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Flyers promote Leighton – will he start Sunday?

Mar 9, 2013, 8:01 PM EST

Michael Leighton AP

The Philadelphia Flyers suffered an “embarrassing” loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday and followed it up with a 3-0 defeat against the Boston Bruins this afternoon.

With the Flyers rapidly losing ground in their hunt for a playoff spot, they have called up goaltender Michael Leighton and demoted Brian Boucher, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi.

The question is why. Is it possible that Leighton might start in the Flyers’ Sunday contest against the Buffalo Sabres (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN), as the Philadelphia Daily News pondered.

Ilya Bryzgalov has started in 24 of the Flyers’ 26 games this season, including three games in the last five days. Leaning that heavily on a goaltender would be asking a lot under normal circumstances, but with the condensed schedule, Bryzgalov might be hitting a wall.

At the same time, Leighton, 31, allowed five goals on 26 shots against the Tampa Bay Lightning in his only start this season. It was just his second NHL game since he surrendered an overtime goal to Patrick Kane in the deciding contest of the 2010 Stanley Cup finals.

Either way, Sunday is another critical contest for Philadelphia as they try to stop the bleeding. Buffalo is just two points behind them and has played in one fewer games.

Philadelphia failed to take advantage of their recent opportunities to close the gap on some serious contenders for a playoff spot. They need to at least beat the few teams that are below them.

  1. President Charles Logan - Mar 9, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    lol …. that is all

  2. mclovinhockey - Mar 9, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    Had exceptions for a big move…. And now it’s gone

    • eigglesnosuperbowls - Mar 9, 2013 at 8:19 PM

      Do you mean expectations ?

  3. steelers88 - Mar 9, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    Is this a joke! HA! Is this what you call shaking up the team?

  4. eigglesnosuperbowls - Mar 9, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    Don’t look now but Sergi Bob served up a shutout today and has a 2.30 goals against with a 919.save % ! Oh noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo !

    • filadelphiaphlyers - Mar 11, 2013 at 10:08 AM

      Emery isnt doing so bad either…

  5. jimw81 - Mar 9, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    you can chalk this up as another loss

  6. broadstreetbeatdown - Mar 9, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    The Flyers will make the playoffs regardless of what all the Pitt poleboys think.

    • handsofsweed - Mar 9, 2013 at 11:09 PM

      Wow. You have no thumbs up. Even you don’t believe yourself.

      • broadstreetbeatdown - Mar 10, 2013 at 2:44 PM

        I’d rather have Bryz in the crease than that sieve of a goal tender Beach Ball Fleury. That guy is horrendous,

  7. iHeartHockey31 - Mar 9, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    I’m confused. Last I heard Leighton was on the IR (for what was initially reported as an upper body injury then reported as a broken finger, despite being ok to sign auto for 2 days this past week in Philly) when was he taken off IR and sent to Adirondack? Are we now just forgetting where we’ve been storing our roster full of mediocre goaltenders. Meanwhile, we lost a decent goalie prospect to waivers.

  8. puckmepuckyou - Mar 9, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    Bob blanked Detroit.

  9. puckmepuckyou - Mar 9, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    Bold move guys. If that don’t shake em up nothing will. Got to be F in kidding me.

  10. hockeyfan28 - Mar 9, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    Bob had no 1 goalie talent and really wanted to stay…I gotta think Holmgren is on borrowed time as this is about move no.30 in the last year that has blown up on the guy

  11. icelovinbrotha215 - Mar 9, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    I don’t like it a little bit. Rough times in the Wells Fargo crease (again).

  12. broadstreetbeatdown - Mar 9, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    The Flyers crease has been fine this year. Unless you guys want Bryz to start scoring goals as well. Besides a couple of games this year Bryz has been solid and the most consistent and best player on the ice. I’d rather have him over beachball Fleury anyway.

  13. crazemastercraze - Mar 9, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    The media talk about “The Bryz” like he’s some kind of special needs child. I mean, he was good in the second and third but by then, what difference did it make? He’s the Tony Romo of hockey. The team has no cohesion and are playing like they want the coach fired and if there was any sanity in this organization, Holmgram will be canned too. But, as usual, the delusion continues with the fans and ownership in Philly

    • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 9, 2013 at 11:48 PM

      Delusion of the fans? Just what are you talking about? We’re not blind. We can see that the Flyers are playing terribly right now. We all know there’s no cohesion, no rhythm, basically anarchy with the puck. The fans in Philadelphia are well aware that Bryz can only do so much. And that the defense is playing as if these games don’t matter. That game today was a joke, we know. The Flyers were in it for about 5 minutes then as soon as there was some adversity they gave up. Don’t think that just because the coach refuses to make any adjustments and the GM hasn’t made a move to shake things up, that the fans are oblivious to the mess in front of them. We’re pissed in Philadelphia. We’ve watched a team, that looked like it had turned a corner, completely unravel in the most important week of the shortened season (so far). But really what would change if we fired Laviolette and Holmgren? Is the club suddenly gonna have an epiphany and go on a 20 game win streak? I don’t think it’s prudent to start over in the front office because an extremely young squad failed to live up to expectations in an odd shortened season. If you assemble a core of mostly under-25 players you have to live with inconsistency, that’s part of the deal. And I don’t think it would be considered delusional to want the Flyers to be patient for once. Do what it takes to get a stud defenseman in the offseason (and maybe a new goaltender), then give it another season. If they fail again then by all means clear house.

      • bobhpine - Mar 10, 2013 at 6:09 AM

        The Flyers are the 16th oldest team in the league. Seven of 25 players on the roster below age 25..and one of those is Zac Rinaldo.

        Three of those players (Simmonds, Voracek and Couturier) have been the most consistent players on the entire roster. The Schenns admittedly suck. That leaves Gustafsson. I’m sorry but Claude Giroux is not young, he is Crosby’s age. That’s about all they have in common. Ginger.

        If the young guys were as inconsistent as you say, this team would be even worse. As it is they’re in last place. Enjoy chasing the Islanders. I’m sure Michael Leighton will guide you to glory.

      • crazemastercraze - Mar 10, 2013 at 10:45 AM

        Flyers fan looking from inside the bubble, as usual

  14. bobhpine - Mar 9, 2013 at 11:33 PM

    I can’t wait to see how many games Leighton wins when the squad of choke artists and frauds in front of him scores zero goals. I am enjoying the collapse. It was only a matter of time before the goalie got blamed. The irony is that they appear ready to bench their best player this season. Only Simmonds and Bryz showed up at all this year.

    The Pens have 17 wins through 25 games. Let’s see if the Flygirls get 17 wins this season. What a pathetic team. Quite fitting. The pathetic loser fans can choke on this again…for the 38th straight season.

    1975

  15. steelers88 - Mar 10, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    If the Flyers players could just start chipping in a little bit more in the goal department the Flyers would be a pretty good team and Voracheck can’t carry the team all by himself. I do think this team is very talented team but they’re a young team sometimes it’s not always good to rely on young players.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 10, 2013 at 12:22 AM

      You’re exactly right. We got people like Bobhpine constantly talking about how little talent the Flyers have, but that’s just troll talk. The problem isn’t talent. It’s about inconsistency, turnovers, and not playing smart. But when you rely on youth there will be growing pains. They don’t know how to win consistently yet. It’ll come around, maybe not this season, but there’s no need to blow it up.

      • bobhpine - Mar 10, 2013 at 5:51 AM

        Win. Alexander Daigle had a lot of talent. Talent doesn’t win playoff games.

        And this team isn’t that young dude. Couturier, the Schenns, Simmonds and Voracek are young. Bryz, Hartnell, briere, Timonen, gagne, Talbot, fedotenko, knuble…not so young. Giroux is about Cosby’s age, so I guess Crosby is still young? Youthful inconsistency doesn’t seem to plague Crosby as much as “da bess player in da worl” Claude Giroux.

        NHL average team age: 28.2
        Flyers average age: 27.8

        They aren’t young. They just aren’t very good. Call it trolling if you want, at least I use stats. You just say they’re young so they must be young. Not so.

      • crazemastercraze - Mar 10, 2013 at 10:48 AM

        Your preaching to the quire, bob….

      • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 10, 2013 at 4:05 PM

        I have a much longer response but for some reason I can’t get it to post…You have 15 players 28-years and younger on the roster. Now does that make sense when you look at the average age of 27.8? No because the few players they have over 30 totally skew the average. There are 12 players 30+ (including goalies) that are listed on the roster (including Pronger, Shelley, Knuble, Boucher, and Foster). So in reality there are ONLY 7 regulars over 30 years of age on the Flyers roster (including goalies). 5 if you leave off Bryz and Leighton. If you look at the average age of the 15 players under 28 it is: 24.4 years of age. So way more than half your roster averages out to less than 25 years of age. That’s why your 27.8 average is so misleading, because the older players (especially those who are injured and scratched), on the far end of the spectrum, drag the average upwards. The Flyers roster has so many young, key cogs that there is bound to be inconsistent performance. Are those enough stats for you, troll? And by the way, Daigle was a hack, he should never be included in any conversation about talent. Unless you’re talking about complete busts.

  16. steelers88 - Mar 10, 2013 at 12:36 AM

    I also think not really having hardly any training camp or any preseason games really hurt this team. When your a younger team it hurts you more then a team that has more veteran players then younger players.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 10, 2013 at 12:37 AM

      Plus next to no practice time as the Flyers have played more games in less time than anyone.

  17. steelers88 - Mar 10, 2013 at 8:51 AM

    Well Crosby is an insane player his been a captain for 6 years and he started playing in the NHL as 18 year old. Then how come everyone was shocked last year when the Flyers made the playoffs with a bunch of rookies?

    • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 10, 2013 at 2:04 PM

      Crosby and Malkin are the exception not the rule.

  18. broadstreetbeatdown - Mar 10, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    Hi, I’m PineyBob I have an extreme obsession with all thing orange, black and apparently ginger haired hockey players. This is due to my inadequacies as a man and my desire to make out with Cindy Crysby on a daily basis.

  19. jaredphi - Mar 11, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    Leighton is terrible and no improvement over Bryz at all.

    Leighton’s 5-hole is SO GIGANTIC you could drive a truck through it.

    the tandem of Bryz/Bouch is the only way to go right now.

  20. katies000 - Mar 15, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    The team has not been playing well, and I don’t think that’s even up for debate. I only want to touch on the goaltender situation. I knew as soon as they had the opportunity, Leighton would be back. Hasn’t he cost us enough? They should have let Boucher have more starts so he could be an adequate backup, not this ridiculousness. For some reason, Holmgren wants this team to always have goalie problems. Either that, or Leighton really has the goods on someone because I cannot fathom why they keep bringing him back. He’s terrible. Where does this obsession they have with Leighton come from? He obviously knows where the bodies are buried.

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