Posts for Flyers Category

Hak Job: Five Takeaways (from the coach!) from Canucks 5, Flyers 2

Anthony SanFilippo - November 22, 2017

Please support the exclusive sponsor of our Flyers posts, COZZI JEWELERS, located in the Edgemont Shopping Center in Newtown Square. 20% DISCOUNT OFF ALL JEWELERY by mentioning CROSSING BROAD now through BLACK FRIDAY! Before shopping for your girlfriend or wife, shop CozziJewelers.com! $500 off CUSTOM MADE ENGAGEMENT RINGS TOO.

 

When you follow sports long enough, you learn that you always have to expect the unexpected.

Sometimes a game will change thanks to something that you swear you’ve never seen before.

None of that was the case for the Flyers on the ice last night.

Nope. Things were pretty much just what we’ve seen before:

Lots of shots, not enough goals, mistakes, untimely penalties, bad goaltending and a fifth straight loss, this time 5-2 to the Vancouver Canucks.

But, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t something unexpected that took place off the ice.

It wasn’t from the players, who all were sounding the same frustrated tone you would expect. No one kicking over tables, or spitting fire and brimstone at the state of the team.

So as we trudged down the long hall to the coach’s press conference area, which on most nights feels like walking the Green Mile since we are usually on our way to an interview death sentence, the premise of this takeaways piece was starting to formulate.

This team is broken. Their failures are systemic. It needs a new look. A change of some sort, personnel-wise or otherwise. This team plays like shampoo directions – lather, rinse, repeat.

But then it happened, without warning, and it came so far out of left field that it put aside all preconceived notions about how Tuesday’s loss to Vancouver was going to be forever chronicled.

Dave Hakstol provided frank and accurate insight.

For once, the coach didn’t come across as smug, or as bothered by the questions being fired at him. Instead, he told you what was happening. What was wrong. He identified mistakes being made. He called out his goaltender. He questioned his own coaching decision. He was as as blunt and honest as I’ve ever seen him.

Does this mean he’s turned over a new leaf? That we can expect a change from stubborn stoicism to something more Ken Hitchcockian (more on him later by the way)?

No.

But we want to celebrate this version of Dave Hakstol so much that we’re going to turn over these takeaways to him.

That’s right. Today’s takeaways are brought to you by Dave Hakstol (as well as Cozzi Jewelers).

Take it away, Dave! Continue Reading

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A Ghost of Himself: Breaking Down The Flyers’ 5-4 Loss to the Flames

Anthony SanFilippo - November 19, 2017

It’s a common trope in sports, especially when things aren’t going well for a team. It goes something like this:

“When our offense is good, our defense isn’t, and when our defense is good our offense isn’t, so we have to find a way to make both of them happen at the same time.”

You know who says that?

Seven-win football teams.

Rebuilding baseball teams.

Tanking basketball teams.

Last place hockey teams.

We’ve seen a lot of each over the past calendar year. Sometimes it’s always darkest before dawn – as evidenced by the pleasant surprise that is the Eagles.

Sometimes, it’s all part of the process, no matter how long said process takes – as we’re seeing with the great highs and frustrating lows of the Sixers.

And other times, we don’t know what to make of it. We think it should be evidence of progress, but there are so many uncertainties that the positive results could be just around the corner or still a bit down the road past all the construction, like it is for the Phillies.

And although the Flyers – despite losing their fourth consecutive game Saturday, 5-4 in overtime to the Calgary Flames – aren’t technically in last place anymore (thanks to the loser point they are one point better than last place Carolina), they don’t seem to fit any of the three previously described situations.

Instead, theirs seems more stagnant. More epidemic. A more repetitive spin cycle with no clear determination of when it will stop turning.

And although there were positives in the loss to Calgary, like excellent play in 5-on-5, especially over the final two periods, or a really good effort from rookie Nolan Patrick who played arguably his best game as a pro; or scoring from elsewhere beside the top line, as three of the Flyers four goals came without all three Ginger Beard Men on the ice, there were self-inflicted wounds that cost the Flyers another point in the standings.

And these leaky performances that cost the team a point here and a point there tend to add up quickly for a team that is trying to remain relevant.

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Simply Not Enough: Five Takeaways from Jets 3, Flyers 2

Anthony SanFilippo - November 17, 2017

Please support the exclusive sponsor of our Flyers posts, COZZI JEWELERS, located in the Edgemont Shopping Center in Newtown Square. 20% DISCOUNT OFF ALL JEWELERY by mentioning CROSSING BROAD now through BLACK FRIDAY! Before shopping for your girlfriend or wife, shop CozziJewelers.com! $500 off CUSTOM MADE ENGAGEMENT RINGS TOO.

 

Well… they scored. Twice actually.

Not enough.

Nolan Patrick returned to the lineup from his “upper-body injury” for the first time in nine games. That’s a plus.

Not enough.

Brian Elliott had another really good start – that makes five in a row for him.

Not enough. 

Much maligned to start the season, the one other thing that has been pretty steady for the Flyers in recent games has been their defense, and they were relatively good again last night.

Not enough.

Hey, they earned a point on the road against a good team in a difficult building in which to play.

Not enough.

But Radko Gudas looks like he’s going to be suspended for slashing someone in the neck – although the referees didn’t give him a game misconduct until after seeing a replay – which isn’t allowed.

ENOUGH! On both fronts.

Yes Flyers fans, this was another frustrating one-goal loss. They seem to be paramount these days. Much in the way one-run losses crippled a last-place Phillies team this past season, they’re starting to plague the last place Flyers a little now too.

And maybe that’s just the sign of a team that’s getting closer and just doesn’t have that killer instinct to put a game away.

Or maybe it’s a sign there isn’t enough talent on the team to get it done.

Either way, things aren’t looking very hot for the Flyers right now, and at some point, someone is going to have to identify where the issue is for a team that has stagnated both in style and philosophy.

But for now… to the takeaways. Continue Reading

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Shooting Blanks: What’s Wrong with the Flyers After Getting Shutout by the Wild in Consecutive Games?

Anthony SanFilippo - November 15, 2017

This is bad hockey.

So bad in fact, that we are throwing out the concept of takeaways for this one.

(O.K., fine, you want takeaways? Here you go – Brian Elliot was really good for his fourth straight game in goal. Scott Laughton’s line was the only line that was consistently good. Robert Hagg keeps getting better and better as a defensive defenseman and Devan Dubnyk is unconscious right now in net for Minnesota – that’s it).

Seriously, the real problem at hand that needs to be addressed is the state of the Flyers in general.

How is it that the team has a (cough) .500 record (cough) and is in worse shape than it was at this time last season? How is it that the offense is completely non-existent? How is it that questionable coaching decisions continue to get shrugged aside?

If this isn’t an organizational epidemic, it’s getting darn close and somebody needs to come in and fix it soon, or this will be a lost season before we reach Thanksgiving.

Heck, if my historical analysis is correct, it’s almost at that point now.

Come with me down the rabbit hole…

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Block Party: Seven Takeaways from Flyers 2, Blues 0

Anthony SanFilippo - November 3, 2017

Please support the exclusive sponsor of our Flyers posts, COZZI JEWELERS, located in the Edgemont Shopping Center in Newtown Square! 20% DISCOUNT OFF ALL JEWELERY by mentioning CROSSING BROAD now through BLACK FRIDAY! Before shopping for your girlfriend or wife, shop CozziJewelers.com! $300 off CUSTOM MADE ENGAGEMENT RINGS TOO!

 

Let’s face it, the odds were long. There weren’t very many sane hockey folks who thought the Flyers had a prayer last night.

Let’s look at the facts heading into the game:

  • St. Louis entered the game tied for the best record in the NHL.
  • The Flyers were starting their most inexperienced defense ever – with four of the six defensemen having a combined 27 games of NHL experience.
  • The Blues were undefeated at home coming into the game.
  • The Flyers had played the night before in Chicago, and had to travel overnight while St. Louis was waiting for them at home, well-rested.
  • The Flyers offense has been sputtering, having scored in only one of the previous six periods.

It was a pretty forgone conclusion that the night wouldn’t go well.

To steal a line from former ESPN anchor Chris Berman, “A wise man once said, that’s why they play the games.”

The Flyers had no business being in this game with St. Louis, let alone winning it. But somehow, they found a way. They did so by committing to a team-oriented defensive concept that was designed to let them hang around in the game against a superior team.

And instead of just hanging around, they came into the Blues’ house party, ate all the cheese and queso dip [editor’s note: no, not the queso] stood on the furniture and kicked the keg all by themselves with an impressive 2-0 win.

Let’s break this down before the NHL changes its mind and insists the game is replayed in an effort to bring balance back to the universe.

To the takeaways: Continue Reading

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Comcast Spectacor is Jumping on the eSports Bandwagon

Kevin Kinkead - November 1, 2017

There’s a Crossing Broad reader named “ESPORTS ARE THE FUTURE” who frequently posts in the comments section.

Maybe he knew something, because Comcast Spectacor announced Wednesday morning that they’re getting into the competitive gaming business with the introduction of the “Philadelphia Fusion.”

That sounds like the name of a minor league hockey team, but it’s not, it’s a professional gaming brand that will begin playing in the “Overwatch League” in December. Overwatch is a modern-day shooter, something like Destiny meets Halo meets the G.O.A.T., Goldeneye 007.

Orange and black will be the Fusion colors, matching their sister club, the Philadelphia Flyers.

From the press release, Comcast Spectacor President and CEO Dave Scott:

“We are thrilled to introduce the Philadelphia Fusion brand and team colors as we continue our exciting march toward the start of the season. Orange and black are colors of passion here in Philadelphia, and we are proud to incorporate them as we continue to formulate our coaching staff and roster of players.”

Expect a coaching staff and roster announcement in the coming weeks. I think they should go for a new and innovative sports science advocate, and not some eSports retread, but that’s just my opinion.

The most interesting thing to me doesn’t have anything to do with gaming, but the fact that Comcast seems to be branching out and buying more sports properties. The company acquired a National Lacrosse League expansion franchise just two months ago. They now own the Flyers, Fusion, (Wings), and the Maine Mariners, a new ECHL team that will begin play in 2018-2019.

That’s similar to the moves made by the recently formed Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, the Josh Harris and David Blitzer company that owns the Sixers, Devils, Team Dignitas, Crystal Palace FC, and a couple of minor league teams.

Just a Bad Loss: Seven Takeaways from Coyotes 4, Flyers 3

Anthony SanFilippo - October 31, 2017

Please support the exclusive sponsor of our Flyers posts, COZZI JEWELERS, located in the Edgemont Shopping Center in Newtown Square! 20% DISCOUNT OFF ALL JEWELERY by mentioning CROSSING BROAD now through BLACK FRIDAY! Before shopping for your girlfriend or wife, shop CozziJewelers.com! $300 off CUSTOM MADE ENGAGEMENT RINGS TOO!

 

Somewhere out there, (maybe on the dark web), there is a guy who has chronicled bad losses in the history of sports.

And the encyclopedic volume for the city of Philadelphia is pretty vast, and the Flyers certainly take up their share of chapters.

And while last night’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Arizona Coyotes – the previously winless Coyotes; the on-the-verge-of-historical-worst-start-in-NHL-history Coyotes; the Coyotes team starting their fourth goalie in 12 games (and who have had six on their roster already); the Coyotes team whose goalie Scott Wedgewood is a career minor leaguer with only four previous games of NHL experieince; the Coyotes team who just traded for Wedgewood and he was making his debut for Arizona; the Coyotes who employee Flyers castoffs Nick Cousins, (former draft pick) Mario Kempe, Luke Schenn and Zac Rinaldo and are coached by former Comcast analyst Rick Tocchet – wasn’t the worst loss we’ve ever seen this team take, it’s still unacceptable.

The fact that the Flyers were able to make a dramatic, last minute comeback to tie the game – scoring two goals in the final minute to force overtime – something they had only done once before in franchise history (more on that later), to somehow steal a point in a game they had no business being in based on the way they played is the only saving grace from them getting absolutely roasted on a spitfire today.

Well, that and all the era of good feelings surrounding the other Philadelphia sports teams right now, from the 7-1 Eagles (now with Jay Ajayi), to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid looking pretty damn good together, to the first images of new Phillies manager Gabe Kapler coming from a photo shoot of what I imagine the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition would look like if women were the magazine’s target audience.

So this Flyers loss is going to fly under the radar a bit in Philadelphia today, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t break it down for the faithful.

So… to the Takeaways! Continue Reading

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No Ghost for Halloween? Seven Takeaways from Flyers 4, Maple Leafs 2

Anthony SanFilippo - October 29, 2017

I spent Saturday night on the couch under a blanket, with my head pounding and everything seeming foggy as I drifted in and out of consciousness rather than attend a Halloween party.

I can only imagine that’s what Gostisbehere is experiencing right now (minus the chills) after he had to leave the Flyers impressive 4-2 win over the Maple Leafs in Toronto Saturday.

He was a victim of an unnecessary hit by Leafs center Leo Komorov that drove him into the boards face first, resulting in a probable concussion.

It’s the second head injury this month for Gostisbehere, who was in danger of missing the season opener after a similar hit in the Flyers’ final preseason game, but he played and prospect defenseman Sam Morin sat in the press box for the first four games of the season before being sent back to the Phantoms.

With Andrew MacDonald already sidelined for at least a month with a knee injury, the Flyers defense could be in dire straits if Gostisbehere has to miss any extended time.

And since I’m feeling pretty crappy myself, let’s just move on to the takeaways: Continue Reading

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