Philadelphia Flyers: 5 Flyers Who Must Quickly Elevate Their Play
The Philadelphia Flyers are off to a terrible start and many players need to quickly elevate their play in order to turn the season around.
It's not time to hit the panic button, but all issues need to be addressed and corrected immediately. The Flyers cannot continue at this pace, especially during a shortened season.
This roster is too good to be playing this poorly. With a nice blend of youthful talent and veteran leadership, there is no reason for miscues, untimely penalties and lack of hustle.
Here are five players who must elevate their play immediately and help right this ship.
Kimmo Timonen is the veteran leader of the Philadelphia Flyers, even though he lacks the captain title. He will never be accused of laziness, but Timonen has not been playing the smartest hockey this season.
Earlier this season against the New Jersey Devils, Timonen tripped Ilya Kovalchuk, who was awarded a penalty shot, which he converted. Untimely penalties have hurt the Flyers and this was no different.
Going into the season, Timonen questioned whether he would be able to endure the "wear and tear" on his 37-year-old body (via NBC Sports)—the Flyers are still depending on him being a fierce defender and power play specialist all season.
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Sean Couturier is in an offensive slump, along with a number of his Flyers' teammates.
"Coots" had a promising rookie campaign with 13 goals and 14 assists (via Yahoo! Sports) and should continue to prosper throughout his career. The youngster possesses the skill set to be a versatile threat in the NHL.
Hopefully, head coach Peter Laviolette's line shuffle will create more opportunities for the young center. He will now be paired with Matt Read, who has been playing very well for the Flyers, and veteran Mike Knuble on the second line.
Couturier must become a playmaker and avoid a sophomore slump.
Brayden Schenn is moving backwards. Along with a decrease in ice time, he has already served a one-game suspension for a hit on New Jersey Devils' Anton Volchenkov.
He is currently on the Flyers' third line, along with Jakub Vorecek and Tye McGinn—this unit needs to step up their game.
Schenn is also the product of the famous "Mike Richards" trade, which Flyers' fans are still questioning after Richards led the LA Kings to a Stanley Cup championship last season.
The young center may never be a beloved player like Richards, but he does need to focus on the basics and positively contribute to his team.
Wayne Simmonds may be the points leader for the Philadelphia Flyers, but he also leads the team with 27 penalty minutes (via ESPN). Granted, he racked up 14 of those minutes in a recent game against the Tampa Bay Lightning—his untimely penalties are hurting the team.
Everyone admires his hard-nosed play and grinding in front of the net, but Simmonds must be smarter on the ice.
The Flyers need him to perform, now that Scott Hartnell will be out an extended period of time with a foot injury. Simmonds should continue to play his style of hockey, but he’s more beneficial on the ice rather than in the box.
Claude Giroux has the most pressure to turn this season around for himself and his team—and rightly so.
He's the captain and chosen leader of this team.
In a recent interview with Comcast Sports, Giroux explained that he is not happy with his game and things will turn around pretty quickly. This is the correct approach—it's now time to turn words into action.
Coach Laviolette will also be changing the first line—bringing Danny Briere up to join Simmonds and Giroux. This should immediately help the Flyers' captain and the team.
Giroux had been excellent for the Flyers before earning the "C". Now, he must set an example for the rest of his teammates by playing much better hockey.