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"950 ESPN's Flyers Reporter Mike Mreczko"
Philadelphia, PA • United States • 23 Years Old • Male
Stevens may say there isn't a goalie controversy, but his actions continue to show otherwise:

I say there is one because last week the "hot goalie" line worked for Stevens to play Nitty. But the team has had a few days off which inherently has broken Nitty's rhythm so the slate is basically clean right now. Both goalies gave up 4 goals over the weekend, including a few softies for each. Regardless of his success against Florida in the past, with a small 4 game sample against a poor team, Stevens could have put a lot of it to rest tonight by playing Biron at home and giving him some confidence. Now he has done just the opposite. The popular sentiment has been that if the playoffs started today, Biron would be in the cage. I agree for now. But with every start like this, my certainty of that shrinks and Biron's undoubtedly does as well (along with his confidence). Remember Biron's past, getting set aside for Hasek and Miller in Buffalo.... And Nitty was a "#1" goalie on a dead team with an inferior defense in front of him and was playing hurt... Don't think for a second he doesn't believe he can still be a #1 goalie on this team.

Nitty seems to have more success vs FL but this is a real test to put him in front of the home fans whom he has not played well in front of this year, or last for that matter, and will be quick to get on him if he falters.
But if he does do well and the team and crowd responds, the goalie controversy, and make no mistake there IS one, will become even more interesting.

We'll see tonight...

Here's the numbers breakdown:

Nitty liftetime vs. FLA(4 games, all starts):
2-2, 1.88 GAA, .944 SV%
Last game vs FLA was down south... he stopped 38 shots in a 1-0 win
at home this season (4 games, 2 starts)
0-2-1, 4.10 GAA, .838 SV%

Compared to Biron's info:
Career vs. FLA (16 games, 14 starts) 6-8-2, 2.70 GAA, .898 SV%
Home this season:
(16 games all starts) 8-3-4, 2.68 GAA, .917 SV%

Mike Mreczko is the Flyers beat reporter for Sports Radio 950 - WPEN in Philadelphia
e-mail Mike: [email][email protected][/email]
Filed Under:   Flyers   Niittymaki   Biron   Panthers  
January 16, 2008 4:01 PM ET | Delete
Just because Niittymaki is getting the next start doesn't mean there's a controversy. Niittymkai shut out the Panthers in the last game and was outstanding in doing so. That was a much bigger factor than the home-road splits.
January 16, 2008 10:22 PM ET | Delete
January 16, 2008 10:24 PM ET | Delete
If my memory serves correct, Biron got smoked by the Panthers alot when he played for Buffalo. I don't know the #'s but aren't the Flyers paying Biron starter $$? If so, then you really have to play him, don't you?
January 16, 2008 11:42 PM ET | Delete
There is no such thing as a Goalie controversy in January! It doesn't matter who' playing now. It matters in March and April. You ride the hot goalie. And this coould help keep Biron fresher for the stretch drive.
January 16, 2008 11:42 PM ET | Delete
After Niittymaki's shaky performance, it could well be a controversy.
January 18, 2008 12:06 AM ET | Delete
Remember exactly WHO you are dealing with here... Marty Biron is a guy who was a first round pick and was relegated to a backup role because of Hasek coming to town. Hasek leaves and a short time later Biron gets passed up again for Ryan Miller. Him coming to Philadelphia was a fresh start for him and really energized him with a chance to prove his worth as a #1 goalie in the NHL. Biron had played much better at home this year and after a few days off following the weekend back-to-backs, this would've been a great opportunity for Marty to get back between the pipes and reassert his confidence against a team at the bottom of the conference. He didn't. And yes you want a fresh goalie later in the year but you also want a confident one. Take care of that ASAP. If Nitty keeps playing well when he's in then you have a dependable backup. But make sure the line between #1 and 2 is clear... And everytime Stevens says something like "the decision gets harder each game" you are blurring that line...
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