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November 15 Camden Courier-Post:
“The Flyers like to think of themselves as revolutionists, but do they really want to be the first team in NHL history to exceed the salary cap a year in advance?
If Ville Leino gets his way, they may have no choice.
Last week, the Flyers dug deep into their pockets and signed potential free agents Claude Giroux and Jeff Carter to contract extensions totaling $69.25 million. In doing so, they pushed next season’s payroll to within $1.8 million of the salary cap.
Leino, who is also in the final year of his contract, has not started wearing “What About Me?” T-shirts, but he clearly wants to remain with the Flyers and is receiving mounting support from his teammates and coaches.
“He’s playing so well this season and especially in the playoffs last year,”‘ said Giroux, who one week ago agreed to a three-year, $11.25 million extension. “We hope he’s going to be back and I’m sure he will.”
At $800,000, Leino, 27, is an absolute steal. Through 17 games he leads the Flyers in assists with 12 and is tied for third on the club in points with 15. Entering tonight’s game against the visiting Ottawa Senators, Leino is on pace for 14 goals and 58 assists for 72 points and a plus-43 rating.
By comparison, Carter is on pace for 39 goals and 33 assists for 72 points and a plus-14 rating.
Leino’s development from a depth forward to a potential All-Star has been stunning. The Flyers acquired him from the Detroit Red Wings last February in exchange for spare defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen. A native of Savonlinna, Finland, Leino was never drafted by the NHL and was signed as a free agent by the Red Wings after being named MVP of the Finnish Elite League in 2007.
November 15 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Frank Seravalli:
“It is the 1,800-pound gorilla in the Flyers‘ locker room that no one wants to talk about.
And it may be the only poignant question surrounding a Flyers team that has dominated the NHL, collecting 17 out of a possible 18 points with an 8-0-1 record in its last nine games.
But now, with Michael Leighton returning to practice last Wednesday for the first time since having a herniated disk in his back repaired on Oct. 11, it is one that bears asking: What do the Flyers do when Leighton is ready to return?
For Flyers backup Brian Boucher, the answer seems simple.
Sergei Bobrovsky is not going anywhere.
“Let’s call a spade a spade,” Boucher said. ” ‘Bob’ has been phenomenal. He really has been fantastic. I said it before the season, just watching him play, that he would be the starter pretty soon.”
In reality, the Flyers have three options once Leighton returns from the long-term injured reserve list, which has kept his salary off the cap since Oct. 7: They can keep Leighton, they can keep Boucher or they can carry three goalies on the roster.
The latter would be the toughest, given roster-space issues (23-man maximum) and salary-cap concerns, unless Ian Laperriere’s $1.167 million salary is moved to the long-term injured reserve list – which is something the Flyers have not been willing to do because of his over-35 contract status.
This is not unfamiliar territory for Leighton. He was pegged to be the starter in Chicago heading out of the NHL lockout into the 2005-06 season. Leighton was the starter with Chicago’s AHL affiliate in Norfolk during the work stoppage, ahead of Craig Anderson.
Everything changed when Leighton needed stomach surgery in the offseason.
November 15 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Although Flyers coach Peter Laviolette would not reveal his decisions, all signs point to rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky making his 10th straight start and left winger James van Riemsdyk returning to the lineup Monday against visiting Ottawa.
Monday figured to be a good time to play backup goalie Brian Boucher, who hasn’t started since Oct. 25. The Flyers will have games on back-to-back nights – they play in Montreal on Tuesday – and Bobrovsky, sooner or later, is going to need a rest.
It will be later.
Laviolette dropped broad hints that he has no immediate plans to rest Bobrovsky, who is 8-0-1 with a 1.79 goals-against average and a staggering .944 save percentage in his last nine starts. He appears ready to use the rookie, who overall is 10-2-1 with a 2.08 GAA and a .932 save percentage, until his hot streak ends.
That is, if it ever does.
“When somebody’s on a run, I think you want to give them an opportunity,” Laviolette said after Sunday’s practice in Voorhees. “And we’re just coming off that break. The schedule hasn’t been too taxing just yet, so it’s not a concern right now. When somebody’s hot like that, I think you want to continue to put them in there.”
Bobrovsky’s nine straight starts are still nine shy of the Flyers‘ rookie record – 18 by Tommy Soderstrom and Antero Niittymaki.
As for van Riemsdyk, he is expected to replace injured winger Andreas Nodl, who hurt his big toe while blocking a shot in Saturday’s 5-2 conquest of Florida. An MRI exam on Sunday was negative, and Nodl is listed as day-to-day. He has points in six of his last seven games.
Nodl didn’t practice on Sunday, and van Riemsdyk – who has been a healthy scratch in the last four games – took his spot on a line with Mike Richards and Nik Zherdev.
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