the long-time Team Canada lock out of the line up. Carter’s slump was his undoing. Both have been named alternates in case of injury though. Richards and Pronger, however, will be members of team Canada with Pronger wearing the ‘A’. Timonen will suit up for Finland, Bartulis for Latvia, and Tollefsen for Norway if he is healthy enough to go.

Mika Pyorala, who seemed to have a very good chance of making the Finnish team with Timonen, will unexpectedly not be headed to the games. Prospect Andreas Nodl would have likely been on Team Austria had they not been edged out of the games at the last minute.

A couple Flyers from the last couple  seasons though will be making the trip. Patrick Thoresen (aka Thor), who is currently tearing apart the KHL, will join Tollefsen on Norway’s team. Lasse Kukkonen and Antero Niittymaki will be reunited with Kimmo Timonen on Team Finland. Peter Forsberg of course will be suiting up for Team Sweden. From defenseman Luca Sbisa will be suiting up for Team Switzerland.

The United States hasn’t announced their roster just yet, but that will come during the Winter Classic on January 1st. Matt Carle has an outside shot at making it on the blueline but don’t expect rookie James vanRiemsdyk to punch his ticket to the Olympics just yet. After starting out hot, his NCAA legs (college teams play a lot less games during a lengthy season) have started to get worn out. That was to be expected with the Flyers’ insane schedule over the last couple of months. A little rest from action during the Olympic Break will do him some good. Rest is something all the Flyers could use, but for right now, the focus is on the Winter Classic in a couple of days.

Prospect Joacim “Sunshine” Eriksson Lighting Up Europe

Joacim Eriksson, drafted by the Flyers in the 7th round of 2008, moved on from the Swedish junior league this year and has done nothing but dominate. (Image Credits: EliteProspects.com)

I’m sure everyone has seen the movie Remember the Titans by now. If you haven’t, go on youtube and find a clip of the quarterback they call “Sunshine.” No lie, Joacim Eriksson looks exactly like him.

That’s not all Eriksson is lighting up though. He has become a ray of hope for the Flyers uneventful goalie prospect group for the last two decades.

At 6’2, 189 lbs. he covers quite a bit of net but has all the athleticism in the world. His butterfly style has done him well, and his quick glove hand is nothing to scoff at. He has his positioning down and great rebound control. Of course, you’d have to watch him play to know all of this.

Before the advent of the KHL (Russian Hockey League), the SEL (Swedish Elite League) was often regarded as the 2nd best hockey league in the world behind the NHL. It has become the third because of the KHL’s massive draw, but even so, the league has stiff competition. Unfortunately for Eriksson he is currently stuck in the minor league of the SEL called the Hockey Allsvenskan thanks to someone often considered the best goalie of their year, Jacob Markström. Eriksson, who played for Brynas IF’s junior team, could not move on to their SEL team since Markström was occupying the starting goaltender position. Instead Eriksson ended up with Leksands IF in the Allsvenskan.

Eriksson though would make the best of it. Markström ended up the starter for Team Sweden in the 2010 World Junior Championships while Anders Nilsson, goaltender for Luleå, got the back-up position. In the SEL this season Markström has a 2.10 GAA and a 0.924 sv% over 27 games. Nilsson has a 2.59 GAA and a 0.900 sv% over 24 games.

Down in the Hockey Allsvenskan, Eriksson, who may have been snubbed for Team Sweden’s WJC roster, leads the league in save percentage with 0.934 and is fourth in the league in goals-against-average with 2.16 (first among starters). Oh, he also leads the league with six shutouts.

Eriksson right now is doing it all even after living in Markström’s shadow for a long time. Next year he hopes to get his shot in the SEL, but for now he’s got his priorities on the season at hand.

A little bit of patience could see Eriksson headed over to the States in a couple years.

Maroon Injury

Flyers’ power-forward prospect, Patrick Maroon, was severely injured tonight in an away game against the Albany River Rats of the AHL. He was carted off in a stretcher and taken to Albany Medical. Though he had regained consciousness on the ice, he is now alert and able to move his extremities. Further updates on Maroon’s condition can be seen through my twitter account: shafer22. For now, the Phantoms will be hoping for his safety and speedy return back to the lineup.

Another angle:

The hit heard ’round the Capital District by Tim McManus

First the good news: as of 10 p.m., Maroon was awake and alert at Albany Med with movement and feelings in all extremities. According to the Phantoms medical staff, his head and neck had been clear but they were still testing his back. Obviously, I’ll update as soon as I hear more.

My game story focused on the teams differing reactions to the hit. The Phantoms reaction can be boiled down to this:  “cheap shot.” Meanwhile, Albany coach Jeff Daniels said he thought Maroon may have been knocked out before Blanchard got there. I thought that was crazy when he said it, but after looking at the second angle, there’s a chance Brett Bellemore (34) may have hurt Maroon with two gloved shots to the head just before Blanchard gets there. However, it still doesn’t excuse Blanchard coming late and from behind. If he didn’t cause the damage, he certainly made it worse when Maroon was in a vulnerable position.

It seems a suspension is likely for Blanchard, a repeat offender. He was suspended earlier in the season for a blind side hit. Gilbert said if the league didn’t take action, it would be “a travesty.”

At live speed, I didn’t initially think Maroon was injured. But especially with hits from behind I think it has to do more with the angle and awkwardness of the impact rather than the ferocity.

One thing I did think immediately was that the whoever  running the sound board at the Times Union Center was making a massive mistake. They began a clip from the movie “A Christmas Story,” but if you were just watching Maroon, all you heard was the audio that began something like, “What, are you going to cry now? Come on, crybaby.” Not the time to be playing wise-cracking music. Terrible taste. It was pulled, but went on for an uncomfortably long time.

Jon Matsumoto was seething about it in the locker room. “I thought it was a little unclassy of them to play ads and music. That was absolute bullsh**. A total lack of class,” he said.

Phinally Philly chats with the Broad Street Bikers

Posted by Chris Shafer On December - 28 - 2009

The Broad Street Bikers right before they leave for Fenway from in front of the Spectrum.

Few people are as insane as Andrew Moriarity and Patrick Montgomery, a few Flyers fans who have bled Orange and Black since birth. Their insanity however, is all for a good cause.

In a follow-up to the Phinally Philly breaking story about a pair of crazy kids ready to take a bike ride across six states (PA, NJ, NY, CT, RI, and MA) in five days to land in Massachusetts in time to support the Flyers in their Winter Classic game on January 1st, 2010 from historic Fenway Park, Phinally Philly decided to have a chat with Andrew Moriarity.

PP: What made you come up with this insane stunt?

AM: Well, we knew we would find some way to go, so we started talking about how we were going to make the trip to Boston.  Out of jest, I used Google Maps to see how long it would take to walk, (for the record 5 days at about 16 hours of walking a day), and then Pat suggested we just bike it and turn it into a charity event, and from there, Wheeling to the Winter Classic was born.

PP: Have you ever been to Fenway Park?

AM: Neither myself, or my friend Pat have ever been, and I doubt either of us have the time to take a trip for a Phils game, so seeing the Winter Classic and getting our first look at the Green Monster is like killing two birds with one stone.

PP: I’m sure you’ve both ridden regular bikes before, but do you any experience on tandem bikes? Is it any different?

AM: Neither of us have ever ridden one before, but we will be picking up the tandem we will be using and getting a few practice rides in before we leave on Sunday.  We just want to thank the people at the Cycle Corner of Frenchtown (http://thecyclecorner.com/) for providing us with the bike and really stepping up to help us out.

PP: Are you worried about the weather though another blizzard is unlikely?

AM: Well, hopefully the internet is correct as it has a nice window of partly sunny days following a Dec 25th and 26th with freezing rain.  We are a bit worried about the weather, but not in the sense that we’d have to bike through it, we are more concerned about being visible to cars on the road to make sure we can complete the trip safely.

PP: Tell us a little more about the Blessed Sarnelli Community.

AM: The Blessed Sarnelli Community is an outreach program run by Father Kevin Murray, based in the Kensington Area of Philadelphia.  The organizational mission is to meet the needs of the poor, abandoned, and homeless people of Philadelphia.  They are currently in the process of renovating a new house from which they will base their operation.  They do weekly outreach trips around the city of Philadelphia distributing food, drink, and clothes to those who are less fortunate than ourselves.  Upon completion of the house, they will again begin to offer (as they did for ten years at a previous location) hospitality with and for people in need through weekly lunches, showers and personal hygienic needs, full supper one night a week, as well as guidance, support and referrals. The community is comprised of young adult volunteers who view all who come through the door as guests. At the core of the Sarnelli mission is respect for the human dignity of all who are served.

PP: How long have you been Flyers’ fans?

AM: Since October 27, 1986 at 8:37pm

PP: What is your favorite current player? All-time?

AM: My favorite current player would have to be Scott Hartnell.  He is one of the few guys that shows up to play every game.  Yeah, he might take some bad penalties at times, but the guy is a gamer, and I respect and admire that.  On a lesser note, I am also a huge Blair Betts fan.  The guy has a role, and he plays it perfectly, not to mention our stellar record with him in the line up as opposed to him injured.  Now, I am probably going to take a huge amount of flack for this but I’d have to say my favorite Flyer all-time is Eric Lindros. Now before I start to get hate mail, I was born in 1986, and grew up watching the Flyers through the 90′s and aside from Mario Lemieux, never have I personally watch a player so dominating on the ice.  It’s a shame the situation ended like it did, but I have forgiven him and most other fans should too.

PP: Do you think the offense can pull out of this slump, and what(who) do you believe is responsible for the lack of pucks finding the net?

AM: It is quite baffling, since the Flyers have too much talent to not be scoring goals at the moment.  Not being privy to the insider info, I can’t say if its the system, whether or not they’re partying too hard, or whatever, so I am just going to blame it on the shaving of Jim Jackson’s mustache.

PP: Where and how can we donate to your charity?

AM: The easiest way to donate would be through the donate portion of our web page, http://broadstreetbikers.webs.com/donate.htm , or if you don’t trust the internet you can mail checks using the following information:

Wheeling to the Winter Classic

PO 29303

Philadelphia, PA 19125

Please make checks payable to Blessed Sarnelli Community, and mention Wheeling to the Winter Classic in the Memo.

As you all sit comfortably at home watching the Flyers attempt to continue their nice little three game winning streak, the Broad Street Bikers are already on the way to Fenway.

Today was a long day! It started out with our family and friends cheering for us as we departed from the Spectrum in South Philadelphia at 8:30am. When we reached North Philadelphia my phone rang and ABC Action news asked if they could catch up to us and do a quick interview. We gladly accepted and pulled over to the nearest gas station and waited for them to come. The next leg of the trip went very smoothly, until we took a wrong turn when we were close to the PA/NJ border. This eventually led us to an on ramp to Route 1. Not where we wanted to be! So we called our trail car and had them lift us to a safer area. The next obstacle we ran into was our first flat tire. maneuvering around the streets of Trenton, NJ we looked at our back tire and saw it was completely flat. Again we called our trusty trail car and they arrived with all of the necessary fix it materials.

The rest of our ride was fairly uneventful, but it was a long 80 miles to Staten Island. This was our longest day of our trip, so we are very glad it is behind us! Thank you to Lina Tirro and her family for graciously hosting us tonight!

The Broad Street Bikers will continue their trek to Fenway through the week up until the big game with plenty of blog updates from their website. A couple stops have them in Connecticut over the next two days before stopping in Rhode Island and finally finishing in Boston, Massachusetts.

Merry Christmas for Flyers, fans, and Carter; not Temple blogger

Posted by Chris Shafer On December - 25 - 2009

Jeff Carter won't be traded according to the Flyers.

It’s been a long month for Flyers fans, but on the heels of a 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning only a few days before Christmas as well as a relatively easy schedule on the horizon, things may finally be looking up.

With the exception of Ray Emery, the majority of the roster will be healthy to take on the Carolina Hurricanes tomorrow night.

Simon Gagne has a goal and is playing some edgy, intense hockey. Darroll Powe is back and looking great. Blair Betts came back a bit ago but recently had his first NHL 2-goal game. Mike Richards seems to finally be getting into rhythm.

Now the only piece left is really Jeff Carter. If he finds his scoring touch and the rest of the important forwards, Briere, Hartnell, Gagne, Richards, Giroux, and vanRiemsdyk, manage to start potting some goals, the wins will start to pile on.

That is of course if they are able to get some offense under Laviolette’s system. We’re just getting into the double digits of the Laviolette-era in Philadelphia. There are certainly signs of improvement, but without wins, it is all just moral victory. Morale can only go so high without the team creeping back up the standings before people begin to get annoyed.

With a win right before Christmas (and hopefully a pleasant holiday for all the upset Flyers fans around the world) things seem to be in high spirits.

Even the nonsensical rumors that were created surrounding the Flyers have fallen apart over the tiny Christmas break for the Orange and Black.

Flyers Won’t Trade Carter This Season

At least one Flyer will be staying home for the holidays and well after.

League sources have told CSN’s John Boruk that center Jeff Carter will not be traded during any point this season.

Rip up your Ilya Kovalchuk dreams. There are many reasons why the Flyers would never trade a high-end prize like Carter for an impending UFA like Ilya Kovalchuk, not the least of which include his ridiculously high salary demands that won’t match well with plenty of long-term contracts already cemented in Philadelphia and the likely asking price of the Thrashers for a guy who would the Flyers would basically be forced to let walk when summer rolled around. There’s no reason to go after a rental forward that could potentially cost you a 24-year-old Rocket Richard Trophy runner-up.

Throw around your claims that Carter is a lazy forward (however unfounded they may be) because he isn’t as physical as Richards. Carter will not be going anywhere. Far more likely are trades involving Hartnell, Briere, Coburn, or Carle this offseason. There is a likelihood that one is in the middle of their last season in Philadelphia, especially when considering Emery and the organization would very much appreciate to have the young goaltender locked up long-term.

If the team is looking for rental forwards at the trade deadline there will be more rumors about availability after the Olympics. There are certainly some interesting looking Hurricanes that could be on the block in a bit.

Rumor Enrages Hartnell and Carter

On Dec. 14, a Temple University senior, Jerry Brennan, on a Web site that he said he created as part of a school project, made a posting. Under a headline that read “Affair Has Flyers Locker Room Split?”, he wrote the following:

“This one is out of the bizarre rumor mill, however, a credible source told “thephillyfour” a possible affair could be the reason the Flyers’ locker room appears to be split this season.

According to the source, Jeff Carter had an affair with Scott Hartnell’s wife, and the entire locker room is split over the situation. . . .”

Carter and Hartnell said that the rumor is false, that they are best of friends, and that the writer doesn’t realize the hurt feelings he has caused. The “story” has been picked up by numerous Web sites.

Peter Luukko, president of the Flyers’ parent company, Comcast-Spectacor, called the blog “vicious and irresponsible” and said the organization is considering a lawsuit.

“It’s just funny to see how much pull one guy can have,” Hartnell said of the article and how it has spread throughout North America. “It’s an amazing thing, the Internet, but for all the good things there are obviously some bad things about it, too.”

Hartnell added, “When [the blog] came out, I heard from my wife. She called me and [kiddingly] said, ‘I guess I’m sleeping with Jeff Carter now,’”

And that is that. All these rumors about Carter sleeping with Hartnell’s wife have been denied completely by every possible source. In fact, even after these rumors began to spread because of a careless Temple University blogger, Carter and Hartnell could be seen tearing up the ice on the same line. When Carter scored a couple games ago and seemed to have been breaking out of his slump, Hartnell was the first one to congratulate his close friend and long-time linemate.

As for the blogger, his Christmas will not likely be so merry. Freedom of speech is only protected by the Constitution in so much as it doesn’t impede on other people’s civil liberties. People have the right to be free from slanderous rumors more than people have the right to fabricate them. If he had proof there would be a little more to this claim, but just claiming to have proof is not quite the same as providing it. The responsibility falls solely on the blogger who made the post.

Well, I hope everyone has had a good Christmas. The Flyers are back to work tomorrow and facing off against their NHL basement cell mate, the Carolina Hurricanes. Let’s hope for a quick end to this disaster or at least a playoff position by Olympic break. It is Christmas after all.

Last Hope

Posted by Chris Shafer On December - 22 - 2009
Flyers' forward Darroll Powe. (Neat1325)

Flyers' forward Darroll Powe. (Neat1325)

Remember everything that Mike Richards was in 2007-08. All heart? Doesn’t seem that way anymore does it? Where has the heart and soul gone from the orange and black?

There are all kinds of rumors surrounding the inexplicable fall from grace of the Philadelphia Flyers, but one thing is clear. The team desperately needs something.

Even Boucher, who has weathered the adversity as best he can with Emery out and a struggling team ahead of him, will miss Wednesday’s game against Tampa Bay.

Is their last hope a 24-year-old undrafted kid from Princeton University?

While you could say that the Flyers’ had plenty of heart in the past two seasons, they have seemed to run out of it. The reserves have run dry. At the end of 2008-09 you could see the signs.

Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Danny Briere, Simon Gagne, Scott Hartnell, Chris Pronger, and Kimmo Timonen all make over four million dollars a season.

The Flyers’ last hope to wake the slumbering giant from their seemingly eternal rest makes less than an eighth of any one of the team’s key players.

Will it work? Who knows, but Darroll Powe returns to action Wednesday against Tampa Bay.

Feel free to jump ship. I’ll be riding this boat Titanic-style or back to glory.

Godspeed.

You solve the Flyers’ offense…

Posted by Chris Shafer On December - 21 - 2009

This was supposed to be the breakout year for the Philadelphia Flyers, but so far it has been a disaster.

Just about a month and a half ago the Flyers offense was in the middle of a back-and-forth with the Washington Capitals for the most goals per game. Since then, they have dropped to 19th leaving the actual rank of the offense during this lull to the imagination of the fans.

Things seem bad, but they are actually playing well under Laviolette. Outside of a few terrible games, the vast majority of losses have been winnable with another two goals past opposing netminders.

The power-play, normally the Flyers’ bread and butter, has been particularly cold.

Despite Emery’s injury the goaltending Boucher has provided night in and night out has been great. His only job is supposed to be to give the Flyers an opportunity to win every night. For the most part he has done that.

With the offensive lineup relatively the same from last year, none of this makes sense. The following chart is the offensive production of the Flyers’ 11 key players for 08-09 and 09-10.  (GPG = Goals per Game / PPG = Points per Game) Note: From 08-09 to 09-10 Mike Knuble and Joffrey Lupul change to Chris Pronger and James vanRiemsdyk.

2008-09

  • Jeff Carter: 0.56 GPG – 1.02 PPG
  • Mike Richards: 0.38 GPG – 1.01 PPG
  • Simon Gagne: 0.43 GPG – 0.94 PPG
  • Scott Hartnell: 0.37 GPG – 0.73 PPG
  • Danny Briere:  0.38 GPG – 0.86 PPG
  • Claude Giroux: 0.21 GPG – 0.64 PPG
  • Joffrey Lupul: 0.32 GPG – 0.63 PPG
  • Mike Knuble: 0.33 GPG – 0.57 PPG
  • Kimmo Timonen: 0.04 GPG – 0.56 PPG
  • Braydon Coburn: 0.09 GPG – 0.35 PPG
  • Matt Carle: 0.07 GPG – 0.34 PPG
  • TOTAL: 3.18 GPG – 7.65 PPG

2009-10

  • Jeff Carter: 0.35 GPG – 0.76 PPG
  • Mike Richards: 0.38 GPG – 0.79 PPG
  • Simon Gagne: 0.10 GPG – 0.60 PPG
  • Scott Hartnell: 0.26 GPG – 0.62 PPG
  • Danny Briere:  0.41 GPG – 0.74 PPG
  • Claude Giroux: 0.21 GPG – 0.62 PPG
  • James vanRiemsdyk: 0.23 GPG – 0.65 PPG
  • Chris Pronger: 0.15 GPG – 0.62 PPG
  • Kimmo Timonen: 0.09 GPG – 0.56 PPG
  • Braydon Coburn: 0.12 GPG – 0.33 PPG
  • Matt Carle: 0.06 GPG – 0.56 PPG
  • TOTAL: 2.36 GPG – 6.85 PPG

So as the Flyers take on Florida tonight, what’s your theory on the offensive issues? Then, how would you deal with the problem?

1. Strong competition/hot goaltenders?

2. Power-play confusion?

3. Locker room drama/chemistry issues?

4. Lack of skill/injuries?

5. Coaching problems/confidence?

Gagne back soon

Posted by Chris Shafer On December - 18 - 2009
Gagne could be back in the lineup as soon as Saturday against the Rangers. (Neat1325)

Gagne could be back in the lineup as soon as Saturday against the Rangers. (Neat1325)

Remember number 12?

If it seems like forever since there has been a Flyer wearing that number, then you’re right. The last time Gagne saw action was October 25th. He had gotten his first goal of the season the game before that, but his hip/groin issues were causing problems.

If all goes well, the Flyers’ current tenure leader could be back in the lineup tomorrow against the New York Rangers. He’s been skating well, and barring any tightness tomorrow morning, he will be cleared to play.

Per Philly.com:

“He’s coming off a surgery,” Laviolette said. “With his history and everything else, he wants to feel good about being back in the lineup.”

That’s not the only good news. Betts returned to the lineup yesterday against Pittsburgh, Powe will be back shortly (within a week maybe?), Emery is getting better as the days pass, and the Flyers are finally playing some decent hockey. Subtract some of the bad breaks from last night’s game against the Penguins and the team gets a win in regulation instead of a shootout loss.

Kalinski, who had been playing great hockey for the Flyers lately, was returned to the Phantoms once again. He moves in and out of the NHL lineup when there are injuries, but keep an eye on him. He could earn a full time spot in upcoming seasons.

More updates soon. I promise.

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