Critical Mass. Joseph’s post today’s marks the halfway point – 15 NHL teams have been represented since the launch of PuckBuddys 2.0. OK, we’re rounding up, Wings correspondent, Jeff, wrote about the new Jets unis early on, but we’re still going to count it. Despite conflicting opinions on (or abject hatred of), the Flyers by many of the writers here, Philly is important – they’re always a dominant team, always a dreaded opponent, and also happens to be home to Patrick Burke. We’ll manage without the Rangers and Hawks (apparently no gay guys live in NYC or CHI), or the remaining 13 NHL teams if need be, but the Flyers now makes this operation feel complete.
“What a horrible month November is for the gay male hockey fan. I, my friends, completely support the fight against cancer (don’t get me wrong), but I do not like the mustaches that grace the faces of the men on the ice. Ugh, “Movember” can’t be over soon enough. But come playoff beard time, this Philadelphia Flyers fan is all in. That’s right, friends…what would this blog be without contributions from a member of the best fans in hockey? I play, I play.
First, there was no way to know what to expect from this retooled roster.
Did we finally have the goalie we have been waiting for since before the turn of the millennium? Would the defense do the job in front of him? Where would the offensive power come from? Would there be anyone as inherently good looking as Jeff Carter?
Now about a month in, I can confidently say that offense is not our issue with the team seeing contributions coming from all four lines. The defense, aside from their joy of deflecting pucks past a bad-tempered Ilya Bryzgalov, has stood up quite nice (except for you, Lilja) and should received a nice boost with the recent return of Chris Pronger. Goaltending will always, in my opinion, be the focus when things go south and, while Bryz was “lost in the woods” for a bit, his track record speaks for itself and he has responded back with solid efforts.
This isn’t to say that I am settled. We are still early in the season, and there is still a lot that the Flyers have to work on. As I write this, I would love to see some consistency in the defense, and the horrible turnovers need to stop. It also would be nice to see the Power Play regain some of the power it lost since the first few games. Overall, good start.
One person who has contributed greatly to this solid start is the man who seems to turn it to beast-mode every time he steps on the ice: Claudius Giroux (okay, it’s not really Claudius). Sure, his bromance with teammate Danny Briere was simply adorable last year as Claudious played house with Danny and Nanny for Briere’s kids (rhymes). But I am more interested in the eleven goals and eleven assists the red-headed wonder has through the first seventeen games of the season. Last night, in a very entertaining matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes (you know, the team with the Staal that sidelined his own brother for the season), Claudius led the Flyboys with two goals and an assist, coming off of a two game pointless “slump”. This was his third game this season with three or more points.
Let’s also draw attention to the hockey magic that is being made ever time he and Jaromir Jagr connect. Following the game Monday, Jagrbomb spoke to the media and explained how he holds Claudius in high regard, saying that he wants to be there for him on the ice and that he believes him to be one of the top three players in the league. The former Pittsburghian joined the team with question marks swirling around him, but he has quickly turned into a fan favorite.
As one of the cornerstones of a team that entered the season with an expectation of an offensive slump, Giroux (who leads the Flyers with 22 points this season) is quickly cementing himself as one of the elite in the league. For a Flyers fan, watching him work his magic with the puck is pure excitement. Getting him to be choosing a beard trimmer to shave that facial hair and get a haircut, now that’s tricky.”
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