Flyers

Flyers move Paddock from asst. GM to asst. coach

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Flyers move Paddock from asst. GM to asst. coach

John Paddock has been moved from assistant general manager to assistant coach.

His responsibilities will be on the defensive side of the puck, Paddock said, and hell operate out of the press box.

The move was agreed upon over the summer, but the lockout prevented Paddock from starting his new role until now.

This is why Paddock has been on the ice for the first two days of training camp.

Im on the coaching staff but I wont be doing any of that assistant GM stuff -- I wont have time for it, Paddock told CSNPhilly.com earlier today. It came about between a conversation between Paul Holmgren and Peter Laviolette.

Paddock conferred with Laviolette, who played for him in 1990-91 in Binghamton, and said all three agreed with the move.

Im going to be a sounding board on different things, Paddock said. Maybe a little bit more on the defensive side. Ive known Lavy a long time. I coached him.

Theres complete comfort here where communicating and him asking questions and giving feedback. Im not here to tell anyone what to do.

Holmgren said that Paddock is a coach and always wanted to be a coach. Paddock will join Joey Mullen and Jeff Reese in the press box.

He just changed job title and role and we started talking about this at the end of the playoffs last year, Holmgren said. John is a career coach. ... Hes a knowledgeable guy and I didnt think we were taking advantage of the opportunity to add a guy like that to our staff.

Laviolette said having Paddock as an assistant was a genuinely positive move for his staff.

Paul and I had a few conversations through the summer and the course of the lockout about John, and he was somebody Ive known over the years for a long time, Laviolette said.

I found myself in conversations with John -- he was sitting up top, watching the games -- and I value his opinion as a smart hockey guy at different levels who has been a successful coach. It made sense to add him to the staff.

Holmgren said Paddocks role would tilt toward the blue line.

I am probably leaning a little more on the overall team defensive side of the game because the offense is Lavys bread and butter, Paddock said.

Paul had different thoughts in his mind within the organization and different scenarios in his mind. Could this happen, is this best, whatever. Him talking to Lavy, they asked me. It was a pretty easy decision, whatever you want me to do.

Holmgren said that Paddock would be identifying opponents' defensive schemes and how a team plays.

Paddock said in the last three-plus seasons he grew comfortable in his assistant GM role.

There are always little things that you come here and talk to the coach about that you guys dont know about, things you deal with on a daily basis, he said. Little things you tell them about and deal with it.

I had been a manager before and felt comfortable. But deep down, I would say I am a coach, he added. This is just throwing support to the staff and basically doing anything Lavy wants.

Roger Neilson once said that the perspective sitting high above the rink is very different from a coachs viewpoint -- literally -- than sitting behind the bench.

At ice level, you can miss something very easily. Laviolette said the same thing.

The further you go up, the more defined the game becomes to watch, Laviolette said. This is where hes been for all of our games and it made sense to utilize him.

You may not have the 'feel' for the game, but you can see a broader picture from above.

Its something you might see and just throw out, Paddock said later. At the bench level, everything happens very fast. During the game you have a little bit of a different perspective and a little better view.

After that, the next day, with the video expertise and equipment you have, you can watch anything you want and believe anything you want. Past that, theres hopefully times called upon during a game you can ask the right question or I can make the right suggestion.

With Brian Burke being fired by Toronto this past week, it makes you wonder whether the Flyers would offer him Paddocks old job. Burkes son, Patrick, is a scout for the Flyers.

Push my son, not me, Burke texted CSNPhilly.com.

Holmgren said the position would remain unfilled for now.

Lines
Wayne Simmonds - Ruslan Fedotenko - Matt Read
Zac Rinaldo - Eric Wellwood - Jody Shelley
Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Brayden Schenn
Max Talbot - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek
Tye McGuin - Scott Laughton - Tommy Sestito

Defensive pairs
Kimmo Timonen - Luke Schenn
Nick Grossmann - Bruno Gervais
Andreas Lilja - Kurtis Foster
Braydon Coburn - Andrej Meszaros

Loose pucks
The Flyers waived a number of players for the purposes of being able to assign them to the Phantoms. Among them: Brian Boucher, Danny Syvret and Matt Ford ... We had a Pronger sighting. Defenseman Chris Pronger, who will remain on LTIR, was seen observing the second practice from Holmgrens balcony overhang. There is no difference in Prongers physical health, in terms of his ability to play. He cant, because of post-concussion syndrome ... The likely Flyers roster that will be filed on Friday will be about 68.6 million -- at least 1.5 million under the 70.2M transition year cap ceiling.

E-mail Tim Panaccio at tpanotch@comcast.net

The shadow of last season starting to loom for Flyers

The shadow of last season starting to loom for Flyers

VOORHEES, N.J. — You don’t have to remind the Flyers that they’ve gone three straight games without a win — two of those losses at home to opponents (Panthers, Devils) who were last in their division at the time.

And the Flyers (9-9-2) certainly don’t need to be reminded this is the same exact point in the season a year ago when they went through a pummeling stretch of winless hockey with a 0-5-5 record from Nov. 11 to Dec. 2. 

The first 20 games of the season are a near carbon copy of what transpired a year ago when the team also had a .500 record at 8-8-4. The question moving forward is can the Flyers learn from last year’s mistakes and breakdowns that led to a 10-game winless stretch?

“We were in a big hole last year. We’re not in a big hole this year,” Jakub Voracek said Tuesday. “It could give us a little more confidence that we don’t have to chase as much as we did last year, but we have to find more consistency in our game.“

After taking the previous two days off — Sunday was the Flyers Wives Carnival and Monday was a designated day off — the Flyers returned to practice showing a little rust.

Dave Hakstol felt confident in what he’s seen over the past three games to keep the same line combinations during Tuesday's practice, including leaving James van Riemsdyk on the third line with Jordan Weal and Wayne Simmonds. Before Saturday’s five-goal performance, sparked by a remarkable four-goal outburst in the third period, the Flyers had gone 110:38 without a goal.

“We’ve generated more in those last three games than we have in the previous five games on average,” Hakstol said. “The opportunities are coming. We weren’t able to finish. We talked about different ways that we could do a little better, simple things, get guys to the net. Obviously, the most important thing is to finish on enough of those to put us in a good spot.”

In order to avoid the snowball from building and a potential fourth straight loss, the Flyers will have to derail a red-hot Buffalo Sabres team Wednesday that has won six straight games, all by one goal, during its longest winning streak in nine years. 

“They have a couple of new additions to their team and they’re working really well right now. It’s a dangerous group. It’s going to be tough for us,” Voracek said. “So far every game has been tough. It’s a 50/50 chance every single night. It’s been pretty even so far this year, but it’s going to start breaking down after about 45 games.

“You’re going to see a bigger picture of what’s going to happen down the road. It’s too early to judge right now.”

Lyon could see pair of starts

With three games compacted into four days over the Thanksgiving holiday, Alex Lyon is expected to receive one and possibly two starts this week. Lyon was the first goaltender off the ice during Tuesday’s practice as a sign that he could be called upon Wednesday night in Buffalo.

Lyon said there’s an NHL mindset he needs to work his way into whenever he receives the call up from Lehigh Valley.

“In the American League, you have from Sunday until Thursday typically to sit at your home and relax,” Lyon said. “Call a spade a spade, the stress level is a little bit less in the American League.” 

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Flyers stock watch: As Claude Giroux goes, so do the Flyers

Flyers stock watch: As Claude Giroux goes, so do the Flyers

After a 5-0-1 stretch of solid hockey and signs that the Flyers were climbing their way up in the Metropolitan Division, they took a step back.

The Flyers are once again a middle-of-the-pack team after failing to capitalize during a recent five-game homestand, finishing with a 2-2-1 mark (see weekly observations).

At the quarter pole of the NHL season, it’s time to take inventory of who’s up and who’s down in this week’s stock watch. 

Stock up

Claude Giroux
It’s a pretty simple formula: When Giroux scores, the Flyers' chances of winning increase significantly. In the six games that Giroux has been held without a point, the Flyers are 0-5-1. They're 9-4-1 when he cracks the scoresheet. Overall, Giroux’s game has been steady and a continuation from what we saw last season. The captain currently has five multi-point games over his past nine and has been saddled with some major minutes (at least 22 in each of the past five games) while adding penalty-kill duties.  

Sean Couturier
We’re finally starting to see the Couturier that made him into a Selke Trophy finalist last season. After a slow start of trying to find his speed and timing, Couturier has been the Flyers' most consistent player at both ends of the ice. His three-point effort against the Blackhawks was the pinnacle of the season as he outmuscled Chris Kunitz to score on Corey Crawford. With just three points in his first 11 games, Couturier has found his stride offensively with points (five goals, six assists) in seven of his last nine games.  

Stock down

Oskar Lindblom
If I was writing this column 10 days ago, Lindblom’s stock would be at an all-time high, but he’s regressed over the past week. After an impressive five-game point streak in which he tallied two goals and five assists, Lindblom has just one assist over his past four games and has seen his ice time dip from the 16-minute range to playing just 10:07 in a 3-0 loss to the Devils on Thursday. It should be a matter of time before James van Riemsdyk reasserts himself on that line, leaving Lindblom with third-line minutes.

Jori Lehtera
Dave Hakstol finally came to the realization that Lehtera has been bringing very little to the Flyers. Once JVR finally returned to the Flyers' lineup, Lehtera was the one who came out, and as a result, forced Hakstol to move Scott Laughton back to center. Lehtera’s recent lack of ice time is a reflection of how he’s played and how he’s turned into a “black hole” in the offensive end of the ice. In his last seven games, Lehtera hasn’t registered a single shot on net and has proven to be a liability on the penalty kill.  

Nolan Patrick
Much is expected out of the 20-year-old, who like Lindblom, broke out of his early season shell during the Flyers' recent trip out West. But like any young player, Patrick has failed to keep a level of consistency throughout his overall play. While he maintains defensive responsibilities on a rather consistent basis, his offense and his aggressiveness to push play in the opponent’s zone are sporadic. Patrick currently has one goal and two points over his past six games and had a brief opportunity to solidify his place on the top power-play unit. It’s not that Patrick has been a bad player, but he’s displayed the ability to be a better player.

Travis Sanheim
To his credit, Sanheim has cleaned up his game defensively to the point that he doesn’t make you nervous in his own end of the ice. However, with Sanheim’s size, he should be more of a physical presence in separating a player from the puck. Too often, he loses those battles. But Sanheim’s strength is in his offense by pushing the puck up the ice and creating offensive chances. To that end, he’s been nonexistent over his past 10 games and hasn’t registered a single point. Even playing 17 minutes on a regular basis, there has to be a more concerted effort on Sanheim’s part to generate offense. Otherwise, that skill set simply goes to waste.

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