Braydon Coburn #5 of the Philadelphia Flyers checks Zach Parise #9 of the New Jersey Devils in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center on May 6, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Flyers 4-2.
(May 5, 2012 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Columnist: Flyers’ offers for Parise, Suter were “gamesmanship”


Do the Philadelphia Flyers really want Ryan Suter and Zach Parise or are they just feigning interest in them in the hopes of driving up the price? Philadelphia Daily News columnist Sam Donnellon thinks Flyers GM Paul Holmgren is engaged in a bit of “gamesmanship.”

Donnellon argues that the Flyers offered 12-year deals worth at least $80 million to each of the two superstar free agents despite the fact that neither player had expressed much interested in playing for Philadelphia.

Donnellon goes on to suggest that Holmgren’s motivation was to drive up the price with a high earlier bid.

In fact, the columnist thinks that Parise’s delay might be a direct result of “the Flyers’ fat offer and the reverberations it created.”

It certainly wouldn’t be surprising if some teams put in bids on Parise or Suter simply to test the waters or even just to make it harder for their competitors to get either player at a discounted price. I’d go as far as to say it’s expected. However, given the way the market’s been going for the past few years, if anyone is surprised by the notion that Parise or Suter could command offers in excess of $80 million, then they haven’t been doing their homework.

Parise and Suter are taking longer than anticipated to sign and they’re the only ones that can say why that is. At the same time, it’s not like they’re being unreasonable, especially given the importance of this decision to the rest of their lives.

So in the end, I remain skeptical that the Flyers’ bids have thrown a wrench in the process, but if Philadelphia has really managed to drive up the price for Suter or Parise, then Holmgren has helped his team out in the long run.

It would be a low risk game for Holmgren to play, seeing as the worst case scenario is that one of them actually signs with Philadelphia. That might complicate their cap situation, but it certainly wouldn’t be a bad problem to have.

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier
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Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench, and that’s only counting what the Flyers are paying Gagner.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.

Video: NHL drops hammer, suspends Torres for 41 games


One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.

On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.

“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”

The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”

“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”

As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:

Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.

Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.

Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.

Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.