All-Star Break Time
It sure has been a long time since the Flyers have been this consistent for the entire season to this point. For while they would start great, struggle around the holidays and then finish the season. Those down segments of the season would always cost the team a playoff position or seed for the run towards the elusive title.
Jack Adams Winner
This year has been very different. Laviolette must get major consideration for coach of the year due to his handling of a very deep roster. He has players playing hard and accountable for every shift. This is something that all players must love. Regardless of who you are, if you do not play with the team’s goal in mind, he will call you on it. If you take bad penalties, you will hear from him. If you miss defensive roles, he will change your ice time.
If you read the rumor mill around the league there are two big name (and past their prime) guys that disappointing teams want to move now. First is JS Giguere. He was a great goalie but cannot help the Maple Leafs and has a huge contract. Why would Philly be interested in this guy if they have to mortgage current depth to add a goalie that is not as solid as either current goalie on the roster. Second is Jerome Iginla. This is a guy that plays huge minutes and is not producing on Calgary. Again he was a great winger, but is now slower and much less of a factor in the NHL. Why would Philly want to mortgage guys to add a player that has to play on the top 2 lines. Who would sit? Carter? Giroux? Leino? Briere? Hartnell? JVR? And those 6 are assuming that Richards line is the 3rd line.
Right now every player on the Flyers with the exception of Chris Pronger, Matt Walker, and Jody Shelley can really skate well. Pronger is a genius with his body position and rarely, if ever, needs to move quickly to make anything happen. This roster is extremely productive and unless there is a major injury to a key player before the trade deadline, the Flyers should just watch everyone else try to catch the Philly team. The only moves that Philly should evaluate are ones that will help bolster the Phantoms.
The Flyers have 10 productive forwards. The other 3 are role players that kill penalties and provide energy. On defense the Flyers are blessed with 6 solid defensemen and 2 additional defensemen that are serviceable for short bursts. The top 6 can play against any line and in any situation. Each pair has at least one quality puck mover and can provide offense from everyone except Sean O’Donnell. The Flyers have a great young goalie in Bob and a smart capable backup in Boucher. Both guys can play for long stretches and with the makeup of this team can produce strings of wins.
So the job after the fiasco known as the All-Star game is to maintain the energy and move towards the playoffs healthy and playing great hockey. I really see this team continuing to win at this clip and finish the regular season either at or near the top for the President’s Trophy. The players on this team have proven to be clutch over the last few seasons in the playoffs and I hope to be watching winning hockey into JUNE!!!
Good Night and Good Hockey!
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