It is no secret that the Philadelphia Flyers did some major reconstruction within their roster for the upcoming 2013-14 NHL season and training camps will open in four weeks to release this entourage onto fresh Voorhees ice. This will be an interesting training camp no doubt. This Florida transplant fan would trade limbs to catch a practice but she will wait for regular season in Tampa this year.
The best part of this off season break, was the hiring of the legendary Ron Hextall as the new Assistant GM to streamline things within the triangle of Holmgren, Lavi and Hextall. Bringing this net master in at this precise time, along with other changes and a new, fresh determination where goaltending is concerned could actually bring the progress of change that our organization has been attempting to find for the last three seasons, at the least. The beast is back to shape up our goaltenders into Cup winning potentials possibly.
The first sign that the tides had finally changed where the organization finally saw where the changes or adjustments need to be made was in the buying out of Ilya Bryzgalov's contract. The majority of fans know that this original Bryz deal just was not the great investment the all had hoped it would be, so it was time to do a little shopping. Ray Emery and Hextall rejoined our squad just in time to reinforce these changing winds to come.
Add these two to an already well performed Steve Mason and this could complete the triad of all things finally coming together in the most key area in the game of hockey, and this is the net my friends. The goal net people, where the puck is supposed to be stopped from entering...how you win hockey games! You can have an outstanding offense and an even tougher defensive line, but keeping the little black circle out of the net is how hockey games are won in a consistent and nearly reliable fashion.
Hextall is the head beast of the net and will indeed instill his wisdom and 'stand your ground' presence into his students for the upcoming 2013-14 Philadelphia Flyers season. Ray Emery is back for another round in orange this year, following a 21 game record of: 17 (W) , 1 (L) and 3 (SO) decisions while playing for the Blackhawks, not all stats are in and posting as of yet for the post season playoffs. Emery was last in a Flyers jersey back in 2009 and his 29 games tallied out to 16 (W) and 11 (L); he has also held playoff action while with the Ducks in 2010-11.
We have picked up some new defense options via the draft and trades within the league and beyond, so it is a re-building in progress indeed. A nice option was picked up in Vincent LeCavalier, from Tampa, he is a strong forward and presence on the ice with a threatening shot to the net...and now with Giroux out for at least 5-8 weeks following a hand injury while golfing, the added scoring force will be needed.
Good thing Scott Hartnell is our Assistant Captain, as it will take a heart like his and some serious drive to even attempt to fill-in for the sidelined Giroux. If anyone is ready for the position to lead this new squad given the situation, it definitely is Hartnell.
Any long time Flyers fan really cannot be surprised about the latest developments, as far as Giroux and his injury are concerned, I mean what would this team be if it did not face adversity? Did we really think this was just going to be a dream season? I think we were ready for some twists and turns, just not our Captain out prior to camp opening as it rings reminiscent of the Pronger debockle that I will not curse us with. It is a fan's observation, not a prediction. This circumstance will return itself to be a mere speed bump to the opening of the year and nothing more.
One area that is highly welcomed by this Bully fan and others I am sure, is that with Ron Hextall in the core of the team's management where performance, team and most importantly goalie philosophies are concerned this is going to be one tightly ran bench from former players and professionals that will demand nothing but the best of every scoring line, defensive line and goal tender on that ice this year.
Laviolette drives a tough practice and bench, he pushes the right buttons inside his players and he demands solid returns from his team. He tolerates not much in the excuse department and through solid discipline and focus on playing every game well enough to win every game is what he is about. He is tough, but he makes a difference on the ice and the level of play that is demanded on every shift out there. The video clip included on this page should explain the philosophy of this team though from a past series with birds that don't fly somewhere in Pennsylvania...and now the newer versions will include some vocals added from Hextall I am sure!
This year will bring heavy pressure from the fans to the goal tending arena for sure, expecially following the Bryz blip and the fact that Mr. Hextall and Emery are making return appearances within our organization. With the other options exercised to build this team into a work in progress that is serious about results, obviously, this season still holds more potential than our squad has really put out there over the last three years tops -- with the correct team behind them.
Time and regular season are the only voices yet to speak! Adrenaline kicks in lightly!
I have been approved for passes this season to the Tampa Bay Lightning games, in addition to the already covered ACHA action! I will feature games covered by visiting teams such as: Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins and the Blackhawks to name a few. So please feel free to subscribe and not miss the action!
Four weeks (25 days really!) until NHL camps open for the 2013-14 season...