- The power play has the potential to be lethal, especially once Chris Pronger and his booming shot are back on the point.
- When Jaromir Jagr was signed, I balked at his contract, even though I expected 60-70 points from him. Now that I see the chemistry he has with Claude Giroux and how much he can help the powerplay, $3.3 million seems reasonable.
- I’m willing to admit that I jumped the gun, expressing concern about the penalty killing unit when players like Mike Richards and Darroll Powe left town. I don’t expect the PK to be as good as it has so far but it should be much improved from last season.
- The offensive lines are taking shape and, unlike last season, players will be in their natural positions:
- van Riemsdyk – Giroux – Jagr
- Hartnell – Briere – Voracek
- Read – Schenn – Simmonds
- Talbot – Betts – Nodl/Rinaldo
- I haven’t seen much from Ilya Bryzgalov yet that would justify his contract but it’s just the preseason. There’s plenty of time for him to prove himself. You know, like 9 seasons.
- HBO is going to make bank off of 24/7 this year. Wow.
- Like last season, we will be doing an NHLE post. This will help us figure out what to expect from some of the new players. (Geoff Detweiler says to expect 32 points over 82 games from Matt Read.)
The NHL’s new discipline czar is certainly making his presence felt by handing out a number of lengthy suspensions during the preseason, including a 10-game suspension for Jody Shelley as well as a suspension for James Wisniewski that will last the remainder of the preseason and eight regular season games — 12 games in all. It will also cost him nearly $537K. Ouch. Tom Sestito is likely to feel Shanny’s wrath as well.
Some people are grumbling that Shanahan has gone too far and a few folks are already deeming his reign to be worse than that of Colin Campbell. Personally, I like what Shanahan has done. He’s provided two key elements that have been lacking from the department of discipline: transparency and consistency.
If the league really wants to get rid of these dangerous, defenseless hits, then substantial and consistent penalties need to be assessed. He’s sending a strong message and I think it will have a greater impact on curbing these hits than any measures previously taken.
What Wayne Simmonds said to Sean Avery was a unique matter insofar as it is simultaneously unacceptable and accepted. It is a rather complex issue and not as clear cut as some are making it seem.
He was absolutely wrong for saying what he did. At the same time, the fact is that players say these things on the ice all the time (which doesn’t make it right, of course). It’s part of creating a hostile environment for the opponent and that is an area in which Sean Avery excels.
After all, Avery allegedly called Georges Laraques a monkey, said that he was going to “f*cking kill Claude Giroux” and told Simmonds to “go f*ck yourself” last night. We’re talking about someone who earns his paycheck by bringing out the absolute worst in people. Simmonds also said that Avery called him something upsetting but refused to elaborate, as opposed to Avery, who decided to discuss Simmonds’ slur with the media.
This isn’t a he said, she said debate, though. It’s about the fact that Simmonds was caught on TV calling Avery a homophobic slur. The truth is, I’ve heard that word used many times both at NHL rinks and on TV feeds and most likely so have you. Simmonds did nothing that hasn’t been done before, which means the problem is much greater than this isolated instance. It’s a problem with the culture.
Technically, players can be given an unsportsmanlike conduct minor for using profane language but most of these instances are overlooked. Even if they were penalized, a two-minute trip to the box is probably not strong enough a deterrent to stop players from saying such things.
According to Bob McKenzie, Simmonds may receive a fine of up to $2,500 for his actions. It may get bigger than that, though, as GLAAD has contacted both the NHL and the Flyers about taking action against Simmonds, according to Katie Strang. This has the potential to either get out of hand or actually affect change in the league.
If the NHL chooses to make an example of Simmonds and then consistently exacts the same measure of discipline with each player who exhibits comparable behavior, then I applaud the league’s decision. Otherwise, this is just a lame example of moral relativism.
Schenn left last night’s game against the Rangers with an upper-body injury. Paul Holmgren said the injury was nothing serious. However, Schenn did not practice today and he may not play in the next preseason game. He is an important part of the future for the Flyers. The team is going to take every precaution possible to make sure he’s healthy. There’s no reason for Holmgren to lie about his health in the preseason but there’s also no reason to push him. Letting Schenn rest and take the time he needs to get back to 100% is the right move.
A few months ago, I asked Rich Hammond, of LA Kings Insider, if there was any reason the Flyers should be concerned about Schenn’s health, given the injuries he suffered in the last few years. He said, “I don’t think Schenn is seen as being any more injury-prone than the average player, and that had nothing to do with him being traded.”
It is time to show more restraint
Tom Sestito currently leads the league with 31 penalty minutes in three games. Jody Shelley has 22 PIMs in 1 game. The Flyers are tied for fifth in the league with five fights. A quick recap of the box scores shows the Flyers have amassed 109 PIMs as well as two game misconducts and one 10-game suspension with at least one other possible suspension still pending in five preseason games. The Flyers are averaging 21.8 penalty minutes per game.