FLYERS STRUGGLE TO FIND IDENTITY

Ok, with over a month into the 2013 NHL Season, the Philadelphia Flyers continue to find an identity. At the beginning of the season…many analysts agreed that the shortened season should help a team like the Flyers, and may even give them an advantage. Well, it has been anything but an advantage for the Flyers. The Flyers have played 19 games and are only 8-10-1. Only 8 wins and 17 points.

With only a 48 game season, the 24 game spot will mark the halfway season. The Flyers better turn this season around in a hurry or they will fail to make the playoffs for the first time in five years. Their special teams have been horrible, especially the penalty kill. Of course, losing Scott Hartnell their unquestioned leader has not helped this team in its quest to win the CUP.

As of now, the Flyers are the 20th best team in the NHL with 17 points, and are fourth in the Atlantic Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference. As of now, Philly is in the outside looking in. One could ask what is wrong with this team? Is it the coach…has he lost the team? Is it the injuries to Scott Hartnell, Andre Mesarojs, and others. Is it the continued inconsistency of their defense and the sloppy play of their Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. In the beginning of the season the Flyers could not put the puck in the net. Now they can’t seem to stop pucks from going in their net.

As a huge hockey fan, I am always following the rumors that are brandied around the league. Well, I can remember before the season that there were rumors floating around that the Flyers were interested in all world goalie Roberto Luongo. Many fans snickered at this rumor and said we have a 50 million dollar goalie and he deserves a chance. Well I will agree that last season was not all of Bryzgalov’s fault, I will point out that his inconsistency cost them in the season and ultimately in the Devils Series.

The Flyers lack identity. I was totally about naming Claude Giroux the team captain at the start of the season. The only drawback of naming a young rising star to the captaincy is the added stress and pressure that it imposes on the player to perform and produce. Claude Giroux is not having a terrible season, but teams are game planning to take him out of the game. The truth is, Giroux cannot do everything. Missing Scott Hartnell has been a tremendous loss for this team. Signing Mike Knuble was a nice effort, but lets face it…Knuble is 40 years old and does not have the ice presence he once did.

The Flyers decided to part ways with James Van Reinsdyke in the trade that brought Luke Schenn to the Flyers. Yes, the Flyers did have to improve a defense that lost Chris Pronger. However, Van Reimsdyke was the other rising star who still had another level. He is showing this fact in Toronto as he is tearing it up. The other young star Matt Read is now injured and may be out five weeks. The Flyers lack offensive cohesion and I think you can point to all of these factors.

If you asked me today, should the Flyers have went after Luongo. I say…are u kidding me?!!! Of Course, even if Luongo was not leading the league (which he is) he would still be an upgrade to Bryzgalov. I will give Holmgren kudos for trying to bring an all word goalie into the fold with Bryzgalov, however, BRYZ continues to play down to the competition. In order for the Flyers to turn this season around they must make a few moves.

The New York Rangers have Dubinsky, Nash, Gaborik, and Richards. The Penguins have Crosby, Malkin, Neal And Stall. The Devils have Kovalchuk. The Flyers have Giroux and then there is a drop. I live the fact that the Flyers are trying to build the team through youth, but they are short on star power. Look at the Chicago Blackhawks…14-0! This is after a down season last year one year removed from a Cup. The Blackhawks still have great goaltending and plenty of firepower. The Flyers better make some moves quickly. I would go fast and hard after Luongo. Courtier has been a huge disappointment and could be used in any big trade. Stay tuned… It

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