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01-05-2004, 11:53 AM
  #1
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Article from Spector's site

Just wondering what everyone's opinion is after you read this article:

ALONG THE BOARDS
By John Saquella.


FADING FLYERS

The Flyers were the beasts of the East. The forwards, while not reaching former heights, were playing great all around. Scoring depth was all the rage and each line contributed in it's own end.

The defense didn't suffer from the breakdowns. Rookies Joni Pitkanen and Jim Vandermeer were handling their responsibilities. Kim Johnsson looked to be taking a big step forward, Marcus Ragnarsson was the same reliable guy he had been before hurting his shoulder last year.

The ragtag goaltending tandem of Jeff Hackett and Robert Esche was rolling along like a well oiled machine. The special teams were both in the top ten. They reeled off 13 and 5 game unbeaten streaks.

Then came a night in New Jersey. Hackett's coach and four turned into a pumpkin and mice when a 105 foot dump-in by the Devils' Scott Niedermayer found the back of the net. The Flyers used grit to tie the game, but Hackett lost his next five decisions.

Worse, Esche hurt his groin and after an aborted return against the Islnaders has not been as consistent. The power play has been feast(like against St Louis, where it went 5 for 8) or famine. The penalty killing has dropped from 1st overall to 15th.

The defensive zone coverage has been horrid, and even the veterans are making rookie mistakes. The forwards have looked more like the team that scored three goals against Ottawa in the 2002 playoffs than group with five former 30+ goal scorers.

Now a broken thumb has felled team captain Keith Primeau. So what's next?

How about a complete rebuilding process that will correct the mistakes made in trying to catch the Devils for the past decade?

For starters, GM Bob Clarke needs to drop the whole "it's just another position" idea about goaltending. Clarke is on record as saying the old Soviet teams proved that a great team can win with less than stellar goaltending. So, Clarke's thought is that Vladislav Tretiak is not a great goalie? That might go a long way to explaining the Flyers black hole in the crease since 1988.

When asked about goaltending, Clarke growls, "Martin Brodeur is not available" and repeats that his goalies are "as good as anybody else's". Well, I will try to name guys I'd rather have guarding my crease than Jeff Hackett or Robert Esche:

Roberto Luongo, Sean Burke, Olaf Kolzig, Curtis Joseph, Jose Theodore, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Marty Turco, Mikka Kiprusoff, Evegeni Nabokov, Kevin Weekes, Nikolai Khabibulin, Ed Belfour(yeah I was wrong), Patrick Lalime and Tomas Vokoun.

Clarke has set the Devils as his "Great White Whale", yet tries to catch them using tired old methods. I think the way to REALLY catch the Devils is to emulate them. Address the net properly and finally. If that means giving up a King's ransom for Luongo or Theodore then do it.

Then build out from that. Load up on hardworking defensemen, whose main attribute is not making dumb plays. They don't all have to be Nik Lidstrom with the puck or hit like Chris Pronger. There's a few good building blocks in place in Eric Desjardins, Johnsson, Vandermeer and Pitkanen. But guys like Chris Therien and Ragnarsson have to be shown the door.

Scale down the forward ranks of 30+ guys past their prime. There is good, young talent on hand, so use the savings on cutting loose guys like John LeClair to get them locked up with long term deals. Ask other key veterans, who can still be valuable(Primeau, Jeremy Roenick, Sami Kapanen, Mark Recchi) to renegotiate their deals to smaller money. If they refuse, thank them and move on.

There's an excellent head coach and staff in place, some really good young players and prospects(Canada WJC crunch time forward Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, as well as AHLers Dennis Seidenberg and Antero Niittymaki) who make the future look exciting. So, start the process now. As configured, this team is cannon fodder for New Jersey, Toronto or Ottawa in the playoffs-unless the effort improves and the play gets smarter in a hurry.


Last edited by swflyers8*: 01-05-2004 at 11:58 AM.
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Old
01-05-2004, 12:02 PM
  #2
Teezax
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It's nothing we already didn't know. As far as giving up a farm to land an elite goaltender, I don't know if i'd approach that avenue yet. But letting go of the high priced veterans is a must. We will be fine at the Center position for awhile, defence nedds a couple add ons through the next couple of years after we ditch Weinrich Therien Ragnarrson. Until we get the goalie we've been longing for, I don't see us winning the cup.

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01-05-2004, 12:03 PM
  #3
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Hogwash. All the talent is there. The one thing this team lacks is backbone. They don't have enough players who will do what it takes to win. I'm sorry, but it happens every year in the playoffs. Until someone on this team finally decides to take charge and be a real leader, this team will always be mediocre. Yeah, they'll tear it up in the regular season, but when it's either crunch time or a pivotal game, they pack it up and disappear. You can change the goalies all you want, you can trade for all the top players, but unless you don't have someone who is a true leader on the team, the team won't go far.

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01-05-2004, 01:57 PM
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyersFan10
Hogwash. All the talent is there. The one thing this team lacks is backbone. They don't have enough players who will do what it takes to win. I'm sorry, but it happens every year in the playoffs. Until someone on this team finally decides to take charge and be a real leader, this team will always be mediocre. Yeah, they'll tear it up in the regular season, but when it's either crunch time or a pivotal game, they pack it up and disappear. You can change the goalies all you want, you can trade for all the top players, but unless you don't have someone who is a true leader on the team, the team won't go far.
Go watch a football game if you want that ra-ra ********.

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01-05-2004, 02:00 PM
  #5
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Beat the Devils by trying to be like the Devils. lol. Stupid article.

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01-05-2004, 05:08 PM
  #6
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Spector's is a brutal site. Just brutal. They'll post just about any trade rumor, and their hockey writing is tired and generally pretty inane.

The Flyers should look to unburden themselves from some of their veteran contracts? Wow! How insightful! It's not like Flyers fans haven't been saying THAT for the last three years!

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01-05-2004, 07:27 PM
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blah
Go watch a football game if you want that ra-ra ********.
It's not an issue of ra-ra ******** knutsack. I've never said we needed a cheerleader. The team lacks a Tocchet-type player. Don't give me that crap either that Roenick, Amonte, Recchi, LeClair, Williams, Gagne are all Tocchet-esque players. They aren't. We need some forwards who play with fearless abandon, won't take other teams crap when our best players are getting run at, and can score that timely goal. No one on this roster right now is capable of that. So, before you jump all over me, yet again, make sure that you clearly read what I post and then make your stupid comments, jackass.

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01-05-2004, 08:32 PM
  #8
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I like how the author followed "Eric Desjardins is a building block" with "they need to get rid of the 30+ year-old forwards." I really like Desjardins, and think he's vital to the current team's success, but I don't know that he qualifies as a building block (understatement alert!). His idea about letting LeClair go is a great idea. Somebody ought to alert Clarke. He probably never thought of it.

"Dickie Dunn wrote this, so it's gotta be true!" - Reg Dunlop

(Well, I understand it's just an op piece, but it would be nice to temper passion with a little bit of reality. Or actual real-world knowledge for that matter.)

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01-05-2004, 08:40 PM
  #9
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One player who I would like to acquire (who would likely be available) is Ian Laperriere. He's the type of guy who we need and would be clutch in the playoffs. That's one thing we're missing now that we had in the past, big game players, guys like Brind' Amour, Klatt, and Podein. I really don't see any clutch players like them, Recchi is the closest (IMO), but he's a 1st/2nd liner and is expected to score, I'm talking more about the 3rd/4th line role players. Laperriere would also add quite a bit of intensity, something I think this club lacks. On most nights (consistently), the only players who show a real high level of intensity, IMO, are Williams and Fedoruk.

My want list:
Ian Laperriere
Scott Thornton
Curtis Brown
Stu Barnes
Trent Klatt
Scott Walker (won't be traded, unfortunately)

As you can see, I don't think we need another scorer, we have enough already, we need another character player who CAN play.

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01-05-2004, 08:40 PM
  #10
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Sorry, I just can't help myself. This is a real gem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Saquella
Scale down the forward ranks of 30+ guys past their prime. There is good, young talent on hand, so use the savings on cutting loose guys like John LeClair to get them locked up with long term deals. Ask other key veterans, who can still be valuable(Primeau, Jeremy Roenick, Sami Kapanen, Mark Recchi) to renegotiate their deals to smaller money. If they refuse, thank them and move on.
I think this is my favorite paragraph. Saquella has some great ideas here, most nobably the suggested threat to the veterans. I am certain the NHLPA would love to have their clients renegotiate their guaranteed contracts for less money. They'll probably even volunteer to do it.

Signing a bunch of people to long-term deals is a great idea. Well, I suppose one might say that it would be utterly foolish, considering nobody really knows what the post-CBA landscape will look like, but Clarke just always threaten the younger guys like it was suggested he should the veterans. Done and done!

Of course, no article is complete without a visit to the Magic Goaltending Tree.

Double my IQ or no money back? Well, uh, all right!

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01-05-2004, 08:49 PM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyers guy
As you can see, I don't think we need another scorer, we have enough already, we need another character player who CAN play.
I agree with you, FG. I think your list contains the kind of player the Flyers will pick up near the deadline. When you look at their roster, it's clear that unless somebody is lost for the season, it's at forward that a little added depth wouldn't hurt. They're plenty fast; having a guy that can play in the corners and in front of the net would be nice. If whomever can be effective as Grant Marshall has been in New Jersey, it will be a good acquisition.

During an intermission of the Isles home game a few weekends ago, Wayne Fish reported that Clarke said he had the finances to "make an addition at the deadline." I take that mean somebody who can be had for non-roster players and someone not requiring a long-term financial investment (i.e., an impending unrestricted free agent).

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01-06-2004, 02:09 AM
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanley
His idea about letting LeClair go is a great idea. Somebody ought to alert Clarke. He probably never thought of it.
They could deal Johnny to DET for CuJo. The Wings have been holding back Hasek's return to showcase Joseph and prove he still can help a team win. Hmmmmm......two players making approximately the same, being shopped for salary dumps, and not being moved. And CuJo, playing a vital position we need help at.........interesting, eh!

Never been a huge Joseph fan, but he would represent a nice upgrade in a position that will surely be our downfall if left status quo.

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01-06-2004, 02:58 AM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSeeker
They could deal Johnny to DET for CuJo. The Wings have been holding back Hasek's return to showcase Joseph and prove he still can help a team win. Hmmmmm......two players making approximately the same, being shopped for salary dumps, and not being moved. And CuJo, playing a vital position we need help at.........interesting, eh!

Never been a huge Joseph fan, but he would represent a nice upgrade in a position that will surely be our downfall if left status quo.
I really don't think it would be much of an upgrade. While Cujo has more playoff experience, he hasn't won anything!

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01-06-2004, 03:53 AM
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Does the author expect the Flyers to buy-out everyone over 30? How, exactly, does that help anything?

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01-06-2004, 04:15 AM
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyersFan10
It's not an issue of ra-ra ******** knutsack. I've never said we needed a cheerleader. The team lacks a Tocchet-type player. Don't give me that crap either that Roenick, Amonte, Recchi, LeClair, Williams, Gagne are all Tocchet-esque players. They aren't. We need some forwards who play with fearless abandon, won't take other teams crap when our best players are getting run at, and can score that timely goal. No one on this roster right now is capable of that. So, before you jump all over me, yet again, make sure that you clearly read what I post and then make your stupid comments, jackass.
E A G L E S, EAGLES!

Can we get Broduer in the same deal for that Tocchet-type player? Maybe a three way deal if need be.

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01-06-2004, 04:23 AM
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I suppose, by your indirect criticism, that you have a better suggestion than FlyersFan10's?

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01-06-2004, 04:35 AM
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That's like saying we need a Patrick Roy type player in his prime. Do you know of any players who can average a ppg while still spending 2-4 mpg in the box? The only players I can think of who are remotely close are Shanahan and maybe Nolan. Plus, I don't think we think need that type of player. We have plenty of players who can fight, check, etc.., and I like my scorers on the ice not in the box.

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01-06-2004, 04:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blah
That's like saying we need a Patrick Roy type player in his prime.
What did FlyersFan10 say to warrant that comparison?
Quote:
Originally Posted by blah
Do you know of any players who can average a ppg while still spending 2-4 mpg in the box?
He basically said we need a tough, clutch player, not someone to take penalties.(e.g. Brind'Amour)
Quote:
We have plenty of players who can fight, check, etc..
Yet those attributes seem to fade come playoff time.


Last edited by BrindA17: 01-06-2004 at 04:57 AM.
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01-06-2004, 04:57 AM
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrindA17
What did he say to warrant that comparison?
A Tocchet type player.
Quote:
He basically said we need a tough, clutch player, not someone to take penalties.(e.g. Brind'Amour)
Name one player like Brindy who is available. Seems kind of unrealistic. Somebody who can score, check, and fight seems like a player Clarke would target(e.g. Iginla).
Quote:
Yet those attributes seem to fade come playoff time.
As does the goaltending and goal scoring.

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01-06-2004, 05:50 AM
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teezax
It's nothing we already didn't know. As far as giving up a farm to land an elite goaltender, I don't know if i'd approach that avenue yet. But letting go of the high priced veterans is a must. We will be fine at the Center position for awhile, defence nedds a couple add ons through the next couple of years after we ditch Weinrich Therien Ragnarrson. Until we get the goalie we've been longing for, I don't see us winning the cup.
This is what I have been yelling for for years...rebulid

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01-06-2004, 06:13 AM
  #21
stanley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuiffitelli
This is what I have been yelling for for years...
You mean you were yelling about something??? I thought you were just yelling for no good reason at all. :-)

I don't know if I'd be using an article by this guy as supporting evidence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrindA17
Does the author expect the Flyers to buy-out everyone over 30?
Don't give him that much credit. He just said they should "cut loose" their veterans. He didn't really give a method, but rather suggested Clarke just wave a magic wand and say "Poof! Be gone!" They have guaranteed contracts, but it's too bad the author was more interested in pushing an agenda than having it make sense.

Seeker,
I don't agree at all with your suggestion. LeClair is a very functional player, and they'd essentially be removing two players from their roster (LeClair and the goaltender who wouldn't play) to add Joseph. Cujo does nothing more for me than either of the Flyer goaltenders. I can't understand where the notion that he's an upgrade originated. I guess it's a matter of opinion.

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01-06-2004, 10:01 AM
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanley
I don't know if I'd be using an article by this guy as supporting evidence..

hehehehehe

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01-08-2004, 09:05 AM
  #23
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Leclair for Cujo

This deal would be smart. We can do without Leclair and his 9 goals. I love the guy but we have been lacking stellar goaltending since the early 80's. Don't mention Hextall because he was a fluke rookie. People were saying Belfour couldn't win and wouldn't amount to anything before he won with Dallas. Joseph hasn't one anyhting but he has far more potential then what we have now and what we have had for the last 20 years. It's a confidence game. Getting the players to believe in a goalie for once would be very smart. It's a pretty even trade in all aspects.

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01-10-2004, 03:42 AM
  #24
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Quote:
Seeker,
I don't agree at all with your suggestion. LeClair is a very functional player, and they'd essentially be removing two players from their roster (LeClair and the goaltender who wouldn't play) to add Joseph. Cujo does nothing more for me than either of the Flyer goaltenders. I can't understand where the notion that he's an upgrade originated. I guess it's a matter of opinion.
Understood, stan. As I mentioned, I am not much of a CuJo fan myself. I do, however, see him as a sizeable upgrade to Hackett. The problem I see is this.....even with the upgrade in goal, would we have a realistic chance to win the Cup with Joseph in goal? Probably not.

The suggestion for a LeClair-CuJo swap is a short-term one at best, and goes along with the "putting a band aid on the crease" theory I have about Clarke's past moves. As I mentioned in another thread, I'd love to see Clarke make a move for a goaltender they can build around for years to come.......a Luongo or Biron. But contrary to the GMs statements, something needs to be done with the goaltending situation, even if he can't get Brodeur.

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