Since the Olympic break, the Philadelphia Flyers have been 4-1-1. Before the break the Flyers were in the 8 games prior were 6-2. Those numbers are misleading by many standards. The Flyers were maybe the hottest team in the NHL prior to the break. Michael Leighton took over the number one goalie spot that Ray Emery lost due to injury. Emery returned from his injury on January 17th against maybe as equally hot of a team in the Washington Capitals.
This led to a loss from Ray Emery, and the downward spiral began of his return to the lineup. The following three games Ray Emery would win, and lead all of us to believe that he may be back and healthy. He would then lose the next two games, and win the following two after his loses. We would learn in Early February that Ray Emery was indeed hurt again with a hip injury that was being compared to the injury that ended Baseball and Football Star Bo Jackson’s career. Michael Leighton would get the go again, and ran with his opportunity as he did the first time. Michael Leighton was the savior of this team, along with new coach Peter Laviolette.
Michael Leighton would have his ups and downs as all goalies do in the NHL. Coming out of the Olympic break, there was talk if Michael Leighton was the guy that could carry the team to the playoffs and deep into the playoffs. The trade deadline then approached, and the eyes turned to Flyers GM Paul Holmgren. During the course of the deadline day everyone kept guessing if the Flyers would make a move for a goalie, or even a much needed defenseman. The rumors of Dwayne Roloson
, and Dan Ellis emerged with no result. Was this the right thing for the team? I mean sure, the Flyers rallied behind Michael Leighton over the course of a couple months. Sure Michael Leighton is a seasoned veteran, mostly in the AHL. I felt the Flyers should have moved Scott Hartnell who has provided nothing for the team all year. I said at the beginning of the year getting rid of Joffrey Lupul would hurt Scott Hartnell and Jeff Carter
. To an extent I feel it has hurt Jeff Carter, and sure has hurt Scott Hartnell. Moving on from the trade deadline, the Flyers have been 2-2-1. The games that they have lost are surely not the fault of goalie Michael Leighton. He played his heart out, and had less than stellar defense supporting him.
The game on Thursday night against the Boston Bruins was hideous at best. The defense was horrible. Chris Pronger was out played from end to end. Scott Hartnell coughed up the puck, which lead to a 3 on 1 that led to a goal for Boston. Michael Leighton had no chance on every goal that was scored against him. I have no problem keeping a guy with huge potential in a game to play as long as he doesn’t hurt the team to an extent. This is getting to the point now that Scott Hartnell is hurting the team with his sloppy play. There were countless games that as soon as Scott Hartnell would get near the puck he would lose his footing and fall, or fan on a pass or shot. This isn’t the Scott Hartnell of last year. I was on the side of the fence that screamed for the Simon Gagne to be traded also. FYI; both men have a no trade clause. Thanks Paul. In the last few games Simon Gagne has found his scoring touch, and claimed that it was due to getting his confidence back and getting comfortable finally. During the game against Boston, he missed a few chances that could have got the Flyers back into the game.
The Flyers picked up Ville Leino via trade with Detroit in exchange for Ole-Kristian Tollefsen and a fifth round pick in 2011 on February 6, 2010. Ville Leino in his first game scored a goal, taking the place of a beat up Darroll Powe. He played again in a strong game, with no points but made an impact on the line of Jeff Carter and Danny Briere. He has been benched since due to need more “grit” in the lineup. I strongly disagree with that. He proved he has something to bring to the table, and should be given a chance. Darroll Powe is a great skater, but it stops there in my opinion. Ville Leino deserves the chance to prove himself. I feel Scott Hartnell should be benched for him to have that shot. That could be the wakeup call needed for Scott Hartnell. You may think I’m not a fan of Scott Hartnell, but I am. I am a bigger fan of the Philadelphia Flyers and when you begin to hurt the team, change is needed. Hopefully Coach Laviolette can get this team firing on all cylinders. This is a great team, but failure is its black cloud. We all know how it smells before the big thunder storms hits? Well it’s getting windy right now and the leaves on the trees are beginning to turn over. I hope this storm passes over.
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