Philadelphia Flyers Have More Than 5 Reasons for Hope Right Now
Philadelphia Flyers' Early-Season Celebration
Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren knew that his job wasn't going to be easy during this shortened hockey year. Now, after playing just four games, the challenges his team faces have become harder than anticipated. But, there are reasons for hope.
Zac Rinaldo is a young energy player, who is also one of the toughest men in the League when you consider the fact that he's under six feet tall and weighs less than 170 pounds. His thigh injury can be compensated for during the time that he's absent.
After teaming with Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr last season, Scott Hartnell became one of the Flyers' top line players. He's truly one of “Bullies” leaders now and will be missed during his two months on the scratched list.
Andrej Meszaros was developing into one of the better blue liners on Peter Laviolette'steam during the past two seasons. After recovering from a torn right Achilles' tendon this fall, he suffered a left shoulder injury against the New York Rangers this week. The loss of his offensive skills for at least a month hurts and puts pressure on Luke Schenn to deliver.
Meanwhile, the addition of former Flyer Mike Knuble and the imminent return of Danny Briere will inject positive energy and skill into the forward lines. The always energetic play of Wayne Simmonds (who quickly became a true Flyers' warrior last season) and the promising start of 2012 first round draft pick Scott Laughton have been noticeable. Beyond those positive points, there are five more reasons to be hopeful in late January of this locked out year.
Head coach Peter Laviolette famously led his 2010 squad back from the edge of hockey Hates in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Boston Bruins. If he can engender a spirited response to a 3-0 series disadvantage, it's reasonable to believe that he can motivate a group of men to rebound from a slow start to this 48-game season.
The addition of 40-year-old Mike Knuble isn't directly tied to why fans should be hopeful. “Homer” has demonstrated the ability to improve his roster in a variety of creative ways through the years. There's every reason to believe that the same scenario can play out this season.
Danny Briere is almost ready to return from a wrist injury that he suffered in Germany during the lockout. His pending presence on the ice will be especially welcomed because of Scott Hartnell's absence for the next two months.
Having one of the best players in the National Hockey League on your team means that hope is never lost. Great players elevate the seasons (and careers) of those around them. Claude Giroux was named the Flyers' new captain for many reasons. One of them involves his ability to change a game, a series and possibly a season.
Ilya Bryzgalov will need to be the most consistent player on the Flyers' ice this season. Because the defense isn't formidable, “Bryz” must prove that he's the right man for this high-profile hockey job.