Saturday, February 28, 2009

Midas Touch

While the Flyers were busy rolling their eye's at current Flyer Finn Antero Niittymaki's craptastic effort vs. Montreal, former Flyer Finn Sami Kapanen stayed cool in his blinged out gold helmet, which he gets to wear for leading KalPa Kuopio in scoring. Stay cool, Sami.
If that wasn't enough, Sami is also majority owner of the team. Owner, top scorer, gold helmet wearer. Talk about your triple threats.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dream Waivers

I slept in absurdly late, and woke up realizing that the Flyers had probably already gotten rid of people to get ready for Daniel Briere's return Friday. As I staggered toward my computer, I decided that the two players I could most do without were Glen Metropolit and Ossi Vaananen.

Well hot damn, I was sure excited to see my dreams come true. Metropolit is by far the least productive offensively of anyone on offense, and he's probably too classy to be a Flyer. Never seemed to fit in at all.

Vaananen I kinda liked, but he was clearly seventh on the Flyers depth chart of defensemen. He's a phenomenal guy to have in case of injury or this damned flu, but he's pricy for that role.

The thing that most worries me about Vaananen's exit is my Finnish readership here. My little tracker thing shows that I have loyal readers in southwestern Finland, and I'm hoping that they're not just Vaananen fans, but either Niittymaki or Timonen fans (or even Kapanen or Sinisalo relics).

The other buzz is around Jay Bouwmeester coming to the Flyers from Florida in exchange for Lupul and Coburn. Hell no is clearly the answer to that scenario. Lupul is kinda overpaid for his production, but he's a glue guy in the locker room, and Braydon Coburn is the result of the best deal the Flyers ever made, so it would be absurdly negligent for them to deal him away so soon. Plus he's pretty awesome.

Bouwmeester also has got to be the dullest player in the league. And "Bouwmeester" is a bitch to spell.

Every Game a Home Game? Not So Much.

I love NHL Center Ice, and I don't know what I would do without it. Having every Flyers game available living outside the Philly metro area is incredible.

But I'm seriously sick of having to deal with the opponents announcers night in and night out. The Kings announcers weren't bad last night, but the Penguins announcers last weekend were absolutely atrocious.

So why is the Flyers feed so rarely available? I have NO idea. It would make sense if it was available never, or always. The middle ground I don't get. So why is it that, especially when so many games offer both teams' feeds, Coatesy & Co. are constantly blacked out?

These aren't rhetorical questions, I'm looking for an answer here. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Game #59 Review: Kings 0 @ Flyers 2 2/25/08



Honestly I thought this game was pretty dull. Not a lot of goals, big saves, or big hitting. The one goal that was scored (not Gagne's empty netter) was about as ugly as a goal can get. Both teams looked hung over from last night's games, and it showed.

But it was a big win for the Flyers over a hot team that had beaten them previously this season. And it was a win in what amounts to one of those "games in hand" that get talked so much about. Flyers are still totally isolated in the standings, but they're moving closer to third than fifth, which is certainly a good thing.

Some more thoughts:

  • Martin Biron's shutout was without any real highlight reel stuff, but a shutout is a shutout. It's great that he recovered from that horrible goal vs. Pittsburgh, but it's not so great that this sort of remains a distraction. Unless these two wind up thriving from the competition, in which case let them have dueling shutouts the rest of the season. Watch this vid, and you can see the moments where Biron decides to lie. And if I'm trying to figure out how the Flyers skaters align on which goalie they like more, I put Gagne in the Biron camp, while Hartnell seemed fairly firmly with Niitty yesterday
  • Ugly goal from Jeff Carter. A much prettier empty netter from Simon Gagne, though way too fancypants, even for him.
  • Those Kings white jerseys are hideous.
  • Rangers lost in overtime, yay.
  • Penguins won late, boo. A loss to the Islanders is just what they needed least at this point, so I was holding out a lot of hope for it.

I don't have much else to say. It was a hell of a snoozefest.

Couldn't be a better team to be playing next than Montreal, in my book. It's not a team the Flyers are likely to have a let down against, and it is a team that's struggling a lot.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Game #58 Review: Flyers 4 @ Capitals 2 2/24/08




My cell phone photography skills are unparalleled.

  • Arron Asham's goal was real pretty, but what doesn't get talked about enough on that play was what a horrible effort it was by Jose Theodore. Theodore started solid, but once the goals came they came hard and fast. As much as they don't like to agree with the rest of the league telling them this, Caps need a goalie at the trade deadline.
  • You know who doesn't need a goalie at the trade deadline? The Flyers. Antero Niittymaki has really locked up the starting job barring any huge collapse. The Flyers need to be ready to remove him from the role if necessary, but it's gotta be his for now.
  • Huge night for Riley Cote, which I don't think anyone expected. Riley was a +1 for probably the first time in his life, getting an assist on Asham's goal AND avoiding getting his face broken in half again by Donny Brashear. NO idea why Stevens put him on the ice with under eight minutes left in a one goal game, but the demoralization his playmaking caused was probably the highlight of the night.
  • The Flyers depth on defense is amazing. As good as Kimmo Timonen, the Flyers really didn't miss a beat with their #7 d-man, Ossi Vaananen, in his place.
  • Jeff Carter was the #1 star, but really didn't deserve it after that horrible turnover that led to Ovechkin's goal. The #1 star should have been...
  • ...Claude Giroux, who clearly has studied at the Daniel Briere school of standing next to the net behind the goalie. The Flyers don't need Briere with Giroux playing this well (though one of those angles he took a shot from was absurdly acute).
  • Scott Hartnell (erroneously second star) still has one of the best shots on the Flyers (probably second behind Carter), but needs to start being fined for these penalties. He now leads the league in minor penalties (link I found all by myself, I'm awesome)

Flyers play the Kings tonight. Dangerous opponent, could very easily be a letdown game. Kings won in a shootout in Minnesota last night, so did way more traveling. Hopefully Flyers ride this wave well, and hopefully Martin Biron feels like he has something to prove, because he does.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Game #58 Preview: Flyers @ Capitals 2/24/08

This game is important, yeah, but by no means make or break for either. These are two good teams that can score and play defense. They both may have some goalie issues, but that's par for the course. Jeff Carter's flu symptoms, plus late breaking news that Kimmo Timonen is out with the flu hurts (seriously, do none of these guys get flu shots?), as does the location. The Caps are also plus a Fedorov they didn't have in previous meetings. But the last game these two teams played in DC in January was a nailbiter that went to a shootout, so this one should remain at least marginally close.

One of the pretty cool things about the standings right now is that there is absolutely no doubt who the four best teams in the east are. It's Boston, Washington, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. It would be a huge stunner really, even this far out, if any one of those teams didn't make the second round of the playoffs. The other eleven teams really aren't keeping up (maybe Florida), which I'm absolutely fine with. And arguably the weakest of the top four is Boston. It's gonna be a clusterfuck to the cup, just the way it should be.

Flyers games in DC are no longer in the sea of orange they used to be, but away fan support is still pretty stellar, and will be even more so because of yours truly honoring the Flyers with his presence tonight. They so lucky.

Last Time I Went to a Flyers Game in DC...

...this happened:

I really can't post this thing enough, nor can anyone watch it enough.

If tonight is one tenth as epic, I'll be happy.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Flyers Make the Best Carnies

Today is the 32nd annual Flyers Wives Fight For Lives Carnival, which I'm sure won't be talked about a lot in the blogosphere, but let me just say that it's fucking awesome. My parents took me like five times, and it was so cool. I got to "score a goal" on Ron Hextall, then got a certificate saying I did, which still takes up a line on my resume. I won a enormous bear at some game that Kjell Samuelsson was stationed at, and I named the bear "Kjell," and I took it to school and then mocked my teacher for not being able to spell its name right.

And I got my picture taken with the Stanley Cup and Rick Tocchet. How sweet is that? Answer: Pretty sweet.

There's not really much point of going unless you're a kid or going with a kid, so by all means go kidnap some kid and head over to the Wach and have an awesome time. Just try to return that kid home before the Amber Alerts set in.

Most Worstest Goal Ever For All Eternity

I like Marty Biron a lot. He's so damn chipper, was huge against most every game the Flyers won in the playoffs last year, and it's just so easy to get lost in those eyes. Seriously, have you ever seen anyone with eyes that color? He's clearly some sort of alien or reptile or something.

But the goal that Biron gave up with only a couple minutes left to squander a huge Flyers comeback against the Penguins really sucked. No goalie has any business ever being past the faceoff dots when any opposing player is within the FAR blue line, much less the near one. And just throwing the puck behind your back to avoid delay of game? Just skate around with it in your glove, press it up against a Penguin to emphasize that it's contested. Not hard to do.

Watching this video will almost certainly make you contemplate suicide, so unless that's something you're up for, you may just wanna scroll past it.

I'm not in the Philly area and only got the FSN Pittsburgh feed. Sweet fuck, those commentators are the most biased shits in the league. When Richards got tripped and fell he was "Greg Louganis." When Crosby didn't get tripped but fell anyway and drew a penalty it was "a great heads up play to get his team on the power what if it was a little embellishment, eh?" When Hartnell got a puck to the face and went down, they cackled and said "couldn't happen to a nicer guy."

I hope those assholes are planning on paying their mortgages with the money they get from calling Penguins playoff games, because I would love to personally repossess their homes, belongings, and children and give them to the Octomom.

Watch Marty and Richie sound remorseful as they sandwich a Lupul interview that is just completely off. No one has ever sounded so giggly saying "we hate losing."

Niitty clearly gets the start vs. Washington. From there, who knows.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Scott Hartnell Has Side-By-Side TVs

Flyers beat Buffalo 6-3 and Mike Richards was pretty sweet. But I'll get to that later.

For right now, what's most important to me is sharing with you all that Scott Hartnell has side-by-side TVs in his living room. Seriously. And they're not small ones either.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Game #56 Preview: Sabres @ Flyers 2/19/08


Flyers play Buffalo tonight, a team that somehow hasn't gotten rid of that shitteous logo yet. Seriously, it's terrible. Flyers should win on strength of logo alone. But since that may not be enough, here are some other reasons the boys in orange and black get the two points tonight.

Why the Flyers will win:

  • Martin Biron has owned the Sabres recently, including a shutout in their last meeting in Buffalo some months ago. Another big win tonight could lock up the starting slot for #43 (for now, anyway).
  • Kinda quietly, the Flyers are 4-1-0 in their last five. Pretty stellar.
  • The crappy effort post-layoff vs. Ottawa last week should make the Flyers pretty sharp today.
  • Jeff Carter does well against the Sabres historically. And I'm thinking Joffrey Lupul gets two on the board for some reason.
  • Few goalies are less consistant than Ryan Miller. And he has never played well against his old teammate Biron for whatever reason.

Why the Sabres will win:

  • Last week vs. Ottawa after ther layoff was as bad as the Flyers have played all year. Deja vu could mean disaster.
  • If Scott Hartnell is actually hurt, that could be an issue.
  • Sabres have been good in Philadelphia lately, in a head to head where the road team does well in the other's barn consistantly.

Prediction: Flyers 3-1. Do it to it boys.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Layoff Problems

While the economy is going to shit, it seems the Flyers (or at least their fans) are having huge issues with long layoffs in the schedule. This is the second week in a row with a huge break between games, and it sucks.
But mostly for the fans. I was all prepared to say it hurt the Flyers statistically, but then I actually looked up the stats, and the Flyers are a decent if mediocre 2-2-1 in games after a layoff of three or more days.

But still, it's crappy.

Flyers face Buffalo tomorrow. Marty owns them. Should be fun.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Here We Go Again...

The Flyers are nothing if not good for a goalie controversy every few weeks. Over the last couple decades duels such as Soderstrom Roussel, Hextall vs Snow, Hextall vs Vanbeisbrouck, Vanbeisbrouck vs Boucher, Boucher vs Cechmanek, Cechmanek vs Esche, Esche vs Hackett, Esche vs Niittymaki, and now Niittymaki vs Biron.

Martin Biron's rise and fall as the Flyers' go-to starter is a lot like Brian Boucher's. Real solid run to the conference finals in his first playoff effort, then scratchy play in the regular season that gives the backup a window.
Antero Niittymaki was sort of named the starter by John Stevens last week, but in a way that was hardly written in stone. And then he played crappy against the Senators, blamed it on the flu, opening the door for Marty Biron to get back to back wins this weekend over the two teams from New York (the Islanders may be the better of the two at this point).
So who is it gonna be in the future? I say let 'em duel for it. There's really no way of knowing. Biron was solid in the playoffs, and if it's a push I say let him start the post-season, though on a short leash.
What say you?
(I really should rename this thing The Flyer Infrequent. My computer is back from repairs and running and midterms are over for now, so hopefully I'll be back to my regular clip from now on...Thanks to those of you who keep checking even in my hiatus.)