Archive for 2020

Caps reload for Season 31

Wheelin' and dealin' pays dividends for Washington



The Washington Capitals had a busy off-season after a quick exit from the playoffs. The Metropolitan division is the toughest in the league and we needed to shake things up. The team was retooled for season 31 by making some personnel changes in getting younger and more skilled. All available options were maximized: entry draft, trade market, free agency, waiver draft, and farm call-ups.

Entry Draft

The Caps made six selections from the 2018 NHL entry draft coincidentally only from odd numbered rounds of the draft (rounds 1, 3, and 5). Most notable from the new recruits is winger Martin Kaut who has already played in nine NHL games with the Colorado Avalanche.

Trade Market

Five trades were made during the draft – with the St. Louis Blues, Carolina Hurricanes, San Jose Sharks (2x), and Montreal Canadiens – which helped to re-stock some draft picks and add key players. Those acquired include Ben Hutton, Ondrej Palat, and Devon Toews, while Nick Paul left.

Following the draft, the Caps inked three deals – with the Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils, and Chicago Blackhawks – that led to the departure of Patric Hornqvist, Mikko Koivu, Craig Anderson, and Erik Gustafsson. Mike Smith returned to the District of Columbia in one of the moves.

Altogether, these moves made the team younger, created roster space, and balanced out the cap.

Free Agency

Two young free agents were signed by the Caps – defenceman Cam Lee and goaltender Kyle Keyser – which provided organizational depth for the Hershey Bears. We were also in contention for a seasoned free agent.

Waiver Draft

Washington picked-up forward Joakim Nygard while losing two Bears, Buddy Robinson and Kevin Connauton.

Call-ups

Three players – Nick Suzuki, Madison Bowey, and Christian Wolanin – were promoted to the big league. Suzuki was playing an important role upfront prior to his injury (collecting 7 points in 13 games played), while both Bowey and Wolanin are providing depth on the backend.

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Wachovia, Wachovia how I love thee!



This Week in Philadelphia

Greeting Flyer fans, this week your Philadelphia Flyers of the WCHL had a bounce back week. The Flyers played 6 games and recording a 4-2 record. Both losses were in the Wachovia Center, in front of the home town fans. The Flyers did get an impressive win at home against the vaunted Colorado Av's, 5-1. The other three wins came on the road a place not particularly friendly to the Flyers this season. The Flyers won games in Nashville, Pittsburgh and Florida this week.

Gm Bourque
" It was nice to see the team bounce back from the disappointments of last week, even better to see the boys get things turned around on the road, a tough place to win in this league, it also looks like our offense is starting to heat up 5 on 5, our power play took a bit of a dip, but we will take that for better 5-5 scoring."

The defense should get a big boost very soon as Esa Lindell, who has been injured for weeks, having only played 5 games this season, is due back anytime now his health is at 99 %. Lindell had 4 points in those 5 games and looked like he might have a terrific season underway. It will be interesting if he picks up where he left off, that would be a big boon for the Flyer offense from the blue line, which already boasts the #1 scoring defenseman in the WCHL, Colton Parayko. Parayko has amassed 26 points in 19 games and leads the Flyers in scoring and as mentioned all defencemen in the league. The Flyers have Alex Biega ready to go, after he too suffered from the injury bug. The Flyers have hung in there amid the shortage on the blue line and the additions of Lindell and Biega are a welcome sign,that maybe the team can once again be healthy and whole. Having said that the team does not expect Cameron Gaunce back anytime soon.

Captain Zdeno Chara
" Esa has been a real loss for us, he was a big off season signing, the kid can play defense, he is a very good player, he improves us defensively, great on the penalty kill and he adds some offense, I really enjoy playing along side of him, the game is just easier when you like the guy you play along side with, thats not saying I dont respect all the guys I play with, I do, I am just excited to get my battery mate back."

Esa Lindell
" That was just untimely, I have never been out that long before, I will be working on getting back to where I was, in game shape, but playing defense with the big Z, is like wearing a warm sweater on a cold day in Finland its just really comfortable, I dont know if I will be back for the next game, but surely the one after that looks good."

The Flyers coaching staff wants Esa completely recovered before putting him back in the line up, bringing guys back have bitten the Flyers before, they are much more cautious now. But no doubt the Flyers are a better team with Esa in the line up.

This Weeks Games
1.(200) Philadelphia 3- Nashville 1
2.(216) Philadelphia 3-Pittsburgh 1
3.(232) Pittsburgh 4- Philadelphia 2
4.(243) Philadelphia 7- Florida 3
5.(260) Washington 2-Philadelphia 0
6.(273) Colorado 1-Philadelphia 5

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Flyers treading water as season gets underway

Philly looks for consistency during four game skid



This Week in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Flyers will enter the coming week with a pedestrian 7-6 record. The Flyers started strong but injuries now on the teams fourth, all to defensemen has taken its toll in the last four games. The last two acting as a microcosm of the situation, as in both games the Flyers entered the third period with the lead only to surrender three goals in the third in each of the two contests. The Flyers went 2-5 this week after going 5-1 in the first week.

Gm Bourque
" What we are learning, is that when you take this many defensemen out of your line up, nobody has that kind of depth. The circumstances are foreboding and we are trying to stay positive, but its difficult to do when you are counting on guys to play minutes they are just not ready for. We know we can compete when its an even playing field, but injury can tilt that field and makes it a constant uphill battle. Hopefully in the coming weeks we can put this injury bug behind us and get down to playing winning hockey.

There are definitely some things working in Philadelphia,the team is 7th in league scoring even after a bad week and boast the #1 power play with an impressive success rate of over 30%. The Flyers also are 3rd in the WCHL in shots, which means eventually those chances will turn into goals. The team is also 2nd in the league in hits so they are playing a hard strong game.Jonathan Huberdeau and Elias Lindholm have found some chemistry, they lead the team in scoring with 17 and 16 points respectively in 13 games. Even though Horvat and Ovechkin are off to slow starts they are still a point a game players and Colton Parayko has been excellent from the blue line, with 16 points in 13 games, which has him tied for 2nd among the leagues defensemen.

Elias Lindholm
" Hubey is really easy to play with, he has great hands and his passing skills are elite, I am sure we will have a good run together and Nealy he is a great winger with a great shot, we are playing with a lot of confidence, we just need to tighten things up defensively."

Captain Zdeno Chara
" We need to stay positive we are really early in the season, streaks both positive and negative are part of the game, yeah we have had some bad luck with the injuries after a terrific start, but this too shall pass we just need to keep at it, put the reps in, focus on our jobs, it'll all work itself out."


This Weeks Games

1.(103) Carolina Hurricanes (2) vs Philadelphia Flyers (4)
2.(117)  Philadelphia Flyers (1) vs Ottawa Senators (2)
3.(132) Calgary Flames (3) vs Philadelphia Flyers (6)
4.(153)  Philadelphia Flyers (2) vs New Jersey Devils (5)
5.(156)  Pittsburgh Penguins (3) vs Philadelphia Flyers (2)
6.(173)  Philadelphia Flyers (3) vs Carolina Hurricanes (4)
7.(186)  Florida Panthers (6) vs Philadelphia Flyers (4)

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Blast from the Past Bradley takes the helm

A day that may live in infamy



July 8 2020 may be a date long remembered in Senators history. For the fans sake hopefully it will be remembered fondly. Ownership has gone thru the history of the WCHL and hired one of the original GMs Andy Bradley.

Thankfully the League Board of Governers have poor memories and Bradley himself refuses to comment, so we're not sure if he was shit-canned, ran out of town, tarred and feathered or simply slipped out quietly on his own over 10 years ago.

What we know of the 'new' GM is that he's more known for icing powerhouse teams and not so much for being present on draft day. When asked about this reputation, "My priority is always the entertainment value for the fans and a commitment to the players that post season success is the ultimate goal," seemed his mission statement.

The start has raised some eyebrows as Head Coach Naserdine was given his walking papers today. Expect to see a more NHL quality Coach announced shortly. Bradley claims that discussions went south with the Coach when discussing icing Draisitl on the Wing and how Barzal playing third line seemed to be a waste in talent. "More experience is needed behind the bench, as well as a GM that can grow with our younger players and give our vets the responsibility they deserve," said the new GM.

"This is a solid team, I need some time to see how they perform before I think about changes to the on ice product." The win last night was a great step forward for this team. It will be interesting to see if over the next few games they can string together some wins to move the team closer to the playoffs.

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Flyers off to hot start

This Week in Philadelphia



The first week of Season 30 is in the books and the Flyers played some fine hockey this week. Your Philadelphia Flyers went 5-1,with a 3-0 record at home and 2-1 on the road. New Flyer goalie Ben Bishop turned in a perfect record at 5-0, while back up goal tender Jake Allen took the only loss of this part of the schedule. At one point Zdeno Chara the ageless sensation lead the Flyers in scoring with 4 assists in 4 games. However the team lead is now held by Bo Horvat with 8 points, while Colton Parayko has 7 points. Four other players, Lindholm, Huberdeau, Ovechkin and Zuccarello are all at a point a game pace with 6.

Ben Bishop
" It was the kind of start you want as a goal tender when you come to a new team, you want the boys to know they can rely on you to give them a chance to win every night, Jake and I, thats what we are all about."

The Flyers both pro and farm team were hit hard by injuries in the first week of play. Down on the farm for Lehigh Valley, both Ryan Donato and Danil Yurtaykin missed considerable time and up on the Pro team in Philadelphia, half of the starting top six, were injured, as Dimitry Kulikov is getting ready to return and both Alex Biega and newly acquired top defender, Esa Lindell have been sidelined for a month.

Gm Bourque
" Its a tough way to start the season, when half your top six go down less than a week into the season. Injuries are a part of the game, sometimes its a failure on the part of the player to make sure they are physically ready and other times its just the roll of the die, shit happens as they say. Claude will work the team with the players we have, this is an opportunity for some guys to step up and play to their potential and a chance for a new guy to show he belongs with the big club."

The injuries have forced some line up juggling on the both squads as call up were the word of the day. Defense-man, Ashton Sautner is the latest to get a chance on the blue line, Colin White who spent extended time last season with the big club was called up once again, its really just a matter of time before White is an everyday pro roster player.

Colin White
" I am excited every time I laced em up for the Flyers, I belong here and I will keep working to prove that point and make it hard for them to send me down. Playing with Gaborik is a blast, he's old enough to be my father, but he plays a lot better than my Dad....hahaha"

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Capitals set lines for Season 31

Washington ready for action as season gets underway



The Washington Capitals are pleased to announce our forward lines for season 31:

Line 1 – Beast Line: Vladimir Tarasenko (LW) Steven Stamkos (C) Brent Burns (RW)

All three are beasts in every face of the game – hard-hitting, lightning quick, and gifted offensively. Tarasenko is the quintessential Russian first-line winger that's been making Caps fans drool for years. Stamkos is the pivot who can score in his sleep and anchors the line, while Burns is the wise veteran who doubles on D, when needed, playing a 200 foot game.

Line 2 – Eagle Line: Rickard Rakell (LW) Nick Bonino (C) Ondrej Palat (RW)

Their eagle eye instincts and vision is second to none and includes a solid ability to score with about a +10 per more defensive skill. Bonino plays a 2-way centre game – collecting assists merely by winning the draw and keeping the puck out of the defensive zone on the penalty kill. Both Rakell and Palat provide potent and fearless secondary scoring who can each jump up to the first line on a dime's notice. Palat and Stamkos have a history of playing together.

Line 3 – Bear Line: Zach Hyman (LW) Nick Suzuki (C) Mattias Janmark (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 might be a first in that all three players are Caps' draftees. They can each chip in offensively, are mostly responsible defensively, and can move up or down the line-up as needed. We'll keep an eye on Suzuki's performance in the big league.

Line 4 – Beaver Line: Derek Grant (LW) Brad Richardson (C) Scott Laughton (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. This year's iteration includes a particular ability to score more consistently.

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Ducks dig in for redemption

Anaheim looks to rebound after strong season doesn't result in playoff success



Anaheim Next Season Line combos

1st Line (C) Patrice Bergeron ------(LW) Pavel Zacha --------- (RW) Ryan Couture
2nd Line (C) Ryan Strome -------(LW) Alexander Radulov ---- (RW) Anthony Duclair
3rd Line (C) Mikeal Backlund ---(LW) Michael Grabner --------(RW) Jonathan Drouin
4th Line (C) Curtis Lazar ------- (LW) Sven Baertschi ----------(RW) Richard Panik

Defensive Pairings

1st Pair Victor Hedman -------- Ryan Graves
2nd Pair Sami Vatanen --------- Jake Muzzin
3rd Pair Sea Theodore --------- Marcus Pettersson
4th Pair Victor Hedman --------- Kevan Miller

FORWARD LINES

The 1st line has great offensive potential with the ability to play defense when needed. They have youth sandwiched between our two top veteran forwards. This is our go to unit.

The 2nd line has great speed with youth and a healthy dash of veteran presence. This line has scorers that have good puck handling and passing abilities. This group has some bite and can sneak up and bite you in the ass.

The 3rd Line Has a little of everything They have a Defensive specialist along with forwards that have scoring, passing, and puck handling ability. Two of these players are capable of playing on the 1st or 2nd lines if need be.

The 4th Line Is made up of players that can hold their own against almost any line. Their main purpose is not to give up any goals and to score an occasional goal themselves. We feel they are more than capable of doing just that.

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS

1st Pair, Has a Star defenseman and a shutdown defenseman. Hedman can jump in the play and carry the mail knowing that Graves has his back and will be there to shutdown any attempted breakaways by their opponents. Both have good speed, size and a strength.

2nd Pair, This defensive pair know each other well. They have been playing together as a pair for several seasons with the Ducks. They are both great all-round defensemen that can move the puck for breakouts and play good defense. They are always there for their goalie and seldom leave their goalie out to dry.

3rd Pair, These guys have lots of offensive skill and they play their best defense by playing offense and keeping the puck in their opponents end on the ice. They also have enough speed to get back on defense when needed.

4th Pair, Our top defenseman logs extra minutes with the 4th Pair. Hedman does everything he does so well on the 1st Pairing when paired with Miller who is capable of playing the role that Graves fills on the 1st Pairing.

All in all, most of the faces are the same as last seasons but this is the season for the young players to step up and show their stuff.

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Capital success

Washington reflects on season 30



The Washington Capitals completed season 30 with 40 wins and 103 points which was good enough for 3rd in the Metropolitan and 4th in the Eastern conference. The Caps finished with a +44 goal differential.

Scoring. The Caps offence was led by Vladimir Tarasenko (84 points in 82 games played) and Brent Burns (79 points in 77 games played) who both scored at more than a point per game pace. Ten more players – Rickard Rakell (66 points), Steven Stamkos (64 points), Mikko Koivu (54 points), Zach Hyman (49 points), Oscar Klefbom (46 points), Erik Gustafsson (44 points), Nick Bonino (43 points), Jack Johnson (42 points), Brad Richardson (41 points), and Shea Weber (40 points) – recorded at least one point every two games. Tarasenko also led the team in goals (35) and shots (385), Rakell had the most game-winning goals (6), and Burns was the team lead in assists (56).

Various Stats. Johnson led the team with a +22 (+12 with the Caps and +10 with the Buffalo Sabres) and was among 12 players with a positive +/- rating (minimum 10 games played). Johnson also led in other categories: shots blocked (132), penalty minutes (93 PIM), and hits (93). Koivu finished with the top face-off winning percentage of 60.49% (minimum 750 draws taken).

League Leaders. The Caps had the best power play (23.68%) and face-off winning percentage (56.24%) in the WCHL, and were respectably top five in Goals For, Shots Against, and PIM/GP. Koivu and Burns also led the league in face-offs and defenceman production respectively. Both Tarasenko and Burns cracked the top scorers list.

Transactions. The Caps were relatively quiet this season on the trade front but made a couple of deadline deals in bringing back Johnson and shipping out Marco Scandella. Both deals were for picks and Scandella was acquired earlier in the year for Valtteri Filppula. Three defencemen – Burns, Weber, and Jake McCabe – were re-signed.

MVPs. The MVP (Offence) is Tarasenko who was productive and steady all season. The MVP (Defence) is Burns who averaged the most minutes played (23.32) for a blueliner and fueled the power play.

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Flying into the playoffs

Philadelphia sets sights on long post-season run



This Week in Philadelphia- Playoff Edition

The regular season is over, the Philadelphia Flyers have finished 2nd in the Met Division with 51 wins and 106 points. Carried by their offense, which scored the 3rd most goals  and had the #1 power play for the season. The Flyers finished the season with a loss to Washington and an OT loss to Carolina. The Flyers received an injury to PK specialist Jay Beagle who will miss the start of the first round. Worse news Captain Zdeno Chara the teams best defensive dman received a 6 game suspension in game 81 and will miss the first 5 games of the first round.

Gm Bourque
" The loss of Jay and Zdeno right out of the gate, hurts the team in a number of areas, leadership and defense among the very top of that list, we are going to have to pull together to weather the storm."

Assist Captain Alex Ovechkin
" Zdeno is our leader and Captain, he got that 6 game suspension sticking up for his team and team mates, we have to play well enough to give him a chance to get into the series, Jay too, we are going to see what we are made of thats for sure."

The Match Up

The Philadelphia Flyers will play Division rival the Washington Capitals. The teams mirror each other in many respects, both a very strong offensive teams, you wouldn't want to try and make a living based on the two teams differences, both have tremendous offensive talent, both have survived on middle of the pack goaltending and wicked power plays, Philadelphia finished 3rd in goals scored, Washington 4th, Philadelphia had 106 points, Washington 103, both teams have been 1-2 on the power play all season long, both teams play in the toughest Division in the WCHL. The difference may be on defense, at the deadline Washington made a move to get a veteran rental dman, Philadelphia had a deal in place but failed to get it in before the deadline add to that Chara's 6 game suspension, 5 games remaining and this could be where the rubber hits the road. The series begins tonight in Philadelphia, the Flyers one of the league's best home teams, Washington is the league's best road team. The season series belongs to Washington at 3-2, they also won all three games after the addition of that all important rental dman. So even though the Flyers have the home ice, most pundits would suggest that a slight edge goes to the Capitals based on the above. Either team that makes it through should be trouble in the 2nd round. Go Flyers Go !

see you at the Wachovia Center.....out for now...peace

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It's Always Sunny in Philaldelphia


A look at the week that was in Philadelphia

Bo Knows Hockey


Bo Horvat has missed eight games over the last two weeks and the Flyers have really missed his leadership and work ethic, Bo is the consummate team player, no matter what his role, he accepts and always is productive. Bo finally made it back last night as the Florida Panthers came a visiting at the Wachovia Center. The Flyers were a little flat to say the least, even after Bo in his return to the line up, set up James Neal and  gave the home team a 1-0 lead. The Flyers would not score again and lost 5-1.

Bo Horvat
" I am really happy to be back in the line up, life without ice is no life at all, hockey is all I know, I can't remember a time when I wasn't involved in hockey, you know really know how much you miss it until its taken away from you, the team has been just fine without me, but I know I can contribute and help the team, and now that we have moved Ryan, I think I will be playing in other situations."

What Bo is referring to in case you missed it was a blockbuster trade with San Jose to finally provide Bo Horvat with a dynamic top line winger. Jonathan Huberdeau fits that to a tee, the 26 year old former 3rd overall pick has been steadily rounding into a superstar, Huberdeau and Ovechkin may give the Flyers the best top two left wingers in the business and that's important when your centers are Horvat and Duchene, both probably better suited to C2 than C1. Don't get me wrong they are both fine center-men with good upsides, both can drive a line and both are reliable.

The Trade:

To San Jose: Ryan Getslaf, William Nylander and Jacob Chychrun
To Philadelphia: Jonathan Huberdeau

The is the second big trade that Philadelphia has made, involving multiple pieces of youth from the farm, last deal was for Colton Parayko. Both players look to be key blocks in the Philadelphia wall. The deal for Parayko did not involve a pro roster player, this time Ryan Getslaf and important cog in the wheel is moving. Now Getslaf was playing 3rd line center and Huberdeau will play top line left wing, so there is that, Huberdeau is a better offensive weapon and then there's that too.

GM Bourque
" This is an upgrade offensively Huberdeau is one of the game's best players and he appears to be just getting better and he is only 26, Ryan is a terrific player and person with rare leadership skills. Part of this deal was finance as well, we were having a hard time getting Nylander and Chychrun into the line up and Ryan's 9 million dollar price tag was going to have to be moved next season for sure, the timing just seemed right as the team is playing well and looking to try and be a playoff team this season, well you know best laid plans, sometimes its better to just leave things alone, but we think Huberdeau is worth it."

The Games:
835 Philadelphia Flyers (5) vs Minnesota Wild (2)
852 Florida Panthers (2) vs Philadelphia Flyers (3)
871 Philadelphia Flyers (3) vs Colorado Avalanche (4) - OT
881 Philadelphia Flyers (3) vs Detroit Red Wings (1)
892 Florida Panthers (5) vs Philadelphia Flyers (1)

....out for this week....peace ya'all

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Rangers ready for strong finish



As we hit the 2/3's mark of the WCHL season, an annual trend continues; The Eastern Conference standings are mayhem. 7 points separate the 4th seed in the East, to the 12th seed in the east. Each night, teams jump into the playoff picture, or plummet a few spots out of the playoff picture. The Rangers have been lucky enough to stay a bit ahead of the group for most of the season. With a current streak of 8-1-1 in their last 10 games, the blue shirts have moved into 1st place in the overall standings with 80 points in 55 games.

The Rangers have done this with a very balanced attack. Unlike in year's past, where they have had mainstays in the top 10 in scoring, top 10 in defensive scoring, or having Lundqvist up near the top of goalie stats. The Rangers are the lone team in the league to have 14 players who have reached the 20 point plateau so far to date. Leading the charge are Anze Kopitar with 60 points and Mark Scheifele with 59 points. The defense is led by Matt Dumba with 44 points, followed closely by Rasmus Ristolainen with 41 points, and Alex Pietrangelo with 39 points. In goal, Henrik Lundqvist has had a solid, not spectacular season. In fact, Lundqvist's backup, Carter Hart, has put up far superior numbers. Lundqvist has had a 2.41 GAA and a 0.916 save %. While Carter Hart has a 1.96 GAA and a 0.932.

The Rangers have also recently signed 2 big pieces of their future, extending both Jake Guentzel and Patrik Laine for 5 years. They join a top 6 are all signed long term, including Anze Kopitar, Mark Scheifele, Gabriel Landeskog and off season signing, TJ Oshie. The Rangers also re-signed their 3rd line center, Dylan Strome, to a long term contract.

Looking ahead to next season, the Rangers will have some tough decisions to move on from some of their bottom of the lineup veterans.

The Rangers got a jump on the trade deadline, and solidified their defense by acquiring Alex Goligoski. The Rangers will likely stand pat on deals the rest of the season, and will go forward from here with the following lineup:

Gabriel Landeskog - Anze Kopitar - TJ Oshie
Jake Guentzel - Mark Scheifele - Patrik Laine
Erik Haula - Dylan Strome - Thomas Vanek
Marcus Granlund - Chris Mueller - Jason Pominville

Alex Pietrangelo - Rasmus Ristolainen
Cam Fowler - Matt Dumba
Joel Edmundson - Alex Goligoski

Henrik Lundqvist
Carter Hart

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