Tag:Philadelphia Flyers
Posted on: February 17, 2012 1:58 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 5:01 pm
 

Weekend Preview: Hockey Weekend in America

Hossa and the 'Hawks are about ready to return home. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

Weekend schedules: Friday | Saturday | Sunday

In case you didn't know -- and chances are you didn't -- this weekend is Hockey Weekend in America. Mostly it's a name attached to a normal weekend of games, but dammit it's Patriotic and I'll be a son of a gun if Old Glory doesn't get me pumped up for anything.

The weekend showcase will be the triple-header early Sunday in what has become the spotlight game of the week now that football is in hibernation until the end of summer. Your choices -- OK, NBC's choices to show you based on where you live -- are Sharks at Red Wings (yes please!), Blues at Blackhawks (I'll take that) and Penguins at Sabres (hey, it looked good at the start of the season). It wraps with a game at 3 ET on NBC Sports Network as the Bruins visit the Wild.

With no slight to that Blues-Blackhawks game back in Chicago (home sweet home, eh 'Hawks?) the Sharks-Wings battle is the one to really watch. For if the Red Wings are still riding their record win streak into Sunday -- a mighty big "if" with the Predators visiting the Joe on Friday night -- then this will be the biggest threat to date.

There aren't many teams that can say this, but the Sharks have had Detroit's number recently. They are one of the few teams who have won in Detroit this season, doing so way back before Halloween. Go back to the beginning of last season and the Sharks are 9-4 vs. the Wings, including the playoffs. That includes five consecutive wins in regular-season matchups.

Must be coach Todd McLellan still knowing a secret or two to beating his old squad.

So while the bout in Motown might be the best from an action standpoint and as far as NHL history is concerned, I argue the more meaningful game is the one in the Windy City.

It was such a massive relief for the Blackhawks to finally end their losing streak that had peaked at nine games. Against the Rangers, no less. That's not like ending the skid against the Blue Jackets -- their final stop on this massive road trip Saturday -- it's the type of win that can really signify that things are alright. Taking down the best team in the league in their barn? Talk about a slumpbuster.

A return to home ice will be nice. Think about how you feel when you walk back in your front door after a vacation. Now think of how great that feeling is when you've had about the worst vacation you can imagine.

Then again, it's not so great when you have a house guest like St. Louis sitting on your porch awaiting for you to let them in. The good news is they aren't the type of guest who trashes your place, they're respectful that way. They are just 10-12-3 away from Scottrade Center.

Extended metaphor aside, there's no better time than now for the Blackhawks to regain their footing. That would put an end to the ridiculously stupid Patrick Kane trade suggestions and allow them to safely put space between them and the playoff chasers in the West.

One thing to consider: Face-off will be at 11:30 local time to accommodate NBC's time slot. That's an awfully early wakeup call after so long away from home.

Southeast showdown Part V

The Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals will square off for the fifth time this season Friday night in Florida. Strangely enough, it's going to be the first time that Tomas Vokoun has started a game back in Sunrise, his former stomping grounds, and the first start against the Capitals period for Jose Theodore this season. It's a bit odd that the No. 1 goalies have only received two of the eight starts in this series so far this season.

It makes sense both starters get the nod on Friday. It's another massive night for these teams. If the Panthers can do what they have done twice already this season and beat the Caps at home, they'll move six points up on Washington in the division. That's a nice cushion when we're getting down to 25 games or fewer left this season. Not insurmountable, but nice.

This is the third time these two have met this month. The last meeting was a 4-0 whitewashing by the Capitals in D.C. Coach Dale Hunter referred to that as a playoff game before it began and the Caps make it look as such. Since? They're 1-3-1. By my count, that'd have them eliminated (from the mythical Feb. playoffs, folks).

The good news is that Mike Green might return for the Caps against the Panthers. He's stopped and started so many times this season you'd think he was driving on the Washington Beltway during morning rush hour.

There will be a lot of interesting things to watch for in the game, but one for me will be the intensity of the Caps. In their last visit to Florida, Karl Alzner explained away their poor start by the lack of energy in the building. A pretty soft excuse in a pivotal division matchup.

They can't afford to start slow again. The Panthers have been doing that a lot lately themselves and coach Kevin Dineen is determined to make that stop in such an important game.

Desert streaking dogs

Holy Coyotes that team is hot right now.

Perhaps it's been a push to help garner interest to keep them in Phoenix, I don't know, but the Coyotes have caught fire. Just when you were ready to bury them in the desert sand, they spring off a run like this. "This" would be six wins in the last seven games to get into the playoff seedings at the moment.

To further their standing in the, um, standings, they get their own pivotal matchup. The Dallas Stars, one of the plethora of teams on their heels outside of the playoff picture at the moment, come to the desert on Saturday night.

It's a classic "four-point game" for the teams battling in the West and Pacific Division. Here's hoping there's a better than normal crowd to watch it, should be close to a playoff atmosphere.

Keystone clash rekindled

The Flyers and Penguins will renew acquaintances again this weekend. It's the start of a stretch with a lot of meetings for the intrastate rivals.

It will be the first of four meetings for the teams from now until April 7, the final day of the season. No wonder the chirping between the fan bases has been mostly quiet this season, they have hardly met.

The importance here should be pretty clear. As of now they are jockeying back and forth -- and with New Jersey -- for that all-important fourth spot in the East, the only home-ice award that goes to a non-division winner. It's very possible that these four tilts, starting with the Saturday matinee, will decide that race.

Plus it's about that time of the season where the Flyers could really stand for Ilya Bryzgalov to heat up and carry some momentum into the postseason. He's back in action now after an illness and this is the type of game where it would be so big if he came up humangous big for the Flyers but unfortunately the kind we've come to expect a few bad goals this season.

Sibling rivalry renewed

Unlike the last time the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings met, this one won't be about the coaches. Very much, at least.

Brothers Brent and Darryl Sutter this time get the undercard billing with another battle of teams at the bottom of the playoff picture out West.

After their own long road trip, you'd think coming home might be enough to jolt that putrid 2.07 goals per game number for the Kings. Well they were shut out by the Coyotes on Thursday night at Staples Center, so you can probably shoot that theory down. Fact is they haven't been able to score much anywhere, no matter if it's at home or not.

The way it stands going into the weekend, L.A. is clinging to the eighth spot out West and Calgary is right behind them. Pretty astonishing I think, but the Flames are still right there.

So you see, this one is about a lot more than a sibling rivalry.

We're going streaking!

Here are the streaks -- both good and bad -- headed into the weekend.

Red Wings: Considering they've been playing a lot at home recently and they have an NHL record win streak going, it's no surprise they've won four straight. Two toughies this weekend with Nashville and San Jose visiting.

Anaheim Ducks: In the midst of an eight-game road trip, the Ducks have run off three in a row. They head to the Southeast now and face the Carolina Hurricanes and Panthers.

Sabres: It keeps getting worse and worse. After seven unanswered goals against on Thursday, they now have a three-game skid. They have the Canadiens on Friday and Penguins on Sunday.

Capitals: Needing to go on a tear late like they have in recent seasons, the Caps are instead sputtering. They do the Florida double-header this weekend entering with a three-game slide.

Wild: Six-game skid ... and likely counting. A back-to-back at the Blues and vs. the Bruins doesn't figure to be the remedy. This weekend could all but officially bury their once promising playoff hopes.

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

Posted on: February 17, 2012 11:05 am
Edited on: February 17, 2012 11:13 am
 

Don't get too excited about that 2nd round pick

Shea Weber is the exception, not the rule for 2nd round success (Getty Images)
By: Adam Gretz

The most popular piece of currency that gets passed around (or is rumored to be passed around) the NHL this time of year is the second-round draft pick.

On Thursday alone we saw two deals go down involving such a pick when San Jose picked up Dominic Moore from the Lightning, and the Flyers acquired defenseman Nicklas Grossman from the Dallas Stars.

It's pretty much the going rate for a veteran rental that can provide some depth, and if your team is one of the ones that ends up coming out of the trade deadline season with such a pick, it's probably best to keep your expectations within reason. Because there is a pretty good chance that it will turn out to be nothing. Or next to nothing.

Just taking a random 10-year sampling of NHL drafts, there were over 340 players selected during the second-round between 1995 and 2005. Of those players, 122 of them never played a game in the NHL. Or, in other words, over 35 percent. That, of course, doesn't count the players that did appear in the NHL but never established themselves as regulars. There were another 122 players that made an appearance in the league but have played fewer than 100 games.

Add those two groups together and that's roughly 70 percent of the players that were selected in the round over a full decade. Not exactly great odds, especially when you consider that the picks exchanging hands in these situations are more often than not near the middle or back end of the round. Most of the impact players that were chosen during the stretch I selected here (guys like Shea Weber, James Neal, Patrice Bergeron, Derek Roy, just as a few examples) were picked within the first 15 picks of the round.

If you think your team is a contender, the thought of giving up a mid-to-late second-round pick shouldn't be much of a concern or stop you from making the move, which is probably why you see so many of them moved every February.

So why would the team on the other side be so willing to accept it? Well, that's simple. If you have a player like Moore that's set to become a free agent, and you know you're going to lose him in the summer, and you know your team is going nowhere for the remainder of that season, it's better to get an asset that gives you a chance (even if it's as low as 30 percent) of finding a future NHL player than losing an asset for absolutely nothing, which of course gives you a zero percent chance of finding a future player.

Also at Eye On Hockey

Moore traded to Sharks
Grossman traded to Flyers
NHL Trade tracker

Latest NHL rumors and news

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 16, 2012 6:02 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 6:16 pm
 

Nicklas Grossman traded to Flyers

GrossmanBy: Adam Gretz

The Philadelphia Flyers have been rumored to be in the market for a defenseman for quite some time, and on Thursday afternoon they added to their blueline by acquiring Nicklas Grossman from the Dallas Stars in exchange for a second and third round draft pick.

The second round pick, which will be in the 2012 draft, originally belonged to the Los Angles Kings, while the third round pick will be in 2013 and was originally property of the Minnesota Wild.

In 52 games this season the 27-year-old Grossman has yet to score a goal and been credited with five assists while playing over 18 minutes per game for the Stars. He's also been one of their top penalty killers in terms of ice-time, and will be going to a Flyers team that is currently 19th in the NHL with an 81.4 percent success rate on the penalty kill.

Grossman is in the final year of a two-year contract and has a cap hit $1.625 million, while the Flyers will be on the hook for a cap hit of roughly $443,000, via Capgeek. He will be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

Also at Eye On Hockey


NHL Trade tracker
Latest NHL rumors and news

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

Posted on: February 14, 2012 10:11 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 10:41 pm
 

Wings set new record with 21 straight home wins

RedWingsBy: Adam Gretz

With their 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night the Detroit Red Wings made NHL history, setting a new mark (and one that looks like it will continue to grow based on the way they're playing) by winning their 21st consecutive home game, breaking the record that had previously been owned by the 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers and 1929-30 Boston Bruins.

It's an incredible streak, and shows just how much the Red Wings have dominated their opponents at Joe Louis Arena this season, pushing their home record to 24-2-1. They haven't lost a home game since dropping a 4-1 decision to the Calgary Flames on November 3. The only other losses at home this season were against  Minnesota (a 2-1 shootout loss on November 1) and San Jose (a 4-2 loss on October 28).

What makes it so amazing isn't just the number of wins, but also the manner in which many of them have been achieved.



Some quick facts on the current streak:

-- The Red Wings have outscored the 21 teams they've knocked off by a total margin (as of Tuesday) of 87-31.

-- 10 of the wins have been by a margin of three goals or more. Three of the wins have been shutouts, five involved the Red Wings giving up just one goal, and only two saw them give up more than two. No team has scored more than three goals against them.

-- In typical Red Wings fashion, they have completely controlled puck possession and have out-shot their opponents by an average margin of 32.8 to 25.4 on a nightly basis.

-- And, finally, yes, three of the wins did come by way of the shootout.

My Eye On Hockey colleague, Brian Stubits, rattled a few cages by pointing this fact out on Sunday night when the Red Wings tied the record with a win over the Flyers.

You can put whatever level of significance on that fact that you choose (you can put an asterisk next to it, or you can ignore it, it doesn't really matter), but there is absolutely nothing wrong with pointing it out, and it doesn't mean that by doing so that you can still can't marvel at the record -- because it is darn impressive, and worthy of being celebrated.

But these events from one era to another don't take place in a vacuum. The league that the 2011-12 Red Wings play in is vastly different from the league that the 1975-76 Flyers played in, for a number of reasons. It might as well not even be the same sport when compared to the league that the 1929-30 Bruins played (In 1929, for example, there were still limitations on when you could advance the puck with a forward pass). You wouldn't look at a 30-goal scorer in today's NHL the same way that you look at a 30-goal scorer in, say, the 1980s, because it's a completely different era with different rules and a different style of play.

None of this makes one streak better or worse than the other as all three teams had advantages and disadvantges when compared to the others, but it's still worth mentioning the differences. You have to (well, you should, anyway) take everything into account when comparing teams and players from different eras.

No matter how you look at the streak, the Red Wings are setting themselves up to be the favorites to take the Western Conference. After Tuesday's game they sit on top of the West (and the NHL, for that matter) with 80 points, and still have seven of their next 10 games on home ice where, again, they've only lost three games this season, and only two in regulation.

The schedule does get a bit tougher as they have upcoming games with Nashville, San Jose, Vancouver and Chicago at home, but that hasn't really mattered much this season, as nearly every team that's entered Joe Louis Arena has left in defeat, regardless of record.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 14, 2012 10:11 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 10:41 pm
 

Wings set new record with 21 straight home wins

RedWingsBy: Adam Gretz

With their 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night the Detroit Red Wings made NHL history, setting a new mark (and one that looks like it will continue to grow based on the way they're playing) by winning their 21st consecutive home game, breaking the record that had previously been owned by the 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers and 1929-30 Boston Bruins.

It's an incredible streak, and shows just how much the Red Wings have dominated their opponents at Joe Louis Arena this season, pushing their home record to 24-2-1. They haven't lost a home game since dropping a 4-1 decision to the Calgary Flames on November 3. The only other losses at home this season were against  Minnesota (a 2-1 shootout loss on November 1) and San Jose (a 4-2 loss on October 28).

What makes it so amazing isn't just the number of wins, but also the manner in which many of them have been achieved.



Some quick facts on the current streak:

-- The Red Wings have outscored the 21 teams they've knocked off by a total margin (as of Tuesday) of 87-31.

-- 10 of the wins have been by a margin of three goals or more. Three of the wins have been shutouts, five involved the Red Wings giving up just one goal, and only two saw them give up more than two. No team has scored more than three goals against them.

-- In typical Red Wings fashion, they have completely controlled puck possession and have out-shot their opponents by an average margin of 32.8 to 25.4 on a nightly basis.

-- And, finally, yes, three of the wins did come by way of the shootout.

My Eye On Hockey colleague, Brian Stubits, rattled a few cages by pointing this fact out on Sunday night when the Red Wings tied the record with a win over the Flyers.

You can put whatever level of significance on that fact that you choose (you can put an asterisk next to it, or you can ignore it, it doesn't really matter), but there is absolutely nothing wrong with pointing it out, and it doesn't mean that by doing so that you can still can't marvel at the record -- because it is darn impressive, and worthy of being celebrated.

But these events from one era to another don't take place in a vacuum. The league that the 2011-12 Red Wings play in is vastly different from the league that the 1975-76 Flyers played in, for a number of reasons. It might as well not even be the same sport when compared to the league that the 1929-30 Bruins played (In 1929, for example, there were still limitations on when you could advance the puck with a forward pass). You wouldn't look at a 30-goal scorer in today's NHL the same way that you look at a 30-goal scorer in, say, the 1980s, because it's a completely different era with different rules and a different style of play.

None of this makes one streak better or worse than the other as all three teams had advantages and disadvantges when compared to the others, but it's still worth mentioning the differences. You have to (well, you should, anyway) take everything into account when comparing teams and players from different eras.

No matter how you look at the streak, the Red Wings are setting themselves up to be the favorites to take the Western Conference. After Tuesday's game they sit on top of the West (and the NHL, for that matter) with 80 points, and still have seven of their next 10 games on home ice where, again, they've only lost three games this season, and only two in regulation.

The schedule does get a bit tougher as they have upcoming games with Nashville, San Jose, Vancouver and Chicago at home, but that hasn't really mattered much this season, as nearly every team that's entered Joe Louis Arena has left in defeat, regardless of record.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 13, 2012 7:14 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 1:57 am
 

Flyers' Rinaldo suspended two games for charging

By Brian Stubits

Players across the NHL had been on their best behavior since the All-Star break. Alex Ovechkin was the last player suspended and that came with a game to go before the midseason vacation.

That was until Philadelphia Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo decided to charge Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson on Sunday night in Detroit's 4-3 win.

For the hit, Brendan Shanahan issued the rookie Rinaldo a two-game suspension.

As usual, Shanahan is very descriptive in breaking down why Rinaldo was suspended. In this instance, he was clear in pointing out that Rinaldo could have delivered a legal check and Ericsson should have been more aware of what was coming instead of looking back at his pass.

But that doesn't absolve Rinaldo from charging and turning a good hit into a bad hit. Making this perhaps my favorite Shanahan video this year, it busts out the telestrator and a little math. Taking into account that Rinaldo is five inches shorter than Ericsson, he clearly had to launch himself into the air to connect with Ericsson's head like he did.

Rinaldo was skating on thin ice. It was just eight days ago that he was fined not once but twice in the same game. One was for a late hit, the other for a slew foot. That didn't curry him any favor, Shanahan hasn't looked down kindly on repeat offenders.

Rinaldo has been good for the Flyers in his first season in the NHL. He has also proven he fits in the mold of classic Flyers, playing a little reckless at times and proving he's not afraid to throw the gloves down.

Check out this nugget on Rinaldo from Broad Street Hockey: Rinaldo has 285 minutes on the ice versus 276 minutes in the penalty box or on suspension.

More NHL Discipline news

More from Eye on Hockey

Rinaldo fined for late hit, slew foot

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

Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:50 am
Edited on: February 13, 2012 3:50 pm
 

Rinaldo has hearing for hit on Jonathan Ericsson

By: Adam Gretz

Just a little over a week after Zac Rinaldo received a pair of fines for a trip and a late hit against the New Jersey Devils, the Flyers forward will be answering questions from the NHL once again on Monday following a charging penalty against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday night.

The NHL has a 1 PM disciplinary hearing with Rinaldo scheduled for Monday afternoon for this hit on Jonathan Ericsson late in the first period of Detroit's 4-2 win in the game that extended their home winning streak to a record-tying 20 consecutive games.



Rinaldo received a two-minute minor for charging on the play.

Even though a hearing is scheduled that doesn't mean a suspension is guaranteed, as it could also result in a fine or warning, or perhaps even nothing at all.

That said, the fact that Rinaldo was fined twice just last week probably isn't going to help him going in.

Previously at Eye On Hockey

Rinaldo fined for trip, late hit
More NHL discipline news

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 12, 2012 10:10 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 5:41 am
 

Wings tie home streak record with an asterisk

Of Detroit's 20 straight home wins, three came in the shootout. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

The Detroit Red Wings just did something we haven't seen in NHL history but twice before and not since the 1975-76 season. They won their 20th consecutive home game with a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Ironically enough, the 20-game streak ties the Flyers for longest all time. The Boston Bruins are also the co-record holders from way back in 1929-30. That's a long time that this record has stood.

Not to be the party pooper -- OK, I am sort of playing that role -- but this deserves an asterisk. Don't get me wrong, this is an amazing feat, especially in today's NHL. There is a reason why the Wings are only the third team to win 20 consecutive home games and that's the all-time record. It's damn tough.

But the Red Wings had a benefit the other two teams didn't. They have the shootout to help them settle ties. In the pre-shootout era, this streak would be described as a 20-game unbeaten streak. Again, that's exceptional and very noteworthy. It's just not the same.

Three times in this 20-game run the Wings have won the game via the skills contest, as people like to call it.

This is in a way akin to Roger Maris surpassing Babe Ruth's record with 61 home runs in 1961. He had the benefit of playing eight extra games after MLB expanded the season length. Maris was still honored as the record holder for years, but there was always that little asterisk, particularly among the old-time fans.

The way I see it, the only way the asterisk is muted if they push this streak out a lot longer. Then it becomes so impressive you sort of forget about those little shootout wins. They have a chance to set a new record when they go for No. 21 against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.

But again I don't want to take away completely from what they accomplished. It put a cap on one hell of a week for Hockeytown. Detroit was announced as the host for the next Winter Classic. Tomas Holmstrom celebrated his 1,000th career game and Nicklas Lidstrom set an NHL record of his own, playing more games with one team for a player who only had one team in his career. A bit convoluted, but still impressive.

In today's balanced and parity-laden NHL, thanks largely to free agency, that makes it perhaps more impressive than the others. Plus the Bruins benefitted from an era of full overtime. The Flyers won all of theirs in regulation considering there was no overtime then, but didn't have as tough of a league to play against.

It goes all ways, pros and cons for each era. That's what makes it so hard to compare, and why I don't want to sell what the Wings have done short. My whole point here is that what the Flyers in particular did was amazing, 20 consecutive home wins all coming in regulation.

Asterisk on the record or not, the Red Wings are virtually impossible to beat at home. That's why the race for the President's Trophy will be absolutely huge this season. With the way they play on home ice you have to think they might be favorites with home ice throughout.

I know not everybody is going to agree on this, so what's your take: Should the Wings' record have an asterisk because of the shootout?

More on the Wings

Recap: Red Wings 4, Flyers 3
Lidstrom sets record of his own
St. Louis almost as dominant at home

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