Last Thursday, I spoke on the phone with former Philadelphia Flyers goalie Brian Boucher.
Boucher retired from hockey back in October when he was released from EV Zug, a team from the National League A in Switzerland after playing five games.
I called Boucher for a different story I was doing for the Press of Atlantic City. Along with a handful of Flyers and New Jersey Devils alumni, Boucher was playing in the Red Line Classic: Battle of the Boards at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall on Sunday. Team Orange, the team Boucher played on, beat Team White 8-7.
The Philadelphia Flyers goaltending situation will look a tad different this season.
After amnestying the contract Ilya Bryzgalov, Paul Holmgren signed veteran Chicago Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery to pair up with last season's backup netminder Steve Mason.
A change of scenery seemed to be necessary for Bryzgalov, who remains unsigned by a team at any level.
At the moment, it appears that there will be a timeshare in net with both Mason and Emery seeing a very large amount of time. Mason will likely see 60 percent of the action as he did do an admirable job for the Flyers late last season.
Just one day after buying out Ilya Bryzgalov, the Philadelphia Flyers are already being linked to a netminder that could replace Bryzgalov.
According to Josh Rimer of Sportsnet, the Flyers are discussing a potential deal involving Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller. It is unclear what stage the talks are currently in but it appears that there is significant interest from both sides.
Miller posted a 17-17-5 record with a 2.81 goals-against-average and a .915 save percentage during the 2012-2013 season. Over his career, the American goalie has a 269-164 record with a 2.59 goals-against-average and a .915 save percentage. The American netminder made $6.25 million this past season and carries a similar price tag to Bryzgalov.
Miller was the 138th overall pick in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft out of Michigan State and has played with the Sabres for all 11 seasons of his professional career. The former Spartan was a member of the silver medal United States team in the 2010 Winter Olympics and was the MVP of the tournament.
Since dealing two of the franchise's most prominent stars of the 2000's, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, it seems the Philadelphia fan base has surgically dissected every single move made by the Flyers front office.
The two most scrutinized moves in the past two years though are the dealings of young stars James van Riemsdyk and Sergei Bobrovsky. To be fair, the former was an even trade that benefited both the Flyers, who got Luke Schenn, and the Maple Leafs, who landed the scorer in van Riemsdyk.
As for the latter, Bobrovsky was traded this past offseason to the Columbus Blue Jackets where he won the starting job over now-current Flyers back-up goaltender Steve Mason. After turning the Blue Jackets around and nearly making the post season, Bobrovsky is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the league's best goaltender.
(Pictured: Serge Bobrovsky against the Stars on April 25, 2013. Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
Now 5-9-0 in games against the current playoff set, acrimoniously booed off the Wells Fargo Center ice after a sadsack performance against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday, the Philadelphia Flyers find themselves at a crux. Are they a playoff team?
Is this team, that needs to be bailed out by magical timeouts on a daily basis, that can only play 20 minutes on any given night, that cannot get the big save when they need it, a playoff team?
It was a 4-1 game after the first period and Marc Andre Fleury was pulled after a horrible outing.
It had all the makings for a Flyers win. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, there were still 40 minutes left in the game and the Penguins were the only team to show up those remaining two periods.
Much like the poor effort in New York, Philadelphia collapsed to the Penguins. Pittsburgh scored four unanswered goals to climb out of the 4-1 hole, beating the Flyers 5-4 in Philadelphia Thursday night.
(Pictured: Chris Kunitz celebrates after scoring the first of two goals in the first period. AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)
The shortened season has certainly had an effect around the league this year.
Players have been getting hurt and the fatigue factor has been settling in despite not even being half way through the season. The biggest factor in the fatigue has been all of the back-to-back games being played.
They've been especially hard on the Flyers, who fell to 2-4-0 in those games after getting drubbed 5-2 at the hands of the Panthers on Thursday.
A part of the lackadaisical performance could be attributed to the emotionally-charged 6-5 win in Pittsburgh the previous night. The trip itself between the Steel City and Philadelphia wasn't exhausting.
(Pictured: Ilya Bryzgalov and Brian Boucher swap places during the Flyers 5-2 loss on Thursday. Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)