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.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

GAGNE HEALTHY, ALSO A BATTLE FOR LAST D SPOT

Simon Gagne tested both his surgically repaired hip and his strained groin for the first time in game action Tuesday, and although he was certainly a bit rusty, he emerged feeling good physically.

"For a first game I'm pretty happy," he said. "The first one is a pretty tough one when you haven't played physical hockey in a long time. So, to go out there and play and be able to make some plays, take some hits and play at the NHL speed, I'm pretty happy."

Gagne told me afterward that his plan is to play in each of the remaining three preseason games.

"I can't expect to be able to start the season like that," he said snapping his fingers. "I need to get up to speed. I talked about it with Johnny (Stevens) and he thinks the same way. I'll play in all of them and then be ready to go for the opening game."

.....................

My stories in the Wednesday, Sept. 23 paper (and on delcotimes.com) focus on the battle brewing between James van Riemsdyk and MIka Pyorala for what is perceived to be the last roster spot.

But, on a smaller scale, there is a competition for the seventh defenseman, a position that usually will end up as a healthy scratch - barring injury.

This job also seems down to two players - Ole Kristian Tollefsen, who the Flyers signed late in the summer as a free agent after four seasons in Columbus, and Danny Syvret, who had a stellar season for the Phantoms in 2008-09 and even drank a cup of coffee with the big club.

Tollefsen hasn't had much of a chance to play after losing a tooth and requiring two other root canal surgeries after being hit in the mouth by a Mike Richards shot during practice last week ("He's a nice captain to welcome me to town that way, eh," OKT joked Monday) while Syvret has seen action, including in Tuesday's 5-2 win over Detroit.

Yet, I still think Tollefsen has the edge - he has more NHL experience, and he is a physical player, which fits the mold of what the Flyers want to portray this season.

Stevens also said prospect Oskars Bartulis has climbed up the depth chart and is likely the next guy behind those two.

.....................

Speaking of Pyorala, he told a few of us after the game that he trained in the summer with three former Flyers - Janni Niinimaa, Joni Pitkanen and Lasse Kukkonen, all of whom were from his same hometown - Oulu, Finland.

He said they all spoke highly of the Flyers organization, which was one of the reasons he chose to sign in Philadelphia.

.......................

Prediction time! I'll stick my neck out. Here's your opening night Flyers roster:

(they'll carry one extra forward and one extra defenseman)

Goalies (2) Ray Emery, Brian Boucher

Defense (7) Chris Pronger, Matt Carle, Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Randy Jones, Ryan Parent, Ole-Kristian Tollefsen.

Forwards (13) Simon Gagne, Mike Richards, Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Jeff Carter, Danny Briere, Mika Pyorala, Darroll Powe, Ian Laperriere, Daniel Carcillo, Blair Betts, Arron Asham, Riley Cote.

Agree?

8 Comments:

Anonymous justin park said...

why is riley cote even mentioned anymore? he provides nothing to the team.

September 22, 2009 at 10:56 PM 
Anonymous alyssa said...

i completely agree with justin..cote provides nothing. we have physicially guys on this team that can contribute much more to other aspects of the game as well. cote is only good for fighting, where guys like carcillo and asham actually have some skill. take cote off and put jvr in, if we have enough cap room to do it.

September 22, 2009 at 11:10 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, Cote is just repetitive, jobs that Carcillo, Asham, and Laparierre do fine and even add a bit more then Cote.

Plus im sick of Cote being tagged all the time losing fights, his time is over.

September 22, 2009 at 11:20 PM 
Blogger Donna said...

Does the posted list of players fit under the salary cap?

September 22, 2009 at 11:25 PM 
Anonymous RichC said...

Well, I agree also about Cote.. but I think the way he has them listed are the order for the lines.. and that Cote, being last, would most likely be the healthy scratch every night, unless one of the other 4th liners gets hurt. You can't replace Cote's name with JVR, cuz you'd either be wasting his, or Pyorala's, talent on whoever got stuck on one of the bottom lines. If JVR were to be there, it'd have to be in place of Mika. I'm guessing ASF feels JVR could benefit even more from some AHL seasoning before being called up permanently. But it's looking like he doesn't really need it.

I also wonder if Randy Jones should still be on the team.. can't they trade him and let someone else take over? With him out, OKT and Syvret could both be active.

September 22, 2009 at 11:34 PM 
Anonymous RichC said...

Well.. let me rephrase a part of what I said. You could have JVR and Pyorala up at the same time, but if JVR's on one of the top 2 lines, then Giroux gets bumped down most likely.. and he'd be on a line with like Pyorala and Powe or Lapperierre or something like that. So someone wouldn't be playing with the talent they should be.. JVR or Giroux.. which you wouldn't want if you have them both on the Flyers.

September 22, 2009 at 11:41 PM 
Blogger Suman said...

Good point about Cote being a healthy scratch most nights.

I like the sound of having
Richards, Gagne, Giroux &
Carter, Hartnell, Briere
as the new top lines.

JVR should have to pay his dues on the 3rd line in the beginning, but I could see him in Giroux's spot putting additional size on the first line.

Carcillo had a lot of quality chances last year paired with Giroux and Briere. I hope he has developed the touch needed to find the back of the net more often.

I believe having a 3rd line that can put points on the board is crucial.

September 23, 2009 at 1:26 AM 
Blogger Gourmet Candles Distributor said...

Politics as usual here. It's all about them always.

September 23, 2009 at 8:21 AM 

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