Flyers keep making moves

This Week in Philadelphia

We are 28 games into the Flyer season, here in S 29. The Flyers currently sit in the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a record of 15-10-3 for 33 points. The Philadelphia Flyers went 4-2 for this past week. The team is playing solid two way hockey emphasis on defense one would think, but the Stats to date tell a wider lensed story. The Flyers do have the 4th best goals against in the league, which is also the best GA in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers boast the league's best PK unit at 90.12 %. They are also 9th in the league in shots against. They are the 4th least penalized team in the league at 7.29 PIM per game. Their face off win percentage is 11th at 52.03 %. But the Flyers have been playing offense, they are #1 in the league in shots for at 39.0 per game. The teams GF and GA differential is at 123,53%, while the teams shot differential is at 126.36%. The PP is only 17th in the league at 15.24%. What do the numbers say? The top thing that stands out is although the teams top scorers at 90 or better are shooting only about 8% and that has held the team back on some nights, which has in turn cost the Flyers valuable points in the standings. The team is playing outstanding hockey generating almost 40 shots a night, but are averaging just 3.0 goals a game. If they can start generating at 9 or 10%, the Flyers could be a dangerous team.

The Flyers are trying to make some moves, this week they traded Frankie Vatrano to LA for a future 2nd round pick as the try to improve their draft capital to make a move or two.

Gm Bourque
" We are out there making calls trying to see what is available, we thought we had closed a deal to bring in a power forward but our trade partner is having cap issues and the deal fell through, but we are still very active and will keep looking at what is possible."

The Games

1.(342) The last place Edmonton Oilers traveled to Philadelphia for the first tilt of the week. They gave the Flyers everything they could handle, shots were equal at 38. However David Backes gives 3 point performance and Grubauer makes 37 of 38 saves and Philadelphia escapes a trap game with a 3-1 win.

2.(362) The Flyers are on the road heading west to San Jose. The Flyers fired 47 shots at San Jose and received 33. The Flyers never trailed but this was a tight game Raanta stops 31 of 33 and the Flyers manage a 3-2 win against a very good team.

3.(374) Columbus comes to Philadelphia and once again for the 3rd time it is the Jacob Markstrom show. He stops 30 of 31 and the Blue Jackets down the Flyers yet again, 3-1.

4.(391) Philadelphia travels to Motown to take on an extremely good Detroit Red Wings team. Once again the Flyers hit the 40 shot mark, out shooting the Wings 42-32. Detroit opens the scoring in the first, but the Flyers get a shooting % close to 10 and drive 4 past Detroit, numbers 9,10 for Parise. Grubauer has a strong game stopping 31 of 32 shots.

5.(401)Philadelphia travels to Toronto for the first leg of a home and home.The Flyers out shoot the Leafs a whopping 44-17. Including 30-5 in the 1st period. The Flyers escape the 1st period with a 3-2 lead, as Grubauer has an off night giving up 3 goals on just 17 shots. The Flyers need a 3rd period Kessel PP goal to escape with a 4-3 win.

6.(418) It Toronto's turn to travel to the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. The shots were much more even at 36-28 in favor of the Flyers. Brendan Perlini scores twice for the Flyers, regulation end with a 2-2 tie. Overtime solves nothing and Toronto wins it in a shoot out. Flyers take the loss but get a loser point.

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Rangers revamp roster

Club focused on rebound after first round defeat

Well it has been an eventful offseason for the Rangers, as is the case for all teams when it is an offseason involving the draft. The Rangers had more selections in this 2017 draft, than they have ever had previously, in any other draft, but we will talk about the draft at another time. 

For the immediate future, the Rangers made a few moves, but nothing earth shattering. The Rangers will return next season with the same top 6 forward group, the same top 4 dmen, and the same starting goalie. It was the bottom 6 and the bottom pairing that received some tinkering, after the Rangers were eliminated in the 1st round of the playoffs last season. 

The Rangers first moves off the offseason saw them shore up the backup goaltender position, which is essentially a door opener, in Jeff Glass. Glass will likely see under 60 minutes of action this season, and for 650k, how do I sign up for that job? The Rangers have been notorious for calling up Juuse Saros when Henrik Lundqvist needs a breather, leaving Glass to sit and watch both the present, and future goalie of the team. 

The other move was for the Rangers to sign Chris Conner to Hartford, to replace the veteran leadership on the farm, which the Wolfpack lost with Erik Condra moving along. 

The Rangers then dipped into the trade market, acquiring Markus Granlund from the Flyers and Dan Hamhuis from the Capitals, both in exchange for 4th rd picks. Granlund will see limited minutes at 5v5 on the 4th line, but should see a bunch of PK time. Hamhuis will be the veteran stay at home defenceman on the 3rd pairing for the Rangers. 

Finally, the Rangers added 2 more pieces near the tail end of free agency, securing Jason Pominville and his veteran presence for the bottom 6, as well as Cal O'Reilly, who will likely be the 13th forward on the Rangers. When all is said and done, the Rangers will likely be icing an opening day roster which looks like the following: 

Gabriel Landeskog / Anze Kopitar / Patrik Laine 
Jake Guentzel / Mark Scheifele / Alex Steen 
Alex Tuch / Erik Haula / Jason Pominville 
Markus Granlund / Ben Street / Troy Brouwer 

Alex Pietrangelo / Rasmus Ristolainen 
Cam Fowler / Matt Dumba 
Dan Hamhuis / Brad Hunt 

Henrik Lundqvist 
Jeff Glass 

There wasn't too much turnover on the Hartford Wolfpack either, although the teams 2 leading scorers, Devin Shore and Alex Tuch, have either been promoted, or moved along. The goaltending should be extremely strong with Juuse Saros and Carter Hart between the pipes. There is still some tinkering to be done by Wolfpack management, as there will likely be players brought in on tryouts, but here is a rough idea of what fans can expect down on the farm. 

Ivan Barbashev / Dylan Strome / Jack Roslovic 
Chris Conner / Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson / Aleksi Saarela 
Marcus Power / Chris Mueller / Dmitry Sokolov 
Brett McKenzie / Mitch Hults / J.J. Piccinich 

Samuel Girard / David Makowski 
Olli Juolevi / Kyle Wood 
Peter Stoykewych / Louis Belpedio 

Juuse Saros 
Carter Hart


Caps set lines for Season 28

After 3 games in, the Washington Capitals are pleased to announce our forward lines for season 28:

Line 1 – Beast Line: Rickard Rakell (LW) Steven Stamkos (C) Alexander Radulov (RW)

First things first, no Caps first line is complete without an elite puck handling Russian sniper named Alexander (who is also money in the bank on the shootout) and a Swede who can pass the puck. Stamkos is the pivot that glues the line together. All three players are lightning quick, aren't shy to hit, can razzle dazzle with the puck, and are gifted offensively with a birthright to score goals. Look for them on the nightly ESPN/TSN/Sportsnet highlight reel. These three are simply beasts!

Line 2 – OuO Line: Nick Bonino (LW) Mikko Koivu (C) Vladimir Tarasenko (RW)

What happens when an American, a Finn, and a Russian skate on to the ice? OuO... Let's start with the veteran Koivu who plays a 2-way centre game and collects assists merely by winning the draw. Tarasenko's another elite speedy Russian winger who can score in his sleep. Bonino is solid at both ends of the ice and is always ready to win the face-off. Together, they provide a potent and fearless secondary offence.

Line 3 – Bear Line: Mattias Janmark (LW) Jean-Gabriel Pageau (C) Tobias Rieder (RW)

Every season, the Caps ice a Bear line which is made up of players who have come up from our system – either drafted by the organization and/or developed in Hershey. This season's iteration includes two Caps' draftees – Janmark and Rieder – and one developee in Pageau. All three players are versatile: they can chip in offensively, are responsible defensively, and can move up or down the line-up as needed.

Line 4 – Beaver Line: Zach Hyman (LW) Derek Grant (C) Jamie McGinn (RW)

The Caps are rounded out by an industrious and hard-working group of Canadians. These guys grind away at their opponents, love to hit, go into the corners, and retrieve the puck in enemy territory. They can also deliver on the scoreboard.

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Flyers climb standings with positive week

Five straight victories highlight Philly surge

There hasn't been much positive to talk about in Philadelphia for the last three weeks. After three weeks of losing records,the Flyers finally showed signs of life. Their spot in the standings hasn't changed,they are still 9th in the Eastern Conference with a record of 29-15-2 for 60 points, 46 games played. They did have five starts this week winning all five. Gone are the gawdy shot totals, they were also outshot in two of the games, but we are talking 30-28 and 34-31. The Flyers did however score 4 + goals in four of the five games and finally the home fans had something to cheer about with three wins coming at home.

Game 1- at Florida, a 2-1 win, the Flyers did not give up an even strength goal and Crawford stopped 29 of 30 shots by the Panthers.

Game 2- Tampa Bay in Philadelphia, Flyers outshot the Lightning 37-21 and were rewarded with a 4-0 victory, Corey Crawford earning the Shut out,Conner McDavid with a goal and a helper.

Game 3- Minnesota at Philadelphia, Flyers win a very close highly contested game 4-3, shots were in favor of the Flyers 32-28. Nice team effort. Flyers scored 4 in the 1st and hung on for the next two periods as the Wild made a game of it. Conner McDavid with a goal and two helpers.

Game 4- Boston visits Philadelphia and out shoot the Flyers 34-31, the Flyers come away with a 5-2 victory, defensive 3rd line forward Antoine Roussel led the charge, with a goal, an assist,4 shots and 4 hits.

Game 5- Philadelphia travels to La Belle Provence to play Montreal. If you remember the last time these two met the Flyers outshot Montreal 64-15 and barely escaped with a win. This time the shots were 26-21, but the Flyers managed to get a few past Quick and then Nilsson,Flyers win 5-2 with young Christian Dvorak leading the way with a goal and two assists.

It was a positive week,with no change in positioning but a change in feeling, the Flyers got off the snide and maybe the bullseye is off their backs,lets just see how next week goes?

The Flyers topline has slipped in recent weeks, McDavid is 3rd in scoring league wide with 60  points, Saad has dropped to 22nd with 47 points and Oshie who still leads the league in hits at 208, just past the halfway mark is sitting 48th with 42 points. The production is still among the better lines in the league,but a far cry from where they were a month ago.

Flyers hope to keep the momentum going, but are still cautious after all it has been one decent week after three horrible weeks.

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Flyers struggle out of the gate

This Week in Philadelphia

Season 27 in the WCHL is underway and exactly one week old. The Flyers coming off a solid preseason were hoping for a fast start out of the gate. The Flyers opened at home against Boston, it what can only be described as a forgettable experience for the home crowd. The Flyers were a no show as they gave up almost 40 shots and were shutout 4-0. The second game of the season on the road to Long Island the boys produced a better effort, but still lost in the shootout 4-3.

Coach Wilson
" This certainly wasn't the kind of effort I was looking for, giving up four goals a game will get you a nice long vacation come playoff time and we need a better effort from our top two lines and between the pipes."

In game three the Flyers put together a really solid game in front of the hometowners, outshooting Columbus 41-25 and coming away with a 3-2 win. McDavid finally had his first point of the season, as the Flyers were a pedestrian 1-1-1. Game four was the first explosion of the offense and McDavid. On the road in Buffalo the Flyers, ran away with the game 7-1, thanks in large part to a six point night by McDavid including a hat trick. It is noteworthy to point out McDavid was named team Captain just prior to the start of the regular season.

Conner McDavid
" No question I have been a little snake bit to start the season, I was holding the stick a little to tight, I just felt a lot of pressure to perform at my best, I was not playing relaxed hockey, but Saad and Osh brought me around, this after all is a team game. When the group chooses you as their Captain, you just want to be what they expect."

The Flyers performance in game four carried over into game 5, as the Flyers travelled to Washington. The Flyers had not won a game against the Caps in almost two seasons. In a barn burner, up and down at break neck kind of tilt, the Flyers managed to keep pace with the high flying Caps and come away with a 6-5, shootout victory. The Flyers outshot Washington 51-36.

GM Bourque
" Corey getting chased after 4 goals on 12 shots, was not a good sign, he doesn't look like his old self, but the fact that  Grubauer stepped up and made 23 of 24 saves, that was big, especially the manner in which we clawed back into the game and eventually won it."

The Flyers won their third straight and third straight on the road, as they travelled to Tampa Bay for a match against the Lightning. Probably the most solid hockey game they have played to date. The Flyers won 4-2, in a game where shots were even and Crawford had a good outing saving 23 of 25 shots. At this point the Flyers were 4-1-1, with only 1 win coming at home. Unfortunately the Flyers returned home and despite out shooting Carolina 38-31, they dropped a 6-1 decision to the Canes. Once again Crawford was chased from the net in front of the home crowd.

The end of the week saw the Flyers, with a record of 4-2-1, which is solid but those two losses were lob sided losses, making the record feel worse than it was. Goaltending has been an issue and it is an issue that need not exist. The Flyers look like a team that can produce offense, but they also look like a team that has not come close to its A game. Granted it's early and things can change.

Gm Bourque 
" We will take it and we will work a little bit more on consistency, wild swings is not what we are looking for, we want to tighten this up and I believe we can."

....out for this week.....peace....

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Coming in like a Hurricane

Canes roar into finals

Well, it has been a very long road for the Carolina Hurricanes in the 26th season of the WCHL playoffs so far, the team hasn't had exactly an easy road to the finals.....

It started off by getting the New York Rangers in the first round so the deck was stacked against us or so we thought, "The Rangers organization as well as their General Manager Andrew Don along with other successful teams wrote the book on building a solid team from top to bottom over the last 25 seasons. Rangers winning in 4 of them (seasons 15,16,21,24) we thought as a team we wouldn't get out of the first round" said General Manager Mike McFarland.

"Rangers play a very aggressive style of playoff hockey but they know when to put it on cruise control and when not to, they have some very good players on that team who know how to win" said McFarland.

"Luckily we were able to defeat the Rangers in 6 very hard fought games, we would like to thank the whole organization including Andrew Don as we took alot of knowledge from them onto the next round of the WCHL Playoffs" said head coach Jeff Blashill.

Next round the Carolina Hurricanes faced another powerhouse team who has built their team through the draft in the Pittsburgh Penguins.....Once again just like the previous round the team lost the home-ice advantage to the Penguins squad.............

"Going into this round we thought that we would be in tough against a very well put together team anchored by the longtime General Manager Patrick Matthews, we have tons of respect for what he has done with his squad over the last few seasons." said McFarland.

"We knew that they have underperformed when it came to the postseason and very much wanted to shake that monkey off the team's back, so we knew that they would play hard and fast. They have some of the best players in the world on their team. The only advantage we had, in my opinion, was maybe goaltending as they haven't had their starter as long as we have" said Blashill.

"Pittsburgh is a very tough city to play in and with them having the home-ice advantage we would be in tough against them, in the 25 seasons if I'm not mistaken only won 1 WCHL title in the team's history which was in season 12" said the GM.

"All in all we played with heart and determination in the series coming out victorious in game 7. Same goes with the Rangers team, wanted to take this time to thank the Pittsburgh Penguins team and its General Manager Patrick Matthews, both teams have done very well for themselves and have nothing to be ashamed of" said McFarland

Onto round 3 the excitement is building within our team thinking "Can this actually happen" until we faced the Florida Panthers, a team that has fallen short in past seasons but have tasted playoff success before. So the Hurricanes knew even before we can get to the promise land that we must defeat a very well ran organization led by Ryan Owen.........

"Florida has a very loyal fan base that can bring a lot of energy and excitement to every game so the playoffs for us will be harder to win in our building. Once again we have lost home-ice advantage but in my opinion, are very evenly matched up. We had heard that the Panther's premier player Malkin was injured as well as one of their defense" said Blashill

"Like we just said it is very hard to play in a building that has as much energy as they do, playing 6 games against the Panther squad and coming out with the series win we knew whoever was victorious deserved to be there. Taking nothing away from the whole team and its General Manager we say Thank You. said Mike McFarland

After wrapping up the series against the Panthers left the Hurricane squad extremely happy and excited to play at home for the first time in a long time to which the team has home-ice advantage playing the Nashville Predators.

Book the date to watch a very exciting series.........

"The Nashville Predators team hasn't had it easy either with playing the Winnipeg Jets in the first round defeating them in 6 games, then going onto the Colorado Avalanche besting the Avalanche squad who has won in seasons 13 and 14 in only 5 games. Biggest surprise so far this post season is when the Nashville team played the defending WCHL Champions beating them in only 4 games." said McFarland.

"Nashville is a well-managed team by Phin Liew that is hungry just like us who has never won the big prize before. We all play 82 games in a season to hopefully play for the richest prize in hockey the WCHL Championship, on paper Nashville has a higher OV rating than we do at a 72 to our 69." said Blashill

"Both teams are underdogs going into the post season and going into the finals I would think that we the Carolina Hurricanes are that underdog. But in closing its not how hard you get knocked down but how many times you get up. We are ready mentally and ready physically so bring on a exciting series. Nobody picked the two teams that are about to play for the Championship to make it. said Mike McFarland.

I wanted to take this time to thank the teams and their General Managers in this quest to play for the Championship, so thank you New York Rangers (Andrew Don) and Pittsburgh Penguins (Patrick Matthews) followed by the Florida Panthers (Ryan Owen).

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Ducks find final piece

Anaheim may have found its missing piece.

Trade deadline move by GM Dave Davis just may be the missing piece that Anaheim was looking for.

Anaheim never really had a true 3rd line center. Chris VandeVelde was filling that slot and Chris

is a good defensive forward but not a great at faceoffs, playmaking, and only had a limited scoring

touch. GM Davis knew he had to find someone that could set up the talented wings that were on the

third line.

Decent third line centers in the WCHL can be hard to find everyone seems to want an

arm and a leg to give up one. As in all leagues you have to give up something to get something

of value back in return. So Gm Davis gave up a young great passing forward that he had high hopes

for in Beau Bennett to get Zach Smith a good third line center with an all around skill set.

Zach plays good defense and can kill penalties, has good puck moving and passing abilities and

a big plus, Zach can deposit the puck in the net. In 8 games with Anaheim, Zach has 5 points

2 Goals, 3 Assists, and is a +7. Zach has brought toughness and physical presence to the third

line along with his offensive skills. There also seems to be come chemistry with his line

mates Patric Hornqvist and Richard Panik. This was something that was missing in the Anaheim

lineup for the last two playoff seasons.

With the addition of Zach Smith to the lineup

GM Dave Davis feels more confident that this team will fair better in the playoffs than the

last two playoff rosters did. We will just have to wait and see but we are happy that.

Zach is now part of the Anaheim Lineup.