Peter Laviolette

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Second half provides a 'fresh' start for Bryz

The first half of the season did not go the way Ilya Bryzgalov hoped it would.

In the first 48 games of his nine-year contract, Bryzgalov failed to display the attributes that earned him $51 million and the trust of the Philadelphia Flyers organization.

The main purpose in signing the 31-year old Russian was to stabilize the most inconsistent position in the history of the storied franchise.

The result has been any thing but.

Voracek has room to improve

Jakub Voracek is a big guy.

Standing at 6’2”, 214 lbs., he is one of the biggest players on the Philadelphia Flyers.

With the exception of Jaromir Jagr, Voracek probably has the most skill considering his size and much like Jagr, Voracek has proven that he is a difficult matchup.

In a general sense, Voracek has been a wonderful addition to the team.

However, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have things he can work on.

No questions about Bob

It’s been obvious for a while now.

Unfortunately, it has tended to spark debate rather than praise but either way it’s undeniable.

Sergei Bobrovsky is the best goaltender on the Philadelphia Flyers right now.

While it doesn’t mean that it will always be that way or that his colleague Ilya Bryzgalov won’t surpass him at some point this season, it does mean that Bobrovsky is performing at optimal level.

In Tuesday night’s game against the Florida Panthers this fact was made abundantly clear.

Couturier, Read and Simmonds Belong Together

Imagine what would happen if Couturier had a chance to center Simmonds and Read on the third line.

In the last five games, the Flyers have scored a total of 13 goals. In that span, Couturier, Read and Simmonds have scored seven, which makes up over half of the production. In total, the group has a combined 15 points in their last five games.

There is much discussion about how Couturier deserves more minutes. A move to the third line would allow for that. Not to mention that he and Read are starting to develop a chemistry of their own when paired on the penalty kill.

Road Warriors Excited to Come Home

Going back to the offseason, 2011-12 has largely been about turmoil for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Whether it pertains to personnel decisions, injuries or goaltender shuffles, the team consistently has a new issue that is supposed to bring them down.

Even with all the drama, the team has managed to exceed expectations, currently sitting in the fourth seed (27-13-4) of the highly competitive Eastern Conference, only four points out of first place.

With all the other ‘issues’ receiving the majority of attention, there is one occurrence this season that could have become a huge problem.

Since November 9th, the Flyers have played 29 games, 20 of which were on the road.

Bryz and the Defense 'Bounces' Back

Deflections and bounces have become a dirty word for the Philadelphia Flyers.

At least that’s been the case in Ilya Bryzgalov’s most recent starts.

Whether it’s been on purpose or by accident, pucks have seemed to grow a pair of eyes prior to reaching Bryzgalov.

On Tuesday night, in the Philadelphia Flyers 5-1 trouncing of the Minnesota Wild, the puck began to bounce in the troubled goaltender’s favor.

No Controversy; Bob is the Starter

Despite playing the first two periods of Thursday night’s 3-2 victory against the New York Islanders like a virtuoso, Bobrovsky lost his shutout only 22 seconds into the final period.

After stopping 22 consecutive shots that had him sprawling across the crease for two periods, it merely took a tap from Kyle Okoposo to end his perfect night. Then to pile it on, the Islanders snuck a second goal by him with only 15 seconds remaining in regulation.

Not that it mattered at that point, but it distorts what otherwise was a phenomenal night from the 23-year old goaltender.

That’s the most important point to take away from Thursday night. It doesn’t matter that Bobrovsky wasn’t flawless, what matters is that he looked exceptionally good.

It’s something he has been doing a lot of lately.

Snub? Hartnell continues case to be All-Star Sub

Last week, many were outraged when the results of the fan voting portion of the All-Star team was announced.

With this year’s game being held in Ottawa, it was clearly evident that fans of the hometown team stuffed the ballet box when four of the six starters turned out to be Senators.

For fans of the Philadelphia Flyers, it was surprising that their star player Claude Giroux hadn’t been given the honor of being an All-Star starter.

Now, one week later and there is another Flyers player on the outside looking in.

At Halfway Point, Flyers Offseason Looks Like Success

When the Flyers decided the direction of the franchise was one that wasn’t going to be influenced by Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, outcry and uproar ensued.

The core of the team that made it within two games of hoisting the Stanley Cup and a second-place finish in the Eastern Conference the next year was sent packing.

Obviously, Carter and Richards were the biggest shoes to drop. The captain and his close friend were supposed to be the faces of the team for years to come. Not so much.

Ville Leino wasn’t re-signed and few had issue with it. Most could see that his deal in Buffalo was baseless and far too big.

Blair Betts and Darroll Powe were waived and traded respectively, and that was a sticking point with some. The two soldier-like penalty killers were given away and some feared the franchise couldn’t find anyone to replace their strong play.

Kris Versteeg? Traded. Dan Carcillo? See ya. Nikolay Zherdev? Of course he was free to go.

Bob Expected to Lead Flyers into Long Island

The philosophy is simple enough to understand.

It’s a standard that Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette holds all of his players to; the security of your play, not your contract, will determine how much playing time you will receive.

While Ilya Bryzgalov has more than enough security in his lucrative nine-year contract, he will (in all likelihood) be viewing tonight’s game against the New York Islanders from the bench rather than the goal crease.