Saturday, June 25, 2011

Thoughts on the new look Flyers

Plain and simple, the Flyers team of a week ago was not going to win a Stanley Cup as constructed. So the argument becomes: do you want to always be in it but never get to the top, or realize when you don't have a shot to take it to the top and rehash a plan that could possibly get you there? The former theory is one I like to call the 'Sixers Theory', where middling in mediocrity and getting to host a playoff series every year is just enough. The Flyers fall in the latter stage because Ed Snider will not settle for less than a championship (as has been stated many times, he does not have the passion for the basketball club, and DiHS fully supports the sale of the team).

The club with Carter/Richards at the helm simply were never going to make it to the top. The word that best describes that core of guys has to be inconsistent. Let's look at the last three seasons, shall we?

08-09, the Flyers started the season 0-3-3, or pitiful in other words. Many may remember the last game of the regular season, against the Rangers, for a number of reasons. Carter scored his 46th, the Flyers gave up their first SHG of the season, and the only appearance of Jamie Fritsch in a Flyers uniform. But everyone remember that home ice advantage was on the line for the Flyers, who only needed to secure one point from the Rangers, who were locked into a road date with the Capitals regardless of outcome. Up 3-2 in the third, the Flyers gave up two goals in the third and lost 4-3, forcing them on the road against Pittsburgh for the 4v5 matchup, which they bowed out of in 6.
09-10, the Flyers struggle through the regular season and only get in on a shoot out win over NYR. The team catches lightning in a bottle, as both goalies turn in out of body performances. We witness Lappy go through a gruesome injury, a historic comeback over the Bruins, and getting the fortune of facing a Montreal team that went the distance against Pittsburgh and Washington. Face it people, that team had no business being in that final, and the beach ball goal that Leighton let through was symbolic of the season they had on the whole.
10-11, the Flyers come to play, roll through 2010 and January showing real promise and a legitimate shot at the presidents trophy. Kris Verstink comes in at just about the time the wheels start to fall off. They limp into the playoffs, need an OT goal in Buffalo to stay alive, and get their asses handed to them by Boston.

Each of those seasons had ups and downs, and they could never put together a full season's effort. The reason a team slips up is if there is no backbone, no firm leadership. That should have come mainly from Frick and Frack, 17 and 18. Partying in Sea Isle, fighting with the media, whatever it was, those two guys could not handle being in the leadership roles that they had undertaken. Something had to give, and it was both of them.

With the trade for Bryz, it was known that salary had to go somewhere. Hopefully our readership is not as boneheaded as The Weekend Guy Tom Robinson on 97.3 ESPN South Jersey. Even though the cap went up 5 million dollars ("Give that money to Bryz and that's that." Genius weekend guy, genius). Giroux is entering into his new deal that will pay him well deservedly, Leino's UFA status, and JVR, Carle, and Marmaduke contracts on the horizon, some decisions had to be made. Instead of shipping one of those guys out, Carter assumingly, the brass decided to move them both. The combination of trades not only changed personnel, but changed the culture of the squad. Out are Richards, Carter (and Carcillo) and in come Schenn, Voracek, and Couturier (Simmonds excluded to help the following argument). The cracker jack research staff here at DiHS found that every one of those players had worn the C at the junior level, and are all considered hard working, no nonsense players (see? Just ask Drew Daughty how much of a partied Wayne Simmonds is).

The talent level of next years Flyers can be debated, but the attitude can not be. This team will have a winners attitude, and without question a chance to contend now and in the future. The old foundation had showed you everything it could give, and that was not going to be enough. The Flyers brass wants to win, and they made the necessary steps of Bryz, Schenn, and others to give this organization the chance do that. Let's see what happens July 1, as we can try to paint a more detailed picture of who will open the season in Boston this coming August.

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