yankee hockey

EASTERN CONFERENCE PREDICTIONS 08-09

Posted in Philadelphia, predictions by amanoidopera on October 8, 2008

7. Philadelphia Flyers

Last year the flyers got back to what’s worked for them since the beginning, hit a lot of bodies, score a lot of gritty goals. This year they’re looking to score a few pretty goals on top of that, and I don’t see why they won’t. They will be the fourth team in a tough division to make it into the post season, and the reason they are the last is they have the biggest question in goal. Still, they’re going to fight their way past teams like Boston and Buffalo to get the seven spot.

The Offense:

Naming third year forward Mike Richards as captain was a ballsy move, not as ballsy as a twelve year contract, but still it had to take a lot of chutzpah. The Flyers are hoping that like young Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby he can thrive under the pressure. Scott Hartnell and Joffrey Lupul will be looking to hit the 30 goal mark for the first time in their careers this year, and there’s a good chance they both will. Every other team loves big Jeff Carter for a reason; expect a breakout year from him.

The Defense:

Derrian Hatcher is still one of the best defensive defensemen in the game and will be going for an injury free year. They’re hoping guys like Ossi Vaananen and Ryan Parent can shore up the defensive side, while Braydon Coburn works on his offensive side. Kimmo Timonen may have a lot of experience under his belt, but his biggest asset was always speed, and at his age he may start losing his edge.

The Goaltending:

Martin Biron was always pretty good in Buffalo and will likely continue as starting goalie. People in Philly still want to see Niittymaki take over someday. If he proves to be a valuable back-up this year the job may be his. Of course, they did pick up Aubin, who as of this article is still listed on their roster. I would have figured him for an AHL signing, but maybe they want to inspire Niittymaki a little… or maybe they want a goalie with a name people can spell.

The Fans:

It’s hard to play sports in Philadelphia. The city of brotherly love isn’t famous for showing their sporting teams any affection. These players have to be prepared to be held accountable for their actions. They’re gonna hear boos when they do wrong, but they are gonna to hear a lot cheers when they do right too. Flyers’s fans are united in making sure that 1) other teams don’t want to play on their ice, and 2) the Flyers know exactly what’s expected of them.

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