Tuesday, January 31st, the NHL returns to its regular schedule and all teams now look ahead to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for 2012, and an even more immediate task is a tough month of February.
Said Laviolette: "Once you get through January and even more to the point, once you get though February you really start seeing a playoff picture; you start to get excited about the spring, so February is a tough month and we really have a lot of work to do."
This second half of this regular though, brings more games on home ice as opposed to a series of long road trips.
The club will face one more long road trip as they go out to Western Canada and California for a 10-day trip to end the month, but other than that they will play six of their next seven games (and 8 of 10) at home.
The Flyers record at home has not been completely successful as they record at home currently posts at: (W) 11 - (L) 7 - (OT) 2 - (SO) 1.
With Bob and Giroux sealing their last shootout win (in Florida) - giving rebirth to the team in that area...and Bryzgalov looking a bit more focused since his battle with the Bruins on Jan. 22nd; it may just be a good turning point for this team. A number of fans felt Bryz let in too many goals in his appearance against the Bruins; however, the way I see it he went 'toe-to-toe' with Thomas--who also allowed five goals in net during regulation time. I do not feel anymore could be asked of any goalie.
On the injury front, there has been no change in status for the Flyers. Forwards Danny Briere and James van Riemsdyk remain out indefinitely with concussions, while Jaromir Jagr is day-to-day with a lower body injury.
Holmgren spoke on on other injuries plaguing the team on defense such as Pronger, he had this to say about the remaining defensive squad: "I think we still have four guys (Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Matt Carle, Andrej Meszaros) who can play a lot of minutes in all situations," Holmgren said. "I think the two young kids (Gustafsson and Bourdon) that we've got playing have held their own. So, I don't feel it (a trade for a No. 1 defenseman) is something we have to do."
Claude Giroux has found new breath in his returning to regular goal scoring in back to back appearances, including keeping this streak alive at the All-Star game and the younger blood on this team busting out as the threat this organization intended with the off season reconstruction, combined with the recent scoring from Hartnell, Talbot, Voracek and a slew of young guns...this break could turn out to be just what the doctor ordered for the Flyers who now trail the Rangers by three measly points in the Eastern Conference Division standings. (*Keep in mind thatBostonis two points behind the Rangers in the overall standings currently--in NE Division).
The first preview of how the Flyers squad will handle the second half on the 2012 season will come Tuesday evening as they hostWinnipegon home ice and launches a three game series 'home stand'. This is the third showdown out o four for the season for these two teams.
Puck drops at 7:00. The game can be viewed on CSN, and NHL Game Center Live online, for those fans like myself that now reside outside of our city ofPhilly.
Also keep in mind, hockey fans, that the trade deadline also looms for all NHL teams--it rolls closer daily at the February 27th bulls eye...who knows what Mr. Holmen and Mr. Snider have up their sleeves if anything at all? I do not see anything wrong with working with what we now have, as it is a new squad all the way around already--given the fact that they continue to play and perform as they have on most recent appearances.