PHILADELPHIA FLYERS COOKED

The Flyers lost their third game in a row tonight, virtually eliminating them from the Playoffs. There is a very minuscule chance for the Flyers to sneak into the Playoff Picture, however, they would need help from a bunch of teams that are ahead of them. The Flyers Number 1 Ranked Power Play is now 0-for April. Their penalty kill is ranked third. So, judging this season cannot place blame on the Special Teams.

Ok…well with adversity comes questions and the blame game will begin. Many fans have called for the ousting of Paul Holmgren. Although Holmgren has made many good moves in free agency as well as trades, he has failed to sign the players to get this team over the hump. Nonetheless, Holmgren did try and sign Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Zach Parise and trade for Rick Nash in the offseason. The Flyers brass was unsuccessful with all of these players.

It is no coincidence that ever since star defenseman Chris Pronger went down with post concussion syndrome, this Flyers team has not been the same. And while the Flyers were trying to sign the top free agents and trade for the best talent, they lost some of their own key players. Matt Carle, who came to the Flyers from the Tampa Bay Lightning, had grown into a top tier defenseman and was lost in free agency. The Flyers also lost Jaromir Jagr, who really had a comeback season and made all of the Flyers youth get better.

Lets take a look at why this season has went downhill. First and foremost, the teams major weakness was their Defense and turnovers. As mentioned earlier, the Flyers did try to address their defense in free agency and also at the trade deadline, but were not willing to part with their young talent. However, Holmgren did trade budding young star James Van Reimsdyke in the off season for Toronto Defenseman Luke Schenn. JVR has been superb for the Maple Leafs while Luke has struggled to be one of the Flyers top Defenders.

Another crippling aspect was the loss of Andre Mesaros and Brayden Coburn, probably their two best physical defensemen to injuries. So in retrospect, the Flyers must make some moves this off season this time around. The Flyers need to start addressing their weakness and the major fault is defensive breakdowns. Had the Flyers signed Shea Weber or Ryan Suter, their misfortunes could have been erased. Weber and Suter would bring the same type of physical play and leadership that Pronger gave this team.

Every year the Flyers have fell short in the Goaltending Department. Holmgren tried to address this last season when the Flyers went out and signed Vezina finalist Ilya Bryzgalov. Last year Bryzgalov struggled and was inconsistent. However, this season Bryzgalov has been stellar and he truly has been hung out to dry by a terrible defense. Bryzgalov has played in all but two of the Flyers games. He has all of the team’s wins with 17. His GAA is around 2.85. He has a .900 Save Percentage. Those stats may not be top rate but they would be a lot better if the defense has not let them down.

Of course this week…Bryzgalov went through a ton of turmoil by a Story that was reported that he fell asleep during a team meeting. This is yet another gaffe in the roller coaster of the Philadelphia Media. Then, last week at the trade deadline the Flyers traded for young goalie Steve Mason. This raises questions about who will be in net next season for the Flyers.

The Flyers also lost Daniel Briere…one of their offensive stars and team leaders. Briere may come back this weekend, but this may be his last nine games in a Flyer’s uniform. The Flyers also lost gritty leader Maxime Talbot for the season. Talbot brought tenacity and experience as he won a Stanley Cup for the Pittsburgh Penguins, actually scoring the Game Winning Goal of that championship. Talbot will be back next year and hopefully healthy.

Let us not forget that the Flyers core players have an average age of 23. This fact cannot be discounted. Courtier just turned 20. The Schenn brothers are 23 and 21 respectively. Claude Giroux is 23. Wayne Simmonds is 24. These five players can be considered the Flyers core players. The leaders have to be Scott Hartnell, Daniel Briere, Max Talbot, re-acquired Simon Gagne, and Mike Knuble.

If I am the ownership of the Flyers, I am making a few moves next year. As good as Holmgren has been…I am moving another direction. I would go after former Goalie Ron Hextall to captain the ship. I’m keeping Laviolette. Peter has received a lot of criticism this season, but he has shown a great work ethic and I am keeping him.

The Flyers should also let Briere go, unless he decides to sign for a bargain price. They should also buy out Bryzgalov’s contract not because he has been horrible, but to have more payroll flexibility. They would save millions of dollars and could go after another top scorer as well as a Top Tier Defenseman. They should look at the goalies that will be available and if they can sign Luongo do it…if not go with Steve Mason who is only 24.

I think this team is still one or two years away from a Championship. Even though Jeff Carter and Mike Richards won a Cup after leaving the team…I still believe this team is more talented than the team that went to the cup a few years ago. The XFactor…Chris Pronger. Pronger was a Born Leader and was the player that made this team go, go, go. Anyways, this has been a disappointing season but there is still a bright future for this very young team.

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SUPER SUNDAY: QUICK FACTS AND NOTES

Super Bowl Sunday 2013 has arrived. I feel like these years keep getting shorter and shorter the older I get ugghhh! Anyways, last year saw the New York Football Giants upset the New England Patriots for the second time in 3 years in the Super Bowl. This years addition brings a few new teams to the big dance, well not new, both teams have won Super Bowls. The 49ers have Five…Baltimore has One…ironically they beat the same New York Giants in a blowout. They became only the third wild card team in history to win a Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl is really a giant overrated day of eating tons of food, people getting sloppy drunk, partying to the late hours of the night, many people not even watching the game, expensive commercials and much more hoopla. My friend Aaron said it best…the anticipation builds and builds and builds and then it is a giant letdown. Truly, these games are hard to enjoy unless your team is playing in it and for us Eagles fans…this has only been twice in the last 34 years!!!! 2004 was the last time the Eagles were in a Super Bowl…and of course we all know how that game ended. We felt like broken bones…we felt like a piece of our own was taken away that day.

Aaron also made another very good point the other day…and this is really true if you research the numbers. The past Ten Super Bowls have probably been the most entertaining ones in the modern era. I can remember the 80’s and 90’s the Super Bowls were major blowouts with one team demolishing the other. I remember a few of the Dallas Cowboy routes, as well as the Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, etc. These games were over before they began. And another odd fact was that the NFC dominated the big day. As of late, the AFC has turned the tide drastically barring the few Giants wins and Packers. New England, of course, has been the Pittsburgh Steelers of the Seventies, the 49ers of the Eighties, the Dallas Cowboys of the Nineties.

Today when you are all watching the game, remember that this game will feature brother against brother. The HarBowl. The 49ers are favored by 4 and many analysts are saying this game will not be close. I am if the other opinion…I am picking the Baltimore Ravens to win their Second Super Bowl in 13 years. I think Ray Lewis is going to go out with a bang. I think Joe Flacco is going to shine and represent the Delaware Valley proud. I think the Ravens Defense is going to pick the 49ers offense apart. I am taking the Ravens to win the game 21-17. The game will not be as close as the score in essence.

Well, well, well…the Philadelphia Flyers actually won a game last night. The New line combination of Danny Briere and Claude Giroux looked like a match made in Heaven. Power Play Goal…check. Penalty Kill solid…check. Shots on goal…check. And stellar goaltending…check. Ilya Bryzgalov has been the Flyers best player this far this season. He is in a zone and is playing like he did in his Vezina finish season. Standing tall, square to the shooter. Last night he made 39 Saves, many at point blank range. If he can keep playing like this we can only hope that the Flyers can find their scoring touch.

The Alex Rodriguez debacle is just another example if how Major League Baseball has failed in its attempt to rid the game of cheaters and illegal substances that enhance performance. I know that Ryan Braun was acquitted last year of his charges, but I am sure that a few years from now it will come out that he was doping. MLB must get more strict even if it goes against popular beliefs in the league. This commissioner has not impressed me I e bit. This league for all the good things has a black cloud over it. Less players of our time will make the Hall of Fame and rightfully so. These players are a joke and they mock the league. Baseball used to be sacred and these scum bags are ruining the sanctity of the game. Well speaking if the game…pitchers and catchers report next week so this is where it gets exciting once again. Spring Training is right around the corner.

So today…everyone have a happy day and enjoy the game and all of the wild parties. Be safe and don’t drink and drive. Don’t act stoopid. Don’t get silly drunk in front of kids. That’s just not cool anymore. Maybe when you were in college…but CMon! Please, grow up and just enjoy the game without all of the drama. Lets go Ravens!!!!!!!

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