Philadelphia Flyers: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The title of this blog, taken from Adam Kimelman’s <a href=http://www.amazon.com/Good-Ugly-Philadelphia-Flyers-Heart-pounding/dp/1600780210/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1238763721&sr=8-1″ target=”_blank”>book about the Flyers</a>, could easily describe the 2008-09 Flyers’ style of play.
Good: Look at the games against Pittsburgh and New Jersey. The Flyers played disciplined hockey, patiently waiting for opportunities and capitalizing on scoring chances. With Biron at his best in goal and the team solidified in front of him, they appeared to be a true contender in the East.
Bad: Consider their recent meeting at Nassau Colisseum with the Islanders. The young, offensively gifted recruits on Long Islander nearly stole two points from a Flyers team coming off strong victories over better clubs. Only the Islanders’ inexperience in sustaining a lead allowed Philadelphia to overcome their lacksadaisacal play to get a shootout win.
Ugly: Toronto should be a place where NHL players rise to the occasion. It’s the self-proclaimed center of the hockey universe. Many Canadian-born players cheered for the Maple Leafs as kids. Some have family and friends in southern Ontario who arrive at the ACC specifically to see them play. Mix that in with the proximity of the playoffs and a chance to catch the New Jersey Devils in the standings, and you should have seen a very motivated Flyers club.
Instead, the players in orange and black performed as though they’d rather be doing anything but playing hockey. I cannot point to a single area in which the Flyers produced even decent numbers against the Leafs. I turned the game off after the second period in disgust.
Frankly speaking, I’m worried about a first-round exit in the playoffs. If these guys are tired, ready to go home, unable to muster the fire required to win a Stanley Cup, then I’d prefer they quit now. Stop answering questions about the Phillies parade by talking about seeing the Flyers on Broad Street in the near future. Stop repeating the standard, tired adages about buckling down and keeping it simple. Stop playing so poorly that we all have to spend our time talking about the JVR signing to avoid having to deal with how bad you look right now.
Execute it on the ice, or go home. Because I would rather see call-ups working hard to prove themselves than a bunch of talented but lackluster NHLers taking a late-season nosedive.