I am writing this post in the obvious glow of having the Flyers dispatch the Devils in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Even though the Devils were the #2 seed and had home ice, I felt the Flyers were the favorites going into the series. I picked the Flyers to win the series and didn’t consider it a risky or homer pick. In the last 16 games versus Marty Brodeur and the Devils, the Flyers are now 14-2. For a guy that dominated the Flyers for years, over the past 2 seasons the Flyers have pounded Marty; the problem however is not Marty getting old – I WISH! – the problem is that the cheap ownership in New Jersey refuses to pay any quality defensemen. Trivia Question #1: Quick name 2 Devils defensemen – right times up. Now name two Flyers – Pronger and Timonen. You cannot play defensive hockey with just an elite goalie. Marty should personally strike until they sign a defenseman that is above a #5 guy.
Trivia question #2…when was the last time the Flyers had a healthy roster for the playoffs? Answer 1997 when the Legion of Doom took the team to the Finals and were beaten by a great team in Detroit. Quite honestly in retrospect, Terry Murray was right. The Flyers were better and simply played poorly or choked. Before that you have to go all the way back to 1975. In 76, they faced the Canadiens without Parent in goal. A few years back they moved Sami Kapenen to defense because there were so many injuries. So this year in the defeat of the Devils the Flyers lost their best offensive player in Jeff Carter for 6 weeks and their top left wing in Simon Gagne.
So what will the impact of these injuries on the next round? Who knows? If Boucher keeps stopping the puck like that, they can beat anyone in the league because they still have the roster that most picked to win the cup in the preseason. As long as Pronger and Timonen can play 25-30 minutes each night, they have a chance to win. Up front the loss of Carter can be minimized slightly by moving Briere back to center. He has been a good team guy and played wing, but quite frankly he is just very average on the wing. In the middle he becomes an impact player again. As much as I have been a fan of Gagne over the years, he is quite frankly past his prime and Leino is a more solid player at this point in their careers now.
So the lines take on the look of: Hartnell, Briere, and Labierte. Carcillo, Richards and Leino. JVR, Giroux and Asham. Powe, Betts, and Lapierre. On the backside you can tell that the 5 and 6 defensemen are up in the air. I wonder what happened to Danny Syvret? Is he healthy yet? He was really a surprise for me and looked good with Kimo. That would let you play Coburn and someone as the 3rd pair.
I sure hope that the other series all go 7 games and end in the 4th OT each while the Flyers are resting! Sorry that’s just the fan in me talking – plus I LOVE GAME 7!
Good Night and Good Hockey!
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