Sunday, December 27, 2009

2 in a row!?

On paper, last nights game probably didnt get anyones heart racing. Carolina is the worst team in the league, & the Flyers are struggling bigtime. But the game turned out to be one of the more entertaining ones I've watched in quite some time. I was pumped when Danny Briere made it 3-0, but then all hell broke loose, & in the blink of an eye, the game was tied 3-3. Overtime was back & forth with both teams getting several quality scoring chances. Im a fan of the shootout, but it would have been neat to see overtime keep going the way it was.

If the Flyers played the way they played in the 3rd period last night against a team like Washington or Pittsburgh, they would have gotten killed. But the fact is they did what they had to do to beat the team they were playing. A win over the Canes counts for the same amount of points as a win over any other team. Bill Clement said it best on the post game when he said that this game showed how far the Flyers have come under Peter Laviolette, and it shows how far they still have to come.

Theres no doubt that the previous couple & next couple games are against some of the weaker teams in the east, compared to the stretch that they were playing when Laviolette took over. But wins are wins, and this team its gaining confidence back. There is no reason why we cant take 4 points from the New York teams over the next couple days and take that momentum into Fenway on Friday. Im not saying were back on track yet, but were certainly alot closer than we were a few days ago

LETS GO FLYERS!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Why care??

There is a huge problem in Flyerland. We care too much. Why should we care so much when its obvious that the players dont. They never show up. If we're lucky, they'll give us a period of good hockey. But more often than not, we'll get "efforts" like we saw last night & like on Saturday against the Rangers. Undisclipined, uninspired, & unorganized. Why should they care? They've all got their multi-million dollar contracts, they've got their fame & fortune. They should care for the same reasons the fans care; we are proud of the Philadelphia Flyers organization & what it stands for. We care about the history of the 1970's Broad Street Bullies, we care because of the toughness & grit of the 80's teams, we care because of the Legion of Doom years of the late 90's, we care because of the heart that the teams of the early 2000's showed, we care because we spend thousands of our hard earned dollars each & every year on tickets, jerseys, merchandise, etc, as well as countless hours of watching this "team" play what it calls hockey. If we care so much, why cant they show up for 60 minutes, 3-4 days a week?

Maybe it would be a good idea to get as many "real Flyers" together with this team, like Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber, Bernie Parent, Bob Kelley, Gary Dornhoffer, Dave Shultz, Tim Kerr, Dave Brown, Ron Hextall, Dave Poulin, John LeClair, Keith Primeu, Jeremy Roenick, etc.. and have them talk to the team. Knowing some of the 1970's guys, Im sure the conversation would go something like this; "You guys are a fucking disgrace, you have no heart, and you have no business representing that logo on your jersey" But Im sure it would fall on deaf ears. After all, these guys have their contracts, their fortunes, and apparently thats what the most important thing is to these guys.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Baby Steps

Bottom line is, we lost. But its the holiday season & I'm trying to look for some positives.

-We got a point in the standings...woohoo!

-They played a full game, and looked pretty darn good. Had Fleury not stood on his head in the 3rd, we would have won

-Jeff Carter showed up. Maybe the trade rumors are getting to him, hopefully this type of effort from him will continue

-Boosh looked great against one of the best offenses in the league

-We hung shift for shift, with the defending champs

Some negatives

-Pronger hasnt looked the same in the last couple games, maybe he's playing hurt a little?

-We didnt get calls. Yeah I know we never do, (especially against the Pens) but Malkin & Hartnell went down, then Malkin got in a couple cheap shots. C'mon, when its obvious, you've gotta call it. Had it been the other way around, you know it would have gotten called.

-Maybe it was just the area I was sitting in, but it didnt seem to be a Flyers/Pens crowd until the 3rd period. However during the 3rd, it felt like a playoff atmosphere

-That damn Crosby scored the shooutout winner. Couldnt have ended worse. Im the biggest Crosby hater out there, but even I've got to admit, the kid has a ton of talent

Ok I just said something nice about Sidney Crosby, Ive gotta go take a shower & wash this feeling off me

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Good vs Evil Round 2

Tonight is the type of game you live for as a Flyers fan. Head to head against arguably our biggest/most hated rival-the Pittsburgh Penguins. These teams are slowly becoming the Red Sox & Yankees of the NHL, not because of the successes on the ice, Pittsburgh has only been good for the last few years, and the Flyers havent made it to the finals since 1997.

The Penguins are at the top of my "hate list" Im not talking about just hockey teams, I hate the Pens more than any team in any sport. Most teams have at least a couple guys that I really like, there isnt a single guy on that team that I like even remotely. Their fans act like they are the best in hockey. Ill admit, they have a great home ice advantage now-a-days, but where were all these "fans" from '01-'06? Where were these "fans" when the team was literally hours away from being moved to Kansas City? The answer is they werent even following the team, but now that they are good again (thanks to an incredible 4 year draft run) all the "fans" come out of the woodwork. Now I'm sure that there are plenty of true fans who stuck with the team through thick & thin, but I would say at least half of them are prototypical frontrunners.

The Pens have had our number over the last couple seasons. They beat us in the '08 conference finals and last year in the 1st round, & as well as a 5-4 win earlier this season. Are they in our heads? I cant answer that, but I do know that 2 wins over these guys in the next 3 days may be just the medicine we need to get the season turned around. And I also know (as does anyone who's watched Flyers vs Pens over the last couple seasons) that this will be an incredibly physical affair. Last time these teams played, the game ended with Pronger manhandling Chris Kunitz & Scott Hartnell biting the finger of Kris Letang.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Laviolette not being Mr Nice Guy

The one major difference between John Stevens and Peter Laviolette is accountability. The Flyers were a very undisclipined team under Stevens, and still are to an extent so far under Laviolette. Although it seems like Laviolette wont stand for it. Rumor has it that Carcillo got a severe tounge lashing after his KO of Matt Bradley (it will be interesting to see how much ice time he gets in his return tonight) According to multiple articles that Ive read, Laviolette made Danny Briere skate hard, in front of everyone the other day in practice. On the surface, this is the perfect way to handle undisclipined play, if I were the coach, its the way I would do things.

But the risk he takes my being a "tough" coach is potentially losing the players. If they start winning again, then these hard practices might not be an issue. But if they go into January and God forbid even Febuary still playing the way they are and falling more and more out of the playoff race, there is a risk that some guys on the team will grow to hate Laviolette. Im not saying that its right or its wrong, but it would be no different than if you are I were having a bad stretch at work and the boss kept yelling at you. Hopefully every single player on this team will realize soon, real soon that there is no reason why they should be tied with the Maple Leafs!? near the bottom of the east. Time is slipping away quickly, keep coach'n em up Lavvy, and hopefully we get this thing turned around.

LETS GO FLYERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I miss game, apparently I didnt miss much

I was unable to watch last nights Flyers game, so I cant really give an analysis. But from all Ive read, it was a terrible game to watch if you're a Flyers fan. It appears they were thoroughly outplayed on every level. This team is getting hard to watch. Just when you think they will turn it around, (after Tuesday's win) they get outplayed badly in back to back games. They have the schedule from hell this week: @ Boston, @ Pittsburgh, then home against Pittsburgh & the Rangers. I dont think Im being pessismistic in saying that maybe only 1 win this week is realistic, if that.

Im running out of words to describe whats going on. By no means is this season over, they could go on a nice little winning streak over the next couple weeks and get back into the playoff picture, but as each game and each loss comes, thats becoming harder & harder to believe. What I love about this fan base though, is that win or lose, we are always there, we wont abandon the team, lets just hope that they dont abandon the season.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Slump? or maybe we're just not as good as we thought?

Quite honestly, Im not sure what the answer to that question is. The Flyers lost 2-0 last night to the Ottawa Senators. Thats now losses in 9 out of the last 11, and shutouts in 3 out of the last 6. The last part of that is what bothers me. This team is stacked offensively, they should be able to score at least 1 goal per game with their eyes closed. Brian Elliot played ok last night, anytime you get a shutout, you must have done something right. But the only quality scoring chance that the Flyers had was Hartnell's breakaway. With the exception of the game on Tuesday, the power play has completely disappeared. I think the McDonalds power play jackpot is up to 3 million dollars or something like that. I mentioned earlier, that I think you have to give them a pass over the next couple weeks as everyone adjusts to a new coach. But the problem is that these games count, and the points that they are losing now are going to effect them when we get towards playoff time.

Which brings up the question, is there a chance that this team dosent make the playoffs? If I had asked that question before the season, everyone would have thought I was crazy. But with the injury problems and inconsistency that this team is facing, it might not be inconceivable to see this team on the outside looking in come playoff time. I dont think it will happen. I think that this team is too talented to miss the playoffs, but if this slump goes on much longer, my opinion might change.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Crisis Over...Flyers back on track to win Stanley Cup

Ok, well not quite. But they are certainly heading in the right direction. Tuesday night, the orange & black dominated the Islanders 6-2. Ive stated several times over the last couple weeks that the Flyers needed a dominating win to get their mojo back-they got it. Ive also stated that the top players on this team need to start stepping up-they did. Richards, Carter, & Giroux each netted 2. The bad news out of the last couple days is that Ray Emery will miss 6 weeks after abdominal surgery. Which means Boosh will be the main man between the pipes. He is by no means Patrick Roy, but if the defense plays to its abilities, they should be ok. Although any lapse in defense/goaltending over the next couple weeks will lead to bad news, the Flyers have tough games coming up. Starting tonight against Ottawa, then at New Jersey, at Boston, at Pittsburgh, home against Pittsburgh, then home against the Rangers. Honestly, I'll be happy with splitting the next 6 games. Realistically, I think that is the best we can hope for.

Back to Emery. It looks like we have an explanation for why he played so poorly over the last couple weeks. This injury worries me. Its very similar to the injury that Danny Briere suffered last season. We all know how that played out. In the lineup, out of the lineup, re-injured, etc. This injury is tougher on a goaltender. Especially a butterfly goalie like Emery. In a perfect world, Emery comes back in 6 weeks, plays a few games, then gets to take a couple weeks to rest during the Olympic break, but as well all know, the world aint perfect.

I think the Flyers have to limit their expectations for him for the rest of the season, and Boucher has to mentally prepare himself to potentially be the starter for more than the next 6 weeks. Yet another reason for the offense (Im looking at you Carter) to step up. They potentially may have to win alot of 5-4 type games, especially over the next couple weeks.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

So now whats the excuse?

On a scale of 1-10, my frustration level with this team is 22. Stop me if you've heard this one before...the Flyers lost last night. In the 2nd game under new coach Peter Laviolette, the Flyers looked better, but still fell short. 3-1. I will say I loved watching the 1st period last night. I haven't seen them hustle that much in a long time, they had a very aggressive forecheck, which is something that Laviolette preaches. They only allowed 1 shot all period and overall looked like a completely different team. A sweet Danny Briere goal put the exclamation point on the period, but after that, the Habs had their way with us. As I said the other day, Im gonna give them a pass over the next couple weeks as they get used to the new coach, but that dosent mean that I cant be disappointed & frustrated, because I certainly am. How much worse can this get? Please dont tell me it wont. If it does continue to get worse, what happens next? Trade? If so, who goes, who would other teams want? Could me even make it work salary cap wise? Im hoping we never have to find out the answers to these questions.

On to something thats been bothering me for a few weeks now. As we all know, the team has been struggling. Theres been a lot of criticism to go around. John Stevens was widely criticised (heavily by me) He gets fired. Mike Richards leadership has been questioned/criticised. Injuries have been blamed. The power play has been blamed. Bonehead penalites have been blamed. But why hasnt anyone talked about Jeff Carter? He is supposed to be our top offensive threat. 46 goals last year, and so far, only 9 this year. To make things worse, he just seems to be floating around out there. Is it just me, or does he seem extra lazy this year? Skate up the side, lazy wrist shot from the circle, repeat. You cant score on NHL quality goalies that way. I expected to see Jeff come out on fire this year since he was playing for a spot on team Canada in the Olympics. Looks like I was wrong. The Flyers wont snap out of their scoring funk, until #17 snaps out of his. If he continues the whole year like this, could he possibly be traded for a 1st round pick at the draft? Dont forget, his contract is up at the end of next year, we dont have a 1st round pick this year thanks to the Pronger trade, and we need to lock up Giroux & JVR long term. Just a little something to think about.

Tonight the Flyers are back home against John Tavares & the Islanders. I honestly have no idea what to expect. I can see a dominating win, or a sloppy loss. Maybe I'm just being optimistic, but I think the combiniation of being at home & having a little more time with Laviolette will help the orange & black tonight. Right now the Sixers are getting more positive attention than the Flyers.......thats gotta change!!!


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Alot to get caught up on

Well Ive been away from my computer for a couple days, and in that time, alot happened in Flyerland.

Late Friday evening, the Flyers fired coach John Stevens. Needless to say, I was very happy with that move. I agree with Homer 100% that this team needed a "new voice" The new head man is former Stanley Cup winner, Peter Laviolette. Peter is a no nonsense kind of coach who preaches discipline and plenty of aggressiveness in the offensive zone-2 of the Flyers biggest problems under John Stevens. I have no doubt that this guy wont be the "buddy" to the players that Stevens appeared to be. Time will tell, but I think this is a great move for the orange & black.

To call last nights game horrible would be an understatement. Probably the worst game Ive ever been to. The game turned after the Dan Carcillo fight. Im not going to jump on the hate Carcillo bandwagon, (Im already on that bandwagon) But Ill give carbomb a pass on this one. If he knew that what he did, would cause a 9 minute powerplay, then he wouldnt have done it, even he's not that stupid. Seriously, a 9 minute powerplay?!?! Ive been watching hockey for a long time, and Ive never ever seen that. The Caps scored 3 during that 9 minute stretch, and that pretty much was it. Emery was pulled after 5 goals on 17 shots, Boucher came in and looked just as bad.

I knew that the Flyers would be sloppy last night. It was to be expected after having only 1 morning practice with a new coach, but the effort last night was pitiful. Im going to give them a pass for a couple weeks while they adjust to the new coach and he adjusts to them. But if they still look this bad after a couple weeks, then quite honestly, I wont know what to do. I dont think it will be a problem though, Laviolette is a good coach, and this roster is filled with alot of very talented players. With that being said, Im very interested to see how Laviolette handles this situation, and more importantly, how they play on Monday night in Montreal. It cant get any worse, right??

Friday, December 4, 2009

Flyers get shutout....again

Well at least "Its always sunny in Philadelphia" & "The League" were on last night, or else it would have been a complete waste of a night of television.

The Flyers lost to the Canucks last night 3-0. If your counting, thats now 6 losses in the last 8 games, & 8 periods in a row without scoring a goal. Last time I checked, its hard to win when the number in your section of the scoreboard reads "0".

This team knew this was a must win game. They had 4 days to prepare for it both physically & mentally, & they still lost. I realize that they were playing against one of the better teams in the west, & against one of the best goalies in the league, but in my opinion, there was no excuse for last night. When Aaron Asham is your best forward, thats a big problem. Nothing against Ash, but he is nothing more than a role player, and anything you get out of him is a plus. This team needs to be carried by its big guns. Richie looked ok last night, I loved the fight, great way to try to get things going. But can someone tell me where was Carter, Hartnell, Briere, Giroux, & JVR?

I cant remember the last time I was this frustrated with this team. Im only frustrated because I know that they can be so much better than this. 610 WIP reported that they had a closed door meeting after the game last night. If 4 days of thinking about how you need to improve & practicing didnt help, what will a closed door meeting do?

It certainly dosent get any easier on Saturday as the Washington Capitals come to town. They are without Ovie & Knuble, but they still pack a ton of firepower. Not exactly the type of team that you want to see when your struggling.

Ive said it before, & I'll say it again; how long will this team have to struggle before Homer does something? And what would that "something" be????


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gameday: Flyers vs Canucks.....

“We need to make it fucking happen on Thursday, it needs to fucking happen now, so we can get over that hump and get this ship headed into the right direction.”
-Chris Pronger

What else needs to be said???

LETS GO FLYERS!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Team at a crossroads?

I realize its early December, and there is still alot of hockey left to be played. If the Flyers go on a nice little 6 game win streak, all of this talk will be silenced. But for now, the fact is, the Flyers have lost 5 out of 7, there is heat on the head coach, and the team is suffering from the same problems from the last couple years; inconsistency/perceived lack of a full 60 minute effort.

You have to check the interview with Chris Pronger on where he talks about "walking a tightrope" in the locker room in regards to helping Mike Richards lead this team. Its a truly fascinating look into what Richards may or may not be like as a leader, and how others react to him. Im not saying Richards is a horrible captain or that he isnt, the fact is, its too soon to make judgements.

But the reality is, that this team needs to get its shit straight....NOW. We are in a highly competitive division/conference and we cannot afford to continually lose games/points in the standings. Teams like Pittsburgh, New Jersey, & Washington will be very difficult to catch if we spot them a huge lead in the standings.

Someone, anyone needs to do something, anything to get this team going. I dont care who, I dont care what. Being average isnt good enough for this organization or for the fans. The expectations for this team is not just to make the playoffs, its to make the playoffs and contend for a championship. Its time for everyone in the organization to look at themselves in the mirror realize that they are better than what they are showing, quit talking about what they need to do better, and go out there and do it...consistently.

A couple of impressive home wins over Vancouver & Washington will do alot to calm all of us down, if that dosent happen, how long does Homer wait to fix everything???