Don't be sad James, Toronto will love you like we never could. Credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

BuzzBag Volume 2: Frank Ocean And The Flyers

Back by popular demand, BuzzBag is here for a second week, and with a whole batch of new questions.

@JeffBaumann: Use Frank Ocean lyrics to compare/contrast the 2011-2012 Flyers and the 2012-2013 Flyers. 

We are just a measly two weeks in, and Jeff may have sent me the most absurd and challenging question BuzzBag will ever see. The use of lyrics to compare two different teams is quite the task, and would usually require multiple hours of searching RapGenius.com for lyrics. Lucky for me, I happen to own and know every Frank Ocean song known to man.

From Super Rich Kids off of the Album Channel Orange: ” Start my day up on the roof… I say I’ll jump I never do.

This line here applies directly to Ilya Bryzgalov and his struggles last year. After his early season struggles and frequently giving up easy goals, many fans we’re ready to jump ship (and probably jump off their roofs), and allow Sergei Bobrovsky to ride the season out as the starter. However, the Flyers invested far to much in Bryz, 9 year and $51 million to be exact, and there was no way Coach Peter Laviolette was going to take the starting role away from him.

In 2013, nobody is taking the starting job from Bryzgalov. It is his for the long haul, whether good or bad.

From Thinking About You: “I don’t like you I just thought you were cool enough to kick it, got a beach house I can sell you in Idaho.”

Whip out your trusty map, where is Idaho on the map? Is it near an ocean? If yes, that is a horrible sign, stop reading and enroll in grade school.

If no, good, you now understand the premise line. There are no beaches in Idaho, ergo there are no beach houses in Idaho, and Frank Ocean is trying to sell you a whole lot of nothing. Whispering sweet nothings to you should sound quite familiar, because that is what Flyers GM Paul Holmgren did all last season, especially with the Chris Pronger injury saga. What started as a brutal eye injury turned into an incurable virus, which turned into knee surgery, which then morphed into what looks like a career ending concussion. In short, a kncussvirus.

This wasn’t the first time Paul Holmgren was not honest with the media and the fans this year, as he had said he was not interested in trading Jeff Carter, and then went on to trade him. The “Holmgren lies” have gotten so out of hand so much so that there is blatant disregard for anything he says anymore. And in 2013, that is not going to change either. Fans have become very acquainted to hearing the Flyers come up in rumors over big name players, and they are not about to have Paul Holmgren crush their dreams of acquiring a 28 year old winger with a $7.6 million dollar cap hit. Specific, I know.

The deceitfulness from the Flyers GM and the inability to trust him will always be there until Holmgren loosens his grip on the organization. It’s a bad, untrusting relationship between both sides, but nobody wants out.

From American Wedding: “We had an American wedding, now what’s mine is yours, American divorce.” 

This line here relates two James Van Riemsdyk for two reasons: a) it does not get more American than a kid from New Jersey, and b) the Flyers and JVR went through a pretty ugly divorce.  Barely avoiding a trade at the deadline because of injury, a long rumored Van Riemsdyk for Luke Schenn trade was finally completed in late June. After a promising postseason campaign in 2010, Van Riemsdyk’s breakout season never came to fruition. He dealt with multiple injuries in 2011, including a broken foot, a concussion, and a nagging groin injury. Management seemed to grow tired of  Reimer’s unrealized potential, although he spent minimal time in the AHL, and actively looked to trade him. Philadelphia sent Van Riemsdyk to Toronto, the most un-American city in the world, in return for budding Defenseman Luke Schenn. It fit a need for both clubs, as the Flyers needed another big D-man with a right handed shot, and the Maple Leafs were looking for offensive depth.

A divorce between the Flyers and James Van Riemsdyk seemed premature, however. He was only 23, and had the talent to be a consistent 30 goal scorer for most of his career. Apparently the Flyers had no interest in waiting, and got what they could in return.

It’s hard to say what this upcoming season will hold with out JVR, as the Flyers seemed to fair pretty well without him in the lineup for practically half the season. But young players such as Matt Read and Wayne Simmonds will have even more pressure to sustain strong play on the offensive end of the ice, a pressure the two may not be able to live up too. Regardless, the Flyers will have to live with their decision, and hope Luke Schenn develops into the star Defenseman they see in him.

@Pfeiifey: How do you think Briere will play next season? (Assuming there is no lockout.)

Danny Briere is a complete toss up this season. He had a 16/33/49 statline, his worst year season in which he played more then 65 game since 2002. But as he usually does come the Postseason, Danny turned it on, scoring 8 goals along with 5 assists in just 11 games. At age 34, many wonder which Briere we’ll see: average regular season Briere, or superstar Playoff Briere. Last season he was linemates of Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds, but seemed to benefit the least. Where Danny Briere  excels is right around the side of the net parallel with the goalie, a position he is very dangerous at. However, but because neither Simmonds nor Schenn can run the offense, Briere was forced to move up top. He just didn’t look as comfortable, and his goals scored took a hit. I wouldn’t expect Briere to have a much better season, but 20/35/55 seems like a good year for him.

@TrevSerenells: Who’s the Flyers top prospect?

It’s pretty safe to say that Nick Cousins is the Flyers top guy. The Flyers 3rd round pick in 2011 has spent the last three seasons with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL, and tore it up. In 65 games in 2012, Cousins scored 35 goals and 88 points. But the 19 year old isn’t a stereotypical sniper, but rather more of an enforcer. At only 5’11” , 177 lbs, Cosuins plays much bigger than his size, throwing his body around and imposing his will on other players. In Flyers Rookie Camp this past week, Cousins went after new Flyers first round pick (and buddy) Scott Laughton, and challenged him physically every day. Cousins most likely will spent at least one more season in the OHL before joining the Adirondack Phantoms. The 2015 season seems like the best estimate for Cousins to make the Flyers opening day roster.

@CollinMcCollick: Is there any chance the Flyers go after Shea Weber. If so, what would the Flyers be willing to give up? and @IrbesGoaliePads: What would you give up for Webs if you were Homer?

The likelihood of the Flyers going after Shea Weber before the start of the season is slim to none. Shea Weber wants out and Nashville GM David Poile would be willing to move him, but only for “King’s ransom”. Polie understand how valuable of a player Weber is, especially in this Defenseman needy market, but he also isn’t stupid. Weber is not re-signing with the Predators, and Nashville will do whatever they can to get a whole lot in return for him. The Flyers could send Weber an offer sheet, but Nashville would most certainly match anything sent to him. The Flyers best bet to put Weber in  orange and black would be to wait until he is a free agent next summer. Barring any big move, Philadelphia has a lot of cap space, and would have upwards of $10 million going into next summer, making them serious players for Shea Weber. But if his former teammate Ryan Suter is making $7.5 million a year, expect Weber to get upwards of $8 million a season.

Right now? Flyers are not players for Shea Weber. Next summer? Look out.

@VileMennis: With Bob gone & Leighton as backup, what affect does this have on Bryz this season? I mean he is scared of bears and all.

Lucky for Ilya Bryzgalov, bears cannot skate, so the concern over bears can’t be too serious. With Bobrovsky out of the picture, there is no way anybody will be calling for Bryz’s job. The Bob trade had to do wonders for Bryzgalov’s shaky confidence, as Coach Laviolette and the Flyers management put complete trust In Bryz to be the starting netminder. If there was any concern over Bryz having a good second season in Philadelphia, they would have signed a competent free agent goalie. Instead, they re-signed Leighton for dirt cheap, giving more boost to Bryz’s ego that should now be ready to burst like a balloon.

I for one, as do many others, think the Russian goalie will have a great campaign in Philadelphia this season. Although he was not initially concerned with the switch to a big market team, it took Bryz a while to adjust to playing in Philadelphia. Now that he is settled in to a new city, his consistent play will increase, and every month will look like March for Ilya. I’d expect 60-65 games out of Bryzgalov, and the rest goes to Michael Leighton and his massive five hole.

Thanks for reading. If you’d like to particiapte in the next BuzzBag, make sure to follow me on Twitter: @JakePavorsky

Tags: Danny Briere Flyers Ilya Bryzgalov James Van Riemsdyk Michael Leighton Paul Holmgren Shea Weber

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