I wasn’t at the Flyers game in Dawson Creek on Saturday, but there was one tidbit on the scoresheet that bears flagging.
Not the scoreline, not Adam Horst’s form, but a defenceman by the name of G.
Yes, Gerard Dicaire suited up for the blue and white for the first time since the ’08 McKenzie Cup, and picked the perfect game (a 10-1 blowout) to do it.
Now, if the rumours are true, Dicaire might be in the best shape he’s been in since his AHL days. But even if that’s an exaggeration, or just good marketing, MAN, this Flyers defence is looking strong.
In the 2009 McKenzie Cup, the Flyers defence was good, but seriously understaffed. In addition to the injury that pretty much shelfed Kip Noble, the guys back there had no re-enforcements, and some of them were barely walking. But, fast forward six months, and the opposite problem appears. Suddenly, we’ve got a log-jam.
So, let’s just say for a moment that Tyler Loney is counted as a forward (which I really like, particularly on the powerplay), and look at the guys currently playing for the Flyers. Unless I’m forgetting someone, we’ve got still 9 blue-liners. Noble, Derton, Lloyd, Dicaire, Lewis, Hadland, Mike S, Brett Loney, and Middleton.
Now, my first idea was to suggest some pairings moving ahead. Now, it being senior hockey, pegging lines ahead of time is like trying to predict lottery numbers. But, it does seem like Noble and Derton have been clicking together, which makes them a good bet to be the top pairing heading into April. You’ve just got to figure Donny Lloyd is on the second pairing, but I’m not sure G is the right guy for him. I’d say, on the powerplay, Lloyd and Dicaire would make a dynamite second unit, but 5-on-5, I think Bryan Lewis (or maybe Arlo) would fit better. That still leaves the other one of them to play with Dicaire on the third pairing, with several pretty good D-men sitting on the sidelines.
Want to see Dicaire’s career stats?
The important thing is, all that depth isn’t just for show. The Flyers have had depth exposed as a problem in the past two McKenzie Cups, so you can be sure if there nine D-men, all nine of them will get a shot at some point during the Allan Cup.
At this point, Gerard is probably the only guy who can tell you what he’ll be like in April. But, at the end of the day, a guy who was that close to the NHL is one more addition that makes these guys for real. He’s also one more local guy on the team, which helps silence the loudmouth soup coming out of the NPHL east.
I’m certainly looking forward to talking to G, and seeing what he brings. I felt that he had too much defensive responsibility in the 2008 Savage and McKenzie Cups, but with added depth comes the ability to use guys as specialists. One thing you can definitely say about Gerard Dicaire, is that he can shoot the puck. Use him on the powerplay, and just watch people behind the glass start to duck. Then think about the space that opens up for a guy like Donny Lloyd.
There are a lot of naysayers out there, but the Flyers are looking very strong. If they can all get on the same page, I see this as one more reason they could find themselves playing in the AC final in front of a roaring NPA crowd.
Just as long as they don’t have to face Hythe.
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