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Things to Watch for the 2009-2010 Philadelphia Flyers Season


FIVE HOLE LOGOThe puck is ready to drop. Another season of NHL hockey is upon us.

Are you ready to get Flyered up?

The upcoming 2009-2010 Flyers season is in many ways the most promising campaign in years. The addition of an elite defenseman like Chris Pronger  makes the Flyers a perennial favorite to go deep into the playoffs. Some publications have the Philadelphia Flyers  advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals, while The Hockey News has likely jinxed this year’s squad by boldly predicting that the Stanley Cup will travel by car up the Pennsylvania Turnpike and land in Philly.

So, whether you are dreaming about the Fly Guys hoisting the holy chalice or simply gearing up for the long and winding road of an NHL hockey season, here are a few things Flyers fans should keep an eye on:


Ray Emery

Ok, let’s start with the money position first….

He’s flashy, funky, and feisty. He is a proven winner at a prime time position, but with a heavily checkered past.

Ray Emery  is quite possibly the most important single player on the 2009-2010 Phildelphia Flyers. Why? Because he is a goalie. Wait…check that. He is THE goalie. Reality is that there is no bonafide backup plan that lands this team anywhere near the Stanley Cup Finals.

So, with that being said, can “Sugar Ray” Emery channel his inner Joe Frazier  and control his emotions for an entire season? Is he equipped to handle the pressures of the fans and media in Philadelphia? Does he have a target on his back only widened by the Flyers recent trend of player suspensions?

Only time will tell. But Ray knows this may be his last big chance.


Chris Pronger

Well, there is little question that Pronger will have an immediate impact. He is a difference maker, bar none. He is a future hall of famer, no questions asked. He is big, tough, skilled, and versatile. He is everything a Flyers fan could want in a hockey player.

But will Pronger be able to do for Philadelphia what he did for his last two destinations (Edmonton and Anaheim) and lead the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals? Could Pronger, at age 35, still have the tools and endurance to be the missing piece to Ed Snider’s 35-year puzzle?

Paul Holmgren and Ed Snider must think so. I sure as hell hope he does.


Claude Giroux

I ended last season, as many Flyers fans did, with the following words (after I finished cursing Jeff Carter for not hustling back on Sid the Kid’s empty net goal): “This Giroux kid is going to be something special.”


So…fast forward to now…

It is time to see if I am right. Is young Claude ready to step up his game to a higher level? Can the young phenom step up and fill the shoes of the departed Mike Knuble and Joffrey Lupul? Is he really a superstar type of player? What exactly IS the ceiling for this talented kid?

Oh, and perhaps most importantly, can I control my raging man crush if he picks up where he left off last season?

Don’t bet on it. Watch and enjoy- this kid is special.


James van Riemsdyk

I just had a hunch this summer that the kid known as JVR would make this team and begin to assert himself as the top-level draft pick he was a couple years ago. But the big question is this: Is he ready to become an impact player on the NHL level yet? Is he mature enough? And will the fans and/or team executives continue to show the patience necessary for JVR to truly pay dividends long term?

I’m tellin’ ya…J…V…R. Say it to yourself, it just rolls off the tongue. It’s very catchy, and his talent and promise could be big key to this team’s success.

Here’s to hoping that people are chanting “J…V…R” up and down Broad Street in June…

Blair Betts

The Flyers invited Betts, a former Ranger (booooo!) to training camp on a tryout. Next thing you know, he's a Flyer. Betts is a tough-nosed forward with a healthy penchant for killing penalties. He can certainly fill a valuable role on this team as a fourth line center and penalty killer. Personally, I know this guy is a good, effective player because of how much I despised him as a Ranger. The next question is how much of an impact will he have on an already impressive squad filled with offensively gifted players and enforcers. Keep an eye out for Betts, a seemingly "under the radar" type player. He could surprise many this season.


Simon Gagne/Daniel Briere

These two highly paid, highly skilled French Canadians are a huge key to the Flyers success this season. But they just have so many question marks.

Will their respective groin injuries linger on? Will Gagne’s head remain conscious? Are either of these guys capable of producing at the levels they did a few years ago?

Will Danny Boy be primed for a comeback season a la Gagne a year ago? If so, and if both can stay healthy and productive, this team will certainly be a factor.


John Stevens

And last, but not least….keep an eye on the man behind the bench.

Recent history has shown that the job of NHL coach is fickle at best. If the Flyers underachieve at mid-season, will his job be in serious jeopardy? Could Paul Holmgren make a similar move to last year’s Stanley Cup winning Pittsburgh Penguins by changing coaches in-season? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…


The Winter Classic

Flyers vs. Bruins. New Year’s Day. 1:00 P.M. Fenway Park in Boston.

Flyers fans, listen up. Party hard the night before but remember to safeguard against that pesky day long hangover.

This is can’t miss television. IT IS A MUST to ring in 2010 with the Orange and Black.



Until next time…stay cool….

photo: www.nimg.sulekha.com