The Bi-Polar Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers have had a season of one streak following another. Actually, this is the third straight season that has been one streak following another. The Flyers spend a week to ten days looking like they could beat the 1976 Canadiens, then spend a week looking like they’d have trouble with the 1978 Cleveland Barons. Will the real Flyers please stand up?

As anyone who has read my writings for this site knows, I called for John Stevens to be fired earlier this year as Flyers coach. I’m backing off the now, not for anything that Stevens has done, but because with the injuries the team has, it’s sort of unfair to put another coach on  the line.

Stevens responded after listless losses to the Sharks and Capitals by canceling off days and holding a tough, uptempo practice. That preceeded a stretch where the Flyers won 7 of 8 games and looked like they were really coming together. The problem is, they followed that up with a road trip that saw them drop 5 of 7. The two victories in that stretch were nothing to brag about either. They were outplayed by the Kings, but managed to get the win, and only played hard for 20 minutes in beating the Islanders 2-1.

The Flyers now have until Thursday off. This is a perfect time for the leadership group to sit down with the coaching staff and come up with a plan of attack. It’s absolutely necessary that Stevens and his leadership gang get this team’s issues worked out and get it back on track.  Study the things that are not working, especially the PP, and figure out ways to get it going. Too many guys have been passengers, and not doing what it takes to win.

As things stand now, Stevens should be on thin ice. But this isn’t all on him. His players need to step it up and deliver.

STUFF I SAW

-rian boucher is just a flat warrior. Takes a slap shot in the mouth, takes over 50 stitches(team doctor says he lost count between 50 and 100), loses seven teeth-and returns in the same game.

-Brian Boucher might be forcing a goalie controversy. Ray Emery had been very good for most of the year, but his focus seemed to wane a bit during the recent rough patch. Boucher has been excellent in the last few games he’s started, outside of allowing a horrid goal in the Los Angeles game.

-The pairing of Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen has struggled all year with making co-operative plays. One of the biggest tasks of the coaching staff is to get these two key players on the same page when they’re facing odd man rushes or teams that try to cross-up defenders when they enter the zone.

-Danny Briere deserved a 2 game suspension for his hit on Scott Hannan. Little troubled by a twitter report from Frank Severalli of the Philadelphia Daily News that Briere missed last night’s game against Atlanta with the Flu AND an achy groin. If Briere is out for an extended period, the Flyers could be in deep trouble.

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About the Author: I hate shootouts. I hate the salary cap. I hate players with low hockey IQ. I love physical hockey, played by honest hard nosed players. I don't mind ties, unless I have to wear the damned thing.

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