I can’t believe I’m saying these words just two and a half months after I declared the Flyers elite and a Stanley Cup contender. But if you’ve followed the team at all recently, you know that they are about as far from a Cup contender as any team in the league. I can speak for a lot of Flyers fans when I say that watching them lately feels more like an obligation rather than something to enjoy.
I feel like I sound like a broken record when I start talking about the negative parts of the Flyers game, but their poor play is literally the most consistent thing about this team. I’m going to go over each of the three main topics individually in a second, but I want to tell those of you who aren’t Flyers fans what it’s like to be a fan right now. The entire game I’m just waiting for some piss poor play to lead to some offensive onslaught for the opponent, and at least 7 times out of 10 I’m right.
I said this in the last post I wrote after the Flyers almost lost to the Sabres, but this time they actually went and got their face kicked in by the Buffalo. F-ing. Sabres. Sabres fans themselves will tell you that team is barely good enough for the AHL. Aside from the comeback in the third on Monday, for the last two games the Flyers made the Sabres actually look good. That’s how bad the Flyers have been. Falling into three goal hole against the worst team in the league is nothing short of flat out embarrassing. You want to know why the Flyers are so bad? Good because I’m going to get into their main problems
Number one, their ability to play defense is an absolute joke, as they are allowing the 2nd most goals against per game. Out of the at least 4 goals they seem to give up every game, at least 2 of them are due to complete defensive breakdowns where one or both of the defensemen are so far out of the position it looks like a beer league game. They constantly make stupid mistakes that often result in the puck hitting the back of their net. Even though I expect to see it happen, it still hurts to watch.
Next, this Flyers team is so Goddamn soft it is hilarious. The fact that no one dropped the gloves in EITHER of those absolute shellings by the hands of the Rangers is pathetic. Remember in 2013 when Ray Emery beat the wheels off Brayden Holtby because the Flyers were down 7-0? Those days are long gone as any sense of toughness is forgotten on this team. The last player that fought WAS THE GUY THAT HAD CANCER A FEW MONTHS AGO. THAT’S who you’re relying on to fight? How in God’s name is that ok in the locker room? How can any of these players look at themselves and think that was the right way to handle it? When you’re being embarrassed on the ice, you drop the gloves. That’s how hockey works. Anything less just adds to the embarrassment, and it’s something the Flyers have been dealing with for years.
Lastly, simply because this is going long, the Flyers seem completely unable to play a full 60 minutes of hockey. You’re guaranteed to get one of two kinds of games from the Flyers this year: either they look like a real NHL team for the first 20 minutes only to completely fall asleep after the first intermission and blow it, OR they’ll do nothing until the last 10 minutes and come one goal short of a comeback. I can’t remember the last time I saw them put together a full 60 and that’s why they’ve been in a complete free fall with no sign of ending. At this rate, the Flyers are going to pick first overall before they truly compete for a Cup, and that’s an insult to Giroux, Couturier, and the other vets.
I really don’t know where to go from here either. Most trade options are tough from a cap perspective and/or could screw over the team in the expansion draft. There’s a legit chance the Flyers just have to ride this out and hope guys like Sanheim, Myers, and Patrick stop regressing. This is the most depressed “let’s go Flyers” I’ve said in a while, but let’s go Flyers.