Everything Else

For the longest time under the stewardship of Bobby Clarke and Paul Holmgren, the Flyera simply threw good money after bad in always chasing the name brand free agents and trade targets in search of a Cup that has eluded the franchise since 1975. But under the leadership of notorious red-ass as a player Ron Hextall, the team has taken a much longer view and trying to actually build consistent winner from scratch. The results so far have been middling, but at least it’s been consistent in its vision. But this team’s psychopath fanbase isn’t going to be particularly patient with a non-linear progression. To conclude, the Flyers are a land of contrasts.

’17-’18: 42W-26L-14OT 98PTS 251GF 243GA 20.7%PP 75.8%PK 49.7%CF 7.83%SH .9245%SV

Goaltending: The same way that Bears fans wouldn’t know solid quarterbacking if it bit them in the nuts, there has been an institutional bungling of goaltending by the Philadelphia Flyers for generations. They even had a future multi-Vezina winning netminder in their system in Sergei Bobrovsky, but of course traded him for a big bag of bullshit to Columbus. Which brings things to the present day where the crease is entrusted to Brian Elliott and Michael Neuvirth, two “1B” goalies in their 30s who have wilted either under expanded workloads or not having lock-down systems in front of them. Things got so bad last year that the team acquired the completely broken Petr Mrazek and promptly let him walk at the end of the year. Elliott was the defacto #1 getting 42 starts and throwing up an unacceptable .909 overall with a slightly more respectable .926 at even, but an .812 on the PK which dragged things down. Special teams numbers can spike both ways for factors outside of a goalie’s control, but at 33, Elliott kind of is what he’s always been, which is certainly not a long term solution. Neuvirth had a similar disparity in his numbers (.915 overall, .934 evens, .810 PK), so it does speak to something systemic with the Flyer’s penalty kill. Either way, even if these two stay around this level and the PK picks things up, there’s not a lot here to make anyone a long term believer, particularly with Carter Hart waiting to assume the starter’s spot in Lehigh Valley should one or both piss their pants.

Defensemen: On the Flyera blue line, there are certainly some foundational pieces here in Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gosthisbere, but what their respective roles are going to be once this team intends on mattering again remains to be seen. While Ghost’s offensive and possession numbers are all impressive and what a puck mover should put up in the modern NHL, he’s still a bit of a turnstyle in his own end and will need some manner of protection in the form of a center-field type partner, optimized zone starts, or both. Provorov’s possession rate is basically directly at the team’s while playing much harder minutes all while still putting up 40 points from the back end. And with the likes of likely future war criminal Radko Gudas and the perpetually hurt or bad or both Andrew MacDonald complimenting these two young defensemen, it does not appear that there are any long term solutions currently in the organization, and leading to an unbalanced group.

Forwards: Claude Giroux had 102 points last year and Jakub Voracek had 85, and absolutely no one gave a shit. Moving Sean Coutourier and his two way abilities to the #1 center role and in turn moving Giroux to freestyle a little more on the wing certainly had everyone reaping the rewards, as Coots himself had 76 points along with devouring the souls of whatever center he drew as an assignment on a nightly basis. But doing so drastically altered the Flyers’ center depth to the point where they actually had to rely on any kind of contributions from the now departed Valteri Filppula and Finnish punchline Jori Lehtera down the middle. They haven’t done much to address the issue over the off season, as bringing back prodigal son James van Riemsdyk certainly gives them another rugged set of hands on the wing along with Meat Train Wayne Simmonds, so it will be necessary for Travis Konecny to take the next step and spend more time in the middle.

Outlook: Much like the Devils across the River, the Cold Ones probably did themselves more harm than good by making the playoffs last year only to promptly go home, as they would have been better served getting into the lottery. But with their top point-getters all right around 30, another development year might not have been the best route either. So Ron might have to get a little spicy and trade some franchise cornerstones to restock the system and fully start over should things sputter a bit, because the development arcs of their kids and the aging curves of their vets don’t sync up.

 

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Detroit Red Wings

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Montreal Canadiens

Ottawa Senators

Tampa Bay Lightning

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Carolina Hurricanes

Columbus Blue Jackets

New Jersey Devils

New York Islanders

New York Rangers

Everything Else

250px-Ozymandias @ phily-cheez-whiz

Game Time: Noon CST
TV:/Radio: CSN, SportsNet, WGN-AM 720
Travis Hughes Sucks, He Never Settled The Bet: Broad Street Hockey

blackhawks-lineup-card

flyers-lineup-card

For some obtuse reason, the Hawks travel to the armpit of the East Coast for a matinee in South Philly this reason. Normally these nooners take place after the Super Bowl and on NBC, but for some reason this one is only on the local outlets in the States. And because it’s a prime weekend matchup, the Flyera will more than likely be wearing their god-awful gold-trimmed 50th anniversary sweaters. But hey, home whites are home whites.

Everything Else

We don’t know much about him. He’s just one of those creatures of the internet. We think he might used to have a blog about the Flyers, but if he did it’s only the roadmap to hit complete breakdown. Anyway, you can follow his descent into madness on Twitter @FlyGoalScoredBy.

It was actually a pretty quiet summer for the Flyers, who seem to have a plan? How are Flyers fans dealing with a rational and calculated front office for the first time?

We all are on a huge Hextall high.  We love the direction the team is headed in, albeit it a slower one than we are used to. Last year’s fun but brief playoff run was like playing with house money and this year is another one we approach with tempered expectations.  Our reward for this approach is a younger core, faster team and way more dynamic lines to enjoy.  The Flyers will Make Hockey Fun Again.™

Everything Else

It’s a brave new world when the Philadelphia Flyers are acting in a prudent and careful fashion. Gone are the splashy, silly overpayments for goalies or defensemen that eventually turn to dust as soon as they throw on the orange and black. Hell, they even got really good goaltending last year from not one but two goalies. Ron Hextall has found himself a pretty spiffy young core, with Ghost Bear and Provorov at the back and Giroux, Schenn, Bellmare, Couturier, Weal up front.

But as we know in Chicago, it really only takes one or two bad contracts to put yourself in the corner with baby. And the Flyera (intentional) might have one with Jakub Voracek.

Everything Else

philadelphia flyers spectrum vs evil empire

Game Time: 7:00PM
TV/Radio: NBCSN, TVA-S, SportsNet 1, WGN-AM 720
Stare Into The Lion’s Eyes: Broad St. Hockey

As the above headline will indicate, Flyers Twitter is a weird and amusing place to dwell in for even a short amount of time. Perhaps it’s their championship drought despite having numerous good to great teams over the last 40 years that’s driven them batty, or their often times confounding management. Or maybe it’s the fact that by and large those fans live in a dyspeptic cracker hellscape of a state with two of the most abhorrent accents in any English dialect; a place that until recently had a legitimate thoroughfare officially labeled on maps as “The Road To Nowhere”. And of course, Travis fucking Hughes still hasn’t paid us our cheesesteaks going on six years later.

And those denizens have had plenty to be excited about lately as the Flyers have unexpectedly surged into the playoff conversation in the Eastern Conference.

Everything Else

evil empire at joe paterno

Game Time: 7:00PM Central
TV/Radio: NBCSN, WGN-AM 720
Travis Hughes Is A Shill For SBN And Welshes On Bets: Broad St. Hockey

The entire state Pennsylvania is basically garbage. Aside from having the worst accents known to mankind at both ends of the state, the entire place, from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, from Bucks County to Allegheny, from Pottsville to Pottstown, is basically a front end for the con that is Penn State and its football team. When that enterprise came crashing down four years ago with the institutional coverup of Jerry Sandusky’s serial child rape, the only thing anyone in the state wanted to talk about was corrupt dwarf Joe Paterno’s coaching record, and defend it to the hilt in any and every way possible. From impromptu protests by students to formal proposals within state government, it was the only thing that mattered. It was, and continues to be a grotesque spectacle.

And now Hawks fans are no different, and have proven that vociferously over the past two and a half months.

Both groups share an absolute gaping void in their collective personhood that can only be filled by defending abhorrent acts by touting sports achievement as if it’s anything to be given a shit about in the face of real life horror. Just as the Penn State football stadium being colloquially referred to as “Happy Valley” became ironic to the point of being macabre, so too did John McDonough’s invocation of calling these the “Camelot” Blackhawks at the press conference at Notre Dame (who themselves the associated Catholic church have its own issues with women and children), as if the mythological Camelot wasn’t undone by King Arthur being cuckolded by his best friend and killed by his illegitimate son. Or even if McDonough meant the American Camelot, the Kennedy family, that too is an irresponsible parallel to draw even if Patrick Kane has a lot more in common with Teddy than it might seem.

So tonight the Hawks enter the de-facto capital of the state, home to arguably the most willfully shitty sports fans on the planet, and the team that somehow always manages to play up that terrible image.

Everything Else

als beef at pats-homelogo

Game Time: 7:00PM Central
TV/Radio: NBCSN, TVA (Francophone), WGN-AM 720
Where The Hell Are Our Cheesesteaks?: Broad St. Hockey

It has been nearly five years. Five years we have waited on Travis Hughes to make good on the bet from the 2010 Final between our former home at SBN and the above Broad Street; the loser of the series to send the other their city’s respective beef related delicacy. Travis now runs SB Nation’s entire hockey wing. He didn’t like it when in the months after we sent our commenters his direction to wonder why he hasn’t made good on the bet. He may think we have forgotten. We haven’t. Not even close.