They have to stop this free fall tonight. With the tough schedule remaining, no points can be given to teams from the Southeast. With two games left with each of the division (and poor performances against the Devils, Rangers and recently the Penguins) the Flyers have put them self into a position where they must play well and win games against the toughest competition to make the playoffs.
If the trends continues where should the blame fall. We there is always the injury excuse, but every team has injuries and they always cause problems. I blame the injuries on the style of play. This team is taught to go for the puck at all times, this puts your players in a position to get hit more. I would rather see the Flyers play a trapping style and deliver the hits instead of absorbing them. Also our forwards are usually back late, leaving the defense open to big hits.
The coach has to take the blame. While the Flyers stunk last season, there were only a few games where they didn't compete. This year that has become a characteristic of the team. As a fan you can accept a loss if the effort is there, but when the team quits, that is the coach's fault.
I also think the failure of the coach to clearly define roles is showing. Who is the number 1 goalie? We all think it is Biron. If so, setup a rotation to keep them both fresh and involved. Have Biron play 2 out of 3 or 3 out of 4 and keep Nitty available for the back to back games where Biron has struggled. Play the guys to their strengths! That is the coach's job.
The coach is also on the hook for team discipline. It took him until March to discipline Upshall for the stupid penalties? I have been screaming about that all season! Also Cote should never see the ice in an NHL game. He cannot play the game. Yeah he can fight. but that makes him stupid and predictable. He takes too many penalties in the offensive zone.
The combinations of lines and defense also shows a lack of definition. Why is Kuukonen benched all year? No explanation. He was playing hurt for a while, but was clearly better than Vandermeer. He had Kimo and Smith together for way too long. They were both awful as a team. Every time we had a line that started to score he broke them up to balance the scoring. Let them DOMINATE and win games.
He is also to blame for the poor home record. He doesn't seem to take advantage of the line matching and thus gives up his biggest chip at every home game. He also seems to try and rotate 4 lines too much. Play your top 9 and win games. Use the 4th line for a rest - nothing else. My 4th line would be Downey, Thorenson and Tolpeko. Dowd and Cote would never see the ice!!