The Flyers came to a crossroads two offseasons ago.
They could have gone in one or two directions. One side of the path had them rebuilding the team, pushing a youth movement that would make them a dangerous contender in a couple years. The other path was the same win-now mentality the Flyers have had for the last two decades, resulting in a couple Stanley Cup berths and a handful of Conference Finals appearances.
Unfortunately, general manager Paul Holmgren tried to travel down both paths at once and wound up falling flat on his face this season.
(Photo: Wayne Simmonds (front) and Sean Couturier (back) were both a part of the youth movement. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line)
When a certain eccentric Russian goaltender made his way to Philadelphia, fans joked about the one time he made fun of the city of Edmonton, and his then-Anaheim teammate Chris Pronger's departure from the freezing tundra.
"Why you heff to be mad?" he asked. "It's only game."
In that video, you could see Ilya Bryzgalov had fun with the reporters, giving them a unique perspective into his world. He laughed along with them, being as colorful as ever.
Perhaps he should have taken his own advice from the outset to remain happy in Philadelphia. "Why you heff to be mad," indeed.
Through three games the Kings/Sharks Western Conference Semifinal has been nothing short of fantastic. Entering the series was the Stanley Cup defending champions who disposed of the St. Louis Blues in six games despite falling behind 2-0; the Sharks entered red hot as a team drenched with momentum after easily sweeping the Canucks 4-0.
The two Californian teams play rough styles of hockey that aren't always pretty but are effective for playoff hockey. The Kings won the first two games in different fashion, the first behind the perfect play of Jonathan Quick who shut out the Sharks facing 35 shots and secondly behind some late game heroics in a spectacular comeback win.
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)
Preview: Tonight is the Mullet Game for the Kings (25-14-5; 55 points): business in the front; party in the back. Vancouver’s 2-1 SO win last night over Detroit launches the Kings into the playoffs. The question now is where do they land and who will they face. Tonight’s game (along with the two against the Wild and one against the Red Wings) will determine their seed as they most likely battle the Sharks for home-ice advantage between the four and five seeds.
Los Angeles still has a lot of business in front of them but fans should celebrate the playoff berth. The opening two weeks of the season saw some awful hockey, inconsistent play by ...
Preview: The Kings (22-13-4; 48 points) head to Dallas to take on the Stars(18-17-3; 39 points) tonight at 5:30.While the Kings are currently in fourth place in the Western Conference the Sharks and Wild are just behind in the standings putting pressure on Los Angeles. There are nine games left in the season and even a playoff spot is not guaranteed. The Stars are in tenth place, nine points back from the Kings.
Tonight’s game will be the fourth of five contests between the teams. Dallas won both games in Los Angeles: On March 7th they won 5-2 and 2-0 on March 21st. The Kings won the most recent game in Dallas with a 3-2 victory on March 31t.
The Flames head back on the road tonight, a place they have not been too fond of as of late, currently riding a 9-game win-less streak (0-8-1). Breaking the streak will not come easy heading into Chicago to face the league’s best team. The Blackhawks will finish off rare back-to-back home games after losing last night, 5-4 to the defending champs Los Angeles Kings.
The Kings collected 6 points before losing to the Canuck's last night in Vancouver, 5-2. Los Angeles' winning streak and Jeff Carter's goal streak came to an end after five games.
It was a week of vengenace as the Kings defeated Colorado, Anaheim and Detroit - all teams they lost to in their first go round. The Kings fell to Vancouver a team they beat 3-2 in January. Today the Kings sit in last place in the Pacific Division and 11th in the Western Conference. After Wednesday's 2-1 victory over Detroit the Kings moved to second in the Pacific and fifth in the West. With a condensed and strictly-Western laden schedule the standings will remain preca...
After a pre-game tribute to former King, Ian Laperriere and a moment of silence for Los Angeles sports titan, Jerry Buss, the Kings got straight to business.
Dustin Brown opened the scoring 58 seconds into the game. Justin Williams recovered the puck on a scramble at the top of the offensive zone and delivered a pass to Brown waiting in the slot. Brown’s one-timer rocketed past an oscillating Semyon Varlamov.
The slot was open all afternoon and the Kings would capitalize on two goals just like Brown’s. The victory is Los Angeles’ third straight and the team is gaining momentum heading into their long home stretch. With the Kings beginning to form...
On the last leg of their extended road trip, the Kings did something that has only happened once before this season—win consecutive games. Following a 3-2 win over Edmonton on Tuesday night, the squad finished the Alberta sweep with a 3-1 victory against the hapless Calgary Flames Wednesday evening at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Los Angeles now pulls within one point of the Dallas Stars as they attempt to scratch and claw their way out of the Pacific Division cellar and to be sure, it’s better late than never.