May 9, 2013 |
First in a series THE FIRST order of business for Paul Holmgren this summer is determining which unit was more a cause of concern for the Flyers: the offense or the defense. For me, it's a clear answer. Even if they remained completely healthy all season, the Flyers' biggest weakness remained on the back end, where they entered the season one or two solid pieces away from even being considered a true contender. Yes, the Flyers scored nearly a half-goal less per game during the shortened season, but they also gave up more than they scored.
May 1, 2013 |
Coach Peter Laviolette's attacking system didn't work for the Flyers this season. The fact is, opponents had the better scoring chances, had many more odd-man rushes, and had goalie Ilya Bryzgalov's head on a swivel as he watched teams cycle the puck around him. Do not be misled by the shots-on-goal figures that show the Flyers averaged 29 shots per game (15th in the 30-team NHL) and allowed 28.6 (tied for 12th). A majority of the Flyers' shots came from outside, while many of their opponents' attempts came on three-on-twos, two-on-ones, and breakaways.
April 29, 2013 |
First in a series OTTAWA - All season, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren has steadfastly insisted he likes the team he has put together. His attempted offseason moves last year, however, suggest otherwise. By trying to bring free agents Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, and Zach Parise to Philadelphia, Holmgren, in effect, was saying the Flyers needed major upgrades. Holmgren can be applauded for trying to add the marquee players, but when he struck out on those three stars, his Plan B - adding recycled free agents such as Ruslan Fedotenko, Kurtis Foster, and Bruno Gervais - was a step backward.
April 28, 2013 |
OTTAWA - Given the way it started in October, even Jason Akeson probably couldn't have predicted tonight's finish to the season. Imagine leading the Phantoms in scoring last season and training relentlessly during the summer, only to find out that you were demoted to the neglected depths of the ECHL. The Flyers simply said Akeson - who netted 55 points in 76 games in his first profesional season - was a victim of numbers, since the likes of Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier and Zac Rinaldo were filling up top six forward positions.
April 18, 2013 |
The Flyers' defense is running out of healthy bodies. They recalled Brandon Manning and Matt Konan from Adirondack of the AHL on Tuesday to replace injured defensemen Kent Huskins (concussion) and Bruno Gervais (torn stomach muscle), who are both out for the season. Manning picked up an assist - his first NHL point - on Brayden Schenn's first-period goal Tuesday against the New York Rangers. "It's exciting. This is where you want to be," Manning, 22, said before the game.
April 13, 2013 |
The Flyers on Thursday signed a speedy, late-blooming right winger who was a second-round draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2010. Petr Straka, a 6-foot, 195-pound free agent who reportedly was courted by 12 NHL teams, signed a three-year, entry-level deal to start next season. He will earn $925,000 next year, including a $92,333 signing bonus, and likely will play for the AHL's Phantoms. Playing for Baie-Comeau of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Straka had 41 goals and 41 assists in 55 regular-season games this year.
April 5, 2013 |
TORONTO - Centers Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier have suffered through sophomore slumps, but they played major roles Thursday as the resilient Flyers outlasted the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-3, at the Air Canada Centre and increased their season-best winning streak to four games. "We're both trying to step up," Schenn said after the Flyers climbed to within two points of the eighth-place Rangers in the Eastern Conference. "We're getting the opportunity, playing on the power play and playing with good players.
March 30, 2013 |
Maybe it's because opponents now have a book on them, or maybe it's because some of the second-year Flyers are pressing. Whatever the reason, Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn are going through sophomore slumps. Ditto Matt Read, who has stumbled after a hot start. Entering Thursday's game against the New York Islanders, all three were in long goal-scoring droughts: Couturier at 24 consecutive games, Schenn at 12, and Read at nine. Coach Peter Laviolette was asked whether he was concerned that the streaks might start weighing on the players.
March 24, 2013 |
Other than Claude Giroux, the Flyers have not received much production from their centers this season. That will have to change or they will miss the playoffs for just the second time in the last 18 seasons. The Flyers, who are finishing a five-day break in the schedule, return to the ice Sunday night in Pittsburgh, where they emerged with a wild 6-5 victory last month. They need to get their struggling centers untracked. Danny Briere and Brayden Schenn, who have alternated between center and wing, are in goal-scoring droughts.
March 23, 2013 |
Flyers winger Jake Voracek looked outside the locker room and pointed toward the league standings that hung on the opposite wall. The playoffs are still in reach, said Voracek, who noted that the Flyers were just five points out of the Eastern Conference's eighth and final postseason spot Thursday. That's a rather positive outlook for a Flyers team that has dropped five of its last seven games. Three of the losses came to division opponents. In the midst of a five-day break before they face the Penguins Sunday in Pittsburgh, the Flyers displayed a new look at Thursday's two-hour practice at the Skate Zone in Voorhees.