Well that was a lot longer of a hiatus than I thought it was going to be. A lot has happened since I last posted. The Flyers were starting their road trip and I was in Pittsburgh so I couldn’t watch the games. Then Phish was in town for two days and nothing productive was done, and then Thanksgiving, and then classes started back up and I’ve been pretty busy. So, I’m back… and oh yeah, a lot happened in Flyers country.
Here’s a quick review of the events leading up to last night’s game:
-Flyers were 2-8-0 in their last ten.
-During that span, the Flyers did not score a goal in over 2 games.
-The power play has been struggling immensely.
-Emery was put on the IR yesterday.
-And oh yeah, John Stevens was fired and Peter Laviolette was hired.
A lot of happenings, and the Flyers pulled out a win last night at home against the Islanders 6-2. They’ve been saying the Flyers needed their young leaders to step up, and they did. Richards got it going with a power play deflection and a short-handed goal. Then Carter gets it going with a power play goal and and even strength goal. Then Giroux finishes it off with two of his own, one being on the power play. So that took care of some problems right there with goal-scoring and power play efficiency taken care of.
As for Emery, he is undergoing surgery today for an abdominal muscle injury that has been torn and will miss approximately 6 weeks. Brian Boucher will be carrying the load for the Flyers but also expect Phantoms call-up Johan Backlund to get a chance to show his stuff sometime over the next week or so because the Flyers are going to be playing a lot of games before this month is over.
“It could be a coaching thing or maybe just a slump this year but we need to be more consistent. I’d rather be consistently good then play great at times and falter at times when we need to play better. The Penguins and Rangers were victim to this during the year and got a new coach and they turned their seasons around. I’m not saying to fire Stevens because he’s proved he can coach our team. He just needs to know that he better come up with a better plan next year or his job may be in jeopardy.”
That was a quote from my season review that I posted back in the summer. As you can see, the Flyers could not wait any longer and needed to find someone to shake the team up. John Stevens is of course the scape goat in this situation and it is not necessarily all his fault the Flyers were playing so bad, but sometimes you have to make a change like that in order to set yourselves up to win. I don’t have many problems with Stevens, and I hope he takes the offers that Holmgren offers him within our organization and stays with us or finds another job somewhere.
However, Laviolette is a guy I’m starting to learn about and like. You could see his system starting to take more effect against Montreal after they got a practice in, and last night against the Islanders they seemed to understand it more and get some offense going (6 goals woot!). It is not going to be easy for our Flyers this year, but maybe that’s a good thing. Let our young core group learn their lessons now and get them out of the way and it WILL make them a better team in the long run.
The Flyers have a very important month before the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. It’s an Eastern Conference Showdown month as they host the Senators tomorrow and visit the Devils on Saturday. Then they go to Boston before having a home-and-home with the Penguins next week. This continues with games against the Lightning, Islanders, Hurricanes, Panthers, and two games with the Rangers. If the Flyers were to get some wins and start climbing their way back up the standings, now would be a great time because the opportunities are going to be there.