Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Flyers shouldn't let rush to conference judgement get in way of Bryzgalov recovery

The Flyers should listen to their eyes instead of listening to what their goalie is telling them.
It's admirable that Ilya Bryzgalov wants to keep playing through the final two weeks of the regular season because, you know, "we still have chance guys..."(As in a chance to catch and pass both the Rangers and Penguins to clich the Eastern Conference title and top conference playoff seed.)
Here's what the Flyers bosses, including forward-only thinking coach Peter Laviolette should know -- it ain't happenin'.
The Flyers, unless they absolutely go in the tank over their last six games, are going to hold off the Devils for the fifth playoff seed in the East, which should be and would be fine with the Devils. They get No. 6, and in the process, get No. 3 -- Florida.The Flyers?
Presuming they stay in place at No. 5, they'll get the loser of the ongoing conference title race between the Penguins and Rangers. What they get in the process is a chance to heal their injured bodies, and educated their smarting minds.
The Penguins, with Sidney Crosby back in the fold and Evgeni Malkin having long ago wrapped up an MVP award, will go in as presumed conference favorites, with a lot of people expecting them to go all the way.
The Rangers, while not as glimmering of late as they were earlier in the season, are 5-0 against the Flyers and will be heavily favored in a first-round playoff match against the Flyers. No matter which nearby old rival is the chosen host for a playoff-opener opponent, however, the Flyers have time to prepare with a team that is still prone to mistakes but is much improved over the past month.
Management did what it could to shore up their most obvious weakness -- defense. Now it is up to the coaching staff to find a way to match up against the Pens or Rangers.What shouldn't be allowed to happen, however, is for a chip fracture to the right foot of Ilya Bryzgalov be treated as if it's nothing.
It's going to keep him out of a date in Toronto Thursday, but he wouldn't have played that game anyway. But according to GM Paul Holmgren, Bryz could play Saturday against Ottawa and Sunday in Pittsburgh.I say, why bother?
Maybe the Penguins, but only if the goalie is rested and pain-free and the doctors clear him as expected. But if the reason to seek quick clearance would be so that they have every chance to win every game in order to win a conference title ... well, there's little chance of that, anyway.
It wouldn't be worth the risk.
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Lest we forget, here's a rundown of the latest injury list, sans Chris Pronger, who is out 'til next year at least:
Ilya Bryzgalov - An MRI revealed a chip fracture in his right foot. He will be unavailable for Thursday’s game and is day-to-day.
Kimmo Timonen - day to day with upper body injuryAndrej Meszaros - status remains the same.
James van Riemsdyk - status remains the same.
Andreas Lilja - day to day with upper body injury.
That's the Flyers injury release.
Here's the part they left out: Timonen is dealing with back issues and will continue to do so for as long as they can keep him playing in the playoffs; Meszaros and JVR are both coming off surgery; Mez likely will miss at least one round of the playoffs. Ditto JVR. Lilja may be back Thursday.
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Overshadowed by a 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay Tuesday was that the Flyers signed their third-round draft pick from last June, Nick Cousins, to an entry level contract.



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