• December 9, 2022

Flyers Lose to Lightning in Gagnes Homecoming

Simon Gagne returned to Philadelphia on Thursday night for the first time with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Former Flyers Steve Downie and defenseman Randy Jones were also in town as the Lightning gained two points over the Flyers in a 3-2 win. The Flyers paid tribute to Gagne with a video of his most memorable moments, which drew a standing ovation from the fans. It’s still a shame that Gagne was forced out by the organization, but that’s what happens when you mismanage contracts in a salary cap system.


It took some time for both teams to find a rhythm in the first period, but the Flyers managed to dominate for long stretches under coach Peter Laviolette’s offensive rush system. The Flyers were running circles around the Lightning throughout the game, but either couldn’t settle the puck or fanned on shots that were golden opportunities. The defense also had an overall good game, especially when you consider how jittery they looked against Pittsburgh last Thursday.

The first two goals for the Lightning came from breakdowns between goaltender Brian Boucher and defenseman Matt Carle. The first goal was scored by Steve Stamkos off a pass from Downie, who was along the boards. Boucher was following the puck closely but was positioned too close to the corner of the net. Once the pass was made, Boosh couldn’t get back fast enough to cover the open side of the net.

The second goal started from a turnover by Carle in the defensive end in the second period. Boosh was able to stop the first shot on goal, but let up a rebound that was sent back in through his five hole by Dominic Moore. Carle was behind Moore and couldn’t control him.

In between those goals was the first goal of the season and 100th career goal for Nikolay Zherdev, who has been playing on a line with James Van Riemsdyk and Claude Giroux. Zherdev rushed to the net and banked JVR’s pass perfectly into the back of the net. Moving James Van Riemsdyk to the top line in place of Dan Carcillo (who had another adequate if unproductive game) has been talked about, but this line had a strong enough game to keep them together.

The Lightning came out charged in the third, and it was less than two minutes before Pavel Kubina fired the eventual game winning goal through Boucher’s five hole. I’ve given Boosh a fair share of credit for his play in the preseason and in the loss against St. Louis, but his play tonight wasn’t anything to write home about. He wasn’t awful, but two of those goals were preventable and the third he should have never given up. You could tell by the way he slammed his stick into the crease afterwards that he was just as disappointed as I was

Briere rocketed a wrister over the blocker of goaltender Dan Ellis at 10:00 of the third, who was caught in the butterfly. The team seemed to gain some momentum for a few moments until James Van Riemsdyk was called on a hooking penalty.

What appear to be continuing trends for the Flyers are the success of the penalty kill and the failure of the powerplay. The penalty kill was once again aggressive and terrifying for the Lightning, who came into the game with a strong powerplay unit. Richards and Giroux have amazing chemistry on the PK and both had numerous shorthanded opportunities. The only problem with the penalty kill is how often it has had to be thrown on the ice. The Flyers were responsible for six penalties during the game, including a delay of game penalty with 5:19 remaining that the Flyers probably wish they had back.

I don’t know where to begin with the powerplay.

As a final note, Ellis was one of the free agent goaltenders that the Flyers could have acquired in the offseason. He signed a two-year, $3.0 million deal with Tampa and had a solid win in his first game with the Lightning. While the knock on Ellis is that no one knows yet if he has what it takes to be a starter, it will be interesting to compare his season to that of goaltender Michael Leighton’s, who the Flyers opted to re-sign to almost an identical contract.

The Flyers face off against the Penguins on Saturday, which was moved to a 6:00 start to conflict less with the Phillies.

Josh Janet

Josh Janet was raised in Northern New Jersey, but by an odd set of circumstances, is a Philadelphia sports fan. While recently converted to the Phillies, Josh is a diehard Flyers fan and can be expected to stay on top of the latest NHL news.

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October 15, 2010 1:51 am

It’s almost unfair to say they’ve mismanaged the salary cap. They have a good scout system and consistently have good young players who need new contracts coming up the line. It would be impossible to pay them all.

When you look at the team, who really is overpaid aside from Briere and Hartnell? Briere is consistently excellent in the playoffs, and he almost deserves that salary on that basis alone. Hartnell is a bit of an albatross, to be sure…

At least these aren’t the days of Bobby Clarke, when every young player or draft pick gets traded for that year’s “missing link” for the Finals and a bag of pucks.

October 15, 2010 1:13 pm

1. Besides Giroux and JVR (you cant really call them prospect) who do the Flyers have in the system?

2. Shelly, Mezaros, Carle, Leighton = All overpaid.

3. Dude…. You really need to study how horrible Holmgren is at asset/cap managment. He is one of the worst GMs in the NHL. Essentially, this offseason, Holmgren traded Gagne+2nd round pick to Tampa in exchange for Mezaros (horrible contract) + Walker (horrible contract) + a 4th round pick. Holmgren also took ON salary…… He is a moron. Stop looking at his trades within a vacuum.

October 15, 2010 2:23 pm

1. Bourdon, Maroon, Testwuide, Holmstrom, Bobrovsky, Eriksson (not to mention they had Downie, Sbisa and Parent before trades)

2. Mezaros & Carle you can’t help because we didn’t offer those contracts. But Carle is a top line defense man making less than $4mil a year (not overpaid). And Mezaros could be a top 3 or 4 on most teams and he is a $4 mill cap hit…so while the numbers may seem overpaid…for the simple fact that these contracts were acquired…they are not as bad as you are making the out to be.

As for Shelly, he is overpaid but on by about 400,000 so not really make or break time. And Leighton, well if you knew he was going to get hurt then he is overpaid. But if he started the season healthy to have a starting goalie making $1.5mil….that’s not really the definition of overpaid.

3. There are only 3 players that need to be locked up at the end of this year and the end of next year. (Carter, Giroux, JVR) Other than that you have Carcillo and Nodl who will be FA’s. So if you lock up the first three….which we should be able to do…then we essentially have this great team (who went to the Stanley Cup) for the next 2 – 4 years. How exactly is that “terrible asset/cap managment”?

October 15, 2010 2:30 pm

Percentage of cap space used by positions:

Forwards – 52.4%
Defensemen – 40.8%
Goalies – 6.8%

October 16, 2010 10:39 am

1. The Flyers do have some nice GT prospects, but they have no real forward talent coming up through the ranks.

2. Carle plays with one of the top 3 D-Men in the NHL (Pronger). Carle would be a borderline top pairing D-Man on another team, but that all depends on the defensive talent on the team. You could plug in most scrubs and Pronger would make them look half decent. Oh! Dont forget the trade for Emminger that started this whole mess….. The Flyers essentially lost Steve Downey and a 1st rounder to bring Carle in. I like Carle, but he and Mezaros are redundant and eating up too much space.

Mezaros is overpaid and he is a bottom pairing defense men on this team, grossly overpaid. I dont give two turds what he “could” be considered on another team, what is he on THIS team? Trading for a bad contract is basically the same as offering a bad contract.

Leighton is a below average goalie that was made to look good because of a nasty top 4 that covered most of his shortcomings….. The market was saturated with goalies, and there were very few teams looking for a goalie…… Holmgren ends up with an overpaid leighton with a two year deal.

Shelly is overpaid by his entire contract because there is no use for him on this team. Keeping Asham would have been much better and half the cap hit. Shelly skates around slowly for a couple of minutes a game, switches wings when he feels like it and ignores good positioning to take a run at someone……..

How about Matt Walker? I bet you think he is also not really overpaid…..

3. What about Leino, Zherdev?

4. What about the teams complete lack of draft picks going forward because Holmgren gives away 2nd rounders like candy?

You are looking at Holmgrens trades in a vacuum. Example:

Gagne Trade Looked at in a Vacuum – Holmgren had to clear salary, and Gag’s would only wave his NTC to go to Tampa….. Couldnt be helped, thats just what happens in a capped NHL.

Gagne Trade, Big Picture – Going into the off season the Flyers needed to sign a goalie (and their were a lot available that would have been upgrades), improve the bottom pairing defense, lock up Coburn and add a 3rd or 4th liner. Holmgren had about $10,000,000 in cap space to do this. What Holmgren ends up:

1. Adding Shelly with a 3.3 million dollar contract over 3 years (this guy has almost 0 use for Lavi and this team)
2. Trading a 2nd round pick for Mezaros who has a $4mill cap hit for 4 years (The team really needed to loose a 2nd to take on a bad contract for a player that will be a bottom pairing guy on this team?)
3. Sign Leighton to a 2 year $3mill cap hit (Leighton is not worth this contract)
4. Signs Z to a 1 year $2mill deal (Good deal, but he is no Gagne)
5. Coburn gets an extension, adding $3.2 mill. (No brainer, Coburn deserved the deal)
6. O’Donnell brought in for 1 year at $1.3mill (This was good to help solidify the bottom pairing)

7. The Gagne deal….. Holmgren sends Gagne to Tampa and TAKES BACK Matt Walker (3 year contract, with a $1.3mill cap hit for the next 3 YEARS) and a 4th. The Flyers take on a HORRIBLE contract in Walker (who is signed for 3 years vs. Gagnes 1 year) and he is their 8th D-Man.

Mezaros is redundant on this team and has an awful contract. (+4 million)
Shelly, I dont understand how you can defend signing this guy. (+1.1million)
Matt Walker (+1.3million)
Leighton overpaid ($500k)
Total for completely stupid moves + 6.9million (find 100k and you can have Gag’s and Z)

You cant see how Holmgren totally screwed up by mismanaging just about everything?