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 New York Islanders played host to the Philadelphia Flyers this afternoon with the hopes of earning back a win against their Metropolitan Division rivals after losing to them 6-4 on the road Saturday night. Anders Nilsson and Ray Emery were your net-minders for the Martin Luther King Jr. matinee. The contest would conclude in a
The first period saw plenty of hits and fights between both sides. Matt Carkner fought Jay Rosehill just inside the Isles blue line, resulting in a win for the home team. Just a few minutes later, Kyle Okposo would drop the mitts with Braydon Coburn inside the Flyers zone. Not many punches were thrown, but KO would get the take down, allowing the Minnesota native to be showered with USA chants as he headed to the Isles penalty box.
John Russo and Jordan Kuhns made their picks for midseason report card awards. On some categories they agreed rather civilly. But on others, the disagreement couldn't have been any more clear.
That is why they had to put their differences aside and work together to bring to you some of the Flyers' studs, duds, and surprises among other things through the first 41 games of the 2013-14 season.
At 20-17-4, and second place in the Metro Division with 44 points, there were certainly a lot to choose from.
(Photo: Steve Mason has been the Flyers best player in the first half. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line)
For a guy who was a healthy scratch just five weeks ago, Michael Raffl has made the most of the opportunities presented to him since returning to the lineup on Nov. 27.
In fact, December may have been the best month in the 25-year-old’s professional hockey career.
During the final calendar month of 2013, Raffl notched 10 points (2 G, 8 A) in 14 games played, including his first career NHL goal against Ottawa on Dec. 9. Prior to the beginning of December, Raffl had just one point in 14 games played.
The Philadelphia Flyers couldn't have ended the 2013 portion of their season any better.
The Flyers defeated the Calgary Flames, 4-1, and head into 2014 winners of four straight and six of their last seven. At 20-16-4, they sit one point behind the Washington Capitals for second place in the Metro with both teams having played 40 games.
Ray Emery got the start for the Flyers, stopping 23 shots for the win. He didn't need to be overly impressive as the Flames didn't provide much pressure, but he came up with key saves late in the game to preserve the lead the Flyers built.
Five games ago, Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds scored just five goals along with ten assists.
Not bad totals by any stretch, but not spectacular for a productive winger known for hard work, physical play, and most importantly, timely scoring.
Since going goalless for 10 straight games dating from Nov. 27 until Dec. 17, Simmonds has scored five goals and two assists, doubling his goal total, and giving a team that looked hopeless in terms of secondary scoring months ago a chance to be lethal in that department.
It was not as if "Wayne Train" wasn't capable. He scored 28 goals two seasons ago, and if a lockout-shortened 2013 season spanned 82 games, Simmonds could have replicated that goal total again, scoring 15 goals in 45 games.
(Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line; October 24, 2013)