Broken Twigs: Pronger and Giroux to Montreal and Your FGSB Mailbag

Broken Twigs: Pronger and Giroux to Montreal and Your FGSB Mailbag

If you suggest a trade on the internet you are going to be torn to pieces. That is a fact of life. Doesn’t matter the forum, doesn’t matter the trade. You’re either giving away too much and getting too little, or you’re an idiot who is severely over-valuing the assets you’re prepared to give up. You cannot and will not win. Even if the actual trade you proposed on Twitter is executed 3 hours from the time you suggest it, you’ll have been ridiculed past the point of reason for those three hours. And then they're coming for you and the GM.

Matt Read for Cody Franson.

See. It’s the internet, baby. Cats and hate, cats and hate.

So let’s use this space today to get in on the fun and dump on a trade proposal that is buried in the archives of Hockey’s Future Flyers Board. A proposal that was far more preposterous than user Fisher for Selke offering up Hartnell and Coburn for Sheldon Souray and Patrick O’Sullivan in February of 2010. Far more ridiculous than user keslehr proposing Carter and Coburn for Nabakov in June of the same year. Here is the trade that surferdude99 thought would make sense right before the 2010-11 season kicked off, just 3 months after the Flyers made a surprise run to the Stanley Cup Finals.

To Philly: Roman Hamrlik, Ben Maxwell, Andrei Kostitsyn, Two 1st Rounders
To Montreal: Chris Pronger, Claude Giroux

Scoop your jaw up off the floor and unfurrow your brow. Let’s break this one down a little further. Here are the players that were proposed to be part of the deal for Montreal:

Roman Hamrlik – a 36 year old defenseman whose mobility had been exponentially decreasing for 2 years. Yes, he was coming off a 26 point season, and actually hit the mid-30’s the following year, but his expiration date was fast approaching.
Ben Maxwell – a 2nd round pick in 2006 that had managed to get into 20 NHL games and score no points since his draft day. He had been putting up Jared Ross-like numbers in the AHL but we already had a bushel of Jared Ross’s. Plus, we don’t believe in having a good farm team so unless this guy is good at opening beers in the Executive Suite at the WFC, he would be utterly useless.
AK47 – Ah great, an enigmatic Belarussian two years removed from a career high of 53 points is exactly what’s going to put the Flyers over the top in 2011! What’s that? Rumors out of Montreal that he’s a part-boy? Sign that youth up for Dry Island!

And then who are these bums on the Philly side…?

Chris Pronger – about to turn 36 but had just scored 55 points and played an IMPORTANT role in the Finals run. But yeah, he’s probably expendable, especially if we have the Czech version of Derian Hatcher coming in from Montreal.
Claude Giroux – a 22 year old who had 47 points in his first full season with the Flyboys and then exploded in the playoffs for 21 points in 23 games. He made Arron Asham look like Eskimo Mike Bossy. Let's get rid of him before he gets too expensive to sign!

Everything about this proposed trade is laughable, both in hindsight and even at the time. The Flyers and Habs had both just snuck into the playoffs with 88 point seasons, and against all odds, made it to the first ever 7/8 Eastern Conference Finals in which the Flyers dry humped the Canadiens to completion in 5 games. Why on Earth would these two teams, that were essentially at the same place in their building process, make ANY trade, let alone this one?

It’s like surferdude99 was listening in on a private meeting where Paul Holmgren listed his top 3 priorities for the off-season:

1. Downgrade our #1 defenseman and get a little older.
2. Trade away our burgeoning rookie star for a guy who probably won’t make it in the NHL and a divisive former Soviet Block player (this actually was on Homer’s list of things to do the next off-season)
3. Cushion the fall with one 1st round draft pick to cover each ear.

And this conversation very well may have happened, but that’s why Homer has secret behind the scenes handlers.

This is a trade that could have been Sandbergian. Except replace Bowa with Schmidt.

Well…I feel better. Nothing like blowing out someone else’s flame so your shines brighter!

FGSB MAILBAG

Chris D: Gagne a Flyers?
I think Gagne’s got to be on the Flyers this year. He’s the perfect third line winger for this team and he’ll probably sign for $2m. I’ve been picturing the behind the scenes winking going on between Gagne and Holmgren for the past couple days and let me tell you, it’s getting out of hand. Holmgren tells Gags he can’t sign him *wink*. Gags says he understands and is going to pursue his options *wink*. Holmgren says he can come to training camp *wink*. Gagne says he’ll come but if a good offer comes up he’s going to sign somewhere else *wink*. Homer says that it doesn’t mean anything *wink* but he’ll be practicing on the third line in training camp *wink* *wink* *wink*. Gagne says “I love you, Paulie” *wink*. MAKE OUT SESH.

Brsi3518: Who can Streit play with?
Count Chocula. Ha! Get it? That’s a chocolate joke! And a vampire joke! Because he’s Swiss. Swiss chocolate. And he looks like he could be a vampire. Ahhh. Ok, in all morbid seriousness, he’s apparently an asset offensively and a liability defensively. That would make you want to pair him with a strong defensive defenseman, right? That’s what they usually do? So there’s Luke Schenn and Nick Grossmann. But maybe you put him with Coburn and just let the offense flow all over the other team’s face? Assuming that Coburn can regain his offensive prowess. And then in interviews Streit can be all like “I don’t hafta be good at defense because I’m never in the defensive zone. Goal me!”

@WTPuckingPuck who will have the biggest moobies entering training camp?
I think Dustin Byfuglien will be the last big man to win the Keith Tkcahuk Memorial Training Camp Tatties Award. There’s too much media shaming for showing up not in shape these days no matter how good your are or how long of a contract you have. Guys who used to show up out of shape must not have been able to work out because of their BIG BALLS. Can you imagine showing up to NHL training camp out of shape and looking around at your teammates who would be gawking at your flabby stomach? That would be the worst. And then you’d be trailing in every drill and Rinaldoing on the bench during The Canadian Mile. It would just be the ab-so-toot worst. Unless you scored 50 goals a year. But even in my NHL fantasies I’m a 4th line scrub who’s lucky to be there. I got problems, yo.

Roger P: If the Flyers start the season 10-20 is Laviolette back to being a CBC Analyst?
Last summer Lavy was extended through next season, but you know as well as I that when it comes to coaching a professional sports team plans can change in an instant. Or after a crappy start to the season. I think winning 33% of your first 1/3 of the season would be enough to get any coach fired after your biggest off-season signings were a 33 year old forward, a 35 year old defenseman, and an almost 31 year old goalie. That doesn’t exactly scream “rebuilding mode.” While Holmgren and Snider have repeatedly expressed their support of Petey Lavs, the team didn’t make the playoffs last year and unfortunately that’s kind of the Philadelphia measuring stick. So while he comes in with the full support of the executive office, Laviolette’s team needs to start the season strong to keep the media, and therefore the fans, at bay. People do not like slow starts. After waiting 5 long months for the season to begin a slow start is like finally hooking up with your dream girl and only getting a hand job. What a let down.

Flyers returning from World Cup enjoyed playoff-like atmosphere

Flyers returning from World Cup enjoyed playoff-like atmosphere

VOORHEES, N.J. – It’s as if the season began right where it left off for the handful of Flyers players that participated in the World Cup of Hockey. 

Five months removed from their first round series with Washington, the group that played in the international tournament says it was nearly identical to the tempo they saw in the NHL playoffs.

“Our division was really tight so right from the get-go you couldn’t afford to lose a game,” said Sean Couturier, who suited up for North America. “It definitely felt like playoffs, and it definitely didn’t feel like September.”

Couturier was joined by his World Cup teammate Shayne Gostisbehere, along with Team Czech Republic’s Jake Voracek and Michael Neuvirth, in their return to Voorhees for their first practice with the Flyers on Monday. Team Canada’s Claude Giroux and the Team Europe duo of Mark Streit and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare will be competing in the finals this week.

While it may have been an early exit for the first wave of Flyers who reported back, the experience of playing in a tournament with that high of intensity has left them more confident than they’ve ever felt at this time of the year, particularly for Gostisbehere. 

The Calder Trophy runner-up underwent offseason hip surgery following his 46-point season. Having missed a season two years ago because of a torn ACL, Gostisbehere is thankful for how much the World Cup prepared him for his second year. He says he feels better now than he ever has in his career after picking up four assists in the tournament.

“You don’t play in those games in September normally so it was pretty cool to do,” Gostisbehere said. “I think the tournament was a good stepping stone for me and to branch off my injury and give yourself the confidence that you’re feeling good for the year.”

Like Couturier and Gostisbehere, Voracek said the World Cup gameplay mirrored that of the NHL postseason. 

“When I look at the season for the Flyers, it was the best thing that could have happened for me,” Voracek said. “The World Cup was high level… I’m six games in before training camp even starts.”

After what he calls a “good offseason” of training, Voracek saw this opportunity as almost a saving grace – a chance to regain form before embarking on his sixth season in Philadelphia. The winger had one goal and one assist in three games that “felt like I was playing in the playoffs.”

Had this tournament occurred in 2015, the mindset coming back may have been different. Dave Hakstol was coaching his first professional season and as evidenced by their record to start the year and the comments made throughout, things took a little longer than expected when it came to picking up the new coach’s system.

That process is behind the Flyers, and it makes missing the first weekend of camp and possibly the first week of preseason games an easier obstacle to overcome.

“It’s always better when you know the system and what Hak wants in you,” Voracek said. “It’s obviously going to get better and better.”

The best-of-three World Cup finals will begin on Tuesday with the third game (if needed) commencing on Saturday. If the teams go the full distance, the remaining three Flyers involved would likely not play their first preseason game until October 6 if not October 8, the final exhibition game. 

Carson Wentz By the Numbers: Not much precedent for this success

Carson Wentz By the Numbers: Not much precedent for this success

The way Carson Wentz is playing, we may have to make this a regular feature.

Generally, when an Eagles quarterback plays lights out, we pull out the [Insert Name Here] By the Numbers.

We did it for Nick Foles after his seven-touchdown game against the Raiders, we did it for Sam Bradford a couple times late last year, we did it for Michael Vick a couple times during his hot 2010 season.

With Wentz? This might have to happen every week.

He's been that good.

So here is this week's Carson Wentz By the Numbers. Don't be surprised if you see it again very soon.

• Wentz is the first rookie in NFL history to have a game in which he completed 74 percent of his passes with 300 yards, two or more touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s also only the fourth Eagle to have such a game. Randall Cunningham did it against the Giants in 1988, Donovan did it four times (in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007) and Nick Foles did it against the Raiders with his historic seven-TD game in 2013.

• Wentz is the first quarterback in NFL history to throw 30 or more passes with no interceptions in each of his first three career games.

• Wentz’s 73-yard TD pass to Darren Sproles was the longest touchdown pass by an Eagles rookie since John Reaves' 77-yarder to Harold Carmichael against the Giants at Yankee Stadium in 1972.

• Wentz is only the second quarterback in NFL history to be 3-0 three games into his rookie year. The other one is former Eagle and current Cowboy Mark Sanchez, who opened his career in 2009 with wins over the Texans, Patriots and Titans. Sanchez then lost six of his next seven starts.

• Wentz is the fourth quarterback to win his first three NFL starts (not necessarily as rookies). That list includes Wentz, Sanchez, 35-year-old Dieter Brock of the Rams in 1985 (who had played a decade in the CFL) and Marc Bulger of the Rams in 2002 (in his third NFL season).

• Among quarterbacks who’ve thrown at least 100 passes in their career, Wentz now has the second-highest passer rating in NFL history at 103.8. He trails only Aaron Rodgers’ 104.0 figure. The only other quarterback over 100 is Russell Wilson, at 101.1.

• Wentz’s 125.9 passer rating Sunday against the Steelers is highest ever by an Eagles rookie. The previous high was A.J. Feeley’s 114.0 mark against Tampa in 2001. But Feeley didn’t start that game. So the previous high by a rookie Eagles starter was John Reaves’ 105.7 rating against the Browns in 1972.

• Wentz has already tied Mike Boryla’s franchise record for most wins by a rookie quarterback. Boryla won three games in 1974. Since then, Eagles rookie quarterbacks were a combined 5-21.  

• Wentz’s 102 pass attempts without an interception are the most in NFL history by a rookie in his first three games. Second-most are Dak Prescott’s current streak of 99 attempts. The record before Wentz and Prescott came along was 86 by Chad Hutchinson of the Cowboys in 2002.

• It was widely reported that Wentz had broken the NFL record for most pass attempts without an interception to begin a career at 102. But he actually has the second-longest streak. Tom Brady began his career with 147 attempts without an interception before getting picked off by safety Eric Brown of the Broncos in his seventh career game.  

• Wentz's 103.8 passer rating is third-highest in NFL history by a quarterback three games into his rookie year. His trails only Greg Cook of the Bengals (111.9 in 1969) and Marcus Mariota of the Titans (110.3 last year). Robert Griffin III (103.5 with the Redskins in 2012) and Jacky Lee (102.5 with the Oilers in 1960) are the only other quarterbacks over 100 after Week 3 of their rookie season (based on a minimum of 50 attempts).

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