Archive for June 6, 2008

The Future for the Flyers

Posted in Uncategorized on June 6, 2008 by flyersfan44

Looking ahead to next season, the Flyers have some decisions to make regarding how they intend to upgrade the team.  Although they had a fantastic and unexpected run deep into the playoffs, certain of their needs were exposed.  These will have to be addressed in order for the Flyers to continue to improve.

First, the Flyers must become quicker and more mobile on defense.  Too often, they had difficulty getting the puck out of their own zone.  Kimmo Timonen is excellent at this, Braydon Coburn carries the puck well, and Randy Jones had a great playoff presence.  However, Derian Hatcher’s knee issues, Jaroslav Modry’s age and immobility, and the effectiveness of Lasse Kukkonen are all concerns.  Additionally, Jason Smith is expected to sign elsewhere.  Ryan Parent has a great deal of potential and his play toward the end of the playoffs was encouraging.  Still, another quick, puck-moving defenseman is essential.  San Jose’s Brian Campbell, whom the Flyers tried to obtain in a trade from Buffalo at the deadline, is frequently mentioned as a possible free agent acquisition.  Keep an eye on Montreal’s Mark Streit as well.

At forward, things are complicated.  Restricted free agents Jeff Carter and RJ Umberger will need to be resigned.  However, even if the salary cap rises to the expected $56 million, will GM Paul Holmgren have enough space to sign the necessary mobile defenseman as well?  Will Simon Gagne be back from his concussion and will he regain his form?  There may need to be a trade of one or more forwards (Joffrey Lupul, Mike Knuble, Scottie Upshall, even Umberger are possibilities) to create some cap space.  Don’t expect to see Vaclav Prospal resigned and questions remain regarding Jim Dowd, Patrick Thoresen, and perhaps Steve Downie, who struggled in the playoffs.  This is where Holmgren’s acumen as  GM will be needed.  The Flyers came together as a team late in the season and playoffs and showed some real promise.  Moves made over the summer will need to keep the core intact, add the necessary pieces, and maintain the chemistry that developed.

On the bright side, prospect Claude Giroux tore up the Quebec junior league this season with 106 points in 55 regular season games and an incredible 51 points in 19 playoff games, leading the Gatineau Olympiques to the QMJHL championship.  Giroux was a first round draft pick of the Flyers (22nd overall) in 2006.  It is quite possible that he will make the roster next season.  How about a second French Connection line of Gagne – Briere – Giroux? Check out Giroux in a 3-on-3 skills competition:

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Red Wings Stanley Cup Champions

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 6, 2008 by flyersfan44

Congratulations to the Detroit Red Wings for their Stanley Cup championship.  This is a truly great team that is amazing to watch.  With a great deal of talent from goaltender on out, the Red Wings play an excellent five-man system with everyone on the ice having a specific role in any given situation.  Their puck-support is superb – ever notice that they seem to have more players on the ice than their opponent?  Excellent positioning as well on both offense and defense.

Sami Kapanen Retires

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on June 6, 2008 by flyersfan44

Forward Sami Kapanen announced his retirement from the NHL.  Sad news, because although his scoring has been down over the last few years, he played his diminished role extremely well, performing his checking duties with a great deal of grit and hustle.  He epitomized Flyers hockey.  I remember him being checked hard in a playoff game a few years ago and, although practically knocked out, managed to get up and stumble on his knees to the bench so that the play could continue with the Flyers in possession of the puck.  Keith Primeau used his stick from the bench to push Kapanen to the door.  The Flyers scored on the play.  Let’s wish him well as he returns to finish his playing career in his native Finland.