Philadelphia Flyers: This Is the Year

C KSenior Analyst IDecember 28, 2008

While skimming through my fantasy hockey team, I took a quick glance at the fantasy hockey message board (on ESPN). The topic that caught my eye was Stanley Cup predictions.

I noticed one thing: not much was said about the Philadelphia Flyers. All I saw was hate for the Flyers.

I don't understand why.

Yes, the Philadelphia Flyers have lost three out of their last five. Yes, the Philadelphia Flyers have inconsistent goaltending. Yes, the Philadelphia Flyers aren't the most talented team in the league. Yes, the Philadelphia Flyers don't even lead their own division.

But the Philadelphia Flyers do have the deepest group of forwards in the league. The Philadelphia Flyers do have a hugely improving core of defenseman. But most of all, the Philadelphia Flyers are the most resilient team in the entire league.

In a way, they remind me of the World Champion Phillies.

The Phillies were a bunch who never got too high, never got too low. They never got down on themselves when they hit a bump in the road, yet they never partied too hard when things were going great. Also, they both have the same personality. The group has a ton of fun, and includes a bunch of great characters.

But most of all, they are both resilient.

The Phillies would come back from any deficit they could. Take their 7-0 comeback over the Mets as a prime example. They played a full nine innings.

The Flyers do the same. Look at the 5-1 comeback against Carolina. They don't quit.

That's why I think this is their year. This is the year that they'll take home the Stanley Cup.

But it's more than just resilience. As I said above, their defense is improving so much every single day. Also, their offense is definitely enough to carry them through. But more importantly, their goaltending isn't that bad.

For example, Martin Biron played very well in the playoffs last season. He played about the same as he is this year, but stood tall when it mattered.

Also, Anterro Niittymaki, if you remember, played tremendously in the 2006 Winter Olympics. He's shown he can play when it counts.

There's not much negative in this team. They'll bounce back. They just need to get back to playing well on the road, which they usually do. Plus, these last two losses came off of a very busy time.

They didn't practice on Christmas Eve or Christmas, the NHL bent the rules and allowed them to fly in on the game day instead of the night before for the Chicago game, but it came back to haunt them.

The plane was delayed and they couldn't practice before the game. Then, after the Chicago game, they got on the plane at a late time, and lost an hour going to Columbus.

Don't worry about the team right now. They'll be fine. Their resilience will get them wherever they want to go.

People said the Phillies couldn't win with their starting pitching; they claimed that teams need a great pitcher to win. The same will happen here. Their goaltending will be enough, trust me.

This is a threatening team. They've got everything. Offense, defense, physical play, speed, resilience, and decent goalie play.

Mark my words, the Philadelphia Flyers WILL win the Stanley Cup.


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