Thursday, March 2

Comin around the stretch..

The Olympics are over, as you may or may not have noticed.

With everyone in the NHL having played 56-59 games, there are roughly 25 games left in the season. The Flyers are holding onto the 5th spot in the East, and with most of their players coming back from injuries (save Primeau, who I will get to shortly), they hope to move up and clinch a 2 or 3 spot. The trade deadline looms as well, and the Flyers have always been a team who makes adjustments at the deadline. So who we gonna get??

A short list of possibilities includes one Jeremey Roenick (who we basically rented to the Kings for that classic "player to be named later" AKA himself), Keith Tkachuk of the St. Louis Blues, and Olli Jokinen of the Florida Panthers. I think the clear best move is for Jokinen, by far the best of all available players, with the best contractual side effects. The Flyers have always moved to get playoff-experienced veterans before the deadline, and while Jokinen is young for an NHLer, and has virtually no playoff experience, he's by far the best player, with the most up-side. The point is this: the Flyers will definitely make a move.

The question is can they pull it all together in time for the playoffs. Having lost only 2 more games than the no. 1 team, with the deficit coming in overtime losses and shootout losses, you'd hope that much of the gap between them and the first spot can be attributed to the new end of game rules. Rules that will not continue in the playoffs, where it reverts to sudden death, endless overtime. If they are unable to secure a 2 or 3 seed for the playoffs, they will most likely face a team like Buffalo or Tampa Bay. Teams that are entirely beatable, but will take more than 4 games to defeat, and the NHL playoffs are all about sweeps.

So now we start sweating. And hoping for no more injuries. And sweating some more.


Hal said...

and growing beards

z said...

if you guys see my sabres in the playoffs, you're in trouble. ryan miller is the best young goalie in the league, and no one in the east has the same balance of all stars and grinders that buffalo does.

ah, i remember the last time the sabres faced the flyers in the playoffs. i printed a big t-shirt with the game 6 8-0 box score on the back, and a picture of keith primeau crying on the bench while a buffalo fan holds a giant sign behind his head against the glass: FLYERS, YOU ARE THE WEAKEST LINK. GOODBYE.

it was topical at the time.

anyway.. look for antero titticaca to choke down the stretch. you heard it here first. flyers end up the 6th seed.