Mar 3, 2009, 6:35 PM EDT
As of 6pm, none of the Flyers have been yanked from the lineup yet. There's no guarantee that will be true at 7, or even 8.
Tonight's the biggest movement night of the year in the NHL, and the Flyers and Bruins are both contenders in the East (ie, likely buyers in the market). The rumors continue to fly, and will all night and into tomorrow afternoon. But the players can't think about all that bullshit, half of which isn't even remotely true. For their sake, I hope they're steering way clear of the internet this week. If not, Joffrey Lupul hasn't had a wink of sleep lately.
Far more pressing than the deadline is the test the Flyers have on the ice tonight, and for the next month-plus. They're back to their pattern of following good hockey with bad, but there have been explanations, however weak, to fall back on lately. Not anymore. Danny Briere is back, and so is Kimmo Timonen. If their power play woes continue, it has nothing to do with personnel. These lines are loaded for bear.
After hearing that Claude Giroux was recalled, we all just about lost it at the combinations John Stevens announced. The new third line will be Giroux, Briere, and Upshall. I'm not sure how that bodes in the defensive zone, but they should score like they're at Mad River. The top line of Richards, Knuble, and Gagne is steady both ways, and the Carter line should see some rejuvenation now that the full complement of nine scoring forwards needs to be accounted for.
However, if there's a non-Devils team in the East that can consistently hang with that kind of firepower, it's the Broons. (The Pens still have our number too, somehow.) Boston leads the pack in the east with 93 points, which is the mark most teams on the playoff bubble are shooting for all season.
However, they've been more than human lately. After losing just eight times from November through January, the Bruins had a sub-.500 February. Here's to a shitty March, Boston.
Your likely netminders are Niitty and Tim Thomas. Don't blame TT for the recent woes. He's remained solid despite the increased losses, and Manny Fernandez was in net for 3/7 February defeats. Update: Manny's in net.
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