Archive for Training Camp

Training Camp: Bobrovsky Solid in Flyers Debut

Posted in Flyer Thoughts with tags , , , on September 22, 2010 by Josh Getzoff

All through rookie camp, all through the early stages of Training Camp, there has been one name that has intrigued many a Flyers fan and left the group referred to as “Hockey’s most intimidating” searching for glimpses of this particular individual.

The Flyers may have found a diamond in the rough in "Bob"

If you have been able to make the trip to Vorhees over the past week, chances are you’ve probably seen him.  Chances also are that you struggle mightily to quickly pronounce his name when talking about him.  However, if, like myself, all you’ve done over the past couple weeks is read about Sergei Bobrovsky, then last night presented the first opportunity to see the man with all the hype attempt to live up to it in his Philadelphia Flyers debut.

25 minutes of shutout hockey coupled with leading the Flyers to a shootout victory in their preseason opener certainly laid the foundation for the Bobrovsky fan frenzy for at least the foreseeable future.

While Michael Leighton got the nod last night as the Flyers began their preseason slate against the New Jersey Devils, all the buzz on the message boards, blogs, and Twitter was centered around a simple question: “When are we going to see this Bobrovsky kid?”  Fans got their wish as the puck dropped to begin the third period as the 22-year-old Russian ‘tender finally made his first appearance in a National Hockey League game wearing a Flyers uniform.  Despite the fact that “Bob” didn’t see a shot for almost the first nine minutes he was in the game, he was solid when called upon in the third frame, stopping all five shots he faced, as well as turning away the two shots thrown his way in overtime.  Jason Arnott muscled a wrister by Bobrovsky in the shootout, but the rookie was otherwise perfect and stopped every shot he faced.

Today, on CSNPhilly.com, Sarah Baicker has more on the Russian netminder who’s hard-to-pronounce name is suddenly flowing freely off many of the franchise’s fans tongues.  She talks about his performance in last night’s victory, as well as his well-documented – albeit incredible – athleticism and quickness and even some interesting superstitions the young goaltender has.  To learn more about this seemingly budding star right before our eyes this preseason, give Sarah’s article a look.

Check it out here: FLYERS’ BOBROVSKY HELPS STEAL WIN IN NHL DEBUT

Training Camp: Philly Feels Like Home for Walker

Posted in Flyer Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2010 by Josh Getzoff

When Matt Walker was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers this summer, he was one of the few people associated with the Philadelphia area excited about his arrival.

You see, Matt Walker was what the Flyers got in exchange when they traded Simon Gagne to the Tampa Bay Lightning.  They received a fourth round pick as well, but Walker is the only able body that can appear in a Flyers uniform at the moment.

If Matt Walker does this to Sidney Crosby, Flyers fans will love him

Frank Seravalli, of the Daily News, has more on Walker’s beginnings as a Flyer today in both the print and online form of the paper.  After reading Seravalli’s article, maybe there’s reason to give Walker a chance with the Flyers.  First and foremost, Seravalli compares Walker to the “defensive version of Ian Laperriere”.  Is he even allowed to do that?  With the soft spot that all Flyers fans now have with Lappy, being compared to #14 means that Walker now has a lot to live up to.

Still, Seravalli points out that in coming to Philadelphia, Matt Walker feels like he is coming home.  The 6’2” 230+ pound defenseman who makes a living blocking shots as opposed to taking them told the Flyers beat writer, “I’ve been watching them [the Flyers] ever since I was a kid.  [Tough hockey] has always been their reputation, so I’ve always had a little bit of a soft spot for them.”  Walker goes on to say that he was “pretty excited” when he found out he had been traded to the Flyers in the off-season.

While Walker is excited to be here, it’s hard for me to believe he’s going to be playing all that much once this season moves from the “Pre” variety.  The Flyers have a solid set of six proven and skilled defensemen in Chris Pronger, Sean O’Donnell, Braydon Coburn, Kimmo Timonen, Matt Carle, and Andrej Meszaros.  After that, Walker and Oskars Bartulis are left to compete for the 7th and 8th slots, which actually aren’t as much slots as they are seats in the press box.  Still, Walker is a cap hit of over a million dollars this season, so it’s difficult to fathom that the Flyers would dump that salary to the Adirondacks and have him play for the Phantoms.

Depth, especially defensively, is always a good thing.  But it’s hard for me to believe that Walker will be among the top six for the Flyers on the blue-line if the aforementioned six defensemen are all healthy.  With that being said, if Chris Pronger’s knee doesn’t heal as well as he and the Flyers would have liked come time for the season opener, it’s a safe bet Walker will be his replacement in Pittsburgh on October 7th.

You can check out Seravalli’s entire piece here: WALKER FEELING RIGHT AT HOME WITH FLYERS’ DEFENSIVE CORPS

Training Camp: Shelley A Flyers Fan During Last Season’s Run

Posted in Flyer Thoughts with tags , , , , , , on September 21, 2010 by Josh Getzoff

Who could’ve blamed Jody Shelley for rooting against the Flyers in last season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs?  The Orange and Black did, after all, bounce his Rangers from the postseason chase on the final game of the regular season in a shootout and left Shelley with an entire off-season to ponder a heartbreaking defeat.  The victor of that game 82?  Well, those Flyers went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, and enter this season as the defending Eastern Conference Champions.

Shelley and Riley Cote rumble back in his San Jose days

Still, despite the agonizing loss, and the success of the team that got in instead of his Rangers, Jody Shelley cheered for the Flyers last season during the playoffs.  Shelley told CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio that he was cheering for “Philly in the end.  I was jealous all the way.  You guys beat us out.  You want to lose to the best.”

“Us,” according to Shelley in that quote, is his former team, the New York Rangers.  Now, “us” means his current set of colors: the Orange and Black of the Philadelphia Flyers.  Signed to a contract that many – this writer included – still don’t understand when he became a free agent on July 1st, Shelley will likely be a regular for the Flyers on the fourth line this season, working with Ian Laperriere and Darroll Powe until Blair Betts returns from injury.  As Panaccio points out, he gives the Flyers a bonafide “Tough guy,” something they haven’t had regularly in their line-up for a while.

One thing that impressed me about Shelley is the genuine excitement he seems to have in being a Flyer.  In the article, he talks about how the pictures of old Flyers smiling and their missing teeth that line the walls of the dressing room reaffirms in his mind the constant credos associated with Philadelphia: hard work, and very blue-collar.

While I don’t necessarily agree with Shelley’s price tag, there is no doubting that he’ll be a force on the Flyers fourth line this season.  Hopefully – who knows – he can rekindle that scoring touch he had against the Flyers the final two games of last season and be a bit of a scoring surprise as well.

For the full article from Panaccio, check out the link here: AS A RANGER, SHELLEY ROOTED FOR THE FLYERS

Training Camp: Vorhees is Rockin’

Posted in Flyer Thoughts with tags , , , , , on September 20, 2010 by Josh Getzoff

As usual, the Philadelphia Flyers Training Camp has been a big draw for fans at the Virtua Center Flyers SkateZone in Vorhees, New Jersey.  However, unlike in past years, there is a real justified buzz in the building as many of the players that hit the ice in South Jersey over the past few days were members of a team that less than five months ago came two wins away from capturing the franchise’s first Stanley Cup since 1975.

The Flyers are hungry for another run at the Cup

NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman touches on the fact that the fans are excited about the possibility of this Flyers team and talks about the many storylines in camp this season on the league’s website.  From the battle for the 12th forward spot in the Flyers line-up, to the incredible depth the team boasts on the back-end this season, and even the constant goaltending question in Philadelphia leaves Kimelman with quite a bit to write about.  Kimelman also makes note that the Flyers have some particularly established new faces in camp such as Bill Guerin and Sean O’Donnell.  Guerin, a two-time Stanley Cup champion and most recently a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, is in camp with the Flyers after signing a tryout contract earlier this month with the team.  O’Donnell, who won a Cup in 2007 with the Anaheim Ducks, is reunited with his old buddy Chris Pronger in Philadelphia this season, as the aging defenseman was inked to a one-year deal earlier this season.

Of course, another topic of discussion is that of Nikolai Zherdev.  The oft-referred to “enigma” has signed with the Flyers this season and has a lot of pressure on him to perform due in large part to the fact that long-time Flyer Simon Gagne is now residing in Tampa Bay for at least the upcoming season.  Zherdev’s skill and speed have been on display in heavy quantities early on in camp, but many in the media still question whether or not he is completely mentally committed to playing hockey full-time in the National Hockey League.

For more Flyers Training Camp Reading, check out Kimelman’s full article here: FLYERS GET BIG RECEPTION AS CAMP OPENS

Training Camp: Pronger Progressing; Loves the Defense

Posted in Flyer Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2010 by Josh Getzoff

Chris Pronger is still a little ways away from officially returning to the Flyers full time after having arthroscopic knee surgery on July 27, but that doesn’t mean the future Hall of Famer isn’t doing everything he possibly can to make sure that he can be prepared to play at the highest level come opening night.  The Daily News‘ Frank Seravalli has more on this in today’s edition.

Chris Pronger anchors arguably the NHL's best defense in 2010-'11

Seravalli makes note that Pronger’s time on the ice over the past five days has been his first time skating since the Flyers lost in Game Six of the Stanley Cup Final on June 9.  The Flyers defenseman also caught a bit of flack from the general public for having the surgery done so late in the off-season, instead of just having it done after the Flyers season came to an end, but Pronger explains to Seravalli, he “wanted to see if it could heal itself.  It didn’t get much better – or any better at all. Ultimately, we found some things in [an] MRI and I had surgery the next week. I don’t know if I could have sped up the process at all.”

Later in the article, Pronger also notes how pleased he is with General Manager Paul Holmgren’s re-tooling of the Flyers’ blueline in the off-season.  A potent foursome of Pronger, Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn and Matt Carle are joined by the likes of Andrej Meszaros, Sean O’Donnell, and Matt Walker to make up what Pronger calls “one of the deepest units” he’s played with over his 16 year NHL career.  It’s hard to argue with him – the top six for the Flyers are going to be a talented bunch, and although there are certainly some older legs back there, it’s hard to argue against his opinion of the blueline.

To check out of all of Frank Seravalli’s article, click here: PRONGER, HEALING AFTER SURGERY, TOUTS FLYERS DEFENSIVE DEPTH

Training Camp: JVR Improving

Posted in Flyer Thoughts with tags , , on September 20, 2010 by Josh Getzoff

In today’s Daily News, Keith Pompey talks about the drastic changes that second-year pro James van Riemsdyk has undergone since the end of last season to become a more effective player on the ice.

JVR will be counted on to avoid a "Sophomore Slump"

For one, Pompey notes that JVR has added almost ten more pounds of muscle, as the former #2 overall pick spent the summer training in Darien, Connecticut getting into tip-top game shape.  van Riemsdyk’s current weight now sits at 206 pounds, a far cry from the sub-200 youth body he spent last season in.

Having JVR as a top contributor on this team is huge, and it won’t matter how much muscle and extra weight he adds on if he can’t become a more physical presence and have more determination when it comes to battling for the puck against opponents.  The size of JVR has never been a problem, but perhaps the more brawn added to him will bring out more fire in his game this season.  It likely will also help now that he’s had a full year under his belt.  All Flyers forwards will need to severely pick up the slack after the departure of Simon Gagne in the offseason.

Check out Pompey’s article here: FLYERS’ van RIEMSDYK WORKING TO IMPROVE