“The morning after” is a review of the previous night’s Flyers’ game which, in theory, provides a more objective perspective on the game.
The Flyers celebrated their first regulation win of the preseason last night. It was the second consecutive game that did not go to a shootout. Whew.
The team faced off against the New York Islanders, who were playing their first game of the preseason. This was an expected win for the Flyers, as the Islanders dressed many of their prospects.
Perhaps the biggest story of the night was that Ville Leino, Blair Betts, and Johan Backlund returned to the roster. Only Backlund, who served as the backup to Sergei Bobrovsky, did not play.
Leino was impressive in his return, notching two assists and a +2 in 14:02 of ice time.
Betts had plenty of opportunities to practice his penalty killing skills, as the endless parade of Flyers to the penalty box remained constant throughout the game. He played a majority of his time on the ice in shorthanded situations (7:20) and blocked a shot from the point on the first kill of the game.
Erik Gustafsson and Marc-Andre Bourdon showed once again that they are poised for a strong year and deserving of a shot in the NHL. Bourdon was gritty and tough to go up against. Gustafsson, meanwhile, is beginning to look like a young Kimmo Timonen. He may be small but he’s a smart, smooth-skating defender who can play well in any situation. He played a whopping 20:52 of the game.
Bill Guerin, Ben Holmstrom, and Mike Testwuide were noticeably absent from the lineup last night. With the return of Leino and Betts, Holmstrom and Testwuide will likely be victims of a numbers game and returned to the Phantoms.
Paul Holmgren suggested that the Guerin situation would play itself out over the next few days. He hasn’t seemed all that impressed with the play of the veteran Stanley Cup winner, who suffered a minor injury in the previous game. This could all be a negotiating ploy to get Guerin to sign for less but it seems more likely that Guerin’s absence foreshadows the end of his tryout with the Flyers.*
*EDIT: I should probably clarify this last sentence. Guerin is out because he is injured. I am not insinuating they’ve let him go just yet. Despite all of Guerin’s positives, I don’t think he’s won anyone over and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this situation quietly fizzle out.