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Flyers awful start

Posted 11:22 AM ET | Comments 10
Right from the start of training camp I have not liked the results of the top line of the Flyers. The trio of Briere, Richards, and Gagne have been great, but the results on the rest of the team have been devastating. Without a third top quality centerman, the 3rd line became bad and thus canceling the depth of the top 9 forwards on the Flyers. I am very glad to see the changes coming for tonight's game versus the Sharks. I personally have almost not noticed Briere with the puck during the season. He makes great plays still, but he is more of a goal scoring threat from the middle. My suggestion is to move Briere back to the middle and put Downey and Gagne on his wings. The kid has a huge upside and let's see him with some quality minutes and talented players. Carter, Knuble and Upshall have been a quality line so far. That would put Richards with Lupul and Hartnell. Another top quality line. That moves Metropolit to the 4th line where he can be an efficient force. Without the 3rd center, the Flyers have fought to control the puck for long stretches. Richards, Carter and Briere all control the puck well so distributing them throughout the lineup makes the most sense.

On defense the problem is the players are not playing within the system. The forwards are too far from the defense and the gap between is allowing too much time. They need to forecheck and play the defensive system to create turnovers and score off the rush.
Filed Under:   Flyers  
October 18, 2008 12:10 PM ET | Delete
Gap control -- maybe they need to call Michael Strahan -- he has controlled his gap well
October 18, 2008 12:53 PM ET | Delete
Good blog, spot on!
October 18, 2008 2:45 PM ET | Delete
I think you expect too much from Downie. He will never be a top line forward. He will always be a grinder, hopefully similar to Upshall. At least Downie didnt cost the Flyers a six overall pick like Upshall cost the Preds. Downie is just an energy who can put in a few goals. I think the problem on defense is the lack of consistency and talent. Vaananen, Alberts, Eminger, and Kukkonen are all 3rd pairing defensemen at best. This is why the defense is struggling because guys are being ask to play beyond their own potential. Look for Homer to move a decent forward or put together a package to get a higher quality defenseman because 2 months is too long to wait for Randy Jones.
October 18, 2008 3:05 PM ET | Delete
I think the bigger issue with putting Downie on the same line as Briere is a question of defensive responsibility. Even at his best, Briere will never be close to a Selke candidate. And Downie is still learning how to stay in an NHL lineup on a regular basis. The last thing a team struggling defensively needs is a top line giving up goals instead of scoring them.
October 18, 2008 4:58 PM ET | Delete
I disagree with previous comments that Downie could never play first line. There have been Many Grinders play consistantly on first lines. Grinders can add alot of grit to a top line. I think downie could as well. However I do agree with the Frozen Fan in that Briere and Downie on a line would be too defensively liable. Good blog.
October 18, 2008 7:54 PM ET | Delete
Lindros, LeClair, Renberg. None of these guys were very good defensively any yet managed to dominate because the puck was 200 feet away from your zone. Downie is a top line power forward in the same mold as Knuble or Holmgren. He is strong and hard to move off the puck. In his junior career he dominated the game and playing with better players will increase his ability. I like Stevens move to put him with Richards. If he works as hard as Richards, he will be a force on the ice and Richards will distribute the puck like the leader he is!
October 18, 2008 7:55 PM ET | Delete
Good points on Downie and Briere not being a good defensive pair.
October 19, 2008 2:30 PM ET | Delete
Downie isn't in the mold of Knuble because he can't control his temper. Downie takes too many untimely penalties. Also Downie isn't a very consistent player. He doesn't seem to try his hardest and is prone to mistakes with the puck. He can't be a first line player because he isn't a good grinder or power forward. He has the make up to be that type of player but he just doesn't seem to have the hockey smarts to be that player.
October 19, 2008 7:45 PM ET | Delete
Downie isn't a 1st line player in the NHL, at least not at this point in his career and I'm not sure he ever will be. That's not to say he's not a talented player though. At this point in his career, I see him as a 3rd line player with some spot duty during a hot streak on the 2nd line. Maybe he can become a regular 2nd line player later in his career, depending on the depth chart.Downie also isn't a power forward in the NHL. He has a similar build to Richards and Upshall. He's another Sean Avery...agitator with skill.
October 20, 2008 10:00 AM ET | Delete
You seriously want to put Downie on the top line? I am still not convinced Downie deserves to be in the NHL let alone the top line. I still think he is Matthew Barnaby with SLIGHTLY more skill, a third line grinder and agitator who can contribute 10-15 goals a year. He can't skate, isn't that big, makes poor decisions constantly, and is defensively lacking. His strengths are his work along the boards and his aggressiveness. But his aggressiveness also can be a detriment. i do agree with on the fact that we need to move Briere back to center and have the big 3 so to speak.
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