It has not been a fun year for new Flyer Vincent Lecavalier. Once a long-standing captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning, his contract became a boat anchor under a new CBA and a constricted salary cap. Thus, his time as a full-time Floridian came to an end.
Suitors abounded for this man's services after news of his release. Lecavalier, a first overall pick back in 1998, and once described as the "Michael Jordan of hockey," had a spot on many rosters across the NHL at a bit of a subdued monetary rate.
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren disregarded this, became the highest bidder, and signed a five-year pact worth $22.5 million. 14 goals, 12 assists and 49 games later, fan impatience hit a crescendo when he went long stretches with nary a point to show for it. In a time where nobody was scoring, Lecavalier scored five of his goals during that span.
The Philadelphia Flyers had a rough night on Thursday.
Following a 7-3 drubbing to the San Jose Sharks, the mood in the locker room was filled with disappointment and confusion. Both Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell said after the game that they don't know where it went wrong, but they needed to get back to playing their style of hockey.
Or as Hartnell worded it, "Flyers hockey."
(Photo: Vincent Lecavalier (front) and Kimmo Timonen celebrate after Lecavalier's game-winning goal on Sunday. AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Behind another strong performance by Steve Mason and an offensive outburst, the Flyers were able to extend their point streak to five games and have now collected 12 of 16 possible points in their last eight games.
In fact, since the disastrous 7-0 loss at the hands of the Washington Capitals on Nov. 1, the Flyers have gone 5-1-2 and now sit just two points back from what would have them in playoff positioning.
(Photo: The Flyers celebrate Kimmo Timonen's first goal of the season, which proved to be the game-winner in the third period. Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
The Flyers' week-long break will come to an end this Thursday when they host the Rangers.
While off, the Flyers set to work on a few things. Their powerplay unit, which is 29th in the NHL needed work; the entire team went to the Philadelphia Eagles game on Sunday as a bonding experience; and they have a couple players potentially returning from injuries which will create a few decisions.
Failure to capitalize on special teams, scoring just one goal and dreadful puck possession time doomed the Flyers as they fell to the Phoenix Coyotes, 2-1, on a rainy Friday night in Philadelphia.
To add an insult to injury, along with the loss, Flyers forward corps sustained a large blow by losing Scott Hartnell and Vincent Lecavalier, forcing both to leave the game.
According to General Manager Paul Holmgren, both will miss at least a week, and will both have MRIs tomorrow. Call-up opportunities remain to be seen, as the Adirondack Phantoms (AHL) were playing the Hartford Wolf Pack on this night as well.
Both Flyers power play units failed to score on multiple opportunities. Phoenix's suffocating defensive style under head coach Dave Tippett frustrated the Flyers all night long resulting in the power play going 0-for-4.
(Photo: Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson [right] celebrates his go-ahead goal in the 2nd period. Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Flyers kick their season off at home against the Maple Leafs. Toronto played last night, winning 4-3 in Montreal. Will the Flyers take advantage of Toronto playing yesterday or will Steve Mason falter in his first start as the Flyers No. 1 goalie?
Back when Flyers centers Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were dealt to Los Angeles, it was to clear an overabundance at the center position to bring in true, talented wingers.
Those trades hauled in two very important wingers in Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds, setting the stage towards finding legitimate, true wingers.
While there may not be a significant amount of transition from last year to this year in terms of wingers, losing veteran returners Simon Gagne and Mike Knuble to free agency opened two spots for the Flyers' youth to earn.
Many of the incumbent wingers will be wearing orange and black for the next several seasons.
(Photo: Flyers RW Jakub Voracek has a lot to smile about heading into this season, including being a top-line winger on a high-scoring team. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line)
The Philadelphia Flyers may have one of the deepest center combinations in the entire National Hockey League.
Captain Claude Giroux had a “subpar” lockout shortened year, but still registered 48 points in just as many games. Giroux is just a year removed from a career-high of 28 goals, 93 points and it would not be out of the realm of possibility that he eclipses both this season.
With more players able to play the penalty kill, it seems likely that Giroux will get less time on the PK, opening him up to doing what he does best: playmaking.
(Photo: Flyers captain Claude Giroux will man the top line again this season. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line)
It appears depth is now the name of the game for Paul Holmgren's team construction.
The Flyers have re-signed forward Adam Hall to a one-year extension worth $600,000.
Hall came to the Flyers as a result of a waiver wire pickup on April 3 from the Tampa Bay Lightning. He played for both the Carolina Hurricanes and the Lightning before becoming a Flyer. Hall played 11 games for the Flyers.
All 30 teams in the NHL know the type of talent Sean Couturier possesses.
Only one, the Philadelphia Flyers, have the fortune of saying that they are possession of his talent.
On the April 3 trade deadline, a handful of teams asked the Flyers about the 20-year-old Couturier. San Jose wanted him in exchange for Ryan Clowe and Ottawa wanted him for Ben Bishop.
The Flyers didn’t bite though, opting to hold onto Couturier rather than deal him for a potential rental forward with no goals or an unproven starting goaltender. They did, however, exercise the notion of trading him for a top, young defenseman or top line scorer.
Couturier was glad this deadline ended, especially for him trying to focus on his play rather than if he's going to get moved.
(Pictured: Sean Couturier celebrates with Jay Rosehill and Erik Gustafsson after setting up Rosehill's goal in the third. John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY)