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Giroux is the Only Man for the Job

Claude Giroux is having easily the most frustrating season of his career. His team is in dead last in the Metropolitan division, dead last in goals per game with 1.47.

But one thing is for sure, Giroux is the only player on the Philadelphia Flyers that deserves the “C” on his sweater. There is no one on the team currently that has the right to lead this team into the unknown future than this man.

Yes his stats have gone down since becoming the captain, no doubt about it but I personally believe that it’s not because he his wearing the “C” and he has “unneeded” pressure. It’s through the pressure of his own standards to be the best player in the world, which he isn’t and will not be while Crosby and Ovechkin are playing in the NHL.

Giroux needs to find his swagger back, playing simple hockey, even at this point, getting selfish with the puck. He needs to quit trying to make the cute and unnecessary passes and shoot the puck on net and create chances for himself and his teammates at the same time. It sounds weird I know, but the Flyers have to find some way to get pucks on and in the net, Giroux will be that guy.

Paul Holmgren brought former captains of the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders, Vinny Lecavalier and Mark Streit in not for the purpose of being fail safe captains but to help Giroux develop his leadership role on HIS team. Claude Giroux is the Philadelphia Flyers, not Lecavalier, not Streit.

usatoday.com

usatoday.com

Following last nights game against the New Jersey Devils, in which the team suffered another loss, Giroux and the Flyers held a players only meeting. Following the meeting, Giroux refused to speak to the media and the scrutiny he has seen because of this is ridiculous.

Former Flyers captain Chris Pronger loathed the media. He hated talking to them and fueling fire to a Philadelphia media. And yet no one really bashed him for it. He lead his way for the team, despite in being cut short to concussions.

Giroux has taken a page out of Pronger’s leadership ways and done the same thing. Shunning the media and finding a way to lead this team. He’s in his second year in his first stint as a captain of a team. He’s still adapting and he will break out  sooner or later. With a team in last place, a captain’s first concern shouldn’t be talking to the media, it should be finding ways to right the ship that is the Flyers.

The entire Philadelphia Flyers organization is a mess right now. They don’t seem to have put the right personal on the ice to win games, but one thing they got right was putting the “C” on Claude Giroux’s sweater. Make no mistake about it.

Tye McGinn Slowly Sparking the Flyers

It’s been a frustrating start to the season for the Philadelphia Flyers, however the last two games, despite loses, have shown pockets of bright spots.

Two games since being called up, Tye McGinn is quickly making  his presence known.

Despite the Flyers being 0-2 since McGinn getting the call, he’s improving himself and the team.

McGinn notched his first goal of the season in his first game against Detroit and then added 2 more against Vancouver Tuesday night.

McGinn was called up after both Scott Hartnell and Vinny Lecavalier went down due to injuries. Honestly though I don’t see how McGinn wasn’t on the opening night roster against Toronto but he’s on the roster now so he’s earning his keep.

With Hartnell out possibly 3-4 weeks, McGinn was put on the top line with Giroux and Voracek and the way he’s been playing he’ll likely stay there when Hartnell comes back.

Despite losing Saturday to Detroit, McGinn’s presence clearly sparked something in the Flyers and the offensive production is starting to improve. The captain, Claude Giroux, finally woke up from his slump and registered his first assist and point against Detroit with McGinn on his line. He even got another Tuesday night on one of McGinn’s 2 goals.

The team still has a lot to work on but things are moving forward and McGinn has made some of that movement happen. He’s a young gun at 23, being that young and creating a spark now could really foreshadow what this guy will bring in the years to come.

The team is 1-6-0 on the season, not exactly pretty, however, the next game is against the Pittsburgh Penguins, you want the team to get fired up and back on track? A game against your arch rival across the state can help.

With Gustafsson deal done, who are you picking for the Flyers’ starting lineup? [Poll]

Erik Gustafsson
Image via Wikimedia Commons

24-year old Erik Gustafsson signed a 1-year, $1M offer to remain with the Flyers through this season. His new contract is a 1-way deal. Barring injury, Gus is almost certain to start the season in the NHL, and it seems likely he’ll slot in on the third pairing and 2nd-line power play.

But with 10 defenders now under contract for 2013-14, at a total of $34.2 million against the cap, Paul Holmgren and Peter Laviolette are now facing some very interesting decisions when it comes time for camp. Who’s gonna make it?

There are a couple things we can get out of the way. First, barring a miraculous resurrection, Chris Pronger’s contract is going to come off the books as soon as possible. The Flyers are currently $2.05 million over the cap, but Pronger’s contract still counts for $4.94M (CapGeek). Moving Prongs to Long Term Injured Reserve will free up that space and make the Flyers cap compliant in one fell swoop. This takes some pressure off of the front office to pursue trades, because a salary dump – at least for the upcoming season – is not really necessary.

Beyond that, the Flyers have some roster locks:

  • Kimmo Timonen
  • Mark Streit
  • Luke Schenn

Lock, lock, lock. Not even worth discussing whether they’ll start the year as three of the top four. How they’re paired, however, is a bit more iffy. Schenn is a big thumping defender who tends to hang near the crease and relishes contact, while Timonen and Streit both work better by taking away space and cutting off passing lanes.

Kimmo is a superior all-around player, while Streit at times plays like a 4th forward, but both have offensive skills that pair up pretty well with Schenn’s bruising character. Lavy may opt to continue to take advantage of what seemed like some good chemistry between the Timonen and Schenn last season, when they generated a 53.1% 5v5 Corsi For* while on ice together, but 49.7% and 46.6% respectively while apart.

*For the uninitiated, quick definitions of Corsi found here

This still leaves us with five defenders vying for the final two active roster spots, one of whom will see big minutes on the second line — unless a non-roster player impresses in camp and leapfrogs the group, which is possible, but let’s stick with what we’ve got for now.

Braydon Coburn — 6’5″ 225 lb – age 28 – $4.5M cap hit through 2016

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Ray Returns: Emery signs 1-year deal with Flyers

Multiple sources have confirmed that Ray Emery has signed a 1-year deal, $1.65M contract with the Flyers for the 2013-14 season. For his career, Emery has posted a .908 SV% and a 126-63-16 record.

Emery last played for the Flyers in ’09-’10, posting a .905 SV% and 2.64 Goals Against average in 29 games.

During that season, Emery suffered a hip injury that degenerated into avascular necrosis, the same type of condition that effectively ruined the career of Bo Jackson. Despite the dire prognosis, Emery returned in 2011 to play 10 games for the Ducks, and the following season joined the Chicago Blackhawks as a backup goalie.

Emery played in 21 games for the Hawks this season (.922 SV%, 1.92 GAA) before being sidelined in favor of Corey Crawford. He started the season 12-0-0.

The move gives the Flyers a significant amount of flexibility going into next season. With Steve Mason being anything but a sure thing, Emery is a veteran presence who is more than capable of stepping in if the former Blue Jacket is unable to secure the starting spot. The contracts for both goalies only run through the end of next season, so the Flyers will essentially get to pick who stays or who goes after this year, with no cap ramifications from whichever one loses out.

In all it’s a good deal and a level-headed move for a team coming off one of the worst contracts for a goalie (or any player) in the history of professional sports.

Around the Cooler 06/27/13 – Ilya’s funeral

Here’s what we’re talking about:

I mean, he’s right after all. The universe really is humongous big. And so is his paycheck for the next 14 years.

  • Ilya Bryzgalov’s inevitable amnesty has finally arrived. We’ll miss neither his play nor his cap hit, but we’ll miss the man. (0:00)
  • What should the team do with all the new cap space? Is there an answer for never-ending Flyers goalie debacle? (13:00)
  • Quick NHL Draft talk (20:00)
  • Does a goalie’s personality really affect the play of his teammates? (26:00)


Play on your Mobile Device or Right Click to Download: Around the Cooler 06-27-13

What are you talking about around the water cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

Follow us on Twitter @TheWooderCooler

Awesome musical theme written by the awesome Matthew Schwalm

Around the Cooler 06/17/13 – “It’s mid-June and all our teams are terrible…”

Here’s what we’re talking about:

“…and I’m going to buy a Breitling watch for each of my pet iguanas…”
- Flyers defenseman Mark Streit musing about his newfound riches. (Not a real quote)
Image via 98.5 Sports

  • Rollin’ 3-deep today as Nick makes his triumphant return to the the Cooler
  • We note that the Phillies have six players under contract for 2014, at a total salary of $103.5M, then suggest that they all get traded (0:00)
  • We break news to ourselves (at the time) that Mark Streit agreed to a 4-year, $21M contract with the Flyers and discuss cap implications moving forward. Can this team afford to keep Giroux, Schenn, and Couturier for 2014 and beyond? (27:00)


Play on your Mobile Device or Right Click to Download: Around the Cooler 06-17-13

What are you talking about around the water cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

Follow us on Twitter @TheWooderCooler

Awesome musical theme written by the awesome Matthew Schwalm

Despite Rampant Steroid Usage, MLB has Huge Balls

image via personal.psu.edu

image via personal.psu.edu

In what has become a super-scandal of sorts (Roidsgate, anyone? No?), the MLB could be suspending 20+ players due to their connection with a Florida group called Biogenesis. Assuming that most of the accused parties are suspended, this will be another damaging blow for baseball as it continues its quest to make the game clean.

Some of baseball’s biggest names are connected to Biogenesis. Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, Nelson Cruz of the Rangers and the already disgraced Yankee Alex Rodriguez have all been listed as suspects thus far. This is great and terrible news.

On the surface, this is ugly. The war on steroids has been exhausting for the MLB as it fights to regain the image of America’s beloved pastime. The problem is that you need stars to sell every sport and when those stars appear tarnished (deserved or not) the casual fan shies away. Instead, they seek the stars who seem unquestionable, unbreakable, heroic…and from other sports.

The problem is that cheating is prevalent in all of the other leagues, they simply don’t have the guts to root it out.

For example, in the NBA eight players have been given suspensions for the use of banned substances. Ever. The most recent case being Hedo Turkoglu, who was suspended 20 games for using methenolone in February. However, the NBA is content with allowing cheating considering their questionable drug testing procedures and the presence of a star-loving, meddlesome commissioner in David Stern.
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Around the Cooler 05/29/13 – Philthy

Here’s what we’re talking about:

  • Vince and Hank take a decidedly negative view on the 2013 Phillies’ prospects and discuss what the organization should do next


Play on your Mobile Device or Right Click to Download: Around the Cooler 05-29-13

What are you talking about around the water cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

Follow us on Twitter @TheWooderCooler

Musical theme written by Matthew Schwalm

Figuring out why Braydon Coburn was so bad in 2013 (with advanced stats!)

Braydon Coburn has long been considered a solid, consistent defender and has been a fixture on the Flyers’ top-two defensive pairings since he was acquired at the 2007 trade deadline. So consistent, in fact, that during the 2011-12 season, the Flyers jumped at the chance to extend his contract for 4 years at a healthy $4.5 million-per-year price tag. Hardly a small commitment for a team that is perennially bumping its head against the salary cap.

But Coburn’s 2013 season was – and I’m being kind here – a break from the mold.

Oh who am I kidding? It was awful. In order to set up the second half of my analysis, I’ll spend the first half explaining just how awful it was.

Here is a quick recap of Coburn’s career in terms of the standard statistics:

WARNING: Minors, the elderly, and those living with a heart condition may wish to avert their eyes from the row marked ’2013′

Scoring Stats Goals Assists Ice Time
Season Age GP G A PTS +/- PIM EV PP SH EV SH PP S S% ATOI
2006-07 21 49 3 8 11 -1 46 2 1 0 5 0 3 54 5.6 15:29
2007-08 22 78 9 27 36 17 74 4 5 0 16 1 10 113 8.0 21:14
2008-09 23 80 7 21 28 7 97 4 3 0 11 2 8 130 5.4 24:37
2009-10 24 81 5 14 19 -6 54 4 1 0 12 0 2 122 4.1 21:08
2010-11 25 82 2 14 16 15 53 2 0 0 13 1 0 114 1.8 21:04
2011-12 26 81 4 20 24 10 56 4 0 0 18 2 0 113 3.5 22:03
2013 27 33 1 4 5 -10 41 1 0 0 4 0 0 38 2.6 22:37
Career 493 31 109 140 30 425 21 10 0 79 6 24 688 4.5 21:09
*2005-06 season excluded. Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/17/2013.

Those numbers look bad. Really bad. But the season was shortened to start and Coburn was on the DL for 1/3 of those games, so it may help to break down his 2013 stats in terms of ice time.

Stats per 60 minutes of ice time (with career rank):
Goals/60: .08 (2nd worst)
Assists/60: .322 (worst)
Points/60: .402 (worst)
Plus-Minus/60: -.804 (worst)
PIM/60: 3.3 (2nd worst)
Shots/60: 3.06 (worst)
Even Strength Points/60: .402 (worst)

Yuck. How about a nail in the coffin? In the 33 games in which Coburn played, the Flyers went 13-17-3, averaged 2.64 goals for and 3.12 goals against. In the 15 games in which Coburn did not appear, the Flyers were 10-5-0, averaging 3.07 goals for and 2.53 goals against.

Now, I already trashed Coburn’s lockout season a month ago, but I swear I’m really not trying to pile it on. I am simply attempting to provide some perspective. I went into this study because I was genuinely baffled that such a dependable player could just roll over and die at the prime age of 28. How was this possible? Outside of my private suspicions that Dan Bylsma spent his off-hours poking needles into a Braydon voodoo doll somewhere in the bowels of the CONSOL Energy Center, there was seemingly no explanation for such a precipitous fall…

Unless, of course, you like advanced stats. I’ve recently shown my ardent support for the proliferation of advanced statistics, and this seemed like a ripe opportunity to break them out. As it turns out, the fancy numbers indicate that it wasn’t simply poor luck or bad mojo that led to Coburn’s bad year.

There was another reason:

Peter Laviolette.

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Around the Cooler 05/03/13

Here’s what we’re talking about:

This guy used to play quarterback?!
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Image via SBNation

  • The Eagles’ 2013 Draft class, Chip Kelly’s philosophy, and other draft stuff that doesn’t have to do with the Eagles  (00:00)
  • Which pro playoffs are more exciting, hockey or basketball? Also, Hank shockingly reveals that he can neither jump, nor go to his left (25:00)
  • Other NHL playoff thoughts, wherein we hate-respect the Penguins and feel bad for the Islanders, among other things (32:00)


Play on your Mobile Device or Right Click to Download: Around the Cooler 05-03-13

What are you talking about around the water cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

Follow us on Twitter @TheWooderCooler

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