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The Flyers Continue To Struggle Defensively & In the Net

I have watched back-to-back games that were complete and total crap.  I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I expect the Philadelphia Flyers to come out and win every game, that would be unreasonable and insane.  At this point, I’d settle for some consistency. 

So far, this team has been anything BUT consistent.  There have been flashes of the good stuff that we, as Flyers fans expect.  Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr look like they could wreck the NHL together, and now that Scott Hartnell has been added to that line, they look even better.  The problem has certainly not been with the team’s top line.  Sean Couturier has looked good too in the time he has spent on the ice.  I believe you can expect nothing but good things from Couturier in the future.  So this isn’t his fault either.  Wayne Simmonds has been pretty solid too.  The problem is elsewhere.

The Flyers really haven’t gotten much support from some of the players they have come to rely on.  Danny Briere has been surprisingly quiet in the early goings of this season.  James Van Riemsdyk, who factored largely in the Flyers’ decision to trade Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, has started this year worse than he started last year. Granted, both of those players scored a couple of goals last night, but I’m relatively certain that I could have scored a goal last night, if I had been on the ice.   It wasn’t really much of an accomplishment in a game that featured 4 different goalies, and 17 goals.

The defense has also not played particularly well either. Losing Chris Pronger is a huge loss, and I understand that.  But it really can’t be the end of the world.  Last year the Flyers won 60% of the games that Chris Pronger didn’t play in.  In the 2 full games that Pronger has now missed, the Flyers have given up an alarming 14 goals.  NOT GOOD.  No one seems to be in any hurry to step up either.  The usually solid Andrej Meszaros and Kimmo Timonen have looked pretty bad in the past couple games. In fact, I’ve seen some of the worst defensive zone play I have EVER seen out of the orange and black.  And that’s saying something.  Just pathetic. 

The worst in all of this though has been the goaltending.  For years, Flyers fans have cried and complained that we just needed a top goalie to put us over the hump.  Finally, after two decades, Ed Snider had enough and FORCED GM Paul Holmgren to sign the best available goaltender.  And Homer did that.  Ilya Bryzgalov by all accounts is a top of the line, Stanley Cup type of goaltender.  And in his first two games, he sure looked like it.  However, he has been downright awful since.  Horrendous!

I understand that there’s a lot of pressure when you sign a $51 million contract in a new city.  Especially a rabid, championship staved hockey town like Philly.  I understand that the defense has been suspect at times and that the bounces haven’t exactly gone the Flyers’ way so far.  And I can appreciate that Bryzgalov has blamed himself for the Flyers’ woes. I like when an athlete steps up and accepts blame.  What I can’t suffer through again is another season of second guessing and goaltender carousels.  

I like Bryzgalov.  But he needs to get his act together quickly.  I don’t want to hear about being lost in the woods or how he has no confidence in himself.  That crap doesn’t fly around here.  You’re being paid $51 million to be the man!  As far as I see it, that’s 51 million motivators to man the hell up and get the job done!



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