PHILADELPHIA – Yes, Wayne Simmonds scored again on the power play. It was his sixth power play goal in the last 10 games.
And yes, the power play, at times, looked good in creating opportunities. And yes, Tampa goalie Anders Lindback, while fortunate on a few occasions, did make 35 saves to earn the win over the Flyers.
That said, the Flyers had a golden opportunity to change the momentum of the game with a two-man advantage for 1:46 in the first period – and couldn’t score.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
PHILADELPHIA – The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
I woke up this morning and read Greg Wyshynski’s Puck Daddy blog on Yahoo where his staff basically had a mid-season vote for all the major NHL awards.
For the most part, I thought Greg and Co. did a fine job. Except, I was a bit perplexed that out of six writers, only one was savvy enough to even consider Craig Berube as a candidate for the Jack Adams Award as Coach of the Year so far. That was contributing writer Jen Neale and she had Berube listed fifth.
Then, earlier this afternoon, I had a brief Twitter exchange with Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer(and a couple fans too) once again discussing the Flyers philosophy (neither of us dared use the word “culture.”)
Nevertheless, it was Sielski who was center stage in the media when Berube was hired, suggesting that the Flyers should have gone in a different direction then the same old Flyers way.
All the while, I had been working on this blog post – which made for a juicy bit of irony.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
PHILADELPHIA – It’s almost like Craig Berube is a sage.
He said he wants Zac Rinaldo to shoot more and get to the net and generate more scoring chances.
It seems like a crazy notion. After all, that’s not what Rinaldo’s role is on the Flyers. But, O.K., we’ll go with it.
A few days later Rinaldo ends up leading the Flyers in shots and scores his first goal of the season, snapping a 53-game skid en route to a 3-1 win over Montreal.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
Rinaldo is often the guy the Flyers turn to as the X-factor in times when the bench is shorthanded. It’s no question that he is a physical presence, and just the notion of him skating hard into the zone has forced some defensemen to dish the puck to early in anticipation of a check that will never come, resulting in a turnover.
It’s his forte. Separate the puck from the defenseman, whether by force – or even the threat of it.
But, the Flyers wanted his game to grow in other areas too so Rinaldo didn’t become just a one-trick pony.(Click "Full story" for more...)
DENVER – There are two things that have coincided with the way the Flyers have been playing this month – they have been scoring more goals and allowing more goals.
And yet, while it can be said that the once taut Craig Berube defense-first system has been loosened a bit, the Flyers still found a way to better their position in the standings.
While November was technically a better month as the Flyers accrued 20 of a possible 30 points, they did have seven games at home out of 15 while December, when they compiled 18 of a possible 28 points, they were only on home ice four times in 14 outings.
And yet, while the two months have produced similar outcomes in the win/loss columns, they couldn’t be more differing.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
VANCOUVER – The Flyers will likely have six players named to their respective countries Olympic teams in the next week or so as the participating nations will begin announcing their final squads.
However, one Flyer didn’t really want to wait to share the news.
Michael Raffl, who has burst onto the scene as a gem of a free agent signing by the team last offseason, was thrilled to share that he has already been told he will be representing Team Austria in the Olympics in six weeks in Sochi, Russia.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
VOORHEES, N.J. – Some people thought the Christmas break was too short. Some felt it was just right. Regardless, the Flyers returned to skate zone for a quick, yet up-tempo practice before embarking on yet another lengthy road trip that kicks off tomorrow in Edmonton.
At nine days, it’ll be the second-longest road trip of the season piggy-backing off a 13 day trip earlier this month.
(Technically it’s a six-game, 11-day trip if you include the game in Newark against the Devils at the end of it, but the Flyers will return home two days earlier and practice at Skate Zone before heading up the New Jersey Turnpike).
And it’s probably the most crucial nine days of the season.
The Flyers come out of the Christmas break in a playoff position in the mediocre Metropolitan Division, but it’s a fluid spot, and they know it.(Click "Full Story" for more...)
PHILADELPHIA – Here’s a quick insight into the world of a hockey writer looking for something to write about two days before Christmas:
I opened my email this morning to the following short message from a Flyers fan. Her name is Alex:
Hi! Since the beginning of the year, it seems like each time Claude Giroux plays less than 21 minutes a game, he gets more points on the scoreboard. I can't watch every game because I live in Quebec, but I think this is interesting thing to watch and analyze.
Thanks and continue your good job!
It was one of those, “Hmmm…” moments that brought about a series of questions:(Click "Full Story" for more...)
VOORHEES, N.J. – Only nine players in the history of hockey have amassed more than 3,000 penalty minutes in their career.
Flyers coach Craig Berube is one of them.
So, to hear him lament his team’s propensity for taking too many penalties is one of the more interesting dichotomies you’ll find in professional sports.
Best friends and roommates on the road for five seasons in Columbus, Umberger knew every little thing about Mason, and vice versa.
So when Umberger got together for dinner with his old friend last night – the first time the two had seen each other since Mason was traded from Columbus to Philadelphia last April – he was relieved to see him in such good spirits.(Click "Full Story" for more...)