April 17, 2014 |
SCRATCHING his head, Ken Hitchcock pored over the video from his Blues' 4-1 loss to the Flyers on March 22 on his laptop and counted. The former NHL coach of the year sat back astonished with his findings. "I counted five separate times where the Flyers' defensemen started from behind our forwards at their goal line and beat us up the ice on the rush," a stunned Hitchcock said in St. Louis 2 weeks back. "Five times. " Mark Streit was at the forefront of the attack. After a lengthy adjustment period, Streit's offensive mindset has melted into the consciousness of his fellow defensemen, turning the Flyers' blue line into a scoring threat again.
March 20, 2014 |
HIGH ON THE LIST of reasons why the Chicago Blackhawks are Stanley Cup champions and are in position to repeat that feat is their depth. They roll one quality line after another at you, building pressure until you buckle. Depth is also high on the list of reasons the Philadelphia Flyers have resurrected from their early grave to become one of those teams even the elite hate to play. Claude Giroux's heroic goal with 4.2 seconds left in overtime punctuated a game in which the Flyers, not the champs, rolled out the relentless pressure, outshooting Chicago, 37-25, and rallying from two early soft goals allowed by a clearly rusty Ray Emery.
March 7, 2014 |
THREE-POINT lead, 19 games to go, and nothing is assured for the Flyers - but you already knew that. The trade deadline came and went, and defenseman Andrew MacDonald came and defenseman Andrej Meszaros went, and now the focus is on the finish of the regular season - and beyond. If the Flyers get into the playoffs, they will arrive as one of the better teams in the NHL since Nov. 1, and as an interesting group of survivors - of the firing of a coach, and a dreadful start, and the assimilation of a new system under Craig Berube.
March 6, 2014 |
Chris Pronger still has some eye issues from post-concussion syndrome, but he has no regrets about a brilliant career that will undoubtedly put him into hockey's Hall of Fame. "I played 18 seasons and was able to accomplish a lot in those years," he said before he watched the Flyers practice in Voorhees on Tuesday. "Was it cut short by a few years? Yeah, but there's a lot of guys who don't ever get to 18 years. Eighteen is a pretty good number. Won a Cup, went to three Finals, a couple gold medals.
March 5, 2014 |
HOMER IS on the clock. Two weeks after Sam Hinkie gutted most of the remaining fiber of the woeful 76ers, 3 weeks after Ruben Amaro Jr. flew to Florida with his fingers and toes crossed, it is Paul Holmgren's turn to restore our lost confidence - or relinquish any that remains. Howie Roseman? He made some nice re-signings last week, but his next big splash will come with the NFL draft in early May. This week belongs to the Flyers general manager who, like Amaro, has been toasted and roasted by fans over a tenure that is now in its eighth season.
February 26, 2014 |
First of two parts. SHERBROOKE, Quebec - Samuel Morin left Philadelphia in September and boarded a plane home to Quebec with a smile on his face. In two exhibition games with the Flyers, Morin played more minutes (45:36) than any player on the team. He assisted on Vinny Lecavalier's first-ever goal in a Flyers uniform. He signed his first professional contract, which could ultimately earn him up to $4.3 million if everything goes according to plan. Morin, 18, checked off all the goals on his list, capping off a wild summer that saw him drafted by the Flyers at 11th overall, higher than most if not all projections.
February 15, 2014 |
After the Flyers beat the Colorado Avalanche last Thursday, team chairman Ed Snider said something that seemed to strike at the heart of how his franchise has operated for generations. The victory was one of five for the Flyers' in their final six games before the Olympic break, and it inspired Snider to praise his team in a gush of enthusiasm. "I love where we are right now," he told reporters. "We're playing extremely well. I'm excited about the team. I think our goaltending is outstanding.
January 21, 2014 |
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren believes defense wins championships, especially blue lines anchored by big, physical players who play with an edge. That explains why he acquired Chris Pronger in 2009 and signed an offer sheet for Shea Weber in 2012. Holmgren also thought Luke Schenn had the potential to be a first-pair defenseman, so he dealt the gifted James van Riemsdyk to Toronto 19 months ago. Pronger helped will the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010, but he suffered a career-ending concussion in 2011.
January 6, 2014 |
GLENDALE, Ariz. - The Flyers have undergone an identity change since Craig Berube replaced Peter Laviolette as their head coach early in the season. Under Laviolette, they were an attack-oriented team and, because of that, they left their goaltenders vulnerable on way too many occasions - as the guy now playing in Edmonton would wholeheartedly attest. Under Berube, the Flyers have a defense-first mentality that emphasizes strong skating away from the puck and an active forecheck in the neutral zone.
November 13, 2013 |
TORONTO - Chris Pronger will be on the Flyers' payroll until at least June 30, 2017. But Pronger might not have to wait until 2020, or 3 years after he retires, to be summoned into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Instead, the Hall's bylaws state that a player is eligible for induction 3 years after playing his last game. Pronger's last NHL game was Nov. 19, 2011, part of the 2011-12 season. Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren is on record as saying Pronger will never play again.