Posts for Flyers Category

The First of Many Postmortems: An Assessment of the Flyers in 29 Steps

Anthony SanFilippo - April 23, 2018

My first thought was to be reactionary.

After the Flyers season came to a crashing end Sunday in a classic Flyers manner – blowing a two goal lead – it was easy to put the target on this team, who ended up playing 88 games this season, winning 44 of them and losing 44 of them, as still not being ready for prime time.

It would be easy to target the coach – as I have for much of the season. The goaltending – for the umpteenth time. The defense – for their inherent lack of ability in getting the puck out of their own zone. The star players – who couldn’t score.

It would be easy to target all the negatives – and some negatives deserve to be highlighted – but the biggest takeaway of all of this is that even though the Flyers took a small step forward – making the playoffs after a one season hiatus, and doing so with a lot of young players in the lineup, there is still a long way to go before they can compete with the likes of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

And that’s the one thing that is going to make the upcoming offseason so crucial for the Flyers. They need to finally address holes in their roster via trades and free agency and need to stop trying to get by with band aids – marginal NHL veterans who provide no scoring punch.

It’s almost certain that a number of players who played in Sunday’s loss won’t be back. This Flyers team will have a much different look to it when training camp begins five months from now, but will it have a different feel? Or will we still look at how the roster has been put together and consider them a borderline playoff team, much as they have been the past six seasons, which includes three first round exits and three seasons where they missed the playoffs entirely?

So, I thought, let’s examine this roster, the impact each player had on this first round loss to Pittsburgh and what the future holds.

But, before we do, some telling statistics:

  • The Flyers allowed eight goals in an elimination game for the fifth time in franchise history (1979, 1982 [nine goals], 1985, 2001, 2018). That’s a lot.
  • The Penguins scored at least five goals in eight of the 10 games played against the Flyers this season, and all five of the games played in Philadelphia. That’s got to be considered completely unacceptable.
  • The Flyers allowed 28 goals in the six games against the Penguins – tying a franchise record for most goals allowed in a playoff series and setting a franchise record for any series fewer than seven games.
  • Jake Guentzel scored four goals in the series clincher against the Flyers, becoming the first player since Mario Lemieux in 1989 to score four goals in a playoff game against the Flyers (Lemieux had five).
  • Guentzel and Sidney Crosby each finished the series with six goals and seven assists for 13 points – more than two points per game, as the Flyers had no answer for their line.
  • Game 6 was the first time the Flyers lost a playoff game under Dave Hakstol where the team scored more than one goal. in his previous seven losses, the Flyers were shut out four times and scored one goal three times.
  • Continuing on the last bullet, in Hakstol’s four career playoff wins, the Flyers have outscored their opponents 13-4. In Hakstol’s eight losses, the Flyers have been outscored 38-8.

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Crossing Broadcast: Agony of Defeat, Stepping Up, Discounts

JoyOnBroad - April 23, 2018

Kyle and Russ discuss:

  • Flyers’ loss to Pittsburgh (0:00)
  • Heroics of Provorov and Couturier (1:00)
  • Is it a waste of time to watch a team with no chance to win a title? (2:30)
  • Sixers/Flyers parallels (20:00)
  • The future of Philly teams (26:00)
  • The Phillies’ resurgence (36:30)
  • Thoughts on the Athletic and subscription-based sports writing (49:00)
  • CB v. Ryan Lawrence Round 2 (58:30)
  • The secondary ticket market (1:03:00)
  • Ben Simmons’ swagger (1:11:00)
  • The Sixers’ resiliency (1:14:30)
  • iTunes reviews (1:18:00)

Audio after the jump:

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The Flyers Gift Their Fans (At Least) One More Home Playoff Game

Tim Reilly - April 21, 2018

It was all but over.

After two listless performances on home ice, the Flyers limped into Pittsburgh facing a 3-1 series deficit against a Penguins team looking to hoist the Stanley Cup for the third straight season.

The patient clung to life – barely. All that remained was for Sidney Crosby to administer last rites, Evgeni Malkin to drive the final nail into the coffin, and the local beat writers to shovel dirt on the grave that would serve as the final resting place of the 2017-18 campaign.

And then something unexpected happened. The Flyers showed a pulse.

They didn’t deserve to win. The Penguins dominated large stretches of the 2nd and 3rd periods while the Flyers took bad penalties and relied on Michal Neuvirth to cover for poor play in the defensive zone. Pittsburgh claimed a big advantage in the faceoff circle, possessed the puck for much of the contest, and consequently had the Flyers chasing the game instead of dictating it.

Neuvirth was spectacular, except when he wasn’t. The two goals he conceded were incredibly soft. The first came after Neuvirth carelessly turned over the puck, leading to extended offensive zone time and a wraparound goal delivered by Penguins forward Bryan Rust. Neuvirth was able to get to the post to stop the shot, but somehow the puck squeaked through his pads.

The second goal was equally inexcusable given the situation. Jake Guentzel took a pass from Crosby, depositing the puck through the five-hole and into the back of the net. Neuvirth’s second period nadir put the orange and black in a 2-1 deficit. If they had put forth the effort they exhibited in Games 3 and 4, the series would have ended.

Instead, the Flyers battled back. A short-handed tally from Valtteri Filppula tied the game late in the second, while a Sean Couturier blast from the blue line late in the third pulled the Flyers ahead. Matt Read sealed the victory with an empty net goal, and the Flyers lived to play another day.

Given the evidence of the past week, the result seemed improbable, but in the context of the longer arc of the Flyers’ season, the Game 5 triumph was not unusual.

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Reprieve! Reprieve! Flyers Still Alive After Some Memorable Performances.

Anthony SanFilippo - April 21, 2018

I don’t know about you, but I still can’t figure out the Flyers.

How do you get embarrassed in two home playoff games (and three of the first four) and then go on the road, into the home arena of the two-time defending champions, in an elimination game, and win?

And not only that, they did it with a lopsided special teams disparity against them, and came out on the plus side of that ledger. They did it with a new starting goalie, who gave up two bad goals, but also made several big saves – including one in the final minute – to protect the win. They did it with a much-maligned depth forward being thrust into a position where he was destined to fail – and he played the game of his career. They did it with their most important player in this series, somehow playing with an injury he shouldn’t be playing with, one that noticeably limits his skating and is definitely limiting his minutes, scoring the game-winning goal.

In other words, they did it against all odds. Continue Reading

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The Not Worst of Philadelphia

Kevin Kinkead - April 20, 2018

Some schlub in the comments section didn’t like the “Worst of Philadelphia” bracket because he/she thought it was “a dumb series of posts that only enhance the negative views of the city.”

Congratulations to he/she for being the only person to take the bracket seriously, and for also lacking a sense of humor.

But I realize that a three-week competition to determine the worst things about Philly is intrinsically negative, and Crossing Broad is a website that was founded on fair and balanced journalism.

So in the interest of equilibrium, and also just to prove that I’m not a total asshole, I whipped this up:

Looks like a pretty good field to me.

I think I’d have to assign “Eagles Super Bowl champs” as the overall #1 seed. I could definitely see “it’s not New York” coming out of the bottom left region. Ron Brooks is a JUGGERNAUT on the other side of the bracket and I think “easy to walk and bike” would do some damage. Seriously, have you ever been to Atlanta or Los Angeles? You can’t walk or bike anywhere. Those cities are just big plastic suburbs.

Anyway, I think it’s important that we show positivity, objectivity, and fairness in our journalism, which I hope we’ve accomplished here.

 

 

Snow the Goalie: “We Lost to a Better Team”

JoyOnBroad - April 19, 2018

Anthony and Russ discuss:

  • Couturier’s a Selke finalist (2:00)
  • Postgame scrum (3:00)
  • “We lost to a better team” – Michael Neuvirth (4:00)
  • Flyers’ lack of competitiveness (5:00)
  • Hakstol’s lack of fire (11:00)
  • Momentum (15:00)
  • “Well we lost Coots” (20:00)
  • Where is G? (22:30)
  • Defensive Pairings (30:30)
  • The importance of playoff minutes for the young players (33:00)
  • Facebook comments (36:30)
  • The cost of tickets (43:00)

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Embarrassing

Anthony SanFilippo - April 19, 2018

Sean Couturier has been such an integral part of the Flyers this season.

So, it’s only right that he got a little bit of love league-wide on Wednesday when he was announced as a finalist for the Selke Trophy, awarded to the best two-way forward in the NHL.

Couturier has long been just on the outskirts of this award, and has finally cracked the top three in voting, joining stalwarts in this category Patrtice Bergeron of Boston and Anze Kopitar of Los Angeles.

It’s a credit to Couturier, who had a breakout offensive season to go along with his excellent defensive play as a shutdown forward.

Wait… what’s that? There was something else that happened last night involving the Flyers? Really? Did I miss it? What was it? A playoff game? Stop. You’re pulling my leg. There was playoff hockey played in Philadelphia last night? Seriously, am I on the Carbonaro Effect? Where are the hidden cameras? I want to see a magic trick!

No, you’re not kidding? There was a game last night? What happened? Anything? Oh, I didn’t miss much. The Flyers were blown out by the Penguins again? Oh, right, right, right. That’s what that sound was. It sounded like something sucking the life out of the city was emanating from the Sports complex. I tried to stay away so I wouldn’t turn into a zombie.

Yeah people, the Flyers played another playoff game yesterday – and, as per usual, it wasn’t pretty. Continue Reading

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Radko Gudas Went Down Low on Sean Couturier in Practice

Kyle Scott - April 17, 2018

Radko Gudas, for reasons unknown to man, threw a low hip (knee?) check on Sean Couturier today in practice and it was captured by 6 ABC, which reports that Couturier limped off with a trainer:

I think the responses to this all sum it up:

We’ll update you when we know more about Couturier.

UPDATE: Upon further inspection, there were two pucks and this was two separate drills. Doesn’t look like it was an intentional hit.