WARNING! Philadelphia Flyers Brain Freeze May Occur

RonnybrookCorrespondent IOctober 14, 2010

PITTSBURGH - MAY 11:  Braydon Coburn #5 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates off the ice holding a towel over his injury during the first period of game two of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena on May 11, 2008 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

A collection of random Philadelphia Flyers hockey-inspired thoughts that, if read too quickly, may cause head trauma. WARNING: Philadelphia Flyers brain freeze may occur.

He's No Patrick Kane

I realize the comparisons will probably persist throughout the careers of both players involved, but who gives a flying falafel about how James van Riemsdyk stacks up against Patrick Kane?

For me, the only thing I care about is that the Flyers got a player that will make an impact in the long-term success if their hockey club.

If you want stats that hold a lot more meaning with regard to whether JVR is on the right track in his development as a player, look no further than the rookie seasons of Mike Richards (11-23-34) and Jeff Carter (23-19-42), and contrast them with JVR's rookie totals (15-20-35).

Looks good to me. If van Reimsdyk blossoms into anything approaching a consistent 25-goal scorer, I'm happy with the Flyers first selection at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, and could care less how his career matches up against Patrick Kane's when I am in my late 50's.

Steve Downie—Version 2.0

Speaking of players selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers, a couple of the team's former first-round selections will be in town Thursday.

Simon Gagne returns to Philadelphia wearing the colors of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Also returning to Philadelphia via Tampa Bay: Steve Downie—Version 2.0.

The upgraded Downie model comes fresh off the production line with a 22-24-46 performance in 2009-10.

Downie played just 44 games for the Flyers before being packaged in a deal that sent the mercurial right wing along with Steve Eminger to Tampa Bay in exchange for defenseman Matt Carle.

In retrospect, the trade appears to be one of those rare "change of scenery" swaps that actually worked out for both parties involved.

In Philadelphia, Carle rediscovered the offensive flare that prompted the San Jose Sharks to sign him to a four-year, $13.75 million contract extension in 2007.

In Tampa Bay last season, Downie took the first step toward reaching the potential the Philadelphia Flyers saw in a player they selected with their first round selection in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft (No. 26 overall).

Looking back on his brief stint at Broad & Pattison, it seems a shame the Flyers gave up so easily on Steve Downie.

Sure, Downie blurred the lines between physical play and head-hunting, and made poor decisions to continue with borderline physical play despite the intense scrutiny that fell on him after receiving one of the longest suspensions in NHL history (20 games).

But despite the controversy and, at times, weapons grade stupidity, the Tampa Bay Lightning exercised patience and figured Steve Downie out. 

It most-likely required a combination of Steven Stamkos and better living through pharmaceuticals for Downie, but they figured the guy out.

Some may point to Matt Carle in a black and orange sweater (do those even exist this season?) and waive Steve Downie off as good riddance to bad rubbish. And they may have a point.

But if there was ever an overlooked story in 2009-10, it was that a controversial and combustible Steve Downie turned out to be a redeemable player in Tampa Bay.

That's Not Water

Penguins fans may want to lobby for the their city to add the frozen playing surface of the Console Energy Center to the list of areas in Pittsburgh where public urination should be prohibited.

Mario Lemieux may have started the season opener by christening Pittsburgh's new hockey barn with a vial of water from the Mellon Arena ice, but with Danny Briere recording the first goal ever at the CEC, and Claude Giroux potting the game-winner on a fantastic short-handed tally, the Flyers christened the Penguins new home ice in their own way.

And no, water shouldn't be yellow.

The Flyers are scheduled to play the Penguins three times in October—inconvenient for Pittsburgh now that Jordan Staal (infected foot), Brooks Orpik (groin) and Zbynek Michalek (shoulder) are all nursing significant injuries.

If the Flyers can take advantage of the Penguins injury situation over the next few weeks, they could take a 3-0 divisional lead over their hated cross-state rival into November. Wouldn't that be nice?

Speaking of Pittsburgh

I wonder is Sergei Bobrovsky will get the nod for Saturday's rematch against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

I have to say, I like what I've seen so far, but I'm not comfortable with anointing The Bob as my personal Lord and Savior in the blue paint just yet.

Yes, he looks fantastic. But it's early, and memories of other "gems" mined out of the professional leagues across the pond are still fresh, for me at least.

Mika Pyorala, Roman Cechmanek and Jiri Dopita are each examples of European pro league players in the past 10 years where the Flyers thought they had a diamond in the rough early on, only to be disappointed with each.

That being said, I really hope Bobrovsky puts an end to the 20-years of goaltending jokes in Philadelphia.

In fact, if The Bob turns out to be the answer between the pipes in Philadelphia, I'll sign up for Wikipedia and enter Bobrovsky's nickname into the Wiki entry for "Bob" myself. 


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