Archive for December 18th, 2008

Mats Sundin Signs with Canucks ! Hockey Picks for Thursday’s Games:

December 18th, 2008

Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis today announced that the team has signed free agent centre Mats Sundin. In keeping with club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are very excited to have Mats join the Vancouver Canucks,” said Mike Gillis, Vancouver Canucks General Manager. “Playing previously in two Canadian markets and consistently being among team and League leaders in scoring, Mats has proven that he can excel under pressure. He adds a wealth of experience, leadership and skill to the Canucks.”

“I am truly excited to be joining the Canucks,” said Sundin. “Once I made the decision to return to play a few weeks ago, the Vancouver opportunity was simply the best overall fit. I want to thank Mike Gillis and the entire Canucks organization for their professionalism throughout this entire process.”

Thursday’s Games :

TOR @ BOS: Take BOS, Bruins are playing great and are at home will take down the Leafs!

STL @ WSH: Take WASH, With the stars and injuries coming back go with the Caps over Blues.

FLA @ CAR: Take FLA, Huge tilt between two best friends coaches Maurice and Dabour.

PIT @ ATL: Take PITT,  Atlanta will go down at home to the skilled Crosby Pens !.

PHI @ MTL: Take PHIL, In replay of the playoffs last year and the Habs are struggling terribly.

COL @ TBL: Take COL, This may be a closer game than expected. But still have to go with Av’s

SJS @ DET: Take SJS, This is the battle of NHL’s best. Two excellent teams with edge to Sharks.

CLB @ DAL: Take DAL, The Stars tonight in Dallas, playing much better looking for consistency.

NSH @ PHX: Take NSH, Phoenix unreliable at best game to game, Nashville the better team.

Flyers on Fire !

December 18th, 2008

Okay so the start of the season was a little bit shaky to say the least of this years edition of the Philadelphia Flyers. But the Flyers have been simply put on FIRE since that point to spring them into 4th place in the Eastern Conference 1 point out of 3rd. The Flyers who are 17-7-6 good for 40 points are 7-1-2 in there last 10. With star Dany Briere injured for most of the season having played in only 9 games scoring 5 goals and adding 4 assists to at least being a point a game producer. The Flyers without Briere have not missed a step, in fact they are quickly becoming as dominating as they were in last years playoffs when they ran over, out hit, out skated the favorite Montreal Canadians.

To look into what is behind the success of the Flyers you have to dive into their players and patience from management to coach John Stevens. Stevens is an underrated coach mostly because in hockey circles everyone is waiting to see what his teams do in playoffs. Stevens last year without a doubt shocked a lot of people with their wins over Washington who were flying themselves going into the series against the Flyers. But the playoff win vs the Habs put Stevens on the map and he became more than just a coach for hire from the AHL Phantoms in a time of need. Yes, Stevens relationship with his top players will dictate how far he along with his team go in Philadelphia.

General Manager Paul Holmgren known as Homer in hockey circles is easily one of the best GM’s to deal with for players and agents in hockey. He is up front honest and doesn’t try to pull anything over anyones eyes . Homer is dedicated and is showing owner Ed Snider that he has got the balls to make the moves to quickly improve his roster. Homer not only went out and signed free agents, he went out and boldly locked up his young captain Mike Richards to a deal that will likely see him finish his career as a Flyer. Richards who has been on fire, is tied for first in team points with 13 G - 24 A good for 37 PTS with recently returned from injury last season Simon Gagne who has scored 16 times to go along with 21 helpers. Gagne seems to have regained that level of play that had him be an all star forward and top end player for the past many seasons. With Gagne back playing to his capabilities and Richards continuing his rapid development as one of the NHL’S best young stars the Flyers are going to be very tough to beat come playoff time.

FLYERS ARE MORE THAN WILLING

The Flyers have always had a unique way to play the game between their best players and their willingness to destroy you with hits and fights . Their willingness to run through you and do what ever it takes to win hockey games. Playing the Flyers in their hostile environment in playoffs or even the regular season can be very intimidating for some teams. It’s no wonder the Flyers are 10-4-3 at home this season, their fans are every bit as rabid as Canadian hockey fans.

You see when Jason Smith left last year I worried about the Flyers persona around the league because ever since Smith played in Toronto years ago I loved how hard and nasty this guy was. When he was made captain in Edmonton this once again showed why Smith is so respected around the league. Then in Philly he seemed a perfect fit for the Flyers reputation that it so badly wanted to regain as a team that will beat you anyway you like. They have the players to match you and they certainly have the grit and jam to beat you in the alley as well. Arron Asham, Riley Cote, Josh Gratton are all guys that love to stick up for their teammates and are more than willing to fight for momentum on a nightly basis.

Match that grit with the talent that we have mentioned with Richards, Gagne, who normally play with winger Mike Knuble who has benefited scoring 13 goals along side the two Philly stars. What you get is a gritty top line that can score followed by top scoring young star Jeff Carter who is on pace to score 50  this season after almost being traded at last years deadline. Some of the best deals you don’t make are your best,  bet your ass Homer is saying that to himself now.

It’s tough to say where Briere will fit in when he returns with how good Richards and Carter are playing down the middle but at the very least its a good problem to have for Stevens and Homer.

LOVE THE WAY THEY PLAY

If you don’t like the way the Flyers play you are either a sour Habs fan that is still stinging over the beating they inflicted on your team in last years playoffs, or a tree hugger that shouldn’t be watching NHL hockey to begin with. The Flyers style of play, their intimidation in their building, before mentioned unique style of play make the NHL  what it is. It separates itself from all the other sports out there in the ability to have a game that moves at the speed it does with the collisions that you see in NFL football at half the speeds. Flyers are hockey, they are what any true blooded American or Canadian fan wants to see in their own favorite teams. It’s no secret that the Flyers out of their 13 forwards on their current roster, 12 of them were born in Canada!

That’s Hockey !

Go to Hockey Pools Section to read comments from GM Mike Gillis about the signing of SUNDIN !

For Hockey God I’m Dave Frost