Blogs > In The Room with Anthony SanFilippo

Daily Times beat writer Anthony J. SanFilippo takes you inside the locker rooms of the Philadelphia Flyers and the rest of the NHL.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I know it's early. I know it's only been four games, but by the looks of things, Paul Holmgren pulled off another one of those trades where your left scratching your head as to how in te world he convinced the other general manager to agree to it.

Like when he convinced Nashville to give up all they gave in two separate trades that netted them Peter Forsberg for about 20 games. (In case you forgot, it was Kimmo Timonen, Scott Hartnell, Scottie Upshall and Ryan Parent).

Like when he convinced Atlanta to give up Braydon Coburn because they could really use Alexei Zhitnik for their playoff push.

And now, he's done it again.

I know I wrote about this earlier, but the more I watch Matt Carle, the more I can't help but laugh at how easily teams hand over quality players to Holmgren.

Carle is playing 25 minutes a night. He's quarterbacking the power play, he's on the penalty kill, he's now supplanted Timonen on the top defensive pairing - and he's playing great to boot.

Don't get me wrong, Marty Biron has turned his season around, but if there's an external reason his confidence has swelled in the past four games, it's been the addition of Matt Carle.

The exciting thing for the Flyers is, Carle's only going to get better. And when the young core of your defense consists of Coburn, Carle and Parent, three highly touted prospects, the future looks bright on the blue line.

And it's all thanks to Holmgren and the scouting staff he's put together (he leaned on BIll Barber heavily for this one).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Scott Hartnell is not going anywhere despite speculation oozing throughout the press box.

Hartnell has a "no movement" clause in his contract, which was a surprise to most of us.

Instead, Hartnell was benched because John Stevens thought he was playing poorly.

Both sides had a lot to say about it.

Check out Wednesday's edition of the Daily Times.


O.K. Paul Holmgren is here. So is Peter Luukko.

Danny Briere hurt his lower body (sounds like his abdomen again) after scoring his goal in the second period and didn't return.

Ironically, when the Flyers re-shuffled the lines for the third period, Scott Hartnell was rooted to the bench and did not take a shift.

With the Shanny rumors running rampant, is it possible that Hartnell was traded during the game and Stevens was told not to use him in the third?

With Briere not returning to the ice, why would you then completely bench one of your top nine forwards?

Unless he is injured and there hasn't been an update.

Either that or he ticked off Stevens so much that he was being made an example of.

Stay tuned, I'll keep you posted.


Expect a decision from Brendan Shanahan in the next 24 hours.

THe Flyers appear to be at the top of his list, but if there was a belief out there that he'd come really cheap, that's mistaken.

I'm hearing it'll take more than the $800,000 originally suggested.

Paul Holmgren was supposed to be here for today's game with the Islanders, but we're eight minutes from the puck drop and he's not here yet. Sure, traffic getting to this God forsaken place is brutal, but something tells me something's up.

Holmgren is trying like mad to get Shanahan in the fold and may be trying to iron out the final pieces of a one-year deal.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Spoke with some people in Tampa about this weird trade.

(And I say it's weird because the Flyers traded a first round pick for Steve Eminger and then gave up on him after 12 games and Tampa traded Dan Boyle for Matt Carle and then gave up on him after 12 games).

Thing is, they feel the same way about Carle as the Flyers did about Eminger. They thought he was a mistake acquisition.

But here's the difference, from what I'm told - the Flyers have a much more sound management situation than the Lightning, and Holmgren fleeced the Lightning on this deal.

Carle was originally acquired from San Jose by Tampa during the period of time after former GM Jay Feaster's ouster and the hiring of new GM Brian Lawton.

In other words, Lightning owners Len Barrie and Oren Koules were making the moves before Lawton, and this trade was Lawton's way of saying, I'm in charge now.

Think about it. Koules is a Hollywood Producer. Barrie, although he played hockey briefly, including with the Flyers, made his money as a real estate developer.

What either know about hockey personnel is beyond me.

Then again, Lawton, who is good with the dollars having been a player agent for several years, took advantage of getting rid of Carle as a salary dump, as he saved the team $1.7 million.

Does that equate to a good trade for the Lightning? Hardly.

The Lightning believed they shouldn't be paying Carle what he was being paid ($3.47million) if he wasn't playing big minutes or playing on the power play.

The Flyers have every intention of using him to do just that.

So why couldn't he do it in Tampa? The only answer could be the coach - and Barry Melrose is no great hockey mind. There's a reason he was a talking head on television for a decade and not coaching hockey.

The Lightning will learn that this trade was a huge mistake.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Continuing what has been form the first month of the season, the Flyers once again sent Steve Downie and Jared Ross back to the Phantoms.

Considering there are still some uncertainties with injuries (more on that in a bit) this could be purely a financial decision to save them a couple bucks during this stretch of days with out games.

It could also mean that one or two of the inured players are ready, and it's back to the minors for these guys.

I'm really starting to get the feeling the Flyers have lost complete faith in Downie, and would just as soon include him in a trade deadline deal as they would try ad keep him on the roster.

He has been given several chances to improve, and yet continues to fall victim to the same mistakes that have plagued his young career - lazy and untimely penalties and turning the puck over in the most inopportune places at the most inopportune times.

I'm sure he'll be back up at some point, but don't expect an impact player, as he's hard pressed to get significant minutes from John Stevens, who may be the one guy most frustrated with Downie's lack of development.

In other news......

Simon Gagne was named the third star of the week by the NHL. Gagne, along with Jeff Carter and Mike Knuble have been red hot for the Flyers lately, and any of the three could have easily been honored.

Gagne had four goals and five assists for nine points in three games for the Flyers.

“It is always flattering and fun being recognized especially with me coming back from a tough injury last year and being able to play again," Gagne said. "I am having some personal success early on this season and maybe last week was a good one with the trip with our dads to Atlanta. We played a good game there in Atlanta and after that we kind of kept rolling. It is always fun when you get those honors.”

Gagne referred to coming back from the concussion that forced him to miss 57 games in the regular season and then all of the playofs a year ago. He later addressed how he feels now after 11 games back from that layoff.

"I don’t know, the more I play the more I will get comfortable and be able to be more of myself," Gagne said. "But right now I have to say I am feeling pretty good. I am very happy the way things are going. I am getting better and better and more comfortable the more I play. But, I am getting close. I want to say that there is still room for improvement. Last week I really started to get that feeling I used to have when I was playing at my best.”

Finally on the injury front.....

There are now two players with mysterious injuries as the NHL is allowing their teams to not disclose injuries to the media (imagine this in a real sports league like the NFL where injuries play a large part in the billion dollar gambling industry... it's absurd).

Andreas Nodl is still day to day with a lower body injury. Now, Ossi Vaananen is day-to-day with an upper body injury.

Wheter either of them will be available by Thursday is a mystery. Don't try and guees though, because thinking too hard can give you an upper body injury.

Speaking of brain problems, Darrol Powe is still recovering from a mild concussion. Whether he's available or not also remains to be seen.

There is no new news on any of the long-term injury guys - Danny Briere (abdomen), Randy Jones (hip), Ryan Parent (shoulder), Derian Hatcher (knee).