Danny Briere will meet with the NHL disciplinarians via conference call at 10:00 a.m. on Monday for his involvement in this tag team smash up of New York's Frans Nielsen on Saturday night. The Flyers have confirmed this.
I didn't have a great look at this last night at the game, as I only saw it unfold live and didn't have a great look at a replay because it's hard to look away from Rick DiPietro challenging the whole Flyers team to a duel just to get a look at a replay. (Clearly, the MSG announcers didn't really see it well either, thinking Dan Carcillo did all the damage.) Watching it on video, however, it's obvious Briere will be out of the lineup for at least Monday's game against the Carolina Hurricanes, perhaps more.
Here's what Briere had to say about the incident after the game.
[Nielsen] was mad because we were two on Gillies in front of the net a few faceoffs before and all I was trying to do was hold his arm because he was trying to hit Coburn, and obviously, we didn't want anybody fighting Gillies. We wanted to leave him on the ice. So all I was trying to do was hold his arm to protect Coburn a bit.
[On the faceoff with 1:02 left] Nielsen called me a few expletive words and didn't appreciate that I was doing that and the faceoff before he did the same thing to me. He came over with his stick, had me in a head lock. So I didn't know what he was doing. I just wanted to keep my hands high and try to protect myself.
While that certainly doesn't excuse Briere's cross-check to Nielsen's face, it's at least a bit comforting to know that he didn't do it just because Nielsen was mouthing off. If you believe Briere's side of the story (and, honestly, since his team was the one up by five, not throwing a hissy fit, you probably should at least take into consideration Briere's side of the story), he didn't know what Nielsen was going to do off that faceoff.
Given Danny's history of getting agitated, I'm sure the truth falls somewhere in the middle. In any event, neither party was innocent here, and because of that, I have no problem with Dan Carcillo coming over and being the muscles on Nielsen during the play. His best offensive player is getting screamed at by a guy who's pissed off and losing 6-1, and he's a guy that did the same thing a few shifts earlier with Briere. Briere is right -- you can't be all that sure what Nielsen is going to do in that situation.
Carcillo bolted over and decked Nielsen, who had already been at his knees thanks to the hit from Briere. In that circumstance, it looks like a two-on-one hit job. When you get behind the reasoning for it -- that Carcillo was heading over to protect his leading scorer in a blow out game with a minute left against a team that had already checked their pride at the door -- I don't blame him one bit.
As Carcillo said after the game, "Better me than Danny Briere, right?"
Briere will be the one who's suspended, however, and rightfully so. The only question now is how long he'll be sitting. We'll find out on Monday morning.
It is almost fitting that the Wilson Valdez review would come on Halloween. Valdez dressed up all season for the Phillies wearing a lot of different hats. In one way or another Valdez saw action in over two-thirds of the Phillies games this year. He started 59 games at shortstop, 42 at second and eight at third with Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Placido Polanco all seeing time on the DL.
It really is amazing to think back and Valdez was just a non-roster invitee to Spring Training. He had major league experience and could play a lot of different positions so it seemed plausible the Phillies could hold onto his services. And when Rollins went on the DL just the second week of the season, those services were needed.
Now at the end of the season, Valdez was Mr. Everything for the Phillies. No one expected Valdez to come in and hit .300 and 20 home runs. We all know that did not happen. Before this season, Valdez never hit over .256 and never amassed 150 at bats in a season. The Phillies asked Valdez to swing the bat over 300 times and play three different positions. He responded with a line of .258/.306/.360/.667.
As a fan of Valdez and his bleached blonde goatee, I was very impressed with his defensive consistency throughout the year. He had over 400 chances in 108 games, and Valdez committed only three errors. One of the big things throughout the season was Valdez’s ability to hit into double plays (20), but on the other side he was involved in turning 55 of his own in the field.
When looking at Valdez’s value compared to other replacements he was above average in my opinion. His WAR was not that high at 1.7 but when you think about a standard starter having a WAR of +2, Valdez definitely filled in beautifully. In all the categories for numbers above replacement Valdez had positive numbers. So it could have been worse.
When you insert a guy like Valdez in a lineup with the likes of Ryan Howard, Jasyon Werth and Utley it is easy to say he is an inferior player. The Phillies knew there was no way he was going to go in and put up numbers similar to those he was replacing. And that is not what he was brought in to do. So with that said, my grade for him might be a little higher than a lot of people expected but I am extremely happy with the way he came off the bench and performed. Personally, I hope he is on the bench again next season.
KIERAN’S GRADE: 7.1/10
PAT’S GRADE: 6.4/10 – Valdez was a great fill-in for the better part of the season at multiple positions. He stepped up when needed, however I graded him slightly lower because of the 275 double-plays.
PAUL’S GRADE: 6.0/10 – His defense proved to be better than a lot of people were expecting (mostly, I’m sure, because no one knew what to really expect), but to grade a .258/.306/.360 line in 363 PA on the same level as Utley and Howard would just be silly. Nice season, Wilson, but you’re still a backup.
According to our reputation, Flyers fans are less likely to be candy seekers on Halloween, and are more likely to drift toward the flaming bag of poop side of the holiday.
But whether tricking or treating is your calling, an awesome costume is what defines Halloween success or failure. And on this most orange and black of holidays, it seems appropriate to have some sort of Flyers-themed inspiration.
So if you did/are going to do something Flyersy this Halloween (or a previous one), or if you just have an idea for something that would be cool, share it here. Group ideas are also encouraged, whether you're a pair of brothers going as the Watsons, or a pair of sisters going as Lauren Hart and Kate Smith.
Happy Halloween, errebody.
(This post was inspired by a discussion on BSH Radio 27, which you really should have listened to by now).
He's known as a scorer and a smaller player, but no one will ever accuse Danny Briere of stumping for Lady Byng Trophy votes. Here's a video of a little extra curricular activity by #48 on a faceoff and the ensuing near line brawl that ended last night's 6-1 Flyers win over the Islanders.
Gotta love the looks on the faces of Rick DiPietro and Chris Pronger as the goalie realized he wasn't going to get to dance with anyone but big #20.
Briere definitely got the stick up high on Franz Nielsen there, and Dan Carcillo hit him from behind. Hard to dispute that. But after the game, Briere said that he'd been hit up high on a previous faceoff. This game had gotten rough and at times dirty long before the faceoff in the video above, so there was a context to consider. Hopefully the league sees it that way too. If they want to suspend someone, Trent Hunter seems like a good candidate for a night in the press box.
After seeing plenty of guys in drag at a Halloween party last night, Rick DiPietro taking the ice clad in pink pads wasn't much of a shock. And as much as we applaud the efforts toward greater awareness and earlier detection of breast cancer, the game video from Saturday night might be a bit more embarrassing for Rick DiP, who was a hot pink mess in this one.
It was a high-scoring night for the Flyers, who beat the Islanders 6-1 and exorcised a few demons in the process.
Worried about the powerplay? The lack of scoring from the defense? Goaltending? Jeff Carter? Saturday night's game should help alleviate whatever's on your list. Highlights below.
The Flyers got to DiPietro early and often, and he was clearly upset about it. At the other end of the ice, the coolest man in the building nearly had himself a shutout. The only goal scored on Sergei Bobrovsky came on a penalty shot (more on that in a bit). Bob was everything his Isles counterpart wasn't in this one—fast, well-positioned, and decently supported by his defense. His ability to get across the crease in a hurry was on display early, when he stoned a great scoring attempt that would have evened the game. If the score goes to 1-1 there, it's hard to say if it still ends 6-1.
At both ends of the ice, the Islanders were completely outworked early, deflated and frustrated by an inability to slow the Flyers attack down at all, or counter with one of their own.
The defensemen are officially off the hook for their scoring woes, with Kimmo Timonen opening it up by slamming one home, and Chris Pronger ripping two huge slap shots (both of which were on power play feeds from Timonen). Kimmo's goal was the first for a Flyers defenseman this season; until then, they were the only team not to have a goal from a blueliner.
The penalty shot was called on a play by Pronger in which he hauled down Frans Nielsen. It sucks that the only goal Bob let up in this one came on a freebie, but the silver lining is that the Flyers were on a two-man advantage at the time. Had the penalty shot not been awarded, Pronger would have certainly gone off to the box for what he did. Instead, he stayed on the ice and scored one of his two goals.
Jeff Carter also netted a pair, and he may now be able to put a red hotel and a few green houses between DiPietro's pads because he just owned that fivehole. The first goal was somewhat laughable, and DiP should've had it for sure. Carter surprised him with a shot from the side boards, which we've only seen him do about a thousand times, so it's hard to imagine DiPietro not expecting it. Carter also scored on a sweet move to get DiPietro moving across his crease. He already has five goals on the season, and it's looking like another year in which the Flyers are incredibly deep with guys who can score.
On the whole, the Flyers were excellent at creating quality scoring opportunities. Timely passes and good positioning led to DiPietro being left hung out to dry, as well as often having to move side-to-side because of a changed angle of attack. This is exactly how teams want to set up goals, but it can be hard unless the defense is giving up real estate in front, which the Isles were.
Like Dan Carcillo did the night before, Andreas Nodl made a case for his staying in the lineup. Nodl scored his first non-EN of the season, and he had a lot of fire in him. He hit the boards hard on a short-handed scoring attempt and was later said to have an upper body injury, but considering he stayed in the game for a while and scored a goal before being pulled, it sounds like he may be OK.
Andrej Meszaros also left the game early after taking a high hit along the boards from Trent "Head" Hunter. He looked a little like Kevin Kolb after Clay Matthews was done with him, but the early report from Tim Panaccio is reporting that the players are indicating it's nothing serious. We certainly hope so, because Meszaros has played well in the early goings this season.
Hunter's hit on Meszaros was just one of the displays of violence we saw from both sides on Saturday night. DiPietro twice left his crease looking for a fight, including after the Meszaros hit. Says a lot about DiPietro because with Meszaros hurt and laying on the ice, the Flyers were already outmanned in the melee. The other time DiPietro came out looking to fight was late in the game, after Danny Briere and Dan Carcillo each got a shot in on Nielsen. Briere's was a stick high on Nielsen, against whom he was squaring off over the faceoff dot, and Danny could get a little added attention as a result. Anyway, DiPietro came out looking for Briere, but he was intercepted by Pronger, and he immediately stopped his pursuit. You could tell he wanted no part of Pronger, and understandably so.
The Isles amassed 73 PIM to the Flyers' 47, in large part due to three majors and four 10-minute misconducts. Carcillo won a great battle with Zenon Konopka (Video), who was livid after their second scrap. The end of the game was marred by scrums and thrown punches, and with only 7 days until the next tilt between these two, next Saturday could get pretty rough.
PHILADELPHIA -- A decade.
That's how long Rick DiPietro has left on his ridiculous contract with the New York Islanders. If tonight's game against the Flyers is any indication, it's gonna be loooooooong decade on the Island. The goaltender gave up six goals on 29 shots tonight as the Flyers rolled to a 6-1 victory.
It was their 11th straight victory over the Islanders in Philadelphia, who haven't won here since April 2007.
Not only did the Islanders lose in just about every aspect of the sport of hockey tonight, they did it like children. From the net out, the entire second half of the hockey game was an excellent showing of we'll-make-you-laugh-at-us-for-more-reasons-than-we're-bad-at-hockey from the Isles.
With the Flyers up 4-0 on goals from Kimmo Timonen, Chris Pronger and two from Jeff Carter, Zenon Konopka challenged Dan Carcillo to a bit of a duel. It was probably the most entertaining fight of the year for the Flyers and could be called a strong win for Carbomb, who hung in with one of those guys who's sole job is to drop the mitts.
A few minutes later, Trent Hunter crushed the head of Andrej Meszaros into the glass. Danny Briere jumped to the aid of his defenseman, while Rick DiPietro came all the way out to the blue line to make things interesting as well. He picked up a two minute penalty for
being a baby leaving the crease, in addition to Hunter's five and a game for boarding. The league might be looking at that hit on Monday. Meszaros didn't return.
While the Flyers were up by two men, the Islanders scored on a penalty shot to ruin Sergei Bobrovsky's shutout. Fortunately, it'd be the only goal of the night for the kids from New York, and the Flyers would make sure they wouldn't have much time to relish in it. Just a few minutes later, Chris Pronger blasted his second point shot of the night by DiPietro to make the score 5-1.
The game was effectively over and the third period hadn't even begun. Not that anybody should've wanted to go home, however, because the fireworks were really just beginning. After jawing on their way back to the benches after their second period fight, you had a feeling Konopka and Carcillo were going to drop 'em again. They did just that midway through the third.
Carcillo's dad told me after the game that the second one wasn't really much of a fight. He was right, but Konopka did pick up a 10 minute misconduct on the play. A few minutes later after a scrum in front of the net, tough guy Trevor Gillies showed how tough he really is by taking a cheap shot on Danny Briere. He received a TRIPLE MINOR for roughing on the play, as well as a game misconduct. I didn't know that was possible, but it was well-deserved.
At the 19 minute mark, in front of a basically-empty WFC crowd, Frans Nielsen said something to Briere. Carcillo didn't know what he said, but he "knew something was going to happen, so he just went in there and hit him" right off of the faceoff. Briere seemed to hit him first, but Carcillo got a shot in as well. All hell broke loose.
DiPietro threw his mask off. Briere skated towards him. Carcillo, fresh off defending Briere near the faceoff dot, made a beeline for DiPietro. Nothing really escalated beyond there, but Briere received a major for cross-checking Nielsen and Carcillo picked up a 10 minute misconduct. The league might look at this one as well.
The exclamation point? DiPietro was handed another minor for leaving the crease, and the Flyers finished the final minute of the game on the power play. Hey, only 10 years left on that contract.
On to the bullets...
- Jody Shelley was banging on the boards like a maniac telling Bobrovsky to skate down the ice to challenge DiPietro in that melee with a minute left in the third. After the game, when asked if he wanted to fight anybody, Bobrovsky (who understood the English word "fight," by the way), smiled and said "Nyet, nyet."
- Shelley and Carcillo picked up power play time late in the game. Laviolette said it had nothing to do with making sure things didn't get out of hand, but rather that he likes to give the guys who do some dirty work the opportunity to perhaps get a power play goal.
- I've never heard of a triple minor before.
- 120 minutes in penalties total tonight.
- Bobrovsky was fantastic. He made a ton of huge saves despite going long stretches without any action. He was extremely focused tonight, and he seemed extremely happy after the game.
- Jeff Carter, James van Riemsdyk and Andreas Nodl really stood out offensively tonight. The lines really seem to be coming together at this point, which makes things really interesting because Nikolay Zherdev isn't involved.
- Nodl left the game in the third period with an "upper-body injury" that he sustained in the first period. Tim Panaccio is reporting that Nodl is fine.
- Panaccio is also reporting that sources tell him Meszaros is okay and that he was only removed from the game as a precaution.
- From Katie Strang of Newsday: "DP cracked some jokes at his own expense and said of tangling with Pronger: 'I was looking for anyone except him, let's be honest.' "
- The defense finally chipped in offensively... and they did it in a big way, too. Pronger scored two and Timonen had one of his own. The defense hadn't scored a goal yet this season. That went away quickly. In total, the Flyers got six of their 18 points tonight from the blueline.
- Pronger told me after the game that he learned the fist pump from Briere.
Questions with Answers
- It's the first time a Flyers goaltender has played in back-to-back nights this season. Does Bobrovsky look as good as he did last night? Bob looked great tonight. He said after the game that he likes playing on back-to-back nights.
- Danny Briere needs two assists to reach 300 in his career. Does he do it tonight? The hottest offensive player on the team didn't have a point on a night where the team scored six goals. Weird.
- The Flyers have won 10 in a row against the Islanders in Philadelphia. Does that continue? It most certainly does.
- Both teams played last night. Any sluggishness to start? The Flyers were all over the Isles from the drop of the puck.
Comment of the Night
Did someone donate $5 to the American Cancer Society for every second DiPietro played tonight?
>> Geoff Detweiler, on why DP stayed in the game so long
Nick Menta is the Sports Director of W.H.I.P. Temple Student Radio and the co-host of The Menta & Kellett Show. Listen in from 1-2pm Mondays and Wednesdays at www.whipradiotu.com
In news LeBron James only pretends to care about, the Temple University Football Owls covered their spread by just two with a 30-0 rout of the Akron Zips, Saturday. Up only six at the middle mark, the Owls exploded for 24 second half points en route to their seventh win of the season and their third against the MAC East. The result also ties a school record of ten consecutive home victories and continues a new program record of ten straight at the Linc. Aside from these pleasant accomplishments, the day's biggest story undoubtedly came from the public address box, and energetic pipes of one Dan Baker. Stunning details after the jump...
With the Eagles on a bye and the Phillies enjoying other professional events at the Wells Fargo Center, Baker made a surprise appearance, Saturday, filling in for Temple PA extraordinaire Merv Jones. In Merv's unexplained absence, Baker electrified the crowd, and single-handedly carried the first half of an almost unbearable affair. With the Owls floundering in the red zone and up just a set of field goals on the 0-8 Zips, the only development to really relish at the half was Baker's unbridled exuberance for literally every first down and pass completion. His performance was so bafflingly energetic as to force one member of the media waiting in line for cookies to remark, "It's like he did three lines before he got here. He's saving the game." Indeed, Baker's enthusiasm for the exceptionally boring opening thirty no doubt spurred the Owls into action; well, that and an almost assured tongue lashing from head coach Al Golden.
Other than Baker, and I say that with some trepidation of downplaying his impact, the Temple defense looked the most impressive against the Zips. Posting their second shutout in as many games, the defense has not allowed a point since the second to last play of regulation against Bowling Green on the 16th. Granted, these performances came at the expense of the Buffalo Bulls and the Akron Zips, the latter of whom I've been referring to as the "Hammers" for the last week, but the back-to-back clean sheets are impressive displays of determination, nonetheless. As such, it is worth noting that Temple has outscored their last three opponents by a margin of 100-27.
On offense, Temple was able to piece together a sustained and quality drive on their first possession, a goal they have had trouble achieving this season. Unfortunately, that drive, like another of a similar fashion in the second quarter, would cease once inside the red zone. Multiple runs straight into line and an ill-fated pass attempt or two put the pressure on kicker Brandon McManus not to let all the offense's hard work go to waste. He delivered on both occassions, the first from 27 and the second from only two yards shorter. He'd add another from 45 in the third quarter to finish the day 3-3 on both field goals and extra points. As evident from McManus' extra point figures, the Temple offense was able to right the ship in the second. A Mike Geradi pass to (at least on the depth chart) seventh string tight end Alex Jackson moved the Owls up 16. Two more scores, one on an end around to wideout Rod Streater and the other on an acrobatic rush from Bernard Pierce, would ensure the cover.
Speaking of covering, the Temple specials teams unit was especially impressive against the Akron return game. Three monstrous hits on kick coverage ensured Akron unfavorable field position and more than a few aches in the morning for returners Alex Allen and Jalil Carter. Temple cornerback Kee-Ayre Griffin also got in on the act with field goal block to keep Akron off the board just before the half. Griffin's effort made for Temple's third successfully blocked kick in the last four weeks, the other two belonging to Adrian Robinson on a punt and extra point, respectively. In fact, the only unimpressive detail regarding the special teams unit was the (continued) questionable judgment of punt returner Delano Green. I believe I've discussed this here before, but Delano has the tendency drive me absolutely frigging insane. Saturday's grievance came in the form of an attempted return from his own 6. Rather than letting the ball bounce or calling for a fair catch, Delano was determined to elude two rapidly approaching defenders and make a name for himself. On that front, he succeeded by fumbling the ball and nearly costing Temple a touchdown in 0-0 game, after Akron recovered in the end zone. Fortuitously, he was ruled down by contact, allowing Temple to launch an 84 yard drive to set up McManus for his first attempt of the day. While special teams was certainly a big part of the team's success, Green, the same returner responsible for running backwards and catching a ball over his shoulder inside his own ten earlier this season, will continue to scare the living hell out of me every time he's back to receive.
The bowl-eligible Owls return to action against Kent State next week, and wrap up their 2010 home schedule on November 16th against MAC rival Ohio. On an unrelated note, only 13 days until the start of basketball season. We'll have something, probably resembling a short book, on the team before their tip off against Seton Hall on the twelfth. I hate Asher Roth, but, man, I love college.
I can't even imagine how tired both Dan Carcillo and Zenon Konopka must have been when that fight really started getting good.
Pic above actually a frame from the second battle between these two on the night, which was less fun because Carcillo was at the end of a long shift when dirtbag went for round 2.
Sure, Penn State may have won the two previous meetings with the Michigan Wolverines but excuse me if I cannot escape a feeling of slight doom for the blue and white heading in to Saturday night's game in Beaver Stadium. Given the stability, or rather instability, of the Penn State offensive line this season who knows if we will see former walk-on quarterback Matt McGloin playing the sacrificial role Anthony Morelli played that that long ago.
McGloin looks to get his first start for Penn State as freshman standout quarterback Rob Bolden likely will not see any playing time Saturday night. Bolden failed a concussion test early in the week after being knocked out of last week's road victory in Minnesota. Bolden's father did tell reporters that he did pass a follow-up concussion test in the middle of the week, but as a caution that has become the norm in football (pro and college), Bolden will not be rushed back to the field (note to Andy Reid).
The good news is this Michigan defense is light years in the opposite direction of where the above referenced Wolverines once were. The bad news is their offense will welcome back a 100% healthy Denard Robinson, one of the most electrifying players in college football this season (Cam Newton and LaMichael James are pretty good too). That is bad news for Penn State, who has shown an out-of-characteristic approach to tackling this season and is banged up at each position. If Robinson finds some running lanes to work with, watch out. He could make for a long night for the Nittany Lions. Robinson has already rushed for over 1,000 yards and scored nine touchdowns in the ground, which is more than twice what Penn State's leading rusher, Evan Royster, has done this season.
Speaking of Royster, will this be the game he finally passes the legendary Curt Warner for the school's all-time rushing record? Before the season no Penn State fan thought Royster would still be chasing the mark of 3,398 career rushing yards heading in to the Michigan game, but he comes in to tonight 30 yards shy of Warner. Royster has rushed for over 100 yards each of the past two seasons against the Wolverines.
Feel free to leave your thoughts on the game, or anything else going on, in the comments below. I'll stop by from time to time from the press box in State College.
In somebody's sick idea of an April Fools' joke, the Flyers took the ice in Long Island (a cruel prank in itself) this past April 1 and—brace yourself—lost to the New York Islanders by a score of 6-4. It was the first time Philadelphia fell to their bitter Atlantic Division rivals since February 12, 2008, a streak of dominance that went on for 15 consecutive meetings.
A long time has past since that stinging defeat, one that surely weighed as heavy on the players' minds as any from the previous season, but tonight the orange and black finally get their chance at a measure of revenge. Should they falter, the Flyers risk allowing the Islanders to begin a winning streak of their own. What could possibly make for a more horrifying Halloween?
Blake Comeau scored two of his career high 17 goals within the contest's first eight minutes of the last meeting, taking feeds from youngster John Tavares to open an early lead. The lead was grown to four early in the second period, and despite a furious comeback attempt, the Flyers simply weren't able to shut the door. Veteran Jon Sim produced three points, including a goal, with Sean Bergenheim, Trent Hunter, and Frans Nielsen each doing their part with two points.
Tavares in particular appears to be quickly becoming a star in the NHL. The second year winger is off to a hot start with six goals in seven games, including a league leading four on the power play. The top pick in 2009's draft is the type of player that can cause problems for any defense, but the Flyers might be especially vulnerable. Not surprisingly, Philly ranks near the bottom in penalty minutes accrued (28th), although they also sport the eighth-best penalty kill.
Meanwhile, back-to-back victories put the good guys back on the right side of .500, last night's W in Pittsburgh locking them up with the Pens for first place in the division. With four power play goals between the last two games, two of which were netted by the always dangerous Claude Giroux, it appears the early-season struggles in that phase of the game may be over, and the offense is finally ready to take off.
But they've got to get back on track against the Long Islanders. Victories in all six of this season's meetings could be the difference between a top seed in the playoffs, or just sneaking in again. If history has taught us anything, it's not inconceivable at all.
|2010/11 - Sergei Bobrovsky||6||357||4||2||16||2.69||174||158||.908||0|
|2010/11 - Rick DiPietro||5||308||2||1||17||3.31||144||127||.882||0|
After the jump, questions to answer and our in-game discussion.
Questions to Answer
- It's the first time a Flyers goaltender has played in back-to-back nights this season. Does Bobrovsky look as good as he did last night?
- Danny Briere needs two assists to reach 300 in his career. Does he do it tonight?
- The Flyers have won 10 in a row against the Islanders in Philadelphia. Does that continue?
- Both teams played last night. Any sluggishness to start?
Tonight's game is on CSN Philly and 1210 WPHT. Go Flyers.
Pat Maroon is the best offensive player on the Adirondack Phantoms. Well, we should probably say that Maroon was the leading scorer and the best offensive player on the Phantoms, because as of last night, he is no longer a member of the team.
As reported by Tim McManus of the Glens Falls Post-Star:
According to Adirondack coach Greg Gilbert, leading scorer Patrick Maroon is "no longer with the team, pending assignment by the organization."
Gilbert wouldn’t comment on whether a specific incident sparked the dismissal. Asked if Maroon would return, Gilbert repeated the statement about re-assignment.
The Phantoms aren't saying a damn thing about any of this. The coach won't spill any details, the players, including captain Dan Jancevski, won't spill any details. Nobody can get Maroon's agent, Allain Roy, on the phone, as he's in Europe until Wednesday.
It's not a perfect comparison since you can't just "re-assign" a player in the NHL, but this is essentially like if the Flyers were to throw Danny Briere on waivers without explanation. He's their leading scorer and they'd be losing him for nothing, without any explanation to the paying customers why it's happening. It makes no sense.
Let's take a look at all of the wild questions that surround this wild, confusing situation.
1. Why was Maroon kicked off the team?
Obviously, this is the big question. You don't just throw your leading scorer out of the locker room and off the team without some serious reason, of course. As McManus reports, though, Maroon was having a nice start to the season, despite how badly the team as a whole has looked, and he's seemingly been working hard at his game.
So what could the reason be? The Phantoms won't budge, but Jancevski does sort of allude that it could be a locker room issue by saying it will "stay in the dressing room." It seems a little petty to kick a guy off the team for just having a bad attitude or something, doesn't it?
We're not going to speculate on what happened because that's irresponsible, but it clearly had to be something serious. If only the Phantoms would tell us what happened...
2. Does this have anything to do with Paul Holmgren's presence in Glens Falls on Friday?
Again, McManus reports that Holmgren and Assistant GM John Paddock were both in Glens Falls on Friday night to watch the game. That's weird -- the Flyers had a game of their own in Pittsburgh. Why the need for the special trip? My gut tells me that this isn't a coincidence, but since nobody is commenting on the subject, we don't know for sure, do we?
3. Will he ever be back within the Flyers organization?
This seems unlikely, but again, we don't know. He has an NHL contract. Do the Flyers still own his NHL rights? Will he ever play for the Flyers, even if he's playing for a different AHL team?
We do know that Paddock met with Peter Laviolette at the Skate Zone on Thursday for about a half hour, and seeing as Paddock is the main guy who oversees the Phantoms and the Flyers prospects, we might be able to assume it had something to do with Maroon. What exactly does that mean? Well, again, more unanswered questions.
4. Is this a trend with the Phantoms?
As Tim points out, this isn't the first time a Phantoms player has been dismissed from the team. It happened with AHL vets Lukas Kaspar and Jason Ward last season as well. It may not have been as serious in those situations, at least because those players don't hold the same position in the Flyers organization as Maroon does (or did), but this isn't the first time this has happened with this organization and this team in Adirondack. That seems important to mention.
We stand now, just a few hours after this whole thing went down, with a lot of questions and nobody willing to answer them. That's not fair to us as Flyers fans, and it's certainly not fair to the paying fans in Glens Falls who already have to suffer through watching a terrible hockey team take the ice every night.
We all deserve an explanation. Who's going to give it?
Today, Texas and San Francisco are preparing to play Game Three of the World Series. Two years ago today? I was nursing the most glorious hangover in the history of hangovers. Harry's "The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 World Champions of Baseball" will forever be seared into my memory. Hard to believe it's been two years already.
Apparently Pat Maroon is gone. Not too many reasons on why it happened but he was our ONLY good offensive player, leading the team in scoring. It doesn't make any sense at all why this happened but the natives up here in Glens Falls are definitely restless!