- After the Minnesota Wild signed both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, a trend became apparent: small-market teams were spending big money while traditional big spenders remained relatively quiet. At first, this seemed to be because teams like the Flyers and Rangers were not only making big bids for the aforementioned All-Stars but were also tied up in trade talks for Rick Nash and Bobby Ryan. Now that the Collective Bargaining Agreement talks are underway, one has to wonder if the owners of big-market teams kept GMs on a short leash to see how the negotiations played out.
- Last offseason, many writers thought there might be a lockout next season. That sentiment dissipated as the season got underway on but, now that NHL owners fired their opening salvo, those fears are back. In February, we asked some prominent bloggers for their thoughts on the matter. As it turns out, a lockout might not only turn fans away but some good blogs might close up shop as well.
- Although I certainly do not have any inside news on the matter, I have had discussions with people tied to the NHL in varying capacities and they have all mentioned that they were “preparing for a lockout”. This may just be standard operating procedure but it certainly does not inspire confidence. Of course, it’s worth reiterating that I’m not an insider and it’s not like I’m having discussions with Ed Snider, Donald Fehr, or Gary Bettman. Nevertheless, another lockout is a realistic possibility.
- From discussions I have had with other bloggers, I tend to agree with the sentiment that a full season will not be lost like it was in 2004-05. Instead, there could be a shortened season, not unlike the 2011-12 NBA season or 1995 in the NHL.
- If there is indeed a lockout, I wonder how this will reflect upon Comcast-Spectacor’s decision to sell the Philadelphia Phantoms. Although three full seasons passed the Phantoms moved to Glens Falls, fans might express some very delayed outrage at both Comcast-Spectacor and Xfinity Live!
- It’s worth noting that the last time there was a lockout, Philadelphia was named the best hockey city by The Sporting News because of the way fans supported the Phantoms, a team that went on to win the Calder Cup that season.
- By my count, seven people from the ’05 Phantoms team went on to be a part of teams that won the Stanley Cup.
- Teaser: Flyers Faithful won’t let a season go without hockey. More to come on that topic soon after we work out some of the details. This undertaking is pretty big in scope but promises to be a lot of fun.
- As pointed out by Bob H, yesterday marked the 13th anniversary of Gene Hart’s death. Back in February, I talked with Scoop Cooper, who is collaborating on the documentary, ”Gene Hart: The Movie”. We discussed both Hart and the film at length but agreed to revisit the topic for an article when the movie was closer to completion. It will be a must-see for both nostalgic longtime fans and younger fans who never experienced the joy of listening to Hart do a live broadcast on radio or television.
- There is still plenty of time between now and the time the puck is first dropped on the next NHL season. A lot can change. As things currently stand, though, it feels odd and surprisingly uncomfortable to see the Flyers with roster spots to fill and cap space to spare, like seeing a kid with a pack of matches.
- I have always been of the mindset that the Flyers should keep spots open on the roster that would allow prospects to develop. There is plenty of room on offense for prospects to come into their own. At the same time, the Flyers could benefit from signing another top-line winger to round out Giroux’s line.
- The situation is drastically different on defense. Too many players are set to compete for time on the third pairing, including veterans Andreas Lilja and Bruno Gervais. Why not leave room for Erik Gustafsson, Marc-Andre Bourdon, and any other number of defensive prospects to prove whether or not they can develop into viable NHL regulars?
- Last year, I was able to attend prospect camp for the first time and came away with a feeling shared by Travis Hughes: seeing a prospect at rookie camp is not a very good way to gauge his potential. Take, for example, some observations made from that camp: Harry Zolnierczyk was invisible, Sean Couturier could benefit from another year in Juniors, and Luke Pither, Shane Harper, and Zac Rinaldo all showed impressive offensive flair. One of the problems is that a player’s observable abilities is somewhat relative to the players surrounding him. This is especially true this year, when the Flyers have no notable prospects. Any player who stands out at this prospect camp may seem intriguing but there’s a good chance that player may not even have the skill to be an elite AHLer.
- I owe a lot of people a great deal of thanks for the hard work that they put in to helping us raise $6,722 for the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation at our fundraisers this year. I will express my gratitude as well as I can soon. Next Saturday, I am meeting with the Director of Development from Snider Hockey to begin working out details for next season’s events. We will also post a lessons learned article from the mistakes we made this season and ask for your feedback.
- Soon, we will begin planning our first-ever hockey-themed art show, to be held at Jinxed at the Piazza in Northern Liberties. We will have a date and some details on that shortly.