Archive for February, 2011

Flyers Add Boynton; Is This a Slump?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 27, 2011 by flyersfan44

The Flyers made a good move by claiming Chicago defenseman Nick Boynton off waivers. This is the seventh defenseman that they needed as insurance for the stretch run and playoffs. He’s a serviceable d-man with good playoff experience last season, and is a right-handed shot, which the Flyers could use on the backline. His cap hit is only $500,000. The Flyers do have room to add another player at tomorrow’s trade deadline. I doubt they will, but maybe the always-welcome scoring winger…?

The Flyers went just 7-4-1 in February and were terrible last night in Ottawa in a 4-1 loss to the worst team in the conference. GM Paul Holmgren had said the team needed an “attitude adjustment”, which probably indicates that they have reverted back to taking things too lightly. It’s a long season and it’s hard to get up for every game. And the injuries to Pronger, Betts, and Leino (playing with hip trouble) haven’t helped. Plus, right now they’re maintaining their fairly comfortable lead over those that are chasing them and are neck-and-neck with Vancouver for the overall lead. You don’t want them peaking too early and this team is too good to nosedive. I wouldn’t worry unless it’s late March and they’re still in a funk.

Zherdev Back; Flyers Trade Rumors

Posted in Uncategorized on February 26, 2011 by flyersfan44

Nik Zherdev cleared waivers with no takers and then had a meeting with coach Peter Laviolette and GM Paul Holmgren. It seems as thought the meeting was productive because the enigmatic winger had a great practice afterward. He appears to have had an epiphany about his effort and gotten a clearer sense of what the Flyers want from him. Looks like he’ll be staying on the roster and will try to work himself back into the lineup. If Zherdev has indeed been awakened, then great – it will be good for the Flyers to have him for the stretch run and playoffs and they could use his goals. It also would mean that they won’t look to trade for a scoring winger as some had speculated they would.

However, as Monday’s trade deadline approaches, the Flyers should look for a veteran defenseman as insurance against injuries. With seventh defenseman Oskars Bartulis out for virtually the rest of the season and the Phantoms’ Matt Walker out with a knee injury, the Flyers would have to rely on inexperienced Erik Gustafsson or questionable Danny Syvret for injury replacements. Gustafsson has been recalled and it looks as though Chris Pronger’s hand injury may be worse than originally thought. If that’s the case, the need for a defenseman becomes even greater. The Flyers had talked with Colorado about Adam Foote, but that looks like a no-go now since he is apparently unwilling to waive his no-trade clause. The Flyers should keep looking, since going for a deep playoff run with no reliable seventh defenseman is asking for trouble. They could end up playing five if an injury occurs and we all remember how well that worked last spring.

Zherdev Waived; Injuries Mounting

Posted in Uncategorized on February 23, 2011 by flyersfan44

The Nik Zherdev Experiment ended today with the talented but enigmatic winger being placed on waivers at the request of his agent. Zherdev had been a healthy scratch for six straight games and worked his way into what appeared to be Peter Laviolette’s permanent doghouse. Zherdev could score goals but because of his poor work ethic, defensive lapses, and turnovers, he was in and out of the lineup. GM Paul Holmgren had tried to work out a trade but with no success. Waiving Zherdev will clear his salary one way or another – either he’s claimed, sent to the Phantoms, or suspended if he refuses to report. Losing Zherdev’s salary will open the door for the Flyers to add a defenseman if they decide to go that route. With the injury to Oskars Bartulis in last night’s game against Phoenix – and it appears to be serious – and Sean O’Donnell having had a knee injury recently, the Flyers will need to either call up a Phantom or add another blueliner. The question will be, do they have confidence in Danny Syvret or Erik Gustafsson especially if they need to use them in the playoffs. Matt Walker, acquired over the summer from Tampa, has just injured his knee with the Phantoms and will need surgery. I think waiving Zherdev will make adding a veteran defenseman possible. The Flyers may consider Craig Rivet, just waived by Buffalo, or Colorado’s Adam Foote.
Phoenix’s Scottie Upshall was suspended for two games for his hit on Oskars Bartulis last night. Good. Some people questioned the suspension because the hit was with the shoulder and occurred before the whistle. True, but Bartulis did not have the puck – it was being covered by goalie Sergei Bobrovsky – and Bartulis was blindsided and hit while he rightfully did not expect to be hit.
The Flyers’ offense is slowly disappearing. 37 shots last night and only two goals. Five power plays and no goals. They moved the puck around well but could not convert. Now without Zherdev not adding any goals, the Flyers may be challenged to find enough offensive production. They are doing all they can to make a scorer out of Andreas Nodl, playing him with Richards and on the power play, but nothing. He works hard, plays well defensively and is strong on the puck, but he’s not a scorer. Hopefully, Kris Versteeg will put up some goals once he’s adjusted to the system.

Flyers Continue Solid Play; Another Trade Coming?; How About the Goaltending?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 20, 2011 by flyersfan44

The Flyers are continuing their solid play during the ho-hum month of February. Decent 3-2, 4-2, 3-1 type wins against teams they should beat have marked the last several weeks. Today’s game against the Rangers was another good win with Brian Boucher playing very well and coming up with some big saves as the Rangers pressed. A scare in the second period saw Boucher go down for a few minutes with an apparent leg injury but he stayed in the game and made some of his best saves after that episode. The Flyers are starting to put some distance between themselves and the teams behind them but have not yet been able to catch Vancouver for the overall league lead. The Canucks are winning, too, and staying a couple points ahead.

With the acquisition of Kris Versteeg from Toronto, the Flyers improved themselves with added versatility and another 20 goal scorer. This trade makes us wonder if the Flyers will make another deal before the February 28 deadline. Nik Zherdev has been a health scratch for the last six games or so; do you trade him since Laviolette is obviously sour on his defensive weakness and turnovers or do you hold onto him in case of injuries during the stretch run and playoffs? With defenseman Sean O’Donnell getting injured today, do the Flyers deal Zherdev for a sixth defenseman or are they comfortable going with Oskars Bartulis? There is talk that Nashville has interest in Zherdev, so keep your eyes on that situation over the next week.

How about goaltending? Both Boucher and rookie Sergei Bobrovsky have been solid this season with good numbers. Are the Flyers comfortable going on a Cup run with either or both of them? I think so. Besides, what other better goalie might be available? Florida’s Tomas Voukoun is being shopped, but he makes $5.7 million – no way we’re fitting that under the cap. Washington is closing in on Voukoun as they are not happy with their young goalies and promised their fans better goaltending after last year’s disappointing playoff loss.