Lately, I find myself in a big creative funk concerning my Philadelphia Flyers columns.
However, my media colleagues have given me that little incentive to write some good old-fashioned creative objectivity concerning my beloved Orange and Black. While I do enjoy and admire many writers' works, I feel that some things I read in the media outlets are stemming from a similar lack of creativity.
While sometimes one needs to look past all the positives and focus on negatives, that's not to say negatives need to be over-embellished or flat-out created.
Some of these myths were perceived by even myself, but upon further review I opted not to put credence to them.
So please enjoy as I try to educate the fan base and readers in general on what is and what is not wrong with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Let me start out by noting that in my very first article I did indeed elaborate on how the Flyers would struggle if team captain and defenseman Chris Pronger missed significant time.
However, Pronger has only played half the team's games this year and nevertheless they sit atop the Eastern Conference standings.
What went right?
Notice how I didn't write "What went wrong?"
This was a clear underestimation of what exactly GM Paul Holmgren did this past offseason. By making the drastic moves he did, Holmgren allowed other players to step up.
Instead of watching Jeff Carter miss wide-open nets on the power play, we see guys like Giroux, Jagr and James van Riemsdykcapitalizing on those opportunites by logging more minutes on the power play.
With a veteran like Pronger out there, his leadership now to guys like Talbot and Jagr is to give guidance to younger players as opposed to directions to the hottest drinking spots after games.
Since last summer up until now, I've been hearing names like Iginla and Stamkos involved in trade rumors for the Flyers.
This one could still be true, and for those of you getting up in arms about this, ask yourself: why should the Flyers make such a move?
For reasons against it, consider that first of all, the Flyers are on the edge of cap-hell with their already- heavy payroll.
What are those guys going to bring that will make up for what we have to give up?
Making a deal for such players like Iginla now would force the Flyers to give up guys like James VanRiemsdyk, Danny Briere, Scott Hartnell and Sergei Bobrovsky.
I know everyone is still stuck on Hartnell's underwhelming 2010 season. In case you didn't know, he's having a heck of a year right now. For further enlightenment on the Hartnell debate, check out my other article on the subject.
Right now, the Flyers are playing strong hockey at both ends of the rink. There's no need to shake up the roster and possibly erode the chemistry they have.
I chose Wayne Simmonds' picture because lately he has been the target for this myth. I swear, sometimes there is a negative rumor quota that some writers feel they need to fill.
First off, Wayne Simmonds has never been a prolific goal-scorer. He's been a gritty borderline agitator in the mold of a Dan Carcillo-type player but with a little more skill.
The real myth about Simmonds is that over the summer leading up into early season, rumblings of Simmonds being the face of the Flyers' franchise started to take form.
This was ridiculous to begin with. The guy was never even a 20-plus goal-scorer, nor ever any kind of all-star. He wasn't even a high draft pick.
If you raced out to support him after the banana incident by buying a jersey, fine, he deserved it, but don't act like you expected him to be an Art Ross finalist. If you did that, you flat-out fooled yourself.
To say now that he is not meeting expectations is just hogwash, as his numbers are right in line with his career averages.
Jakub Voracek is another guy who has been a target of criticism. While I concede he was expected to replace Jeff Carter and hasn't quite done that, he still has shown some flash with a new team.
His recent chemistry with Max Talbot and the aforementioned Simmonds is nothing to scoff at. So what if he can't beat out Scott Hartnell, Jaromir Jagr and James Vanriemsdyk for first or second line minutes?
In Laviolette's system, there really is no first, second or third line, as he likes to roll three scoring lines. If Voracek and Talbot can head up a potent third line, so be it. Like the old saying goes, "The best defense is a potent offense."
This is another easy way to fill air-time by the media.
Yes, Bryzgalov has had struggles of late.
No, it is not unusual for him to hit slumps.
However, he has played good enough for the Flyers to sit atop the Conference as they do now.
He played strong enough to hold the relentless Penguins last night to only two goals in a dramatic win.
He played strong enough in other games to win before this, but people want to focus on the four or five bad games he did have early in the season.
Another contributing factor to this poor play was about half a dozen goals kicked or deflected in by his own defensemen.
Plus, he really has been the victim of some wicked bad bounces like the third goal against Buffalo Wednesday night.
As John Boruk and Bill Clement pointed out last night during the post game show, he does not start games well but gets stronger as games go along and plays really well with a one-goal lead late in games.
With that said, I think that is just as indicative on the rest of the team's play as it is Bryzgalov.
Yes, I know you doubters out there still want to harp on how he got aired out by Detroit two years in the playoffs. Guess what? As I write this I'm also watching the replay of last night's game on the NHL network where Detroit is toasting Phoenix 5-0.
It's safe to say at this point Detroit just has Phoenix's number regardless of who is in net.
This one has been more conversational speculation than written dogma. However, it is silly enough to make it to the top of this list.
I really hate to rip on Bob here as I believe he's going to make some hockey club really happy one day.
It's still possible Holmgren can work some salary-cap magic and keep him, allowing him to learn behind Ilya Bryzgalov the way another Flyer great, Pelle Lindbergh, did behind Pete Peeters.
However, until he's either traded or ascends to the starter position, the undercover fans from rival teams will scream for him to start and the trade mongers will demand he be traded.
Sometimes I think fans just want to make a trade to make trade. I have news for those of you that feel this way: the grass is not always greener on the other side.
Remember the Chris Versteeg trade last year?
I personally am not sure as to which one will happen, but for now Bobrovsky has shown me nothing to say he's better than Bryzgalov right now.
Bobrovksy himself has looked woeful at times and continues to struggle with anything going top shelf.
Sure, his save percentage and goals against are slightly better, but Bryzgalov has made bigger saves and won bigger games.
The bigger games is where Bobrovsky seems to look like a deer in the headlights. Last year, he started the season great, only to fold down the stretch. Give him a few years to season in this league, though, and he could hop over that hurdle.
Knowing that Bryzgalov is a goalie that gets better as the season and games go on, do you really want to find yourself on that same old Philly-goalie carousel come playoff time? No, I didn't think so.
For now, take your lumps with Bryzgalov. He's been paid the big contract; let him earn it. He's also on a new team, which sometimes requires an adjustment period.
Again, Bryzgalov has been good enough to win the big games this year. That's really all that matters.
Hope you guys enjoyed. Please feel free to leave comments or insults below!