Flyers need to up the intensity for the regular season
The New Jersey Devils scored 3 goals in the second to finish off the Flyers in a 4-1 victory at the Prudential Center.
Matt Read’s shorthanded goal in the 3rd was the only thing that stopped a shutout in goal after Cory Schneider had departed, replaced by Keith Kinkaid.
The Flyers played a fairly young team giving them the opportunity to shine. Unfortunately that backfired against a strong New Jersey team who seem to find a way to beat the Flyers each time they play.
With the regular season starting soon Philly will have to pick themselves up and look to get to the dirty areas and compete. The Devils outworked as well as outclassed the Flyers last night which is a familiar tale from matches gone by.
Mason posted a .944 save percentage and 1.90 goals-against average last season for the Flyers
Steve Mason looks set to start against the New Jersey Devils tonight in net as the Flyers stick with their rotation policy.
Now some writers have been questioning the strength of the Flyers in net. Not an unreasonable topic to consider with the Flyers history of woes in net.
However this season I feel Flyers fans should be looking on with renewed optimism.
Speaking to CSNPHILLY.COM Mason responded to the questions around the Flyers net.
“People are making such a big deal out of it,” Mason said. “Razor [Emery] and I are both competitive guys, we both want to play, and only one can play at a time. Regardless of who’s in the net, we want to be supportive of one another and for the team.
“If Razor wins his next start, it’s great, it’s good for our team. If I win my next, it’s great. We’re not going to put any negative spin on it. It’s nice having two guys that are hungry to play.”
“Everybody’s entitled to their opinion,” he said. “I’m not sure where they’re having Razor and myself ranked, but if it’s a low position, it would be a great feeling when you get to prove them wrong.”
Mason certainly believes that both himself and Emery can do well for the Flyers. Philly needed to have a season where there is competition for the starting role. This has been lacking in years gone by and allowed too much media pressure on whoever might protect the net. Spreading the pressure out over two players will allow the Flyers to answer the question they hear every season.
Will the Flyers be vulnerable in net?
This season I can say, with confidence, no!
Henrique shows value
The New Jersey Devils yesterday announced that they had re-signed Adam Henrique on a six year contract at $24 million according to NHL.com
Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the team, but media reports indicate it’s for six years and $24 million.
Henrique, 23, scored 11 goals in 42 games last season.
“It was an exciting day,” Henrique told The (Bergen) Record’s Tom Gulitti. “My family and I are excited about it. It’s something you’ve been working for for a long time. I’m extremely happy with what the deal is and how things are looking going forward.”
Henrique is a player who has seen his development continue while playing an important role in the Devils current playoff success.
At 23 if he continues to develop at his current rate this contract will be a great investment in the future. It is always risky signing young players to substantial period of time to justify the cap. I think the Devils will look back in a few years and talk about a great bit of business by taking that risk on Henrique.
Last night saw IIya Kovalchuck announce his retirement from the NHL, kissing goodbye the remaining 12 year $77 million contract. This now paves the way for a return to the KHL, leaving the Devils to clean up the mess.
The move clears up over $6 million in cap space meaning the Devils can be more active with free agency but Kovalchuck has left them having to pay $250,000 – $300,000 a year in cap-benefit recapture fees for each of the 12 years remaining on his contract.
The Devils did release a statement on the departure of Kovalchuck.
”This decision was something I have thought about for a long time going back to the lockout and spending the year in Russia.” Kovalchuk said “Though I decided to return this past season, the GM Lou was aware of my desire to go back home and have my family there with me. The most difficult thing for me is to leave the New Jersey Devils a great organization that I have a lot of respect for, and our fans that have been great to me.”
I am sure most NHL fans have their opinion on Kovalchuck. Some called him “Kovalchoke” and others screamed from the roof tops saying he is far better than he actually is (a bit like another NHL star we all know Sidney…)
But the truth of it is Kovalchuck posted some fantastic numbers during his 11 seasons in the NHL, including a season where the Devils took a run all the way to the final. Kovalchuck posted 19 points in 23 post season games, proving that he was a great player and one of the few that had his own individual class.
Kovalchuck’s 11 seasons in the NHL were marked with an overall 816 points in 816 games, the definition of a point per game player!
The Devils are going to miss him; although adding Ryan Clowe and Michael Ryder will help this will not compensate for the loss of Kovalchuck. This is especially true with the Devils also losing David Clarkson to the Leafs.
So although this is not a piece of tribute writing it is a goodbye to a great player that I will miss seeing in the NHL (especially on the PP).