Two games, Four Points
by: Trevor Rocco
The NHL Trade Deadline is almost upon us. The Flyers and Kings have both done their part in making noise around the league in an attempt to send a news bulletin out that they are in this to win. After two big wins and four big points gained by the clubs on saturday, I want to reflect on some of the things that are getting me excited moving forward, and some things that continue to have me dumbfounded night in and night out. I'll pose some questions at the end as well, in regard to what changes need to be made and what you guys out there think would be the best ideas on deadline movement before monday.
On the Flyers:
Anyone who watched the game tonight knows exactly what kind of impact the new acquisitions had. For those of you who didn't keep track, however, David Strehle reported as follows: Grossman: 2A, +2, 2 blocked shots. Kubina: -1, 1 hit, 5 blocked shots.
With the way the goaltending has been these last couple month, blocked shots right now are huge and the addition of Grossman and Kubina gives the flyers a huge leg up in that category. With the exception of last game vs. Edmonton and the awful showing in Pittsburgh, the Flyers have had little shortages in scoring. The team currently has eight players who have double digits in goals with Brayden Schenn just outside at eight. So why so many goals? Yes, Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Wayne Simmonds and a large percentage of the team are having career years, but what's the big difference? To me, it seems the difference lies on the backend. They're getting shots through from the point. The mentality from the coaching staff, for defense, seems to be get that puck to the net. Kimmo Timonen is running a train on the point gods. He's shooting more than I've ever seen him, jumping in on plays and playing with insane offensive confidence. I'm sure that's why he's top 5 in assists among defensemen. But it's not just Timonen. Coburn is shooting and jumping in (he's always been much more "stay at home, chip pucks deep" in the past), Meszaros is shooting and jumping in (not out of the ordinary for Mez, but still great to see) and even the new guys, who have only been in Philly now for a few games, are putting pucks on net every chance they get. Hats off to Laviolette. His defensive shooting mentality are giving players like Simmonds and Hartnell the opportunity to play their games. It should continue to be a great idea moving forward.
That being said, turnovers will continue to be the death of this team if something doesn't change. Yes, were paying Bryzgalov to make those big saves but in situations where pucks can be chipped out The Flyers defense and penalty killing are forcing the issue and making bad passes. Case in point: The Eberle goal on Thursday night. Coburn being pressured along the boards has a choice to pass it up to a tightly checked Briere or chip the puck out to center. He choses the pass, puts it in Briere's feet, the puck bounces back to Eberle and well, a slumping Bryz is not going to make that save.
I don't want to put it all on the defense, I'm as frustrated as any about the play of Bryzgalov lately (and Bobrovsky, to a less extent). He has more holes than Stanley Yelnats (wow, that was an awful reference, my apologias...). Nevertheless, we have to continue to believe that he can be the difference maker that he once was in Phoenix, because if he can find THAT game, we're riding easy into the playoffs for years to come. Until then, we wait, because no one (at least at this point) is taking on that contract.
Oh yeah, and they won a shootout today, how kickass is that!?
On to the Kings:
I couldn't be more ecstatic about the acquisition of Jeff Carter. I'm sure you're all well aware of that at this point. Although he didn't factor into the game in a big way tonight, I think the tides have turned for the LA Kings because of the movement. For one, Carter is just another big name that the opposition has to worry about, this leaves room for other match-ups and more space for the other big names (and Dustin Brown was a BIG NAME tonight). The other thing it does is it sends a couple massages to the players and coaching staff. First it says we're dedicated to making change now, we believe this is a winning team and were going to do our best to provide you with that spark plug to get the gears moving again. But at the same time they're saying, prove you belong here, because if we think you don't, you might be next. Jack Johnson was a great piece of the last few years in the Kings organization and showed his dedication to the team whole heartedly. I'm not saying that anyone and everyone should be moved here, but that would be a huge motivation for me to see such a dedicated player get moved out so quickly.
The game tonight was awesome. Chicago did look a little flat without their captain and Crawford was a bit off his game but I don't want to take anything away from the Kings tonight. They really put in a 60 minute effort and made their presence felt. Dustin Brown showed exactly why he is so coveted even in trying times for the Kings, and why the organization would be plain foolish to take an offer to send him away.
Here's hoping that Jeff Carter finds his Cali-legs in short order and a future line of "Flyers Rejects" when Gagne finds his way back to the ice.
So what's next? What needs to be addressed by these teams before the deadline hits and its too late?
Should the Flyers start (continue?) looking for goaltending? Do the Kings need a replacement for Johnson, or is Voynov ready to step into that role?
Leave us a comment below and let us know!
We are the Flying Eyeballs, we'll tell you what we think and you tell us why we're wrong! That's how these things work right?
Thanks for the read!
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