Everything Else

When the Hawks visited The Iladelph in November, we documented just what a hellscape filled with suffering and blisters the Flyers goaltending spot has been. It has been a generational problem. At this point your father probably barely remembers Ron Hextall. You have never seen a competent Flyers goalie. You don’t know what it looks like. If you were presented with one, you would be paralyzed by confusion, if not a whole Birdbox scenario.

Could it be in the same year the Bears maybe have found a quarterback, the Flyers have found a goalie?

Carter Hart wasn’t supposed to be here. The Flyers definitely wanted to wait another season before bringing him up from Allentown (though you can’t blame anyone for rushing their escape from Allentown). But as is Flyers tradition, everyone they’ve asked to don the gear for them has either been hurt, bad, or both. We seem to be the only ones who continually point out that Brian Elliot has a terminal case of being Brian Elliot, and yet teams keep diving in. This is what you get. This is a team that actually traded for the broken and lost Cam Talbot. So they had no choice but to turn to Hart.

Hart popped up on the radar for Flyers fans after a simply dominant last season in the Western Hockey League, where over 41 games he put up a .947 SV%. That followed a .927 season where he also backstopped the Canadian World Junior team. Now, the WHL tends to throw up some pretty high save-percentages and defensive stats. It’s the anti-QMJHL. The leader this year has a .936. You’ll recall Mac Carruth putting up a .929 once upon a time, and he landed in the Upside-Down eventually. But .947 is .947, and leading the league in SV% three years running as Hart did turns a lot of heads.

Hart’s numbers in the AHL this year were not impressive, as he only put up a .902 SV%. But then everyone in the Flyers crease caught The Plague, and up he came. And he’s been brilliant. His .919 SV% is top-1o in the league, and it’s not like the Flyers are making it easy on him. Hart has seen just a tick under 35 shots per night. The Flyers are middle of the pack when it comes to scoring chances against per game, and top-10 in high-danger ones. So the volume of shots might be up there, but the quality of them isn’t that bad.

Hart’s .919 ranks 10th in the league overall. His .895 SV% shorthanded is sixth in the league. The signs are clearly encouraging. What does it mean in the long run?

Again, this is Carter Hart, and what has gone on before will have pretty much no influence on him. But the signs are encouraging. In the past 10 years, only 10 rookie goalies have bettered Hart’s .919. That list is: Joonas Korpisalo, John Gibson, James Reimer, Frederik Andersen, Matt Murray, Jimmy Howard, Juuse Saros, Cory Schneider, Jordan Binnington, and Tuukka Rask. Other than Binnington, who’s a rookie this year, all of those have at least been serviceable NHL goalies. Gibson, Schneider, Rask, and Andersen have been Vezina contenders at various points. Murray has two rings. Just below Hart in rookie seasons are Connor Hellebuyck, Corey Crawford, Pekka Rinne, and Petr Mrazek. Only Mrazek is a name that would cause Philadelphians to choke on their wooter-ice.

That’s if you don’t believe there’s some sort of voodoo sign hanging over the Flyers’ blue paint. We tend not to believe in things we can’t see, but this has gone on so long you wonder. This is Philadelphia after all. All the goalies mentioned above had some sort of dip or adjustment period along the way. None of them had to deal with Flyers fans throwing themselves off the upper deck in response or hurling dead pigeons at them. It’s a different place. Patience goes there to die.

Hart has the best chance of anyone to navigate it. But that doesn’t mean it will be easy.

 

Game #73 Preview Suite

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

If it’s the Flyers, that means we have to turn to one of our creatures of the internet. We found @FlyGoalScoredBy in 2010 during the Final. He’s been stuck to our shoe ever since. 

So the Flyers have fired a coach and GM. Are we to believe they’re finally on the right path forward? Because we’ve heard that before, y’know…
There was a ton of optimism when Hextall took over, and rightfully so!  He won Cups in LA with rosters he helped build.  We thought our Canada Dry baby had come home but all we got was a very good farm system and a Finnish drug kingpin playing the penalty kill.  Hakstol was, Hextall’s “guy” but bottom line is neither of them did anything net positive with regards to building a contender in this era.  Sure, Hextall’s fingerprints may be on the next Flyers playoff team but nobody gonna remember this time as a fun one.  Chuck Fletcher comes in and by all accounts, has a mandate to change the roster around quickly and decisively.  I guess that means we’re about to lock up Milan Lucic to a max deal.
Is Carter Hart finally going to end the generations of hurt in the crease or will you monsters chew him up and spit out a husk just like always? 
The only good thing about the season has been Carter Hart.  Yeah yeah Couturier looks like a player and some nice small contributions from younger guys, but Hart is it.  Something about his calm demeanor provides stability that I honestly haven’t seen since early Hextall late 80s teams.  I will give him infinite amount of patience and time because he is a good hockey boy who needs love and protection from the likes of you. 
Shouldn’t Ivan Provorov be better than this?
I’m willing to give Provy the benefit of the doubt in a  year as shitty as this one.  I think his positives far outweigh his negatives and besides having a down year when he needs a new contract may be good for business.  As long as MacDonald is on the roster, all other defenseman will be shielded from blame and harm.  Hey, maybe THAT’S why they still give ice to AMac. He’s like a human shield for the young D core.
The Flyers have a shit-ton of cap space next year, though with Konecny, Provorov, and Sanheim to re-sign. They’re going to do something utterly hilarious, right?
I’m thinking we’re locked into a “Player-Coach Vinny Lecavalier” scenario. The Flyers are boring and slow.  They need some juice on this roster to even register in a four-sport town.  Myself and all other zombies are praying from some elite talent to get excited about….or at least sign like eight goons and embrace who we really are.  Does anyone have Colton Orr‘s phone number?

 

Game #73 Preview Suite

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

Like most of our friends, we don’t know where @FlyGoalScoredBy came from, and we’d rather not. Because then someone would have to be held responsible for his creation, and the penalties for that are too harsh to think about. 

By the time people read this the Flyers might have fired Dave Hakstol and hired Joel Quenneville. What is the general problem with Hakstol when it’s obvious the Flyers have no goalie?

I made a note of how Coach Q would be such a perfect fit for the Flyers, yet it will never ever ever happen. The Flyers are like some inbred family that can ONLY hire someone they’re related to. I’m surprised we don’t have “Coach Dan Carcillo” yet.  My biggest issue with Hakstol is his player usage. The Flyers are clearly in a long rebuild and have been for a long time, but their GM and coach always trot out these slow, old “vets” like Dale Weise, Jori Lehtera, and whatever a Christian Folin is. Play the kids Dave, it won’t matter with these goalies.

The Flyers were going to move forward as much as Konecny, Patrick, and Lindblom developed. How’s that going so far?

In short: well! I think everyone would love more consistency out of Konecny, but its a minor gripe. Patrick has started the season off very well and is putting on a solid two-way game. He looks more and more like a top pick now that he’s over a year removed from hernia surgery. Lindblom is just spicy. Feels like once he figures out the NHL game a bit more especially maneuvering around the offensive zone he’ll be lethal. These three are extremely important for the future.

Is Ghost Bear good? We know the power play numbers, but the metric suggest otherwise. Is he passed on the depth chart by Provorov and Hagg?

Ghost Bear is the best Flyers defensemen. He’s got that jackhammer of a shot, skates exceptionally well, owns three very beautiful doggos and is one of the only sources of personality on this team.  Protect the Ghost at all cost. Provorov is a scoop of strawberry ice cream. Ghost is a scoop of fudge ripple with walnuts and whipped cream.

How far away are we from Carter Hart?

Ron Hextall is frustratingly the most patient man in all of professional sports.  He’ll keep Hart in the AHL for as long as humanly possible. For right now, Hextall looks smart, as Hart hasn’t exactly been dominant down there.  He’s been fine, but not performing like an elite prospect. Hextall clearly was punting this year when he decided to roll our Brian Elliot and Michal Neurivrth’s bloated corpse as their goalie tandem. Hextall will not be rushed. I bet we see Hart end of the season if they are out of the playoff race for a few games, or in training camp next offseason.

Where should the Flyers be finish when all is said and done?

They’ll be exactly where they always are.  90-94 points. Struggling to get a playoff spot, hoping not to get their doors blown off by Pittsburgh or Washington. It’s a team stuck in the middle because their GM didn’t blow the thing up and do a full rebuild. The Flyers right now are like the early 2000 Leafs (sorry, do Blackhawks fans know hockey existed before 2008?).

 

Game #17 Preview Suite

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Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

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

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.