The Condition (or Lack of Conditioning) of the Flyers Start

micky bestCorrespondent INovember 4, 2008

Like many teams this year, the beginning of the Flyers season resembles a yo-yo. One game they are the high flying offense that propelled them into the playoffs, and another game it's like they ate too many cheese steaks and are sitting on the couch asleep.


A goaltender can't do it alone. Marty Biron can only make so many saves. He needs his defensemen to pay attention as to what is coming down the ice, not waiting for the SEPTA train to get them out of the station.


There is a true motivational force missing this year. They Flyers are starting the season off healthy, with all their superstars in the lineup. The scoring is fairly balanced so far.  Jeff Carter leads the team with nine goals; Mike Richards leads the team with 10 assists.


Danny Briere is off to a quiet start though, and the team needs more from the veteran leader. The enthusiasm that propelled the Flyers into their battle with the Penguins is just not there. We need to have hard hits and send the league a message.


Maybe they need better conditioning. Maybe running up the steps of the Art Museum in their skates might give them the edge—that Philly swagger that we all know our teams have.


Or maybe they were too busy watching the Phillies series, and now they can begin to focus on their own season. They need to get hungry like they were at the end of last season. Yes there are other teams in the league that are starting out as sporadic as the Flyers, but it's up to the coaching staff to get their team ready each and every night.


They've lost four of their games in overtime, and another in a shoot-out. To me, that means the Flyers are not in the best of condition. Every line, be it the second or the fourth, needs to be ready to play five periods of hockey. The way this season is going so far, they fade after three solid periods.


They need to take commanding leads and not let the other team back into the game. The message right not that other teams are getting is to let the Flyers back in, and then they can beat them in overtime.


If the average fan can see the problems, then why cant the coaching staff? Shake up the lines now, not later. Figure out the chemistry that will keep you in the game. Make your fourth line as strong as your first line.


There are twelve players that don’t have a goal. There are seven players without a point. If you are a balanced team, then every person on every line has at least a point. If you change up the lines, everyone will feel they are contributing. And your key players may find a line that propels the team into the big lead right away, rather than scratching their way back into the game.


Now, with Sidney Crosby out indefinitely for Pittsburgh, and Ovechkin out for Washington, the Flyers can make a move in their division because they have a healthy full team. But they just don’t have the desire.


Wake up coaching staff. Get your players in the mindset to take the division now while the opportunity is there. Opportunities like this don’t come along often, and if you don’t take advantage of it now, you'll be watching the playoffs from your local watering hole.


It's not as though the Flyers are in the down and out already, but the expectations are there to continue the success of last season, and they aren’t even close yet with their play so far.


And Philly fans will have their expectations. With two championships already in the city (the Philadelphia Soul and the Phillies), the city of brotherly love and their die hard Flyer Fanatics want nothing more than to join the parade of champions down Broad Street.


So its time for the coaching staff to do what they get paid to do—find the right chemistry on the ice to get this team heading in the right direction.


Get these guys in the best condition so they can last through five periods of hockey, not three. Run down the Ben Franklin Parkway on a cold night if you have to. Get out of your cushy suburbia practice facility in New Jersey, and get back to the blue-collar hockey this city loves.


And then, come next June, you just may be riding down Broad Street with Lord Stanley.