At the NHL awards ceremony in Las Vegas, no one was surprised to see Detroit star Pavel Datsyuk defeat Flyers’ forward Mike Richards to take home his second consecutive Frank J. Selke trophy for the league’s best defensive forward. But as the voting numbers were counted, it turns out Mike had more support than expected.
According to the Flyers’ official site, Datsyuk defeated Richards 945-942. It was the closest vote since 1978, when the award began being issued.
Datsyuk was second in the league in takeaways with 89 and a plus/minus of +34, while Richards’ campaign for the award stood on his league leading seven shorthanded goals, with a plus/minus of +22.
According to Comcast Sportsnet hockey contributor John Boruk, sources close to Florida defenseman and soon to be unrestricted free agent Jay Bouwmeester, says he has a short list of teams he wants to sign with. And the Flyers are one of them.
“According to a league source, free-agent defenseman Jay Bouwmeester has a “wish list” of about six NHL teams he would like to sign with and the Flyers are on it. According to the source, Bouwmeester likes the Flyers from an “organizational standpoint” and considers them an “up-and-coming team.”
During his press conference earlier on Wednesday, Flyers’ General Manager Paul Holmgren spoke almost too candidly about the Bouwmeester situation, saying that he expects a team to trade with the Panthers for the rights to sign the 6’4 blue liner before the July 1 start to free agency.
25-year old Bouwmeester is likely to command around $6-7 million in free agency, meaning the Flyers would have to move a roster player of significant salary. The Flyers have been rumored to be shopping forward Danny Briere, who makes $6.5 against the cap.
On Monday, the oft erroneous rumor monger, “Eklund,” reported that the Flyers were trying to work a deal with the Los Angeles Kings, that would send forward Danny Briere and the Flyers’ 21st overall selection in the 2009 NHL entry draft to the Kings, in exchange for the 5th overall pick. And while Philadelphia buzzed with the prospect, many people still pondered LA’s logic in taking on $6.5 million a year worth of damaged goods in place of a key cog of the future. But one media source put to sleep the mangy rumor.
The Montreal Gazette called bravo sierra on the paper thin rumored deal, stating “The folks in Philly have talked to the Canadiens and the Los Angeles Kings, but neither team was interested (in Briere). There also is a report that they have talked to the Phoenix Coyotes..”
This statement proves the Flyers do not have a master plan involving Briere, heading into the June 26-27 draft. They just want to dump his salary. With the uprising of Claude Giroux and his steady two-way play, Briere’s services as the goal-line feeder on the power play, as well as one-dimensional even strength ability is not needed.
There is likely to be more rumors involving Briere as the draft inches closer, simply because the Flyers who will talk to whomever will listen.
Is there anyone better at heating up a rivalry than Rangers forward Sean Avery? Avery was booked on the Jimmy Fallon show Monday night, promoting his charity Career Gear, which recycles suits to give to people in need. During the interview, Avery mentioned he attended the Bonnaroo music festival in Tennessee, and that his camp, during the multi-day hippee party, was located directly next where Joffrey Lupul and some other Flyers were staying.
Avery recalled back to the final game of the regular season between the Flyers and Rangers, where Lupul crosschecked Avery from behind after the whistle. Avery turned around and went after the first player in orange and black, which happened to be Scott Hartnell. Hartnell tried to fight Avery, but slipped backwards.
Avery said that he and Lupul “Hugged it out,” but that Hartnell is “A bit of a clown.”
If the youtube.com link breaks, I will try to track down the interview on Hulu as soon as it’s posted.
While some believed that future Hall of Famer defenseman Derian Hatcher could make a possible return to the Flyers during their 2008-09 playoff run, people in the know, knew that Hatcher’s right knee was damaged to the point of no return. And on June 1, major surgery officially ended what was a storied career.
Hatcher underwent full right knee replacement surgery on the same damaged leg that hobbled him throughout the 07-08 playoffs. With almost no mobility, the Flyers put him on LTIR to start the 08-09 season, but Hatcher’s will to compete saw him back on the ice trying to make a comeback. But unfortunately for him, his knee wouldn’t agree, unceremoniously ending his playing career. Hatcher has not declared retirement, but it can’t be far behind.
Despite not being able to meet the guys on the ice, Hatcher will remain with the team. He is rumored to one of the coaches tapped to run the Flyers prospect camp that takes place weeks before training camp begins.
Hatcher won the Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999. He was the first America-born captain to ever lead a team to the cup. He was signed as a free agent by the Flyers in 2005 and had nine goals and 24 assists in 203 games.
Flyers’ beat writer Chuck Gormley got the much sought after reaction from former Flyers’ goaltender Marty Biron about the news that the team has moved on and signed Ray Emery as the starter for 2009-10. Biron is an unrestricted free agent and was in negotiations with the Flyers up until the signing.
“I know they’ve made a decision and that’s fine,” said Biron, who now turns his attention to other goalie-seeking teams around the league. “Personally, I’ve got decisions I need to make and that’s what I’m focusing on.”
But even after the awkward breakup, Biron understands the business side of the game. Biron’s agent was rumored to be asking for upwards of $5 million for four years. Other reports have the Biron camp asking for $4 million.
“I understand the business of the salary cap and hockey and that the Flyers are up against it,” he said. “They’re making a move to keep this team intact and signing Ray, that’s fine. They never said to me that means we’re done (negotiating) but I mean, you can see there is a very very slim chance. That’s part of hockey.”
Biron is coming off a mediocre season in which he tallied decent numbers, but wasn’t the same backstop that led the Flyers to the Eastern Conference Finals a season prior. The Flyers were eliminated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games in the opening round.
“It’s not for me to judge,” Biron said, when asked if he thinks he deserved a second chance with the Flyers. “I know what I am capable of doing and what I’ve accomplished and I’m going to focus on those things to get to where I want and pursue my goals.”
Ever since the rumor broke that the much maligned Ray Emery may sign as the next Flyers’ goalie, the fans and media in Philadelphia have been irate with disbelief. However, signing “Razor” may not be as bad as initially thought… Or will it? The Flyers press conference introducing Emery will take place at 11 A.M. on Wednesday.
According to the Flyers’ PR staff, General Manager Paul Holmgren will hold a press conference tomorrow (Wednesday), 11 A.M., at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J., to announce something “major.”
“Flyers G.M. Paul Holmgren will make a major announcement and be available to the media at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday at the Skate Zone.”
This news coincides with the reports that the Flyers would announce a deal with exiled goaltender Ray Emery this week. The Emery deal is reported to be worth about $1.5 million for one year and would make Emery the Flyers starting goaltender for the 2009-10 season.
After much deliberation, selections 15-25 have been added to the Philabright 2009 mock draft. Anaheim, Columbus, St. Louis, Montreal, New York Rangers, Calgary, Boston, Vancouver, New Jersey, Washington and Philadelphia, have all been predicted. More detailed Flyers draft options piece will be put together as June 26 approaches.
Ryan Bright (Philabright@gmail.com) is a sports writer, born and raised in the Philadelphia area. A graduate of West Chester University, he has been with the Daily Local News in Chester County since early 2007, working as the paper's college and high school ice hockey beat writer. In 2010, began as a contributer for CSNPhilly.com, covering the Flyers and the Philadelphia Union.