Five Reasons Why The Philadelphia Flyers Need To Finish This Season Strong
This season has been regrettable for the Philadelphia Flyers to say the least. After destroying the Pittsburgh Penguins in last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Flyers ran headfirst into a brutal New Jersey Devils forecheck that stuffed their offense. This year, after a lockout and various overseas assignments, the Flyers came back broken before the season even started. Half of the team was playing injured or had just had some repairs done. Gone were Jaromir Jagr, Matt Carle, and Ville Leino and in their place was nobody with the same power, grit, skill, or vision for the game. Chris Pronger is still out for who knows how long and the goalie situation was as much of a head-scratcher as it has ever been in Philly.
Still, the team showed great heart during the final two weeks and should finish their final two games strong for various reasons. If they stick to the game plan and play hard for the following people, next year should showcase a united and healthy squad, something only possible when you’re not playing an extra two months of hockey.
There is some gold at the end of the rainbow here for Flyers faithful, as they had a few breakout players and plenty to look forward to from the young stars. With two games left on the schedule, here are five reasons why the team needs to step it up and show their opponents that they may not be a playoff team this year, but they deserve to be next year.
Sure, the guy is off the rails from time to time, but there isn't a more seasoned goalie in the league right now than Bryz, playing nearly every single game for his team this year. His stats aren't great, but being the only man in net for 90% of the season is something even the best of the best cannot sustain.
At this season’s end, Peter Laviolette will be the Flyers’ 3rd longest tenured coach behind Mike Keenan and Fred Shero. He has proven to the team, the management, and to the fans that he is the right coach for his team. This year was a bit of an abomination and he can’t be held responsible for a shortened season destroyed by injuries.
Voracek is flat-out the team’s best player this year. Being on a line with Claude Giroux doesn't hurt, but his drive, his intensity, and his ability to play with the same passion day in and day out has made for an MVP-like season. The team needs to help this guy net a few more goals to cement his dominance this season.
Gags came back for one last go around, and hopefully he plays well enough going into the playoffs that he decides to stick around for one more year, take a pay cut, and help his original franchise bring home a Cup like he did in Los Angeles.
The fans got screwed this season, from the lockout all the way until the final puck drop. Their team was battered, their goalie stunk, and the Flyers never even mustered a .500 win percentage all year. Ticket prices went up year-over-year, even with a lockout, and the team has almost 18,000 season ticket holders. The fans deserved a better product on the ice and simply did not get one.