Blair Betts and Brian Boucher at last season's Winter Classic
In case you didn’t know, the Philadelphia Flyers hockey season has already begun. We can blame it on the Phillies postseason that we may have missed a game or two. Better yet, we can blame it on Ryan Howard, which would be the popular vote at this time.
But with the early exit of the Phillies, it’s time to concentrate on our city’s other contender, because right now they can use our support.
The 3-4-1 Flyers have lost four of their last five games, and have failed to win two consecutive games all season. They’ve come out lifeless and flat. They aren’t chasing the puck, they aren’t crashing the net, and they simply aren’t doing the little things that win hockey games.
You’d figure they would be hitting on all cylinders after defying all odds and making it to the Stanley Cup finals last season. You would think after a short summer of endurance training and bike riding they couldn’t wait to prove themselves on the ice at the start of the season, but they haven’t.
I’m not worried one bit. It’s a very long season, and if you recall last year’s dismal start, things can only get better. Despite a few new faces, this is still the same team playing under the same system that propelled the biggest comeback in franchise history against the Boston Bruins in last year’s playoffs.
If you recall, the Flyers were down three games to none in a best-of-seven series. To top that, they were down 3-0 in the deciding Game 7. Rather than giving up, they came back to win that game 4-3 on a late goal by Simon Gagne (who has posted no points and a -8 plus/minus rating this season with Tampa Bay), and win the series 4-3.
So what is different about this year’s team? Why can’t they get it together? Well, it’s still really early.
Brian Boucher has been off and on, and after an amazing season opener, rookie Sergei Bobrovsky hasn’t been stellar. Many people want Laviolette to choose one goalie and stick with him. I don’t see the point in that. It doesn’t matter who is in net if you can’t score goals for him.
The Flyers need to go back to the little things that win hockey games. They need to work on their power play and win face-offs. They need to support their goaltenders and play better defense. The forwards need to chase the pucks that they dump into the zone.
Scott Hartnall donated his hair to the “Locks of Love” foundation, so the Flyers have some good karma coming their way.
I know this team will come around, hopefully sooner than later.
This article was also published here: Philly Sports God Blog