Archive for Michael Leighton

Goaltending Nightmare Continues; Leighton Injured; Esche to Return?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 17, 2010 by flyersfan44

The Flyers’ goaltending situation never seems to be settled. After starter Ray Emery went down with an injury, Michael Leighton was plucked off waivers from Carolina. He played brilliantly and appeared to have a hot hand going into the stretch run. So, a trade at the deadline did not appear necessary. Of course, after the deadline expires, Leighton goes down with an ankle injury. The results of an MRI should be known tomorrow.

In the meantime, the Flyers have recalled 23 year-old Jeremy Duchesne from the AHL Andirondack Phantoms to back up Brian Boucher. He’s appeared in only two games with the Phantoms, playing 23 games with the Flyers’ ECHL affiliate in Kalamazoo.

If Leighton’s MRI indicates that he may not be ready for a while (if at all) the Flyers will be in a real bind. Boucher has been mediocre at best this season and has not seen much playing time. There’s not alot of confidence in him as a playoff goalie. The Flyers are now talking to former Flyer goalie Robert Esche, who has just finished his season in Russia. Esche played for the Flyers from the 2002-03 season to 2006-07, and had a great playoff run in 2006. The Flyers like Esche, who did not return to the NHL after the lockout season, but there is some uncertainty about NHL rules regarding signing a player at this point. It looks as though he could be signed for the season but may not be eligible for the playoff roster. This would have to be clarified before any signing would take place. If Leighton is unable to return, Esche could be the answer for a dependable goalie going into the playoffs. Stay tuned.

Emery Shut Down – Now What?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 11, 2010 by flyersfan44

Enjoying another blizzard in the Philadelphia area – two feet of snow yesterday on top of two feet of snow five days ago. We have boards four feet high on our school’s roller hockey rink and the snow is at the top of them! Meanwhile, the Flyers have iced Ray Emery, putting the goalie on the shelf for three weeks to see if his injured hip responds to rest. That forces the question about the Flyers’ goalie situation for the stretch run. If Emery cannot play after the rest period, do the Flyers acquire a goalie via trade or go with Michael Leighton? Rumors have circulated about Flyers’ interest in Montreal’s Jaroslav Halak, Dallas’ Marty Turco, and the Islanders’ Marty Biron – remember him? Leighton, claimed off the scrap heap earlier this season, has been great with the Flyers, going 10-3-1 with a 2.21 GAA and a .925 save percentage. But is he the guy to carry the team down the stretch and in the playoffs?

OK, let’s think: Emery won’t be able to carry the load when his rest is over. He may have a torn labrum, they expect that he’ll need surgery in the summer, so they’re just trying to get him through the season. Hips don’t usually respond to rest. So don’t expect that Emery will be able to go far in March.

Can we afford to acquire a #1 goalie without hurting ourselves at forward or defense? Probably not. Forget about Turco – he’s got a huge contract and is in the twilight of his career. Halak is playing well now, but remember him in the playoffs against the Flyers a couple years ago? Biron we could get for cheap, but I thought everyone agreed that he wasn’t the guy (at least for the salary he was looking for).

Do we have a legitimate shot at the Cup this season? Despite two nice wins over the Devils this week, this team hasn’t shown the consistency necessary plus they haven’t shown that the players they have now can compete with the elite. They’re ten points behind last year’s pace.

No, we ride Michael Leighton through the end of the season, pack it up in April, and then make some major moves with personnel over the summer. Dump the high salaried-low production-no effort guys, look at trading for or signing a bona fide #1 goalie like Ilya Bryzgalov and start it over again.

In the meantime, let’s play in the snow.

Leighton or Emery vs. Capitals?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 16, 2010 by flyersfan44

Ray Emery

Michael Leighton

With number one goalie Ray Emery recovering from abdominal surgery and backup Brian Boucher injuring his finger, the Flyers picked up journeyman goalie Michael Leighton off waivers from Carolina as a temporary fill-in. Surprisingly, Leighton got hot and went 8-1-1, fueling a Flyers turnaround from a dismal month-long slump. Now with Emery healed and ready to go and Leighton losing to Toronto on Thursday, do they stay with Leighton or give the job back to Emery? Leighton couldn’t really be faulted for the loss against the Leafs but you’ve got to figure that Emery is expected to be the goalie for the stretch run and playoffs (if we make the playoffs). On the other hand, if Leighton is still the hot guy and we need points, maybe he stays in net for now. And does a possibly rusty Emery go in against Ovechkin and company? It will be interesting to see who gets the start and how the goalie situation plays itself out over the next couple of weeks.