Homer having another “D’oh!” moment

The boys over at Broad Street Hockey have just broken down exactly what happened with today’s roster moves, courtesy of general manager Paul Holmgren’s Knack for Finding the Biggest Bargain.

Here they are in a nutshell:

  • Chris Pronger was injured on Thursday night. As a precaution, he’ll be sitting out tonight’s game in Ottawa.
  • Erik Gustafsson was called up yesterday and will play in place of Pronger tonight. Also, Oskars Bartulis is apparently out for the season.
  • Defenseman Nick Boynton was claimed off of waivers today at 12 p.m.
  • Boynton’s addition gives the Flyers one extra player on the roster, meaning somebody has to go down. The Flyers opted to send James van Riemsdyk to the Phantoms to make the space.

So, there you have it. For tonight’s game against bottom-scraping Ottawa, the Flyers have a total of three components out of the lineup.

Ordinarily, it’s not my business to go carping at stuff that occurs with the team on a day-to-day basis because I like to take two steps back and observe how things play out over time, but certain moves that Homer makes really do stick in my craw in the short term.

If Gustafsson has been called up for Pronger, we’ll have to live with it. It’s just a less-talented body who is getting his crack at the Show against a lesser opponent. But then, Bartulis is out long term, and the Flyers go out and get Nick Boynton.

But alas! Boynton, acquired well before game-time, for whatever reason, can’t join the team — on a night when they have a game. Still, the fact that he was acquired means someone else has to go on the chopping block and that’s another player whose body can not, by NHL law, be replaced in the lineup by a corresponding call-up.

<Hangs head low, holding palm across forehead>

BSH is correct. These moves make sense because they are in line with the daily salary cap demands/roster space issues the Flyers have. Nobody sent down has to clear waivers to come back up and they’re not over the daily cap allotment. I have no qualms with that side of the issue or the presentation of such.

But taking a step back from the nuts and bolts, you have to ask yourselves why the club still has to constantly make weird, random sudden actions just to counteract something that is a benefit?

To me, this is all just another sprouted branch of the tree Holmgren planted when he was asked to dig the franchise out of that DFL finish in the Summer of 2007.

This is not to say that other teams don’t ever have salary cap issues because the system requires constant vigilance to balance things, but I haven’t seen one other club yet with such a consistently maddening string of point/counterpoint tinkering with the roster stemming from one large original mess.

Maybe after I take a deep breath I should be happy that he’s worked it down to only this instead of having to jettison R.J. Umberger and Mike Knuble over larger cap problems.

Sure, JVR will be back tomorrow! Boynton will also arrive here in less than 24 hours! But the area between my pounding temples screams out:


This whole thing leaves me with more questions. Like, who takes the spots vacated by Bartulis and JVR? OK, there’s Carcillo/Shelley and there’s the supposedly redeemed Nik Zherdev. But there’s not another defenseman on the list? Why do they want to go with five plus a new guy even for one game? Isn’t that tempting fate a bit, though less than rolling with five back there?

Can anyone realistically say that the ability to input two fourth-liners and an almost-disappeared supposed head-case in exchange for a Number One defenseman, a strong and speedy 2nd-line forward and a solid 7th D-man is a case for true depth?

We’ll find out in less than one hour. I have a sinking suspicion that the mix Peter Laviolette throws out there might not be good enough to counteract a Senators team so far out of contention that they gain super strength from playing the role of spoiler.