Flyers: Must Get Back to Basics During Break

Injuries. Slumping power-play. Troubling penalty kill. Lack-of-scoring. Goaltending issues. Lack of desperate play for 60 minutes.

That explains the Philadelphia Flyers for the past two weeks. The Flyers just dropped their fifth loss in their past six games last night when the Atlanta Thrashers shut them out 1-0. Although they did throw 36 shots on Johan Hedberg, once again it was the power-play and lack of quality shots that haunted this injury riddled snake-bitten Philadelphia hockey club.

Things have to change and change quickly. The Atlantic division isn’t stalling for anybody. The New Jersey Devils and the Pittsburgh Penguins refuse to lose as of late. In their last 10 games the Devils are 7-2-1 whereas the Pens are 6-4. The Flyers are 5-6 in that same span. Their in a three-way tie for last place with the NY Rangers and the Islanders.

Defensemen Chris Pronger made some statements last night that basically sum up the past six games for this team.

“We’re playing well enough to keep it close, but we’re not getting it to the finish line,” Chris Pronger said. “Tonight, we had too many passengers. We need everyone on the same page for 60 minutes for us to win. Right now, that is costing us games. I’m sure down the road, these points are going to be important.

“We need to get our heads screwed on straight real fast and use these three-to-four days to get sharp, tighten up some areas, and get everyone on the same page. You don’t want to fall too far behind the pack. You want to be continually improving and not taking two steps backward and one forward.”

He is absolutely right. This has been a slump that ends as quickly as it began. The division isnt getting any easier and these points that are being lost could haunt this team come playoff time. I will accept the injury excuse to a certain extent.

Then i’ll look at the Devils and Penguins and look at how well they did when they had their superstars out of the lineup. Good teams, Stanley Cup teams overcome those injuries.

The Flyers have to push forward and play with an act of desperation. As if their season is on the line every night. That’s the position they’ve put themselves in; however, it could turn out to be the right way to think and play. There is way too much talent and leadership in that locker room for this team to look as bad as they have. 

“You need guys to step up and take advantage of their opportunities,” Pronger said. “Not only getting a chance to play in the league, but kill penalties, play on the power play. It’s an opportunity for them to show they belong. We need other guys to step up and play not only well, but excel but perform above expectations.”

Coach John Stevens’ job will get tougher from here. What looked to be a promising November turned out to be close to a disaster. November has to be put in the rear-view mirror immediately.

Why?

December doesn’t get any easier. Actually, this upcoming month will be the toughest for the Flyers. Seven out of their 15 December games are against division opponents including a home-and-home with the Penguins. The Flyers were 7-6 in Nov. They must come out with double-digit wins when the Holidays season ends.

Stevens and his leadership group have to get this team back to playing Flyers hockey. That’s gritty, fierce, consistent, and productive hockey. They have to create their own breaks which comes with some luck and effort.

“We had a lot of good chances we just have to score and bear down,” said Flyers captain Mike Richards. “We’ve got to get gritty around the net, find loose pucks and get back to getting some ugly goals around the net.”

I believe this team is a lot better than what we have seen. I think their going to prove it this month or else your watching a team who has Stanley Cup aspirations possibly miss the playoffs. But in no way should you, as a fan, be thinking that way. It’s still too early to panic.

Quotes: Flyers

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Comments
2 Responses to “Flyers: Must Get Back to Basics During Break”
  1. matt says:

    i agree that its no time to panic, its not like they’re in last place. but this team is way too good to be playing average hockey. the guys are saying all the right things about needing to play better etc..but the bottom line is they’ve actually got to do it, not just say they need to do it.. i know its still early in the season, but you dont want to fall too far behind teams like new jersey & pittsburgh. hopefully these few days off will be put to good use and we will see a much different flyers team on thursday

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