It took only a few minutes for Sergei Bobrovsky to establish himself as the hardest working member of this hockey team.
Everyone else was essentially a no-show last night.
Bob has received tremendous recognition for his ability to bounce back last night against a hardworking Pens team by stopping 30 shots. He has also shown improvement in the shootout, which, despite the fact that the Flyers should be avoiding these overtime situations, points are still accumulating.
However, the Flyers are not in a position right now where they can afford to continue allowing teams to force overtime and shootouts. I will give them credit for their comeback effort against Washington on Tuesday, but forget about the "effort" the Flyers put forth last night. It wasn't there.
In a nutshell, the Flyers didn't feel like working last night. They played a steady defensive game, but Laviolette's forechecking system was not being utilized last night. I don't know how many times I saw Briere attempt to doodle the puck around opposing defensemen as he entered the Pens zone, only to have it stripped and sent back into the neutral zone. When the Flyers execute Lavy's system properly and implement strong work ethic, they can just about dominate any team they choose.
The forechecking effort was obviously very poor last night, but the inability to recognize that a continuously failing "Let's carry it in just a little further" mentality isn't going to work, is just a waste of time. And as much as I love Mike Richards as a player, he got his a$$ handed to him last night. The differences between the Richards from last night's game and the Richards from last season's playoffs is just appalling.
I have no problem with the fact that Richards clearly deplores meeting with the media and that everyone refers to him as a "Lead by example" captain. But if you look at the last several games, there has been a very poor effort by Richards to "lead by example." Mike Richards knows full well his responsibilities as a leader and is the backbone of this team. I don't blame Richards for this lackadaisical effort lately, but he should be a large part of getting the team out of it.
Richards, along with several other players, just look ambivalent about the game when they're on the ice. There are flashes of intensity that creep up and then vanish minutes later. It really is bizarre. Yes, 82 games is a lot. But recently, several players don't look like maintaining a roster spot really matters to them all that much. This was very much evident in last night's game.
We all know they have the ability and skill to dominate when they want to, but recently, it looks as though most Flyers are on the fence when it comes to winning games.