Bad news for the Penguins on Thursday — Arron Asham has something to prove.
The rough-and-tough Asham, who scored eight goals, 12 assists and 155 penalty minutes in 78 games last season, will make his 2009-10 season debut on Thursday and is expected to be on the third line aside Claude Giroux and Darroll Powe.
“I’m hoping to stay in the lineup for the rest of the year,” said a very serious Asham, who was scratched for the team’s first three games. “I’ll get my chance, I’ll work hard and keep my spot. I’m definitely not going to give it up easily.”
Whispers of an expected concussion diagnosis swarmed around Flyers’ rookie James van Riemsdyk on Wednesday, after he was forced to leave Tuesday’s contest against the Washington Capitals due to having his “bell rung” and not feeling well enough to return.
However, JVR has passed all baseline concussion tests and is cleared to play. But despite the clean bill of health it is still unknown whether he will be activated for Thursday’s match up against the Pittsburgh Penguins. If he isn’t in the lineup, Arron Asham will replace him next to Claude Giroux and Darroll Powe.
Update: JVR is NOT expected to be in the line up versus the Penguins.
“I feel a lot better today so that’s a good sign,” said JVR. “No symptoms no headaches, everything looks pretty good so far. I’m going to go to the rink tomorrow and see how I feel.”
The Flyers should be smart with this all-to-familiar scenario and hold JVR out until the team heads to Florida to face the Panthers on Oct. 16. After Saturday’s game against Anaheim at home on the 10th, the Flyers don’t play for six days. That break should help resolve any lingering issues with JVR’s valuable hockey brain.
The Flyers earned a Pyrrhic victory over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday, winning the game 5-4 in OT but losing forwards Blair Betts and James van Riemsdyk to injuries.
Betts separated his shoulder in the third period and was said by general manager Paul Holmgren to miss at least four weeks.
JVR got his “bell rung” in the second period according to Holmgren. So sticking with their reputation of having players with severe brain problems, the Flyers sent him back to play in the third period. JVR said he didn’t feel right and left the game for good in the third. According to the Flyers, he will be reevaluated on Wednesday.
Barring a major line shake up, Ian Laperriere will take over for Betts as fourth-line center. The Flyers will activate Arron Asham and Riley Cote from the inactive list with Asham replacing JVR as third-line winger.
Tonight at the Wachovia Center, two of the Eastern Conference’s hottest teams meet in an early-season heavyweight match up. The Washington Capitals and the home-coming Flyers are 2-0 on the season, both smiting the early opposition in convincing fashion, putting the out-of-division rivals on a collision course.
Flyers’ backup goaltender Brian Boucher returned to the lineup on Monday after being forced to take a short stint on the IR due to a groin tweak suffered in the preseason. Goalie Johan Backlund was returned to the Phantoms.
Defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen will also return to the lineup, but will remain inactive for Tuesday’s home opener. Rookie defenseman MA Bourdon was returned to the Phantoms.
Despite Boucher’s return, the Flyers plan on starting Emery for the next three contests, Tuesday against Washington, Thursday against Pittsburgh and Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks.
Courtesy of Getty Images
The voodoo that the New Jersey Devils held over the Flyers the past few seasons appears to be over.
Goaltender Ray Emery stretched his shut-out streak to 109 minutes and rookie James van Riemsdyk had another excellent game, as the Flyers defeated Atlantic Division rival Devils, 5-2 , Saturday night at the Prudential Center.
Courtesy of Getty Images
Welcome to Philadelphia Chris Pronger and Ray Emery.
Emery turned aside all 28 shots faced and Pronger was a cornerstone on the blue line logging 27 minutes, as the visiting new-look Flyers dispatched the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0, Friday in the 2009-10 season opener.
“Ray looks more comfortable every day,” coach John Stevens told the media. “He looks alert, he’s finding pucks, he makes saves on effort. He was tremendous.”
Courtesy of Michael Leighton
The Flyers will be showing a bit of a new look in tonight’s opener in Raleigh against the Carolina Hurricanes. Newcomers James van Riemsdyk and Mika Pyorala will play their first NHL games, while Arron Asham and Riley Cote sit out as healthy scratches. Ray Emery, Chris Pronger, Blair Betts and Ian Laperriere will be playing their first game in the Orange and Black.
It took all of preseason but Blair Betts is finally a Flyer.
The 29-year old center officially inked a one-year deal on Thursday, just hours before the team is scheduled to travel to Carolina for the opening game. There were many conflicting reports as to what took the team so long to sign the penalty kill specialist, but all evidence points to some salary cap or roster number issues.
Betts is expected to play fourth-line center between Dan Carcillo and Ian Laperriere. He has 28 goals and 20 assists in 339 career games.
The Flyers participated in a light but typical practice Thursday before traveling to Raleigh for the season opener against the Hurricanes on Friday. The combinations used by coach John Stevens might shed some light on the opening-day roster.