Archive for Chris Pronger

Devils Acquire Kovalchuk

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on February 5, 2010 by flyersfan44

Great – the Devils come out of nowhere and land Atlanta sniper Ilya Kovalchuk for defenseman Johnny Oduya, forward Niclas Bergfors, prospect Patrice Cormier, and a first round pick. Lou Lamoriello is a genius GM. Think about it: Since the early 90s, the Devils have been near the top in the league most years with several Cups along the way. This season, they are again near the top in points and now they land a 40-50 goal scorer. It will be interesting to see if the Devils will be able to re-sign him after this season – he turned down a huge offer from Atlanta – or if they are getting him just as a rental for the rest of the season. Bergfors will be the key to the deal. A rookie, I think he’ll turn into a decent scorer, maybe a 30 goal a year player. Oh, and take note that Cormier, 19 years old and playing in juniors, is suspended for the rest of the season for a vicious, deliberate attempt to injure, elbow to the head center ice hit. So we have another Scott Stevens-type Devil on his way up, too.

Of course, Kovalchuk comes into the Flyers’ division. So now we must contend with him as well as Brodeur, Crosby, Malkin, and Ovechkin. The Flyers tried to keep up over the summer, acquiring Chris Pronger specifically to shut down the Pittsburgh Pair, but their record and play this season indicates that they have a long way to go before they can expect to knock off the elite teams above them. The Flyers were in on the Kovalchuk talks but how close were they? We all know that the Flyers don’t really like Russian players and they didn’t want to give up Van Riemsdyk or Giroux, one of which the Thrashers wanted. The Flyers were offering Hartnell and Briere, both of whom have no-trade clauses and are ridiculously overpaid for their production this season. Don Waddell must have laughed at that offer. Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make, but you gotta figure the Flyers have to do something here. The offense has disappeared again – they were just shut out by Edmonton, which has three wins in its last 23 games. There’s another couple of points lost that they’ll lament over in April.

Although they picked up Lukas Kracijek, I think they’ll try to land another defenseman. I’d love to see Scott Niedermayer here and the Ducks may trade him if they can’t crack the top four in the west. He’s 36 years old but playing well and it would fit the Flyers’ pattern of acquiring aging veterans. Two other players who fit that description that the Flyers are supposedly interested in are the Oilers’ Ethan Moreau (34 years old and about four goals) and Carolina defenseman Niklas Wallin (34 years old). I’m turning in my tickets if they trade for Moreau. Wallin at least has size (6’3, 220) and I’ll bet that’s who they end up with. (Don’t be surprised if Rod Brind’Amour is thrown into that deal – for real).

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Players Stunned by News of Stevens’ Firing

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 5, 2009 by flyersfan44

According to reports, Flyers players were stunned when informed of John Stevens’ firing. I’m guessing that this is especially true of the younger players like Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, who were coached by Stevens while they were in the AHL with the Phantoms. I’m not sure why they were stunned – they had to realize that the unacceptable effort and lack of urgency with which they were playing wasn’t going to be tolerated for much longer. Losing six of seven, being shut out two games in a row (once by the defense-pitiful Thrashers), and currently being in the middle of the conference and out of the playoffs just begged for a coaching change to be made. More likely, the players are feeling like the party’s over. Time for the young players to get their minds away from the next party and refocus on the game. Laviolette, who has a reputation of being tough on players and not being too tolerant of mistakes and lack of effort, should get the players’ priorities straightened out.

A couple of reports (ESPN and Howard Eskin) have said that captain Mike Richards has relinquished the captaincy to Chris Pronger. This was not indicated at last night’s news conference when GM Paul Holmgren claerly stated that Richards was the captain. However, after Laviolette takes over it is possible that a change in captaincy could occur. I think it should happen. Richards, like Stevens, is a quiet sort who does not (or cannot) get in his teammates’ faces and it is believed that Richards never really wanted the captaincy anyway. Pronger, who has captained several teams and won the Cup, can definitely call people out when necessary. He has stayed out of Richards’ way with regard to the captain’s role, but they might as well make the change in leadership across the board. These players need to be held accountable; it would be best to have both the coach and captain with the same approach.

Flyers host the Capitals tonight at the Wachovia Center – should be an interesting evening.