Philadelphia Flyers news and stories from around the web…
November 24 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“The Spectrum started to come down Tuesday afternoon, stirring memories from the Flyers‘ players and coaches who played in the venerable building.
Defenseman Chris Pronger said the Spectrum had an “aura” to it, and teammate Sean O’Donnell said there are many graying and balding former players – those who didn’t wear the Flyers‘ crest – who probably celebrated the news that a wrecking ball was tearing down the arena.
“It’s a special building; it’s not just a regular building,” O’Donnell, the Flyers‘ 39-year-old defenseman, said after Tuesday’s practice in Voorhees. “It’s the Broad Street Bullies. It’s a synonymous nickname. It’s a place where not a lot of people wanted to play.”
“There are probably a lot of players from back in the ’70s that are exorcising some of the demons, finally getting that building knocked down.”
Growing up in Ottawa as a youngster, “I remember my dad talking about it and the teams they had,” O’Donnell said. “They’ve always had tough teams. They were good and tough, and [you heard about the] Spectrum and the Broad Street Bullies and Dave Schultz and all those guys. There are probably a lot of guys in their late 50s and 60s who are smiling and saying, ‘Goodbye! I hated that place and never liked going there!’ ”
Flyers assistant Craig “Chief” Berube played his first NHL season there in 1986-87.
“It seemed like the fans were right on top of you,” said Berube, who spent his first five NHL seasons with the Flyers. “It was loud and they were banging on the glass. I thought it was a real tough place for other teams to come in and play. It was like going into Boston Garden – a smaller rink. Compact. Lots of life and action. It seemed like a real blue-collar crowd in there.””
November 24 Camden Courier-Post:
“If it seems like forever since the Flyers last sat atop the NHL standings, it’s because it hasn’t happened since Ken Hitchcock was cracking his whip and Peter Forsberg was still productive.
That was on Jan. 14, 2006, a season that ended with the Flyers finishing ninth in the NHL with 101 points and getting bounced from the playoffs in the first round.
In fact, you have to go all the way back to Mike Keenan’s rookie coaching season of 1985 to find the last Flyers team to finish the regular season with the most points in the NHL.
With more than four months and 60 games remaining in their regular season, including tonight’s game in St. Paul against the Minnesota Wild, the Flyers have plenty of work to do before they think about winning a Presidents’ Trophy.
More importantly, they seem to have learned from their mad scramble to secure a playoff spot last season, a feat they accomplished with a shootout victory on the final, frantic day of the regular season.
“What do we have, 14 wins now?” asked Flyers defenseman Matt Carle. “I don’t think we had that “til January last year.”
Actually, the Flyers (14-6-2) picked up their 14th win on Dec. 8 last season, but were already on a downward spiral that had them sitting in 14th place in the Eastern Conference and 29th overall on Dec. 22 with a 15-18-2 record.
“What everybody has said here — and I know Mike Richards has said it — is that we were looking for a better path,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. “We wanted to be more consistent and we have been.”
November 24 Philadelphia Daily News:
“After inking Claude Giroux and Jeff Carter to important contract extensions in the same week earlier this month, it might take the Flyers considerably longer to get breakout star Ville Leino locked up in Philadelphia beyond this season.
And it’s not because the two sides remain far apart on numbers or do not have a mutual interest.
The collective bargaining agreement is likely preventing them from doing so, according to a league source. Since the Flyers already have $57.6 million committed to 18 players for next season’s salary cap, the most in the league, the team isn’t allowed to exceed this year’s cap of $59.4 million – even though the cap is expected to increase for the sixth consecutive time next summer.
That could prevent the Flyers from locking up Leino, who is tied for third in team scoring with four goals and 13 assists heading into tonight’s matchup in Minnesota, until the offseason.
Leino, 27, will earn $800,000 this season. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Leino’s agent, Bill Zito, was in town last week. Zito met with Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren briefly but had no progress to report.
“It’s a process,” Zito said yesterday. “Very rarely does it ever take just one phone call or one meeting to get a deal done. We’re on the same page.”
November 24 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Thanks to some time off, rookie Sergei Bobrovsky will be a better goalie when he’s back in the lineup, coach Peter Laviolette said after Tuesday’s practice in Voorhees.
When he will return, well, Laviolette wasn’t saying.
After making 12 straight starts, Bobrovsky was replaced by backup Brian Boucher in the last two games – a 5-4 shoot-out win in Washington on Saturday and a 3-2 victory over Montreal on Monday.
Laviolette would not announce which goalie would start Wednesday in Minnesota.
Does he again go with Boucher, who has won consecutive games against elite teams, and risk eroding Bobrovsky’s confidence?
Or does he go back to Bobrovsky, who is among the NHL leaders in several categories?
“It’s a good problem to have,” defenseman Matt Carle said.
Bobrovsky, 22, hasn’t played since allowing four first-period goals in an 8-7 loss to Tampa Bay last Thursday. It was the first poor performance in his young NHL career, one that has featured a 9-0-1 spurt.
Laviolette was asked if he thought the time off would help the Russian goalie.
“I do. He’s gotten a chance to look at some things and work with Jeff [Reese, the goalie coach] on the ice in different areas,” Laviolette said. “You’re watching a kid take a run like that and you’re seeing all the good things – and you also see some things he can work on, so when you’re not playing, you remove that pressure of Philadelphia and the market and the expectations. You give the kid a chance to work on his game, go out and get extra ice-time and not have to think about the game.”
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