Perhaps a new year will bring…

…More actual posts.

I started this blog because there aren’t many things in this world I enjoy more than watching sports, thinking about sports, and talking about sports.  Writing about sports falls into the “talking” category, and it’s something I haven’t done in far too long.

I had higher hopes for this blog, and it bums me out that I haven’t written anything lately.  I mean, I have, but nothing worthy of posting.  But that’s gonna change.

So much has happened.  Claude Giroux was a beast.  Claude Giroux was concussed.  Claude Giroux returned.  Claude Giroux returned to his rightful place as a beast.  (Sometimes I like to say “Claude Giroux” as many times as possible.)  Chris Pronger was lost for the season.  Ilya Bryzgalov has been a roller coaster of bad, amazing, bad, good, and atrocious.  24/7 has debuted and has (sadly) almost come to an end.  The Winter Classic arrived, was awesome, and was consequently lost.  Jaromir Jagr has been sensational.  Scotty Hartnell has been phenomenal.  Rookies Sean Couturier and Matt Read have played incredibly.  And I haven’t written a thing about any of it.

Until now.

Be prepared for me to tell you things you knew a month ago.  Be prepared for me to tell you about my man-crush on Claude Giroux.  Be prepared for me to tell you that you shouldn’t be thinking those bad thoughts about goalie/philosopher-extraordinaire Ilya Bryzgalov.  Be prepared for me to gush about Giroux a little more.  Or a lot more.

Brace yourself.


Pronger to have surgery, out four weeks

In a “surprise” announcement, the Flyers have announced that Chris Pronger will have knee surgery and miss four weeks.  Pronger had already missed the last three games with a “virus.”

There are two ways to look at this:  It’s either a devastating blow to an already dinged up Flyers team which now loses their top defenseman, or that this was inevitable and it’s better for this to happen now rather than in March or April so that hopefully Pronger will get (and stay) healthy for the final half of the season and the playoffs.

Personally, I think it’s somewhere in the middle.

The Flyers are already dealing with numerous injuries, and knowing that the captain will be out for a month or more is certainly bad news.  It sucks, but it’s not the end of the world.  The season isn’t shot because of this.  The Flyers played a lot of hockey last season without Pronger, and they’ll have to do so again this year.

There is always the possibility of a trade, but with the cap situation the way it is, the Flyers would likely have to part with a player such as Scott Hartnell and his $4+ million salary to gain the flexibility to make a major move.

It looks likely that Flyers fans will get to see a healthy dose of Marc-Andre Bourdon and Kevin Marshall over the next several weeks.  Bourdon has played in four games this year, averaging better than 13 minutes of ice time per game.  Through those four games, Bourdon hasn’t really stood out to me, and that’s not a bad thing.  Marshall has only seen action in two games this year, playing just over 20 total minutes.

Over the next few weeks, we should get a better idea of just how much the two rookie defensemen can contribute, and from there we should have a better idea of where the Flyers will go from there.

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Flyers to host Carolina without Pronger, Coburn, Jagr

Tonight, the Flyers will play host to the Carolina Hurricanes at 7:00 pm Eastern.  The Flyers will have Ilya Bryzgalov between the pipes, while Carolina will start Cam Ward in net.

Through 17 games this year, Ward has posted a 3.19 GAA and a .904 save percentage, while the ‘Canes as a whole boast an unimpressive 7-11-3 record and a -21 goal differential.

Things should be set up nicely for the Flyers (11-5-3) tonight at the Wells Fargo Center, but there are certainly some new twists this evening.

The Flyers will be without team captain Chris Pronger, second-line defenseman Braydon Coburn, and first-liner Jaromir Jagr.

Stepping up in their absence will be Kevin Marshall, Marc-Andre Bourdon, and Andreas Nodl.  Marshall and Bourdon will be making their NHL debuts tonight, so it should definitely be interesting to see just what these two formerly highly-touted prospects can bring to the table.

In other news, Harry Zolniercyzk was sent to the ECHL today, in all likelihood to clear some cap space for what is hopefully just a couple of short-term injuries.  With Harry the Z being sent to Trenton instead of Adirondack, it’s likely that he’ll be back with the team soon.

All in all, should be an interesting game against a team the Flyers should beat.

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Obligatory Introduction Post

Basically, I just want to introduce myself and to take a moment to explain just what this blog is. Let’s get started:

So, my name is Matt and I was born and raised in the midwest (Indiana, to be exact.) Anyway, around 1991 or 1992, when I was five or six years old, I was once asked the question, “What is your favorite baseball team?” “The Philadelphia Phillies,” I stated, quite matter-of-factly. Why would a kid living in Indiana, who had absolutely no ties to the City of Brotherly Love whatsoever, answer that the Fightin’ Phils are his favorite ball team? Good question.

As I stated, this was the early 90’s, and the sole reason I chose to be a Phillies fan was because of one man. It wasn’t my father, grandfather, or uncle who swayed me to the Phils. It was a man with a mullet, beer gut, and a .300 career batting average. I came to idolize John Kruk for no real reason, and that eventually transformed into my love of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball club.

So, over the years, my love of baseball grew, declined with the strike and other things that seemed more important to a kid, and then skyrocketed to new heights, and all that time I was loyal to my Phillies. In the first 21 years of my life, I watched my beloved Phillies play in the postseason a whopping one time. Many people would have abandoned ship long ago and picked a new favorite team, perhaps a more local team such as Chicago, St. Louis, or Cincinnati. However, along with being loyal, I’m also a bit (read: extremely) stubborn, and that was likely the sole reason I stuck with the Phils. I made a vow to myself, and perhaps a friend or two, that if the Phillies would someday make the playoffs again, I would get the “P” tattooed on my body, and after the 2007 season, I made good on that promise, which basically means the Phillies and I are pretty much stuck with each other, for better or for worse. It’s kinda like a marriage and we’re in some whacky religion that doesn’t believe in divorce. That’s just the way it is.

Anyway, now that I’ve talked about myself and baseball for a few hundred words and haven’t even mentioned the sport or team this blog is about, I suppose I should get to it. I guess it was the spring of 2008 when I first started watching hockey, or at least started tuning into a few nationally televised games casually. I started following the Flyers because a lot of the blogs and websites I read for my daily Phillies coverage also covered the Orange and Black. A fairly natural progression, I think. The Flyers would eventually be eliminated by the Penguins in the Conference Finals, and my mild rooting interest in the city of Philadelphia’s hockey team started to grow.

It was that summer that I remember mentioning to my best friend at the time, who happens to be my current girlfriend (funny how those things work out), that I was going to become a hockey fan, and a Philadelphia Flyers fan at that. I think she kinda laughed it off as me just talking to hear myself talk, but I was dead serious. That’s pretty much when it started.

Over the next couple of years, I followed the Flyers online, attempted to catch every Versus and NBC game they played, and tried my hardest to find a bar in the central Indiana area that had the NHL Center Ice package. Finally, this year, I broke down and bought the Center Ice package in addition to the MLB Extra Innings package I already buy. (Did I mention how patient and understanding my girlfriend is when it comes to me attempting to watch every single Flyers and Phillies game possible?)

“Of course, Matt, you sound like a big (if not unhealthily obsessed) sports fan. So what?” Well, I’m glad you asked. You see, I really enjoy writing, even if no one really cares to read it. It gives me a way to put my thoughts down on paper, or out on the interwebs, after watching a game. I’ve blogged about the Phillies and I’ve written for another additonal baseball website, but the sport of hockey isn’t something I’ve ever tried to write about. To be honest, I’m still learning about the sport with every game I watch. I’m trying to understand how to actually evaluate a player or a team’s effort in ways other than the final score, goals, assists, and plus/minus. I want to be able to back up what I see and feel with legitimate stats, and not just say “[Insert Name] is a [great/awful] player because I watched the game.” There’s more to it than that, and while you can’t discount everything you see, advanced statistics certainly paint a much clearer picture.

Basically that’s my goal here. I just want to write about the Flyers, and I want to see how my opinions change as I watch games and learn how to track advanced statistics. Eventually, maybe I’ll even be able to provide some intelligent insight, but let’s not get carried away yet.

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