Archive for October, 2009

Ten-Game Mark: Thoroughly Mediocre

Posted in Uncategorized on October 29, 2009 by flyersfan44

After the first ten games of the season, the Flyers are a thoroughly mediocre 5-4-1. The same familiar issues that have plagued the team have surfaced again this year: failure to maintain intensity for entire games, difficulty clearing the puck out of their own zone, failure to score on opportunities, poor coverage in front of their net at times, poor face-off percentage, and a lackadaisical attitude at times. How can these same problems continue without correction? It looks as though we’re in for more of the same up and down inconsistency that we’ve seen from this team over the last several years. The only difference is that now we’re paying more for tickets and parking for the privilege of watching it.

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Flyers Score a Shootout Victory Over Boston

Posted in Uncategorized on October 23, 2009 by flyersfan44
Claude Giroux scores the winning shootout goal against Boston.

Claude Giroux scores the winning shootout goal against Boston.

After a ridiculously long layoff, the Flyers returned to the ice against Boston at the Wachovia Center on Thursday. They didn’t play great, but battled the Bruins to a 3-3 tie through regulation and overtime. The prospect of a shootout was not particularly exciting given the Flyers’ 13-26 record in shootouts to date. Sitting behind the Bruins net, my buddy Chick and I braced for another shootout loss and when Danny Briere shot wide on the first shot we figured our skepticism was justified. With no one having scored through the first four shots, Claude Giroux beared down on goalie Tukka Rask and with four or five lightning-quick dekes left him sprawled in front of the net before backhanding the puck into the cage. Giroux is sick. He has moves with the puck that are ridiculous. The Bruins hit the post on their last shot and the Flyers came away with the win. OK, they didn’t play great after a long layoff but we’ll take the victory. Don’t get too excited, however, until this team can put together a good winning streak and avoid losing two or three games in a row.

Other Observations
The Flyers’ new line of Ian Laperriere (#14), James van Riemsdyk (#21), and Claude Giroux (#28) played really well, creating alot of opportunities and moving the puck around really quickly. Chick, a math teacher, observed that they all wear numbers that are divisible by seven. (He notices things like that). So I challenged him to come up with a name for the line, since the Flyers haven’t had a named line since the Legion of Doom in the mid-90s. He thought briefly and then said “Powers of Seven”. Now, this name may need explaining to the typical, mathmatically unaware fan, but I think it’s a great name that would be cool if it caught on.

The Wachovia Center scoreboard showed a Phillies video during a stoppage in play, celebrating the Phils’ victory over the Dodgers in the NLCS. As the fans cheered, just for fun we began a “Yankees Suck” chant, much to the consternation of a patron seated somewhere behind us, who yelled “It’s a hockey game!”. I’m not sure if he was from New York (or maybe northern Bucks County) but he is no Philadelphian. Anytime we have the public opportunity to demean New York (and celebrate our city’s own success), we’re going to take it. A few minutes later, the scoreboard showed a commercial for the upcoming NHL Winter Classic outdoor game between the Flyers and Bruins to be held at Fenway Park and showed Flyers and Bruins players “facing-off” at home plate. Not passing up the opportunity to demonstrate to our misguided commentator behind us his utter misunderstanding regarding the mixing of different sports, I yelled “It’s a hockey game!”.

Parking at the Wachovia Center was suddenly raised from an outrageous $12 to an even more outrageous $15. Too bad Flyers’ management can’t squeeze the amount of effort from their players that they squeeze in money out of their customers.

This Season’s Flyers Looking Very Familiar

Posted in Uncategorized on October 17, 2009 by flyersfan44

It’s still early in the season, but this year’s Flyers team is starting to look like the squad we saw last season – win a few, lose a few, and fail to play up to capabilities. After winning their first three games, the Flyers have lost their next three including a completely dull effort against the Most Boring Team in the League, the Florida (Yawn) Panthers. Playing their first game in nearly a week thanks to some brilliant schedule-making by the NHL, the Flyers squandered a 2-1 lead, then allowed the Panthers to score the winning goal shorthanded in the third period. Evidently feeling sorry for the Panthers’ lowest-rated offense in the league that was averaging 1.6 goals per game, the Flyers’ defense repeatedly allowed Panthers forwards to stand around alone in front of goalie Ray Emery.

This is a Flyers team whose opinion of itself is at a much higher level than its night-in night-out level of play. That’s a shame, because this team should win 50 games and attain 110-115 points this season. Instead, it looks as though they’re going to be up and down – not terrible, but not moving up a step either – and finish with the same 90 points that they usually finish with. They get too easily satisfied with a good game or two and don’t have the drive, passion, and determination to do what it takes to break into the upper echelon of the league in terms of performance. There are too many laid-back characters and so far no leadership (player leaders or coaching) pushing them to put out the consistent effort that is needed. Management decides to have the players spend a week in Florida boating and fishing after the season starts so they can “bond”. Are you kidding?! They don’t need fun, chummy times together; they need to get in each other’s faces and push each other to produce because right now they’re much better on paper than on the ice where it counts.

Hurricanes, Devils, and Other Scary Things

Posted in Uncategorized on October 9, 2009 by flyersfan44

The Flyers looked great at the start of the season, shutting out Carolina in the opener, 2-0 and then defeating the Devils in New Jersey, 5-2. They beat a very good Capitals team in overtime but surrendered five goals and then faced the hated Penguins in a rematch of last spring’s playoff series.

Realizing that they will have to beat the Penguins if they’re going to seek to take the division, conference, or Cup, the Flyers came out flat at the Wachovia Center. Their passing was not sharp, they had no speed coming out of their own zone, and had defensive lapses that resulted in several goals. A poor line change resulted in a breakaway goal by Bill Guerin.

Looks like a repeat of last year is materializing. The team gets satisfied with a couple good games and then fails to do the things that must be done in order to win. We’ll see now if their off-season acquisitions – Chris Pronger, Ray Emery, and Ian Laperriere – will be able to do what they’re supposed to be good at: lighting a fire under laid-back players who don’t produce the effort necessary to win. We’ll see if coach John Stevens, whose quiet and laid-back approach has been blamed for the team’s laid-back efforts, will be able to get the most out of a talented roster. If he doesn’t, I will guarantee this will be his last season in Philly.