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.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Due to a production error last night, my 2nd round picks didn't make the print edition of the paper.

I wanted to get them on the record before the games actually begun tonight, so here they are...

Carolina over Boston in 6
Washington over Pittsburgh in 6
Detroit over Anaheim in 6
Chicago over Vancouver in 7

For more details on why I made these picks (especially after I went an unprecendeted (for me at least) 8-0 in the first round, you can click here:

Thursday, April 23, 2009


The Penguins know they're treading a treacherous path. Ask some former Flyers - they've been here before.

Five times in franchise history the Flyers have had a 3-1 series lead and ended up in a Game 7. Three times they eeked out a victory - including last season against Washington.

However, twice they blew it - 1988 against the Caps in the Patrick Division semifinals and in 2000 against New Jersey in the Eastern Conference Finals.

So, it's not out of the question that the Flyers will be in a one-game, winner-takes all clash at the Igloo next Monday.

But, they have to get through Game 6 first.

Now, it's looking more and more possible that it might happen.

The Flyers feel confident. They feel like they should have won this series by now, and to their credit, they have been the better team in four of the five games thus far.

But, they still trail, and they have no wiggle room left. They have to play as close to perfection as possible. Game 5 was a good example.

Now, Game 6 should be an absolute war. And the crowd should be amazing.

The thing is, the Penguins know the Flyers have been the better team in the series. You could sense it in their locker room. Their coach Dan Bylsma made lineup changes despite leading in the series because he was trying to jump start his team.

Meanwhile, you could sense the energy from the Flyers in their locker room after the game. They want Game 6 bad. They know what's at stake. Pittsburgh is bummed that they have to go back into the den of the orange clad monster.

Yesterday on Daily News Live, I predicted a loss in Game 5. I was wrong. I still think the Pens win the series, but in Game 7, not Game 6.

Therefore, my original prediction of Pittsburgh in seven holds up.

But, after Game 5, I'm starting to think, I might be wrong again.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Give credit to the Flyers, who don't think the series is over. They'll play hard right to the bitter end.

They believe they can play with the Penguins.

So do I, I just don't think they can beat them. - At least not three straight.

Anyway, the mood in the locker room was both bitter and confident.

First the confidence...

They think they can come back and win. Not a game or two - the whole series.

They really believe it.

Not like last year, where they were saying the right things but you could tell they had no prayer of winning in Pittsburgh.

This time they really do believe they can win three times.

“It’s a deep hole yes, but we also started the season 0-6,” said Mike Richards. "That was a pretty big hole there too. We battled back from a lot of things. This one is a little bit bigger, but it’s something I feel and have confidence in that if we play the way we did tonight this series could be a long way from being over.”

They all sounded like that.

They all sounded like this too when it came to the Crosby goal:

“You might look at it and say we didn’t get people to the net. Well, we did get people to the net. We didn’t put the puck at our feet and throw ourselves in the net, which apparently is allowed now, but other than that I felt like we played a good hockey game.
“I’d still like to know why he can knock Marty (Biron) into the net. That’s my concern. Your goalie has to be able to make a save. I still haven’t gotten an explanation.”
Biron also felt it was a dangerous play.
“I personally always said I don’t mind if it hits their skates… but, it’s a dangerous play when you’re sliding in with both feet first toward the goalie,” he said. “I don’t really like that. It’s not the first time he’s done that.”

Here's what Richards had to say:

"There's no explanation. What's (the referee) going to say to me? He's not going to convince me that it should have went in or that it should have been a goal. I didn't think it should have been."

The League justified it saying it wasn't kicked in or batted in with a glove, so it counts.

I say bollocks. I agree with the Flyers on this one. Most of Crosby's lower torso crossed the goal line before he puck. That should not be allowed.

Oh well...

Monday, April 20, 2009



I know I've been away from the blog and Twitter for the past couple days (if you only knew what I had to go through, you'd understand)

But I figure I'd come back strong with something that should fill you with anger and disgust and give you another target on the Penguins to harass beside Sidney Crosby.

So here goes:

Before each game at Wachovia Center, the Flyers put together a little pregame video to get the fans charged up for the team's entrance onto the ice.

In the special playoff video, the Flyers put up a title that they have received from several publications - the most intimidating fans in the NHL.

Well, Penguins center Max Talbot was asked if in fact that was true. Here's what he said:

“They call themselves that? That’s kind of pretentious. They try to be intimidating, obviously. They dress in orange T-shirts and scream a lot. Does that make the Flyers a better team? I don’t think so… it’s the same team on the ice in Pittsburgh or here in Philly.”


Something tells me the Flyers' will have a little response back to that come game time tomorrow.

But in the meantime, tell your friends. Spread the word. I want to hear him booed unmercifully every time he touches the puck tomorrow night.

Then I'll know you all did your job as true fans.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Here's the details on the Matt Gilroy signing:

The Flyers really wanted Hobey Baker-winning defenseman Matt Gilroy, and by all accounts, Gilroy really wanted to come to Philadelphia.
So, why did he sign a free agent deal with the New York Rangers Friday?
How about a contract where the salary was twice that of what the Flyers offered.
According to a source close to the negotiations, the Flyers offered Gilroy a 2-year, $1.8 million deal, but he took a two-year $3.5 million deal from the Blue shirts instead.
Also, the New York deal is a one-way contract, meaning Gilroy has to play on the NHL roster next season or else be subject to waiver rules.
The source said the Flyers were one of three finalists in the race for Gilroy. Toronto was the other team.
Gilroy, 24, captained Boston University to the NCAA championship last week and because of his age was eligible to a free agent deal and didn’t have to have his offer limited to the terms of an entry-level deal.
A late-bloomer, Gilroy grew six inches and added nearly 100 pounds since his eligible draft year in 2003.
He was scouted heavily by every NHL team and most had interest in signing him this week.
Gilroy narrowed his teams to three earlier this week before finalizing the deal with the Rangers Friday afternoon.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Here are some stories from yours truly and my roommate Rob Parent (This is truly a Felix and Oscar situation in our Pittsburgh suite) that will certainly bring back the acid reflux you first experienced while watching Game 1.

First, my game story is here where Scott Hartnell, among others, are crucified for lack of discipline.

Second, my notebook chronicling the Flyers' first period woes, Randy Jones' hip and other minutiae is here

Finally, Rob's oft-offbeat snark shines through in spades in his column here

We will have more today from Flyers' practice (1 p.m. at the Igloo) where I will provide Twitter updates on whatever is the news of the day, followed by a new blog later on this afternoon.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Seen This Before

Although I rarely write with so many I's, this is former Flyers fatalist Rob Parent subbing for overworked Anthony J. SanFilippo after the Flyers' 4-1 loss to the Penguins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

Hate to say it in such a personal way, but through too many years of too many lost playoff series and ill-fated visits to Pittsburgh's "Igloo" Arena ... I've just seen too many of these types of games by the Flyers.

This playoff opening loss? Terrible. Lack of mental preparation by too many players, including usually reliable forwards Mike Richards and Mike Knuble, among so many others.

Foremost in the folly, however, was Scotty Hartnell. A player who plays with so much emotion and energy, works so hard, finds different ways to score effectively for a player with somewhat limited talents ... Hartnell nevertheless too often slips into one of the most careless penalty takers I've ever seen.

And I'm old enough to have seen Terry Carkner in his Philly heyday. Hartnell far outshines him and everyone else.

John Stevens tonight said Hartnell has a way to rebound from games like these -- when he takes dumb penalties to hand teams like the Penguins power play goals, then goes out in a blaze of misconduct glory. Maybe he will, but only after a sit down scheduled with Stevens on Thursday.

Meanwhile, even if Hartnell was on his best behavior, the Flyers would have gone down in inglorious style on this night. They were awful, and precious little blame could be laid at goalie Marty Biron's feet. Like so many games at the Igloo for the Flyers dating to the 1990s, they opened this series playing too cautiously -- afraid, if you will -- because of the Penguins' offensive firepower.

Friday night, large measures of controlled aggression have to rule the Flyers' play, or they'll play themselves right out of the playoffs way too early.


Some confusion as to where the predictions from the Daily Times experts might be.

So I decided to post the link here.

Be back soon with more...

Sunday, April 12, 2009


If Terry Murray were still in town, he'd call this a choking situation.

And while everyone is frustrated about this collapse by the Flyers (including your truly, who has three scheduled events nixed by this schedule change, including seeing all three of my kids together in a play for the first time), it should still be a decent series.

Not sure the Flyers can win, but it'll be a decent series nonetheless.

Anyway, here's the schedule. All times and broadcast information is now official

Game 1 at Pittsburgh Wednesday April 15, 7 p.m. (Versus)
Game 2 at Pittsburgh Friday April 17, 7 p.m. (Versus)
Game 3 at Philadelphia Sunday April 19, 3 p.m. (NBC)
Game 4 at Philadelphia Tuesday April 21, 7 p.m. (Versus)
Game 5 at Pittsburgh Thursday April 23, 7 p.m. (Versus) (if necessary)
Game 6 at Philadelphia Saturday April 25, 3 p.m. (NBC) (if necessary)
Game 7 at Pittsburgh Monday April 27, TBA (Versus)(if necessary)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

FLYERS SCOUTING GILROY (plus Sbisa and Knuble updates)

A couple of really interesting notes today:

I spoke to an organizational source today that said the Flyers have sent amateur scout Patrick Burke to the NCAA championship game tonight in Washington D.C. between Boston University and Miami of Ohio.

While Burke is there looking at every player, there is one player in particular that the Flyers are looking at - much like many other NHL teams are - and that is Terriers defenseman Matt Gilroy.

Gilroy, 24, winner of the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in college hockey and BU captain, is a truly interesting story. Undrafted in 2003 because he was deemed too small, Gilroy has sprouted to 6-foot-2 in college and is older than most college kids, meaning he's physically more mature than most would-be first year pros.

His game has blossomed while at Boston University, and many teams are now interested in his services.

But, the Flyers might have the inside track.

I received an e-mail this morning from someone close to the Gilroy hoopla who has said that Gilroy's camp has quietly made it known that the Flyers are tops on his list.

Gilroy is eligible to sign an entry level contract tomorrow, so keep an eye out for where he ends up... possibly playing in the playoffs with the Phantoms.

Speaking of the Phantoms, Luca Sbisa made his AHL debut with the Phantoms in last night's playoff clinching victory.

However, he didn't get rave reviews. One Flyers' source said he played well below the bar - at least the bar he set when he played so well for the Flyers during preseason and the first half of this season.

Of course, that could be because of an unexpected weight loss.

According to the same source, Sbisa dropped 10 pounds while back at junior hockey and went into last night's game weighing 194 pounds.

Obviously, he'll have to bulk up if he is to be used in the playoffs for the Flyers.

There is some speculation that part of the reason he dropped that much weight was how much he was being used in Lethbridge, his junior hockey team.

One Flyers' report had Sbisa logging an obscene 41 minutes of ice time in Lethbridge's Game 7 victory over Saskatoon last week.

Finally, word out of the Flyers organization is that they want to resign pending unrestricted free agent Mike Knuble, and that they hope to get a new deal worked out with him before July 1.

According to the same organizational source, the Flyers will look to work out a fair deal with Knuble that will pay him incentives that won't count against the cap in the year they are achieved (although they might in future years) as part of the over-35 contract exception.

Knuble, 36, has been the model of consistency in his four years with the Flyers scoring 34, 24, 29 and 26 goals in his four seasons in Philadelphia.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


The Flyers called up David Sloane, a college defenseman with zero professional experience for two reasons:

1. They don't have the cap space to call up anyone else.
2. Since he's never played a professional game and was with the Phantoms on an Amateur Tryout, he has a cap hit of zero.

Sloane gets paid a per diem and that's it.

He can only stay for one game, per league rules, and then has to go back to the Phantoms.

The reason the Flyers don't have cap room is because Riley Cote's injury no longer counts as long-term because there are only three games remaining in the season. Players can only go on long-term injury if there are at least 10 games remaining.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


O.K., the Flyers are in. It took a little longer than everyone would have probably liked, but regardless, they're in the playoffs for the 33rd time in 41 tries.

Now, the big questions are, where will they be to start it, and who will they play?

We'll know for certain as we digest our Easter Sunday dinner, but we have five days to speculate, so let's do it.

I posted a blog on here a couple weeks ago predicting it would be Carolina. I still believe that.

Actually, while Montreal can still technically move up to No. 5 or the Flyers could technically collapse and fall as far as No. 6, I'm going to go on the assumption that they will finish either No. 4 or No. 5 and play either Carolina or Pittsburgh.

And here's a shocker, although I think it will be the Hurricanes, I think the better matchup for the Flyers right now would be the Penguins.

Carolina is smoking hot. They obliterated the Islanders 9-0 tonight. They've won nine straight. Their final two games are against Buffalo - who for all intent and purposes is out of the race, and a road game at free-falling New Jersey.

The Flyers' magic number for the No. 4 seed is five points. Any combination of points earned by the Flyers or lost by Carolina totaling five will guarantee home ice advantage.

(And if it's a series against Carolina that starts in Philadelphia, expect it to be next Thursday for Game 1 and next Saturday for Game 2. If it's Pittsburgh, all bets are off because NBC would probably want a game on Sunday).

Pittsburgh is more of a known entity for the Flyers and a team they can better prepare for.

Carolina is a team the Flyers went 3-0-1 against, but haven't played them since early December. This is a different team now then it was then.

So, be careful what you wish for.

By the way, Ryan Parent did tweak a groin. Paul Holmgren said he didn't think it was serious and the team would re-evaluate tomorrow. However he did confirm that Danny Syvret would get the call up if Parent can't go Thursday.


Riley Cote had surgery on his right ring finger today and will miss the remainder of the season.

Andreas Nodl appears to be the player poised to fill his role for the playoffs on the fourth line.

Other award recipients Tuesday:

Jeff Carter won the Toyota Cup for most stars during three star selections.

Darroll Powe won the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial as the most improved player.

Scott Hartnell won the Gene Hart Memorial Award voted on by the Flyers' fan club recognizing the player with the most heart.


The awards will officially be presented in about a half hour or so, but I did find out who won.

Mike Richards eeked out a tough contest for the Bobby Clarke Trophy as team MVP.

Kimmo Timonen won the Barry Ashbee award in a landslide as the team's best defenseman.

Danny Briere is being recognized with the Yanick Dupre Class Guy Memorial Award as the player who best illustrates character, dignity and respect for the sport both on and off the ice.

All three awards are voted on by the members of the Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. The first two awards are also voted on by team broadcasters.

A fourth award - the most improved player - which is voted on by the players themselves, has not been announced yet.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Strange one tonight vs. the Leafs.

Great first period. Horrible second period. O.K. third period.

Still very erratic.

Not much joy in the locker room after this one because they know there's something a little wrong.

More on that tomorrow though.

For now, chew on these tidbits:

The Flyers have now gone 99 consecutive games without allowing a shorthanded goal, the second-longest streak in the modern era of the NHL (post-expansion).

The 1975-76 Montreal Canadiens went 122 games without allowing a shortie.

Jeff Carter's hat trick was his first of his career.

Danny Briere's four-point night matched a career-high. It was the third time in his career he had a four-point game and the first since Nov. 21, 2007.

Claude Giroux had his second 3-point game this season, matching a career high.

Scott Hartnell scored his 30th goal, the first time in his career he reached that plateau.

It was the first time the Flyers scored five goals in a period since Feb. 12, 2007 against Detroit and the first time in an opening period since Nov. 15, 2006 against Anaheim.

The Flyers are now one win away from clinching the playoffs - which they can do against Ottawa Saturday.

In other news:

Dave Hanson of the "Hanson brothers" from the movie "Slap Shot" was in the house to watch his son Christian Hanson make his NHL debut for the Maple Leafs.

Flyers' assistant coach Joe Mullen is also a proud papa as his son Patrick Mullen signed a two-year entry level contract with the Los Angeles Kings.

And how about this bit of interesting alumni news:

In an interview with a Canadian television network, former Flyers' captain Keith Primeau announced he would donate his brain to science upon his death.

Primeau said he would donate his brain to the Sports Legacy Institute in Massachusetts.

"I think the beginning of my demise goes back to the playoff situation
back in 2000," said Primeau. "I got laid out at centre ice and got carried off on a stretcher. I stayed overnight in a Pittsburgh hospital, only to return two nights
later against New Jersey. And that was ultimately the beginning of my

Primeau suffered his first official concussion and missed 21 games in
the 2003-04. In the 2004 playoffs he suffered two more head injuries, but managed to play in 18 games that post-season. The final blow came two years later on Oct.
25 when Primeau, then 34, was concussed again after a hit from Montreal's Alexander Perezhogin. He missed the rest of that season and in September 2006 was finally forced to retire.

Primeau hopes his decision will aid in the research to help others avoid the pain he suffered as a professional hockey player.

The Sports Legacy Institute is dedicated to studying the effects of concussions and other sports related brain injuries in order to maximize the safety and vitality of all athletes who participate in contact and collision sports around the globe.