Canada lacks character to beat United States

Posted in Editorial, Sochi Olympics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2014 by Tom Dougherty

By Tom Dougherty (@todougherty)

For Team Canada to win back-to-back Gold medals it will have to take down the United States for the chance to play for Gold, a feat that appears to be too large for the Canadians to overcome.

Canada survived Latvia in the Olympic quarterfinal, defeating the Latvians, 2-1, to advance to the semifinal against the Americans, who easily disposed the Czechs, 5-2, Wednesday. Puck drop will be Friday at 12 p.m. EST.

Entering the matchup, it’s a meeting between the top two teams in the tournament. But the U.S. should be favored and heavy favors at that. The Americans haven’t looked lost at any point during the qualifying round and looked dominant again against the Czechs.

That cannot be said for the Canadians. They escaped Latvia, a team that quite frankly, given the vast difference in talent level, should have been put away in the first five minutes. And throughout the qualifying round Canada looked like a team trying to come together.

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Flyers make questionable moves with Downie, McGinn

Posted in Editorial with tags , , , , , , on January 14, 2014 by Tom Dougherty

By Tom Dougherty (@todougherty)

For the second straight game, Steve Downie will be a healthy scratch.

That comes with Matt Read’s return from a concussion tonight vs. the Sabres. Jay Rosehill stays in the lineup and Downie will watch from the press box.

What makes it ever more curious is the Flyers’ demotion of Tye McGinn on Monday. When the team sent the 23-year-old to the Phantoms, it indicated Read’s return and perhaps Downie’s reinsertion back into the lineup.

That made sense. This doesn’t.

McGinn’s demotion, which on the season he’s been called up and sent down a combined eight times, said two things: 1) Read’s ready to return and 2) the Flyers don’t see McGinn as an everyday NHLer.

And now it’s clear that Downie got himself in Berube’s doghouse, or there’s something below the surface the team isn’t saying (an injury?).

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Flyers chasing Max Pacioretty? Scenarios …

Posted in Editorial with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2013 by Tom Dougherty

By Tom Dougherty (@todougherty)

The Flyers have been scoring goals at a rapid pace recently. Scoring 17 goals in their last four games, adding a scorer doesn’t appear as big of a need as it did earlier in the season.

However, adding a scoring winger still sits atop the Flyers’ needs. While Claude Giroux is back to the point-per-game player Philly’s been accustomed to, and Jakub Voracek’s playing like he was last season, Michael Raffl is the third-leg on the Flyers’ top line.

And he’s been a pleasant surprise of late, but no one expected him to be a top-six forward when the Flyers signed the Austrian in the offseason. No one should expect him to be one for the long term, either. He could be another Andreas Nodl.

So how can the Flyers go about adding that top-line winger?

According to the New York Post’s Larry Brooks, the Flyers and Islanders are “taking serious runs” at Montreal Canadiens left winger Max Pacioretty, although Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin likely wouldn’t want to move him to an Eastern Conference team.

Trading Pacioretty doesn’t make much sense for the Canadiens, as he’s the team’s leading scorer with 15 goals — he’s missed nine games this year. And the Habs (22-13-3) have 47 points, fourth in the East.

But Brooks says head coach Michel Therrien isn’t fond of the 25-year-old winger.

Pacioretty has a cap-friendly contract — six years, $27 million, with a $4.5 million cap hit through 2018-19. He’s young and has led the Habs in scoring the last two seasons, scoring 33 goals in 2011-12 and 15 last year.

If Pacioretty’s name has popped up in trade talks, there’s not a team in the league that won’t give Bergevin a call, which means the price to acquire Pacioretty won’t be cheap.

Montreal has no real motive to move him, except for the head coach not seeing him as an ideal fit for his system. For a team that seems like a shoe-in for a fourth or fifth seed in a mediocre Eastern Conference, moving its top goal scorer would need a large return.

The Canadiens would need at least one top-six NHL forward, a prospect and a first-round draft choice. Do the Flyers have that, and would they be willing to part with such a package?

Let’s say the Flyers and Canadiens are talking. The report mentioned no names, and these following scenarios have no inside scoop whatsoever:

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A number’s look at the Flyers’ turnaround

Posted in Editorial with tags , , , , on November 20, 2013 by Tom Dougherty

By Tom Dougherty (@todougherty)

What a difference a couple of weeks can do for a hockey club.

In a season that looked lost, the Flyers have seemingly turned things around, especially in the last week and a half.

It all started with a 4-2 win over the Oilers at home before heading out for a three-game road swing. That ended with a 3-0-1 record.

And returning home Tuesday, the Flyers beat the Senators, 5-2, for the second time in a week. Both games the Flyers scored five goals.

In fact, Philadelphia has scored 25 percent of its season’s goal total and 27 percent of its power play goal total against Ottawa.

Here are some notable numbers from the Flyers’ turnaround:

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In weak East, Flyers’ slow start means little

Posted in Editorial with tags , on November 19, 2013 by Tom Dougherty

By Tom Dougherty (@todougherty)

Taking overtime losses out of the mix and counting them as losses, the Flyers are five games under .500 with 63 games left to play.

If the Flyers were in the Western Conference that may be a cause for a bigger concern. But they’re not, which gives hope to Flyers fans.

Entering Tuesday’s game against the Senators, Philadelphia sits four points out of the eighth seed, whereas if the orange and black played in the West, they’d be 12 points out.

That’s a fairly significant number. Essentially, if the Flyers played in the West, they would be six wins out of a playoff spot. Again, they’re only four points out.

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