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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Series Notes - Philadelphia Flyers

Here are some interesting notes on the Philadelphia Flyers.  

On The Shelf
With the injuries to center Jeff Carter and winger Simon Gagne, the Flyers are losing major firepower.  Carter has led the team in goals the past two seasons (46 and 33) and Gagne is their active leader in career goals (259).  Both players underwent foot surgery last week and are not expected to play in the second round of the playoffs. The Flyers literally shot themselves in the foot this time. 

  #17 Jeff Carter         #12 Simon Gagne

Flyers winger Ian Laperriere made a Quintin Laing-type play by blocking a shot with his face.  He is likely gone for the remainder of the playoffs.  He was one of their best penalty killers, something Philly desperately needs against the Capitals. 

#14 Ian Laperriere

City of Brotherly Love
-Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger's older brother Sean played 274 NHL games, his last coming in 2003-04 with the Vancouver Canucks as a teammate of Capitals center Brendan Morrison.  Morrison also played with Chris Pronger last season in Anaheim. 

#20 Chris Pronger

Pronger (2000), Caps goalie Jose Theodore (2002), and Caps winger Alexander Ovechkin (2008, 2009) represent half of the six active Hart Memorial Trophy winners as the NHL MVP.  The other three are Martin St. Louis (2004), Joe Thornton (2006), and Sidney Crosby (2007)

-Flyers defenseman and Alaska native Matt Carle's younger brother David was a strong defenseman prospect expected to go high in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.  At the Draft Combine, he was diagnosed with a heart condition that forced him to retire from hockey.  While Matt was still a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2008, then-Bolts GM Brian Lawton drafted David Carle with the 7th round draft pick, 203rd overall, a classy move to make a good person's dream come true with the ninth to last pick in the draft.  They picked a player sure to never play an NHL game, just one pick ahead of the Capitals, who used the 204th pick in that draft to take little-known Barrie Colts winger Stefan Della Rovere

#25 Matt Carle

Speaking of bad drafting, of the 21 Flyers skaters to appear in the playoffs, only 7 were drafted by the Flyers, and two are injured.  Three of those seven are rookies David Laliberte, James Van Riemsdyk, and 2010 Olympian Oskars Bartulis

#3 Oskars Bartulis    #9 David Laliberte

Capitals right winger Mike Knuble played for the Flyers between 2005-06 and last season.  Even after playing there for four years, he played last season with just 13 of 22 members of their current roster.  The roster shakeup that forced Knuble out of Philadelphia was caused by the acquisition of defenseman Chris Pronger from Anaheim. While with the Flyers, Knuble scored the double-overtime game winner against the Washington Capitals in Game 4 of the 2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Local Boys
-Flyers rookie winger James Van Riemsdyk was born in Middletown, New Jersey, just 85 miles from Philadelphia.  He was drafted 2nd overall by the Flyers in 2007.

#21 James Van Riemsdyk

-Flyers center Darroll Powe played 4 years at Ivy League Princeton University, just 45 miles from Philly, where he majored in Sociology.  He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Flyers in April 2008. 

#36 Darroll Powe

-Capitals defenseman John Carlson grew up in Colonia, New Jersey, just 80 miles from Philadelphia. 

Welcome Back
Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher is in the first season of his second stint with the team.  Drafted by the Flyers with the 22nd overall pick in 1995, Boucher made his NHL debut in 1999-00 and made the All-Rookie team.  He proceeded to win 11 playoff games to get the Flyers to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final and he was on the ice for the Scott Stevens hit that effectively ended Eric Lindros's career.  He left for Phoenix in 2002 and played with current teammate Daniel Briere.  He set a modern-day NHL record with 5 consecutive shutouts with the Coyotes in 2003-04.  He also made stops in Calgary; Chicago; Columbus, where he was teammates with Capitals winger Jason Chimera in 2006-07; and San Jose, where he played with current teammate Matt Carle in 2007-08.  

#33 Brian Boucher

Old Friends
Flyers left winger Scott Hartnell and defenseman Kimmo Timonen have been playing together for the last decade.  Prior to joining the Flyers together in 2007-08, they were teammates for the 6 seasons before that with the Nashville Predators, beginning in Hartnell's rookie season of 2000-01.  During their stay with Nashville, they were teammates with Capitals winger Scott Walker until 2005-06.  Walker began playing with Timonen back in 1998-99, the first year of the Predators franchise. 

  #19 Scott Hartnell     #44 Kimmo Timonen

Old Enemies
-The Capitals faced the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2008 playoffs.  Only seven members of that team remain, not counting the injured Simon Gagne who was also injured in 2008.  Those seven (and their stats in that series) are:   team captain Mike Richards (7GP, 2-5-7), Kimmo Timonen (7GP, 0-4-4), Scott Hartnell (7GP, 1-1-2), Daniel Briere (7GP, 6-5-11), Braydon Coburn (7GP, 0-3-3), Ryan Parent (1GP), and the injured Jeff Carter (7GP, 3-1-4).

#18 Mike Richards    #77 Ryan Parent

By contrast, of the 21 Capitals to appear in that series, 15 are still on the team, and one, Steve Eminger, was traded to the Flyers.  

-Flyers center Blair Betts played against the Capitals with the New York Rangers in last year's playoffs.  He played 6 games with no points or penalties and a -1 rating. 

 #11 Blair Betts

You might also remember he was the guy Donald Brashear decked to earn himself a 5-game suspension. 

Brashear decking Betts

-Speaking of decking people, earlier this season on December 5th, Daniel Carcillo sucker-punched Capitals winger Matt Bradley and earned himself a 4-game suspension.

 #13 Daniel Carcillo

Carcillo decking Bradley

In actual fighting news, Matt Bradley fought Flyers winger Ian Laperriere back on October 6.

Laperriere vs. Bradley

Going back to December 2, 2006, Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin had a run-in with Daniel Briere, then co-captain of the Buffalo Sabres.  Briere had his sissy payback the next time the two teams played. 

#48 Daniel Briere

Ovechkin decks Briere

Briere being a sissy

And who could forget Ville Leino's first career NHL goal in his first NHL game?  I was there on January 31, 2009, and it is burned in my memory.

#22 Ville Leino

Leino undresses the Capitals

Sin Bin Familiarity
The Philadelphia Flyers have 3 players with at least 1,000 Penalty Minutes in their NHL careers:  Chris Pronger (1,536), Scott Hartnell (1,001), and Ian Laperriere (1,956).  They also have two more players with more than 800, in Arron Asham (818) and Daniel Carcillo (859).  By contrast, after Scott Walker (1,156), only one Capital even has as many as 600 career PIM, John Erskine (630).  

Carcillo was 4th in the NHL in penalty minutes this season with 207.  Laperriere was 10th with 162.  Asham was 25th with 126.  The highest ranked Capital was Jason Chimera at 52nd with 98 PIM. 

The Philadelphia Flyers led the league this season in major penalties (80), total penalties (496), and were 2nd in penalty minutes (1,350).  The Capitals finished 27th (24), 20th (375), and 21st (920) in those categories. 

Old Teammates
Many of the Capitals and Flyers have played together before.
-Capitals goalie Jose Theodore played four seasons in Montreal with Flyers winger Arron Asham (1998-99 to 2001-02).  He also played three seasons in Colorado with Ian Laperriere (2005-06 to 2007-08). 

#45 Arron Asham

-Asham also played on the New York Islanders in 2005-06 with Caps defenseman John Erskine and  2006-07 with Caps defenseman Tom Poti

-Poti also played with Flyers center Blair Betts in 2005-06 with the New York Rangers. 

-Ian Laperriere played on the Los Angeles Kings with Capitals center Eric Belanger (2000-01 to 2003-04) and defenseman Joe Corvo (2002-03 to 2003-04).  

-Belanger and Corvo were also teammates with Flyers winger Daniel Briere on the AHL Springfield Falcons in 1998-99.  

-Flyers defenseman Lukas Krajicek (pronounced: Cry-Check) played the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons in Vancouver with Caps center Brendan Morrison

 #2 Lukas Krajicek

 -Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn reached the 2004-05 Calder Cup Finals with teammate Joe Corvo on the Chicago Wolves of the AHL.  Belanger and Coburn were teammates for two weeks with the Atlanta Thrashers in February 2007. 

#5 Braydon Coburn

-Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom played with Kimmo Timonen in 2004-05 on Brynas IF Gavle in the Swedish Elite League.  

Brynas IF Gavle

-Capitals center Eric Belanger played major junior hockey with Flyers winger Simon Gagne in 1996-97 for the Beauport Harfangs of the QMJHL.

International Play
The Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers also have familiarity with each other from the international stage.  

-Capitals winger Tomas Fleischmann and Flyers defenseman Lukas Krajicek were teammates at the 2003 World Junior Championship for the Czech Republic in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  

-Capitals defenseman Mike Green won the gold medal at the 2003 IIHF World Under-18 Championships in Yaroslavl, Russia, with Flyers center Jeff Carter, winger Daniel Carcillo, and defenseman Braydon Coburn.

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