Fan vs Fan

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

NHL Christmas Letters

It's 5 days before Christmas, and it seems that the DGS Super Spies have found letters to Santa from hockey players all over the world....we're re-printing some for you here.

From: Paul Holmgren

Dear Santa,

Can you give me a calculator? Everyone tells me I need to learn something called math.


From: The Florida Panthers

Dear Santa,

Can you make the league take us seriously? We're like in first place and all...

The Florida Panthers

From: Caps GM George McPhee

Dear Santa,

I'm trying to get to the conference finals for a change, but I also want to Fail For Nail. Can you help me with that?


Rick Nash and Jarome Iginla oddly wrote the same thing

Dear Santa,

Can I finally play for an NHL team? Please!


From Steve Mason:

Dear Santa,

I want a pony, a chance to play in the AHL and my talent back.


From Dwayne Roloson

Dear Santa,

Get Teemu to share his Fountain with me again.


From Peter Laviolette

Dear Santa,

I'm calling timeout and taking 30 seconds to make sure this letter is delivered perfectly.

Now, I want a goalie. A real goalie. A goalie who gives me consistent .925 SV%'s. I got Bryzgalov this summer instead. So I need to make sure this happens. Also; can you take out the 35+ provision in the CBA, we need to remove Pronger somehow. Thank you again for your cooperation.


The Buffalo Sabres

Dear Santa,

Can you bring us Ville Leino? Not this scrub who claims to be Ville but is not very good at hockey.


From Roberto Luongo,

Dear Santa,

Last year, I asked that the Canucks find a way to succeed in spite of my choking. I didn't actually mean for you to find Cory Schneider.


From Lou Lamoriello

Dear Santa,

Bah, humbug. Get through my trap, then dodge my jelly. Then find me a way to sign Zach Parise.


From Tim Thomas

Dear Santa,

Donuts. Lots of them.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

NHL Conference Names

With the NHL Realignment coming in, there are 4 conferences and 0 divisions. Now comes the hard part, naming them. Luckily we here at DGS have some ideas. Feel free to add in your own as well.

The Idea- Norris, Patrick, Campbell, Adams
Pros- These familiar names would show the NHL returning to tradition and these names would make sense to die hard fans.
Cons- This idea makes sense, therefore the NHL would never use it.

The Idea- Pacific, Central, Mid-Atlantic, East
Pros- These names would fit the geography of the league, making it easy for casual fans to know which conference their team plays in.
Cons- This also makes too much sense for Gary Bettman to consider it.

The Idea- Never on NBC (Coyotes), Rarely on NBC (Chicago), HNiC (Toronto), VERSUS NIGHTLY! (Flyers)
Pros- This would be perfectly accurate in describing how television deals would work.
Cons- Actually, Gary Bettman would use this, except that the names would be ruined by the impending relocation of Phoenix to the new Markham, Ontario arena.

The Idea- Orr (Toronto), Lemieux (New Jersey), Howe (Detroit), Gretzky (Coyotes)
Pros- There really aren't any...except if you look at Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux, Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky of the Oilers instead of the following guys:
Cons- Naming a conference after a current hockey player goon (Colton Orr), a terrible coach (Gretzky), a Flyers Hall of Famer who played for the Red Wings (Mark Howe) and Claude Lemieux (Dirty NJ Devils forward) make no sense.

The Idea- Los Angeles Kings, Red Wings-Hawks, Colie Campbell's Kid, $$$$$
Pros- Accurately describes the most publicized parts of each conference
Cons- Do the $$$$$ refer to Ilya Kovalchuk, Ilya Bryzgalov, Glen Sather's contracts to Richards and Redden, Rick DiPietro or someone else?

Friday, December 2, 2011

NHL Announces the non suspension of John Carlson for headshotting Matt Cooke

Well, luckily, the DGS SuperSpies actually caught the reason why Brendan Shanahan elected not to suspend Matt Cooke for the headshot he received from John Carlson the other night.

(Please Note: we are grateful there were no serious injuries on the play. Carlson's elbow should be good to go forever, and Cooke was only faking injury to draw a call)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An Open Letter To The Fans of DGS

Dear Fans,

It's been one hell of a run over the last 18 or so months. I started this site in April 2010 with the intent of having a few laughs at the expense of a team that lucked their way into the playoffs and would be slaughtered in the first round. Then Brian Boucher beat the Devils.

Luckily, it seemed like Boston could do the deed, but no, Michael Leighton returned and Simon Gagne put game 7 to bed and we kept on going. The Habs just rolled over and the 2010 season ended with Michael Leighton's 5 hole giving me more material than I could possibly have dreamed.

That said, I picked up an audience, I got fans, so I kept writing, picked up two amazing cowriters along the way (PhillyGirl and ItsAFez- both of whom I am proud to call friends as well) and kept going and we had a lot of fun along the way.

That said, things have changed for me, Matt, the guy who runs this show. For one, if you haven't noticed, I've become an ECHL beat writer covering the Trenton Titans for TCL-Flyers. And second, I'm now in the real world with a real job. Writing posts on the blog in college while avoiding homework was easy, things are a little bit different now.

That being said, I don't intend to shut the site down and I will still post on occasion. The days of seeing 10-20 posts a month are probably gone though. My goal is one or two a week now. Don't worry, I'm sure we can still keep Leighton's goalie diary going, and Fez will surely continue to reference Doctor Who.

Also, to all the regular readers, thank you, it was you guys coming here and showing that I have some sort of drawing power that helped me get the confidence to jump into the ECHL Titans gig, without you, I couldn't make that jump, so please check out the creature you created, especially if you're a Flyers fan.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

More NHL iPods

Just over a year ago I did a piece of NHL iPods talking about players favorite songs. It seems like it's time to do it again, This time with music videos!

Scott Hartnell:

Top 3 songs:
-Falling Down by the Birthday Massacre

-Falling by Lacuna Coil

-Falling Again by Lacuna Coil

Terry Pegula: Owner of the Buffalo Sabres

This always seemed to play for him...

Blair Betts: Bad pun on a name alert...

Paul Ranger: Where'd you go?

A Certain Philadelphia Reporter who loves to make up stories and is horribly incompetent:

What song better than "Storytime", something that implies everything is fiction.

Rick DiPietro: The Islander because no matter what, he's always going to be an Islander.

Antti Niemi: Nemo...what's better than a song named after you?

Rick Nash: Over the Hills and Far Away, which is basically him wanting out of Columbus...

The Carolina Hurricanes: Stone People, aka the Hurricanes Defense

Sergei Gonchar: For the Heart I Once Had...because once I got to Ottawa, I stopped giving a sh!t

Sieve Mason: Better Days....he's had them

Ville Leino: Wish You Were in...he wishes he was still on a line with Scott Hartnell and Danny Briere to carry him...

Finally: Charles Wang, NYI owner....Gimme in a new Arena

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Braydon Coburn Contract Facts

Editor's Note:  Relax, kids. This is comedy. Have a laugh this time, in the words of Ilya Bryzgalov, "why you heff ta be mad?"

Braydon Coburn just signed a 4 year contract extension worth $18 million yesterday. While many people have questionable doubts, the DGS superspies were able to calculate exactly how Coby plans on spending this money.

$12 Million will go to being a hockey player. A lot of people think $3M would have been fair for Coburn and so did he, hence, he's budgeted this money as his fair salary,

$5 Million will go to nose related expenses. When you're nose is as big as Coburn's you need to budget significant funds. In fact, here's 5 things Coburn's nose does...

1. In the event of a water landing, Coburn's nose can function as a flotation device.

2. Chris Pronger's hidden a stash of pucks inside of Coburn's nose

3. Should times become desperate, Braydon Coburn's nose may function as an emergency goaltender*

4. Braydon Coburn's nose has been screening Steve Mason since 2009, leading to Mason's very long slump.

5. The gravitational pull of Coburn's nose is so massive, it causes Scott Hartnell to fall down. A lot.

*-Coburn's nose as a goaltender has the equivalent talent of 1 Vesa Toskala.

$1 Million was budgeted as Prize Money for a fight that hadn't happened yet.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Easy Halloween Costumes for NHL Players

Scott Hartnell: Bozo the Inflatable Clown (even bounces back!)

Danny Briere: Leprechaun

Claude Giroux: This guy, only GINGER (which would make him happy)

Ilya Bryzgalov: A bobblehead (He's already showing off
his costume!)

Daniel Sedin (Costume: the guy on the right) and Henrik Sedin (Costume: the guy on the left)

Zac Rinaldo: an insane guy

Wayne Simmonds: Train conductor

Kyle Wellwood, Timmy Thomas, Marty Brodeur group costume (now joined by Dustin Byfuglien): Plates at a buffet table

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Laviolette Line Lottery

Well, it seems that Lavi is at it again, just pulling lines at random and inserting them on to the ice. The thing is, these lines aren't random, in fact, the lines come from a come from a long list of rules that must be adhered to. Luckily, the DGS SuperSpies obtained this list and we're gonna share it.

1. Due to the lack of centers, Couturier, Briere, Schenn, Giroux and Talbot are not allowed to be on a line together.

2. Scott Hartnell falls for linemates, he has to removed from a line after falling to prevent the center from possibly having relations with his wife.

3. Danny Briere will take a stick foul if left with the same linemates for more than 2 consecutive shifts.

4. Paul Holmgren believes that changing Couturier's line fast enough will actually slow down time allowing him to slide Couturier even though he plays in 82 games.

5. After a shift, when Matt Read says, "and I learned that at Bemidji" State," any forward within ear shot has to go to the lockerroom to look up how to spell Bemidji.

6. Sometimes players miss shifts on account of being dazed from Chris Pronger's left elbow.

7. Jake Voracek hasn't quite learned the system of "rely on your talented young center to get you the puck"

8. Due to the smaller ice surface of North America, while sitting on the bench, Jagr actually thinks he's playing the game.

9. Peter Laviolette rotates his forwards on account of not having goalies to rotate anymore.

10. Paul Holmgren accidentally called out line changes from the GM's office...needless to say, like his math skills, his memory of lines leaves much to be desired.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Caption Contest 16

Been a long time since one of these came around...tell us why Carter Ashton looks confused and Sean Couturier (7) is hiding his mouth....

Monday, October 17, 2011

Not So Different, 2011-12 Flyers and 2009 Yankees

Last week, I did the similarities between the Flyers and Maple Leafs, this week, I started noticing some parallels between the current Flyers and the New York Yankees of 2009.

In 2008, a long term core of Yankees disappointed many by flat out missing the playoffs.

In 2011, a long term core of Flyers disappointed many by going down without a fight in the playoffs (round 2)

After this meltdown, fans of both teams wanted the coach/manager to be fired. (I had posts on my facebook wall and tweets regarding Lavi, Yankees ALWAYS want to fire the manager when the team loses)

Both teams blew up several positions in the ensuing offseason that showed a change in team philosophy:

The Yankees: instead of signing big bats and offense, went out and grabbed 2 starting pitchers at insane contracts pushing their young pitchers (Hughes, Chamberlain) back in the rotation/to the bullpen.

The Flyers: traded some top offensive players (Carter and Richards) to free up cap space to sign a starting goaltender (Ilya Bryzgalov) to an insane contract pushing a young up and coming goalie (BOB) to the pine.

Both teams saw a star player who was formerly a top offensive player begin to take a back seat

The Yankees: Alex Rodriguez began to see less time at 3B and more time as a DH while Eric Hinske was acquired to come off the bench and take his place more and more

The Flyers: Scott Hartnell's ice time dropped in favor of the newly acquired Wayne Simmonds.

Both teams acquired a player via trade with a solid classy personality

The Yankees: Put Nick Swisher in RF

The Flyers: Put Wayne Simmonds on the 2nd line

Both teams found a solid rookie who would turn into something that was somewhat overhyped given his actual role.

The Yankees: Francisco Cervelli (Catcher) came up from AAA to his over .300 while filling in for an injured Jorge Posada. He eventually gave the reigns back to Posada but some of his solid hitting helped the 09 Yankees to the World Series.

The Flyers: Matt Read, an undrafted UFA out of Bemidji State University, came out of nowhere during camp to wow everyone with a lot of talent before earning a spot in the Top 9 on opening night. He's seen some top 6 minutes, but will probably see most time on the 3rd line moving forward.

Both teams parted ways with long term high profile players who may or may not have had drug problems and had frequent leg injuries

The Yankees: Jason Giambi, his drug of choice was steroids and HGH, though if you read his actual comments, he only apologized for being a distraction for issues in his personal life, never did he explicitly admit to drug use.

The Flyers: Parted ways with Dry Islanders Jeff Carter and Mike Richards who have been accused of everything from excessive drinking to using cocaine.  

 Giambi and Carter: Both are also known for knee/leg problems, Giambi battled knee problems during his last 3-4 years with the Yankees as well as a foot injury, Carter broke both feet and sprained his MCL in his last 2 years with the Flyers.

Both teams always operate over the Salary "cap" of their respective sport.

The Yankees: Pay a luxury tax

The Flyers: exploit LTIR loopholes.

Both Teams have rabid fanbases, New York and Philadelphia are tough cities to play in.

Both Teams have a GM who is essentially a life time member of the organization.

The Yankees: Brian Cashman started as an intern with the Yankees while he was in college. He stuck with the organization before becoming GM.

The Flyers: Paul Holmgren played for the Cup WInning bullies, he then became an Asst. GM and finally GM in 2006. (yes I know he coached in Hartford too)

Both teams have a player who has a narrative history of being clutch despite the fact that standard mathematical evidence proves a major flaw to their game.

The Yankees: Derek Jeter. Captain Clutch. Mr. November. Also good for ~150-170 strikeouts a season.

The Flyers: Danny Briere. Mr. Playoffs. Also good for 25-30 stupid stick fouls a season.

Both players have a controversial, injury prone superstar who's on the downturn of his career and has a contract with no end in sight.

The Yankees: Alex Rodriguez, 10 years, 275M signed in 2007. UGGH.

The Flyers: Chris Pronger, 4.921 Cap Hit until 2017...35+ clause attached.

Both Teams also have an unsung hero who went unappreciated for his hard work.

The Yankees: Brett Gardner, he doesn't put up power numbers, but his stolen bases and great defense helped the Yankees win.

The Flyers: Matt Carle, the best even strength defenseman in the NHL (his weakness is goal scoring and special teams)

Both teams are known for using UFA's and trades to build up rather than from within.

The Yankees: they buy talent. the sign the best available player all the time. even though the Yankees have a 1B, if the Yankees signed Albert Pujols no one would bat an eyelash.

The Flyers: They trade an insane amount of draft picks for other players (Meszaros, Timonen rights, Hartnell rights, Pronger, Bryzgalov's rights, all had picks in their trade). They sign FA's too: Lilja, Bryzgalov, Timonen, Hartnell, Simmonds, Voracek, Talbot, Matt Read, Blair Betts, Jody Shelley, Bobrovsky all signed as UFA or RFA.

But yet both teams have built superstars from within:

The Yankees: Cano, Jeter, Posada, Gardner, Hughes, Chamberlain, Rivera, Pettitte were all built from within the Yankees system and won in 2009

The Flyers: Giroux, JvR, Read (undrafted UFA puts him in both categories), Bartulis, Gus, Bob (undrafted UFA, see Read)

How about you, what do you think? Did I miss anything?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tales From An Adirondack Nothing 2.0: Week 1

Dear Glove -

Well, here we are again. Back in Glens Falls. For joy. I've already prepared myself to be stuck here the whole year - don't know where else I would go unless they trade me. And if someone wanted me, they could have had me for free on the waiver wire - so I don't think I'm going anywhere.

Saturday was opening night at home. I got the start - Bacashihua backed me up - and Backlund, well, he went to the "press box" - or wherever you go when you're not playing in an AHL game.

Anyway - back to opening night against the Connecticut Whale (sorry folks, no Sean Avery in sight). We wore retro jerseys - they were okay, I guess. Player introductions were nice - I was the last introduced, and got a thunderous applause - no really, I did. They love me. See the video at 30 seconds in.

Of course once the game started, maybe they didn't love me as much. Gave up a goal to Kris Newbury 37 seconds into the game (it was a bad deflection, I swear). He completed the hat trick soon into the second period.

But that was it - no more goals after that. I got it together - team scored goals - six of them in total! I wound up stopping 24 of 27 (okay, and the post stopped two late in the third - thank you post). Not horrible, but I can do better.

Monday the Phantoms hosted some golf thing - every one had to join in with fans. I think I played okay - this guy thought I was a great guy. Again, nice to be appreciated.

Next home game is Friday - we'll see if I get the start.

Until then.

Grateful Eyes and Appreciative Smiles,




It's DGS's birthday. The guy behind the madness.

Everyone wish him a happy birthday and make fun of him for being old!

The End.

(P.S.: Seriously though. Wish him happy birthday because he's awesome.)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Not So Different, Flyers and Leafs

As many of you who follow me on twitter know, I have a huge soft spot for the Toronto Maple Leafs. It's confusing to some since the teams have such a huge rivalry on the ice, but honestly, it's not really hard to explain. The Flyers and Leafs are in fact, very similar. Let's have a look, shall we.

Both teams have a history of great goal tenders: Parent/Hextall in Philly, Belfour/CuJo/Potvin in Toronto. This was contrasted by terrible goaltending post lockout with some hot streak exceptions (Leighton/Boucher/Esche in Philly, Toskala/Raycroft in Toronto.)

Both teams have an insane drought since their last Cup win, 1975, 1967.

Both teams have demanding fans that throw things when displeased (waffles? batteries?)

Both teams hate the Habs and Bruins.

Both teams finally (hopefully) found their goaltender (Bryzgalov and Reimer)

Both teams are currently captained by big body D-men who are known for hard hits and big slapshots (Pronger and Phaneuf)

Both teams have to deal with a division rival who's won cups more recently than them (Boston/MTL for Toronto, Pittsburgh and NJ for Philly)

Both teams get to destroy a weak but once "great" team (NYI for PHL and OTT for TOR)

Both teams have an overpaid goon who occasionally scores. (Colton Orr and Jody  Shelley)

Fans of both teams both hated a sniper for missing the net (Jeff Carter and Phil Kessel)

Both teams have very old school GMs who want physical teams (Homer and Burkie)

Both teams have NMC's driving them crazy (Muskoka 5 anyone?, what Pronger, Timonen and Briere will be in 2-3 years)

Both teams have exciting young defenseman (Gunnarson, Franson, Aulie in TOR, Carle, Gustafsson, Coburn in PHL)

Schenn and Kessel. Kessel and Schenn. Enough said.

Players with heart problems (Gustavsson in Toronto, Hartnell in Philadelphia)

GM's with close friends as coaches (John Stevens in PHL who got fired, Ron Wilson in TOR who almost got fired)

Each team picked up a hot goalie at the right time who gave their team a ton of hope moving forward (Michael Leighton in Dec 2009, James Reimer in Jan 2011)

Both teams traded multiple first round picks for an instant impact player (Pronger to PHL, Kessel to TOR)

Both teams employed a holey goalie (Leighton's 5-hole, Toskala's glove hand)

So, this is why, I always will be friends with fans of the Leafs. I know how they feel, because, Flyerdom, they are us.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Project Mayhem

Our good friend Chemmy from Pension Plan Puppets came up with a great idea for the NHL All Star Game and we need  your help.

Make the Ottawa Senators of old starters for the All Star Game.

But here's my take on it

When you vote for forwards, you want to vote for-Dany Heatley, Marion Hossa, Martin Havlat

On Defence- Zdeno Chara and Chris Campoli

Goalie: Ray Emery.

Side note: Bonus points for getting Zdeno Chara in the Lamborghini, 

We wanted to vote for Wade Redden, but like Rory Fitzpatrick a couple years ago, the NHL would probably quash that. At least this lineup has reasonable choices for an All Star Game.

Just do it. Make Ottawa suffer more than watching Chris Phillips clinch the Cup...for the Ducks in 07.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Handy Guide for the NBA fan to the NHL

So it seems the NBA is threatening to cancel regular season games soon. With that, it seems that many NBA fans will soon be making their way to NHL games unsure of what to do. Luckily, we here at Down Goes Spezza would like to put into print (well, digital E-media) a guide to going to hockey games for NBA fans.

First a list of Do's/Do Nots

Do Not- Chant "De-Fence" when the opposing team has a powerplay to motivate your team's penalty killers
Instead-When your team has a power play, yell "SHOOT!!!!!" at whomever is holding the puck.

Do Not- Expect to see players "check in" at the scorer's table before entering on a change
Instead- Expect to see the Boston Bruins botch line changes and get called for Too Many Men penalties.

Do Not- Think that a puck in the mouth that breaks a jaw is a reason for a player  to miss a game.
Instead- Expect to see that player return with a cage on.

Do Not- Expect a half hour press conference to detail one UFA signing.
Instead- Expect a half hour press conference every day telling you everything about Sidney Crosby

Do Not- Expect to hate a player like LeBron James for signing as a UFA with another team
Instead- Expect to hate Eklund for getting your hopes up that a player might sign with your team.

Do Not- Get used to seeing a team in Phoenix.
Instead- Create your own clever relocation rumor

Do Not- Buy your new favorite team's jersey and expect it to stay in date since during the shipping time, they will probably re-design it.
Instead- Just buy a throwback from the 90s.

Do Not- Expect to hear rap music at a game.
Instead- Expect to hear music that was cool in 2004.

Do Not- Assume that goaltending is illegal.
Instead- Assume that you'll see 30 goalies a game when watching a Flyers playoff game or NY Islanders season.

Do Not- Expect to see players ignore defense every night and have it treated as the norm.
Instead- Expect every single person  to blast Dany Heatley and Phil Kessel for never venturing into the defensive zone.

Do Not- Wonder why players like Dustin Byfuglien, Martin Brodeur, Kyle Wellwood and Tim Thomas have jobs despite not looking like athletes.
Instead- Wonder why players like Wade Redden, Matt Walker and Mike Komisarek have jobs.

Also, if you're going to be attending an NHL game for the first, you may want to have "forecasts" of what to expect when you get to the arena. Luckily, we've put together a list of basic expectations for every NBA City that has an NHL team.

NHL team- Maple Leafs
Basic Forecast- If you live in Toronto, you already know who the Maple Leafs are.

City- New York
NHL team- Rangers
Basic Forecast- In terms of big name free agency signings that don't deliver titles, Gaborik and Brad Richards are Chris Bosh and LeBron James...and Henrik Lundqvist is Dwayne Wade.

City- Minneapolis/St Paul
NHL team- Wild
Basic Forecast- By acquiring half the Sharks, the Wild now own many players with distinct choking abilities.

City- Miami
NHL team- The Florida Panthers
Basic Forecast- The Panthers went on a spending spree like the Heat a year ago. Unlike the Heat, the Panthers didn't actually sign good players.

City- Dallas
NHL team- Stars
Basic Forecast- Bankrupt, like the NBA will soon be.

City- Los Angeles
NHL team- Kings, Ducks.
Basic Forecast- Kings: Hipsters and Wil Wheaton make up the fan base. Ducks: No matter how hard you try, no one has George Parros's beard.

City- Bay Area, California
NHL team- Sharks
Basic Forecast- Like LeBron James, Joe Thornton tends to leave important games 12 minutes early.

NHL team- Bruins
Basic Forecast- Like single other team in Boston, the Bruins have won a recent title.

City- Washington DC
NHL team- Capitals
Basic Forecast- This actually might be the easiest city for an NBA fan to get into, as Capitals fans and Wizards fans all have roughly the same amount of hockey knowledge

NHL team- Flyers
Basic Forecast- Muggy with a chance of batteries.

City- Atlanta
NHL team- Thrashers
Basic Forecast- Gone, faster than this NBA season

City- Newark, New Jersey
NHL team- Devils
Basic Forecast- Beware of traps and jars of jelly.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The DGS Flyers 2011-12 Roster

With the preseason done and over with, and real hockey about to begin, we've seen (and studied) a lot here. If I (Matt, which means PhillyGirl and Fezzy may not agree) were building the Flyers roster, these are the decisions that I would be making. Here we go.

Forwards (with Cap Hits)

Line 1: Scott Hartnell (4.2M)-Danny Briere (6.5M)-Jakub Voracek (2.25M) =Total Cap 12.95

Line 2: Jaromir Jagr (3.3M)-Claude Giroux (3.75M)-Matt Read (0.900) =7.575

Line 3: JvR (1.654M)-Sean Couturier (1.375M)-Wayne Simmonds (1.75M) = 4.779

Line 4: Andreas Nodl (0.845)-Blair Betts (0.700)-Max Talbot (1.75M) =3.295

Scratch: Ben Holmstrom (.750)

Total Caphit: 29.349

Explanation: Couturier is obviously going to slide in 9 games in  favor of Brayden Schenn and a couple other moves. Holmstrom is more versatile and Talbot, Simmonds and Hartnell can handle fisticuffs. If JVR's injury keeps him out, put him on IR, use Rinaldo (UGGHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!) instead. Matt Read and Andreas Nodl are both versatile enough that, if injuries happen, they can slide up and down the lineup and provide scoring as needed. I put read with Giroux and Jagr because they worked the puck so well in the preseason, let JvR and Couturier work the puck on the third line and the Flyers have 3 scoring lines that can expose defenses. Also Schenn will eventually fit in, (waive Shelley, Couturier back to the Q, dip into some LTIR, have roughly ~700K for injury callups)


Pair 1: Pronger (4.921M 35+) Carle (3.4375M) =Total Cap (8.3585)

Pair 2: Timonen (6.33M) Coburn (3.2) =(9.53)

Pair 3: Meszaros (4.0M) Kessell (.925) =(4.925)

Scratch: Bartulis (.600)

Defense Total: 23.4135

Defense is self explanatory except for Kessel. For one, Lilja doesn't need to on the NHL roster this season thanks for Travis Hughes/Geoff Detweiler from Broad St Hockey who found this:

Yesterday, I was double-checking to see how much the Flyers would receive in cap relief upon sending a 35-plus contract to the minors. Section 50.2(c)(iv) is the relevant section, discussing what counts against the salary cap:
All Player Salary and Bonuses earned in a League Year by a Player who isin the second or later year of a multi-year SPC which was signed when the Player was age 35 or older (as of June 30 prior to the League Year in which the SPC is to be effective), regardless of whether, or where, the Player is playing, except to the extent the Player is playing under his SPC in the minor leagues, in which case only the Player Salary and Bonuses in excess of $100,000 shall count towards the calculation of Actual Club Salary; plus

That "in the second or later year of a multi-year SPC" is a rather obvious qualifier that I don't know how I missed. Or how nobody corrected me. -Geoff Detweiler 

Well, Geoff is right, and with that, I'd send Lilja down in favor of Blake Kessel. Two reasons for this, for one, Kessel's right handed shot is something the Flyers need on the PP (and Matt Walker has almost 0 offensive talent)and second, Kessel CAN play some forward if need be so having him on the roster provides insurance for injuries at 2 positions. In 08-09 the Flyers used Lasse Kukkonen this way, and Kessel is much better, especially offensively, than Kukkonen.


Bryzgalov: (5.666667)
Bobrovsky: (1.75)

No explanation needed, these guys are arguably the best tandem of goaltending (with Lundqvist/Biron in NY, Quick/Bernier in LA, Thomas/Rask in BOS, LOLongo/Schneider in VAN, Rinne/Lindback in NSH as other candidates) in the NHL. Only question is whether or not the scoring holds up in front of them and whether the Flyers older D-men stay healthy.

Goalie Total: 7.416667

Team Total: 60.179167+1.167 for Ian Laperriere+1.4025 Bonus Overage

62.748667 TOTAL CAP
1.551333 CAP SPACE (Without LTIR and waiving Shelley, or with LTIR it's very close to actual capspace)
0.451333 (With Shelley Suspension and without LTIR)

There you go, my roster. Thoughts?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The DGS 2011-12 Season Preview: What you need to know about all 30 Teams, Eastern Conference Edition

Atlantic Division

New Jersey Devils:
Key Strength: Ilya Kovalchuk will be a Devil for "14" more years giving the Devils stability in the "overpaid enigmatic Russian" department.
Key Weakness: Due to age requirements, their goaltenders will soon become Detroit Red Wings.
What If...: Pete DeBoer was just John MacLean 2.0?

New York Rangers:
Key Strength: Waiver rules mean that overpaid contracts can be buried in the minors away from the salary cap.
Key Weakness: The Rangers lack something known as talent.
What If...: Glen Sather was remotely competent?

New York Islanders:
Key Strength: Don't have to worry about debating tough issues as "how to stand up to goons like Trevor Gillies" as Trevor Gillies plays for their team.
Key Weakness: Team is completely distracted by the odds on "what does Rick DiPietro break this year".
What If...: The Islanders had a home that didn't smell moldy?

Pittsburgh Penguins:
Key Strength: Sidney Crosby will at some point, hold another press conference to tell us absolutely nothing of value.
Key Weakness: Matt Cooke's inevitable hearing with Brendan Shanahan.
What If...: Matt Cooke breaks Chris Simon's record on suspensions?

Philadelphia Flyers:
Key Strength: Roster battles need no longer be fought in camp thanks the Brendan Shanahan's active usage of his ShanHammer.
Key Weakness: Team is confused by the fact that the same guy is always in goal.
What If...: Jaromir Jagr's mullet didn't age a bit?

Northeast Division

Ottawa Senators:
Key Strength: In the most technical sense of the word, the Ottawa Senators are an NHL team.
Key Weakness: In the most literal sense of the word, the Ottawa Senators are an ECHL team.
What If...: the Senators go a year without changing coaches?

Montreal Canadiens:

Key Strength: PK Subban's apt initials for Penalty Kill will make for great pun based jokes from hockey comedians.
Key Weakness: Reaching the overhead bin's on team flights.
What If...: Chris Campoli turns over another puck in a game 7? Would the city of Montreal survive?

Toronto Maple Leafs:
Key Strength: Finally acquired NHL caliber centers.
Key Weakness: Still lack NHL quality depth.
What If...: Brian Burke robs the Flames again, does Calgary finally call the cops?

Boston Bruins:
Key Strength: Are in fact staring down at the rest of the NHL due to Zdeno Chara being so tall
Key Weakness: Donuts, cheeseburgers, Tim Thomas remembering he's 40.
What If...: Tuukka Rask somehow becomes worse than Andrew Raycroft and Phil Kessel is better than Tyler Seguin?

Buffalo Sabres:
Key Strength: Pegula's $$$$.
Key Weakness: No matter how much Pegula spends, you're still playing in Buffalo.
What If...: Ryan Miller actually claims the Flyers committed genocide by knocking the Sabres out of the playoffs?

Southeast Division

Winnipeg Jets:
Key Strength: An ability to win any eating contest vs NHL team
Key Weakness: Inability to be good at something called hockey, the thing these people are paid to do.
What If...: People actually realized that despite the new uniform and change of venue, these are STILL the Atlanta Thrashers?

Washington Capitals:
Key Strength: Alex Ovechkin should score more than 28 goals this season.
Key Weakness: Mike Green is still listed as a defenseman.
What If...: Brooks Laich's tire changing skills actually keep the Capitals from going flat in the playoffs?

Tampa Bay Lightning:
Key Strength: Dwayne Roloson still plays like someone half his age.
Key Weakness: Which unfortunately is still really really really really old.
What If...: Steve Yzerman runs out of Jedi Mind tricks and trades Stamkos for Walker?

Florida Panthers:
Key Strength: Made many great depth signings like Scottie Upshall and depth trades for Kris Versteeg and Brian Campbell
Key Weakness: A lack of something called "a top line"
What If...: the yarmulkes actually get delivered?

Carolina Hurricanes:
Key Strength: Signed backup goalie specialist Brian Boucher in yet another attempt of acquiring former Flyers like Brind'Amour and Michael Leighton.
Key Weakness: Teammates don't understand Jeff Skinner due to the fact he never completes his sentences.
What If...: the Hurricanes become the first southern team to actually win more than 1 Cup?

Friday, September 30, 2011

The DGS 2011-12 Season Preview: What you need to know about all 30 Teams, Western Conference Edition

So you've all wanted it. Now you're gonna get it. DGS has his "Internet Famous" NHL Previews. We're gonna look at the Western Conference first, and soon, the Eastern conference. After that, I'll continue with my look at the eastern conference.

Central Division

Chicago Blackhawks:
Key Strength: Acquired Ray Emery (on a PTO) and Dan Carcillo which decidedly boosts the Hawks advantage on "players who lost in the Cup Finals" category
Key Weakness: By loaning Cristobal Huet back to Europe, the Hawks lack "goalies who are overpaid and terrible"
What If...: Patrick Sharp is unable to play appendix free hockey?

Detroit Red Wings:

Key Strength: The ability to save money by ordering all team meals off the Senior's menu at every restaurant.
Key Weakness: It's getting harder to keep Lidstrom Bot 5000 running at peak efficiency all the time.
What If...: Todd Bertuzzi wasn't a spineless scumbag? Would people then actually notice Abdelkader, Smith and others were just as dirty?

St. Louis Blues:

Key Strength: Jaroslav Halak has been known to be kind of good at playing goalie in the playoffs.
Key Weakness: The ability to make the playoffs.
What If...: the Blues didn't trade for a bunch of Colorado Avalanche players?

Nashville Predators:

Key Strength: Shea Weber's beard and slapshot.
Key Weakness: After Pekka Rinne and Anders Lindback, the Predators have a lack of Scandinavian giant goaltenders in their system.
What If...: David Poile didn't buy out Brett Lebda?

Columbus Blue Jackets:

Key Strength: Between Rick Nash and Jeff Carter, the Jackets have the capability to unleash up to 500 attempted shots per game.
Key Weakness: Due to Jeff Carter always going high and wide, only about 10 of these shots will actually hit the net.
What If...: James Wisniewski gets suspended for telling the world what Jeff Carter gets from women?

Northwest Division

Colorado Avalanche:
Key Strength: The fact that Avalanche fans won't have to debate over who to take first overall in 2012 due to not having a pick
Key Weakness: The Brian Burke technique of dealing lottery picks for RFA's didn't win a Cup for Burke's team.
What If...: the Avalanche find a way to do something other than be a doormat?

Minnesota Sharks Wild:

Key Strength: Acquired a team that's guaranteed to bring offensive punch and make the playoffs.
Key Weakness: Mikko Koivu has yet to show that he has Joe Thornton's "distinct choking" ability in the playoffs.
What If...: Nick Backstrom could score like the other Nick Backstrom?

Calgary Flames:

Key Strength: Have a team with more chemistry than any other team due to this group having been together since 2007
Key Weakness: The Maple Leafs never played the playoffs either.
What If...: the Flames weren't Sutter'd?

Edmonton Oilers:

Key Strength: Picking 1st overall 3 years in a row isn't illegal
Key Weakness: It's still Edmonton.
What If...: Khabi decides jail is better than playing in Edmonton?

Vancouver Canucks:

Key Strength: Have a very capable starting goaltender ready to lead the Canucks to yet another loss in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Key Weakness: Cory Schneider is still stuck behind Roberto LOLongo.
What If...: the Sedins just decided to switch jerseys for the laughs?

Pacific Division

Phoenix Coyotes:
Key Strength: By having a goalie tandem of Mike Smith and Jason LaBarbera, the Coyotes won't have to worry about answering the question of "how long can our number 1 goalie play?"
Key Weakness: Kyle Turris's attempt to relocate before the Coyotes has many of hiss teammates confused.
What If...: the Coyotes had a permanent home?

San Jose Wild Sharks:

Key Strength: Acquired a team that's guaranteed to bring something and miss the playoffs.
Key Weakness: Mikko Koivu has yet to show that he has Joe Thornton's "distinct choking" ability in the playoffs.
What If...: Nick Backstrom could score like the other Nick Backstrom?

Dallas Stars:

Key Strength: No longer have to deal with Brad Richards contract drama
Key Weakness: Are still Dallas's best hope of fielding a playoff team in any sport not named baseball.
What If...: Mark Cuban bought the Stars?

Los Angeles Kings:

Key Strength: Acquired a ton of Flyers players who are familiar with Terry Murray and John Stevens as coaches?
Key Weakness: The only thing Michael Richards won while John Stevens coached was a Calder Cup.
What If...: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$, Drew Doughty?

Anaheim Ducks:

Key Strength: Have a very strong top line followed by an ageless Finnish God on the second line.
Key Weakness: The U2 Album in goal.
What If...: the Ducks actually kept Vesa Toskala?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tales from a Waiver Wire Nothing

Dear Glove -

Well, here we are again, back on the waiver wire. It's not really a surprise - this is where we expected to be - and there was nothing we could do. Such is life. I think we played well the one chance we got, but it wasn't going to make a difference. Just wasn't in the cards for us. So now we sit and wait. Wait to see what happens.

Part of me hopes we get claimed - San Jose and Florida could both use a rent-a-goalie. But that means that once the rent-a-goalie time is up, we'd probably be back on the waiver wire. I'm not really sure I'd like a repeat of 2006-2007. Then again - you never know - I could play my way onto one of those teams like Manny Legace did to me in 2009. Hmmmm.

Option number 2 - get sent to Adirondack and try to be king of the AHL again. Of course there's a logjam of goalies down there, too. Backlund and Bacashihua. Who knows what the plan is down there. The team looks better, so that's a plus. I could rack up my shutouts and claim the all-time shutout record in the AHL. I might even make the All Star team. Feel like I'm needed. That would be nice.

Option number 3 - I get loaned to Europe. Not sure how I feel about that. Was ready to do that in 2009 when the Flyers claimed me. We all know how that turned out. Pretty darn well all things considered. So maybe I can hope for that - just fall into some random luck again.

Whatever happens, I'm still getting paid - and paid well. That's a good thing. Don't know where my next contract might come from - if at all.

So for now - I guess the waiting is the hardest part.

Tick Tock Tick Tock,


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Grading a GM Part 2: 2007-08

So, last time, I finished up 06-07's disaster season and gave Paul Holmgren a grade of B+ for this work of re-tooling a team Bobby Clarke left him. Now we start the 07-08 campaign. This will begin with Draft Day 2007, then move on to UFA signings followed by a look at the 07-08 regular season and playoff run. Finally concluding with my final grade of Holmgren. Later this week, I'll pick up with 08-09 in the same format.

So, to begin, Holmgren's draft selections during the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Philadelphia's picks at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft in ColumbusOhio.[3]
Rnd#PlayerPositionNationalityDrafted from
12James van RiemsdykLeft Wing United StatesUS National Team Development Program (NAHL)
241Kevin MarshallDefenseman CanadaLewiston Maineiacs (QMJHL)
366Garrett KlotzLeft Wing CanadaSaskatoon Blades (WHL)
5122Mario KempeRight Wing SwedenSt. John's Fog Devils (QMJHL)
6152Jon KalinskiLeft Wing CanadaBonnyville Pontiacs (AJHL)
6161Patrick MaroonLeft Wing United StatesLondon Knights (OHL)
7182Brad PhillipsGoaltender United StatesUS National Team Development Program (NAHL)

Now to start grading.

Round 1, Pick 2nd overall: James van Riemsdyk. While Central Scouting ranked Kyle Turris as the number 1 skater.


North AmericanEuropean
1Canada Kyle Turris (Centre)Russia Alexei Cherepanov (Right Wing)
2United States Patrick Kane (Right Wing)Sweden Mikael Backlund (Centre)
3United States James van Riemsdyk (Left Wing)Denmark Lars Eller (C/W)
4Canada Thomas Hickey (Defence)Russia Maksim Mayorov (Right Wing)

JvR was actually a better pick than Turris or Cherepanov (who would tragically die in 2008). Picking JvR was based on a future Flyers need, a LW. The Flyrers had 3 centers in, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards and RJ Umberger and had Claude Giroux waiting in the pipeline as a Center/RW and Steve Downie as a RW as well. JvR, a LW, made the most sense. In this sense, drafting JvR was a great move and gets a FINAL GRADE: A.

Round 2, Overall 41: Flyers take Kevin Marshall. Bad move. Kevin Marshall was a Left Shooting Defenseman and the Flyers had a ton of left shooting defenseman in 2007. There was right shooting offensive defenseman waiting to be picked at around the same time named PK Subban. Comparing their stats from Junior. PK had the offensive advantage over Marshall and PK Subban was a right shot, something the Flyers could have used on the blueline every year since Eric Desjardins retired. This blunder was fairly obvious, even before Subban became a controversial star defender for the Habs while Marshall flounders around the AHL. Final Grade: D

Round 3, Overall 66: Garret Klotz: Only Holmgren would draft a goon with LESS OFFENSIVE potential than Zac Rinaldo. Only Holmgren. Final Grade: F

Round 5, Overall 122: Mario Kempe: QMJHL wing with some offensive potential. Had a lot of speed and a decent scoring touch. Sadly this never translated to AHL success and he bolted back to Europe in 2008. Based on Q production, it was a solid pick at this level, sure it didn't work out, but not every late round pick is Lundqvist or Byfuglien or Enstrom or a Red Wing. Final Grade B.

Round 6, Overall 152: Jon Kalinski, Kalinski was picked out of college. He made his NHL Debut in 2008/09 campaign. He played decently on the 4th line before a leg injury turned into compartment syndrome and nearly ended his career and his life. That being said, Kalinski showed some NHL potential during his limited duty that season (12GP 1G 2A) which, multiplied out to 82 games is ~7G 14A 21pts. For a 4th line guy, that's pretty good. It's a good find for this late in the draft so Kalinsky get's a FINAL GRADE: A-

Round 6, Overall 161: Pat Maroon: Maroon showed a lack of discipline and an attitude in the Flyers system prompting him to eventually be traded. That's not Holmgren's fault so Maroon get's a FINAL GRADE: B.

Round 7  Overall 182: Brad Phillips. 7th round pick who bounces around the system. Nothing good, nothing bad. FINAL GRADE: B.

Final 2007 Draft Grade: C, Holmgren found a decent mid round talent in Kalinski who had a lot potential before getting hurt. A good late round talent in Maroon before drama pushed him out. Sadly however, picking Marshall over Subban pulls his grade down.

I am guessing, that with the roster Holmgren had in place after this draft, he was looking to hopefully have a team of forwards that looked like this in the future:

4th line...

In a perfect world, JvR would power the net knocking in rebounds of Carter's wrister's and Giroux's passes, Gagne-Richards would provide solid 2 way play with Downie would agitate and distract while those 2 scored. Umberger and Upshall could provide depth scoring with a LW who could play a solid shut down game. Alas, this did not happen, but the plan is solid.

Now, we move onto free agency.

UFA: Danny Briere: 8 years, 6.5 Cap Hit, FULL NMC

Re-signed (Years/Cap hit)
May 11, 2007Scottie Upshall2 years, 1.225M
May 14, 2007Ben Eager2 years, 600K
May 17, 2007Lasse Kukkonen2 years, 875K
June 8, 2007Riley Cote1 year 500k
June 8, 2007Lars Jonsson1 year, AHL
June 14, 2007Antero Niittymaki2 years, $1.225

Danny Briere: Terrible, terrible, terrible contract. Briere had come off a 95pt season with Buffalo (his only point per game or better season with 70 games played) and got paid like a player who does that sort of thing consistently. Briere's frequent stick fouls take away from his value as a scorer and his defensive lapses make his goals less valuable in that he allows goals which nullify the net gain on his scoring.  For the 07-08 Season, Pavel Datsyuk signed a similar contract with Detroit (7 years, 6.7 cap hit). Datsyuk is a consistent 70 pt scorer AND a constant Selke pick making him FAR more valuable than Briere's 200K discount. Granted, Scott Gomez and Chris Drury got cap hits over 7 from Glen Sather, but Datsyuk blows all 3 of this contracts out of the water in terms usefulness to his team. Briere's playoff "heroics" redeem him somewhat, so I can't fail this contract, but a FINAL GRADE: C- seems fitting. (But only because Gomez would get a D and Drury and D+ for their comparable disasters)

Scott Hartnell: Also another reactionary overpayment from Paul Holmgren, comparables to Hartnell include Milan Lucic (4.1), Johan Franzen (3.9), Ryane Clowe (3.6), Mike Knuble (2.8 in the same season). Tossing out Knuble, Hartnell isn't grossly overpaid like Briere, but still slightly overpaid especially since he got a NTC to protect him. I love Hartnell, but his falls don't (usually) help his team win. Lucic and Clowe, like Hartnell will drop the gloves on occasion and both are 45-55 point players like Hartnell. This sets the market for Hartnell at 3.6-4.1, and it should be lower since this was 2007 and Hartnell and Lucic got their current contracts far more recently (adjust for inflation of cap). Hartnell, like Briere is overpayment on a reaction, had he played like he did in 08-09 (30G/30A) and his 2010 playoff run every season, we'd be cheering this as a steal, it's not. Final Grade: B-

Kimmo Timonen: Third  reactionary overpayment. Timonen got 6.3. He's never scored 10+ goals for the Flyers, never had 50 points, is solid defensively. Not worth it, maybe worth 5.5 at most. His point totals have declined every single season, and even with the help of Chris Pronger in 2010, couldn't QB a successful PP one bit. Thing is, with 5 straight season of 10 goals leading up to this, Timonen had all the potential, he's just never lived up this contract. That's not Holmgren's fault entirely. FINAL GRADE: B+

Well, these 3 contracts are a prime example of quick fix gone wrong, sure they got the Flyers to the conference finals in 08 and finals in 2010, but now, all 3 are going to provide cap hell (especially Briere) until they come off the books. In Kimmo's case, Holmgren should have known Timonen would start trending downward, he was 32 at the time he signed this contract. Hartnell was at least trending up, and maybe could be a consistent 50 point player. Briere on the other hand, was paid after being a one hit wonder in a contract year. He regressed to his mean in his tenure with the Flyers so far. At least Briere is helped by the disasters known as Scott Gomez and Chris Drury.

Scottie Upshall: Not a bad deal, Upshall was a 1st round pick and had upside talent as a ball of energy player who could score a bit. It never really panned out for Upshall in Philly, and he'd become a cap casualty in 2009 for Dan Carcillo. But honestly, he wasn't paid big money and he didn't disappoint in terms of points per dollar. Final Grade: B

Ben Eager: A goon, he had some playing ability. Was paid goon money too. Eventually traded. Final Grade: B

Antero Niittymaki: Nitty. Solid backup goalie to Marty Biron. As a starter though, was kind of weak. But again, he was paid as a backup and played well as a backup. Final Grade: B

Martin Biron: Underrated starting goalie. The guy doesn't get a fair shake because in Buffalo, he was stuck between Hasek and Miller and Philly has had an alleged "goaltending problem" since 1987. (it's not true, folks, Biron, Cechmanek and Bobrovsky were all very solid). Biron's 07/08 campaign was great, a bit weaker in 08/09 but keep in mind he was paid 3.5M. He wasn't getting a major salary like Bryzgalov or Lundqvist or Thomas or Broderur or Luongo or Huet or Khabibulin. Because of that, Biron earned his keep as a starter, signing him, like his trade, gets Holmgren a Final Grade: A

Cote: Goon, league minimum. Final Grade: C

Jonsson: AHL contract, Grade N/A

Tryouts that became contracts

Jim Dowd, Jesse Boulerice, Rory Fitzpatrick:

Dowd was a solid 4th line center while Boulerice would be suspended and spend a ton of time on the Phantoms and Fitzpatrick would also end up back in the AHL. Final Grade: B for Dowd, C for the other two.

Trades (Preseason)

June 4, 2007To Philadelphia Flyers

future considerations
To Nashville Predators

Matt Ellison
June 18, 2007To Philadelphia Flyers

Scott Hartnell
Kimmo Timonen
To Nashville Predators

Nashville's 1st-round pick in 2007
June 23, 2007To Philadelphia Flyers

2nd-round pick in 2007
To Washington Capitals

2nd-round pick in 2008
Nashville's 3rd-round pick in 2007
July 1, 2007To Philadelphia Flyers

Joffrey Lupul
Jason Smith
To Edmonton Oilers

Joni Pitkanen
Geoff Sanderson
3rd-round pick in 2009

Quite a bit happening, no surprise since the previous team was terrible.

Ellision: Oh man how this trade turned golden for the Hawks.... #BlameWhyno. Also, N/A for a grade

Timonen and Hartnell for NSH's pick and the picks to the Caps that became Kevin Marshall, see the respective parts of this article on Timonen, Marshall and Hartnell.

Lupul and Smith for Sanderson, Pitkanen (I swear I typed Pronger and caught the typo) and a pick:

Lupul would be great for Philly his first (injury shortened) season. He had ~45 pts in ~55 games and scored an OT goal in game 7 vs the Capitals. He'd be gone after being part of the Jeff Carter Party Crew when he'd be traded for Pronger after signing an extension. (We're covering the extension later.) Smith would be a good shutdown defenseman, but his age would show and he'd be weakened for the playoffs, as Captain though, he was good. Pitkanen is Pitkanen and Sanderson was sent to the closest NHL team to his home in the Northwest Territories. Overall, this trade gets a B+.

So, looking at the Roster, the Flyers opening night roster looked like this
(Line combos may not be accurate)



Kukkonen-Randy Jones


This lineup, was a bit top heavy (Richards hadn't proven he could be a point per game player yet, 4th line had 2 goons, Kapanen was towards the end, Tolpeko an unknown. The 4th line played a combined 17 minutes, half of which came from Jimmy Dowd. Sad, no?

This team, like the current team, had some really good young forwards with lots of upside, veteran AGING defenseman, (tho the young Carle-Old Coburn-Mesz trio DWARFS the talent of Young Coburn-Kukkonen-Jones)

I give Holmgren's offseason a B: he made some solid depth moves and goaltending moves. a very good trade for a captain. Conversely he overpaid his UFA's (though compared to the market in 07, he didn't really have much choice with Briere)

Now his inseason moves:

We start with trades.

December 10, 2007To Philadelphia Flyers

7th-round pick in 2009
To Dallas Stars

Jussi Timonen
December 18, 2007To Philadelphia Flyers

Jim Vandermeer
To Chicago Blackhawks

Ben Eager
February 19, 2008To Philadelphia Flyers

Jaroslav Modry
To Los Angeles Kings

3rd-round pick in 2008
February 20, 2008To Philadelphia Flyers

3rd-round pick in 2009
To Calgary Flames

Jim Vandermeer
February 25, 2008To Philadelphia Flyers

Vaclav Prospal
To Tampa Bay Lightning

Alexandre Picard
2nd-round pick in 2009

Jussi Timonen for a pick: Grade N/A, late pick for AHL-er. Nothing to grade here.

Eager for Vandermeer: Goon for goon. Eager was traded after getting murdered in a fight by 41 year old Gary Roberts during an 8-2 win vs the Penguins. Vandermeer would be dealt after a gaffe in a game vs the Habs lead to a Habs goal in 5-2 loss (that featured Riley Cote's only NHL career goal). Vandermeer would be dealt later for a third round pick from Calgary. In reality making this trade Eager for Calgary's 3rd. That net gain is pretty good, Final Grade: B+

Pick for Modry: Jaro Modry really anchored the Flyers depth defense when Hatcher got injured, a third round pick was the cost of said trade. Still a decent move FINAL GRADE: B

Picks for Prospal: Remember how I said the opening night team lacked scoring depth? Gagne's concussion (and season ending recovery) as well as Lupul's injury really put a lot of pressure on Richards, Carter and Umberger to deliver big numbers. Richards was a point per game player, Carter missed 30 goals by 6 inches on an empty net on the last game of the season and Umberger had 50 points. That's delivering. Then Prospal game to really bolster the depth along with Lupul's return from injury. All of a sudden an opening night question mark was really set as a good solid playoff team. Final Grade: B+

Holmgren's in-season trades grade: A-, each move by itself was B worthy, the sum of the parts however built a VERY solid team heading to the post season.


One waiver move: Flyers claim Patrick Thoresen from Edmonton. Thoresen would be a depth third line guy who really helped the lower lines before quite literally, giving his balls to the cause in the first round of the 2008 playoffs. Thoresen's emotional heroics, heart and willingness to lay his body on the line and most importantly the fact that he came for free give this, Final Grade: A.

The postseason Flyers roster in 2008 was extremely strong. Biron was a solid goalie. The Flyers had lots of capable scorers. 8 players had 40 points or more (40 points being the baseline for a top 6 player). Also, Scottie Upshall was on pace to come close to 40 before being injured (he missed 21 games) and so was Simon Gagne, giving the Flyers 10 players with top 6 scoring talent. That's a solid offense.

On Defense:

Smith-Hatcher-Modry-Timonen provided excellent top 4 leadership and kept the puck moving forward. Coburn really showed why he was an early first round pick. The 6 spot, Jones-Kukkonen-Parent's been a problem even during the 2010 Cup Run with Parent-Krajicek-Bartulis.

Goalie: Biron: Played dececntly during the playoffs, though not to the tune of his regular season performance. his .904SV% was a bit weak. He was also inconsistent posting a sub-.900 SV% in 8 of 17 games. He was BRILLIANT during his on games, but he did get lit up. (he also gave up 4 goals on 40 shots in a game, that's .900SV% but a lot of goals.

Conclusion: Holmgren get's a B+ for the season.

While I'd have rathered he developed the centers he had and not signed Briere. Briere in Montreal could have swung that round 2 series. Also a GM has no control over injuries, imagine if the Flyers had Gagne healthy for the playoff run. Imagine if Smith didn't have 2 separated shoulders, Coburn wore a visor and Timonen didn't have a broken foot/blood clot. The Flyers top 3 D-men were either out or playing hurt, and a healthy defense MAY have been able to shut down Crosby-Malkin in 2008. Maybe, just maybe, a healthy team extends the series, but again, you can't fault a GM for injuries. Holmgren built the team, he didn't have control over concussions, broken feet or slapshots to the left eye.

What keeps Holmgren from getting an A is the weaknesses of the draft (Marshall over Subban, Goon in round 3, overpayment on Hartnell, Briere and Timonen).

Also, while I get that Holmgren was loyal to Niity as the backup goalie because of his Calder Cup with the Phantoms, I've always wondered if a better backup goalie could have at least given another look in the ECF of 2008 when Biron was getting overmatched. From 2/28/08 to the end of the playoffs, Biron played 34 of 35 games, I know the Flyers were floundering at times during that season, but John Stevens lack of faith in Nitty was a weakness that could have been addressed. The only question, who was available?

Anyway, Paul Holmgren is still a B+ GM at this point. Next time, Draft day 2008 to Draft day 09.

Carry on with your normal life until then.