How Do the Philadelphia Flyers Get to the Next Level?

Doug DonofrioCorrespondent IMay 10, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - APRIL 25:  Jeff Carter #17 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Round of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs  at the Wachovia Center on April 25, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Penguins defeated the Flyers 5-3 to win the series 4 games to 2.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Are the Philadelphia Flyers a good hockey team? Yes, they are a good hockey team. Are they a championship-level hockey team? Well, not really.

Why? How was it possible that the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Flyers in two straight NHL Playoff matchups? Let's take a deep intellectual view of this team and draw our own conclusions.

There is no denying the fact that the Flyers had six players score 25 or more goals in 2008-2009 campaign; but was this statistic in the shadows of relative unimportance? Let us look deeper.

Do the Flyers have that one or two players who can dominate during critical stretches of the game? No, not really. They do have a handful of good hockey players but not that game changer or collective dominance from a few.

When Crosby and Malkin decided to take their games to the next level-the Flyers retreated like beaten dogs and chastised children after disobeying their parents. The Flyers played with fear on the ice; suffocating their own skill levels in the onslaught of momentum changes.

If Holmgren is listening to me, then he must change a major team deficiency; mental toughness in the wake of momentum swings. The Flyers have shown a propensity to ride waves of inconsistency from play to play, period to period and game to game; this starts with finding your role and understanding your limits.

Stevens has to spread the wealth on player minutes, channeling those minutes among all twelve forwards as opposed to his top six. It's okay to have six players with 25 or more goals but it is not okay to have your bottom six receiving 4-13 minutes a game.

It does not work in the playoffs. Playoff intensity requires depth, toughness, and effort from all 12 forwards not your top six. Look what Adam Kennedy, Matt Cooke, and Michael Talbot did to the Flyers in the series.

The "Hyena Effect" becomes magnified in the playoffs; all must contribute from your first line scorer to your fourth line gritty winger. This has not happened under Holmgren and Stevens and a philosophical change has to be implemented where minutes are distributed in the regular season.

Big minute players Carter and Richards looked gassed, worn-out and mentally beaten. Suffice it to say if Holmgren is listening then let him listen.