The Flyer Five is back after a lengthy hiatus, and just in time for the stretch run. This week, we sit down with Philadelphia Inquirer Flyers beat writer, Sam Carchidi. Sam tackles everything from whether it should be Bobrovsky or Boucher come playoff time, if Nikolay Zherdev should see the ice again, and whether or not the Flyers will hold on to the Eastern Conference’s top spot. Read away:
FLYERFIVE with Sam Carchidi
The Flyers Blog: There has been a lot of banter back and forth as to who should tend goal for the Orange and Black come playoff time. Who, in your opinion, should be the Flyers starting goaltender this Spring: the rookie, Sergei Bobrovsky, or the well-traveled veteran, Brian Boucher?
SC: I would go with the rookie (Sergei Bobrovsky), but have him on a short leash. It’s easier for the veteran (Brian Boucher) to come into a game in relief than a rookie.
TFB: It’s widely known amongst the NHL that the Flyers have one of the league’s deepest line-ups both at forward and defense. What player or players in particular do the Flyers need to step up most in these last 10 regular season games?
SC: Mike Richards and James van Riemsdyk have been very quiet lately. Time to step to forefront. Ditto Sergei Bobrovsky (of course).
TFB: A season-long debate has raged as to who should be the Flyers’ twelfth forward, with Jody Shelley, who’s recently gone on the shelf with a fractured orbital bone, Dan Carcillo, and Nikolay Zherdev all rotating into what has been perceived as the 12th forward slot. If you were head coach Peter Laviolette, what player would you put in that slot, and why?
SC: I would rotate Zherdev and Carcillo, depending on the opponent. If it’s a physical opponent, I’d go with Carcillo. If not, I’d go with Zherdev.
…I take this to mean it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing Zherdev again this season unless there’s an injury.
TFB: Entering tonight’s (Thursday vs. PIT, 3/24/11) action, the Flyers lead the Atlantic Division by five points over the Pittsburgh Penguins with one game in hand, and lead the Eastern Conference by one point over the Washington Capitals with a game in hand, despite falling to Washington in a shootout Tuesday night. Do you see them winning both the Atlantic and Eastern Conference by season’s end, one of the two, or neither?
SC: I think the Flyers will win both the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference, but getting a win Thursday against the Penguins in Philadelphia is the key.
TFB: The New York Rangers (84 pts, 7th place), Buffalo Sabres (81 pts, 8th place), and Carolina Hurricanes (78 pts, 9th place) are all in a dogfight for the final two playoff spots. If the standings hold true and the Flyers win the division, which would likely assure them of the 1st or 2nd seed, which one of these teams is the best matchup for the Flyers and why? The worst?
SC: The Rangers would be the worst matchup because they are peaking at the right time and have a gear goalie (Henrik Lundqvist). Buffalo also has a great goaltender in Ryan Miller but I question the Sabres’ offense. Carolina isn’t as well-rounded as the other two, so I think the ‘Canes would be the Flyers’ most desired opponent in the first round.
Thanks again to Sam Carchidi for offering his thoughts on everything Orange and Black.
Follow Sam on Twitter if you aren’t already at @BroadStBull