Posted tagged ‘Brian Boucher’

Flyers Season Starts Tonight

October 2, 2009
New Flyers Goalie - Ray Emery -  Yong Kim / Staff Photographer (Daily News/Inquirer)

New Flyers Goalie - Ray Emery - Yong Kim / Staff Photographer (Daily News/Inquirer)

There is nothing better than the start of hockey season.  The Flyers face off tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes to start their season.  As discussed many times, the Flyers made a flurry of trades and moves designed to bolster their team.  In fact, some major hockey publications are selecting the Flyers as the eventual Stanley Cup champions.  I wouldn’t go that far, yet.  We haven’t seen them play, nor have we seen these Flyers develop an always win mentality.  I hope it pans out, but I think there are many variables.

The goalie situation in Philadelphia has not been stable since Ron Hextall manned the pipes.  This year, the Flyers start the year with Ray Emery and Brian Boucher as their primary goaltenders.  Both of their contracts are salary cap friendly and they both have a lot to prove.  Emery has had a tumultuous past with his former teammates and with the police.  He needs to have a great and behaved year to get his career and life back on track.  Flyers GM Paul Holmgren took a large chance handing the starting job over to Ray Emery.  If it works out – Holmgren is a genius.  If it doesn’t, we can all kiss this season goodbye.  One thing Emery has going for him is the defense.

I don’t think that you can find very many teams in the NHL with a better top four defensemen than the Flyers have.  With the addition of Chris Pronger to Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Matt Carle and Ryan Parent, the Flyers defense should provide protection in front of the net, skills on the power play and provide some offensive puck movement.  The offense is going to greatly benefit from this backline unit.

With the core of the Flyers, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Scott Hartnell coming off career seasons, the sky is the limit.  A healthy Danny Briere added to youngsters James van Riemsdyk, Claude Giroux and Darrell Powe.  Simon Gagne, should he remain healthy, will get his standard allotment of points.  Interestingly, the Flyers added proven penalty killers and checkers, Blair Betts and Ian LaPierrere.  These two guys should take a significant burden off of Mike Richards as the lead penalty killer.  Richards then should be able focus on his excellent two way 5 on 5 play and leading the top power-play unit.  Even better, the Flyers are only going to have to dress one of Riley Cote, Aaron Asham or Dan Carcillo.  This will allow the Flyers to have more skilled players on the ice.  

Finally, the Flyers learned their salary lessons from a year-ago.  By putting Randy Jones on waivers and sending him to the Phantoms, they freed up his cap space allowing them to keep the young players on the roster and leave room for an emergency call-up or if they want to make a trade.  Also, it would prevent them from having to pull the Scottie Upshall trade of 2009-2010.

PhilaTude’s take on the Flyers season – they will win games, but I am still concerned about the intensity around this team and their ability to stay out of the penalty box.  If they can reduce the penalties and show a desire to play tough for wins, watch out, because this team has talent.

Flyers Mildly Active in Free Agency – 76ers Quiet

July 2, 2009
Ian Laperriere - newest Flyers forward

Ian Laperriere - newest Flyers forward

After a busy day on free agency in the NHL and NBA, the Philadelphia teams were only slightly active.  The Flyers signed a back-up goalie, Brian Boucher, to a very salary cap friendly contract.  They also signed Ian Laperriere to a 3 year contract at a cap friendly price.  Laperriere is a forward who plays with grit (a PhilaTude favorite word) and hates to lose.  He will be a solid third or fourth line veteran presence, who can kill penalties and take a strong leadership role.  The rest of the NHL was active, with the Rangers paying an immense amount of cash for an oft-injured Marion Gaborik.  The Canadiens rebuilt their top line by signing Mike Cammelleri, Brian Gionta and trading for Scott Gomez.  The 76ers did nothing, while the rest of the NBA was quiet except for the Pistons signing Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva.

The Flyers did lose Mike Knuble to the Washington Capitals.  The Caps paid close to 6 million over two years to Knuble, who is 37 years old.  I wanted the Flyers to resign Knuble, but only because I thought they could do it without giving up too much cash.  The Capitals overpaid for Knuble, I think he is only really worth 4 million over 2 years, which is probably what the Flyers offered him.  While I don’t wish Knuble any bad luck or harm, he is going to significantly miss out on a good Flyers season, similarly like Brian Dawkins who will miss out on an excellent Eagles season.  

The 76ers have announced that it might take some time to sign to Andre Miller.  I guess if he doesn’t sign anywhere else, it makes sense to wait.  Maybe he is waiting to see if he gets other offers, who knows?  An interesting development around the Houston Rockets is that Yao Ming won’t be playing next season.  If I were Ed Stefanski, I would try my hardest to trade the Rockets Samuel Dalembert and take whatever they will offer.

As discussed in yesterday’s post, there is no loyalty; it’s all about the money.  Players talk about staying and playing for their current team, but in the end it’s all about who gives them the largest contract.  Hopefully, the Flyers and Sixers aren’t done this off-season and we’ll have some more interesting news and new players to discuss.

PhilaTude Flyers Flashback

June 19, 2009

In the spring of 2000, 1 year removed from college graduation, I was living at home with my parents working for a small Internet start-up company.  During that time, I was adjusting to life beyond college, living with the parents again and trying to figure out what I wanted to do.  Besides the unknown of my future life, living at home wasn’t bad.  My parents were respectful of my privacy, there was always food around, my dress shirts ironed and most importantly, I was never interrupted while viewing an Eagles, Sixers, Flyers or Phillies game.  Of course, I would watch with the family, but if I wanted to watch on my own, it wasn’t a problem.  One particular game, I started watching with the family, but had to finish viewing on my own due to the length.  It was the Flyers vs. the Penguins in game 4 of the 2000 Eastern Conference semifinals.

You see, this game lasted five overtimes.  Tied at 1, the game just kept going.  Each team had solid scoring chances; Ron Tugnutt of the Penguins kept denying the Flyers.  Brian Boucher boasted over 50 saves in almost a full eight periods of work.  

It was a worrisome game overall.  The Flyers were down in the series 2-1 and needed this victory on the road to have any shot of winning the series.  When the Penguins went up early in the first period, it looked ominous.  The Flyers didn’t score until the start of the 3rd period, when they tied it 1.  The third period ended that way and it continued through until the 5th overtime.  My Dad and I were watching in the family room until the 3rd overtime.  Every time the Penguins touched the puck, Dad would scream “this is it; it’s over for the Flyers.”  (Editors note:  He screams “It’s over” for all Philadelphia teams, sometimes before the game even starts).  After the third overtime, it was close to 1am, so I retreated to my bedroom to finish watching the game.  Finally, when big Keith Primeau went 1 on 1 with Darius Kasparaitis over the Penguins blue line and lifted a wrist shot past Ron Tugnutt at a little past 3:15am.

I was ecstatic, but had no one to celebrate with, assuming everyone went to bed.  Three seconds later, I hear my Dad’s bedroom door open very loudly and see him parading around in the hallway.  We exchange the high fives, Dad claimed he never thought the Flyers would lose (standard Dad flip from “it’s over” to “I knew they would pull it out”) and I returned to bed.

The Flyers went on to win the series and took the New Jersey Devils to 7 games in the Eastern Conference finals, but lost.   Dad and I are still waiting for a Flyers Stanley Cup championship we can celebrate together.