The Flyers are still in playoff contention. Now would be the best time to pull a move, because goaltending is their downfall (which has always been the case with Philly who have not had a superstar goalie since Pelle Lindburg...Hextall was ok, but not good enough).
The Flyers are way better than their point total. They just have had a lot of bad bounces, issues in the media, and atrocious goaltending stand in their way.
Out of all the teams battling for those last spots (the East is so crazy this year!), they have the most raw talent. Remember Pittsburgh last year? They were in a similar position to the Flyers come All Star break, but with the return of the injured, and a few trades to address the missing elements...well, we all know how that story ended up.
I'm not anointing Halak as one of the top NHL goalies at all either. He has proven that he can steal games on his own, that he can play in a pressure cooker, and that he can maintain solid numbers all while facing tons of rubber. He IS the best goalie available right now though...another team that could use one is Dallas.
If the Flyers can squeeze into the post season healthy, and with a goalie that can give them a chance, I can guarantee you that they would be the team the top seeds fear the most, and would rather play someone else.
A lot of people thought the Flyers would go all the way this year (haha i know the curse this comes with, I lived it last year), and they still have many of the pieces of the puzzle to make it happen. If they had a goalie, they would not be where they are right now, no doubt about it at all.
As far as the Habs, they managed to get through the injury fest (they lost top players, not small roll players.) with a 500 record. That is not enough for the playoffs, but the stats should improve with a healthy squad, a long time to heal bones during the Vancouver Games break, an increased chemistry between players, and the possible addition of a big winger to give Gomez a target on the second line.
Gomez has been pretty bad, but in all fairness to him, since he lost his number 1 center peg, he has no one to pass to. Gionta has been gone for too long, once he gets back it will help out his little smurf buddy quite a bit. If you add a big winger to give a little grit to the line and make some room, it could be very good.
On a leafs related note: After watching so many Habs games vs Atlanta (it seems like we are always playing them)...it amazes me the niche Nik Antropov has carved out for himself there. I never really saw this more dominant side to him in Toronto, I guess playing with Kovalchuk is just what the career needed.
He is doing all of the small things right, and once he is in front of that net, not too many d men can move him. Good for him. When i saw him play for TO he was just a half asser, now I would kill for a player like that on my team.
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Last edited by Schadenfreude on Dec-24-2009 at 17:36