Sunday

Is Bryzgalov sticking around?

This summer's moves, by Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, will go down as some of the best in NHL history. The Flyers were able to turn two, possibly three, problematic pieces into the future of a franchise. Former Captain Mike Richards was moved for Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, and a 2nd rounder - which was later traded for Nic Grossman. Scorer, sidekick Jeff Carter was moved for Jakub Voracek, and picks that later became Sean Couturier and Nick Cousins. Homer didn't stop there, using the new found cap space, grabbing longtime Penguins center Max Talbot and possibly the best European player of all time, Jaromir Jagr.

There was one deal, however, that shadows the rest. The Flyers and stud free agent goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov agreed to a nine year deal worth $51 million. The consensus was that the Flyers finally had their goalie, and that a cup awaited them come spring. Although there were few who murmured that the deal could be detrimental. They were right.

The Flyers are now stuck with a goalie who is "trying to find a place in his soul to play in this city." That's no good. It has been well documented that Bryzgalov has had some struggles living up to the expectations in Philadelphia, the city where brothers drop gloves. His goals against average is up, save percentage down, and most important he feels abandoned by the city and its fans.

How do the Flyers go about this one? Should they keep Bryz and hope he turns around through better play in net? Do they give him some time off and hope he can clear his mind and come back stronger next September? Or, as the title suggests, do the Flyers move Bryzgalov not even a year after signing him?

Flyers Beat Writer, Anthony SanFillipo, talked to CBS Philly on Wednesday saying:
“I’m not saying it’s definite, and I’m not saying it’s going to happen. I would not be surprised, if the Flyers, and they think they can make a push this year, look before the trade deadline to bring another goaltender,” SanFilipo said. “They’re never afraid to correct their mistakes no matter how expensive they are.”
However, Sam Carchidi tweeted yesterday saying:
Homer says he has no plans of going after a veteran goalie or recalling Leighton.
I would not be surprised if this was lip service. Holmgren does not want to say he is going after a veteran goalie to replace Bryz before he is sure he has someone to do so. One thing is sure, as Ant San suggested, the Flyers are an organization geared toward winning and winning now. If this means getting a hold of a goaltender that can stop the shots that this duo can't stop(most shots), they are not afraid to pull the trigger.

Tuesday

My take on the Career and High Cost of Rick Nash

Broad Street Hockey posted a story about Rick Nash and the rumors surrounding him, earlier today. This got me thinking about if Rick Nash is traded how would the first 8+ years as a professional be remembered, or frankly, if it would be remembered at all.

If Rick Nash is sent away from the team that drafted him 1st overall back in 2002 in hopes that he would be the rock to build their team upon, how would his stint in Columbus be remembered? For starters, Nash is a five time all-star, a Rocket Richard Trophy winner, and an Olympic Gold Medalist. In addition, he has led Columbus is production since his breakout sophomore season, and graced the cover of NHL 2k9. If you want to see what he means and has meant to the Columbus franchise, take a look at the chart below. (courtsey of Wikipedia)


PointsGoalsAssists
PlayerPosGPGAPtsP/G
Rick Nash*[69]LW592259229488.81
David Vyborny[70]C543113204317.58
Nikolai Zherdev[71]RW28376105181.64
Geoff Sanderson[72]LW2618880168.72
R.J. Umberger*LW2467484158.64
Manny Malhotra[73]C3445392145.42
Kristian Huselius*LW1875884142.76
Ray Whitney[74]LW1514595140.93
Jakub VoracekRW2413995134.56
Rostislav Klesla[75]D5154192133.26
PlayerPosG
Rick Nash*LW259
David VybornyC113
Geoff SandersonLW88
Nikolai ZherdevRW76
R.J. Umberger*LW74
Kristian Huselius*LW58
Tyler Wright[76]C57
Jason ChimeraLW54
Antoine Vermette*C53
Manny MalhotraC53
PlayerPosA
Rick Nash*LW229
David VybornyC204
Nikolai ZherdevRW105
Ray WhitneyLW95
Jakub VoracekRW95
Manny MalhotraC92
Rostislav KleslaD92
Kristian Huselius*LW84
R.J. Umberger*C84
Espen KnutsenC81

However, this chart tells more than just how great of a piece Rick Nash is to Columbus. It also shows the reason why Columbus has only made the playoffs once in their 11 year existence, being swept in the 1st round by the Red Wings. In fact, it was the stellar play of goaltender Steve Mason who ultimately made the difference in getting the Blue Jackets into the post season.

The lack of any depth scoring or play-makers surrounding the perennial all star were well know problems haunting the organization. The only way to address this came through the draft, as middle of Ohio isn't exactly a place that hot free agents want to spend their time. Numerous draft picks fell out of stardom and gently drifted away into the fold in Columbus. For very much the same reasons that great potential seems to become handicapped in Edmonton.

Moves were made to get a supporting cast for their marque sniper. None bigger than the one made this summer by 3rd year GM Scott Howson who traded for accomplished scorer, Jeff Carter. Carter was supposed to be the prime piece that would boost Rick Nash's game and lead the Blue Jackets into the playoffs for only the second time.

But as many of us have seen everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Carter and Columbus had a terrible start that was typified when their big pickup went down with a broken foot shortly after the season had begun. On top of this the Flyers were enjoying a great start and loving the pay coming from newcomers Jakub Voracek and Sean Couturier, both pieces acquired in the Jeff Carter deal.

Now that Columbus sits well out of playoff contention, without much hope that this group can turn it around, Howson is faced with a decision that will ultimately affect how he is remembered as a GM. Even if he sticks around in Columbus. To trade Rick Nash, or not to trade Rick Nash.

Rumors have been swirling that Nash would like a trade out of Columbus and many see his departure as a matter of time. To the surprise of few, virtually every team in the league has interest in the still budding star. Even the same team that Howson dealt with in the past summer. The Flyers undoubtedly have interest in Nash, and Howson undoubtedly feels that he needs to rectify the Jeff Carter trade, as there are also rumors that Carter wants out of Columbus as well.

Now if the Flyers want to deal for Nash it will likely cost them one JvR, Brayden Schenn, or Sean Couturier, if not two of them. As well as possibly Sergei Bobrovsky, to attempt to end the rotating door in net for the Blue Jackets. However, the Flyers are said to be in search of a defenseman to fill the 6'7" void left by captain Chris Pronger, who likely has played his last NHL game.

JvR seems to be the piece that the Flyers would be comfortable moving and many teams are likely to want a chance to buy into his sky-high potential that was showcased during the Flyers most recent playoff 'run'. But don't look to Howson letting the Flyers give up just JvR. Columbus would likely also want a couple of draft picks and another player with top tier NHL potential.

Moving backward, Nash may be only remembered to Columbus for what they can get in return for him. He has been a major contributor, but has never made them a force. (Although all the blame cannot be put upon him.) Columbus fans must look around at Pittsburgh, Washington, Chicago, even Tampa Bay and wonder if maybe Nash just isn't as great as some of these other top picks. I can say, not having a bias to Columbus, that I have never seen Nash as being on the level of Crosby, Ovechkin, Stamkos, or Toews.

Scott Howson must realize what Nash is outside of Columbus and move forward. In the process cleansing his team and getting pieces for both the near and distant future. He may be thrown under the bus and Columbus will get another GM who will likely have the same thing happen due to factors he cannot control. But few will have the guts to make some of the moves Howson did, in the trades he made and players he drafted. I am sure that through his stint with the Blue Jackets he has never looked for anything but players that could move his organization forward.

Sunday

Hectic few months Deadpooled Ice on Broad Street

Sorry for the lack of posts over the recent few months. Between work and school I really haven't been able to watch much hockey. But shortly I will be able to return to my neanderthal-esque ways. Just in time for the final stretch of the regular season and the playoffs.

Saturday

Final Attempt at the WC Jersey

Remember the old/new "Blazers" WC jersey concept? Sorry, but that's been widely regarded as nothing but a novelty jersey. Last week Y?!?! Sportz posted this about the Flyers new, new WC Jersey, this is yet again another Blazers style.


Man are these boring! Good thing no actual Flyers fans will have to see em in person, 3, 2, 1...

Anyway, the Flyers will reveal their REAL Winter Classic Jerseys on Monday!

Now lets see a comeback here in the 3rd!

Thursday

Jody Shelley won't be cut by the Flyers

He's too big of a part of the locker room. He's an example for the young guys. The Flyers brass likes him and will honor his contract, if they didn't he wouldn't be here. Think if the team released Blair Betts before him when Betts has had such a bigger role than Shelley in recent years, if the team was cutting guys solely based on on-ice contributions, Shelley would be gone. But they didn't. He's the kind of guy that Paul Holmgren and Peter Laviolette love, cutting a guy with great work-ethic and a great attitude could only hurt this young team.

Sunday

The Russian Superstar Himself




The NHL just linked this on Facebook, so for those of you who haven't seen it - here's Jagr as he steps on to the ice as a Flyers! Tough not to get excited about the NHL season when you hear an all-time great saying that he just wants to win.

Training Camp Line Combos
JVR - Giroux - Jagr
Hartnell - Briere - Voracek
Simmonds - Nylander - Talbot

via @D_Leed of The Hockey Guys.

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