This will be a different type of blog. I was on travel this week and only got to listen to a couple of games via internet radio, except last night versus the Islanders which I did get to watch. Let’s look at the 3 games this week.
Win versus Carolina: Scott Hartnell dominated and is looking more and more like a top left wing. He scored a couple of really pretty goals in this game.
Win versus New York Rangers: only one word fits this game and that is “domination” as the Flyers dominated the Rangers. The benching of Zherdev seemed to be taken in the correct manner as he has played some of his best games the past few games.
Win versus New York Islanders: here is a line you never thought would dominate the offensive scoreboard Wellwood, Richards, and Nodl. This line put up 2 goals and should have had a 3rd as Wellwood missed the open net from the top of the circle which would have given each line member a goal. This group looked good playing great defense and chipping in offensively.
• Bobrovsky seems to be the real deal. Not only is he continuing to make the saves that are expected he is making plenty of spectacular saves and even stealing games. He seems hard to beat along the ice even going post to post.
• Meszaros and O’Donnell is a great 3rd pair in the NHL and might be the best 3rd pair in the entire league. Even against top lines they can play the defensive game just fine. They can kill penalties and Meszaros can really fire the puck from the point.
• Pronger is getting better by the day and Matt Carle is playing as a true top pair defensemen. He has been eating minutes and playing at both ends of the ice.
• Coburn and Timonen is a solid 2nd pair. They can play against any line in the league. With the three pairs now on the Flyers the coaches can roll pairs and not worry about the matchups all night long. No need to hide a pair of guys. This should benefit the team in the long run with minutes being spread across the three pair.
• The depth on the Flyers up front is scary. With Briere out for 3 games the lines were shuffled and the results were the same.
• Roster changes are coming today. With Briere coming back who goes? Has Wellwood earned a full time spot? If he has, who goes and by go I mean goes on waivers to the AHL? Personally I think Jody Shelley is the odd guy out. If he was a dominant heavyweight then I would not have this opinion, but he is just an overpaid Cote. He has lost every fight this year. If the other team has a “goon” then take advantage with speed and skill. There is no need to have this heavyweight battle mentality.
• Does JVR need some time in the AHL to dominate a bit and get confidence? He has looked lost the last few games and needs to step back. He has the ability, just lacking confidence.
• Who else loves to watch Leino dangle with the puck? He stickhandles in traffic confidently and makes plays in all three zones. He reminds me of someone drafted by Philly and played later in his career…Forsberg. I am not saying he has the same ability, I am just saying that he reminds me the way he skates with the puck.
• My suggestions for line combinations with JVR watching and Shelley sent away:
o Hartnell – Briere – Leino
o Zherdev – Carter - Giroux
o Wellwood – Richards – Nodl
o Carcillo – Betts – Powe
• This grouping gives the team 2 quality scoring lines, a great defensive line that can still hurt you, and a quality 4th line that can play enough and kill penalties. Seems like great balance to me.
I am looking forward to the matchup with the Capitals this afternoon. Good Night and Good Hockey!
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