Most of the web site scriptures and hockey mags have selected the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals finishing ahead of our Penguins. I may be looking at this all wrong but I think it’s going to be a battle between the Pens and the Flyers.
Here’s the reasoning… The Flyers (bless their soul) are in another one of the goalie situations like it’s an afterthought. Biron and Nittymaki are gone and Emery and the re-cycled Boucher are in. This has been the revolving door in Philadelphia for so many years but this time…..
… they may have something. Is Emery an answer to the revolving door for so many years? Who knows for sure but this combo can’t be too much worse than what they had in the past. Did you know – that past is it almost 40 years now. Wow… how times FLYS, eh.
What the biggest difference this time is that instead of pinning their hopes on a Lindros, or a Forsberg, or a Primeau they are actually strong down the middle with Carter, Richards, Giroux, and Laperriere. That’s a strong top-4 center package. Not quite the Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Talbot but it’s pretty good four. Gagne and Hartnell on the wings with the move of Briere to wing and with the possibility of van Riemsdyk making the team… they have a good group of forwards. Pronger is a major addition and upgrades their defense tremendously. IMHO they won’t feel the loss of Knuble, Lupul, Alberts, or Sbisa at all.
You can argue this until the sun comes up about the value of GRIT but they’ve added some missing GRIT to their lineup and this is going to raise the Flyer/Penguin rivalry up another notch this coming season. The Flyers were actually getting soft and they fixed that.
I see them improving their team from last season whereas Boston who lost their leading goal scorer (Kessel) without a replacement hasn’t and the Capitals despite Ovechkin, Green, and Backstrom are as usual – only a 2-1/2 line team with a coach who’s one track offense minded.
As things stand right now I see the Penguins and the Flyers as the most dominant teams in the Eastern Conference once the playoffs begin… if they stay healthy. If you have a different opinion – let’s hear it.
BTW, have I ever communicated how much I hate the Flyers… Luckily I choose my friends well and therefore I’m never alone.
This is DR HOOK… carry on.