Archive for Marty Biron

The Only Thing Flying in Philly are Trade Rumors

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on December 13, 2009 by flyersfan44

Some cold, windy weather in the City of Brotherly Love last week and yeah, they were trade winds. There were 16 scouts at the Flyers – Ottawa game last Thursday. The Flyers are 1-4 under Laviolette and came out with no jump in a 4-1 loss at New Jersey on Saturday, spotting the Devils a 3-0 lead before the Flyers realized they were in a hockey game. Things are turning into a major disaster in a hurry. If the team doesn’t decide that they need to play for this coach, management will not continue to tolerate the same lackadaisical, little-effort play that this team is producing. The decision will be made that this is not the “right” group of players. It’s interesting that a team that on paper looks really talented cannot produce and play at a higher level. It underscores the fact that it’s more than talent that wins – you need players that are willing to work hard and put out a true, consistent effort. Keep your eye on the next three games at Boston and a home and home with Pittsburgh. Lose those three or maybe just two of the three and I believe a major trade will happen at that point.

Who’s ripe to go? The first player I would ship out is Jeff Carter. Great wrist shot and scoring ability, fast, and versatile. No heart, too lackadaisical, floats, poor defensively, doesn’t bear down around the net. Could have put away game 2 in Pittsburgh in last year’s playoffs but nonchalanted a chance in close and Fleury got over in time to save it. In my opinion, his approach and attitude is the single biggest reason that this team is the laid-back, overrated entity that we are seeing on the ice. Dump him and his big salary.

Secondly, Dan Carcillo. Undisciplined and short-fused, he takes bad penalties at inopportune times and can’t play that well, either. Asham can play and he’s the only fighter we need.

Can’t figure out what’s wrong with Braydon Coburn. He looked great two seasons ago but is playing horribly this season. Looked really bad on the first Devils’ goal Saturday. If we get a defenseman back in a trade, he could easily go.

Ryan Parent is not developing as hoped. Looked like an up and coming promising player two years ago but looks lost now. He could go as well.

If the Flyers decide that they need another goalie, either to take pressure off Boucher while Emery recovers from surgery or in the case that a number one netminder is needed if Emery doesn’t recover well or implodes emotionally, the Flyers are interested in Jaroslav Halak of Montreal and the Islanders’ Marty Biron.

Finally, Atlanta is shopping Ilya Kovalchuk. Hmmm…

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Emery In, Biron Out as Revolving Door of Goalies Continues

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 11, 2009 by flyersfan44
New Flyers goalie Ray Emery with Jeff Carter

New Flyers goalie Ray Emery with Jeff Carter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The Flyers announced yesterday their intention to sign free agent goalie Ray Emery to a one year contract on July 1.  Speculated for several weeks, the move means that Marty Biron’s days as a Flyer have come to an end.  Evidently, Biron was seeking more money in contract talks than the Flyers were willing to pay, and will look to sign elsewhere after July 1.  Emery’s signing for $1.5 million per season is a significant savings for the Flyers, as Biron was making $3 million per season as was reportedly asking for a long-term deal worth around $4 million per season.  The Flyers believe that they are getting a goalie of about the same level as Biron for much less money. 

This is a risk for the Flyers because Emery had difficulties in Ottawa, fighting with teammates and being late to practices as well as off-ice incidents.  As a result, the Senators released him during the 2007-08 season and he played last year in Russia.  Although he took the Senators to the Cup finals in 2006-07, his antics became a distraction and not something the Senators wanted to continue to tolerate.  The Flyers are gambling that Emery has put the nonsense behind him and has matured.  Time will tell.  If he has grown up, the Flyers may have made a good deal. His numbers are about the same as Biron’s and his fiery demeanor (if channeled correctly) could light a fire under this laid back Flyers team.  I am sorry to see Biron go, he played well in the playoffs last year and even this season, and I was hoping he would be given another couple years with this team.  Having met him on numerous occasions, he was always approachable and friendly, even in the locker room after a loss.  Hopefully, he’ll find a good situation wherever he ends up (back in Buffalo?).

As for the Flyers, the revolving door of goalies continues.  It’s definitely not easy to find a franchise goalie capable of taking a team to the Stanley Cup. Bernie Parent did it, Pelle Lindbergh probably would have done it had he not died tragically, and Ron Hextall almost did it.  Not since Hextall have the Flyers had a stellar netminder.  They have not had much success in drafting and grooming goalies. Let’s take a look at their recent goalie draft history up to 2005 so as to allow time for goalie development:

Goalie Drafted

Year

Round

Number Overall

Dominic Roussell

1988

3

63

Tommy Soderstrom

1990

11

214

Neil Little

1991

11

226

Yanick Degrace

1991

5

194

Kirk Daubenspeck

1992

7

151

Tripp Tracey

1993

9

218

Johan Hedberg

1994

9

218

Brian Boucher

1995

1

22

Per-Ragnar Bergkvist

1996

5

124

Jean-Marc Pelletier

1997

2

30

Antero Niitymakki

1998

6

168

Cam Ondrik

1998

7

175

Maxime Ouellet

1999

1

22

Roman Cechmanek

2000

6

171

Roman Malek

2001

5

158

Bernd Bruckler

2001

5

150

Dov Grumet-Morris

2002

5

161

Ville Hostikka

2003

6

193

Rejean Beauchemin

2003

6

191

David Tremblay

2003

5

140

Martin Houle

2004

8

232

Jeremy Duchesne

2005

4

119

Recognize many of those names?  In fact, of the 22 goalies the Flyers drafted between 1988 and 2005, only five have had substantial playing time with the Flyers: Antero Niitymakki, Roman Cechmanek, Brian Boucher, Tommy Soderstrom, and Dominic Roussell. None of them emerged as a stellar goaltender and only three – Niitymakki, Boucher, and Johan Hedberg (now with Atlanta) – are still in the NHL.  Now, goal is a position that is difficult to project whether a player will pan out and the Flyers have rarely drafted at the top during those years so nabbing a Fleury with a top pick was not really possible. However, there is a fair amount of frustration with the Flyers’ ongoing difficulty in goal that maybe some real attention to that position, either via the draft or trades, is called for. 

In the meantime, with the money they’re saving with Geiko, I mean, Emery, the Flyers should be able to sign a top defenseman or two (Bouwmeester?) that will provide solid play in their own zone – clearing pucks, moving the puck out, covering in front – that will cut down on shots allowed and perhaps make having a stellar netminder not quite as necessary.  Look at Detroit.

Report: Flyers to Sign Goalie Ray Emery on July 1

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 3, 2009 by flyersfan44

So, my buddy Chick calls this afternoon to tell me he heard that the Flyers are set to sign former Ottawa Senators free agent goalie Ray Emery to a contract on July 1.  I was having a good day up to that point.  I had heard a few weeks ago that the Flyers were interested in Emery and had hoped it was only to gain some leverage in their contract talks with goalie Marty Biron, who becomes a free agent on July 1.  Emery, who has been out of the NHL since he was released by the Senators after difficulty with teammates and management a couple years ago, played this past season in Russia but wants to return to the NHL.  Evidently, he can be signed pretty cheaply (about $1 million per year) and the Flyers would rather go this route than re-sign Biron for the supposedly substantial hike in salary that he wants. 

I think this would be a mistake. I don’t think Emery is that great of a goalie. He had a good season in 2006-07 and took the Senators to the Cup Finals, but the potential downside outweighs the possibility of him returning to that form.  He has been a divisive influence in the locker room, exhibited behavior that became a distraction, and has had substance abuse issues.  This year in Russia, he punched a trainer after being pulled from a game.   Biron has played well with the Flyers, especially in the playoffs, and I would give him another couple years with the team that has been built and that is still developing into a legitimate Cup contender.  If they want to dump salary, look at trading Danny Briere, who is making much more than the value that we have gotten in return.  He missed most of the season with injuries and wasn’t really missed and was a non-factor in the playoffs.  Then use the money saved there and re-sign Biron plus add a solid defenseman.  Granted, it would be tough to unload Briere and his contract but I bet it could be done.

I am still hoping that this report is a ploy to force Biron to sign for a more agreeable sum.  Maybe we should have Biron and Emery fight it out for the spot in the Flyers’ net.  They’ve gone at it before:

Career Stats Compared:

Martin Biron: 433 games played, 199-162-25, 2.59 GAA, .911 save %, 25 shutouts

Ray Emery: 134 games played, 71-40-14, 2.71 GAA, .907 save%, 8 shutouts

Free Agent Possibilities

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2009 by flyersfan44

As the Flyers consider moves they can make over the summer to improve the team, potential free agent signings are always considered.  Let’s take a look at some possibilities:

Goaltender:  The big question is whether the Flyers will re-sign Marty Biron, who is an unrestricted free agent.  Many believe that he is not the goalie that can take the team to the Stanley Cup and the Flyers should look to free agency for one that can.  However, consider that teams that have won the Cup lately with stellar goaltending often have had a goalie that they drafted and developed.  Great goalies are not often available in the free agency market.  What goalies better than Biron are available as free agents?  Possibly Jean-Sebastien Giguere of Anaheim and Nikolai Khabibulin of Chicago.  Giguere won the Cup with the Ducks a couple years ago, but he lost his starting job in this year’s playoffs and is 32 years old.  Do the Flyers take a chance that he can regain form and pull a repeat of his magic year with the Ducks?  Khabibulin is even older at 38.  Former Ottawa goalie Ray Emery was mentioned recently as someone the Flyers would be interested in. I hope this is not the case.  He was a difficult person to deal with for the front office, coaching staff, and teammates in Ottawa, has had a substance use issue, and was released by the Senators. He played in Russia this past season where he punched a trainer.  Hopefully the Flyers are using the story that they’re interested in him as leverage to get a favorable deal done with Biron.  Marty is a solid goalie who has performed well in the playoffs the last two years. He stepped up his game in the post-season,and I think that considering what else is available, it makes the most sense to re-sign him for a couple years while they try to develop recently drafted Swedish goalie Jonas Backlund.  In fact, it’s quite possible that Antero Nittymaki will not be re-signed and Backlund will be the back-up to whoever ends up as the number-one guy.

Defenseman: It was widely speculated that the Flyers came close to trading for Florida’s Jay Bouwmeester at the deadline. The Flyers are very interested in him – he’s big (6’4, 212) and has offensive capability (15 goals, 27 assists last year).  He’s also only 25 years of age, but his current salary of $4,800,000 would necessitate the dumping of salary to fit his new deal under the cap.  Flyers beat writer Sam Carchidi likes Montreal’s Mike Komisarek. He’s also big (6’4, 243) and playes physically. The Flyers really need a big, hitting defenseman. Komisarek’s salary last season was $1,900,000. Although he doesn’t score much, he may be a better value than Bouwmeester.  Or, how about this: The latest rumor has the Flyers trading forward Danny Briere to Montreal for Komisarek (assuming they could sign him).  Unloading Briere’s huge salary, which in my opinion is costing them more than what they get in return, opens the door for Boumeester signing here as well.  Finally, thinking about value, look at New Jersey’s Johnny Oduya. Decent size (6’0, 200), 29 points, and a +21 all for $600,000 per season last year. 

Forward: The Flyers are pretty strong at Forward, but do need a good face-off man.  I’d love to see Glen Metropolit, who they lost on waivers during the season, back here for next year (part of the Briere deal?).  Beyond that, the Red Wings have both Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg to re-sign. Both produced well for reasonable salary and I’d love to see one of them here, but can’t imaging that Detroit won’t re-sign both of them.  Nik Antropov of the Rangers is another free agent whom they Flyers have expressed interest in before.  I like his size (6’6, 230) and he had decent production last year on a poor Toronto team for most of the season (59 points).

It should be another interesting free agency season. Hopefully, the Flyers will be able to use free agent signings and trades to upgrade themselves. They must look to compete with a strong Penguins team that will be good for years.  In an upcoming post, I’ll put out a roster for next year that I’d like to see.

Flyers Blow Game Six; Penguins Win Series 4-2

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 26, 2009 by flyersfan44

It was an uncomfortably warm 87 degrees in Philadelphia on Saturday and among the things that evaporated in the unseasonably warm weather was the Flyers’ 3-0 lead over the Penguins in game six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Four minutes into the second period, the Flyers had built what appeared to be a solid lead on goals by Mike Knuble, Joffrey Lupul, and Danny Briere. Fans were pumped that the series looked to be going back to Pittsburgh for a deciding game seven. But hold on, as they have struggled to do all season, the Flyers could not play a full 60 minute game, easing up with the lead and allowing the Penguins to put 20 shots on net in the second period and to bang home some  garbage goals from in close to tie the game.   A laser shot just inside the post by Sergei Gonchar in the third period gave the Pens the lead and fittingly the Flyers’ nemesis Cindy Crosby sealed it with an empty netter. 

It was fitting that the Flyers season ended as it had gone all year, with the Flyers losing focus (check my post about a game against the Canadiens for a typical example), allowing too many shots, and failing to play a full 60-minute game.  Whether this is from coaching or lack of maturity, it is a critical problem that needs to be corrected. 

I don’t think we can blame Marty Biron, who played well through the series and couldn’t be faulted on any of the goals in game six.  I would point out that Jeff Carter looked awful in the series, scoring only one goal, and inexplicably appeared to be floating at times even in Saturday’s game.  How a player floats through a crucial playoff game is beyond me. Not sure if he was hurt, but his lack of intensity makes me angry.  He has a habit of playing in a nonchalant manner at times, demonstrated by his miss of an open net in game two. He failed to bear down from in close allowing Fleury to get a pad on his shot and failing to score a goal that likely would have put the game away for the Flyers and tied the series at one game each.  Faceoffs continued to be a problem with the Flyers losing too many draws.  Interesting how the issues that were identified all season long ended up having a major impact on why the Flyers lost this series.

Once again, the Flyers put together a solid season with over 40 wins, but they once again could not get to that level of 50 wins and a Stanley Cup. It’s 34 years now. 

The season starts to slip away from Marty Biron and the Flyers.

The season starts to slip away from Marty Biron and the Flyers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Former Flyer Mark Eaton scores as Richards and Timonen watch helplessly.

Former Flyer Mark Eaton scores as Richards and Timonen watch helplessly.

Flyers Shut Out Pens in Game Five; Bringing it Back Home!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on April 24, 2009 by flyersfan44

The Flyers played an awesome game on Thursday night in Pittsburgh, shutting out the Penguins and forcing a sixth game in Philadelphia.  After being outplayed in the first period, the Flyers settled in and smothered the Pens with tight defense and great goaltending from Marty Biron for a 3-0 victory.  Aaron Asham’s second period laser from the top of the circle found the top corner of the net right under the crossbar after a nifty drop pass from Dan Carcillo and a Cindy Crosby turnover at center ice for the only goal the Flyers needed.  Insurance goals from stellar rookie Claude Giroux and veteran Mike Knuble in the third period sealed the win.  The Flyers finally ended up on the right side of a disputed goal when Evgeni Malkin’s score in the second was waived off after the replay ruled that he had kicked it in. About time the powers that be ruled a disputed goal correctly.  Biron made a number of sensational saves especially in the first period and the Flyers checked tightly and knocked pucks away from the Pens all night.

Now it’s time for game six in Philadelphia on Saturday. You gotta know that the Pens wanted no part of coming back to the hostile Wachovia Center.  Guaranteed it will be loud there!  An awesome win but only one game.  However, if we take game six it all comes down to one game.

Goalie Marty Biron stops Evgeni Malkin on the way to his shut out.

Goalie Marty Biron stops Evgeni Malkin on the way to his shut out.

Flyers' winger Scott Hartnell celebrates Mike Knuble's third-period goal.

Flyers' winger Scott Hartnell celebrates Mike Knuble's third-period goal.

Fleury Steals Game Four; Flyers Down, 3-1

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 22, 2009 by flyersfan44

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was sensational on Tuesday night, stopping just about everything that the Flyers could throw at him and leading the Penguins to a 3-1 victory in game four.  Although the Flyers outplayed the Penguins, outshooting them 46-26 and dominating the play for most of the game, they couldn’t solve Fleury.  Can’t blame the refs in this one as the Flyers were 0 for 8 on the power play.  Crosby’s goal that gave the Pens a 1-0 lead was a fluke, maybe it could have been waived off, but when you put 46 shots on net and have eight power plays, you have to be able to score.  The frustrating thing is that the Flyers clearly outplayed the Pens in two of the games they lost and could (should?) be up three games to one.  But that’s what a great goalie does for a team in the playoffs and although Biron has played well, maybe he hasn’t played to the level of Fleury and right now, that’s the difference.

Fleury stops chance by Flyers' Scott Hartnell

Fleury stops chance by Flyers' Scott Hartnell