New Jersey Devils have eliminated the Philadelphia Flyers and await the conclusion of the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals series. Game six is Wednesday night. The Rangers lead the series 3-2 and will be looking to finish the Caps off.
The Flyers headed into the season as a heavily favored Cup contender. An early second round defeat is disappointing for sure. Where should the blame fall? The knee jerk reaction is Ilya Bryzgalov. He was brought in in the off season to finally put an end to decades of inadequate gaoltending in Philadelphia. He has failed to live up to expectations all season long and a playoff performance of 11 games played five wins, six losses, 3.48 GAA, and a save percentage of .887 is simply not good enough. Not to mention the $15 million signing bonus o his nine year $5.67 million contract. Garry Galley mentioned during the CBC broadcast of game five, that you can not allow three goals every game and expect to win. Your goalie has to have a game or two where he allows only a goal or posts a shut out to go the distance in the playoffs.
Clearly Bryzgalov owns some blame for the Flyers failure, but he is not alone. The Flyers lost four straight games after winning game one in over time. In the final four games, only six players had two points or more. Daniel Briere lead the Flyers with three points, and Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux, and Max Talbot each only had two points. Held to a single point were Jaromir Jagr, Matt Read, James Van Riemsdyk, and Kimmo Timonen. A failure to produce significant offense is a shared responsibility throughout the line up.
The main issue the stood out to me was the Flyers inability to transition the puck up the ice. It is hard to create offense and maintain pressure if you are struggling to move the puck through the neutral zone. Give credit to the Devils who played a sound team defense, but the Flyers were sorely missing a player who could make lead passes, or carry the puck.
One player who was missing that would have made a massive difference is Chris Pronger. The grizzled Flyers vet and captain would have been such a difference maker.
Justin Johnson has a good read on the Flyers Elimination on The hockey Writers here.
Given Jagr's uninspiring playoff performance he could be let go as a unrestricted free agent this summer. Pavel Kubina who was a healthy scratch at times will most certainly be let go as he and Matt Carle are also UFA's Jakub Voracek impressed and may assume some of the cap room freed up by Jagr as Voracek is a RFA.
Erik Gustafsson was a silver lining in the playoffs as his play impressed and continued to improve. His emergence has ensured he will inherit the ice time from the departure of Kubina and Matt Carle who are UFA's and if Kimmo Timonen who is 37 in the final year of his contract may begin to see reduced ice time.
Make a mental note of Erik Gustafsson for your fantasy draft for next season as he could be a solid sleeper pick.
Moments after the Phoenix Coyotes eliminated the Nashville Predators the Los Angeles Kings official twitter account immediately tweeted directly to the Coyotes twitter account "Bring it on"
Nashville Predators forward Craig Smith was added to the American World Championship team following the Preds elimination.
Injury Updates: Ryan Kessler of the Vancouver Canucks underwent shoulder surgery and will be out six months. He will miss the first month of the regular season and be available in November.
Marek Zidlicky left the game in the third period and did not return after he took a massive hit from Wayne Simmonds. Zidlicky was bent over in the corner when Simmonds finished his hit.
Mattias Ohlund of the Tampa Bay Lightning missed significant time with a knee injury. Reports yesterday he may retire as a result are unconfirmed. Ohlund has four years left on his contract with a cap hit of $3.607 million.
Plenty of rumors have linked Ryan Suter to the Detroit Red Wings as a UFA signing this summer. Andrew Johnson has a great read here at the Hockey Writers on the subject, suggesting the future of Nicklas Lidstrom and his potential return are the Red Wings greatest leverage to lure Suter to sign.
Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry allegedly had a late night altercation with Finnish fans at a night club in Finland. Leafs GM Brian Burke who is in Finland as GM of team USA came to the defense of Getzlaf saying he saw him in their hotel and they had a brief pleasant conversation and that Getzlaf was not intoxicated. Read the article at The Edmonton Sun here.
Damien Cox of the Toronto Sun gives a prospect update on Leafs first round pick Stuart Percy and is encouraged by the Leafs managing of Percy by not rushing the prospect into professional hockey too fast. Read the article here
I often look to the AHL playoffs for future fantasy sleeper picks. Some players standing out this year include Jerry D'Amigo from the Marlies. D'Amigo has eight points in seven games. Other rookies in the AHL making an impression include Alex Kilorn (Norfolk Admirals/Tampa Bay) 10 points in eight games, Marek Hrivik ( Connecticut Whalers/Rangers) eight points in seven games, Tyler Pitlick (Oklahoma/Edmonton) seven points in seven games and Matt Frattin (Toronto) six points in seven games. Eric Tangradi (Wilkes-Barrie/Pittsburgh) is also impressing with seven points in eight games. Many of these forwards could be available even in deep fantasy leagues and could be worth an investment.
In goal, Ben Scrivens of the Toronto Marlies/Leafs has emerged as a solid fantasy player. He has won three straight games against the Abbotsford Heat and allowed only one goal in each game, despite facing 95 shots! Scrivens has a 1.58 GAA, and a save percentage of .945 with a 6 - 1 record. Scrivens is a RFA For more on Scrivens click here
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