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Tag:Philadelphia Flyers
Posted on: September 5, 2011 10:29 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2011 1:41 pm
 

Flyers GM Holmgren injured in bike accident

By: Adam Gretz

Scary news out of the Philadelphia Flyers organization on Monday night as it was reported by Tim Panaccio of CSN Philadelphia that general manager Paul Holmgren was involved in a bike accident in Avalon, New Jersey.

According to Panaccio, Holmgren suffered "broken ribs, a broken shoulder and other injuries that required stitches."

The Avalon Police Department sent out a release on Tuesday regarding the incident (h/t to broadstreethockey.com).

AVALON POLICE STATEMENT ON BICYCLE ACCIDENT

(Avalon, NJ) — Avalon Police were called to the scene of a bicycle accident on Monday, September 5th, 2011 at 11:28am. A man identified as 55 year old Paul Holmgren of Somerdale, New Jersey was riding his bicycle northbound on Dune Drive at 58th Street when he lost his balance and fell from the bicycle. No other vehicles, bicycles, or pedestrians were involved in the accident.

Mr. Holmgren suffered a cut to the right side of his head and a shin abrasion, and was transported to Cape Regional Medical Center in Cape May Court House, New Jersey by the Avalon Rescue Squad. He was conscious and alert at the time of the accident and told police that he lost his balance while on his bicycle. Mr. Holmgren was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

Avalon Patrolman Samuel Hoffman was the responding officer.


The Flyers have yet to make an official announcement but several players, including Matt Carle and James van Riemsdyk went to Twitter to express their concern.

Holmgren, 55, has been with the Flyers organization since the mid-90's and has held a number of positions in the front office. He was named general manager of the club following the resignation of Bobby Clarke early in the 2006-07 season.

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

Posted on: August 30, 2011 12:53 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2011 1:44 pm
 

Flyers extend James Van Riemsdyk for six seasons

By Brian Stubits

The Philadelphia Flyers have re-signed young forward James van Riemsdyk to an extension, helping them bypass restricted free agency next season.

While the team didn't say how long the contract is for other than being a multi-year deal, Van Riemsdyk spilled the beans himself, tweeting about his delight of the deal.

"Excited to sign a 6 year extension with the @NHLFlyers, love playing in Philly," Van Riemsdyk said. "Want to thank mr snider and flyers management for treating me well and showing confidence in me #firstclassorganization."

Scott Burnside of ESPN reports the deal is for $25.5 million over the six years or an annual cap hit of $4.25 million. That's a pretty hefty deal for JVR at this point, but obviously they are investing in what they think he will become, not who he is now.

A deal at that length will help the sides avoid the restricted free agency process altogether, surely a welcome result for both parties. As this summer has reminded, that can be an ugly fight. Already under contract for next season, the deal will keep JVR in black and orange until he's nearly 30.

The 22-year-old New Jersey native has shown plenty of promise in his two seasons in Philly. Last season he scored 21 goals and chipped in 19 more assists in the regular season before scoring seven goals in 11 games for the Flyers in the playoffs. He will be one of the players called on to help fill the scoring void left by Mike Richards' and Jeff Carter's exits.

It's been a good summer for JVR. First there was the appearance in an upcoming Judd Aptatow film, now this. Not bad for the offseason.

A native of the Jersey shore, Van Riemsdyk grew up a fan of the Rangers. Not any more.

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: August 29, 2011 2:26 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 2:59 pm
 

Eastern Conference spots seem set for some time

By Brian Stubits

Sometimes simple and obvious things just hit you. Things you had realized before but for some reason they jump to your attention again. It tends to happen a lot more often during the lazy hockey days of summer.

That's exactly what happened when I began to think about the makeup of hockey markets/organizations, particularly in the Eastern Conference. What popped into my head was the fact that the contenders this season are likely to be the same as they were last season, and for the most part the same they were the season before that. And it's likely they will remain the contenders for the season after next, too.

At that moment I realized the NHL is starting to resemble the NBA in a way. And that's not good. One of the biggest reasons the NBA is in a lockout that seems to have no end in sight (Ken Berger and the Eye on Basketball guys have that covered) is the very issue that only a handful of teams enter every season with a chance to win the Larry O'Brien Trophy. Everybody's favorite stat about the (lack of) parity in the NBA is the simple fact that since 1984, only eight different organizations have won the championship. That's eight teams in 28 seasons.

Now look at the Eastern Conference in hockey. The Capitals have been atop their division for four straight seasons. The Penguins and Flyers are perennial contenders. Same goes for the Bruins while the Rangers, Canadiens and Sabres are regulars in the 5-8 range in the standings.

Of course that leaves teams like the Islanders (four-year playoff drought), Maple Leafs (six-year drought), Jets/Thrashers (one appearance in franchise history), Hurricanes (perennial contender for first runnerup these days) and the Panthers (10-year drought) to fend at the bottom.

So where do these teams fit? When you have a team like the Islanders seeming ready to step up and compete for the playoffs, who are they going to surpass? The Eastern Conference is full of traditional hockey markets in the American northeast and Canada, big markets either in hockey-crazy cities and ones with rich histories. The West has a few of those as well -- namely Vancouver, Detroit and Chicago -- but not as many as the East.

But have a look at the chart below detailing the past four seasons. Five teams have made the playoffs in each of those seasons and four teams have failed to advance beyond the regular season even once.

Last four seasons
Team Average finish (Eastern Conference) Playoff appearances 2011-12 payroll (capgeek.com)
Capitals 1.75 4 $65,190,128
Penguins 3.5 4 $62,737,500
Bruins 4.5 4 $56,682,976
Flyers 5 4 $64,124,761
Devils 5 3 $58,429,167
Canadiens 5.75 4 $59,770,510
Rangers 7.25 3 $62,935,334
Sabres 7.5 2 $67,895,357
Hurricanes 8.75 1 $49,775,000
Senators 9 2 $51,845,834
Lightning 11.5 1 $59,326,083
Maple Leafs 12.25 0 $59,115,000
Jets/Thrashers 12.25 0 $48,284,166
Panthers 12.25 0 $49,882,042
Islanders 13.75 0 $45,970,166

You get the feeling that at least five spots are locks in the East this year with two more almost assuredly the same. In the lock category you start with four of the five teams that have been staples: The Capitals, Penguins, Flyers and Bruins. Add in the up-and-coming Lightning for good measure. Hard to imagine any of those five not making it this season. In the next two spots I think you can add the Rangers and Sabres. With new owner Terry Pegula, the Sabres seem destined to become another playoff regular. These are teams that all improved (or in the case of Boston, didn't have to improve, but more or less stay in tact after winning the Stanley Cup) and were already playoff caliber.

By my stellar mathematical abilities, that leaves one spot essentially up for grabs. Among the group fighting for it will be the Canadiens (the other team to make it each of the past four seasons), Devils and, well, the rest of the conference. Outside of the Senators who are building for a few years from now and maybe the Jets, every team in the conference looks to be better now then they were at the end of last season.

And here's the thing: I don't see how it will be easy to unseat these teams at the top of the conference. Sure, you will have the occasional team slipping through like the Lightning. To extend the analogy back to the NBA, that's like the Oklahoma City Thunder building after years of struggle to a competitive level. But they still have to fight through the Lakers, Mavericks and Spurs, all of which are almost guaranteed to be in the hunt. It's hard to imagine a time when the Lakers won't be contenders, and when they have been (post-Shaquille O'Neal) they rebuilt in a hurry and won the title shortly thereafter.

That's what I'm seeing for the Eastern Conference, that kind of perennial favorite similarity. It makes sense, obviously. The best free agents will want to go to the best teams in the best hockey cities and the biggest pay checks. That's to be expected. And that's a huge reason why these teams are able to stay above the equator. It doesn't hurt to have the infrastructures they all have at their disposal, too. From fan support to smart organizational minds and moves, they win more often than not. Success begets success. It's no coincidence that these are also the teams most heavily featured on national TV.

Let's look at the Capitals. Owner Ted Leonsis has been mentioned his 10-to-15-year plan ... not a plan that calls for 10-to-15 years to win the Cup (although it's starting to look that way) but instead to keep the Caps a Cup contender for that time. And because Washington D.C. has shown itself to be a strong hockey market and is appealing to free agents, it's easy to see how the Caps can sustain that. You have a young Alexander Ovechkin on your roster? Lock him up! Just throw a 13-year contract in front of one of the sport's best players and he's aboard for the long haul. Try and do the same when you're in Tampa Bay and you have a situation where you are only able to secure Steven Stamkos for five seasons.

The reasons are obvious, much the same as the Yankees in baseball (and now the Red Sox). You can pen each of those teams into the playoffs before the season even starts and you are most likely going to be right. But this isn't supposed to happen in hockey, not with a supposedly game-evening hard salary cap. It's just the inherent advantages are too tough for a lot of teams to compete with. Essentially, the margin for error is razor thin for the lesser markets/organizations.

Toronto is the exception (sorry Leafs fans) to the big-market success model. It is probably the best hockey market in the NHL, has an incredibly devoted fan base and has not been afraid to spend. But even the Leafs are struggling these days to break that glass ceiling and butt their way into the playoffs. They couldn't beat out the Rangers for Brad Richards' services in free agency.

Now this is why they play the game. You can't lock in these teams to the playoffs. After all, who saw that Devils season coming last year? You still have to earn your way into the postseason. But if you are a fan of one of the bottom-feeders in the East, I'd suggest you cool your jets. The East's upper echelon is pretty well full of NHL aristocrats. The competition will be better and the spots will likely be more fiercely fought for, but it will be hard to break through.

In the West you can hear the mid-level teams saying "welcome to our world."

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: August 26, 2011 7:07 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2011 7:42 pm
 

Blair Betts: The NHL's penalty killing specialist

Betts
By: Adam Gretz

There's a good chance Blair Betts won't be selected in many fantasy drafts this season.

He's spent parts of nine years in the NHL with the Calgary Flames, New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers, scoring just 41 goals in 477 career games. Nothing that really stands out as an extraordinarly productive hockey player, at least from an offensive point of view. But his role -- and his value -- can't be appreciated by simply looking at how many goals he scores, because he's rarely in a positition to score them.

Or asked to score them.

There are certain players in the NHL that have a specific skillset that allows them to fill one primary role which occupies the majority of their time on the ice. It could be as a power play specialist (a player like Marc-Andre Bergeron), a fighter (a player like George Parros), or in the case of Betts, a penalty killer.

In a typical game Betts will play no more than 10 minutes. During this past season, for example, Betts averaged just under 10-and-a-half minutes per game, with a large portion of that time coming in shorthanded situations. While averaging less ice-time than every regular forward on the Flyers not named Jody Shelley and Dan Carcillo, Betts not only led all Flyers forwards in shorthanded ice-time per game, he led every forward in the NHL.

Even more than that, the 30-year-old Betts spent a larger percentage of his ice-time killing penalties than any other forward in the NHL. By a wide margin.

During the 2010-11 season Betts spent over 34 percent of his total ice-time playing in situations with his team was down a man. To put that in perspective, if you were to look at the top-25 forwards that averaged the most shorthanded ice-time per game last season, the next closest forward was Anaheim's Todd Marchant at just over 27 percent. Betts' teammate, Darroll Powe, Edmonton's Colin Fraser and Pittsburgh's Craig Adams all came in at just over 25 percent.

Here's how the top-10 looked:

Penalty Killing Specialists
Player Shorthanded Ice Time Total Ice Time Shorthanded Percentage
Blair Betts 271:46 783.50 34%
Todd Marchant 285:08 1,049:59 27%
Darroll Powe 257:16 995:12 25%
Coiln Fraser 177:35 688:29 25%
Craig Adams 247:11 974:56 25%
Darren Helm 251:11 1,091:08 23%
Patrick Eaves 169:36 799:55 21%
Liam Reddox 130:38 659:50 19%
Lauri Korpikoski 239:21 1,226:44 19%
Max Talbot 239:50 1,235:34 19%

Since becoming a regular NHL player with the Flames during the 2003-04 season, he's consistently been one of the top penalty killing options on every team he's played on, with those units typically finishing near the top-10 in the league (the average finish of the team's he's played on in penalty killing percentage has been 9th).

It can be an extremely valuable, but thankless, role that doesn't bring much attention, and few players do it as often -- or as well -- as Betts.

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: August 25, 2011 10:28 pm
Edited on: August 25, 2011 11:19 pm
 

Bryzgalov introduced to Philadelphia media

BryzgalovBy: Adam Gretz

After a series of trades and some re-tooling of the roster earlier this summer, goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov has pretty much become the face of the Philadelphia Flyers. He's the highest paid player on the team and the third highest-paid player in the NHL this season, a contract he signed shortly after forwards Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were sent packing to Los Angeles and Columbus.

With that comes plenty of expectation, especially at a position that has been viewed as the only weak link for a perennial Stanley Cup contender. It's a bold shift in organizational structure for the Flyers, a team that over the past several years went through each season and playoff run with a revolving door of goaltenders with relatively small salary cap commitments.

Over the past three seasons alone the Flyers used eight different goaltenders for at least one game. Those days appear to be over, as Bryzgalov will obviously be counted on to solidify the position for the next several years. Whether he will be enough to overcome the loss of offensive players like Richards, Carter and Ville Leino remains to be seen, but the 31-year-old has become one of the most important players -- if not the most important player -- in the organization for the foreseeable future.

The Flyers introduced Bryzgalov to the Philadelphia media on Thursday, and he's not only ready to play as many games as the Flyers need him to play, he's expecting to win a lot of them, too (then again, what else is he going to say?).

Said Bryzgalov, "When you play a lot, you feel confident about your game. If they need me to play 70 games, I'll play 70. If they need me to play 50, I'll play 50. So it all depends on the coach and management, whatever they need."

He's also looking to win at least 40 games this season, something he did two years ago as a member of the Phoenix Coyotes. Playing 50 games, or even 60 games, hasn't been an issue in recent years as he was a workhorse for the Coyotes, appearing in at least 64 games in each of the past four seasons.

The 40 wins, however, could be tougher goal to reach.

Of course, regular seasons wins aren't going to be what the majority of Flyers fans care about. It's all going to come down to what happens in the playoffs, an area that remains somewhat of a question for Bryzgalov after some struggles the past two seasons with the Coyotes, a team that simply wasn't as talented from top-to-bottom as the Detroit Red Wings teams that eliminated them (he had more postseason success with Anaheim back in 2005 and 2006).

The Flyers lost a lot of offense this summer and are replacing it with some unproven -- though talented -- youngsters up front, while their top two defenseman (Chris Pronger and Kimmo Timonen) are both a year older, which means more responsibility for the man in goal. He's an improvement over what they've been running out there in past years for sure, but it's not out of the question for the Flyers to take a bit of a step back this year as a team, even with the upgrade Bryzgalov will bring.

You can see Bryzgalov's introductory press conference in its entirety at the Flyers website.

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: August 24, 2011 1:02 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2011 1:09 pm
 

Laperriere, fellow players to be in Apatow film

By Brian Stubits

Ian Laperriere hasn't found himself too busy when it comes to playing lately. The Masterton Trophy winner hasn't played since 2009-10 because of post-concussion issues, but the 37-year-old is still finding work.

Over the summer, Judd Apatow -- the man behind funny flicks such as Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby among many others -- was working on the follow up to Knocked Up called This is Forty when he had a part that called for a toothless man in a bar. Well when you want to find a relatively young, toothless person, where better to look than hockey?

Thanks to an official with the Flyers, Apatow and Laperriere were able to connect and the role match couldn't have been more perfect with a casting call.

The part called for a few hockey players going into a bar after a game and having some with the toothless player's false teeth. To fill in the rest of the roles, Laperriere was able to snag fellow Flyers Matt Carle, James van Riemsdyk and ex-Flyer Scottie Upshall, now with the Panthers. Dan Gross at philly.com has the full story (h/t to Puck Daddy):

"I made a fool of myself, but it was fun," Lappy told us yesterday. "I like to try different things."

It might be a good fit. As you can see from above, Laperriere already has the red carpet look down.

The flick isn't scheduled to be released until December of 2012, so you have a while before seeing the Flyers on the big screen. But if you need any other reasons to go see the movie when the time comes, it will star Megan Fox.

Photo: Getty Images

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


Posted on: August 24, 2011 10:22 am
Edited on: August 29, 2011 2:04 pm
 

Daily Skate: National TV partners; remaining FAs

By Brian Stubits

MADE FOR TV GAMES: If you had one guess as to the most nationally televised matchup in the NHL since 1994, what would you pick? If you said Rangers-Flyers, you got it, and it's not even close. Puck The Media has compiled a list of the national broadcasts going back to 1994 and Rangers-Flyers takes the cake by eight games over Penguins-Flyers. Take a look at the whole list here. Notice a lot more mixtures containing the Rangers, Flyers and Red Wings. Earth shattering there, we know.

FREE AGENTS STILL FREE: Don't forget there are still some free agents floating out there looking for work. Guys like Bryan McCabe, Cory Stillman, Teemu Selanne and Chris Campoli haven't found contract offers as of yet. So Down Goes Brown helps the teams still shopping by providing a buyer's guide to the remaining players that is full of gems like this: Chris Campoli, the good: Is known as a puck-moving defenceman, which presumably makes him more valuable than a defenceman who insists on keeping the puck stationary at all times.

TOMAS THE TANK: The Panthers' rebuilding efforts were hardly met with universal praise across the hockey world. The majority of people outside of South Florida saw a bunch of overpriced, mediocre signings instead of impact spending. But Dale Tallon doesn't feel that way (of course not), especially about his most expensive forward addition, Tomas Fleischmann. Tallon told the Miami Herald that "[Fleischmann] hasn't reached his peak yet and numbers are just going to go up."

STILL LOOKING TO STRIKE OIL: The Oilers are still trying to work their way back up the Western Conference standings, and the best way to do that will be to get better in the defensive end. David Staples of the Edmonton Journal isn't exactly optimistic that will happen this season. Where he's holding out his hope is that the young defensemen will be better with another season because there isn't much else to inspire a feeling of blue line growth. He also has an injury update on the "lanky Yankee" Ryan Whitney.

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

Posted on: August 18, 2011 7:32 pm
 

National TV schedule is out; light on Predators

By Brian Stubits

So the national television game schedules were released by the NHL on Thursday, and all in all it's what you would expect. It features a lot of the Red Wings, Bruins, Capitals, Flyers, Blackhawks, Rangers and Penguins -- the usual suspects.

It's clear why they are on the tube so much. They have earned it with their play on the ice and the fan support off it. It's only smart business for a league that is the lowest of the USA's four major sports leagues in interest and viewership.

But how about the teams making the fewest appearance? It's some of what you'd expect. The Columbus Blue Jackets, at this point, will not grace the networks of NBC or Versus (or whatever the station will be named this season), not even once. The Florida Panthers will be seen nationwide on one occasion -- a date with the Penguins. Those are pretty understandable. It would be nice to see a little more of them, but it makes sense. They are rebuilt rosters, but have been bad for some time and don't exactly have large followings (we're being kind).

Next on the list, though, is the Nashville Predators. The Preds will be seen on national TV just twice. The only thing against the Preds is that they are in a small, southern market. But the quality of the team warrants a few more games than this. It's possible they will get flexed onto national coverage late in the season, but either way, it's a shame they are being left out save two games. After all, the Predators did make it into the second round of the playoffs last season, hockey's equivalent of the Elite Eight.

While upset, the people over at the Section 303 blog, a Predators destination, aren't surprised by the stiff.

Staying in the Western Conference, the Minnesota Wild will get quite a bit more air time despite not making the playoffs for the third straight season last year. In all, the Wild will be broadcast from sea to shining sea 10 times.

Here are the U.S. channel schedules, starting with NBC. I hope you like the Keystone State battles. (Source: NHL.com)

NBC schedule
Day Date Visitor Home Eastern time Notes
Fri. 11/25 Detroit Boston 1 p.m. N/A
Mon. 1/2 N.Y. Rangers Philadelphia 1 p.m. Winter Classic
Sat. 1/14 Chicago Detroit 12:30 p.m. N/A
Sun. 1/22 Boston Philadelphia 3 p.m. N/A
Sun. 1/22 Washington Pittsburgh 3 p.m. N/A
Sun. 2/12 Washington N.Y. Rangers 3 p.m. NBC/VS Flex
Sun. 2/12 Philadelphia Detroit 7:30 p.m. NBC/VS Flex
Sun. 2/19 Pittsburgh Buffalo 12:30 p.m. N/A
Sun. 2/19 San Jose Detroit 12:30 p.m. N/A
Sun. 2/19 St. Louis Chicago 3 p.m. N/A
Sun. 2/19 Boston Minnesota 3 p.m. N/A
Sun. 3/4 Boston N.Y. Rangers 3 p.m. NBC/VS Flex
Sun. 3/4 Philadelphia Washington 7 p.m. NBC/VS Flex
Sun. 3/11 Los Angeles Chicago 7 p.m. NBC/VS Flex
Sun. 3/11 Boston Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m. NBC/VS Flex
Sun. 3/18 Pittsburgh Philadelphia 3 p.m. NBC/VS Flex
Sun. 3/18 Washington Chicago 7 p.m. NBC/VS Flex
Sun. 4/1/ Boston N.Y. Rangers 3 p.m. NBC/VS Flex
Sun. 4/1 Philadelphia Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m. NBC/VS Flex
Sat. 4/7 Buffalo Boston 3 p.m. NBC/VS Flex
Sat. 4/7 Washington N.Y. Rangers 3 p.m. NBC/VS Flex
Sat. 4/7 Philadelphia Pittsburgh 4 p.m. NBC/VS Flex
Sun. 4/7 Chicago Detroit 4 p.m. NBC/VS Flex

Now here's the full schedule for Versus/NBC Sports Network.

Finally, here's how it will go on the NHL Network.

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