Posts for Flyers Category

Another Philly Team Besides the Eagles is Playing Really Well: Five Takeaways from Flyers 3, Red Wings 2

Anthony SanFilippo - January 24, 2018

Something is happening in the Philadelphia sports landscape and there’s a good chance you aren’t even aware of it.

While you spent your weekend cheering the Eagles on to the Super Bowl and watching repeated videos of fans climbing Crisco-lathered poles, or driving a dune buggy up the Art Museum steps, or watching the fan in the subway run into a pole while chasing a train, something else has been quietly happening in town.

The Flyers have kept winning and have gone from last place in the Metropolitan Division to tied for second place in pretty much a blink of an eye.

And they have done it by winning four in a row, 16-of-22, and playing their best hockey of the season.

Now, I still remain a skeptic. I still think this level of play is unsustainable for the rest of the season, but there are starting to be signs that I could, in fact, be wrong.

And when you look at those signs – some which I, along with many of you fans, have been yelling about for months – the chances of me being wrong about this Flyers team grow more and more with each passing game.

Yes, the Flyers are two consecutive losses away from falling right back into a chase position in the topsy-turvy Metro, which frankly has eight teams of equal ability – all with identifiable strengths and glaring weaknesses. And yes, there’s a lot of hockey left to be played, and the cream will certainly rise to the top as it does every year (in other words, Pittsburgh isn’t going to miss the playoffs after winning consecutive Cups) but when the team is playing this well, there has to be a reason – well, several reasons – and after last night’s 3-2 overtime victory in Detroit, the Flyers third overtime win in the last four games – it’s time to start identifying them and to look at where the Flyers really are at this point.

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Call it a Comeback. Eighty-Eight…er…uh… Five Takeaways from Flyers 3, Maple Leafs 2

Anthony SanFilippo - January 19, 2018

As time passes, the outcome of last night’s game will be no more than a footnote in history as everyone else will remember the pomp and circumstance.

They’ll remember nearly 20,000 people wearing Eric Lindros T-shirts.

They’ll remember the number 88 painted into the ice behind each net. Or, in each corner where he laid out many an opponent with his physical style, or even across the the tarp that covers each tunnel entrance into the locker room area.

They’ll remember the 50-foot projection screens that hung from the scoreboard that showed highlights of Lindros’ career and how, at the end, they dropped rapidly to the ice to reveal, standing alone at center ice, the player who many believe was responsible for the erecting of the Wells Fargo Center to begin with. Big E. Standing amidst the trophies he and his team won in his career – receiving thunderous applause from the fans.

They’ll remember how the Flyers, and specifically Lou Nolan, once again proving why he’s the best Master of Ceremonies, maybe ever, deftly introduced Eric’s parents – Bonnie and Carl, the most meddling parental duo in the history of Philadelphia sports and arguably in the history of the four major sports in North America – by having them escorted to the ice by Lindros’ running mates who got a huge ovation: John Leclair and Mikael Renberg.

They’ll remember the No. 88 slowly being lifted to the rafters, where it became the sixth retired number in franchise history, finally coming to rest, slightly askew (I’m sure the Wells Fargo denizens will fix it by Saturday), in a twist of irony right next to Bobby Clarke’s No. 16.

They’ll remember the messages being played on the scoreboard throughout the game from great players from the Lindros’ era giving video tributes to No. 88 (of course, Jeremy Roenick’s was delivered from a golf course and was the one that blathered on the longest).

They’ll remember all that.

What they might not remember though is a gut check performance by the current hockey team that took place on the ice afterward, in what amounts to just another crucial game for a Flyers team that has designs on making the postseason, no matter how difficult it might be for a last place club at this juncture in the season.

Check that. They’re no longer in last place.

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Look At This Douchebag in a Scott Stevens Jersey at Eric Lindros Night

Kyle Scott - January 19, 2018

Dickbag of the Week award goes to, shockingly, not Nick Wright and his punchable fucking nose, but rather this guy, who wore a Scott Stevens jersey on Eric Lindros’ jersey retirement night:

I don’t like to see anyone get hurt (well, wait until my next post on the Patriots) and certainly would not condone taking physical action against this guy. HOWEVER, if he left the Wells Fargo Center with anything less than a beer-soaked jersey, then I’m disappointed in all of you.

This is like wearing an O.J. Simspon jersey to Nicole Brown’s funeral. Not only are you being a jackass, but you’re poking at the core of a very uncomfortable truth… allegedly. This is not cool at all.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat – Same Old, Same Old After Rangers 5, Flyers 1

Anthony SanFilippo - January 17, 2018

I usually don’t have an agenda when writing about the Flyers.

It is my intention to always provide an informed opinion or analysis based on data or conversation with people in the know – even if the opinion is unpopular.

But heading into last night’s game in New York – I will admit – I had it in my head that I was going to write a story with a specific, predetermined angle.

I was going to sit down at the keyboard and tell you how impressed I have been of late with the Flyers. After coming back from a bye and playing a very strong game against New Jersey Saturday. I was going to talk about Sean Couturier and Jake Voracek being overlooked as All-Stars in the NHL this year. I was going to talk about the improved play of young guys like Travis Konecny, Jordan Weal, and Nolan Patrick.

I had the whole thing planned in advance. It was going to be the perfect catapult into the lovefest that will be the Eric Lindros number retirement ceremony tomorrow night.

Then the game happened.

The Flyers were completely outworked and buried by a divisional opponent – in a matchup that is critical to the playoff race, no less – for the second time in six games.

And my plan was blown to smithereens.

It’s no wonder I tend to skew toward skepticism with this team.

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Good Vibes… But Maybe Too Good? Thoughts After Flyers 4, Sabres 1

Anthony SanFilippo - January 8, 2018

Tyrell Goulbourne was sitting in the locker room, taking off his pads and packing them in a bag.

This was an indicator that Goulbourne, unlike the rest of his Flyers teammates, wasn’t getting a chance to go on vacation as the Flyers entered a bye week that mandates a full 120 hours off (five days) before they are required to undergo any team activity (The Flyers next practice isn’t until 4 p.m. on Friday).

And yet, here was Goulbourne, all smiles, willing to talk about his NHL experience and the potential to have it continue as soon as the weekend.

I’ll get into my conversation with Goulbourne in a bit, but it’s rare that you see a guy getting sent back down to the minors in such a good mood.

Ahhh, a winning hockey locker room is a unique atmosphere – especially one where you’ve won a few games in a row, or 11 of 16 after a 10-game losing skid – all of which is the case for the Flyers following a not pretty, yet efficient, 4-1 win over Buffalo yesterday.

There’s the woooing as the player of the game is presented with the Ric Flair robe. There’s loud music. Guys are willing to talk and talk at length. There’s a lot of smiling and playfulness.

There’s even some over the top answers to questions, like:

“The feeling is we are very close to the playoffs right now,” Jake Voracek said. “I was reading somewhere that some people felt this team should get blown up during that 10-game losing streak. We didn’t, and we’re staying patient and we’re in a playoff position right now, so that’s good for us.”

Slow down Jake. Or, as Dave Hakstol likes to say, put it in park.

Look, the team should feel good about itself. They’ve played good hockey over the past three games. They were even, for a brief moment, tied for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot yesterday afternoon before the Penguins jumped back in front of them with an overtime win over Boston. Continue Reading

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Halftime Adjustment? Where the Orange and Black Sit at the Midway Point of the Season Following Flyers 6, Blues 3

Anthony SanFilippo - January 7, 2018

While we are enduring the some of the coldest weather on record here in the Philadelphia area, the Flyers are heating up – for the past two games anyway.

Following yesterday’s 6-3 win over St. Louis, the Flyers scored six goals or more in consecutive games for the first time in nearly five years.

It’s been good enough hockey to get the Flyers out of last place in the Metropolitan Division (O.K., they are tied in points with the New York Islanders, but the Flyers have a game in hand, thus, they are ahead of New York. Only in the NHL is a tiebreaker based on something that hasn’t happened yet while in every other sport known to man is a tiebreaker based on results that have happened.)

Nevertheless, for this Flyers team, this is progress.

And it’s been fueled by excellent starts in each of the past two games, ambushing their opponents and dictating the style in which the game is to be played.

On Thursday, everyone assumed the Flyers were playing pissed off after such a dreadful and listless performance two nights earlier against Pittsburgh.

By Saturday, everyone saw it was a definitive change in style that was making a difference.

And it didn’t take long.

Tyrell Goulbourne, making his NHL debut, on his very first shift, was a bowling ball and the guys with the Blues note on their sweaters were the pins.

This included St. Louis captain – and Norris trophy candidate – Alex Pietrangelo who promptly turned over the puck when he saw Goulbourne coming for a big hit, allowing Scott Laughton to take the puck and score from a sharp angle to give the Flyers an early lead they never relinquished. Continue Reading

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Everybody Gets a Point (well, almost everybody): Five Takeaways from Flyers 6, Islanders 4

Anthony SanFilippo - January 5, 2018

Maybe the best thing that could have happened for the Flyers this week was the winter storm Grayson.

After a listless performance against their arch rival Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday, the Flyers called up Tyrell Goulbourne for Thursday’s game against the Islanders.

They called up Goulbourne for the purpose of providing energy to a lineup that is frankly bereft of any.

Before the game, Dave Hakstol said it was “too quiet” in the arena on Tuesday. He didn’t mean that as a knock on the fans, but rather the level at which his team was playing.

Ron Hextall echoed that sentiment and said it went beyond just Tuesday’s loss:

“[Overal this season the energy level has been] in and out,” Hextall said. “There’s nights where we need more energy as a group and obviously a big part of this is to bring us some energy.”

Except, it never happened.

Goulbourne was stuck in the Lehigh Valley because of the snow. He got a late start heading toward Philly and there was no evidence he made it to town before game time – or even at all – despite Hextall saying he was on his way.

Goulbourne was considered a healthy scratch and there was no sign of him in the press box during the game or in or around the locker room after the game.

Frankly, with the way the Flyers played last night, it wouldn’t surprise if Goulbourne was immediately loaned back to the Phantoms.

Because the Flyers played with an energy, and a physicality they have not shown very often this season – and certainly not in the last few weeks.

And guess what, it made a difference.

That’s not to say they need to go all old school hockey and have multiple fights every night – after all there were three glove droppings last night – by guys you really would expect: Travis Konecny, Sean Couturier and Scott Laughton.

No. The Flyers can play the way they played for 40 minutes last night and never get into another fight again, and it would be a successful brand of hockey.

It was a game filled with aggressive physical play between the whistles – big hits, stronger play along the walls and with the puck, a greater physical desire to win those 50/50 plays that make up a hockey game.

Oh… and almost every forward – and even a defenseman or two – found a way to get to a specific area of the ice – between the circles in the offensive zone – and would you believe it, they scored five of their six goals from there?

Now, this really only lasted 40 minutes. The third period was not good and the Flyers almost let an Islanders team that has played pretty dreadful hockey for an extended period of time (they’ve lost eight of 11 and allowed at least four goals in all eight losses) force overtime, which would have been really deflating for the Flyers considering how good the first two periods were, but they ultimately hung on for a much needed victory.

Let’s look at how it happened: Continue Reading

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Has the Winter Classic’s Novelty Worn Off?

Kevin Kinkead - January 4, 2018

Remember when you first saw your favorite band?

Everything was new and exciting. You heard songs like “Nightrain” in a live setting, drank crappy beer in a parking lot, and crossed one off the bucket list.

Then you saw that band for a second time. It was cool, but the setlist was mostly the same. They added a few tracks here and there, and maybe the venue was different, but it was never going to be better than the first gig.

That’s how I feel about the Winter Classic, which posted its lowest TV rating on Monday afternoon. NBC’s 1.4 household number brought an audience of 2.48 million people, which was the fourth-consecutive drop in viewership since 2014, when the game was played at the University of Michigan’s “Big House” between Detroit and Toronto.

These are the numbers dating back to 2008, when the first game was played between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York: Continue Reading

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