The Philadelphia Flyers have earned four points after seven games. During a traditional regular season there would be plenty of time to recover from a slow start but this shortened season (48 games) represents just 58.5% of a standard 82-game slate.
After dropping a 2-1 contest on the road to the New York Rangers it’s not time to fret. However, a deeper look at this team does offer some points to digest.
The recent additions of players like journeyman defenseman Kurtis Foster and old forward/friend Mike Knuble are often made by teams across the National Hockey League to fill gaps left by injury, or circumstance. Their presence on the Flyers’ roster also indicates the dearth of available options and salary cap connected concerns.
Ilya Bryzgalov, understandably thought to be a real issue prior to this season’s start, has offered a strong crease performance so far. This factor, more than any other, is the most encouraging point to reflect upon now that January’s schedule has been sealed.
Claude Giroux is bound to erupt. Danny Briere is working his way into playing shape during every shift. Matt Read and Sean Couturier have picked up where they left off last season, Luke Schenn has fit in well behind the blue line and some other players have turned in steady efforts.
One does have to wonder if questions about the Flyers’ defensive contingent, the play of their special teams, and the strength of the opposition within the Eastern Conference will collectively prove to be too much to overcome.
Head coach Peter Laviolette is a great motivator, so we’ll see what his ice boys can do as they begin their next hockey month on the road against the Washington Capitals this Friday.