Carcillo's return lifts Flyers past Red Wings, 4-3

Flyers4.jpgAfter being suspended two games for an “unintentional” high stick, it was decided that perhaps Dan Carcillo would be a snappy choice to start the game. It paid off instantly, and set the tone for the rest of a very, very big win for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Carcillo scored just 17 seconds into the first period when his wrist shot from the left circle found it’s way through Chris Osgood’s glove. It was a fitting start for Carcillo, who has become the emotional leader of a team on the brink of falling out of the playoffs and the atmosphere at Wachovia after he scored was electric.

“I wouldn’t say I gave anything extra today,” Carcillo said after the game. “We just went out and I played my game.”

Be careful to lay this win solely on Carcillo’s emotional spark. He played just 8:24 and finished with one shot, one goal and one hit, well below what we’re used to seeing from him this season. Yet despite the workmanlike team win, there’s no doubt that Carcillo’s presence boosted a team that needed some sort of spark.

And is there no greater fit for Carcillo than here in Philadelphia? He’s become an instant fan favorite with his physical style and his emotional approach to the game, and the Flyers fans have embraced a player that embodies the Philadelphia way of playing.

The Flyers live to fight another day, as they stave off a late-season collapse for one more game. They were able to take advantage of a tired, sluggish Red Wings team that was starting Chris Osgood in net — who challenged Boucher in a contest for “who can allow the most soft goals in a game”.

The Flyers will head to Toronto before taking on the New York Rangers in back to back games to close out the regular season, in a series that will decide the fate of both teams. Philadelphia was able to get two points out of a Detroit team that entered the weekend as the hottest in the NHL.

The Flyers locker room was far from celebratory after the win. The players were solemn as they talked about the victory, as they know their fate was delayed until the next game, when they’ll have to win the next Biggest Game Of The Season.

For now, Carcillo’s toothless grin while talking about a third period scrum with Tomas Holmstrom will be as much cheering as the team can afford.

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    Blues have ‘wiggle room’ after locking up Parayko

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    The St. Louis Blues didn’t break the bank to keep Colton Parayko for five more years, and that’s important since they don’t believe the NHL’s salary cap will rise significantly in the next little while.

    Parayko’s cap hit came in at a manageable $5.5 million, as the two sides narrowly avoided an arbitration hearing that was scheduled for today.

    “You like to have as much wiggle room as possible,” GM Doug Armstrong said, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Now we view the cap will stay flat for the foreseeable future. We’re content with the space we have. We’ll move forward and get ready for training camp.”

    The Blues now have a number of key players locked up long term, including Parayko, Alex Pietrangelo, Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Steen, Jaden Schwartz, Patrik Berglund, and Jake Allen.

    For Armstrong, the next big decision could involve Paul Stastny, the 31-year-old center who can become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

    But a decision on Stastny doesn’t need to be made now, or even before the season starts. It’s the trade deadline that could be the real pressure point, akin to the Kevin Shattenkirk situation this past year.

    Per CapFriendly, the Blues have just over $3 million in cap space, with one roster spot left to fill.

    ‘Highly unlikely’ Suns will pursue shared arena with Coyotes

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    The Arizona Coyotes appear to be on their own in pursuit of a new arena in the Phoenix area.

    That’s because Robert Sarver, the owner of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, says it’s “highly unlikely” he’ll pursue a shared arena with the Coyotes.

    Instead, Sarver is focused on upgrading the Suns’ current home (and Coyotes’ old home) in downtown Phoenix, Talking Stick Resort Arena.

    From the Arizona Republic:

    Sarver said building a new arena would have “maybe made more sense” four or five years ago when the cost estimate was $450 million to $500 million. The costs now, Sarver said, are “significantly higher.” Thus his focus on upgrading Talking Stick, which soon will be the second-oldest arena in the NBA.

    “I think it’s the most economically viable alternative for the city and us,” he said. “I like downtown Phoenix. That’s my first preference. I think the NBA is more of an urban game. That’s our demographic.”

    Talking Stick Resort Arena, formerly called America West Arena when the Coyotes played there, was designed for basketball and isn’t ideal for hockey. In that way, it’s a lot like Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which hasn’t been a great fit for the Islanders.

    The Coyotes recently hired a new president and CEO, Steve Patterson, whose top priority is finding the team a new home in the Phoenix area.

    Crosby to celebrate 30th birthday with Stanley Cup in Nova Scotia

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    HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) Sidney Crosby will mark his 30th birthday by once again parading the Stanley Cup in his province.

    In tweets sent out by the Sidney Crosby Hockey School, Crosby said he would hoist the trophy in the streets of Halifax and Dartmouth as part of an annual civic parade.

    “Get ready, the Stanley cup is coming to town!” Crosby confirmed in the tweet sent late Tuesday night. “I will be taking Lord Stanley to the streets Monday August 7th in the Halifax-Dartmouth Natal Day parade.”

    The parade, part of annual events that celebrate Halifax’s birthday, also happens to fall on the Pittsburgh Penguins captain’s 30th birthday.

    Natal Day chairman Greg Hayward said he expects another 25,000 people will be lining the parade route on top of the roughly 40,000 usual attendees.

    “It’s extremely exciting to think that we’re going to have Sid and the Cup in our Natal Day parade,” Hayward said Wednesday.

    Crosby has shown off the Stanley Cup twice before in his hometown of Cole Harbour, just outside Dartmouth, in 2009 and 2016.

    Last July, Crosby carried the Cup in the back of a pickup that made its way to an arena in Cole Harbour as thousands of cheering fans looked on in sweltering heat.

    Arbitration hearing looming for Arvidsson, who broke out in big way last year

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    Viktor Arvidsson wants a one-year deal worth $4.5 million, while the Nashville Predators are countering with a two-year deal worth $5.5 million ($2.75 million AAV).

    That’s the situation with an arbitration hearing scheduled for Saturday, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

    The two sides could still reach a deal before each case is heard.

    Arvidsson, 24, broke out in a big way last year, scoring 31 goals during the regular season, then helping the Preds to their first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history.

    But Nashville needs to be careful with its cap situation, because Ryan Johansen also needs a new contract, and he won’t be cheap to re-sign.

    Arvidsson just wrapped up his entry-level contract.