Wednesday, September 23, 2009

JVR makes his case to be a Flyer

Normally, I don't take much stock in preseason hockey. It's like all other exhibition games in other sports; stars don't play their hardest and the outcomes don't matter. The Flyers preseason game tonight might be an exception, however, as a rookie phenom made a strong bid to make the Flyers opening game roster.

James van Riemsdyk (JVR), the number 2 overall pick in the 2007 draft, scored a pair of goals for the Flyers as they defeated the Red Wings, 5-2, in their preseason home opener. JVR's performance should put to rest the debate that has occurred for the last few weeks about whether he should make the team right from the start or not. After all, when he is your most dynamic player on the ice, how could the Flyers not keep him around? There were some concerns that JVR wouldn't get enough ice time in the NHL to continue his development but if he plays all season the way he did tonight that won't be a problem. Barring some strange salary cap issues, it should be safe to pencil JVR into the Flyers opening night lineup.

As for the rest of the team, the Flyers played their best preseason game as a whole against the Wings on Tuesday night. Ray Emery looked good in net, Mike Pyorala scored a goal to help make his case for a roster spot and even Dan Carcillo made a contribution on the score sheet with a breakaway goal. For a team that looked rusty and not ready to play in previous preseason games, the Flyers looked leaps and bounds better on Tuesday.

It was great to see the Flyers back on home ice on Tuesday night and even better to see them play a good all-around game. Even though it was just a preseason game, beating the Red Wings is always a good sign for how your season is going to go. I can't wait for October 2nd!

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