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Philadelphia Flyers: Are They the New Islanders?

Bill SudellContributor IDecember 23, 2009

After another lackluster effort against Florida, the Flyers find themselves with 14 losses in their last 17 games. Consider some of these staggering facts for the team The Hockey News picked to win the Stanley Cup:

  • 32 points in 35 games. Only Carolina has fewer in the NHL (And now the Flyers starting goalie is a guy the 'Canes released earlier this month)
  • Mike Richards and Jeff Carter lead the Flyers with 27 points which is tied for 56TH in the NHL.
  • Seven points out of the final playoff spot in the East
  • Five goals in the last four games and 18 in 11 December contests
  • One win and 14 goals scored in their last eight homes games (eight goals scored in the seven losses)
  • No first round pick in 2010 (Traded to Anaheim)

Not much has changed since John Stevens was let go on December 4. While Peter Laviolette's post-game press conferences may be more exciting, the product on the ice sure looks the same.
 
No effort. No urgency. No structure. No.....nothing.
 
The atmosphere in the Wachovia Center Monday night was unlike any I've seen at a Flyers home game in years. The fans were unusually quiet until the third period when the mob turned ugly. One fan had a bag on his head. Venom was being spewed not at the visiting Panthers, but on the home team. Nobody was free from criticism. Pronger, Richards, Hartnell, Carter, Leighton, Holmgren....the fans had something to say about anyone in an orange jersey. Even PA announcer Lou Nolan was terrible, pronouncing names incorrectly and mixing up teams and players. I haven't seen a crowd that frustrated since the early 1990's when the Spectrum faithful would chant "Jay must go" in reference to team president Jay Snider.
 
Where has this team gone wrong?

  1. Way too may penalties. The Flyers lead the NHL with 18.2 PIM/gm, and 191 minors against. Hartnell leads the league with 25 minor penalties and the PK has slipped to 26th overall.  
  2. Too many muckers and grinders. On any given night, why do the Flyers need Carcillo, Asham, Laperriere, Cote all dressed? On Monday, Florida was looking for a fight-filled contest so Cote was inserted for Mika Pyorala. Cote played a grand total of 1:04. When Darrell Powe comes back, wow, add another mucker. To their credit, Lappy and Carcillo have been the most energetic and noticeable Flyers of late. The same could be said for Powe before he got hurt.
  3. For all the talk about goaltending, that isn't what ails the Flyers. I disagree with CSNPhilly's Tim Panaccio's assessment that Michael Leighton looked over-matched against Florida. The two goals he allowed in relief were on a deflection and laser to the top corner from the dot. No chance for any goalie on those. Patrick Roy circa 1993 could've played for the Flyers this month and not much would be different in the standings. The goals have dried up, not the goaltending.
  4. Power play is 4-for-33 over the last seven games including 0-for-7 against Florida.
  5. JVR has gone cold. One goal in 17 games.  
  6. What has happened to Braydon Coburn? To say he's been awful this year would be putting it mildly.
  7. With Powe returning this week, injuries are no longer an excuse. Aside from in goal, the Flyers are a healthy hockey team.

What needs to be done?

  • Does Mike Richards need to relinquish the captaincy to Chris Pronger?
  • Are the rumors about Carter messing around with Hartnell's wife too crazy to be true?
  • Any truth to what Jeremy Roenick said on TSN that something or someone must be poisoning the dressing room since there is too much talent for this team to be so brutal?
  • Is a trade necessary just for the sake of change?
  • Should the Flyers take a run at potential free agent Ilya Kovalchuk? One rumor had Carter, Coburn and Giroux headed south for Kovy...is that too much?

All these questions, and really no clear cut answers...Unfortunately I could keep going but it's all making my head hurt. Nothing cures better than a few wins...

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