Friday, January 18, 2013

Back, and later than ever!: A recap of everything important up to now!

Wow. Did any of us really think we'd be here? With real life NHL hockey on the horizon?

After spending my last few months playing NHL 13, drudging through Twitter for glimpses of hope and the scum of the /Hoc/ image boards on 4chan for lols, a deal was finally reached between the owners and NHLPA on January, 6th. Unbelievably, it was ratified by both sides, a 48-game schedule was written up and fans everywhere rejoiced (well, except for Scott Gomez and Wade Redden. They're pissed).

Only days ago did the league reopen its doors and things are like nothing had ever happened. The stragglers who hadn't been signed before the bomb went off have found a home, trades have gone down (Booooooooosh), RFA's are being resigned and everyone still refuses to play for the Islanders. To be honest, it's great to be back. The final piece to the puzzle however is playing meaningful games, and for our boys in Orange and Black, it couldn't have been written up any better with the Penguins kicking everything off this Saturday. Despite being an early cup favorite, Pittsburgh will be worse (however, no hatred will be lost on my part) thanks to the departure of Jordan Staal (thank god) and defenseman Zbynek Michalek, but what happened with the Flyers? What kind of team will they be sporting come the 19th? Let's make a list, shall we?

1.) Your new captain, Claude Giroux, has risen.
2.) James van Riemsdyk was shipped north, after being traded to Toronto for right-handed d-man and Brayden Schenn's older brother, Luke. (I know I wrote about this before, but I still saw it meaningful seeing as it will probably have a huge affect on the season).
3.) Danny Briere will start the season on the non-roster/injured list with a wrist injury he sustained while playing in Germany during the lockout....
4.) ... But this gives Flyers first overall pick, center, Scott Laughton a chance to stick with the big club. All underage players will get a five-game tryout at the beginning of the year, and if they like what they see, he'll stay for the duration. If not, Laughton will go back to the minors (BTW, he'll wear #21).
5.) In addition to inking Bruno Gervais, the Flyers also signed journeyman defenseman Kurtis Foster. A powerful right-handed shot, he could help on the power play at the point, but will mainly be used as depth on the third pairing with Andrej Meszaros.
6.) As stated before, BRIAN BOUCHER IS BACK! Serving is 4th term in orange, Boosh was immediately sent to the Phantoms, but don't be surprised if he makes a few starts in the NHL.
7.) And finally, with the departure of Matt Carle, Max Talbot changed his number back to 25... Because he f*cking hates me.

So here we stand, on the edge of a new season. It's a slate cleaner than the ice that is waiting to be played on. The potential for this team is infinite. Youth and determination drive them. The next few months will prove to be incredibly exciting... And I for one cannot wait for every. Single. Second.

Welcome back hockey. Welcome back Flyers. Now make us proud.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Lockout News & Notes (10/25)

- Well it looks like Hartsy finally gave up on the season like the rest of his offensive compadres, as Scott Hartnell has decided to sign with KalPa of SM-liiga in Finland. He'll join the team - that he partially owns with Kimmo Timonen and former Flyer Sami Kapanen - November 15th if there is no change in the stance between the NHLPA and the owners. With Hartnell playing overseas, that just leaves Max Talbot as the only starting Fyers forward not playing hockey at the moment:

Hartnell (KalPa/SM-liiga) - Giroux (Eisbaren Berlin/DEL) - Voracek (Lev Praha/KHL)

Schenn (Phantoms/AHL) - Briere (Eisbaren Berlin/DEL) - Simmonds (HC Bili Tygri Liberec/DEL)

Read (Sodertalje SK/SEL) - Talbot - Fedotenko (HC Donbass/KHL)

Wellwood - (Phantoms/AHL) - Couturier (Phantoms/AHL) - Rinaldo (Phantoms/AHL)

- And while all of this is happening in the big leagues, Philadelphia 2012 first round pick, Scott Laughton, is probably getting suspended for this blind-side hit. Laughton playing for the Oshawa Generals of the OHL skated in front of the Ottawa '67's Daniel Walsh and lowered his elbow right into the side of his head, where he stayed down for several minutes. Laughton was eventually thrown out of the game and is most likely awaiting word on whether he can play in the team's next game. OHL commissioner, David Branch says that a hit of this magnitude normally carries a suspension of ten games maximum.

(Fake) GAME 4 of 82: Defense falters as Philly falls to 'Peg

2011-'12 was the Winnipeg Jets first year back in the NHL since moving to Phoenix, and while it wasn't an impressive one - they only finished two games above .500 and three spots out of the playoffs - their games against the Flyers were bizarre goal frenzies. In the season series, the Jets outscored Philly 21-18 en route to wins in three of four. While their first meeting of the 2012-'13 season wasn't the offensive mess that it was the previous year, the two sides still made for an interesting bout.

Scoring was sparse in the early goings of Saturday's game, but Winnipeg's persistence finally payed off late. Kyle Wellwood picked up a loose puck along the boards with about eight minutes left, saucered it behind an unsuspecting Luke Schenn to Alexander Burmistrov and caught Bryz out of position. The Orange and Black left the first leading in shots, 9-7, but down, 1-0.

Monday, October 22, 2012

(Fake) GAME 3 of 82: Persistence is the name of the game as Philly downs the Pens in OT

With a tally in each column through the first two games of the season, Philadelphia geared up for their biggest matchup yet of the 2012-'13 season as their hated rivals, the Pittsbugh Penguins came to town. Neither team got better since their last meeting in the playoffs, as the Flyers lost multiple defensemen to free agency or injury, and the Pens traded one of their best forwards, Jordan Staal to Carolina. But at the end of the day, it wasn't who wasn't on the ice Thursday night, but who made plays on it.

Extremely uncharacteristic of the in-state rivals, there were ZERO hits in the first period. The game seemed to focus more on finesse rather than fortitude, which made the opening twenty minutes fly by. Philadelphia led in shots (7-4), scoring chances and time on attack, but the lone goal belonged to the Penguins James Neal as he beat Bryzgalov with a wrister short side with about three minutes left.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

(Fake) GAME 2 of 82: Flyers dominate Islanders in New York

Following the Flyers disastrous season opener against the Boston Bruins in which goalie Ilya Bryzgalov looked as bad as can be, Philadelphia looked to shake off the rust for a meeting with their long Island Rivals, the New York Islanders. They made it apparent that scoring would not be a problem this year as they dropped four goals on the Bruins net minder, Tuuka Rask, but could they keep their torrid pace going against the Isles Rick DiPietro?

Starting with the opening faceoff the Orange and Black commanded the first period. Leading in shots and scoring chances they quickly tallied just over five minutes in when Scott Hartnell scooped up a rebound and dumped it into the open net off of a Claude Giroux point shot. Philly looked to widen the gap again when Wayne Simmonds toe-dragged around the Islanders Travis Hamonic and stopped on a dime to lift the puck over the unsuspecting goaltender's shoulder for the team's second goal. But Philadelphia's suspect goaltending reared it's ugly head once again just as the clock was about to hit zero as Michael Grabner took a slap from the point and Bryzgalov was caught out of position, pulling New York within one.

After a scoreless second, newly acquired defensemen and brother of Brayden, Luke Schenn came up with an unlikely score when pressure closed in on Dipietro and from close in he collected his own rebound. From that point on the Flyers played a lot of stay-at-home defense, blocking shots, clearing pucks and sealing the deal with a Danny Briere open-netter on the way to their first win of the season, 4-1.

Sure, the game wasn't very exciting, but victories don't have to be as long as they get you two points. The biggest surprise from this bout however was the total absence of young superstar, John Tavares. Playing almost 30 minutes, Tavares failed to get on the board, only attempting one shot. This game was almost day and night compared to Thursday, when goaltending was a sieve and the defense was non-existent. Possibly it's a sign of things to come. But in my opinion that's far too early to tell.

Next game is Thursday, October 18th, when Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the hated Pittsburgh Penguins come to town.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Eisbären Berlin lost their game today, but that's hardly the biggest news of the day

Claude Giroux and Danny Briere had a productive evening in Germany, scoring a combined goal and four assists in a 6-5 loss against Kölner Haie. But following the first period during an interview with Danny B, a color commentator for the Eisbären Berlin team asked him a question that probably made the Delaware Valley collective, "Wat." After the first twenty, the announcer said, "How did you get the nickname, 'Cookie Monster'?"

So like I said.


Well according to Briere's Wikipedia page, the story started in Buffalo when the Sabres broadcaster Rick Jeanneret mentioned Danny always shot for the top shelf, which in his perspective, was where the cookies were stashed. Does it make sense? No. Did he give a shit? Obviously not.

I hope the NHL comes back soon. I don't need to learn more of this dumb crap.