Philadelphia Flyers news and stories from around the web…
November 18 Camden Courier-Post:
“When it comes to choosing a starting goaltender, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette doesn’t always adhere to conventional wisdom. In fact, he often rails against it.
When the Flyers opened the regular season on Oct. 7 in Pittsburgh, conventional wisdom told you Brian Boucher would get the start as a reward for a strong training camp and his role in getting the Flyers to last year’s Stanley Cup finals.
Laviolette started Russian rookie Sergei Bobrovsky, who responded with 30 saves in a 3-2 win.
When the Flyers hit a taxing part of their schedule and faced three sets of back-to-back games between Oct. 29 and Nov. 16, conventional wisdom told you Bobrovsky would get a well-earned rest and Boucher would get a tap on the shoulder.
Laviolette went with the 22-year-old rookie again and again and again and Bobrovsky responded by going 9-1-1 in 11 consecutive starts.
So who will be in goal tonight when the Flyers host the injury-riddled Tampa Bay Lightning at the Wells Fargo Center?
Will it be Bobrovsky, who suffered his first loss since Oct. 21 in a 3-0 defeat in Montreal Tuesday night? Or, will it be Boucher, who has not started a game since a 2-1 setback on Oct. 25?
“I will probably make a decision (Thursday) morning,” Laviolette said on Wednesday after giving his players a complete day off.
Since replacing John Stevens as the Flyers‘ head coach last Dec. 4, Laviolette has developed a pattern of committing to one goalie and riding him until he either loses or breaks down. Last year, he started Boucher 10 straight games until Boucher was forced out of the lineup with a hand injury on Dec. 21.
November 18 Philadelphia Daily News:
“The coaching manual, written by common sense and logic, says to give rookie netminder Sergei Bobrovsky a night off after making 11 straight starts.
Peter Laviolette threw the conventional coaching manual out the window years ago.
While all signs point to Brian Boucher making his first start since Oct. 25, Laviolette’s trends and statistics say he will throw a curveball tonight and stick with Bobrovsky in net for the 12th consecutive game.
Yesterday, when his team had a complete day off, Laviolette said he did not want to release tonight’s starting goaltender against Tampa Bay because he had not had a chance to speak to his players.
“I will probably make a decision [this] morning,” Laviolette said.
But since he arrived in Philadelphia last Dec. 4, Laviolette has struggled to hand the reins over to the backup goaltender – regardless of a streak in games played or wins.
BroadStreetHockey.com, which compiled the data, reported that it took Laviolette 46 games behind the bench last year to start his backup for a reason other than an injury. The only exception was that Ray Emery was handed his starting job back in January for eight games before reinjuring himself.
Other than that, the healthy goalie has owned the Flyers‘ crease.
Laviolette has placed an emphasis during the Flyers‘ current 9-1-1 run on picking up as many points as possible to try and create distance in the standings. Come January, he doesn’t want to have to worry about pushing the Flyers into a playoff spot from 14th place in the conference.
November 18 Philadelphia Daily News:
“There was beer. There was a choking. There was an attempted grand larceny of a frozen disk of vulcanized rubber.
And there were two players, favorites among their rabid fan bases, who went at it through the media after failing to really go at it on the ice less than 24 hours earlier.
All of those events – the beer that was thrown on Sean O’Donnell as he left the game with a 10-minute misconduct, Scott Hartnell’s allegation that he was choked in an on-ice scrum by Maxim Lapierre, Chris Pronger trying to steal the game-winning puck from the Canadiens, and Mike Richards and Montreal’s P.K. Subban trading jabs in the media – surfaced in the aftermath of the Flyers‘ heated, 3-0 shutout loss at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night.
It was the Flyers‘ first regulation loss in 11 games.
Perhaps the most alarming, though, was the one that left Hartnell breathless. After wrestling with Lapierre on the ice with 2:01 left in the game, Hartnell alleges Lapierre put him in a chokehold.
“I got choked out, that’s what happened,” Hartnell told The Score in Canada. “I couldn’t breathe. When you get choked out on the bottom of a pile, what are you going to do? Sit there and pass out or try and get out of it?”
Both Hartnell and Lapierre were handed 10-minute misconducts – with Lapierre getting an extra 2 minutes for roughing.
O’Donnell was also given a 10-minute misconduct for tossing Subban to the ice like a ragdoll with 3:51 to play. He was given the suds shower on his way out. It appears that Subban caught the ire of not only O’Donnell, but Richards, the Flyers‘ captain, because of his trash-talking and cocky attitude.
Subban, a 21-year-old rookie, seemed to be right in the thick of all of Tuesday night’s after-whistle battles.
November 18 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Sometimes, you just have to give credit to the opposing goalie and move on.
That was the consensus coming out of the Flyers‘ locker room after their 10-game points streak (9-0-1) ended Tuesday, courtesy of Carey Price’s 41-save performance in Montreal’s 3-0 win.
Thursday, the Flyers will attempt to start a new streak – and avenge one of their five regulation losses – when they host Tampa Bay.
To get back on track, the Flyers need to produce on the power play, which has been very good lately but was 0 for 8 against Montreal.
As the power play goes, so go the Flyers. Consider:
In their seven losses, including two in overtime, the Flyers are 1 for 31 (3.2 percent) on the power play.
In their 12 wins, their power play is 16 for 55 (29 percent).
The Lightning will be missing two key offensive players: former Flyer Simon Gagne (neck injury) and Vinny Lecavalier (knuckle surgery).
Gagne, 30, acquired last summer after 11 superb seasons with the Flyers, practiced with his teammates Tuesday for the first time since sustaining a neck injury Oct. 21 against the New York Islanders.
Entering Wednesday’s game against the Isles, Tampa was on a 1-5-1 skid, during which it had scored just 13 goals.
Steven Stamkos, who entered Wednesday tied for the NHL lead with 28 points, and Marty St. Louis (19 points) have provided most of Tampa’s offense.
Gagne, scoreless and minus-8 in six games, did not make the road trip, but he could join the team in Buffalo on Saturday.
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