Archive for the Philadelphia Flyers Category

Dan Hamhuis – Flyer or Foe?

Posted in NHL, Philadelphia Flyers with tags , , , , , , , on June 24, 2010 by tangentman

On June 19th, Paul Holmgren and the Flyers acquired the negotiating rights to Dan Hamhuis from Nashville (along with a conditional 2011 7th round pick) for Ryan Parent’s rights in an exchange of soon to be unrestricted free agent defensemen. Next year’s pick goes from Nashville to Philly if Hamhuis does not sign with the Flyers.

Nashville GM David Poile reportedly received many inquiries as to the availability of Hamhuis, but wouldn’t give teams permission to speak to either the player or his agent, Wade Arnott, before a trade. Holmgren made the deal anyway, with serious contract negotiations to start on Monday the 21st.

Here we are on Thursday and the only news is that there is no deal yet. Hamhuis is said to be looking for between $4.5 and $5 millions per year, which is probably a bit more than the Flyers are willing to offer given their tight salary cap situation. This could be remedied by trading salary from Philly’s roster, and Jeff Carter’s name is being bandied about in such discussions among the fans and media, but Carter’s production would be hard to replace in the lineup.

The negotiations continue, but if Holmgren feels that the money and/or years aren’t right for the Flyers, he still has options:

1) Trade Hamhuis’ rights at the draft. The Flyers don’t pick until the 3rd round, and Hamhuis (whether alone or in a package) could fetch them an earlier pick plus a player or prospect.

2) If no deal is to be made at the draft, he can still be traded before July 1st, when he would officially become a free agent. Unless of course some cap room opens up and Hamhuis becomes a Flyer.

I would really like to see Hamhuis as a Flyer next year. With Pronger and Carle paired up, having a Timonen/Hamhuis tandem as the #2s would be strong. Philly would have a lot of cap space tied up in their defense though…

As I’m writing this, I’m getting tweeted rumors that Hartnell is in play to LA for goalie Jon Quick plus, and that Holmgren is talking with Michael Leighton’s agent. A Quick/Leighton goaltending corps? That there’s a whole ‘nother can of worms, and a blog of its own…

Leino’s Time Will Come

Posted in NHL, Philadelphia Flyers with tags , , , , , , on April 18, 2010 by tangentman

On February 6, 2010, The Flyers acquired Finnish left wing Ville Leino, 26, from the Detroit Red Wings. At the time, Detroit had players – star forward Johan Franzen, for one – ready to return to the lineup and the team needed to open a roster spot and clear some space under the salary cap.

In my eyes, this was a trade of opportunity for Flyers’ GM Paul Holmgren. The Flyers had a full complement of forwards and had just learned that goaltender Ray Emery would miss the rest of the season with a degenerative hip condition that could threaten his career, and while there wasn’t a clear place for Leino to play, Holmgren made the deal with what I believe to be an eye on the future.

Even head coach Peter Laviolette didn’t know where Leino would fit in. “…I wouldn’t take someone out of my lineup”, he said at the time of the trade.

Leino played in 13 of the Flyers’ remaining 26 regular season games, scoring 2 goals and adding 2 assists while putting 23 shots on goal. While these numbers are by no means staggering, to see his potential you only have to look back two years to his ’07-’08 season with Jokerit of the Finnish SM-Liiga, where he scored 28 goals and 49 assists for 77 points and was awarded the League’s Lasse Oksanen Trophy as the “Best Player in the Regular Season”.

With those stats in mind, I’m looking at the ’10-’11 season as Leino’s chance to be a full-time Flyer. He’ll be in the final year of his current contract (an $800,000 cap hit), and the team has four forwards eligible for free agency on July 1st:  Dan Carcillo ($893,750 cap hit this year, restricted/arbitration eligible), Arron Asham ($640,000, unrestricted), Darrol Powe ($520,000, restricted), and Mike Pyorala ($500,000, unrestricted).  Carcillo will probably be re-signed and Powe might be tendered an offer by the Flyers (with the required minimum 10% increase), but Asham and Pyorala will probably walk.

Fans of the Flyers have been calling for forward Scott Hartnell to be given some time in the press box since early in the season (myself included). Having Leino in the lineup gave Laviolette a replacement, since he plays with some grit and a lot of energy, but Hartnell was never pulled from the lineup. Holmgren should be looking to move a high salary player in the off season and Hartnell, with his head seemingly not in the game for most of this year, seems a likely choice (hopefully for a cheaper, solid defenseman and a pick). Another spot opens up if this happens.

Yes, Ville, your time is coming, and I can’t wait to see what you do with it.

Broad Street Bullies Documentary

Posted in NHL, Philadelphia Flyers with tags , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2010 by tangentman

HBO will premiere their Philadelphia Flyers documentary, “Broad Street Bullies”, on May 4th at 10 PM.

Growing up a Flyers fan, the back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships in ’74 and ’75 are some of my earliest memories of the team. Although they were despised by many fans around the NHL for their intimidating style of play, the team was adored by fans in the Philadelphia area. While the Bullies took a lot of heat for kicking ass and taking names, their rough and tumble approach to the game was initially engineered to mimic that of the Big Bad Bruins, the Flyers’ rowdy rivals from Boston.

Led by Head Coach Fred ‘The Fog’ Shero, the Flyers also took on the Soviet Central Red Army team on January 11, 1976, in an exhibition game which saw the Soviets leave the ice during the first period in protest of an Ed Van Impe elbow to the head of Red Army forward Valeri Kharlamov that wasn’t deemed a penalty by referee Lloyd Gilmour.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Bullies documentary looks entertaining. Check out the trailer or read more on the Flyers’ website.

Peart’s “The Hockey Theme” to Debut Tonight

Posted in NHL, Philadelphia Flyers, Rush with tags , , , , , , on January 14, 2010 by tangentman

Rush drummer/percussionist/lyricist Neil Peart’s version of The Hockey Theme will premiere tonight at 7 o’clock on NHL on TSN in Canada during the Toronto Maple Leafs game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Being  Rush fan and a follower of all things NHL, I’m excited that Mr Peart was included in this effort.  Being in the US (and not being a subscriber of the NHL Center Ice cable package), I will not be able to hear the song tonight.  However, The Hockey Theme will be available on iTunes this coming Tuesday, January 19th.

There is a complete story on the TSN website.

A preview of the song is available on YouTube.

The Professor
(Photo courtesy Josh Tidsbury – see the complete set of 13 pics on Josh’s flickr page)

EDIT – Well, it didn’t take long at all for the video to be posted on YouTube.  Good stuff.

The Coach’s Next Step

Posted in NHL, Philadelphia Flyers with tags , , , , , , , on December 20, 2009 by tangentman

Nine games into Peter Laviolette’s stint behind the Flyers’ bench as head coach and the team is a measly 2-6-1, playing the same uninspired brand of hockey that put John Stevens out of a job.

Laviolette has come in and done some things differently than Stevens – players are being held accountable at practice for in-game stupidity, for one.  Is it helping?  Nope.  The same players are making the same mistakes; it’s the only point of consistency this team is showing, and it truly sucks to watch.

There has been talk of a trade to shake things up a bit, but who gets dealt?  There are so many No Trade Clauses and lengthy contracts on this roster – and don’t forget the Salary Cap – that the choices are limited.  Personally, I don’t think a trade would do the trick, but at this point it’s moot due to the NHL’s Holiday Trade Embargo that is currently in place, and doesn’t get lifted until January 9th, I believe.  (EDIT – Players can be traded again starting December 28th.  Do some research, blogger.  *shakes head in shame*)

It’s time for Laviolette to start giving guys a different perspective on game day – a view from on-high.  Yes, the dreaded ‘healthy scratch’.  “You get to watch the game from the press box tonight.”  Not necessarily as punishment, but as a learning experience in some cases.  Scott Hartnell could use a game or two upstairs for both reasons, and he’s just one example.  Braydon Coburn, quite possibly, might benefit from seeing a game from a different angle, too.

Maybe that’s not the answer, but really, what else can be tried?  These guys need to get their heads out of their asses and start playing as a team before it’s too late – and that day approaches faster with each passing piss-poor effort they come out with.

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