Tag Archives: Jeff Carter

Breaking Bad

The Flyers already weak forward depth just took a monumental hit this afternoon. A bad break (2 to be exact) on a couple of slap shots in last night’s hard-fought victory over the Devils are now the headlines as the O & B will be without Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne for the foreseeable future.

Both will have surgery on their fractured right feet  tomorrow in Philadelphia by orthopedic surgeon Steven Raikin of the Rothman Institute.

With Carter it truly is a case of one foot forward and one foot back as he is only 6 games removed from having his left foot surgically repaired. Carter did not miss a game in two full seasons prior to breaking his left foot just over a month ago. Now to experience a similar injury on the other foot so quickly is just cruel irony. The frustration in his case, considering he appeared to finally regain his scoring touch last night must be immeasurable. His return was characterized as indefinite which would tell me that unless the Flyers advance to the Finals last night was probably the last of Carter in uniform for this season.

For Simon Gagne this will just be another notch on his long list of recent health problems. The concussion, the groin, the ab strain and now a fluke fracture in his foot doing something he’s done hundreds of times in his career. GM Paul Holmgren told reporters that Gagne would have a return target of around 3 weeks, which would put it well into the Eastern Conference finals schedule.

To replace the two the Flyers will call on veteran Ville Leino and one of Phantom forwards Andreas Nodl or David Laliberte.

Another year and it’s the some old story. Remember Desjardins breaking his arm while wrestling his kid in ’04? What about 2 years ago with losing Timonen and Coburn at the same time? You go through all the goalies this year and for once you go in with a fairly healthy skating roster then two of your top guns drop in the matter of 20 minutes.

Sometimes it’s hard not to believe this team is cursed.

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The Pronger Is Pissed

In the wake of his new team losing 5 of their last 6 games, Chris Pronger today made some candid comments to CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio. In the interview the former cup winner, gold medalist and captain of two NHL clubs stated his awkward position of not wanting to step on Mike Richards toes, aswell as his frustration over the teams recent performance.

I plucked some interesting quotes below but  here is the full link

“He hasn’t asked me for any help,” Pronger said of Richards. “I’ve been in his shoes. It’s not [bleeping] easy. The expectations are high on him and on the team. We’re not playing to the best of our abilities, and a lot of that gets shouldered by the captain.

“Sometimes it’s fair and just and sometimes it’s not, and it’s hard to deal with that, especially at [his] age. You’re trying to figure out yourself. At 24, some kids are coming out of college, business school, some don’t even have a job at 24.”

“[Richards] hasn’t come to me [to] ask me anything, and it’s delicate because at the end of the day, it’s his team,” Pronger said. “He’s the captain. He needs to show the rest of the players that it is his team. I don’t want to be the guy that has to stand up every day and tell ourselves to look into the mirror and play better and all this stuff.

“I don’t know if he is ‘rah-rah’ type or talkative type. It is a difficult tightrope to walk. I don’t want to step on his toes. Maybe he is evaluating. You can’t just jump into a situation and ranting and raving without understanding what has gone on here in the past, as well.

“He’s been here four years and sees how things have progressed from being a s—-y team to a pretty good team, to having even higher expectations. I would think he has a better read on some of these guys than I do.

“I think Homer is right. [Richards] has to trust his instincts that got him to where he is at. That is something you learn early on. Especially, when you struggle to play the game sometimes, which we all do.”

Pronger said if Richards is questioning his own instincts, “if he’s already at that point, then I think we’ll see something within the next few days. If he’s trying to trust his gut or ask for help. I know Homer has talked to him”

“The expectations are high, you want to accept that challenge and embrace it and overcome it, but there is the idea you want it too badly or push it too much,” Pronger said. “You try too hard to score a goal when the simple play is to throw if off the goalie’s pads and the teammate who’s driving the net, bangs it in. Little things like that get lost in the shuffle of what you are doing. … You try to make the game more difficult than it is.”

Coach John Stevens has emphasized that the effort is there but not the results.

“It’s not like we’re not working hard or just out there bleeping around,” Pronger added. “We’re not putting the puck in the net. Little things like that, sometimes, you over-evaluate and over-analyze things. The simplest thing is to take a step back and look at it from a simple perspective.”

“How could we have won that game in Atlanta?” Pronger asked. “Could it have been that [3-minute] power play? Absolutely! Could it have been not to take that bleeping penalty-and go down 5-on-3? Absolutely! How about scoring some goals 5-on-5?

“Instead of Richie one-timing it and instead of [the puck] going into the corner, maybe it goes off his mask into the net? There’s a lot of different things. If you want to analyze, there are 10, 12, 15 things that happen in the course of a game that could change a game and have it go either way.”

“When you are not playing as well as we had been, and playing like crap on that road trip and losing and losing and then you are starting to come out of it, and playing a little bit better, you are still going to lose coming up that slope.”

“We’re losing games we should win right now, but hopefully, we’re over the crest, we can see the top and start scoring some goals and win,” he said.

“We need to make it [bleeping] happen on Thursday,” Pronger said. “It needs to [bleeping] happen now, so we can get over that hump and get this ship headed into the right direction.”

I could not be happier to read some of these comments from Pronger. Jeff Carter and Mike Richards the supposed “leaders” of this team are coming off of just a horrendous stretch of games in which the two have appeared absolutely listless in their play.

Always touted as a heart and soul grinder who is at his best when playing a simple hard-nosed style, Mike Richards has clearly over complicated his game. Blind centering passes and a lack of physical play have been his biggest offenses.

It’s time for this guy to step up and lead HIS team. He is no longer surrounded with just his drinking buddies, there are veterans around him in Pronger and Ian Laperriere who know what it takes to win and know how to lead. Turn it around or there might be a new captain way sooner than anyone expected.


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Flyers Training Camp Begins Sunday

pronger1

A newly acquired first ballot hall of famer, a second overall draft pick fighting for a roster spot and a new man between the pipes are just a few of the big stories to follow leading into the start of the Flyers 43rd season.

Flyers rookies and selected vets began their introductory camp on Monday, full camp starts this Sunday the 13th.

The most notable new face this fall is hulking defenseman Chris Pronger. The veteran leader was acquired on draft day from Anaheim in exchange for scoring winger Joffrey Lupul, top defense prospect Luca Sbisa and a combination of high draft picks. Pronger is an intimidating force on the back end which the Flyers lacked last season especially in the postseason. A 5 time all-star, Pronger has made 3 (soon to be 4) Olympic appearances for Canada. He was named league MVP in 2000 and in 2007 led the Mighty Ducks to a Stanley Cup victory.

Pronger paired with veteran Kimmo Timonen lead probably the deepest and most talented group of rear guards the Flyers have had in over 20 years.

With the departure of scoring forwards Mike Knuble and Joffrey Lupul, the team enters camp with an obvious hole at right wing. The competition for the spot is sure to be intense with top prospect James Van Riemsdyk battling 2nd year Phantoms’ Pat Maroon and Andres Nodl. It’s a critical camp for Van Riemsdyk as he is entering his first full professional season after two years at the University of New Hampshire. James has immense talent and great size but has been criticised for getting a reputation as a bit of a floater. At the World Junior Championships Van Riemsdyk mixed some invisible shifts with a highlight reel between the legs goal that gained some fame on youtube. He will make an impact for the Flyers this year but it may not be directly out of camp. I would expect 2 way forward Andreas Nodl to be the front runner for the spot.

james-vanriemsdyk-usa-264x300Between the legs OT winner against the Czech Republic

The Flyers announced yesterday they added defensive center and former Ranger Blair Betts to their camp roster.  Betts joins veteran Mark Bell on a non guaranteed try-out contract for camp. Bell, a former 25 goal scorer for the Blackhawks was convicted of  drunk driving in 2006. He rear ended a truck at a stop sign in California during labor day weekend. Bell walked away from the scene and was arrested shortly thereafter. He worked in a California prison over the summer of 2007 and was entered into the NHL’s substance abuse program which included him serving a 15 game suspension. Since the incident Bell has been sober. He played for the Leafs last season and appears to have turned his life around. Bell is a darkhorse to make the team.

“Now, every day I wake up I realize I’m living a dream. It’s taken a while for me to understand that. Now that I have, I’m going to grab it. My fun now is at the rink”.

Other vets hoping to land jobs with the big club are former first round picks Krystofer Kolanos, Lukas Kasper and former Swedish Elite leaguer Mika Pyorala.

Players to Watch

Claude Giroux: The Flyers top prospect flashed signs of his elite level vision and passing last season. Can he be a top liner this year?

James Van Riemsdyk: In his first full pro year will he make the impact we’ve been waiting for?

Ray Emery: The new man in the mask. Can the flashy net minder regain his ’06 form and lead the club to deep postseason success?

Kevin Marshall: With the departure of Luca Sbisa, the rugged Marshall steps into the position of the top defensive prospect for 2009.

Marc-Andre Bourdon: Arguably the top defenseman in the QMJHL last year, Bourdon has a booming shot and will be an exciting prospect for the Phantoms this upcoming year.

Nic Riopel: The late round June selection was named the QMJHL’s top player last season and enters his first pro season in competition for the Phantoms starting goaltending spot.

Johan Backlund: The 28yo swedish elite league vet came over on a 2-way deal and will probably end up in Glen Falls adjusting to the North American game.

Blair Betts: Big bodied veteran who is one of the top penalty killers in the league. Even though he is just in camp on a tryout flier, I would be shocked if he does not make the final roster as the 4th line center.

Riley Cote: The much maligned pugilist had a down year in ’08-’09. With the talented depth forwards in camp, will Riley’s fists be able to keep him on the NHL roster?

Below is a full listing of the training  camp roster…

Forwards: Arron Asham, Josh Beaulieu, Mark Bell, Rob Bellamy, Blair Betts, Danny Briere, Dan Carcillo, Jeff Carter, Matt Clackson, Riley Cote, Ryan Dingle, Simon Gagne, Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Jon Kalinski, Lukas Kaspar, Garrett Klotz, Krystofer Kolanos, David Labrecque, David Laliberte, Ian Laperriere, Patrick Maroon, Jon Matsumoto, Andreas Nodl, Darroll Powe, Mika Pyorala, Mike Richards, Zac Rinaldo, Jared Ross, Tomas Sinisalo, Mike Thomas, Jason Ward, James van Riemsdyk.

Defensemen: Oskars Bartulis, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Matt Carle, Braydon Coburn, Sean Curry, Tyler Hostetter, Randy Jones, Joonas Lehtivuori, Kevin Marshall, Joey Mormina, Ryan Parent, Chris Pronger, Michael Ratchuk, David Sloane, Logan Stephenson, Danny Syvret, Kimmo Timonen, Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, Eric Wellwood, Brennan Yadlowski.

Goalies: Johan Backlund, Brian Boucher, Jacob DeSerres, Ray Emery, Adam Morrison, Nic Riopel, Michael Teslak.

BOLD = Expected to make roster

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