January 29, 2016 |
The Flyers have a problem, and here's the twisted irony of it: If their general manager, Ron Hextall, were more impetuous and less focused on the team's long-term improvement - if the Flyers, that is, were to act more like the Flyers used to act - they might actually solve it. The problem is simple: The Flyers don't score goals. Ahead of their game Wednesday night in Washington against Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals, the Flyers ranked 29th out of the NHL's 30 teams this season in goals per game, at 2.24 - this, after ranking 22nd (2.62)
January 11, 2016 |
If Flyers general manager Ron Hextall isn't named the NHL's executive of the year - or at least made an honorary certified public accountant - some people haven't been paying attention. In his 20 months on the job, Hextall has traded the contract of an injured player, Chris Pronger, who will never play again; dealt away seldom-used Vinny Lecavalier; who had two-plus seasons left on a contract that absorbed a $4.5 million annual cap hit; and stockpiled draft picks. In short, Hextall has done an amazing job cleaning up his predecessor's messes.
January 9, 2016 |
ST. PAUL, Minn. - When Paul Holmgren was general manager, he made many strong deals, transforming the Flyers from the worst team in hockey in 2006-07 to a conference finalist the following season. But two moves he made later in his tenure - acquiring stay-at-home defenseman Luke Schenn for blossoming left winger James van Riemsdyk, and signing free-agent Vinny Lecavalier to a five-year, $22.5 million contract - did not work out as planned. Fact is, they set the team back on a number of levels.
December 21, 2015 |
COLUMBUS, Ohio - This Ghost looks to be for real, folks. Oh, Shayne Gostisbehere still has defensive flaws, no question. But he is improving in that area, and his speed, offensive creativity, and hockey IQ make him one of the Flyers' most exciting young players in the last several decades. Two others come quickly to mind: Eric Lindros and current captain Claude Giroux. When Lindros joined the Flyers in 1992-93, he brought talent that had not been seen in a player his size.
November 18, 2015 |
THE TWO lasting memories of being a Flyer, in Simon Gagne's mind, are pretty fitting ones, mostly because of the way they bookend his significant time in Philadelphia. The first, he told reporters on a conference call Friday, was his rookie season. The 1999-2000 season, a year after the Flyers selected the Quebec native 22nd overall, saw the Flyers fall one game short of reaching the Stanley Cup Final. But Gagne scored 20 goals and tallied 28 assists that season, turning 20 in February.
November 10, 2015 |
WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Funny how timing can mean everything to a hockey team. If the Flyers had started their five-game road trip by beating Buffalo and then lost four straight, it would have been perceived as a disastrous journey. But as it turned out, the Flyers lost their first four games and ended the grueling trip with their best effort since they defeated the powerful Rangers two weeks ago. They received a lights-out performance from Michal Neuvirth (again) on Saturday and defeated a good Winnipeg team, 3-0, at the earsplitting MTS Centre.
November 9, 2015 |
WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Towering defenseman Chris Pronger played with the Flyers only for three years, but he made a lasting impression, steering the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals in his only full season with the team. "He brought a tremendous presence to the rink - both defensively and offensively. He could defend. He could make plays like nobody," Paul Holmgren, the Flyers' president, said in a phone conversation Saturday. "He was one of the best defensemen who ever played. " That's why Pronger, who turned 41 last month, will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday in Toronto, along with Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Phil Housley, Angela Ruggiero, Bill Hay, and Peter Karmanos Jr. Hay and Karmanos were selected in the "builder" category.
October 28, 2015 |
PLAYING JUNIOR hockey in Canada doesn't usually provide the typical college experience during the ages of 18 to 20. That's not to say what Daniel Briere - who played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League - is doing now is any different, really. Consider Briere's new business school training more of an apprenticeship than a traditional college. He's getting a crash course in the business of hockey. After the Gatineau, Quebec, native retired from a 17-season NHL career over the summer, Briere, 38, was approached by Flyers president Paul Holmgren, who asked the six-year Flyers forward whether he wanted the opportunity to learn.
October 12, 2015 |
ON THE HEELS of what many called a highly successful offseason, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall made it clear in his actions the last few weeks that, despite making plenty of transactions since taking over last May, he's taking the long approach. As if going outside the box and hiring coach Dave Hakstol from a college program instead of going after proven NHL coaches wasn't proof enough, the swiftness with which he exercised his option of sending top prospects Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny and Travis Sanheim back to juniors early on in training camp proved that approach.
October 9, 2015 |
The Flyers open their schedule Thursday night in Tampa and right up until the last moments of their preparations, absolutely no one connected to the organization uttered the "R" word concerning the regular season ahead. "My expectation is not only to make the playoffs, but to hopefully make a run. Otherwise, what do we play for?" forward Jakub Voracek said after practice on Wednesday, just before the team boarded the plane for Florida. "Obviously, we have some young guys coming up, but I don't think this team is rebuilding.