Tag:Philadelphia Flyers
Posted on: August 17, 2011 9:06 am
Edited on: August 17, 2011 2:16 pm

Daily Skate: The NHL's new fight

By: Adam Gretz

THE NHL'S NEW FIGHT: As reactions to Rick Rypien's death continue to pour in, National Post columnist Bruce Arthur put together a tremendous column on Tuesday nighttalking about the new fight that the NHL has on its hands: depression. Writes Arthur:
we don’t know enough about why he might have been depressed, about whether fighting was a trigger for that depression. We just know that he suffered from a disease that is still not understood in society, or in sports. Studies have shown that depression is severely underreported in professional sport; even if this case, in which the Canucks attempted to procure various avenues of treatment without putting pressure on the young man, Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis admits they didn’t have an established course to follow. “There is,” he said, “no blueprint.”
The entire column is definitely interesting and worth checking out.

SOME POSITIVE ATTENTION FOR LEBDA: Defenseman Brett Lebda was recently bought out by the Nashville Predators after they acquired him following what was a disappointing run with the Toronto Maple Leafs. His play was the butt of many jokes in Detroit (his first NHL team) and Toronto, and Michael Petrella of The Production Line points out a lot of the positive things he's been able to do throughout his career.

CHECK OUT BRYZGALOV'S NEW MASK: Apparently, Ilya Bryzgalov likes tigers because they are featured on what is supposedly his new mask that he'll wear as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers. InGoal Magazine has the pictures.

LEAGUE TO TEST CURVED GLASS: The Research, Development and Orientation camp kicks off today in Ontario, and Dan Rosen of NHL.com has a look at one of the possible changes the league will be testing: curved glass that would replace the padded turnbuckles that used to sit near the end of the player benches.

ALFREDSSON RETURNS TO ICE: Ottawa Senators forward hit the ice for the first time since early February and managed to skate for more than an hour on Tuesday. The session appears to have been a success as the veteran winger said "it felt good to be back on the ice," via Martin Cleary of the Ottawa Citizen. The Senators can certainly use him -- and his offense -- this upcoming season.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: August 14, 2011 1:54 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 9:06 am

Daily Skate: Leighton odd man out for Flyers?

By: Adam Gretz

LEIGHTON THE ODD MAN OUT? Two years ago Michael Leighton was the unlikely goaltender that played between the pipes as the Flyers went to the Stanley Cup Finals, falling just two games short of winning their first title since 1976. Today he's potentially the odd man out in Philadelphia's goaltending situation with the presence of youngster Sergei Bobrovsky as well as this summer's high-profile acquisition of former Phoenix Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post takes a look at the Flyers goaltending situation on Sunday.

CANADA WINS IVAN HLINKA TOURNAMENT: Canada's Under-18 team captured its fourth straight gold at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament on Saturday by defeating Sweden, 4-1. Coach Steve Spott accused the Swedish team of filming their practices and said that Sweden acted like it had already won the Gold Medal after beating Canada earlier in the tournament.

ZYUZIN MAKING A RETURN? Genadi Boguslavski of Sovetsky Sport reports that defenseman Andrei Zyuzin is close to making a return to the NHL after spending the past three years in Russia. He last played in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2007-08 season, and in 496 career games with Chicago, Minnesota, Calgary, New Jersey and Tampa Bay the defenseman scored 38 goals.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: August 13, 2011 9:17 am
Edited on: August 13, 2011 12:56 pm

Daily Skate: Khabibulin to start house arrest

By: Adam Gretz

KHABIBULIN TO START HOUSE ARREST Edmonton Oilers goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, who has been serviving a jail sentence from last February's DUI arrest in Arizona, is scheduled to start serving the house arrest portion of his sentence on Sunday according to Dan Tencer of CHED 630 AM on Twitter. Khabibulin's agent says he's handled the situation "fine" and is looking forward to camp.

HARTNELL LOOKING TO BE MORE OF A LEADER The Philadelphia Flyers re-tooled their lineup this summer, and with absence of veterans and top-scorers Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Ville Leino, veteran forward Scott Hartnell is looking to be more of a leader for the young roster and all of its new players.

Free agent defenseman Lee Sweat signed a two-way contract with the Ottawa Senators this offseason, and on Friday surprisingly announced his retirement from hockey before the start of training camp. According to his agent he's looking to pursue outside business interests. The 25-year-old defenseman appeared in three games with the Vancouver Canucks last season and scored one goal to go with one assist, and scored five goals in 41 games with the Manitoba Moose at the AHL level.

GRETZKY SERVES AS AGENT The Chicago Cubs finalized a contract with Trevor Gretzky on Friday, their seventh round draft pick from this year and the son of NHL legend Wayne Gretzy. The interesting part of the story here, because the signing had been reported as likely to happen several weeks ago, is that Gretzky (Wayne) served as the agent for his son and negotiated the contract that will pay a signing bonus of $375,000.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: August 10, 2011 10:11 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2011 10:27 pm

Can Jagr be top scoring Czech player in NHL?

JagrBy: Adam Gretz

It's been over 10 years since the Czech Republic was one of the top hockey powers on the planet, winning Gold at the 1998 Winter Olympics and boasting an impressive list of NHL players. Over the years their numbers across the NHL have dropped significantly. Last season there were just 42 players from the Czech Republic to appear in the NHL, down from their peak of 78 during the 2001-02 season.

Perhaps the best Czech player ever, Jaromir Jagr, (I say perhaps because you can make an argument for Dominik Hasek in that discussion) will be returning to the NHL this season as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers after spending the past three seasons playing in Russia. And also after what was a highly entertaining and, at the same time, maddening free agency courtship earlier this summer.

Between 1997 and 2008, which was Jagr's last year in the NHL, he was the top scoring player from the Czech Republic in the NHL in eight of those seasons, and the two years he wasn't (2002-03 and 2003-04, also two of the worst seasons of his career) he finished third and fourth respectively.

Can he return to the top of the list in 2011 after a three-year stop in the KHL?

The top-scoring Czech player last season was a three-way tie between Martin Havlat, David Krejci and Patrik Elias with 62 points, and 2009-10 it was Tomas Plekanec with 70. In Jagr's last NHL appearance three years ago he scored 71 with the Rangers, which led the team .

I guess the question becomes whether or not Jagr can still be a 60-70 point player at the age of 39. During his stay in the KHL he was nearly a point-per-game player over the three-year stretch, and finished in the top-10 in scoring twice, including this past season. It's obviously a different style of play on a different playing surface and in what seems to be lower-scoring league, so it's not exactly easy to see how the production would translate.

We've seen elite players like Teemu Selanne and Nicklas Lidstrom continue to put up huge numbers in the NHL at the age of 39 and beyond (Selanne, for example, recorded 80 points last season as a 40-year-old), and Jagr was certainly an elite player during his time in the NHL. And even though he wasn't in the league the past three years, he was still playing hockey in what is probably the second-best league in the world. He also showed he can still play against a high level of competition during the 2010 Olympics, as well as the most recent World Championships.

This season he's going to have a chance to be one of the top offensive weapons (along with Claude Giroux and youngsters like James vanRiemsdyk) on a retooled Flyers team that should still score its share of goals, even if they don't look anywhere near as dangerous -- on paper, anyway -- as they did before trading Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.

It's a bit of a mystery for sure, and it's hard to figure out what to expect. He's certainly not as explosive or fast as he was during his prime, but it's hard to believe his hands and offensive skill have deteriorated to the point that he won't still able to put in between 50 and 60 points, and perhaps more, assuming he stays injury free.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: August 9, 2011 10:33 am

Daily Skate: Schwartz's motivation; Pronger rehab

By Brian Stubits

MOTIVATING MEMORY: You might remember the story of Mandi Schwartz, the Yale women's hockey player who became an inspiration to many in her fight against leukemia before eventually succumbing to the disease four months ago. Her brother Jaden is one of the Blues' top prospects and he is dedicating his season to his late sister, saying she is the biggest inspiration as he tries to make the Team Canada roster for the World Juniors. "From here on out, this tournament, this camp -- everything is for [my sister]," Schwartz told NHL.com following the opening day of Canada's development camp. "While I'm obviously trying to do this for me, my family and for Canada; most of all, it's for her."

STILL GROUNDED: Chris Pronger continues to move along in his rehabilitation efforts, trying to get back in playing shape to join the Flyers this season. In an interview with Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post, Pronger talked about his continued efforts to get back on the ice, but the snag at the moment is that he hasn't lifted weights in six months and strength is sort of important for a hockey player, especially a physical presence on the blue line. Back problems usually slow that process down. Pronger also has some thoughts on the offseason overhaul for Philadelphia, liking the move to defense first.

LEBDA STILL IN NASHVILLE: When the Predators acquired Brett Lebda in a one-sided traded with the Maple Leafs that saw the Preds ship Matthew Lombardi and Cody Franson away, it seemed clear that it was a salary shedding move by Nashville and Lebda would be on his way to another team after going on waivers. Well that might not happen (via Pro Hockey Talk) as Lebda cleared waivers untouched yesterday. Now the Preds might be stuck with him and his $1.45 million salary that is on a one-way contract. It will be interesting to see if he will stay in the NHL or be stashed in the AHL.

DUCK IN A SHORT ROW: If Randy Carlyle makes it to the end of his new contract, he will have been the head coach of the Ducks for nine seasons. In today's NHL, that might as well be three decades. Eric Stephens of the O.C. Register looks at the long tenure of Carlyle in Anaheim and how rare a stay it is.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: For those that follow Eye on Hockey on Twitter, note a change in the account name. If you followed before, nothing has changed. If you weren't following, why not? Either way, for housecleaning purposes, the new address is @EyeOnHockey.

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

Posted on: July 31, 2011 7:20 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2011 7:23 pm

Where will Nikolay Zherdev land?

ZherdevBy: Adam Gretz

Whenever Nikolay Zherdev is the subject of discussion it's inevitable that the word enigma is going to get thrown around. The 26-year-old winger oozes talent and seemingly untapped potential, but has been frustrating teams and coaches since his NHL debut during the 2003-04 season. He remains unsigned as the calender is set to flip over to August, and is easily the biggest boom-or-bust player still waiting for a chance.

It's not yet known whether that chance will come with an NHL team or somewhere in Russia.

The folks over at Broad Street Hockey translated a Russian interview with Zherdev late last week where he talked about his potential landing spots (he also shared his critical feelings for his former general manager and coach), including his interest in playing for the Winnipeg Jets, as well as a possible jump to the KHL (which is something that, for some reason, seems like it would have already happened by now).

Somebody is going to take a chance on the talented winger because there's still too much offensive ability and upside to ingnore, and at 26, he's not exactly over-the-hill or on what would be the downside of his career. It can be too tempting to pass up, even if he can be frustrating in the defensive end of the ice and maddeningly inconsistent.

At this point Zherdev is what he is -- a talented, one-dimensional offensive threat that can score goals when put into the right situations. And that can be a useful asset to a team like Winnipeg that was 20th in goals per game last season, and has added nothing more than depth players this summer, while also buying low on Eric Fehr.

Zherdev scored more goals (16) with the Flyers last season than any remaining free agent on the open market (that's excluding Anaheim-or-bust Teemu Selanne), and did so by playing in just 56 games, which is a 23-goal pace over an 82 game season. That's nearly identical to what he did over the prior two seasons as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers.

When asking whether or not the Jets should be the team to pursue Zherdev, Drew Mindell at Illegal Curve concluded the answer should be a rather easy yes, provided it's only a low-risk one-year deal. And that seems fair. No NHL team should be willing to hand out a multi-year contract at this point because there's just too much uncertainty as to what you're going to get, and a team like the Jets seems to be a match in terms of having a need for some sort of additional offensive firepower. Even if it does carry some risk.

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: July 25, 2011 12:37 pm
Edited on: July 25, 2011 12:43 pm

Partying played part in Carter, Richards moves?

By Brian Stubits

Maybe there is something to the idea that the Jeff Carter and Mike Richards trades out of Philadelphia were really about more than the hockey.

That's the inclination I have after seeing what Philadelphia Daily News' Dan Gross reported on Monday.

Two unnamed players said that the Flyers front office was disappointed in Carter and Richards' longstanding party lifestyle and that teammates were concerned about the pair's drinking.

Shortly after his arrival in December 2009, coach Peter Laviolette instituted what players came to call the "Dry Island." Laviolette asked team members to commit to not drinking for a month, and each player was asked to write his number on a locker room board as a pledge. No. 17 (Carter) and No. 18 (Richards) were absent from the board on the first Dry Island, as well as the estimated five more times the policy was instituted.

In a phone interview Thursday, Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren confirmed that Richards and Carter hadn't put their numbers on the board, but said there had been others who declined. "We carry 23 players and there wasn't 23 numbers up there."

It's not as if this comes out of left field. There had long been plenty of talk about Carter (shipped to the Columbus Blue Jackets) and Richards (traded to the Los Angeles Kings) being fans of having fun. So for those who believed the scuttlebutt, this will add more fuel to their fire.

But Holmgren and Carter's agent say the partying is a moot point; the moves were all about the game.

Holmgren was "really upset that this is out there. That's our locker room. Our inner sanctum. Our board. Someone's crossing a line here," in discussing the Dry Island.

Holmgren also said it was "preposterous" that partying was factored into the decision to trade Richards and Carter. "As far as Mike and Jeff are concerned, we made two good hockey trades that will better suit us now and for the future. Columbus is happy, L.A. is happy and the Flyers are happy with the deal."

Carter's agent, Rick Curran, told us it was "bull----" to suggest that the two were traded because of their partying. "You're telling me a number of accusations [that] they are out partying and not focused on hockey. For someone to suggest that behind doors without having the balls to come out publicly, consider it for what it is," Curran told us.

This could be a situation where both are telling the truth. Perhaps the two former Flyers did have a penchant for partying and that could have had nothing to do with their exits. Anything is possible. But none of it is helping the perception of either player, especially in Richards' case as he did wear the C in Philly.

Personally, I thought Richards and Carter got bum raps on their way out of town, taking some parting shots about the organization not going any farther with them. Seems to me they did all right for themselves, reaching the Stanley Cup Finals with, to put it nicely, subpar goaltending on one occasion and helping the Flyers into annual contenders.

Photo: Getty Images

Hat tip to Puck Daddy

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

Posted on: July 20, 2011 11:26 am
Edited on: July 20, 2011 12:19 pm

Daily Skate: Stars losing lots, Flyers cap crunch

By Brian Stubits

FALLING Stars: According to Forbes, the Stars are losing $1 million a week because of the team's large debt and interest payments. It might be time to expedite that sale of the franchise that continues to drag along. Now I didn't major in business or anything, so I'll leave it to the magazine, which explains that every passing day results in a greater portion of the sale enterprise value becoming debt. That's not exactly the way an owner wants to behing a tenure.

FLYING CLOSE TO THE CAP: The Flyers had a roster overhaul this summer to get Ilya Bryzgalov aboard, but afterward they remained close, but below the salary cap limit. Now they're even closer. Performance bonuses from last season just kicked in to hit next year's cap, and now the Flyers, who were $1.6 million below the cap, now have less than $200,000 space, according to capgeek.com. Now they can open space by putting Ian Laperriere on the long-term injury list, giving them enough room to sign an emergency forward. But from there, they are nudged up right against the cap. Ryan Bright of phillysportsdaily points out that they will be playing with fire if they don't shed any more salary.

TOON TIME: The NHL has reached a deal with the Disney Channel and is siddling up with "Phineas and Ferb," a popular kids show. The deal will bring the animated duo to a rink near you and they will also be appearing on video segments during the game. While this will be a massive annoyance to the majority of the fans, I like the move. It brings the NHL closer to the younger generation, trying to grab their short attention spans. If it makes their trip to a hockey game that much more enjoyable and memorable, they will remember they had a good time at the rink. For the rest of the crowd? Sounds like a good time for a beer run.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl 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