The KGB -Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti
KGB. When I think of those three letters, I think of the darkest, most insidious element of the former Soviet Union's Communist regime. The "Committee for State Security" was the secret police, intelligence and security branches cobbled together to form one of the most ruthless, powerful and effective security agencies the world has ever known. From its inception in 1954 until it officially "died" in 1991, when the KGB came for you...you better have said your prayers because you were history.
A new chapter of the KGB's history is about to unfold in South Philadelphia. No, neither the rebirth of Communism nor the "Red Menace", but the 2007-08 Flyers version of the K-G-B:
Knuble - Gagne - Briere is the new
KGB...and when they cross the blue line, your goalie had better have said his prayers. Thank you for indulging me on that play on the acronym. I am, however, very excited to see what this K-G-B line can do.
They have all the earmarks of a potentially dominant line:
- is a hard working right winger who is very good along the boards, can dish out and absorb punishment and can score in close. He had 24g and 30a for 54pts last year.
- is a pure goal scorer on the left side with speed, hands, vision and imagination. He can score in close, on the rush or with an accurate left handed shot. Gagne scored 41g 28a for 68pts last year.
- is an elusive, speedy centerman with great anticipation, tape-to-tape passes and a sniper's touch. He scored 32a and 63a for 95pts in Buffalo last year.
- I expect that Knuble's numbers go up simply because of the number of assists he will pile up as Simon and Danny score more frequently. I see something like 31g, 39a for 70pts as not too huge a stretch. I also see Knuble's value increase on the power play as he anchors that second unit.
- With Briere feeding Gagne on the rush and the power play first unit - he is a mortal lock for 50 goals and 30 assists and at least 80 points...maybe more. He will get the puck to "where Mama hides the cookies" with regularity and be a treat to watch.
- Danny will be hard pressed to score 95 points in the Flyers' system. That being said, he will be certain of at least 80. If he were to end up somewhere around 35g and 45a for 80 pts - I would not be terribly surprised and extremely delighted. My only concern is that Briere remains healthy enough to achieve those numbers.
If the Flyers' first line puts up those kinds of point totals, the team will be in great shape to win more games that they lost 3-1 last year because they could not put the puck in the net. The improved D should aid offensively by getting to the rush faster with an accurate outlet pass (no...not Joni Pitkanen) and letting the horses run. The D should also keep the Flyers in the game better, allowing Biron the opportunity to win some games and build the kind of confidence that is needed in a #1 netminder. Those things put together equals a trip back to the promised land of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
So when you hear the K-G-B coming for you....just say "Da Comrade...top shelf"