The Flyers have a win as recently as last week, but it doesn’t feel like it.
Results this week: Flyers 4, Blue Jackets 2; Islanders 1, Flyers 0 (SO), Red Wings 5, Flyers 2
Current record: 8-10-3, 19 points
Record at this point last year: 9-10-2, 20 points
Upcoming schedule: Nov 28 at Rangers, Nov 29 vs Rangers, Dec 2 at Sharks, Dec 3 at Ducks
The Flyers have a home-and-home against the Rangers (their only true home-and-home this year) and then go on a West Coast road trip that kicks off a December in which the Flyers play only four times in the Wells Fargo Center in fourteen games.
They started the week off well, getting a little bit of revenge against the Blue Jackets by beating them 4-2 and playing perhaps their most complete hockey of the year thus far. They scored at even strength and on the power play; they got scoring from their defense and help from lines that don’t consist of Giroux and Voracek. They kept the puck and moved it around. Mason played well again. It was an encouraging start to the week.
As is the case with teams like this who are missing pieces due to injury or due to the nature of the construction of the team (such as some of your best players being in the minors), they swung back quickly to the old, bad ways, allowing 46 shots versus the Islanders. Incredibly, Mason made all 46 saves to allow the game to go into a shootout; Jaroslav Halak made 21 saves on the other end to keep the score 0-0 at the end of 60 minutes, and then 65. As is often the case, the Flyers lost in the skills competition that somehow continues to determine games, and lost 1-0.
Truth be told, they didn’t deserve any points out of that game. The only reason they got anything was due to Mason. Most of the good things they did against Columbus disappeared overnight. The Islanders owned the puck, took the game to them, and deserved to win it regardless of how it happened.
The Flyers continued on, going into Detroit where they promptly got spanked 5-2. The Bad Old Penalty Kill raised its head again, allowing a goal just five seconds after Voracek took a penalty in the second period. It was just more of the same by the orange and black; Mason allowed three goals and was pulled for Emery in a move to wake up the team, but it didn’t work. None of the three goals were his fault (even though after the game he tried to shoulder the blame by saying he “needed to be better at tracking the puck”); it’s hard to stop deflections and set plays when your team isn’t following their assignments in front of you.
-That Blue Jackets win felt like such a long time ago, I’d virtually forgotten about it until I checked the results for the last week. A couple bad hockey games in a row will do that to you.
-From the As If They Needed It department: the Voracek-Crosby scoring race gives NBC one more excuse to mention Crosby’s name ad nauseum during games that have nothing to do with him or the Penguins. Ugh.
-Pat Quinn passed this week, and multiple teams mourned a man who made hockey his life and touched them in some way. He was one of the good ones.
-Bellemare Watch: because it’s easier to watch him than the whole team.
-Making a deal is not the answer to save this year. THIS YEAR WAS ALWAYS LOST. Besides, that’s the kind of logic that got us here, shipping off young players for vets who can help us for a year or so while mortgaging the future. You can only neglect the future for so long before it bites you.
-Firing Berube during the season is not the answer. That’s a move you make during a season in which you expect to do big things. THE FLYERS ARE NOT DOING BIG THINGS THIS YEAR.
-Having said all that, Mike Babcock is currently out of a contract after this year, and I would be perfectly fine with Ed Snider opening the vault for him after dismissing or reassigning Berube.
-I feel like I have to keep emphasizing the fact that the Flyers are not a contender this year. I see way too many Tweets from fans who are looking for some immediate shot in the arm for the Flyers this year at the expense of the team’s future. A plan is in place, a good plan that doesn’t require us tanking repeatedly like the Penguins or Oilers while racking up number one picks. Trust the plan. It’s the best one we’ve had in a while.
Let’s Go Flyers!