Posted on: March 6, 2012 9:11 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 9:15 pm
By: Adam Gretz
Midway through the second period of Tuesday's game between Detroit and Philadelphia, Flyers forward Jakub Voracek was on the receiving end of this crushing hit from Niklas Kronwall, one of the biggest hitters in the NHL (his resume is all over the Internet).
It's pretty clear right away that Voracek was in some trouble, and that's Flyers analyst -- and former Flyers player -- Bill Clement asking where the freakin' whistle was as Voracek was on the ice trying to figure out what just happened to him.
There was no penalty called on the play, but it's pretty obvious that the head is the principal point of contact, which means it's definitely going to get a look from the NHL, especially since Voracek appeared to be injured as a result of the hit.
Voracek scored his 12th goal of the season earlier in the game.
Given the issues the Flyers have had this season with concussions (Claude Giroux, Chris Pronger, Brayden Schenn, James van Riemsdyk, Danny Briere and Matt Read have all missed games due to one this year) there has to be some concern in Philadelphia after watching that hit.
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Posted on: March 5, 2012 6:10 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 6:14 pm
If you have been watching the Philadelphia Flyers play, chances are you have noticed a change in Ilya Bryzgalov. He has been starting to resemble a goalie worthy of the nine-year, $51 million contract he received this offseason.
In his last nine starts Bryzgalov has given up 19 goals, an average of a little more than two per start. He has also stopped 180 of the last 199 shots he's seen. That's a touch better than .900. Most recently, though, he stopped all 34 shots from the Capitals in a 1-0 shutout on Sunday night.
None of that is world beater stuff (although hard to quibble with that GAA) but it does mark an improvement. And that's not the only improvement the Flyers have seen in their goalie. Here is what Danny Briere had to say to Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly:
Read that how you want but I can't help but extrapolate Briere admitting that Bryzgalov hadn't been a good teammate this season. All of those antics that we've seen, mostly around the Winter Classic really were apparently rubbing some the wrong way.
So some of the players and the management have been talking with him this season and apparently the message is finally getting through.
Well, playing in Philadelphia certainly is different than Phoenix. And I say that as more than the obvious differences between the markets themselves but also the teams they ice. Not too take away much from Bryzgalov -- or Mike Smith currently -- but Dave Tippett's brand of hockey tends to make goalies look good. The Flyers have tended to play a much more open game that can expose a goaltender.
I've said before that I'm a fan of Bryzgalov. I would like to see him playing well because he is arguable the most entertaining individual in the sport.
Oh, and no Bryzgalov post today would be complete without this little rap from a fan in Philly dedicated to Ilya the Philosopher.
H/t to Puck Daddy for the video
Posted on: January 26, 2012 11:38 am
Edited on: January 26, 2012 5:08 pm
Go back a few weeks when Randy Cunneyworth's "hiring" in Montreal was all the rage. Literally, rage. It led to organized protests against the Canadiens organization, not just Cunneyworth (although that was the impetus).
Those who didn't support Cunneyworth's hiring because he doesn't speak French were upset not only with the Cunneyworth promotion, but what they called the entire Anglicization of the Montreal Canadiens, Quebec's only team since the Nordiques became the Avalanche.
The list of complaints went beyond the coach not speaking French, however. Here is what the Canadian Press reported about the protests.
Protesters also complained the music played at the Bell Centre is in English, that announcements are in both languages and that the team has few francophone players.
I laughed when I first saw that. Would the people of Quebec rather have a team of Francophones that stink than a team of Anglophones that wins (of course they have neither right now)?
So that got me to thinking: What would an all French-speaking, Quebec-born team look like? I wanted to take a look and see how good of a team I could put together, keeping salary cap restraints in mind. (Hey folks, it's the All-Star break, just having some fun here.) Consider this my own All-Star fantasy draft.
Let's just get right to it, shall we?
Alain Vigneault is the guy. The Quebec City native has actually tried coaching the Canadiens before, making the playoffs only once from 1997-2001. He was fired midseason in the 2000-01 campaign. But he's found success since moving on to Vancouver, winning the Jack Adams once and coming in as a finalist in 2011 (he was also a finalist in 2000 with the Habs). A return trip to Montreal will hopefully go better this time.
Marc-Andre Fleury, Jean-Sebastien Giguere get the nod here. Now this is a position where I have a lot of choices. Fleury I think is a pretty clear starter based partly on his age, but for the second spot there are a lot of veterans: Giguere, Martin Brodeur, Jose Theodore, Martin Biron, Mathieu Garon and Jonathan Bernier. They can stop pucks in Quebec, that's pretty clear.
In terms of salary, Fleury takes up $5 million, Giguere only $1.25. So $6.25 million in goal is a decent price to pay, but not bad.
I'm going with (in no particular pairing order) Kris Letang, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Francois Beauchemin, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Stephane Robidas and Marc-Andre Gragnani. Letang leads the scoring punch while Bergeron, Beauchemin and to an extent Vlasic adding some more points. Defensively, Vlasic and Beauchemin highlight a pretty good two-way corps. But if anybody goes down, it gets thin after that.
As a whole, the defensemen don't cost that much. Beauchemin ($3.8 million), Letang ($3.5 million), Robidas ($3.3 million), Vlasic ($3.1 million), Bergeron ($1 million) and Gragnani (550,000) come in at a total of $15.25 million.
Now this is a group of guys I like: Patrice Bergeron, Danny Briere, David Desharnais and Maxime Talbot. You'll notice one pretty big omission here and that's Vincent Lecavalier, but that $10 million per year is too big of a burden, I don't know how the Lightning do it. But I still have two guys who can score, arguably the best defensive center in the game, a young and promising player in Desharnais and a solid worker in Talbot.
Naturally this is costing me some cash here. Briere ($6.5 million) is costly, then add Bergeron ($5 million) before getting a little reprieve with Talbot ($1.75 million) and Desharnais ($850,000). In total, they take up $14.1 million.
OK, I take it back about center. This is where my team is really loaded. Check out this lineup of Martin St. Louis, Jason Pominville, P.A. Parenteau and Alex Burrows. That's some serious scoring ability on the wing. I didn't have room for Maxim Lapierre or Pascal Dupuis at this position, but more on them later.
As you'd expect, this is the most expensive per-player corps on the team. St. Louis commands a cool $5.625 million, Pominville takes $5.3 million, Burrows costs $2 million and Parenteau a very reasonable $1.25 million. Total bill: $14.175 million.
Here we have an Achilles' heel. The lineup we could toss out is Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Alex Tanguay, David Perron and Guillaume Latendresse, but that's an awfully risky group of players. Each of Bouchard, Perron and Latendresse have dealt with concussions while Tanguay has been suffering with a neck strain. So to add a little stability, I'm going to convert Dupuis to the left side and leave out Bouchard -- more expensive than Latendresse.
The good news is this group doesn't cost a whole lot. Tanguay ($3.5 million), Latendresse ($2.5 million), Perron ($2.15 million) and Dupuis ($1.5 million) run up a bill of $9.65 million.
Since he didn't make the list at right wing, Lapierre is going to serve as our daily scratch. But really he's likely going to be playing a lot at left wing with the injury potential. What he also gives is a physical presence. He's at least not averse to dropping the gloves, having five fights this season for Vancouver. Maybe we could try and talk Georges Laraque to coming back and serving the enforcer role, but undoubtedly sitting in press row most nights.
Lapierre comes in at an even $1 million.
The total salary for this team checks in at $60.425 million, giving our GM (we'll just keep Pierre Gauthier) a little room to maneuver or sign maybe another defenseman that would likely sit in the press box most nights.
Moreover, the top prospect in the system would have to be Jonathan Huberdeau, the player who went third overall to Florida in the last NHL Draft. He's likely to be in the NHL next season and right now projects to be a center but he can also play on the wing, so he could help out with the weaker left side.
In the end, it's actually a much better team than I thought it could be. It might be a little lacking in the physical department, but the team has a lot of ingredients: It has some big-time scorers (seriously, a top two lines of Tanguay-Bergeron-St. Louis and Perron-Briere-Pominville isn't bad at all), it has some agitators (I'm looking at you, Burrows and Lapierre), is good defensively and I think it's solid in net.
And don't forget, everybody speaks French!
More from Eye on Hockey
Tags: Alain Vigneault, Alex Burrows, Alex Tanguay, Brian Stubits, Danny Briere, David Desharnais, David Perron, Francois Beauchemin, Georges Laraque, Guillaume Latendresse, Jason Pominville, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Jonathan Bernier, Jonathan Huberdeau, Jose Theodore, Kris Letang, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Marc-Andre Fleury, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Martin Biron, Martin Brodeur, Martin St. Louis, Mathieu Garon, Maxim Lapierre, Maxime Talbot, Montreal Canadiens, P.A. Parenteau, Pascal Dupuis, Patrice Bergeron, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Randy Cunneyworth, Stephane Robidas, Vincent Lecavalier
Posted on: January 21, 2012 6:46 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2012 6:51 pm
By: Adam Gretz
It's been a couple of hours since an NHL player was announced to be out with a concussion, so we were probably due for another one, just because that's the way it seems to be going this season.
The Flyers picked up a 4-1 win against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday afternoon, but they were the latest team to lose a player with a concussion. The unlucky player this time: forward Danny Briere, as announced by general manager Paul Holmgren after the game.
Briere played just a little over 16 minutes in the win and was also on the receiving end of multiple hits throughout the game, including a couple from Anton Volchenkov (including the one shown above) and Mark Fayne, as well as a punch from forward Patrik Elias.
Concussions have been a major problem throughout the league, and few teams have dealt with as many as the Flyers. They're already playing without James van Riemsdyk and Chris Pronger, and have spent time this season without Claude Giroux and Brayden Schenn. Pronger's season is already considered to be over, while it's not yet known how long Briere will have to be sidelined.
After the game he sent a text message to Sarah Baicker of CSN Philly that said, "I'm not too good right now. I don't even know what happened."
He has 13 goals and 17 assists in 42 games this season.
Along with Briere, the Flyers also lost Jaromir Jagr in this game as he left early with the same groin injury that has been bothering him throughout the season.
Previously at Eye On Hockey
Pronger's wife: he has good days and bad days
Pronger out for season
NHL Concussions this season
More Flyers news
For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 8, 2012 3:11 pm
Edited on: January 8, 2012 3:32 pm
While you were busy worrying about the upcoming summer of labor after the NHLPA declined the realignment plan ...
With all due respect to the guys of Green Day, nice guys really can finish first. Or at least succeed.
Saturday was a milestone day for two of the classiest and most loyal players in the NHL. One milestone awesome, the other simply dumbfounding, on a couple of levels.
First, the awesome: Jarome Iginla's 500th goal in Saturday night's win against the Minnesota Wild. Nobody is surprised that Iginla hit the 500-goal mark in his career. I've seen it argued that he would have passed that milestone a while ago if he had played with some better centers in his time with the Calgary Flames.
It doesn't matter how ugly it might have been. Iginla's had enough beauties in his career, I don't think for one second he was worried about it coming on a pass from the boards that bounced off skates and into the net.
I could go on about with platitudes about the class of guy that Iginla is. People already know that and my personal experience with the guy did nothing at all to change that impression for me. I like to point to this somewhat infamous and incredibly cringe-worthy exchange with Iginla and a reporter earlier this season that Iginla dealt with as patiently as any player could, even though nobody knew what exactly was being asked.
Iginla became only the 42nd player in NHL history to hit the plateau. So we're talking about a pretty exclusive club. Iginla's case is even more unique when one realizes that he became only the ninth player ever to score his first 500 goals with one team.
Every franchise usually has a designated Mr. (fill in the team name). Iginla no doubt is Mr. Flame.
The second milestone also came from a Mr. Franchise type and it was a bit more amazing.
Unless you work for the Elias Sports Bureau or are the biggest Phoenix Coyotes fan out there, it probably caught you by surprise that Shane Doan's hat trick on Saturday night was the first of his career.
It took him 1,161 games to get there, but Doan finally put three in in one game. And it's not like we're talking about a guy who doesn't score. He joins Scott Mellenby as the only other player in NHL history to score 300 goals before his first hat trick.
The most amazing part of all? It took Doan 59 minutes, 59 and 9/10 of a second to get that third goal.
Sometimes you can't make this stuff up.
Like Iginla, Doan has been a consummate professional, a player with the loyalty to a franchise that fans love to see in sports these days. This is a guy who has stuck with a franchise that has been surrounded in questions for a couple of years but has stuck with the only team he has ever known.
A little bit of irony in Doan's goal coming with only 0.1 second left, the Coyotes fell victim to a similar situation earlier this season. The Rangers potted a goal with the same exact amount of time on the clock. The only difference between those two last-second tallies? The Rangers' was for a win, Doan's for the hat trick in an already-decided game.
And all those hats he collected? They are reportedly being donated to the Phoenix Children's Hospital.
It was almost as if Saturday was a night for the good guys in the NHL. Two great honors for two great players. Certainly beats more concussions.
The St. Louis Blues are no fluke, people. This sample size with Ken Hitchcock at the helm is big enough to draw that conclusion.
The Blues are in the Central Division. They compete with the likes of the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators. Yet, after Saturday's games, it's the Blues that are sitting in first place of the monster division, for my money the best in the NHL.
St. Louis dominated the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night, pitching a 4-0 shutout. The Avs had been maybe the hottest team in the NHL, bringing a four-game win streak into the Lou. Instead they were just another victim for St. Louis.
That moved the Blues to 18-5-5 under Hitchcock. Their sole lead isn't going to last long. By the end of Sunday they will at least be in a tie with either the Blackhawks or Red Wings. But they are right there and will remain right there for the entire season.
The goaltending duo of Brian Elliott -- who had another shutout -- and Jaroslav Halak has rightfully received a lot of the attention for the Blues' success, but the guys in front of them deserve a lot. Just look at what the Avalanche were able to -- or unable to -- do: They only had 15 shots on goal for the entire game. That's why Elliott didn't even get one of the three Stars of the game. The most shots in one period that Colorado had? Seven. In the first they had just two.
I'll admit I'm happy for the fans of St. Louis. It's not a market that gets a lot of recognition as a big one like the cities in the Northeast or Canada, but it's been a strong market for hockey and remains that way. They haven't had a lot to cheer for in the past couple of years but they do now.
And of course the Western Conference has another team to be reckoned with.
The story out of Pittsburgh on Saturday was that the Penguins lost their fourth straight game, something they had not done in two years. On Sunday it was compounded by the announced injuries of James Neal (broken foot) and Jordan Staal (out 4-6 weeks).
But that's taking away from the success of the New Jersey Devils.
Their 3-1 win in Pittsburgh came a night after their 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers at home on Friday. They have points in seven of their last 10 games. They have also hurdled the Penguins in the Atlantic Division and are creeping up on the Flyers, four points behind Philadelphia.
A common thread in those two weekend wins? Ilya Kovalchuk had the game-winner. He's up to 15 goals on the season now, tied with David Clarkson for the team lead. He has the penchant for turnovers -- that's nothing new -- but is still as electric as almost any player in the league with the puck on his stick. What Peter DeBoer wouldn't give to continue to get that kind of production from Kovalchuk.
What a day it was Saturday for Danny Briere. The Philadelphia Flyers veteran had a double rarity in the Flyers' 3-2 win over the Senators: He finished off a hat trick with a goal in the final seconds of overtime and dropped the gloves with Kyle Turris (!).
First, here's the bout from HockeyFights.com.
Not terrible for a couple of guys who don't normally go a round. For Briere it was only his third career fight.
But in the end it was his fifth career hat trick that was the biggest moment of the night. Apparently content to take the game to the shootout, the Senators seemed to give up once the clock moved under 10 seconds. It was up to Craig Anderson to keep them alive. He made the first stop on Briere from point-blank range but couldn't prevent the second from slipping in and winning the game with 5.3 seconds left.
They're getting pretty desperate up there in Buffalo where the Sabres just can't seem to do anything right.
It's a solid cast of characters. There's a reason why people thought this would be a contender in the East this season. Add in the ownership takeover of Terry Pegula, and there was a lot of noise coming out of Buffalo. Now, not so much. Really.
That'll happen when you're not scoring much. Like they didn't score in the 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night in Buffalo.
Their lack of scoring is the biggest culprit for the following: Since Nov. 12 -- as in the day Ryan Miller met Milan Lucic -- the Sabres have the fourth-worst record in the NHL. The fans are beginning to beg GM Darcy Regier to do something. This isn't how it was supposed to go.
Quote of the weekend
The Caps just got Mike Green back from a hamstring-induced absence that stretched back to early November. Now it might cost him even more time now. If so, that will be the third time that Green has been out with injury. He also had an ankle issue cost him time earlier this season.
The Capitals saw their four-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday night in San Jose to the streaking Sharks. It was actually the first loss of the season for the Caps when Green played. They are now 9-1-0.
Looking beyond this season, Green will hit free agency this summer and here's one argument being laid out for why the Capitals shouldn't re-sign him. It will be worth a debate for GM George McPhee.
Tags: Brian Elliott, Brian Stubits, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Craig Anderson, Dale Hunter, Danny Briere, David Clarkson, Ilya Kovalchuck, James Neal, Jarome Iginla, Jordan Staal, Ken Hitchcock, Kyle Turris, Mike Green, New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators, Peter DeBoer, Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, Ryan Miller, San Jose Sharks, Shane Doan, St. Louis Blues, Ville Leino, Washington Capitals, Weekend Wrap
Posted on: January 2, 2012 8:43 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 8:49 pm
PHILADELPHIA -- For the first 35 or so minutes, the fifth edition of the Winter Classic was on its way to being the most forgettable. By the end, it was one of the most memorable. And it was a Henrik Lundqvist save away from being the most controversial.
With 19.6 seconds left and a mad scramble in front of the Rangers net, the play was blown dead. What came next was a penalty shot from Danny Briere, the Flyers trailing 3-2, the result of Ryan McDonagh covering the puck in the crease according to the officials.
It was the most dramatic moment in a Winter Classic to date.
"It was just a big scramble in the end they started to get pucks in front," Lundqvist said. "I didn't really see the puck I just stretched out my right leg and tried to stay on the post there and then I hear the whistle and then I hear the ref 'penalty shot.' I couldn't believe it."
Not surprisingly, neither could Rangers coach John Tortorella. "The penalty shot, I still don't understand."
The fans came to their feet when Briere circled in his own of the ice, getting ready for the chance to tie the game. Briere got the call instead of Claude Giroux, tied for the NHL's league lead in points after his beautiful backhand goal earlier in the game.
"We had a choice between the guys that were on the ice," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "It comes down to really between Danny and Claude, they're both regulars in the shootout. I think Danny, being a natural goal scorer, thrives in that area a little bit more. It was my decision."
So Briere came down deliberately, eventually firing the shot at Lundqvist's five hole. Denied.
"I just tried to be patient and do my thing," Lundqvist said. "He's a tricky guy. If I make the first move he's going to score. Obviously there's a lot of pressure on me there. I couldn't believe when he called it a penalty shot but it was exciting. The whole game was exciting. The end was pretty intense but it was great."
It was definitely intense. The Rangers had to find every bit of strength to hold off a massive Flyers push to close the game that was aided by some penalties, ones that Tortorella wondered about after the game. For as forthright as Lundqvist was admitting to his surprise, Tortorella was as subtle as an elephant walking across down the street.
"I'm not sure if NBC got together with the refs or what to turn this into an overtime game," Tortorella said afterward. "It started with the non-call on Gabby's [Marian Gaborik] walk, he gets pitch-forked in the stomach and then everything starts going against us.
"For two good referees, I thought the game was reffed horribly. I'm not sure what happened there. Maybe they did want to get it to an overtime. I'm not sure if they have meetings about that or what. They're good guys, I just thought tonight, in that third period, it was disgusting."
One of those calls that didn't go their way was against Rangers captain Ryan Callahan. He was advancing up the left wing with about a minute to go, hunting an empty-net goal to end the suspense. He was taken down by Kimmo Timonen. Instead of a goal for the Rangers, Callahan was called for holding the stick to match Timonen's interference.
"Apparently I was holding his stick," a bewildered Callahan said after the game. "The stick was up by my chin. It was a tough one."
As a result Callahan, one of the Rangers' best shot-blockers, was left to watch that dramatic sequence from the penalty box.
"I was in the box but from what I saw it looked like Richards was pushing the puck out of the crease," Callahan said. "Hankie then comes up with a huge save to win it for us."
It was a huge save that likely saved the Winter Classic conspiracy talk from being at a fever pitch. What Tortorella said was a bit tongue in cheek -- I think -- but there would have been a lot more of the same cries coming from outside.
It certainly made for one memorable finish, that much can't be disputed.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: December 21, 2011 11:45 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 12:00 am
By: Adam Gretz
Episode two of HBO's 24/7 showed us two very different sides of Rangers head coach John Tortorella. On one hand, we saw the type of intense, expletive-filled rants and speeches in the locker room that we expected to see in an effort to get his team moving. That's what happened during the first intermission of a recent game against the St. Louis Blues that the Rangers eventually lost.
But we also saw his softer side, as his relationship with a 10-year-old Rangers fan with cerebal palsy by the name of Liam Trainer was highlighted. The two met through the Rangers' Garden of Dreams Foundation, and Tortorella's face lit up when speaking about him and how he's kept in contact with him. The Rangers even gave him an early Christmas present by setting he and his family up with tickets for the Jan. 2 Winter Classic in Philadelphia.
"I'm glad he's part of my life," said Tortorella.
It was nice to see that Tortorella is more than a hockey coach that screams at people on the ice and, away from the rink, can be more than willing to give back to his community.
Episode two MVP: Flyers coach Peter Laviolette
I'm giving it to Laviolette for this season, and this reason only: How many times have you, as a fan, watched your team play a game in Montreal and get called for a penalty that leaves you saying, "they only got that call because it's in Montreal."
If you haven't said it, you've probably thought about it at some point. Well, you're not alone, and coaches react the same way you do. After Flyers forward Jaromir Jagr was tripped as he carried the puck into the offensive zone (with no call) the play went down to the other end of the ice and resulted in a slashing call on Flyers rookie Sean Couturier. Laviolette was livid and started screaming "Typical Montreal" at the officials. He did this multiple times, even after he left the bench.
I also like how he edits himself when talking to referees. Instead of dropping F-Bomb's with the officials during that exchange he made sure he said "frickin'", and then proceeded to let loose with his expletives once back in the locker room.
Three moments that stood out
1) Speaking of referees, one of the interesting angles provided this week was footage of the referees locker room after the first period of the Rangers-Coyotes game (the one that ended with Brad Richards' goal with 0.1 seconds remaining in regulation) as they discussed an incident involving Rangers forward Mike Rupp and Coyotes forward Raffi Torres. I realize the show is focussing on the two teams, but the referees and their involvement in the game is a pretty huge part of it, and I wouldn't mind seeing a bit more from them.
2) After the series debut last week we all wanted more Ilya Bryzgalov, and we got him this week. It appears that his teammates have started to refer to him as "universe" after his speech about how it is "so humongous big" while others joked that they would be sure to never kill a tiger after he explained how it's illegal and will result in the death penalty in certain countries. But we also had some fresh moments for the, let's say unique, Flyers netminder.
For one, he reads Tolstoy while on the plane, and he also compared his husky to a beautiful woman saying, "My husky, she's basically a hot girl, man."
When talking about how crazy it is to play goalie in the NHL and put himself in front of shots every night, Bryzgalov suggested that it's the defensemen in front of him that are crazier.
You know what? He's not wrong.
3) We learned just how young some of the Flyers rookies are. How young? Couturier, a 19-year-old rookie and first-round draft pick from this year, lives in the extra bedroom of Danny Briere's house, and that he is closer in age to Briere's three kids than he is to Briere himself, his teammate. We also learned that Zac Rinaldo is amazed that he gets to play on the same ice as Jaromir Jagr, which impresses him because he used to be able to play with Jagr on Sega Genesis as a kid growing up.
More 2012 Winter Classic News Here
24/7 Flyers-Rangers Episode 1
For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:03 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 1:07 pm
Already without their captain Chris Pronger because of a concussion, the Flyers are going to sans not only their top scorer, but the NHL's leader in points, Claude Giroux, indefinitely with a concussion.
Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren made the announcement on Tuesday.
"Claude reported not feeling very good today," Holmgren said in a statement. "Over the past few days, his symptoms have gradually gotten worse. He will be out indefinitely with a concussion.
This was the fear after the Flyers' win over the Lightning this weekend. It was in that game that Giroux was hit in the back of his head by teammate Wayne Simmonds' knee in a flukey accident. Simmonds did his best to avoid Giroux, who fell to the ice on a checking attempt, but his knee smacked Giroux square in the back of the head when he tried to leap his teammate.
The Flyers have been able to hang tough through all of the injury issues they've been dealt, but this one will test them like no other. Giroux is atop everybody's list of early season Hart candidates, posting 39 points in just 29 games for Philadelphia this season, helping the Flyers to the top of the Eastern Conference. The next closest player in the scoring department for the Flyers is Scott Hartnell with 26 points.
"When he goes out we look for the veteran players like Danny [Briere] to step in," coach Peter Laviolette said, "and we also look at the young players like Matt Read or Sean Couturier to pick up the slack."
"Obviously he's a guy you can't replace," James van Riemsdyk added. "It's going to take a lot of people to step it up and fill the role that he plays. He does everything for us: penalty kill, power play, scores big goals, makes big hits, blocks shots, does it all. So we're going to have to kind of step up our game here. Just let him rest and not have to rush him back."