What an exciting title to the article, eh? Gave me goosebumps just writing it.
Anyways, earlier Thursday afternoon, Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren held a press conference with all the regular media-heads attending. One by one Paul respectfully took questions and answered them in his own Paul Holmgren kinda way, which is to say is not a bad thing in the least. But you knew vague feedback was inevitable like the wafting odor of BRUT Aftershave emanating from the corridors of a Retirement Home.
There were several issues brought up, especially Philadelphia's fresh defeat in our Series against New Jersey.
Holmgren stated clearly that, "We just did not have an answer to their forecheck." Paul went on to give credit to the Devils, which the organization obviously deserves. It's not that the Flyers played badly, it's the fact that the Devils defensive style of play is exactly the sort of strategy needed to equalize our strong, offensive onslaught.
Nevertheless, the off-season's plans were brought to the table.
Allow me to start this off with what's on everyone's mind; Matt Carle.
"He's a good defenseman. I don't see any reason why we can't re-sign Matt quickly," Holmgren spoke into the mic. Our general manager then touched on how he and Carle's agent have spoke, and there's no reason to believe Matt wants an "out of line" amount of money to extend his tenure in Philadelphia.
In fact, Holmgren mentioned how he believes the Flyers could ink #25 under market value.....whatever the hell that means.
We dish a lot of trash talk in Carle's corner, and he's been speculated to want somewhere in the realm of $5-Million a season off our cap, which I firmly consider to be an over-payment. I, frankly, could not care less about any hidden statistics or mathematical formulas you generate to "prove" Matt Carle is a #1 or #2 blue liner, which is EXACTLY what $5-Million a season grants you to be.
However, if this "under market value" turns out to be a reasonable contract, then I guess I don't have much problem with Carle returning in Orange & Black, as long as he works on his shots from the points this off-season and through training camp.
Lord knows I'm tired of seeing Matt's passes or attempts meet the skates of our opposing players, and a turnover or odd-man rush results against our favor. But a deal certainly looks to be in the works between Broad Street & Carle.
July 1st opens up as Free Agency Frenzy Day.
Holmgren told the press that although he's happy with the current roster he has now, he'll look to improve defensively once the Free Agency pool is uncovered and ready for summer swimmers.
This leads me to believe Paval Kubina is an odd-man out. Overall, that beast of a d-man turned out to be quite the Trade Deadline bust. No harm, no foul, good luck Kubina.
As for Kimmo Timonen?
"Kimmo has a lot more in the tank. He'll be back. And maybe beyond next season," Paul says. If you did not know, our veteran defenseman (Age: 37) will be entering the final season on his 6yr/$38-Million contract once the 2012-13 League year begins.
Timonen and Holmgren have spoken since our Playoff exit, and Paul's assured us that Timonen wants to continue playing. This shouldn't come to anyone's surprise considering #44 is the offspring of a Valhallan viking god and a beautiful, Germanic mortal princess.
Not really, but you know what I mean. The man has the heart of a mastodon.
Homer decided to address Chris Pronger's status, which he stated that there's no real progress. Whether Chris will be back next season or not, "Your guess is as good as mine," Paul said.
One thing's for sure, "Pronger's our captain. We make too much of this captain thing," Holmgren declared. That statement was brought on by a question of if Giroux could possibly wear the 'C' on his sweater next season.
After the Flyers traded away Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, expectations were about as secure as Oprah's waist size. No one really knew what to anticipate with the upcoming 2011-12 season.
One media member asked Holmgren if he believed the Flyers underachieved, or over achieved. Paul's response was that we had a decent year, but ultimately you're going after one goal; the Stanley Cup. So the season was a disappointment. But due to all the young, up and coming talent we saw from October through to May, Paul's extremely excited about next season.
Aren't we all?
Which leads me to players like Jaromir Jagr.
Jags stated after Tuesday's loss that he's not sure what's in store for his NHL future. Whether he's still wearing an Orange sweater or not, again, no one knows. Including #68 himself.
"I haven't met with him yet," Paul told us. But Homer still believes Jaromir is an effective NHL player, even at the middle age of 40, and would carry that through to next season.
Paul had nothing but great things to say about Jagr's leadership. It meant everything to the younger skaters, especially the rookies. So I am expecting the Flyers to attack Jaromir the next 6-weeks with a pen and a naked dotted line. I'd certainly welcome the right-wing back.
James van Riemsdyk.
Half of you read that and mumbled under your breath, circa Joe Pesci from Home Alone. Homer told the press that James was ultimately a non-factor this season due to injury. Which certainly may be the case, but I gotta tell ya, folks.....next year's schedule is a Do-or-Die chance for JvR to prove he's not some 2nd Overall NHL Draft bust.
We're Flyers fans. Waiting is something we've been forced to get used to, but it ain't something we've grown to accept. Not by a longshot.
Aside from the lesser substantial subjects, that was basically a wrap on Holmgren's presser. There wasn't much light shed on how much interest Holmgren has in re-signing Jakub Voracek, who is also looking for a new contract. Paul told us that Jake's a good player who needs to work on his shot, and shoot more often.
Eric Wellwood was the team's best role player in the Playoffs, according to Homer. So the chances of Eric solidifying an NHL roster spot with the Flyers next year look to be pretty good. At least that's the vibe I was getting from Paul.
All in all, I still have faith in our GM to recognize what this team needs, and he'll stop it nothing to make sure he'll try everything this off-season to acquire the essentials the Flyers are missing.
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