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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Weekend Recap

Sure, play like that when I'm not in attendance. Bastards.

In all seriousness, the Flyers played a couple of excellent games this weekend. Jumping out to a quick lead against the Isles, they never looked back. Two quick goals would be all they need, though the Islanders took some of the energy back and pulled within one late before the Flyers shut the door with 3 unanswered.

Biron played well. Leave it to Niitty to go and catch this flu once I've proclaimed he's on the verge of claiming the #1 job. Signs are pointing to Biron being the starter come playoff time, though. He's been there before, and I suppose they are hoping he's ready to go all the way this time. I've heard some mutterings about the availability of Khabibulin and Giguere - and honestly I'd take either one of them over Biron if Holmgren could make it work without sacrificing much. Maybe he'll prove me wrong but I'm looking for the Flyers to have a new starter after UFA.. We all know how much Philly GM's love a goaltending controversy, though.

Marty followed the Islanders game with a very solid performance against the Rangers, but it was a complete team effort. Mike Richards made NHL history with his third 3 on 5 shorthanded goal of his career. That's the most any player has ever had.. at the age of 24.. epic. The two biggest storylines of this game were how close Renney is to being fired, and how Claude Giroux is progressing. Renney is right on the edge. I don't know if his line juggling is because no one will mesh or because he thinks he has things figured out.. but he clearly has nothing figured out. I expect him to be gone before the end of the season, and if he isn't, the Rangers could very well miss the playoffs.

Giroux, on the other hand - a very positive story. As Flyers fans who know what this kid is capable of after his sensational (51 points in 19 playoff games last year) and consistent junior performances - it's been frustrating watching him start off invisible on the ice. But with every passing game and all these injuries giving him more ice time, he's becoming much more comfortable on the ice. And as the comfort comes, he's combining that speed and skill with knowing where to be - and playing with a variety of talented players to boost him. Before the season I was confident he could score 25 goals this year - I'm not confident in that anymore, but it looks very promising for the rest of this season and beyond. He is an impact player and I hope we keep him around.

So, weekend recap:

Flyers complete NYC sweep
Biron reclaims #1 job thanks to well-timed flu bug
Richards sets NHL record
Giroux starting to make a significant impact?

The trade deadline is coming. Schneider was the first recognizable name to move - does he have enough gas to help the Habs in a significant way?

I'm still keeping a close eye on Bouwmeester. I don't want to give up too much for him, but I'd like to know what it'd take. Very much so.

In all reality Briere coming back from injury will be like a trade deadline move, if he doesn't rush himself and actually is healed. The struggles he've had are worrisome. Maybe he'll be fresh for the stretch run?

At this point of the season I still have a few questions, and definitely not all of the answers. It's going to be a tight race to the Eastern Conference playoffs. There's 10 teams in the running, and only Boston has seemingly guaranteed themselves a spot - with the Caps and Devils right behind. Every game is important from here on out.

Next up for the Flyers - the Sabres come to town on Thursday.

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