Posted tagged ‘Ian Laperriere’

Flyers Win 2 on the Road

October 5, 2009
Flyers Mike Richards, Simon Gagne and Matt Carle (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Flyers Mike Richards, Simon Gagne and Matt Carle (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

The Flyers started off their season with 2 big wins on the road.  The Flyers shut-out Carolina on Friday night and clearly beat-up the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.  The team got great play from most players, including excellent goaltending from Ray Emery.  The only disappointing part of both wins was the exorbitant amount of penalties the Flyers took.  They had to kill 8 penalties on Friday, including a 2 minute 5 on 3 power-play for the Carolina Hurricanes.

Of course, one could question how good are the Hurricanes and Devils?  Last season, the Devils finished the season with 107 points and the Hurricanes made it to the Eastern Conference finals.  Both of these teams have their nucleus back, so there shouldn’t have been any drop off in play.  For the Flyers to come out and win both of those games on the road should help the Flyers with their confidence and hockey instinct.  

The Flyers open their home portion of the season, tomorrow night against the Washington Capitals and then follow-up with the Penguins on Thursday.  These two games will be a real test to this surging Flyers team.  However, if the Flyers continue to get passionate play from their fourth line, especially Blair Betts and Ian Lapierrerre and excellent goaltending from Ray Emery, these two games this week could catapult the Flyers season or send the Flyers back to the drawing board on how to beat the two top teams in the Eastern Conference.

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.