Posts for hockey

So It Looks Like Pierre McGuire Hasn’t Been Demoted After All

Russ Joy - September 11, 2019

When the news broke a week ago that NBC Sports was planning to replace Pierre McGuire on their top broadcast team with former Flyer Brian Boucher, much of the hockey world rejoiced. It seemed legitimate enough with a report from The Athletic‘s Rick Carpiniello spreading like wildfire. I turned on the radio today and heard Jason Myrtetus bring it up with the Cuz, which led me to seek an update. Boy oh boy did I find one. Oddly enough, it didn’t spread nearly as far or wide as the initial report.

McGuire went onto TSN 690 Radio in Montreal and -much to the surprise of everyone- claimed that he hadn’t, in fact, been demoted. (Pertinent audio at 2:40): Continue Reading

Continue Reading

Capital Punishment: Thoughts from Capitals 5, Flyers 2

Russ Joy - March 15, 2019

It was as big of a game as the Flyers have played all season.

Five points behind the idle Columbus Blue Jackets for the final wild card in the Eastern Conference, the Flyers needed help from the Islanders, who took on the Montreal Canadiens. They got it via a 2-1 victory, but that score didn’t go final until after the final horn had sounded at Wells Fargo Center.

More importantly, they needed to help themselves. Simply put: they didn’t. One could argue that coach Scott Gordon’s decision to start Carter Hart was one part necessary and one part strategic. With Hart healthy enough to play and the impending back-to-back games at home against the Capitals and on the road versus the Toronto Maple Leafs, Gordon had to get his Wunderkind netminder a start; starting Brian Elliott in back-to-back games simply wasn’t an option. The strategic aspect came down to another Brian Elliott issue, namely his woeful performance against the Caps just eight days before: four goals allowed on 19 shots good for a .789 SV% in just north of 24 minutes of action. It was the first game Elliott’s save percentage dipped south of .900 since he returned to the lineup on February 19th. Those four goals were also the tied for the most he’d allowed over that nine-game stretch, along with a 36 save overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Carter Hart had to better. He couldn’t possibly have a worse game, right? Well…

The first period was a Jekyll and Hyde performance in two of the three zones. For roughly six minutes to start the game, the Flyers seemingly dominated play in the offensive and neutral zones. The were flying all over like bats out of hell. Sean Couturier created a shot from the slot then laid a huge hit at center ice, followed by another by Ryan Hartman:

With much-needed energy propelling them forward, it seemed somewhat inevitable that they’d score first. That didn’t happen. With just 2:53 off the clock in the first period, Brett Connolly got his sensational night off to a good start:

Continue Reading

Continue Reading

Snow The Goalie: Down to the Wire

Russ Joy - March 13, 2019

Anthony and Russ discuss how the Flyers have gotten to within striking distance of the final wild card with 13 games to play. They discuss the job Scott Gordon’s done as coach, their dominance against the Islanders, recap the win over Ottawa, the scoring surge under Gordon, Carter Hart’s return to net, and the Flyers’ off-season plans. Plus, will the Flyers and other teams in the league consider a pursuit of restricted free agents Brayden Point and Mitch Marner?

Please subscribe to the show ([iTunes] [Google Play] [Stitcher] [RSS]), leave a 5 star review, and follow us on Twitter: @AntSanPhilly @JoyOnBroad

Plus, don’t forget to check out “The Press Row Show” with Anthony and Russ for pregame and intermission coverage of Flyers home games LIVE from press row of Wells Fargo Center! The show streams on Twitter/Periscope via Crossing Broad, Anthony, and Russ’ accounts and Facebook Live via the Crossing Broad page.

Check out the other shows on the Crossing Broad Podcast Network including: Crossing Broadcast: A Philly Sports PodcastCrossed Up: A Phillies PodcastIt’s Always Soccer in Philadelphia, and Crossing Broad FC: A Soccer Podcast.

Audio after the jump: Continue Reading

Continue Reading

Jake Voracek Suspended Two Games Because the NHL Makes No Sense

Russ Joy - March 11, 2019

The Flyers’ playoff bus just got a flat and the nail that punctured the tire’s name is George Parros.

Flyers forward Jake Voracek was suspended two games by the NHL after the league’s Player Safety Committee reviewed an interference call that occurred in Saturday’s 5-2 drubbing of the New York Islanders. Of course, Islanders fans cried foul, claiming Voracek targeted the head of defenseman Johnny Boychuk, while Flyers fans argued Voracek was merely bracing for impact.

It’s a critical loss for a team that finds itself five points out of the final wild card spot with fourteen games to play. Voracek and Nolan Patrick both made it back into the lineup for Saturday’s game, combining for a goal and two assists. Losing one of the team’s alternate captains – he’s posted seven points (1 goal/6 assists) since that announcement – of late isn’t ideal. That said, the team should be able to overcome his absence tonight against the Ottawa Senators. Thursday’s game against the Washington Capitals is a different story.

A video of the NHL’s explanation of what warranted the two-game suspension after the jump:

Continue Reading

Continue Reading

Will the Flyers Pursue RFAs? It Sure Sounds Like It.

Russ Joy - March 10, 2019

Restricted free agency in the NHL has stood as something of a forbidden fruit. It’s there. It’s right in front of you. You want to take a bite, but can you? Should you? The initial bite might tingle your tastebuds, but that momentary joy can turn to the bitterness of a rotten lemon in a millisecond. It’s a rarity to even broach the topic, let alone maintain possession of the fruits of one’s labor. How rare? There have been just 35 offer sheets made to restricted free agents in NHL history. In the past twenty years, only eight, yes EIGHT offer sheets have been extended to another team’s restricted free agent. It just so happens that two of those eight – a staggering 25% – have been offered by your team, your town, your Philadelphia Flyers.

Will Chuck Fletcher become the third Flyers GM in thirty-three years to make an offer to a restricted free agent? There are plenty of reasons to believe that it’s going to happen.

Reason #1: Influencers

I mentioned earlier that only two Flyers general managers have ever made an offer sheet to a restricted free agent and you’ll recognize the names: Bob Clarke and Paul Holmgren. The latter is the man who officially hired Fletcher and currently serves as the Flyers Team President. The former is a man who played a bigger role in the hiring of Chuck Fletcher than he might let on. Clarke first hired Fletcher as an Assistant GM of the Florida Panthers back in 1993. He’s spoken glowingly of Fletcher including this:

Reason #2: Bob Clarke Said As Much

When Anthony and I sat down with Bob Clarke, who now serves as Flyers Senior Vice President, for an exclusive interview for Snow The Goalie, I asked about why more teams don’t make offer sheets to restricted free agents. Then Clarke dropped this bombshell:

“You’re gonna see it with restricted free agents, just because of the salary cap. Teams get a restricted free agent coming up… they’ve got three or four million dollars in cap space, someone’s gonna come in and offer five or six, maybe overpay, but it’s gonna happen.” One could take that quote a couple of ways. Could Clarke have been talking league-wide as he referenced “teams”? Sure. But, remember, this wasn’t the question asked. Clarke’s got Fletcher’s ear. This was about as much of a pronouncement of off-season strategy as I think we’ll ever get. As for teams he could be referencing, I’ll get to that later. I wondered if Fletcher – or any GM for that matter – has been/would be hesitant to burn bridges with another member of the sacred front office fraternity:

Ultimately, he’s right. Another front office shouldn’t hold it against Fletcher professionally if he were to poach a top RFA away from a contender, but it’s easier said by a guy who by his own admission spends much of his time golfing in Florida than for someone actively working in the NHL.

Reason #3: An Exorbitant Amount of Cap Space

With a projected salary cap of roughly $83 million for the 2019-20 season, the Flyers find themselves with slightly less than $47 million committed to players against the cap. That leaves them with about $36 million in cap space, third most in the entire league behind only Ottawa and Colorado. It looks tantalizing until you take into account the fact that the Flyers have critical restricted free agents of their own to re-sign long-term including Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, Travis Sanheim, and Phil Myers. The team could also choose to bring back Ryan Hartman and they’re also expected to re-sign UFA netminder Cam Talbot.

Assuming the team makes reasonable offers: Provy ($5m), Konecny ($5m), Sanheim ($4.25m), Myers ($3.25m), Hartman ($2.25m), Talbot ($3.25m), that leaves them with $13 million in potential cap space. That’s more than enough to pry away a top RFA or deliver a Shea Weber sized poison pill to a team at the top third of the conference.

Side note: Don’t look past 2020, when the team will also have to offer deals to Nolan Patrick, Oskar Lindblom, and potentially Robert Hägg.

Reason #4: Fletcher Could Irreparably Damage An Eastern Conference Foe

Continue Reading

Continue Reading

STG: Post-Trade Deadline Special with HOFer Bob Clarke

Russ Joy - February 28, 2019

Flyers writers Anthony SanFilippo and Russ Joy analyze the Flyers’ recent play and postseason chances with 19 games remaining, assess the young players, and look at the future of the Metropolitan division. They then react to the Flyers’ trade deadline move sending Wayne Simmonds to Nashville, evaluate the compensation, and discuss other players who came up in trade discussions.

The guys are then joined by NHL Hall of Famer Bob Clarke. Clarke gives his assessment of Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher, differences between Fletcher and former GM Ron Hextall, reveals what the days leading up to Trade Deadline day look like from inside the war room, scouting in the modern game, the role of analytics in hockey, working with Fletcher in Florida, how to approach free agency, his thoughts on negotiating with Restricted Free Agents, how often a player’s trade value changes on deadline day, the Flyers softball team, how the off-ice player commitments have changed, knowing when it’s time to transition to a new role, and his thoughts on craft beer.

Anthony and Russ then touch on a few of Clarke’s comments, and read fan letters and iTunes reviews.

Please subscribe to the show ([iTunes] [Google Play] [Stitcher] [RSS]), leave a 5 star review, and follow us on Twitter: @AntSanPhilly @JoyOnBroad

Plus, don’t forget to check out “The Press Row Show” with Anthony and Russ for pregame and intermission coverage of Flyers home games LIVE from press row of Wells Fargo Center! The show streams on Twitter/Periscope via Crossing Broad, Anthony, and Russ’ accounts and Facebook Live via the Crossing Broad page.

Check out the other shows on the Crossing Broad Podcast Network including: Crossing Broadcast: A Philly Sports PodcastCrossed Up: A Phillies PodcastIt’s Always Soccer in Philadelphia, and Crossing Broad FC: A Soccer Podcast.

Audio after the jump: Continue Reading

Continue Reading

Catching Up With Travis Konecny Ahead of Tonight’s Game

Russ Joy - February 26, 2019

It’s been a whirlwind 72 hours since the Flyers’ 4-3 OT win over the Penguins at the Linc. The uncertainty surrounding Wayne Simmonds’ status with the organization ahead of Monday’s trade deadline was palpable. Ultimately, Simmonds was traded in a last-minute deal that reunites him with former head coach Peter Laviolette in Nashville. With the team poised for a stretch run of 20 games – 7 points behind both Carolina and Pittsburgh, and one behind Buffalo – I wanted to get some insight from one of the team’s young stars: Travis Konecny.

Travis Konecny said of the recently-departed Wayne Simmonds:

“First of all, losing Simmie… it’s tough to see a guy like that go. He’s been a great teammate to everyone here and a big part of the organization and our leadership group.”

I asked if the void left by Simmonds’ departure could be an opportunity for him to step up as a leader on the team:

“I’m not saying I’m gonna step in and be a leader in that way, ya know, I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help the team… Not necessarily lead, but kinda play my role that way. If it’s my night to get the guys going, and use my speed and my abilities to lead, then I’ll do that, but I’m not looking at it like it’s an opportunity for me. It’s upsetting to lose Simmie, but coming back for us, Hartsy’s a good addition to our team.”

On whether the team is approaching the next few games with an increased sense of urgency because of where they are in the standings:

“It’s another game. There’s definitely more at stake in these games at this time of year, cause you can’t afford to lose the points, but I don’t think anyone’s coming into this game like it’s any different from any other game. It’s hard to explain, but I haven’t overthought this game one bit. I just know I gotta do my job and that’s all I can control.”

A Wet and Wild Win for the Ages

Russ Joy - February 24, 2019

I don’t blame you if you turned it off. It’s not your fault. Who in their right mind would’ve thought the Flyers – down 3-1 with 13:31 remaining in the third period – would have any shot to topple their cross-state rivals in what had devolved into a sloppy mess of a game? If you woke up this morning kicking yourself for turning it off, imagine how the 20k+ people who bailed early in the third period felt. Tickets for the Stadium Series game were going for hundreds of dollars, even with Flyers’ Wunderkind netminder Carter Hart sidelined with a lower-body injury after having been announced the day before as the backup. There’s an old cliché in sports: You need your best players to come up large in your biggest games. That’s exactly what happened on Saturday night.

There were plenty of fans and media alike who went into Lincoln Financial Field expecting a lopsided Pittsburgh victory. Brian Elliott entered the game as a starter for the first time since a November 15th tilt against the New Jersey Devils. The way he acquitted himself in relief appearances on Tuesday and Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens respectively gave head coach Scott Gordon enough confidence to name him the starter for perhaps the most important game of the Flyers’ season.

It didn’t get off to the greatest start for Elliott, who was beaten glove-side by Sidney Crosby following a defensive zone turnover just 7:59 into the first period:

To his credit, he finished the period with 17 saves on 18 shots. It wasn’t all his fault.

Sean Couturier equalized nearly four minutes later with laser beam that would make Dr. Evil blush:

More after the jump:

Continue Reading

Continue Reading