April 20, 2015 |
THE FUTURE of one of 14 NHL franchises will change with the drop of four pingpong balls tonight in Toronto. The Flyers just aren't holding their breath. In fact, the Flyers are not sending a representative to see the draft lottery be conducted, even though Connor McDavid is hockey's first runaway consensus No. 1 pick since Steven Stamkos in 2008. The draw will be announced as part of a "Hockey Night in Canada" broadcast, simulcast live on NBC, at 8 o'clock immediately preceding Game 2 of the Penguins/Rangers series.
March 27, 2015 |
WHEN IT was over, the Wells Fargo Center scoreboard stated the Flyers beat the Blackhawks, 4-1, providing the slightest revenge from the 2010 Stanley Cup finals. The "Orange and the Black" roared over the sound system as the Flyers congratulated each other, with most of the 19,831 walking out into the South Philadelphia night happy. Kimmo Timonen's return was about the only thing worth cheering. Because in the grand scheme of the franchise, the Flyers lost last night. That's what the Blackhawks should have taught the Flyers, even if Patrick Kane - the prize of the 2007 NHL draft lottery - was not on the ice. With another two points in an utterly meaningless late March contest, the Flyers only increased the odds they'll be picking at No. 8 this June in South Florida.
January 30, 2015 |
UNDER THE television and near where the Flyers' resident DJ selects tunes to be blared in the dressing room, there is a conspicuous sign posted to the right of the smart board where Craig Berube draws up plays. It reads: "No one is bigger than the team. If you can't do things our way, you won't get time here. AND WE DON'T CARE WHO YOU ARE. " In a seemingly lost season, even after the Flyers won their third game in a row last night, few players have embodied that "team" mentality more than Brayden Schenn.
June 27, 2014 |
Since 2000, the Flyers have made some shrewd draft choices, but most of those great picks are now playing elsewhere, including Justin Williams, Patrick Sharp, Dennis Seidenberg, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, and James van Riemsdyk. Some of those ex-Flyers drew highly productive players in trades. Some didn't. New general manager Ron Hextall is preaching that the Flyers must be patient with their young players. That means recent draft picks - and those selected Friday and Saturday, when the draft is held at the Wells Fargo Center - will probably be given more time to blossom with the Orange and Black.
June 25, 2014 |
FOR WHATEVER reasons, the Flyers apparently like to make trades on June 23. It was the day in 2011 when Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were dealt. A year later, it became the day James van Riemsdyk was shipped to Toronto. Perhaps fittingly, it's now the day Ron Hextall made his first trade as Flyers general manager. First-line left winger and alternate captain Scott Hartnell, a Philadelphia mainstay of seven seasons, was dealt yesterday to the Columbus Blue Jackets for R.J. Umberger and a fourth-round pick in next summer's draft.
April 17, 2014 |
Never mind that Luke Schenn was traded for James van Riemsdyk, a winger who had a breakout season in Toronto. Schenn was struggling earlier this season, so he was benched. Never mind that Vinny Lecavalier has credentials that may get him into the Hall of Fame someday. The veteran center wasn't producing as a second-line left winger, so he was dropped to center on the fourth line late in the season. Never mind that the Flyers traded popular center Max Talbot to Colorado for Steve Downie.
March 29, 2014 |
Perhaps because his captain, Claude Giroux, said the Flyers looked tired in their 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Wednesday, coach Craig Berube gave his team an unscheduled day off on Thursday. No practice. No work in the weight room. No need to get up early. Berube wanted the Flyers to get some rest because they appeared oddly lethargic in the last two periods of such an important game Wednesday. They were outworked along the boards, usually second to the puck, and rarely had traffic in front of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
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.
February 3, 2014 |
LOS ANGELES - Wayne Simmonds' transformation - from a checking-line winger with Los Angeles to one of the NHL's most productive players recently with the Flyers - is what general manager Paul Holmgren foresaw when he made the stunning deal with the Kings in 2011. Holmgren has made his share of questionable moves in recent years, with the trade that sent James van Riemsdyk to Toronto for Luke Schenn at the top of the forgettable list. But he got it right when he acquired Simmonds and the blossoming Brayden Schenn for captain Mike Richards.
December 22, 2013 |
MENACING as ever, Jody Shelley created a stir in warmups on Thursday night. He wasn't even wearing equipment. Shelley was standing in between the benches, where his two worlds - past and present - collided in South Philadelphia. Skating in circles on his right were the Blue Jackets, the franchise that now employs him, with which he spent 5 1/2 magical seasons of his career. To his left, 18 of his Flyers teammates from last season - his final as an active player - were firing pucks.