What Now?

The Philadelphia Flyers are one of the most interesting enigmas of a hockey team in the entire league. In a series with their bitter cross-state rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Flyers managed to sweep two games, only to concede an embarrassing loss the next series. So, are the Flyers a talented team, loaded with depth? Or are they a walking dumpster fire who deserve nothing but the worst? As a true Philadelphia fan, I love to judge my team one game at a time. So, what are the Flyers?

On one hand, the Flyers are a powerful team that are full of talent and depth. During their two game series with the Penguins, they were able to win while only showing a bit of rust. Now, I understand that the Penguins are a dying organization, but the Flyers were able to make quick work of them, and no game against Pittsburgh is an easy one for the Flyers. With Sean Couturier suffering an unfortunate injury early in game two against the ‘Guins, Philly was able to call up one of their rising stars in Morgan Frost. Morgan is no Sean Couturier, but getting the young gun NHL experience can only be a good thing. During the Pittsburgh v Philadelphia series, we saw many defensive breakdowns and some sloppy play; which can be expected at the beginning of the season. But, luckily for the Flyers, the Penguins were worse. Now here is the burning question: Were the Flyers the better team, or were the Penguins just worse? I believe that while the Flyers were the better team, Pittsburgh was definitely a step behind the entire series. This would be the complete opposite, as seen in last night’s game.

In yesterday’s game, the Flyers were obviously the slower team. I cannot count how many times the Flyers lost puck battles along the boards. In a 6-1 loss to Buffalo (thanks to NAK for scoring so we did not get shutout), the Flyers were sluggish and lifeless. In true Philadelphia fashion, the Flyers followed up a Pittsburgh sweep with a devastating loss to the Sabers, who were previously winless. It is mind-baffling how a team can follow up two wins against one of their most hated rivals with a horrible loss. I just don’t know what the issue is … is it sluggishness from not playing for so many days? Or is there a larger issue? The Flyers are definitely a good club, one of the best in the East in-fact. But, I think there are some issues that they could work on. Losing Coots is a big offensive and defensive loss, but there are some issues that the Flyers could fix without Sean. First of all, the defense needs to step-up. With Matt Niskanen retiring, there was a gaping hole in the core that is the Flyers defense. Philadelphia attempted to fix this by getting Erik Gustafsson, former Blackhawks and Flames defenseman. But, it quickly seems that Erik is just an older Ghost; very offensive minded and little thought about defense. If the Flyers want to be a successful club, then they need hone in on their defensive skills.

The Flyers are definitely a good club, one of the best in the East in-fact. But I think there are some issues that they could work on. Losing Coots is a big offensive and defensive loss, but there are some issues that the Flyers could fix without Sean. First of all, the defense needs to step-up. With Niskanen retiring, there was a gaping hole in the core that is the Flyers defense. Philadelphia attempted to fix this by getting Erik Gustafsson, former Blackhawks and Flames defenseman. But it quickly seems that Erik is just an older Ghost; very offensive minded and little thought about defense. If the Flyers want to be a successful club, then they need hone in on their defensive skills.

Another issue, that is not so much of a problem now, is getting the big guns scoring. Giroux and Voráček have yet to score this year. I know that we are only in four games, but Travis Konecny has already potted a hat-trick, so there really is no excuse for these guys; they need to score. Last year’s playoffs saw a scoring drought for many of the stars on the Flyers, but some of those guys have already proved to us that this is a new season. If the Flyers want to win, they need to see some production from their big guns.

Hopefully they bounce back soon.

By: Ryan Meyer (@RyanLMeyer)

Photo Credit: PhillyVoice, BuffaloNews.

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