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Biron Gets Back to Basics

by Kevin Kurz / Philadelphia Flyers
Flyers’ goaltender taking time to refocus during three-day layoff


(Voorhees, NJ) – There’s no denying that goaltender Martin Biron has stolen at least a couple of games for the Flyers this season. Having said that, Biron has not felt himself lately and will use the team’s three-day break to get his game back on track following the 6-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.

In that game, Biron allowed four goals to the Devils through two periods, at least a couple of which he would have liked to have back. Of course, he was not the only one to blame for the loss, but goaltenders are often thrust into the spotlight following a lopsided defeat.

“When you win, everybody gets credit, and when you lose, sometimes the goalie is the first guy who gets singled out. It’s always been like that, and Marty is strong enough and understands that,” said Danny Briere. “In this [locker] room, we all realize that Marty has won some games for us and bailed us out of trouble more than once this year.

“I’m not worried about Marty. He’ll get ready for the next game and move on.”

Biron has a pretty good idea of what he has to correct before the Flyers’ next game, in Carolina on Wednesday (7:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet).
Martin Biron is 10-6-1 with a 2.42 goals against average and .929 save percentage this season. (Getty Images)

“What happens is when my positioning gets a little off, I start using extremities to try and make saves and that’s when you start giving up rebounds and the puck doesn’t stick to you,” he said. “I think it’s not so much catching the puck, it’s more positioning and having the puck hit you dead center.

“I think in the [4-3 shootout loss to the Rangers on Thursday], even though it looked like a good game, there were little things there starting to show where I just needed to go back to basics. The Jersey game just exposed that and sometimes you need those to get you back on the ice and go back to working on the simplicity of things.”

With the time off between games, Biron will sit down with the coaching staff and try to figure out why he hasn’t been feeling up to par of late. As anyone who has watched a game broadcast when Biron is “mic’d up” would know, the goaltender is more than willing to say what is on his mind and has expressed his concerns to John Stevens and Flyers goalie coach Reggie Lemelin.

“Marty is a very good communicator. I know he mentioned to Reggie right away that he didn’t feel good and could tell he wasn’t sure of himself,” said Stevens. “We’re trying to figure out why. Is there something we can do in his preparation either physically or mentally? I think it’s good to talk it through.

“I’m not that concerned because Marty has the ability to bounce back. I think we just have to take a good look at why he feels that way when he does, and try to take steps to alleviate those problems from happening again.”

One positive sign for Biron and the Flyers is that after the previous game in which the goaltender started but did not finish (a 4-1 loss at New Jersey on November 8, in which he allowed four goals on 15 shots in just over 22 minutes), Biron responded with a 29-save performance in his next outing in a 5-2 win over Pittsburgh on November 10.

While Biron struggled in the loss to New Jersey on Saturday, Briere doesn’t think the final score indicated the flow of the game regarding the rest of the team.

“I think we have to realize that some of the goals that were scored were fluky bounces or goals you don’t normally see. Yes, we have to be mad and have to bear down and get ready for the next game, but at the same time we can’t kick ourselves even more than what it is. We have to be realistic.

“We’re not happy and didn’t like our play, but at the same time there were some good things there and we don’t want to get too down on ourselves.”

Hatcher Targeting November 28 Return

Philadelphia will play two games in a seven-day span in Carolina this Wednesday and next Wednesday, November 28. Defenseman Derian Hatcher could return for the latter of those games.

“They wanted me [to sit out] four weeks so I think it’s another 10 days,” said Hatcher on Monday afternoon. “We play in Carolina on the 28th so we’re kind of looking in that area.”

Hatcher, who has done everything except stopping and starting on the ice, has been out since right knee surgery on November 1.

Hockey Thrives at Wachovia Complex

The Wachovia Complex hosted professional hockey on six out of seven days last week from Sunday, November 11 through Saturday, November 17.  The Flyers attracted crowds of 19312, 19571 and 19621 for a total of 58,504, while the Phantoms attracted crowds of 5250, 7782, and 6510 for a total attendance of 19,542 for a grand total of 78,046 fans for hockey games last week.
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