Ah, the Philadelphia Flyers sure are beautiful when they are good, aren't they?
Other than an OT loss on Black Friday and a regulation loss the next day, the Flyers have been playing great hockey.
Over their last 11 games, the Flyers are 8-1-2 and have moved their way into sixth place in the conference.
It seems the team has put behind their early-season failures and has an entire new mindset.
During the last few weeks, Jeff Carter has worked his way up to a tie for the lead league in goals, and Simon Gagne moved up to fifth in the league in goals. Even better for Gagne, he is third in the league in points.
Mike Richards is also quietly having a great season. He may not have the outstanding stats, but he has truly been a great leader, and has been the Danny Briere of the Flyers in the real Briere's absence.
Speaking of Briere—what's up, bud?
You've played just nine games, and this will be the third time you will be out for a decent amount of time.
But I won't fret. The team is 2-4-3 with you, and 10-3-2 without you. Hmmmm...
I'm not saying you aren't a great piece to have, but I won't mind not having you out there. Especially since you give the team a little more cap room that could help the team bring back some injured players like Ryan Parent and Randy Jones.
Oh, I'm on fire. Parent and Jones—when should we expect them back? Very shortly, which is terrific news for the Flyers.
Remember that horrible defense we were watching a few weeks ago? Gone.
Think about it. Our group of defenders will be: Braydon Coburn, Kimmo Timonen, Matt Carle, Luca Sbisa (unless the Flyers choose to send him back to juniors when the two come back, but I doubt it), and Ryan Parent/Randy Jones. Then you have a few other defenseman to change in and change out.
Phew, what a nice group right there.
The only problem is Jones' salary, which is why I have a slash in there between him and Parent.
Jones is not affordable right now, so he or some other players might have to be moved. But that group is still very impressive to me.
Anyway, what has most impressed me about the Flyers so far is their resilience.
Last year, the Flyers would get outshot all of the time and would have periods where they would be completely flat.
This year, I have noticed more tenacity and eagerness—even with the inconsistent play of two of their play-makers, Joffrey Lupul and Scott Hartnell.
The team has even been without their big fighter, Riley Cote. Add to that Briere, Parent, and Jones, and you would think this team would not be succeeding.
But the Flyers have shown they can win without Briere, Cote, Jones, Parent, and a consistent Hartnell and Lupul. That is what I call resilience.
Just imagine when a healthy Briere, Jones, Parent, and Cote comes back. Just imagine when Lupul and Hartnell get their games back in line.
I can't wait to see that team, because that team is going to be good. I'm talking Stanley Cup good.