This is a direct personal response to an article, hosted elsewhere on the internet. Multiple citations are available throughout this post. We recommend you read the original article as well.
Response By: Michael Conroy
It’s becoming clear that the Philadelphia Flyers won’t be a participant in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. This comes as only the slightest of surprises, being that it would have taken a miracle to overcome the team’s ugly start to the year. The guys over at Broad Street Hockey seem to agree, following a dreadful weekend for the orange and black that was capped by what always feels like an inevitable loss to the New Jersey Devils.
The article begins as many Flyers articles must, admitting that the team played well for most of the contest. Keith Kinkaid was only the latest un-touted young goalie to shine against Philadelphia.
It’s a scenario we’ve all become familiar with at this point. What is it about bright orange that provokes goalies to stand on their heads? At this point, Craig Berube might as well have his players skate by the opposing net shouting “You can do this, we believe in you!” I’d be curious to see if the number bear that out but I’ll probably just wait for someone else to do the analytical work. I’ll be sure to use their results though, just as soon as they get off of their lazy ass and post them.
The next key point in Kurt’s post deals with a particularly brutal stretch of hockey, — yet another staple of the modern “bullies” — specifically spanning from “the 9:26 mark of the second period all the way to the 2:17 mark of the third period, the Flyers failed to send a single shot attempt towards the New Jersey net”.
Yikes. Look, we all know how stifling the Devils’ defense has proven over the years — especially for the Flyers — but Kurt’s not alone in thinking this level of performance is “inexcusable” at the professional level. Scratch, claw, bite, maybe cheat your way to some chances if you have to. Because, this weekend, they very much did have to.
Perhaps the most poignant observation that Kurt R. came away with from Sunday’s game pertains to Mark Streit, the Flyers’ top pairing defensemen:
Mark Streit played what was quite possibly the worst game he’s ever played in a Flyers uniform. Even beyond his possession numbers being the worst on the team, he was right in the middle of three different Devils goals, with the one shown above being the most egregious of the bunch. He looked totally out of sorts all game and couldn’t control the puck on his stick at all. He didn’t play for the final 6:29 of the game with the team down by three. Is that Craig Berube resting him or benching him?
Kurt isn’t kidding. The play that ultimately sealed the game was just agonizing to watch. The Flyers won the faceoff in the offensive zone and looked to be setting up a shot, but Streit absolutely whiffed on the puck the way I whiffed at the plate in little league (I was terrible, let’s move on). This resulted in a 2-on-0. Yes, you read that right. If ever there were a play that sums up the problem with evaluating goalie play in Philly over the past 10 years, this was it.
Speaking of goalie play, Steve Mason certainly wasn’t stellar in his second of back-to-back outings. Kurt admits as much, saying that “while it’s impossible to pin the game on Mason himself, it certainly wasn’t his finest performance,” and even the most ardent Mason supporters can agree with that “five goals on 21 shots against isn’t good no matter how you slice it.”
It was a rough weekend for the Philadelphia Flyers, but a few players represented bright spots. Kurt R. singled out Ryan White for his hand in the only two Philadelphia goals of the day as well as the 2nd and 3rd line defensive pairings.
Ryan White has been a bright spot for me all season. I’ll never understand how the gap in talent can seem so small at times between the stars and average joes in the NHL. t’s a modern sports phenomenon. It may also be a problem for the league. I’ve been complaining for years that the talent pool in the NHL may actually be too deep. But, that’s a problem for another time.
Right now, all that matters is that the Philadelphia Flyers are in dire straits. At least, they were before this devastating weekend of hockey. Ideally, this dialectic series will include my disagreement with what I’ve read elsewhere on the internet, but I found myself in lock-step with Kurt R. and Broad Street Hockey in this article (and if I agree with everything you’ve argued, you know that you’ve done just a brilliant job).
There are many points I didn’t get to in this post, so I highly recommend you head on over to Broadstreethockey.com and check it out.