Tag:Philadelphia Flyers
Posted on: December 2, 2011 1:06 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 8:42 pm
 

Weekend Preview: Quick on top of his game again

By Brian Stubits

Schedules: Friday | Saturday | Sunday

It's tough to find a position in sports that lends itself to streakiness more than goaltender in hockey. For some reason, most of them fail to maintain an even balance throughout the course of a season -- Tim Thomas' consistently spectacular play notwithstanding. There season charts resemble roller coasters tumultuous enough to turn even the heartiest rider's stomach.

L.A. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick isn't immune to the turbulence. In the opening month of the season, Quick was absolutely phenomenal. He turned in three consecutive shutouts in mid-to-late October. For his work, he was given a day off on Oct. 25 and that good mojo seemed to vanish.

In his next seven starts and nine of 11, he surrendered at least three goals. Instead of being a large part of why they were winning early in the season, he became a large part of why they were losing. It was a quick reversal of fortunes, if you'll pardon the pun.

But like any streaker -- we're still talking goalies here -- he has reversed course again. Entering Saturday's matinee against the Montreal Canadiens, Quick comes in on a tear. Thanks to a shutout of the Sharks and a nearly flawless 41-save showing against the Panthers, Quick has stopped 74 of the last 75 shots he has seen. Go back a little further and he has actually saved 84 of the last 85 shots.

Here's what Pierre McGuire told an Ottawa radio station about how good Quick was in Thursday's win. "If the kings don't have Quick Florida wins that game. Kevin Dineen's team dominated with speed game".

Yes, he's back on his game. It really is no coincidence, then, that the Kings enter their game against the Habs having earned points in seven of their last 10 games.

They really need him to be the good Quick this season. The Kings have high hopes for this season. Many, myself included, saw them as legitimate threats in the Western Conference race this season. Despite the addition of Mike Richards to some other talented offensive players like Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, the Kings aren't going to do a whole lot of scoring. As of now, they are 24th in the league in goals per game with 2.32.

So much more than other goalies, when Quick is playing poorly it shows.

Assuming he'll get the start on Saturday, he'll have a chance to extend his already league-high shutout mark of four. The Canadiens haven't been very good this season, that's obvious. But moreover, they have really struggled on the road. You have to go back four weeks to Nov. 4 to find the last time the Habs won a road game in regulation.

In Kings terminology, that was near the beginning of the bad Quick days.

As a bonus for L.A., if the Kings are victorious, coach Terry Murray will have his 500th career victory.

The Bryz is back in town

When the Flyers visit Phoenix on Saturday Ilya Bryzgalov's arrival will be highly anticipated by the local crowd for the second time this season. Earlier this year he made his first trip to Winnipeg, a city he wasn't too fond of possibly moving to once upon a time. He didn't play in that game.

Now Bryzgalov returns to Phoenix, the city where he did play and left this past offseason. It was with the Coyotes that Bryz built up his reputation as one of the better goaltenders in the league before taking a bigger pay day with the Flyers.

This will be the second time Bryzgalov has faced his former team this season. Before the first meeting in Philadelphia, some of his former teammates had some less-than-kind things to say about Bryz. Derek Morris even admitted to being glad that Bryzgalov was gone.

Everybody knows the Coyotes don't draw a lot of butts to the seats. But this game should have a few more tickets purchases not only because of the abundance of Flyers fans who will be there -- rest assured, they will be -- but likely from a few of the Coyotes fans who just want to boo. Or thank Bryzgalov for his time there. Take your pick.

Welcome back, Bruce

We hardly forget ye.

Anaheim Ducks' coach Bruce Boudreau (looks weird) will make his debut with his new team on Friday with the Philadelphia Flyers in Southern California. One thing we know we'll see, at least to start the game, will be the reunion of Bobby Ryan with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf on the top line.

In his final days as coach, Randy Carlyle had been trying to mix and match, trying to find the best results and cure the woes the lack of depth was causing his team. Boudreau, however, restored the top line to its old self and will try to make due.

Remember, when he arrived in Washington he didn't inherit a Caps team with a lot of depth. It was a very similar situation, actually, with some highly skilled forwards. They soared under his leadership. Will the same happen in Anaheim? We'll get the first glimpse on Friday when the Ducks host the Flyers.

Too bad HBO hasn't begun the 24/7 filming yet and depriving us a chance of more Boudreau, if only in a very small sampling.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

In this case, the ranch would be Washington, Boudreau's old stomping ground.

The Capitals enter the third game of the Dale Hunter era still searching for their first win. If the third time's the charm, it will have to come at the expense of the Ottawa Senators, who visit the Caps on Saturday.

They are badly in need of a win, for their confidence if nothing else. The Caps have lost four games in a row and seven of their last nine. They have fallen -- get this -- five points behind the Florida Panthers in the Southeast Division, and that's even with the Panthers leveling off in recent weeks.

There has been a whole lot of difference so far for Washington, but they do appear to be focusing more on defense again and the effort has appeared to be better. But right now they just need a win.

Jason Chimera put it better than I can. "We're going to find ourselves packing an early golf bag."

Still searching Part II

Carolina Hurricanes new coach Kirk Muller is in the same boat as Hunter, 0-2 in his NHL career behind the benches. His task, on paper at least, looks a bit tougher than Hunter's.

That's because the 'Canes will host the high-flying Penguins on Saturday night. Not exactly the team you want to see when trying to bust out of a slump.

It has to start with getting the defense squared away. In the Hurricanes' current five-game losing streak, they have given up at least three goals in each game. Tomas Kaberle isn't working out, that's no secret. But that's only part of the defensive woes. The unit continues to leave Cam Ward high and dry in net behind them.

Nobody told Muller this was going to be easy.

More to prove

The St. Louis Blues have been ridiculously good since Ken Hitchcock came aboard. They are 8-1-2 under his leadership.

But Hitchcock is still delaying his excitement for the team's play until their next stretch of games. Starting with the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night, they will begin playing teams for a second time. That's when you can start to draw some conclusions.

"We're going to get a push," Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "You can surprise a team, but we're now playing a second wave. When we start playing the Chicago's and Detroit's again, now we'll have a look. They'll be ready for us. They won't be surprised by our game

What's shocking about it all is that by the end of the weekend, the Blues -- 14th in the West when Hitchcock was hired -- could be leading the Central Division. With their crisp and disciplined play, that's certainly a possibility.

We're going streaking!

New York Rangers: It took them a few games to get going at the beginning of the season, but when they got going, boy did they. John Tortorella heads back to Tampa Bay with the Rangers having won four in a row.

Blues: In addition to Saturday's game against Chicago, they play the Avalanche on Friday night. That's where they take their four-game win streak.

Detroit Red Wings: All this team does is streak. No seriously, look at their schedule. Like the Blues, they have two games over the weekend, Friday in Buffalo then Sunday at Colorado.

Canadiens: Already mentioned, the Habs go into Los Angeles on Saturday having lost four straight.

Capitals: See above: Caps have lost four in a row headed into Saturday date with Senators.

Hurricanes: Currently at five losses in a row, the Penguins visit next. Ouch.

Edmonton Oilers: With the battle of Alberta looming, the Oilers enter on a three-game skid. They would probably like to have Taylor Hall back.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: November 29, 2011 12:56 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2011 12:56 pm
 

'Canes grab Andreas Nodl off waivers from Flyers

By Brian Stubits

The Carolina Hurricanes added a new coach on Monday, then a new forward on Tuesday. That's when Carolina claimed Andreas Nodl off of waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers.

Nodl, who has played in 12 games with the Flyers this season, has just one assist on the season in a little more than 10 minutes of ice time per game.

“This is a young player that skates really well,” Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford said. “He has a skill level that gives us a little more depth among our top 12 forwards.”

The Native of Austria has bounced back and forth between the NHL and AHL levels since being drafted in the second round of the 2007-08 draft by Philadelphia and hasn't really found regular ice time. Well, he couldn't bounce one more time as Carolina decided to take a shot on him.

It's a great opportunity for Nodl to get some extended time and have a chance to prove himself in the NHL. Last season he played 67 games with the Flyers and had career-high numbers of 11 goals and 11 assists. Given significant ice time, can Nodl show the form that made him an All-American at St. Cloud State College?

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: November 28, 2011 9:33 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2011 10:30 am
 

Brandon Dubinsky rips Flyers Shelley, Rinaldo

By Brian Stubits

December 14 can't get here soon enough.

The inaugural edition of HBO's 24/7 hockey series was gripping and award-winning. I don't think I met a hockey fan that didn't enjoy every minute of it (except those turned off by Bruce Boudreau's potty mouth, that is). The rivalry between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins only sweetened the pot.

That's why I can't wait for this year's show to start. The two sides are ramping up the rivalry nice and early in the season.

In case you didn't already know, the Flyers and Rangers don't like each other. The Rangers have two teams in their market, but probably dislike the team from Philadelphia the most. I don't think you can say the same about the Flyers due to their feelings with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but the Rangers are close behind.

When the two played over the Thanksgiving weekend, Brandon Prust decided to mix it up with not one but two Flyers. The game came just after the 12-minute trailer for the series aired on HBO over the weekend. In the teaser, a clip of the Flyers' Jody Shelley was shown where he was talking about some of his former teammates in New York and calling Brandon Dubinsky a weasel. Here's the teaser in case you missed it.

Of course it didn't take long for that to get back to Dubinsky. It took even less time for him to respond. Check out what he told Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News.

“First of all, if I was him, I’d keep my mouth shut if I don’t play, especially since I never see him on the ice,” Dubinsky said of Shelley, who has played in only 10 of Philadelphia’s 23 games this season. “He’s usually just yapping from the bench, and I guess now he’s yapping from behind the video camera. So that’s about all I have to say.”

That was not all Dubinsky had to say. “Jody Shelley - it won’t be long before he’s out of the league, because he’s a terrible hockey player,” he added.

Dubinsky didn't limit his words for only Shelley, he threw some barbs in Zach Rinaldo's direction, too.

“I think he’s an idiot,” Dubinsky said of Rinaldo. “And I think that, I mean, he’s not really a good hockey player. So if that’s what he tries to do to get under our skin, I don’t think it works very well. He’s not very effective at it. I think they should just keep putting him on the ice, because he’s a liability against us.”

Some good ol' trash talk is great. Here's hoping that the month of November has a lot more waiting for us.

More Winter Classic News Here

H/t to Pro Hockey Talk

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: November 28, 2011 4:45 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2011 10:31 am
 

Here is the Rangers winter classic jersey

By: Adam Gretz

The New York Rangers had a ceremony on Monday afternoon to show off their new threads for the Winter Classic on Jan. 2 in Philadelphia, where they will take on their heated rivals, the Flyers, at Citizens Bank Park.

The Flyers already unveiled their jersey last week, and this is the jersey the Rangers have decided to go with.

It's a simple, throwback look. What do you think, Rangers fans: Yay or nay?

xissh

More Winter Classic News Here

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:23 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 1:27 pm
 

Pronger will miss 4 weeks with knee injury

By: Adam Gretz

Chris Pronger hasn't appeared in a game for the Philadelphia Flyers since Nov. 19, having missed each of the team's past four games with what was originally described as an illness.

On Monday, general Paul Holmgren announced that Pronger will now be on the shelf for the next four weeks after undergoing surgery on his left knee on Tuesday afternoon to "clean out some loose particles that have given Chris some problems over the last month or so."

Said Holmgren, "We were hopeful that the time missed with a virus that Chris has been fighting would settle things down in his knee, but after an examination yesterday, it was decided that the surgery is the way to go at this time. We expect Chris will be back playing in four weeks.”

Injuries have been an issue for the veteran defenseman over the past two seasons. He appeared in just 50 games for the Flyers last season, and he's already missed time this season due to an eye injury that came after he was struck in the face by a stick. He's played in 13 games this season, scoring one goal to go with 11 assists while also logging over 22 minutes of ice-time per game.

Given his age (he's currently 37) and the mounting injury problems it's worth pointing out that he still has five years remaining on a seven-year contract that he signed prior to the 2010-11 season that carries an average annual salary of $4.9 million against the salary cap.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: November 27, 2011 4:57 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 8:30 pm
 

Weekend Wrap: Sanford, Jackets starting to roll

By Brian Stubits

Amid Columbus' awful, awful opening to the season, the only bit of defense the team and its fans had was something along the lines of waiting for everybody to be healthy. The team was built in the offseason around the additions of James Wisniewski and Jeff Carter and for the first month and a half of the season; they had not played in the same game. Now they are both playing and the Blue Jackets are now winning.

But it was another injured player returning that has been even bigger. And this one wasn't really on anybody's excuse radar.

Turns out the return of goaltender Curtis Sanford has been huge. Or at least it would appear that way. It was no mystery that Steve Mason in goal was as big an issue as anything else in Columbus' struggles, but I am not sure anybody believed there was a possible solution within the organization.

It wasn't long ago that in this blog we were discussing the possibilities of the Blue Jackets getting a major shakeup in the front office and coaching staff. Some were just saying give it more time, all they needed was to trade for a good goalie. The only problem was the Jackets are right up against the cap and have no flexibility.

This feels as good as a trade right now.

In the five games prior to Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Blues, all Sanford starts, the Blue Jackets picked up at least one point. His record is now 3-0-2 after Columbus' 5-1 beating of the Buffalo Sabres on Black Friday. He entered Sunday with a goals against average of 1.27 and a save percentage of .950. Not bad. Not bad at all.

The recent run has done what not long ago seemed laughable: the Jackets had climbed out of the NHL cellar. With the Devils' squeaker over the Devils on Saturday, the Jackets returned to the basement, but they are hot on the heels of the Isles, Ducks and Flames to move (or down) the draft lottery list.

But the big acquisitions have been doing their part, too. Carter, back after breaking his foot, is finally looking comfortable with his new team. With two beautiful assists against the Sabres, Carter brought his total to five points (3-2=5) in the last five games. Wisniewski has also recorded five points in that span as he also contributed two assists to the win on Friday.

However none of that would matter much if they weren't getting better goaltending. Now, with Sanford getting the bulk of the work, they are. It's not too late to crawl their way back into the picture, but a lot of that will ride on Sanford continuing to play at a level this high.

If he keeps those ice blue pads, maybe he will.

Hangover Part II

Much was made about the champion Bruins' hangover to start the season. They came out slower than any team not named the Blue Jackets. Of course, that's long-ago history as the Bruins have won 11 of the past 12 games, earning a point in all of them.

But not as much has been said about the Canucks' meager beginning. After all, this was the best team in the regular season last year and was within 60 minutes of winning the Stanley Cup. Like the Bruins, the Canucks returned the core of their team and were expected to be powerful once again. Yet they were merely average.

That might be changing. With a road trip that included a 5-0 domination of the Coyotes in a "packed" (with blue) Jobing.com Arena on Friday and a gritty 3-2 win over the Sharks in San Jose on Saturday, the Canucks have won four in a row.

With the eight points in four games, they are now two points behind the Minnesota Wild, two points from reclaiming their seemingly rightful position atop the Northwest Division (they have lived in the Northwest penthouse for a few seasons).

In goal for each of those four games? That would be Cory Schneider, not Roberto Luongo. Schneider -- who had back-to-back shutouts in the four-game run -- was already seen by many to be the best backup in the game, rumored constantly in trade talks around the league over the last season-plus. Now the only goalie that Canucks fans want to throw around in those conversations is Luongo, the Vezina finalist from just last season.

There was already a goalie controversy in Vancouver even before Schneider began playing so well. The controversy? The fact that Luongo was the starter. That was enough to cause a civil war among the fans in British Columbia. This just makes it more heated.

It's show time

We got a taste of the Winter Classic on Saturday with the Flyers and Rangers waging battle in New York, a 2-0 Blueshirts win. Brandon Prust fought not once, but twice, much to the pleasure of John Tortorella.

It was also the first time this season that the league's highest-scoring offense, the Flyers, were grounded. It should come as no surprise that it was Henrik Lundqvist who was first to do it. They don't call him King Henrik for nothing.

But over the weekend, we also got our first taste of the HBO 24/7 series that's set to debut on Dec. 14. No, I'm not talking about the game, but HBO's 12-minute preview of the must-see show for hockey (and non-hockey) fans.

Warning: If you don't already have HBO in your cable/dish subscription plan, the following teaser might make you change your mind (video courtesy of nyrangersblog.com).

There wasn't even an appearance from Jaromir Jagr or Sean Avery in this tease, so clearly they must be saving the best for the show, a refreshing change from movie trailers that show you the only good parts of the movie.

Glory Toews

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews isn't going anywhere anytime soon. If they have their way in Chicago, he'll retire in the black and red.

But if he were to change work addresses, he just might move to Southern California.

The Blackhawks took their turn at the SoCal double dip with a game Friday in Anaheim and Saturday in Los Angeles. What did Toews do? Oh just help the 'Hawks take both games with three goals and three assists. One of those goals came 1960s style with Toews parked in the crease without a helmet and scrambling to hammer home the loose puck.

I have no doubt that when this season is all said and done, Toews will have his say in the Hart Trophy conversation.

Real quickly on the Ducks, this is just too atrocious to leave out (from Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register: The Ducks have now lost six in a row, 12 of 13 and 15 of their last 17. No other word for that than horrendous.

Florida flurry

It's not even December yet and the intrastate rivals in Florida have already met five times. For the second time in the first two months, the Lightning and Panthers had a back-to-back set beginning in Sunrise and finishing in Tampa.

This time, it was the Bolts getting the better of the Cats. One massive reason was the play of Steven Stamkos. He had three goals, including the game-winner in overtime on Friday night, and an assist. He was the best player on the ice on Saturday, no questions asked.

It continues to amaze me how little attention Stammer seems to be generating. After all, he proved last year he's one of the top three scorers in the league. He has quietly amassed 14 goals and 10 assists this season. Yet there seems to be hardly a peep about him.

A few more four-point weekends for the Lightning and I'm sure he'll start getting his due.

Capital punishment

At this point I'm starting to think this will be a regular section in the Weekend Wrap. At least as long as the Capitals continue to play the way they have been.

With their 5-1 beating in Buffalo -- where the Sabres' Zack Kassian scored his first career NHL goal -- the Caps moved to 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. In the past eight, it's been particularly awful.

Check out this stat from Stephen Whyno at the Washington Post. The Caps have now been outscored 34-17 in their past eight games. Minus-17 in the past eight? That's worthy of one big OUCH.

The upcoming week for the Caps has dates with the Blues and Penguins. So things might not get better quite yet.

Quote of the weekend

After the Penguins destroyed the Senators 6-3 and Sidney Crosby continued his stellar return with three assists, Sens forward Nick Foligno attacked Crosby for taking a headshot at him late in the game. He wasn't too happy with Sid, saying he was disappointed and more or less called Crosby a hypocrite.

While Crosby was quiet about the criticism, his coach Dan Bylsma wasn't. Here's what he had to say in response.

"We're talking about a player that bumped into our goalie three times. With the score 5-1 and intentionally going into our goalie, he can expect more than Sidney Crosby coming at him and talking to him during the game. That's how we feel about those situations. He was in our net falling over our goalie, and I don't think there was any question about the intent."

Photo: US Presswire

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: November 26, 2011 5:53 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2011 5:56 pm
 

Brandon Prust fights Rinaldo, Simmonds

By: Adam Gretz

Brandon Prust played eight minutes during the Rangers 2-0 win over the Flyers on Saturday afternoon. He scored no goals, was credited with no assists, did not record a single shot on goal and was credited with just one hit. But head coach John Tortorella said he was a major factor in setting the tone for the Rangers, and described his play on Saturday with the following sentence: "Oh, he's got balls as big as this building."

(Yes, Tortorella is going to be amazing on 24/7.)

What exactly did Prust do with his limited ice time? He seemed to make it a point to fight as many Philadelphia Flyers as he could, dropping the gloves twice in the first period -- once right off the opening faceoff in what was a lengthy bout with Zac Rinaldo, and then later in the period trading blows with Wayne Simmonds.


Prust said, via ESPN New York's Katie Strang, that the bout between he and Rinaldo right off the opening faceoff was mutually agreed upon before hand.

This was the first meeting of the season between the two Winter Classic participants, and Prusts physical exploits offer a nice look at just how heated this rivalry can be.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: November 25, 2011 3:27 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 4:48 pm
 

Winter Classic alumni game rosters announced

By: Adam Gretz

Before the current Flyers and Rangers meet on the ice for the Winter Classic on Jan. 2, a pair of teams made up of players from their past will hit the ice for an alumni game on Jan. 31 at Citizens Bank Park. After a few confirmations and several rumors of the players involved, we finally have the rosters, and no, Wayne Gretzky will not be suiting up for the Rangers, and we won't be seeing a legion of doom reunion due to the absence of Mikael Renberg.

FLYERS

Coaches: Pat Quinn, Keith Primeau, Mike Nykoluk

Players: Neil Little, Mark Laforest, Chris Therien, Derian Hatcher, Kjell Samuelsson, Larry Goodenough, Eric Desjardins, Terry Carkner, Joe Watson, Brad Marsh, Mark Howe, John Leclair, Eric Lindros, Mark Recchi, Bobby Clarke, Rick Tocchet, Shjon Podein, Jim Dowd, Orest Kindrachuck, Bob Kelly, Reggie Leach, Bill Barber, Ken Linesman, Brian Propp, Al Hill

RANGERS

Coaches: Mike Keenan, Emile Francis, Colin Campbell

Players: Glenn Anderson, Dan Blackburn, Paul Broten, Ron Duguay, Nick Fotiu, Mike Gartner, Adam Graves, Ron Greschner, Pat Hickey, Darius Kasparaitis, Kris King, Nick Kypreos, Tom Laidlaw, Darren Langdon, Brian Leetch, Dave Maloney, Stepane Matteau, Brian Mullen, Dale Purinton, Mathieu Schneider, Darren Turcotte, John Vanbiesbrouck

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com