Thursday, September 30, 2010

Northwest Division Predictions

Vancouver Canucks
The Good: Have the league's Hart Trophy winner on their team (wait, which on of them is the MVP? Daniel? Henrik? Which one is which? It's Henrik, right?...No?)
The Bad: Dan Hamhuis. His boyfriend had a bad relationship with a guy from out East, wouldn't let him play in Philly or Pitt.
Look for: The only pair of twins without breasts that men like to watch get it on (...the ice)

Calgary Flames
The Good: Still have the greatest player...Iginla's good. That's what I'm saying. Iginla is very good.
The Bad: Their Heritage Classic jerseys...what in the name of all that is holy! They lost Dion Phaneuf to the Leafs too. Who was the best player they got back? Stajan? White? Hagman?
Look for: A return to the postseason

Edmonton Oilers
The Good: Could battle for a playoff spot come March...if all the other teams in the West drop dead by mid-October. And even then it could go either way.
The Bad: I can't count that high.
Look for: Taylor Hall's progression

Colorado Avalanche
The Good: Matt "The Douchebag" Duchene improves on a great rookie campaign.
The Bad: Overachieved last year, may not see much improvement points wise.
Look for: A great team to watch. Fun, exciting, young...everything Lindsay Lohan used to be.

Minnesota Wild
The Good: You get to say "Cal Clutterbuck" every single time you watch a game. How much fun is that to say...Clutter-Buck, Clut-Ter-Buck...
The Bad: They have the wrong Niklas Backstrom.
Look for: Gordon Bombay's triumphant return to the pros.

#1 Vancouver Canucks
#2 Calgary Flames
#3 Colorado Avalanche
#4 Minnesota Wild
#5 Edmonton Oilers

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Leights Out & Lappy Feeling Wacky

Leights Out
Well what many had suspected has been confirmed.

When Paul Holmgren and Peter Laviolette gave the so-called prognosis on Michael Leighton of "He'll be out until Thursday," nearly every Flyers beat writer as well as me believed there was more to this injury that the Flyers originally led on.

It's nearly the same situation with how the Flyers disclosed the Ray Emery. Here's an article from Broad Street Hockey comparing the two.

They say Leighton is out a month, but it's up for debate as to how long that month ends up being. So right now, the Flyers goaltenders are Brian Boucher and Sergei Bobrovsky with Johan Backlund's recovery from offseason surgery just about over. Backlund may start one of the Flyers' preseason games this weekend.

So with the limited golies on the Flyers roster, should they pursue another man between the pipes? Well considering the Flyers cap situation and the lack of inexpensive goalies on the market, that's really not an option. Any netminder available (Manny Legace and José Théodore are a few names that pop up) will either be too expensive or too, well, crappy.

So by the time the season starts, the Flyers goalie situation should go like this: Boucher the starter, Backlund the backup and Bobrovsky starter with the Phantoms.

Obviously there will be people who want Bobrovsky to be the starter with the big club. But with the incredible amount of buzz surrounding Bobrovsky, the Flyers would be crazy to start him in the pros this early. He has played a total of five periods in an NHL-sized rink and has never played more than 40 games in a season. If the Flyers want Bobrovsky to be as good as they think he's going to be, they're going to give him all the work he needs down in the AHL for a season.

Lappy Feeling Wacky 
And then there's the Laperriere injury.

What can you really say, the guy had concussion symptoms and wanted to play in the Finals so bad that he decided to play through them to help his team win.

It's rarely understated how important Laperriere is to the Flyers penalty kill, but this does make a little more room for other players to make the Flyers roster.

Holmgren and Laviolette won't say it but this probably means Guerin will most definitely be on the team and Darroll Powe will take Laperriere's spot on the 4th line and more importantly, on the penalty kill.

I just hope this isn't a Keith Primeau-type situation, but we'll have to wait to find out.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wiz Wit Jason, Joe & Porter -- September 26th

Click on the title link above to listen to the September 26th broadcast of Wiz Wit Jason, Joe & Porter.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Zesty Salsa Line Combos

After what must have seemed like an endless weekend for Flyers veterans, their long-awaited day has finally arrived.

The first preseason game.

Well maybe they haven't been awaiting this day as much as I have, but it is here nonetheless. And assuming that The Comcast Network won't be blacked out in State College, I will be keeping an eye on this game when I can (the Phillies game's on at this moment Phils v. Braves is a little more important). But before I give reaction to who looks good in the preseason, who will make the team and who looks like they should be playing for the Charlestown Chiefs, I want to give my possible line combinations for opening night Oct. 7 in Pittsburgh.

These may be far from what Peter Laviolette has out on the ice for the first period, but I think these trios will produce the most chemistry and be the most successful. And as an aside, I'm making these predictions assuming Blair Betts, Ville Leino and Chris Pronger will all be 100% healthy by game one.

Carter - Richards - Zherdev
With this amount of offensive talent on one line, it should be easy for each player to put up at least 25+ goals and give 50+ assists to Richards at center. But all of that depends on how well Zherdev adapts to playing in the NHL again and if the line can create good enough chemistry with someone who apparently doesn't fully grasp the English language. Another problem with this line may be in the defensive zone, but with the Captain at center, he should make sure the other two don't get too far out of position.

Hartnell - Briere - Leino
I think (or at least I hope) this line will have absolutely no problem producing chemistry this season. They were unstoppable at times in the playoffs and are the only "for sure" line going into the season. I think Briere thrives at center and will put up close to playoff-type numbers in the regular season.

van Riemsdyk - Giroux - Guerin
With Giroux at his natural position at center, this line has the potential to be throw-up-in-your-mouth nasty. Guerin WILL make this team, force someone out of a starting job and get 20+ goals. JVR and Giroux can only get better with a veteran such as Billy-G as a linemate. van Riemsdyk bulked up in the off-season and according to Tim Panaccio, looks faster than ever on the ice as well. If this line does what I think it's capable of doing, they could see an even larger chunk of ice time come December.

Carcillo - Betts - Laperriere
Well if you add up all the players and take a look at this last line, you can see which players won't be dressing too often. I'd rather the Flyers spent the $3.3 million ($1.1 per) on a new parking space for Steve Coates than on Jody Shelley. He sucks and will be an even more expensive Riley Cote. Darroll Powe is a great fourth line player and I'm still not counting him out of that fourth line, left wing position. He may split starting games with Dan Carcillo when Laviolette tires of his antics. It's a shame both ways here because I think Carcillo has the potential and the skill set to score 20 goals in a season, and Powe is a tremendous PK man when Laperriere and/or Betts need a breather.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wiz Wit Jason, Joe & Porter -- September 19th

Click on the title link above to listen to the September 19th broadcast of Wiz Wit Jason, Joe & Porter.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Rookie Camp Opened Today...Jody Shelley Got Nervous

Well it's the unofficial, official start of the hockey season. Flyers rookies have made their first appearance together at the Flyers Skate Zone in Vorhees (along with some veterans too). And with the start of training camp some serious personnel questions surrounding the Flyers begin to arise.

Bill Guerin is still skating at the Skate Zone and in order to continue to skate there past Friday, he needs to sign a contract. He originally said he wanted to come to the Flyers' facilities just to skate around while he was visiting his in-laws. So either he's so strapped for cash that he's moving in with said in-laws, or he's working on getting a contract with Philadelphia before the weekend. Now I'm not aware of Guerin's financial situation, but I'm going to guess Silly Billy is still at the Flyers Skate Zone on Saturday.

There are a couple of Flyers rookies who some people think have a chance of making the roster. Forwards Mike Testwuide and Kyle Wellwood as well as defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon (who the Flyers have given attempts at making the roster before, but so far he just hasn't panned out the way they would have liked) and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (who many think will be the Flyers starting goalie in 2011/2012, not this year).

All of this should strike fear in the hearts of Players like Dan Carcillo, Darroll Powe and especially Jody Shelley. Shelly better not get a roster spot in favor of a younger, more talented forward or the more talented veteran Bill Guerin and sit for the majority of the Flyers season, like I predict he will. Shelley is already a waste of space on this team and if he inhibits a more capable player from making the club, it will be a real shame.

Look for a post this weekend on the beginning days of Flyers training camp. It's hockey season y'all. Get pumped!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Guerin-teeing a Flyers Move

Yea, that's right. He's a stache man.
We have Silly Ville (Ville Lieno) and Silly Willy (Wilson Valdez). But will the Flyers add another to the pack of Sillies in the town we call Philly? Ladies and gentlemen, the Flyers (hopefully) welcome...Silly Billy.

Former Penguin (Devil, Oiler, Bruin, Star, Blue, Shark and Islander) Bill Guerin is working out at the Flyers Skate Zone, and is hoping to receive a contract offer from Philadelphia. He was not resigned by Pittsburgh over the summer and is looking for another crack at winning his third Stanley Cup Championship. Guerin is 39 and will turn 40 in November, but if the statistics say anything, they're telling us the veteran still has some juice left in the tank.

Guerin scored 21 goals and had 45 points last season with the Pens. But he did play alongside Sidney Crosby. And playing on the same line as one of the greatest players in the game will boost anyone's stats, right? Yea, well Guerin posted 36 goals and 56 points in 06/07 with the Blues and Sharks, 23 goals and 44 points in 07/08 with the NY Islanders (yes, the even crappier team from New York), and 21 goals and 48 points in 08/09 split between the Isles and Pens. So for those of you who say Guerin is too old and can no longer produce at the game's highest level, a little bit of rethinking may be required.

Since Guerin is still only looking to get a tryout with the Orange and Black, it must mean that there hasn't been much interest in the winger. Thus he won't be demanding top dollar and considering he's a veteran, the Flyers can give him an incentive-laden contract that won't hurt the Flyers cap as much. The Flyers would be stupid not to at least give him a tryout offer right?

The only negative about adding Guerin is the fact that there isn't any place on the roster for him. The Flyers already have 13 forwards vying for a possible 12 roster spots. Good thing the Flyers signed Jody Shelley to a contract right?

So, as far as I can see it, the most logical place to put Guerin is to replace Shelley with him on the roster. But that still leaves the Flyers one man over on the 20 man roster. And the odd man out here may be either Dan Carcillo or Darroll Powe. And with the possibility of adding Guerin to the roster, it will only force Powe and Carcillo to prove that they deserve a spot on this team and that have more to bring to the club than the aging veteran.

I think the Flyers will offer Guerin a tryout contract and I think he and his 20+ goals deserve a spot on this matter whose spot he takes (unless it's Carcillo's. Please don't let it be Danny.)

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