If you ask any Flyers player right now what they need to win hockey games, almost all will say commitment on defense, not Brendan Shanahan. The players yesterday were reluctant to talk about the prospect of the future hall-of-famer wearing the orange and black.
Defense is the number one problem right now for this team; they don’t need any more scoring since they lead the NHL in goals scored. The flip-side to that is the Flyers also lead the NHL is goals against.
Now correct me if I’m wrong, isn’t the main aspect in sports to score more points than your opponent? Good to know we are on the same page.
Brendan Shanahan can put the puck in the net yes, but he cannot help this team on the back end of the defense. He is 39 years old and looking for one final contract before he sails off into the sunset and the hall of fame. The only reason that I can see GM Paul Holmgren pushing hard for Shanahan is his background in winning (as in being on winning teams who have won championships).
Players today talked a little bit about how the issues with them so far cannot be repaired by one player, much less another forward.
“Defense comes down to hard work, as a group maybe we’re worried about putting up goals.” “Two or three goals a night should be enough to win every night with good team defense, as a group we can all look in the mirror and play better defensively,” Flyers winger Mike Knuble stated sternly. This was (1) in response to an original question regarding the possible acquisition of Shanahan, and (2) In response to the harsh comments made by team GM Paul Holmgren regarding their defensive play.
“We have been much better in defense lately; last game was a little worse, a lot of missed assignments.” “I think we are doing a lot of better things out there, obviously its something we have to keep better focus on so we can get better fast,” captain Mike Richards said.
“Before our last game, I don’t think our defense was that bad except for the first couple of games, we seem to be forcing our offense issues rather than focusing on playing back on the puck.” “We have to watch and catch ourselves before it snowballs on us.”
The Flyers know what they have to do to fix things, it showed during their four game win streak they just had. According to Coach John Stevens, today was the Flyers best practice they’ve had all season. They worked hard today; concluding practice with numerous sprints and skating activities to test their durability and stamina.
Another good thing that came out of today was the news that Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur is on his way to the operation table to repair a torn bicep. This injury will put him out for 3—4 months, a huge blow for the Devils.