The Broad Street Bullies. The moniker elicits varied reactions across the hockey world. In some it brings out fear, in others, unconditional hatred. In the surrounding Philadelphia area, it has always been a sense of pride, a badge of honor.
The fact is, however, the type of game that the original Bullies of the 70's played has been rendered obsolete over the past 30+ years. The problem that today's Flyers face is that the reputation that comes along with the name has and will probably never go away. All the more reason why the Flyers have to play a more disciplined game than say, the Columbus Blue Jackets would.
Now, I'm not crazy. I realize that we are only two games into the season, however, it is already apparent that the Flyers can not take as many penalties as we have seen thus far. Twenty-one total penalties in two games is tops in the league. Of those, ten are obstruction related offenses. Lazy, undisciplined offenses, if you will.
The biggest culprit of the obstruction calls has been Braydon Coburn. Coburn has been whistled for hooking, tripping, and interference in two games. Newcomer Sean O'Donnell has two tripping calls to his resume.
The Flyers have been fortunate so far, in that they have been able to kill off 13 of 15 power plays against them. The tandem of the absurdly underrated Blair Betts and Darroll Powe, who has taken over Ian Laperriere's role admirably, have been a force on the penalty kill. Captain Mike Richards, Claude Giroux, and Jeff Carter have also played prominent roles, however, the team can't expect a nearly 90 percent penalty kill rate throughout the season.
Again, I realize we're only two games in, but the quicker the Flyers can start implementing the discipline that coach Peter Laviolette is so often preaching the better off they will be.
In additional news, the team announced right at noon on Monday that defenseman Chris Pronger is set to make his season debut tonight for the home opener. Pronger had missed the first two games of the season while recovering from offseason knee surgery. Oskars Bartulis will likely come out of lineup.
The team also announced that rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will get his second start of the season tonight.