Philadelphia Flyers Captain Mike Richards and newly acquired Chris Pronger are “shoo-ins” for the Canadian National Olympic team in Vancouver 2010. Both Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne have also been given the chance to audition for this mighty squad.
I personally think that Gagne may be the one Flyer to be omitted from the lineup and Carter is most likely going to be moved to the wing if he makes the cut?
There is too much star power at center in line ahead of him. The 24-year-old London, Ontario native netted 46 goals last season and was the only Flyer to make an All-Star appearance.
Don't be surprised to see him wearing the Red and White jersey in Van City this winter. Playing on home soil this year, it's gold or bust. Expectations in this country demand nothing less.
Am I the only one who is shocked at the fact that Marc Savard and Jason Spezza are not even getting a try out this year? At least Yzerman has acknowledged the fact that Philly has some top offensive assets this country has seen in recent years, as well as, the new addition of "Prongs."
I was also shocked that none of the leagues youngest won't even get a chance to prove thier patriotism. Stamkos, Taveras and Schenn will have to wait it out four more years.
"We can't just take into account next fall our 13 forwards, seven D and three goalies. We have to be prepared to make a decision based on availability and who is playing well at the time," Yzerman said.
Although I could write an entire article on Team Canada lets get back to the “New Look" Flyers. The health, key scoring, and aggressive play must come from the $7.5 million-a-year center Danny Briere. He is a crucial component to the Flyers', offense and let's hope that his injuries/setbacks are finally behind him now.
Both Lupul and Knuble are the big loses in a free agent frenzy known as the offseason. They combined for 52 goals last season and young defense-man Luca Sbisa only had seven assists in 39 games. Here's how we will cope without them.
Although Briere only played in 29 games last season and had 25 points. Assuming he will put in 70-plus games this season he can easily replace Knuble on the stat sheet with 30+ goals and likely with more assists as well as more minutes on the power play equaling more total points.
The other key contributor this season will be the second year Claude Giroux. He may jump to the second line with Carter and Hartnell depending on his performance this upcoming season. Giroux had 27 points in 42 games and five points in six playoff games. He has made steady improvements as a rookie and has shown an ox like work ethic.
I think it is safe to say that we can count on at least 15+ goals from Pronger on the blue line and with a much improved blue line and net minders there shouldn’t be a need to score as many goals to win but rather play a much more balanced game at both ends of the pond!
Brian Boucher will serve as the "Water Boy" backing up 'Sugar' Ray Emery between the pipes this season and brings with him many years of experience with the Phantoms, Flyers as well as a few other teams around the league.
Flyers made a wise choice not resigning Nittymaki who recently underwent Hip surgery. Boucher had a 12-6-3 record with the Sharks last season and a 2.18 GAA and a 9.17 SV percentage.
The other key addition off the free trade market was the 6'1", 200-lb Ian Laperriere, a 14-year veteran and known as a physical "supporting" player who isn’t afraid to drop the gloves with the best of 'em.
"The one area Ian Laperriere will add is he's a role player who can lift a little of the burden off some of our guys in other roles, such as penalty killing and face-offs. He’s a warrior type player. He’s very durable," Holmgren said.
As a fan I am quite happy with the way Holmgren has added such depth, grit, strength, maturity, leadership and experience to the line up. If not already, the Flyers will be one of the most feared teams in the league this season.
Yes there are shades of the Broad Street Bullies era, which originated in 1972/73, but will the chemistry fuel the Bunsen burner immediately or will it take longer than one season for the team to ignite to their full potential? Only time will tell, the 92nd NHL season is less than three months away! Can't wait...
Thanks for the read,
Did you know? GM and former Flyer Holmgren was the first U.S. born player to score a hat trick in a Stanley Cup Finals game?