DALLAS -- It doesn’t take much to stir the pot among Flyers fans when it comes to talking about goaltending.
Everyone was in “I’m so done with him” mode last summer when the decision to buy out Ilya Bryzgalov was made.
Love Bryz or hate Bryz, Flyers fans don’t want to hear about him anymore, especially given how well Steve Mason has played to become the hands-down MVP of Craig Berube’s team this season.
Now here’s the run. When you look for “stories” that may play well on a Comcast/NBC broadcast, where fans across the board would have interest, two of those stories would be:
1. Mason against the guy the Flyers shipped out and won a Vezina Trophy – Sergei Bobrovsky – when the Flyers go back to Columbus this month.
2. Bryzgalov facing the Flyers out in Edmonton at the very end of the month.
Part, if not all, of that blew up this week when both Bobrovsky (groin pull) and Bryzgalov (concussion) were injured. The showdown in Columbus against “Bob” won’t happen, and the showdown in Edmonton may or may not occur.
Which is why I tweeted how ironic it was that both of them got hurt the same week.
And that generated a lot of angry Tweets about people not caring about the two of them, anymore.
I still believe every Flyers fan looks forward to seeing Mason against “Bob” and Mason against Bryz.
It took the Flyers until Dec. 4 just to tie the Rangers in points within the Metropolitan Division, and still they were not in an automatic playoff spot – among the top three within the division. This road trip provided them a chance to earn some points. They should have beaten Minnesota. They faced a banged up Detroit club and won. They were expected to beat Dallas and Ottawa. Chicago? No way. If the Flyers get the expected points, they will make the playoffs.
@tpanotchCSN any interest in Kulikov by Flyers?— Erik Flemming (@eflemming75) December 6, 2013
The issue the Flyers have with any NHL defenseman right now is salary related. They simply have too much money tied up in cap dollars on their defense – over $34 million committed this season. Dmitry Kulikov would look a lot better on a better team than he does in Florida, but the Flyers would have to move defensive dollars. They tried all of September and October to move cap money and failed. At this point, they’re stuck and they are not actively seeking to move money or acquire another blue liner. The thing about the new CBA is that trades now come down to trading cap dollars and not necessarily making a major improvement to your club. Which is why you see so few trades involving big salaries.
@tpanotchCSN and that's being kind— Chris Campbell (@goatboyrising) December 7, 2013
Indeed, many readers went ballistic Saturday over Zac Rinaldo’s dumb penalty to open the game, in which he played four seconds, accrued 27 minutes and got tossed (see story). If Berube imposes discipline like he usually does, Rinaldo would sit against Ottawa. Except he could be facing a suspension, too. Also, if Vinny Lecavalier (back spasms) does not play, well, Berube has no choice but to play Rinaldo just to field four lines.