Welcome to the Official Site of the Philadelphia Flyers Join the Flyer Wire List Official Facebook of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Twitter of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Instagram of the Philadelphia Flyers Official LinkedIn of the Philadelphia Flyers
 
 
  • PRINT
  • RSS

All Betts On Blair

Veteran pivot a key addtion to lineup

Thursday, 11.19.2009 / 12:00 PM ET / News
By Al Alven  - philadelphiaflyers.com
X
Share with your Friends


All Betts On Blair
John Stevens knew exactly what he was getting when the Flyers inked center Blair Betts to a contract at the end of training camp…which isn't to say that he hasn't been thrilled with the results.

"Sometimes, even with veteran players, a new guy comes in and you learn more about him and his game as you go," said the fourth-year head coach. "But not with Blair. He competed against us six or seven times a season for years [as a member of the New York Rangers], so we saw him up close and personal.

"And when I say compete, I really mean it. He drove us nuts at times, killing penalties, battling...and, of course, he scored those two big goals against us in the final regular season game last year (when the Flyers fell to fifth place in the Eastern Conference). We're just glad to have him on our side now. He's been terrific so far, but we expected nothing less."

Betts, 29, appears to have found a new home after spending the previous four seasons with the rival Rangers. The 6-3, 210-pound Edmonton native has solidified the primary checking line with teammates Ian Laperriere and Dan Carcillo, with whom he developed an instant chemistry. And true to the reputation he brought with him from New York, he has been among the Flyers' best penalty killers in the early going.
Blair Betts spent the last four years with the New York Rangers before officially joining the Flyers in September. (Getty Images)

Perhaps the most notable indication of Betts' effectiveness is the fact that up until the team's 3-2 loss to Buffalo on Saturday night, the Flyers had been undefeated in games he had played in. Still, a 10-1 record with Betts in the lineup (2-4-1 without him) isn't too shabby, as the team continues a West Coast swing on Friday in San Jose (10:00 p.m., CSN).

"I'd say that has less to do with me and is more about the team getting healthy at the right time," explained the humble pivot, who missed seven games and nearly a month of action after suffering a separated shoulder in early October.

"But it's been great here so far, and I feel like I've fit in nicely. It hasn't been a difficult adjustment at all, very smooth. This is a very talented team that comes to work every night. That makes it fun, especially now that we're beginning to pick up steam."

Betts is not, and never will be, the type of player that gets fantasy GMs excited. He has tallied one goal and one assist in 11 games, but offensive production isn't the name of his game.

The Flyers presently rank tenth in the NHL in penalty killing at 81.8 percent. Betts' play has been a major factor in limiting the damage.

"I'd say my best attributes are knowing what type of a player I am and hard work," he explained. "I take a lot of pride in my all-around play and penalty-killing. Those are the areas I can help out most, but I also want to be a player who can fit into any role. Whatever is needed of me, I'll do."

To this point, Betts is averaging over 15 minutes of ice time per game. Over a full season, this would be the highest mark of his seven-year NHL career.

"One thing having Blair in the lineup does for us is, he takes away a lot of those hard minutes from Mike Richards and Jeff Carter," said Stevens. "It's a lesson we learned last year, that we probably had our star players out there playing too many minutes on the PK, in particular. Betts' presence, and his play with Laperriere and Carcillo, really helps us delegate minutes in different ways.

"In my opinion, Blair is one of the best checking line centers and one of the best penalty-killers in the league. And he has been for some time. That's why we're so fortunate to have him, as he's probably entering the prime of his career."

Laperriere, another veteran newcomer to the team, lit up when asked his thoughts on playing alongside Betts.

"Oh man, he just works so hard," he noted. "That's the basis of his game. He pursues the puck and doesn't over think things. We talk about making the simple plays, especially when killing penalties. It doesn't have to be flashy; you just want to get the job done, clear the zone.

"Blair is great at that. He raises my level of play because I have to keep up with him."

Carcillo agreed: "You just never see [Betts] out of position. He's always below the puck in the defensive end and keeps the play in front of him. He's so easy to play with. In the locker room, he has a very calm confidence and can settle everything down."

Betts describes himself as a relatively quiet but intense player, who isn't overly physical but is willing to get his nose dirty if necessary. Those traits blend well with the pugnacious styles of Laperrerie and Carcillo.

"I love the makeup of our line," he said. "Ian and Danny, they're in-your-face type of players, to say the least. They bring that physical element and an intimidation factor. I think we've been able to cause a lot of problems for our opponents.

"The thing is, they are great linemates because in addition to being in a checking role, we can all play. Those guys can score as well as backcheck. They're a lot of fun to play with. As a team, we're off to a pretty good start this year, and I'd like to think that our line can keep up our level of play and hopefully get even better as the season goes on."

Stevens hopes so, too.

"It's early, but this is probably the best checking line I've had here," he said. "Betts has come in and, on top of being a great veteran presence, has really upped the quality of our checking lines and PK units. He's made this team a lot better just in the little things that he does, things that sometimes go unnoticed.

"He was a great acquisition for our team."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 82 22 59 1 81
C. Giroux 81 25 48 -3 73
M. Streit 81 9 43 -8 52
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
B. Schenn 82 18 29 -5 47
S. Couturier 82 15 22 4 37
M. Del Zotto 64 10 22 -5 32
M. Read 80 8 22 -4 30
M. Raffl 67 21 7 6 28
V. Lecavalier 57 8 12 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 18 18 11 .928 2.25
R. Emery 10 11 7 .894 3.06
Privacy Policy | AdChoices | California Privacy Rights | Contact Us | Advertise Employment | NHL.com Terms of Use

Philadelphiaflyers.com is the official Web site of the Philadelphia Flyers. Philadelphia Flyers and philadelphiaflyers.com are trademarks of Philadelphia Flyers, L.P. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Philadelphia Flyers, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.