Since it seems, for now, that all is said and done in Philadelphia, I think it's time for me to get my fingers to work and get my first blog out in QUITE some time. And what a better time to get one out while the world of hockey is dead, the Selanne to Philly rumors have quieted, Sid the Kid has signed an nice extension, and Sheldon Souray is still out of his mind? Give up? Good, cause there is no better time then now.
Let's start with my hat tip to Paul Holmgren. Talk about the complete overhaul. Sure, it is very odd to see Joni go (so what if John Stevens doesn't like him) and it is very sad for me to see him go as I felt this kid was the next stud on the blue line - but we get a great veteran presence to man our blue-line and a potential stud on the wings in Joffrey Lupul. Should I be one to complain? Absolutely not! And therefore, I am not going to. I am going to watch and see how this trade works out down the road, not right now. I think Jason Smith helps out ten-fold over Joni right now, especially in our quest to go from worst to first.
With that being said, let's get to the main topic of this blog. My thoughts on our mission: from bottom feeder worst, to "potentially" first. Where to begin? Let's start at the trade deadline. Dead weight out - young studs in. Peter Forsberg, Alexei Zhitnik and Kyle Calder as good as gone. Braydon Coburn, Lausse Kukkonen, Scottie Upshall, Martin Biron (for a 2nd rounder - what a steal) - WELCOME ABOARD the Orange and Black express. We went from old and injured to young and studly in the matter of just a few days. I still get the chills when I think about everything else the Forsberg trade has brought in, aside from Parent and Upshall. Sending back the 1st we acquired for Kimo Timonen and Scott Hartnell have me looking at some very nice 1st and 2nd lines here in Philly, with a fantastic 3rd line, and a great grinding 4th line. However, there is more. July 1st = Daniel Briere a Flyer for the future. At first, I wasn't happy getting Briere, but now that it has all settled and sunk it I personally believe it was probably the best fit for many reasons. Danny is a gritty little player, who is fantastic on the power play, and can squirm and find wholes through many teams defences. He is a good skater, see's the ice well, makes crisp passes, bangs home important rebounds, forechecks, plays both sides of the ice, and he is all around a team player. He brings leadership qualities as well, and, he isn't even 30 years of age yet. So this Flyers fan is happy. I really feel we have created more then just a playoff calibur team and I really think and believe that we can compete for the division.
So when you look at it, all in all, there are 5 very new - never seen before faces that will be wearing the beautiful Flyers crest this upcoming season. But, before you chew me apart, believe you me, that I understand just as much as the next guy we need to find chemistry and ways for these players to all gel together. Paul Holmgren said today, that right now, a second line of Hartnelly - Carter - Lupul is what will be used, which I don't think works for me. Let Lupul play on the 3rd line with Richards and let Carter and Upshall stick with the chemistry they have already created from last season (bringing Hartnell can only create more in my opinion, since upshall and hartnell were teammates in NSH and Hartnell and Carter played WJC's together) and see if it can continue this year. As for now, I really won't get too deep into this because there is still much to be seen, and I'm sure still a few more minor (or major "SELANNE"
moves to be made.
With what we have right now, here is what things should look like:
Gagne - Briere - Knuble
Hartnell - Carter - Lupul (as much as I think Upshall should be here)
Downie - Richards - Upshall
Kapanen - Umberger - Eager
Timonen - Kukkonen
Smith - Picard
Coburn - Hatcher
Is anyone really upset with this overhaul? Sure, my lines and my set up might be a little bit off but with these 20 names compared to last years pre-trade deadline's 20 names, I feel a LOT more comfortable knowing that we will be fighting through the playoffs when the time comes. I hope you Flyers fans are as excited as I am at this point. But, of course, we are all keeping our fingers crossed that another black cloud doesn't fall over Philadelphia two seasons in a row. I'm so excited, my thoughts are all over the place and I'm sure I left out some information that I really wanted to include...