Granted, it’s tough to take a vote of confidence from the Flyers entirely seriously after head coach Peter “Not At All On the Hot Seat” Laviolette was fired three games into the season, but for what it’s worth, Peter Luukko (president of the team’s parent company, Comcast-Spectacor) tells the Philadelphia Inquirer that general manager Paul Holmgren’s job is safe:
From the article:
Though obviously not satisfied with the early-season results, Luukko said that Holmgren’s job is not in jeopardy, that the team just needs time to adjust to new coach Craig Berube’s system.
Luukko was not alarmed by the results of a recent philly.com poll. Heading into the weekend, more than 4,400 people had responded when asked if Holmgren should be replaced.
Almost 93 percent said yes.
“When things aren’t going well, the timing of the poll is what directly relates to the answers,” Luukko said the other day. “To us, it doesn’t mean anything.”
The Flyers (1-7-0) are in the midst of a week-long break; their next game is Thursday versus the similarly struggling Rangers.
If the Flyers don’t turn it around soon, expect the Holmgren speculation to continue. Not saying it’s a foregone conclusion that he’ll be gone, but it should be noted that firing a GM is a tough thing to time. Does the team do it before the trade deadline so the new guy can start putting his stamp on the roster right away? Or, is it better to wait until the offseason when there are typically more candidates available to interview?
Talk about getting thrown into the fire.
Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.
Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.
Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.
We’ll start to find out tonight.
Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.
— Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.
— Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.
— Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.
— Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.
— Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.
— Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.
Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.
“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly.
So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.
That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”
The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.
“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”
That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.
Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen