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5 Points You Shouldn’t Ignore about the Flyers’ Ilya Bryzgalov Debacle

Jun 26, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT

carter-vegas-cup

Two years and two days after signing Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine-year, $51 million deal, the Flyers on Tuesday admitted they made a mistake.

Bryzgalov — defiant, moody and accusatory right up to the end — naturally blamed the media.

There’s little arguing that getting rid of him wasn’t the right move — it was — but here are five spectacularly awful aspects about his tenure you shouldn’t ignore, and they’re all about the front office.

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1. Amnestying Bryzgalov should not have been possible

When the Flyers offered Bryzgalov his contract in 2011, compliance buyouts didn’t exist.

The only reason the Flyers were able to get rid of Bryzgalov after two seasons: the NHL lockout. To help teams find their way back under a lower cap they didn’t plan for, the league granted each franchise two compliance buyouts.

If certain NHL clubs weren’t in financial distress, and the league was economically viable enough that it didn’t feel need to lower its salary cap, this would not have been an option.

The Flyers would have been stuck, unless they found a trade partner — ask the Vancouver Canucks how that’s going with a guy who has been both better and substantially less toxic than Bryzgalov — or they were willing to have the buyout count against their cap for the next 14 years.

2. The Flyers traded away a Vezina winner
Was it reasonable to think Sergei Bobrovsky was going to win the Vezina this year? No. But what was wrong with him in the first place?

source:  As a 22-year-old rookie, Bobrovsky posted a 2.59 GAA and .915 save percentage in 54 games. Those numbers aren’t bad at all, especially when you consider how they inflated when he ran out of gas down the stretch. His performance over the final month of the 2011 season, when he had clearly hit a wall, led to a Bobrovsky-Brian Boucher-Michael Leighton goalie carousel orchestrated by coach Peter Laviolette. There is little arguing Laviolette — for all the good he’s done as coach and for as likable as he is in the position — didn’t mismanage the situation. Badly.

The Flyers barely survived the Sabres, got swept by the eventual Stanley Cup winners, and soon opted to drastically change course when they traded Mike Richards and Jeff Carter and acquired Bryzgalov all on the same day.

Once Bryz was added, Bob languished as a backup and the team decided it was best to trade him to Columbus because he wasn’t going to get the playing time he needed behind Bryzgalov. At some point between the end of their 2011 playoff run (on May 6) and the day they signed Bryzgalov (June 23), the team decided an inexpensive 22-year-old rookie with one surprisingly encouraging season under his belt was not their future.

No Flyers goaltender has won the Vezina since Ron Hextall’s rookie season in 1986-87. The Blue Jackets did not make the playoffs.

source:  3. Richards and Carter won a Stanley Cup, and they’re going to be really good for a long time
In order to sign Bryzgalov, the Flyers traded the faces of their franchise, two guys who were in their prime.

Richards was 26, had been named  captain, had been to an All-Star game, had won a Gold Medal with Team Canada, and was heading into the fourth year of a 12-year $69 million deal. He was and still is one of the best two-way forwards in the NHL. At various points, he got salty with the media because it was alleged he and his teammates partied too much, which didn’t prevent this from happening nor the team from coming within two wins — and, go figure, a competent goaltender — of the Stanley Cup.

As for Carter, the ink had barely dried on his 11-year, $58 million contract. He was one season into it before was dealt to Columbus. He had already scored 46 goals in a season and followed it up with 33 goals and 36 goals over the next two years. Those numbers did not immediately translate into success in the playoffs, during which he was often hurt.

Three years after making Richards the captain and one year after giving Carter an 11-year deal, the Flyers shipped them both out of town in order to sign Bryzgalov.

Two years later, Bryzgalov is no longer a Flyer, Richards and Carter have been reunited in L.A., they’ve already won a Cup, they went back to the Western Conference Finals this year, Carter just scored 26 goals in 48 regular season games and has found the back of the net 14 times in the last two postseasons.

The Flyers lavished huge contracts on two superstars and quickly traded those guys for a headcase they had to buy out with the aid of magic wand that didn’t exist when they originally made the deals. If that is not the plainest example of an organization that’s lost its way, then what is?

Whatever excuses you may or may not have heard to justify their exit separate from the now-failed search to find a goaltender do not hold water. Here are three of them just to prove a point:

  • Richards and Carter aren’t “the guys” in L.A. like they were in Philly — Maybe not? But they play together on the same line in crunch time, with Richie even moving back to defense, because A) he needs to be on the ice B) he’s versatile enough to do it and C) some combination of Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty are out there, too. And somehow GM Dean Lombardi has made those five players and goaltender Jonathan Quick fit under his salary cap. So not only did he take on the large contracts to which the Flyers signed Richards and Carter, but he was able to have enough other talent on the roster to win the Cup. Maybe they’re not “the guys,” but Carter just led the team in goal scoring, and L.A. is paying both them like they are. Somebody thinks they’re worth having around, and with good reason.
  • The Flyers got back greater value – This is unknowable at the moment. Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier certainly look promising and Jake Voracek and Wayne Simmonds are already very valuable commodities, but the Flyers traded a young core that had already been to a Stanley Cup Final for an even younger core. They are still without a Stanley Cup and one does not appear imminent even with all their young, talented forwards, which they always seem to have anyway.
  • Richards and Carter were too involved with off-ice antics — It’s doubtful Dry Island exists in L.A., especially if we’re judging by this picture, via Puck Daddy:

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4. They Flyers still don’t have a No. 1 goalie
source:  There are reasons to be optimistic about Steve Mason. It was a small sample size, but in seven games, he posted a 1.90 GAA and .944 save percentage behind a Flyers defense commonly considered poor, the same defense Bryzgalov (2.79, .900) played behind.

At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, he’s big. Big is good. And this is the same guy who once won the Calder Trophy before regressing on a bad team. There are guys who just need a change of scenery sometimes. The Flyers have traded away a few of them.

But does the front office think Mason is the answer? No.

If they did, they wouldn’t have tried to trade for Jonathan Bernier, who is young and potentially promising, but also unproven. Had that trade worked out, the Flyers would have two goalies and it wouldn’t have been immediately clear who was backing up whom, unless the organization gave Bernier a large, new contract — which alone would not have prevented another potential goalie controversy.

As it is, the Flyers have one goalie. And as was just established, they aren’t so sold on him as to think they don’t need to trade for or sign someone else, who will likely compete with Mason for the starting gig.

As for the future, if the next words out of your mouth are “Anthony Stolarz” …  There was once a time this team signed John Vanbiesbrouck over Mike Richter and Curtis Joseph because Brian Boucher and Jean Marc Pelletier were waiting in the wings. Pelletier didn’t pan out, and Boucher was eventually traded for Robert Esche less than two years after his stellar rookie season. Prospects are prospects.

That’s all aside from the fact that the Flyers’ track record with young talent — be they goaltenders, forwards or defensemen — leaves little room for confidence. How many times have you had a conversation about the team giving up on someone “too quickly?”

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5. They do not appear to have learned from their variety of mistakes
This has less to do with Bryzgalov and the goaltending situation, in specific, and more to do with the previously mentioned lack of direction and foresight, in general.

Last summer, the Flyers decided $5.5 million over each of the next six seasons was too much to pay for then-27-year-old Matt Carle. Even those of us who thought Carle was unfairly and overly criticized throughout his Flyers tenure conceded that amount of money was too high and based on how the free-agent market had shaped up to that point.

The flip-side is that puck-carrying defensemen are always expensive and that the Flyers, by letting Carle walk, no longer had one, aside from the aging Kimmo Timonen and the inexperienced Erik Gustafsson.

After missing the playoffs in a lockout-shortened year thanks to a variety issues — including poor goaltending exacerbated by a shoddy and oft-injured defensive corps — the Flyers decided to pay Mark Streit $5.25 million over the next four years.

Streit, 35, is seven years older than Carle. He turns the puck over at almost the exact same rate, is marginally better offensively.

Streit, by the way, is now making the same amount of money per season as Jeff Carter.

Put everything together and the Flyers are right back to where they started, with a promising group of young forwards, a question mark in goal, and more regrets about leaders they lost too soon to injury (Lindros, Primeau, Pronger).

I am not saying anyone should be fired for all of this. I’m saying general managers have been fired for less than this.

  1. yishmeister - Jun 26, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    First article about the Flyers where I have agreed a 100%.

    Reply
    • TL - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:12 PM

      a lot of what he says is bang on….so Carter and Richards are just “complimentary pieces” ….that is a load of crapp-ola. Its not all about stats. Holmgren traded the faces of the team one year after being within two win s of the cup…THOSE ARE THE FACTS…All these two do is win….memorial, Calder and stanley cups. I don’t care that both were not traded to the same team ?? whats it matter? they both now are on a team that will compete year in and year out….With the emergence of Giroux, Richie probably would have had a secondary role….Carter just scores….so why couldnt those two work here as secondary or complimentary pieces ??? what a stupid arguement.
      This team just reacts to situations. Why would any big free agent want to come and play for a team that will basically cast you aside at the first sign of trouble.
      Why trade the core players for a goalie??? why not do what Chicago did…Hang onto Kane, Toews, Sharp, Keith and Seabrook….and trade the role players, and build that way. re-stock—not dismantle.
      Damn right Holmgren should accountable….His huge gamble, with a team on the cusp, has been a major flop.

      Reply
      • Bob - Jun 26, 2013 at 6:28 PM

        “Holmgren traded the faces of the team one year after being within two win s of the cup…THOSE ARE THE FACTS”

        That is a fact but the context around that season really needs to highlighted. They underachieved all year that year. They won a shootout on the last day just to make it in the playoffs. They had incredible luck drawing a fading NJ Devils team, pulling a miracle against Boston, and facing an 8 seed in the conference finals. To me, the regular season showed what these guys really were. Meh.

      • TL - Jun 26, 2013 at 7:37 PM

        The Kings just snuck in last year? Whats that prove bob? Last time i looked theres no room on the cup for a description……just more lame excuses for a GM that should be fired…..any excuse for trading this years Vezina winner,Bob? Its totally amusing how so called fans can defend the indefensible…..eh Bob.

    • john procopi - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:03 PM

      Flyers are the joke of the NHL. Organization is in shambles with nitwits and morons leading the way. 0 for 38 and many more failures to come-boycott the team-empty stadium and much needed change will come-keep on showing up and Ed ( a sucker is born every minute) will continue to thank you and lead a clueless braindead organization!

      Reply
  2. Chris - Jun 26, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    you can’t argue Richards & Carter in LA since we didnt send carter to LA, if we sent them both packing to LA than sure, but Carter was moved from Columbus to LA. Thats a whole different Issue.

    Reply
    • Brian - Jun 26, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      People seem to forget this fact over and over again.

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    • hitnrun - Jun 26, 2013 at 10:59 AM

      This changes the legendary narrative of Flyers West but really has no bearing on the Philadelphia Flyers or their decisions (unless you think the Flyers were worried about facing Richards and Carter in the Finals). The Flyers intention when they traded Carter to Columbus was to win a Cup, not to prevent the Kings from doing it.

      They had two players who were major players on a Cup contender and traded them. Since then, those two players have been reunited, won the cup and have been back to the WCF. The Flyers are no longer contenders. The significance of that is perhaps overblown but it isn’t nothing.

      Reply
    • TL - Jun 26, 2013 at 7:41 PM

      Why Is that not open for debate? The issue is they could have had that success here….frankly it doesnt matter that LA won….it matters they did with Carter and Richards…..something Flyer fans were told couldnt happen…guess what it did.

      Reply
  3. Lenny von Squigmeister - Jun 26, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    The Flyers are a considerably weaker time now than they were 4 years ago or 2 years ago. The word “potential” keeps coming up like the Flyers are grooming themselves for a youth movement, but then they counter that by going after Mark Streit. I think the move was possibly maybe about getting leadership and a defensive captain in the wings with Timmo retiring after next season.

    Actually, I KNOW that’s what it is. Timmo filled Pronger’s role (or tried to) and he won’t be there. The team has no Pronger, no Jagr, and no strong veteran leadership–hence Streit. That explains that.

    Still, I would like to see the team make a super-aggressive push to shore up the defensive-side. To me, the only two untouchables are Giroux and Couturier, and even they can be moved for the right price (whatever that may be).

    Reply
    • wcbuckner - Jun 26, 2013 at 10:44 AM

      Well then they’re not untouchable if “hey can be moved for the right price” are they? And I disagree, G is definitely the future of the Flyers. He’s the new Bobby Clarke. Vorechek and G on the powerplay are insane, so you can’t dish him either. Schenn finally brought some body to our forwards and now that we have his brother on D who was an absolute workhorse this season (and also brings the Broad St. Bully), I don’t think you can dish him either. Coots shuts down everyone, Hartsy bleeds orange, and Simmer was born to be a Flyer.

      I just don’t see why you’d want to screw with the chemistry these guys have going. If we could just get a stable goalie, get healthy on D, and give some of the younger D men time to develop, I think we’ll be alright.

      Reply
      • lahoe819 - Jun 26, 2013 at 9:21 PM

        because their chemistry resulted in a terrible season, underachieving or not

  4. wcbuckner - Jun 26, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    It’s easy to look back and point out mistakes and, sure, the Flyers have made a lot of bad moves in hindsight, but I respect the fact that we’re aggressively trying to get the right pieces in place. I’ve been one of the most vocal haters when it comes to the Bryz debacle but, again, I respect the fact that they made a move to try to solve an ongoing problem.

    Are they learning from the mistakes, I suppose, is the real question. You’ve got to be happy with our situation up front, and I hope they give Mason a real shot. If we can just boslter the D a bit, or maybe give some of these young D men a chance to actually develop, I think we’ll be alright.

    A hypothetical question I like to raise is “what if Pronger never got hurt?” I think if he’d never gone down, a lot of these mistakes wouldn’t have happened and the Front Office would look like geniuses.

    Reply
  5. underthebridge1 - Jun 26, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    Figure out how to sign Alex Ovechkin

    Reply
    • stilllearninggolf.wordpress.com - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      Ask me a few years ago and I would have agreed with you 110%, but if the work-hard/play-hard Richards was an issue then the work-just-enough-to-still-get-by-on-talent/play-hard (I’m surprised he hasn’t Pelle Linberghed himself yet) Ovechkin would easily be a fan, management, and coaching nightmare in his first offseason in Philadelphia.

      Reply
      • underthebridge1 - Jun 26, 2013 at 8:58 PM

        What do people have against this year’s MVP of the league?

  6. ToddS - Jun 26, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    Of course, I don’t like the end result with the current state of the team, I think some of these points are a bit off base.

    1. You’re naive the think that the NHL/Flyers/Snider did not have a pretty good idea that there would be a work stoppage, a lower salary cap, and some type of way for teams to get out of bad contracts as part of a new deal. That whole thing was planned well in advance of the actual stoppage.

    2. Completely agree. The Flyers are too impatient across the board. There was no reason to trade him at the time.

    3. While the idea of Carts/Richie winning a Cup with LA stings, the idea of associating that with them staying with the Flyers is way off base. LA had/has a team with incredible goaltending, excellent defense, and big strong forwards. Richards was a complementary piece and Carter was the sniper they needed to get over the top. Without that type of surrounding cast, those two would have wilted under the pressure.

    4. True. My hope is that they sign someone reliable like Ray Emery to see if Mason is the real deal.Maybe for two years, and see how Stolartz is developing, or, as can happen with goalie prospects, one of the others emerge as a potential NHLer. Please do not go for Luongo!

    5. We’ll know more on this one 10 days from now. There seem to be some indications recently that maybe they have altered their philosophy some given that Homer has not traded any of the young core, or even some of the younger unproven players. We can hope anyway!

    Reply
    • Lol - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      You had me and then you lost me. Has everybody forgotten that Emery was a Flyer 3 seasons ago?

      Flyer fans need to learn from their mistakes as well. A goalie with success on another club does not necessarily mean that goalie will have success with the Flyers. Case in point: Bryzgalov, Bobrovsky and Emery.

      Reply
      • ToddS - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:20 AM

        Emery actually played pretty well for the Flyers, but had a very serious hip condition that was career threatening which caused him to miss I think a year.

        From his play the last couple years, it looks like he’s healthy again. He seems to now be a dependable veteran who, by all accounts, helped out Corey Crawford quite a bit. I would definitely bring him back. Not because of a comfort level, but because it seems to be the right fit for the next year or two.

        2009-10 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 29 1 2 1684 74 3 3 2.64 16 11 1 709 0.905

      • erzug - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:45 AM

        Emery was really good until he suffered from the dead hip bone issue, which was surgically corrected. I would take Emery back in a heartbeat, but I don’t think Chicago will part with him.

      • Lol - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:48 AM

        Those numbers do not get me excited for his return. I’d sooner see Boosh back in net.

    • Nick Menta - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:24 AM

      See bullet point 1 under point 3

      Reply
  7. stilllearninggolf.wordpress.com - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    Hextall is out in LA as Assistant GM… any mumbles on him coming back to take over for Holmer or help this franchise’s front office in some other way? He fits right into the Ed Snyder wheelhouse of bringing in former players, but he’s got that… what’s it called?… proven success that others haven’t quite had on their resume beforehand.

    Reply
    • Remo - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:44 PM

      Just what we do not need is another friend/family hire. This club needs someone who has not played for the team before as GM

      Reply
  8. Simmonds17 - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Still crying over Richards and Carter? Geez. Did the Kings win the Cup again? No. And those two did not exactly carry them to the Cup in 2012 – they were more along for the ride. Meanwhile, I love the four guys we got for them.

    Also, the causality between signing Bryz and getting rid of Carter and Richards isn’t necessarily on spot. I think they were on their way out anyway.

    The Bryz deal was bad because the Flyers out-bid themselves to a contract of ridiculous length and amount for a guy who is not/was not a franchise goalie. A lot of the other stuff is just re-hashing fan complaints about the franchise.

    Reply
    • joenardonesson - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:47 PM

      Since some think Carter was moved to LA, maybe it’s necessary to post the trades again.

      Carter to Columbus
      **
      Voracek to Philadelphia
      8th overall pick (Couturier) to Philadelphia
      3rd Round pick (Cousins) to Philadelphia

      Richards to LA
      Rob Bordson to LA
      **
      Simmonds to Philadelphia
      Schenn to Philadelphia
      2nd Round Pick to (Traded for Grossman) Philadelphia

      You are welcome to debate who won these trades, but the fact that Carter was moved to LA and then both he and Richards won the cup could not be more irrelevant.

      When the owner minutes after the Flyers are eliminated in the Playoffs states, “We will address our goaltending and this will never happen again!” we can probably come to the conclusion that he was behind the Bryz signing. Sorry, homer gets pass for that.

      Matt Carle..Carle benefited greatly from playing with Pronger. Sure the Flyers could have used him this year, but as Tampa found out this year he is not worth the money and term unless Pronger is by his side. There are even rumblings he could get bought out.

      The Flyers have obviously struggled to replace Pronger. Who wouldn’t struggle to replace a Chris Pronger? Not to mention they have to replace the assets required to trade for him in the first place. Sure they gave Streit too many years, but they gave up nothing for him. The other options all included giving up assets like Couturier for Yandle.

      Lastly, can Bob play more than half a season before we anoint him the next Tretiak? At this point he is still closer to Jim Carey.

      Reply
  9. erzug - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    I hope Mason gets a decent shot at sticking with the team. Despite having only a handful of games late in the season, I thought his performance improved steadily once he had more practices and game time under his belt.
    The goalie coach, Jeff Reese, had mentioned that there were some minor issues he was working with Mason on – such as being quieter around the net – less unnecessary movement.

    Reply
  10. BenE. - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    Great piece, Nick. Agreed, top to bottom. The front office needs to start operating with a lot more patience. It almost seems like the fans and media have been running this team for the last 3 years since that Finals run. I can’t think of any other reason Bobrovsky was traded, Richards was traded (fuck Jeff Carter), and Bryz was signed.

    I wish the comments on old 700 Level posts still existed, because I remember A LOT of Flyers fans giving up on Bobrovsky. I’m willing to bet at least half the fans who are raking Holmgren over the coals now for trading Bobrovsky were complaining about Bobrovsky two years ago. Now the Flyers have another young goaltender who has shown flashes of brilliance in Steve Mason, and half of Flyers nation STILL doesn’t want to give him a chance. It’s enough to make one’s head explode.

    As for the Mark Streit contract, I don’t see how anyone can conceivably defend that. It was just awful, like you said. Streit is Matt Carle 7 years from now, at a nearly identical cap hit. He may tally a bunch of power play assists, but he is sh!te in his own end, so he doesn’t actually improve our defense either. The fact is, Holmgren way overspent, way prematurely. He was basically bidding against himself, and blew almost everything he saved from the Briere buyout on one bad defenseman in the twilight of his career whom no one else was interested in. Guess what, I’d rather have Briere at only $1.5 million more. And again, I guarantee the Flyers fans who like the move will turn on Streit by the All-Star break and pretend they never liked the deal in the first place. That’s how it goes.

    Reply
    • Enrico Campitelli Jr. - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      Yeah, I was really upset that we couldn’t get old comments moved over. That is one of the things I really, really wanted to happen but apparently the technology just wasn’t feasible according to our tech guys. :(

      Reply
      • BenE. - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:02 PM

        Yet, a rover can be landed on Mars within meters of the landing target. Go figure!

    • IlliniGlory - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:51 PM

      You have to remember too that Carle was not signed in some part because of what was happening with Shea Weber’s offer.

      People like to criticize the front office for that move as well, but when you have the chance to go after a top 3 D man in the league and make a ridiculous offer that had a good chance of not being matched, you go for it. Not having a plan 1b, 1c, is forgivable, but this club should have had a plan 2, 3 behind Weber to shore up the D for this year.

      Reply
    • Negativo - Jun 26, 2013 at 2:22 PM

      Seriously?

      Nobody’s heralding the streit signing but it’s n

      Reply
    • Negativo - Jun 26, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      Seriously?

      Nobody’s heralding the streit signing but it’s not THAT bad. He will compliment this team well. Sure he was a captain on a lousy team for years, but…well shit lets just wait and see. It’s not the best but he’s not the worst. He also has less wear and tear on him because he’s kind of a pussy.

      As for Mr. “I knew bob was going to be good all along” you sound like the fans you’re complaining about. Whether its our goalie coach or system or whatever, bob was mediocre and we were in a different mindset. It was a good trade and I will defend that until bob becomes grant fuer.

      When do I get to say told you so (before his 40 goal performance and all the way thru it) on hartnell…another year? Since we’re discussing how smart we are and all.

      Sorry I’m giving you a hard time…frustrating day at the office and my 700 level escape isn’t helping…why is hartnell being moved not even remotely discussed, but nobody else on the flyers is ever safe?? Riddle me that?! Two of our highest paid players: a glorified third-liner that can’t do his job anymore and an old power play defenseman…

      Reply
      • wcbuckner - Jun 26, 2013 at 2:34 PM

        Because, as I said before, he bleeds orange. He’s a fan favorite who sells tickets/jerseys and when you put him on a good line, he scores lots of goals. And he plays with that classic “Flyers Edge”. What’s not to love about the guy?

  11. Steve - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Can we forward this message straight to Mr Snyder…..I want to personally shake Nick Mentas hand….This was quite possibly the best article I have read in over a year in regards to the debacle that has occurred within the Flyers organization….Bad trade..bad signings….Just a bad GM..

    Reply
    • Negativo - Jun 26, 2013 at 4:15 PM

      He’s slow, he hasn’t won a battle against the boards in years, we cheer him for falling down, he loses the puck in open ice consistently, he’s horrid defenseless, prone to taking bad penalties, and can’t create his own shot. I know he has a nice wrist shot when he’s wide open in the slot but that doesn’t warrant him a good hockey player. He had a great goal scoring year playing with two amazing playmakers. You look back on his goals and you can see how many slam dunks or good bounces he got. In fact, he should have had more goals..he whiffed on a considerable amount. He showed his true colors in the playoffs when he was benched. He gets exposed because of all the weaknesses I just named. The fact is he was once a great grinder and now is nothing but a shell of a hockey player and a lovable pest. Why is that enough to keep him even out of the conversation? He gets a free pass because he’s like able? Since when is that okay? Don’t just look at the box score, actually watch him play. We love the guy for falling down?! Stand up and skate!

      Reply
      • Negativo - Jun 26, 2013 at 4:18 PM

        How come we can say carle was great because he played with pronger…but we can’t say hartnell was great because he played with giroux and Jagr…to think if a skilled power forward played on that line

  12. Jonathan Bonomo - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    The point about Richards and Carter is nonsense. How can you mention that without including the names Jake Voracek, Sean Couturier, Wayne Simmonds, and Brayden Schenn? It is not the case that the Flyers traded Richards and Carter for Bryz. It is the case that they traded them for Voracek, Couturier, Simmonds, and Schenn, and the salary freed up in the 2 for 4 steal — yes, steal — *enabled* them to sign Bryz. I would not trade, right now, Voracek *straight up* for Carter, or Schenn *straight up* for Richards. And in that deal you got both of those guys, for cheaper, and throw in Couturier and Simmonds to boot. It’s also ridiculous to point to players in completely different situations winning the cup as if they were the sole reason for their team winning, or as if they had any shot of winning the cup with the Flyers as that team was constituted. To be sure, Richards and Carter helped the Kings win the cup. They are decent players. But unless the Flyers had Jonathan Quick in net, Anze Kopitar centering the top line, and Drew Doughty on D, they were not winning it in Philly in the foreseeable future when they were traded. Give me a break with this nonsense.

    Reply
    • Jonathan Bonomo - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:00 PM

      Sorry… should have kept reading, as I just noticed you did at least mention the names of the four the flyers got in return for Richards and Carter (I was thrown off by the statement, “The Flyers traded those guys for a headcase….”)

      Either way, though, anybody who’d trade Voracek, Simmonds, Couturier, and Schenn right now for Richards and Carter is completely insane. The mistake was giving those guys the contract they gave them in the first place… but you can’t fault the Flyers for seeing the mistake and fixing it.

      Reply
      • Matt - Jun 26, 2013 at 6:08 PM

        It isn’t nonsense in the the littlest bit. The Flyers had Richards and Carter at great prices, with plenty cap room to spare, their nucleus was in place and they could build around it (i.e. what Chicago did with Kane, Towes, and Sharp and now has two cups to show for it). Instead, the Flyers are still without a number 1 goalie, first of all. Second of all, they are left with Schenn and Couturier who show promise but are total question marks still, Wayne Simmonds who is a solid net presence and tough forward, and Jakub Voracek who looks to be on the up. Don’t get me wrong I love these guys, but there is no way, NO WAY, in the cap era the Flyers will be able to retain them all. After next season they will have $25mil to resign Giroux, Schenn, Couturier, Read, Mcginn, Mason (and his backup), and 2 defensemen to fill Kimmo & Meszaros’ spot. That’s terrible cap management on the Flyers part. Now instead of having a nucleus of Carter, Richards, and Giroux locked up long term and building around them, the Flyers have to sign Grioux long term and decide what to do with all these other guys they have to sign, with only $25,000,000 in cap space (and you can probably take about $7,000,000 out for Giroux’s new contract.) And that is what happens when you blow up the team that made the cup final 2 years before. It’s not 2004 anymore, it’s terrible cap management and something that the Flyers need to stop. “Win now” doesn’t work anymore.

      • Jonathan Bonomo - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:24 AM

        No, the Richards and Carter contracts were not great deals. Richards is overpaid and Carter gets basically what he’s worth. And Please do not compare Richards and Carter to Toews and Kane, because there is no comparison whatsoever…. You’re talking top tire vs. second tier there. The fact of the matter is the Flyers set themselves for the future with those trades… they will certainly be able to re-sign the four players they got in return if they want to, at least for the next several years.

    • Nick Menta - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:02 PM

      All four of those names are mentioned.

      Reply
  13. gq - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    While I normally agree with Menta most of the time, i’m overwhelmingly disappointed in this assessment, and really it’s a lay up of an article that I’d expect from rookie writers, not what I normally see from Menta. From point 1: Yes, the Flyers got “lucky” by being able to have two buyouts because of the lockout. However, if there was no lockout, the cap would have still been in the $71-74 million range and Bryz’s deal would have been much less of an issue. while the guy didn’t fill the need of a premier goalie in the league, what were the better options at the time?
    From point 2:Ken Hitchcock plays sytem driven, defensive hockey. This is the complete opposite of Peter Laviolette, and therefore Peter’s system is going to have a lot more holes in it on the defensive side. If Bob was starting in Philly last year, I’d find it hard to believe he’d win the Vezina. While Bob had potential, you have to evaluate the insanely defensive style Hitchcock implements.
    From point 3: Richards had 12 goals in 48 games, and was a -8 on the season. That would put Richards with the 5th worst +/- on the the Flyers, a team that was 1 over .500. On LA, he was dead last on the team, a team that was 11 games over .500. Carter was abyssmal in the playoffs for the flyers and just watching him take 12 shots a game, hitting the net once, and never passing was worth his trade. And don’t forget what a sally he was in bunkering up at the jersey shore and Rick Nash having to go get him.

    Reply
    • Nick Menta - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:40 PM

      well at least you like me most of the time. rookie —->

      Reply
    • Bryan - Jun 26, 2013 at 9:51 PM

      Hitchcock is the coach of the St.Louis Blues. Todd Richards coaches Columbus.

      Reply
  14. Bob - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    The biggest culprit in the Bryzgalov saga is Peter Laviolette. People forget Bob played well in a 1-0 loss to Buffalo to open the 2011 playoffs and game 2 was wacky with a million PPs. If Lavi doesn’t go crazy with the goalies, maybe Bob is here.

    What’s done is done. Bryz wasn’t as bad as sosome think but was never gonna live up to the money either

    Reply
  15. Negativo - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    Am I the only one in Philadelphia that thinks its time to say “OK, where do we go from here” rather than keep harping on the past. Hindsight being 20/20 we all know these moves haven’t panned out as we hoped..but we still have assets and upsides to evaluate and we must move on. The fact is the bob move was a great move and we didn’t see this coming. Good for him. Good for Columbus. It’s not like we received nothing in return. The bryz Dilemma sucks. Get over it.

    I have a very strong feeling that when they signed bryz to the monster contract, and offered monster contracts to weber, parise, and suter, Snider and the flyers brass new of the looming lockout and potential out clause of ridiculous contracts. Obviously it’s not ideal, but were in a very decent position. Hopefully they learn from their mistakes moving forward. They absolutely need to let a team grow and stop giving up on players. If you can grab one defenseman with the 9 mil in cap space we will have, I would stand pay and finally SEE what we actually have. Stop worrying about the past. Good for the players we gave up on. Now lets focus on what we’ve got.

    All of this Monday morning quarterback talk is absurd and annoying…we already know all of this.

    Reply
    • wcbuckner - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:55 PM

      Agreed… Is it October yet?

      Reply
  16. Scott - Jun 26, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    I hated the contract Bryz had which made his performances that much more under the microscope. But overall, I don’t think with a good team in front of him that he’s any worse than Marc-Andre Fleury or Corey Crawford

    Reply
  17. KRE - Jun 26, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    The D for the most part is slow. There is NO transition game. Timmo is a horse but he’s aging and Coburn’s (-10) play has regressed the past several years. If the Flyers don’t make the big signing, we’re annually left with retreads (Lila, Foster, & Gervais -17 (note: he’s -81 for his career)).

    Reply
  18. Susquehanna80 - Jun 26, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    Bryz was a unique guy… and that should have been appreciated and respected by his pea-brained teammates, ego insecure Philly media and Stepford-Wife-like blind loyal Flyer fan base… So he talked on non-hockey topics and expressed opinions out of the norm… Good! We need more like him in sports… So GD tired of the Chase Utleys of the sports word– boring, bland, cliche-filled.. never says a single thing of meaning or value and keeps a wall up at all times… Every negative thing Bryz said about the Philly media and its idiot fans was well deserved.. hope he wins a Stanley Cup before Snider/Holmgren

    Reply
  19. Mike - Jun 26, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Excellent summation of …my God, how did I get here. This season and all the decisions that lead up to it will either save a GM’s future or confirm his pending demise. Ed …hire an executive over the GM because someone who is not partially retired should be paying closer attention and performing the proper evaluation.

    Reply
  20. jim - Jun 26, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    Hahaha you guys are funny. So funny I dont have the energy to argue with you. If your that unhappy with the team stop watching. I hear Columbus has a good team. I stand by homers moves and im excited for what’s to come.

    Reply
  21. jesse - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:44 AM

    I loved the team that was anchored by richie and carts but I believe we are better now than before. With that being said I believe the margin of that is so slim it actually is a bad thing. I believe we have more offensive threats at a young age with very high ceilings. We have less depth and talent at defense and its basically a push at goalie. Back then we didnt know what we had in bob da Goalie which is what wecan say aabout sir nick mason.

    Reply

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