Philadelphia Flyers: Where Is the Heart in Philly?

Brad MorrellContributor IDecember 22, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 21:  The Florida Panthers celebrate a goal as Braydon Coburn #5 of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on on December 21, 2009 at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Panthers defeated the Flyers 4-1.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

There apparently won’t be many presents in Philly this year, at least not for the Flyers.  Several of the players are staying on the “Naughty List” this year.  Many penalties are still taken for reasons that clearly can’t be justified. 


With all of the off-season hype of trades and the offer to play in the Winter Classic, one would think this team would have something to prove.  People are left wondering what has happened to a team that was picked by many, including The Hockey News, to be Stanley Cup contenders, if not champions.


Flyers are now faced with having a third string Goalie, if not fourth string.  Due to the injury of Brian Boucher, Michael Leighton will now have a shot at starting goaltender.  This will bring Johan Backlund back up from the Phantoms as the relief.


On top of the yet again shaky goal situation, there are many players who have all but dried up on the goal department.  Carter is clearly struggling.  Gagne, even before surgery was having a less than desirable year.  Briere was one of the few that looked good for a while, but now is struggling as well. 


It seems the defense is having better chances of scoring than these high-powered forwards.  Someone needs to step up, start taking better chances, and pull the trigger quicker instead of hesitating.  Mike Richards, where are you?


Firing John Stevens certainly has not proven much for the team.  Many trust the decision making of Paul Holmgren as he has certainly turned the team around before.  However, I think it is time to make players more accountable. 


Peter Laviolette should subscribe to the John Tortorella School of Coaching.  Tortorella is whipping the NY Rangers into shape by sitting top players out and giving chances to future NHL stars.  At this point, what will it hurt?  The team is losing games with big price tag players anyway.


Philly fans are brutal and restless.  Forgiveness is hard to find in Philadelphia and fans don’t forget the non-playoff years too easily.  It is time for some Veterans to take responsibility, get the younger guys fired up too.  This is a team sport and it takes more than focusing on one person’s effort.  Many on the team seem to be focusing on their personal talent as opposed to the team talent.  That is not a great way to pull out of this slump.  Focus on one game at a time and hope for an eighth seed in the East.