The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Let me tell you a story about how I got my first concussion during a high school soccer game.

As I stood on the puddled-filled pitch, I looked up at my opponents from across the field. Rain droplets fell down rapidly, making the already sloppy field soaked. As I gazed over at each and every individual opposing player, I suddenly locked eyes with a number 17. He had black hair, beady eyes, and was as tall as the Empire State building. It is almost that I knew that something would happen between me and this player. As the game started, tensions immediately grew. (If you ever played soccer whilst it was raining, then you would know that slide tackling and fighting was much more common; and our game was no exception). Within the first few minutes, each team received yellow cards. Everyone was wet, and everyone was angry … and then it happened. Right before the first half ended, the opposing team received a corner. As a defensive player, I was tasked with marking someone inside the six. As the ball was slung into the penalty box, number 17, the man who I was marking, jumped up. As he jumped, his knee struck me right in the head … and that’s all she wrote. I blacked out for a few seconds and woke up dazed and confused. I couldn’t see clearly, my hearing was impaired, and my body hurt. As I rolled over and looked towards our goal, I could see that our goalie made the save, which was the only thing I cared about in the moment. While we might have won the game in the end, I don’t think my sacrifice was worth it. After that moment, I was concussed for 2-3 weeks.

Now, you may wonder, why in the world would I tell you this story? Who cares if I got a concussion a couple years ago? Well, I’ll tell you why. That moment of confusion after getting knocked out is how this Flyers season has been so far. Confusion, pain, anger, and sadness. But somehow, in someway, we are still doing alright. With so many injuries and unfortunate events that have occurred this season, you would think that the Flyers would have been sent down to the AHL already … but no. The Flyguys have battled through adversity, and are currently sitting in a wild card spot (as of January 16th). Whether or not the boys make the playoffs, I am certain that this team will make sure that you undergo the maximum amount of stress that one can endure. Brotherly Puck readers and Flyers fans, enjoy my analysis about the Philadelphia Flyers season; The good, the bad and the ugly.

The Philadelphia Flyers, the Flyguys, the Broad Street Bullies … whatever you wanna call them, have had a very interesting 2019-2020 season. Whether it’s Travis Konecny having his breakout season, or Oskar Lindblom (#OskarStrong) unfortunately contracting a rare form of cancer, this year has been very eventful, for better and for worse. Some feel that this season has been an overall success, believing that we are a cup-contending team. Others believe that this season has been a bust, with all of the injuries that have occurred. Well I am here to tell you that my opinion is right. In this take, I will be discussing what the Flyers have done well during the season, and what they have done poorly. Enjoy.

The Good

Let’s be honest here … Flyers fans (Twitter) are horrible. Everyone is so negative, and no one can agree with one another. So let’s start on a positive note, shall we?

Travis Konecny is really good at the hockey

Huh, who knew that Konecny was elite? Watching Travis play hockey this season is like watching your baby take its first steps; it’s beautiful. Konecny hasn’t slowed down his incredible play since the season started in October. With 40 points on the season (15 G, 25 A), Travis has shown everyone why he is on this team. Throughout this breakout season, Konecny has been showing off his speed, shot accuracy, and vision. With only 45 games played, Konecny is only 10 points behind his career high of 49 points (24 G, 25 A). Not only has Konecny shown us why he belongs on this team, but he has become a leader on and off the ice. He is clutch in situations when we need a goal, will fight anyone who messes with Cahtah Hart, and will chirp any Penguin that gets in his way. In the next few years, I could see Travis rising the ranks and becoming an assistant captain and maybe even captain. This year has been a breakout season for Travis, and I don’t see him slowing down anytime soon.

Ivan Provorov is back and better than ever

Enjoy this haiku about my favorite Russian, Ivan Provorov.

Provorov Is Back

Must Have Huffed Some Russian Gas

Ivan Is Elite

He’s back baby! After one long and painful season of horrible play, Provorov is officially back and better than ever. For some time, Ivan forgot how to play hockey … and it was bad to watch. Whatever Ivan’s issues were last year, he must’ve gotten over them pretty quickly. This year has been a complete 360 degree turn, with Provorov being the Flyers most consistent defenseman this year. If this year has shown us anything at all, it is that his rookie year wasn’t just a fluke. Provorov is an elite defenseman, and he has the skill to prove it. He is fast, a nimble skater, has excellent vision, and comes up clutch when Cahtah or Moose can’t do it all. He already has 25 points (9 G, 16 A), one less than his total production from last year (7 G, 19 A). On top of all of this, Provorov is always on the ice. I mean ALWAYS. His told time on ice this year is 24:54 minutes, which is unbelievable. The amount of time that Provy is on the ice has shown us that he is a leader who helps guide his fellow teammates to play better. He has been nothing less than fantastic this year. Welcome back Ivan.

Our penalty kill is outstanding

Yeah, you read the title. Our penalty kill IS outstanding. The reason why our PK has been so prolific is because of two players; Kevin Hayes and Sean Couturier. These two have made our penalty kill so good and I would bet that they would score a goal before our power-play would. Kevin Hayes has been one of the best additions to the Flyers in recent years. His strength and ability to read passes has made our PK so much better. Just last game against the Blues, the Flyers killed multiple penalties against the Stanley Cup Champions. Couturier has been incredible this year, likely to be a Selke trophy nominee. His play during the penalty kill has been fantastic. Similar to Hayes, he can read passes very well, and is excellent at pushing his opponents to the outside using his size. The penalty kill has saved many games for the Flyers, and I hope that they will keep it that way.

Kevin

“You’re wrong. I am right. He is overpaid. He can’t score a goal. He is from Boston. He is ba….” -Some uneducated Flyers fan arguing with me on twitter, probably.

Kevin Hayes is everything that a typical Flyers player embodies and more. With more clutch plays than anyone on this team has had all year, Mr. Kevin Hayes has been rock solid. His strength and size allows him to out-muscle most opponents that go against him. His production has been outstanding, scoring 14 goals and assisting 12 times for a total of 26 points. Along with his offensive production, Kevin has been a defensive star. On 5v5, Hayes has been able to disrupt plays, take advantage of loose pucks, and create clean entries into the offensive zone. And as I said up above, Kevin’s penalty killing ability has been fantastic all year. He can play defensive and score goals! Can this man do it all? I think so.

The Bad

This is where it gets fun. Enjoy!

Jakub Voráček is VERY streaky

Ah, Jake Voráček. Such an interesting player to talk about. Some games he looks like Wayne Gretzky, and some games I feel that I could play better than him, and I can’t even skate. Like last season and years prior, Jake has been the epitome for mediocre Flyers hockey. Honestly, I am tired of seeing Jake play well for a few games and then totally burn out and not score a goal in 10 games. After watching this for a few years, I can finally say that I would be happy to trade Voráček. While his production is always “pretty good”, I just don’t think “pretty good” is adequate anymore. On the season, he has 37 points ( 9 G, 28 A), which is fine. See al the words I am using to describe his play? (good, average, fine). Unless Jake can fine a long-term rhythm, then I don’t see him on this team anymore.

Phil Myers getting burned like it’s his job

Let’s discuss one of the kids. I have always liked Philippe for his size, strength, and offensive prowess. But this year, Myers has been plagued by horrible defensive decisions. While players like Robert Hagg and Ghost are always berated for when they make horrible plays, Myers seems to always skid past from any real criticism. But recently, he has been making some very questionable plays that eventually lead to bad turnovers and sometimes goals. Another issue Myers has is getting beaten on the rush. Multiple times this season, I have watched Phil get completely burned on the ice. While these two issues are things you do not wanna see from a defenseman, I think that Phil will eventually grow into the NHL star that he was sought out to be. His production this year has been much better, producing 14 points (3 G, 11 A). And I do think that the more experience he gets in the NHL, the less mistakes he will begin to make. Don’t count out Myers yet … this is just the beginning.

The Ugly

This is where it gets ugly, hence the title. Enjoy, I guess.

Slow Starts

Not much in this one. This year has been cursed by slow starts. At this point, I am always happy to see the Flyers only down by one goal in the first, instead of four. The Flyers need to solve this issue because if they don’t, then I do not see this team going far in the playoffs. They need to get this together ASAP.

James Frederick van Riemsdyk

I am convinced JVR does not know how to play hockey. At this point, I am seriously considering learning how to skate and play hockey just so I can try out for the Flyers and replace James myself. I have no idea what is wrong with this guy. He can’t score, and he can’t make plays, and if he makes that stupid spin move in front of the crease one more time on the power play, I am going to rip my hair out. The pigeon is not playing NHL calibre hockey at all. Hell, I wouldn’t even put him on my street hockey team. He only has 25 points total on the season (12 G, 13 A), and most of his goals were garbage time goals. This is not the same JVR that was on the Leafs. I think that the real pigeon flew away and the one playing for us is a fraud … because this guy is just awful.

The PowerPlay

I don’t even know what to say about this one. I would have more faith in our penalty kill scoring a goal than our power play. The Flyers just cannot not seem to solve this issue. Other than Wednesday night’s beautiful goal by Konecny, the PP has been pretty horrible. G is on the wrong side, JVR keeps doing his ridiculous move that never works, and if we keep doing the ole’ chip and chase strategy to enter the zone, i’m going to tear my eyes out. There are multiple things that our coaching staff could do to improve our power-play, but nothing has changed. Personally, I do not like JVR on the top line and moving G would help a ton. If some of these changes are put into effect, I believe that our power-play could improve immensely. But for now, it is still awful.

Injuries

This one doesn’t have much to it. The Flyers have been bitten by the injury bug this year, and there isn’t much they can do about it. Unless our medical doctors have discovered how to fix upper and lower body injuries in one day, then our team is stuck the way it is until our boys get healthy. Here is the depressing list of our injuries.

Carter Hart: 2-3 weeks for abdominal strain

Oskar Lindblom: Out indefinitely for cancer treatment (#OskarStrong)

Nolan Patrick: IR for migraines and head trauma

Justin Braun: Will possibly return January 18th for a groin injury

Shayne Gostisbehere: 3 weeks for knee injury that requires surgery

Sorry to end on a depressing note. But thats that way it goes. If the Flyers want to be a Stanley Cup contender, then they need to solve these issues. Getting some players back will help, but issues like the power-play need to be fixed. But, nonetheless, Go Flyers.

By: Ryan Meyer (@ryanlmeyer)

pc: nbc sports, newsdays, crossingbroad

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