Philadelphia Flyers news and stories from around the web…
December 20 Camden Courier-Post:
“They have won five games in a row, seven of their last eight and have gone eight games without a regulation loss. They have nailed down 15 of a possible 18 points through nine games in December.
They have opened up a five-point lead on the rest of the NHL, something they have not done since midway through the 1986-87 season, when they owned a five-point lead on Wayne Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers.
They have scored 35 more goals than their opponents, by far the best goal differential in the league.
The numbers tell you that heading into tonight’s game against the Florida Panthers, their last before a seven-day break in the schedule, the Flyers are the best team in hockey.
“Well, we’re first, so I guess we are,” said Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros. “We just want to go out there every game and play good. You’re going to have games where you play bad, like in Montreal. I can’t say bad but we didn’t play our game and we won. Sometimes you’ll play good and you won’t win the game. But we have so much talent and depth that when we play good we win.”
Indeed, the Flyers have scored more goals (117) than any team in the league and are one of just three teams in the NHL with five players — Danny Briere (16), Claude Giroux (16), Jeff Carter (13), Nik Zherdev (13) and Mike Richards (11) — in double-digit scoring.”
December 20 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Michael Leighton is trying to adapt to a difficult situation.
You remember Leighton. He’s the waiver-wire wonder who rescued the Flyers’ season and helped them reach the Stanley Cup Finals in the spring.
Now, through a series of circumstances out of his control, he’s No. 3 on the goaltender depth chart.
“Obviously, I want to play,” Leighton said after a recent practice in Voorhees. “It’s not a good situation to have three goalies, but I just have to do what I can do, work hard in practice, and be patient.”
Leighton had back surgery Oct. 11, giving unheralded rookie Sergei Bobrovsky a chance to shine. Meanwhile, Brian Boucher has been superb as the backup.
The Flyers are keeping three goalies at the moment; they don’t want to try to ship Leighton or Boucher to the AHL’s Phantoms because another team could claim him on waivers.
Bobrovsky has a two-way contract and could be shipped to the Phantoms, but he has been one of the NHL’s best goalies. General manager Paul Holmgren said he wasn’t considering demoting the 22-year-old Russian.
Carrying three goalies is difficult because one of them, Leighton, does not get a lot of practice time. He has to get on the ice before and after practices to get more work.
“It’s tough because one guy right now is kind of out of the mix and standing around for practice,” goalie coach Jeff Reese said. “The two guys that are dressing need to get the work. Leights right now is the odd man out, but he saw last year how quickly things change.”
Added Reese: “It’s my job to make sure he’s sharp when he does get in. Mentally, it’s a grind on [him]. As a former goalie, you almost feel guilty for the guy standing there and watching practice. It’s just human nature.”
December 20 Camden Courier-Post:
“The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they have named Joe Paterson the head coach of the Adirondack Phantoms, according to general manager Paul Holmgren. John Paddock, who had been serving as the interim head coach of the Phantoms since November 8, will return full-time to his duties as assistant general manager of the Flyers.
Paterson, 50 (6/25/60), was named an assistant coach with the Phantoms the same day Paddock was named the interim head coach of the club. He had been serving as a scout for the Atlanta Thrashers organization when he joined the Phantoms.
“When John was named interim head coach on November 8, we did not want it to be for the remainder of the season and we believe this is the right time for Joe to take over the head coaching reins,” Holmgren said. “Joe’s wealth of experience in the American Hockey League and his strength as a teacher of young hockey players will be very beneficial to the continued development of our prospects in Glens Falls.”
“I’m honored to be the head coach of the Adirondack Phantoms,” Paterson said. “It’s a place where I first came to play in the AHL as a player, and it’s also the place where I got my first coaching job as an assistant. We still have some things to do to improve upon as a team, but the building blocks are in place and we’re going to continue to build.”
This is Paterson’s second head coaching assignment in the American Hockey League. He was the head coach of the Louisville Panthers, at the time the primary affiliate of the Florida Panthers, for two seasons from 1999-2001. He posted a record of 63-81-12-4 and led the team to a 42-win season and the Calder Cup playoffs in 1999-2000. Paterson also served as head coach of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the Ontario Hockey League from 1995-97, during which time he coached current San Jose center Joe Thornton.”
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