In a surprise announcement by the Flyers on Monday, forward Riley Cote has declared his retirement at the age of 28. He will become an assistant coach with the Adirondack Phantoms of the American Hockey League.
Cote, who was set to make $550,000 this season had he not been sent to the AHL, played 156 career games with the Flyers where he racked up 411 penalty minutes.
According to an official release from the Philadelphia Flyers, forward Simon Gagne is very questionable for Tuesday’s game in Washington due to a lower body injury. The good news is — it’s not his groin.
As it stands now, center Blair Betts is set to return off the IR on Tuesday, moving either Darroll Powe or Mika Pyorala to a top-3 line to replace Gagne.
More injury is the last thing Gagne needs. After missing most of the preseason with a groin injury suffered in Team Canada’s conditioning camp, the 29-year-old winger has not been the same. Scoring 34 goals last year for the Flyers, Gagne has just one goal and four assists in nine games.
But it isn’t his statistics that are the issue — it’s his ice presence.
Gagne has noticeably floated aimlessly around the ice and has purposely not taken contact, to the point where many speculated a lingering groin problem.
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.”
For much of the preseason, the major roster question was who general manager Paul Holmgren was going to decide to keep with the big club — James van Riemsdyk, Mika Pyorala or Blair Betts. But according to Holmgren, the Flyers want all three.
“If we were submitting rosters tomorrow, yeah, (Pyorala, JVR and Betts) would probably would be on it,” said Holmgren.
Other than being one of the top defenseman in the league, Chris Pronger was brought in by the Flyers to be an active leader and influence for the young core. And with a month still remaining before training camp on Sept. 13, the veteran defender’s job as a role model has already been put in motion.
“I’m usually here around this time trying to start skating and preparing for the season, and doing all the little things that it takes to be ready to go for the start of camp,” Pronger told the Flyers’ Kevin Kurz, about showing up to camp a month early.
Philadelphia Inquirer writer Sam Carchidi wrote a piece designing the projected Flyers’ line combinations for the 2009-10 season. He put Ian Laperriere on the second line wing and Mike Richards centering the third line with Arron Asham and Daniel Carcillo. Being moved by the article, I decided to take it upon myself to put together the groupings to start the season.
The Flyers have announced that Mike Richards, Kimmo Timonen, Danny Briere, Scott Hartnell and Darroll Powe have been voted annual team awards. Richards earned himself the Bobby Clarke award for the team’s most valuable player for the second consecutive season. Timonen won the Barry Ashbee trophy for the second year in a row as the team’s best defenseman and Briere won the Yanick Dupre trophy for classiest Flyer.
Jeff Carter won the Toyota Cup, which is the Flyers’ player with the most star of the game points.
Darroll Powe won the most improved player award and Scott Hartnell won the Gene Hart trophy for player that has showed the most heart.
The Flyers also announced to the media that enforcer Riley Cote, who injured his right ring finger in a fight with a Boston Bruin on March 29, will miss the rest of the season after he underwent surgery to fix the problem. Cote leads the Flyers with 174 penalty minutes.