Flyers’ early struggles continue, giving fans headaches

Thomas Yu
Staff Writer

Am I the only one who feels the need for anger management classes after watching a Flyers game? From the number of penalties they take to their lack of offense, it is so frustrating to watch a team with so much talent do nothing. They average 1.62 goals a game, which is the second worst in the league, ahead of only the Buffalo Sabres. That’s okay because the Flyers do lead the NHL in one category–penalty minutes. Now the Broad Street Bullies pride themselves in their toughness but that doesn’t mean that we should be ranked third in fighting majors. Although it is nice to flex our muscle from time to time, it’s not worth being shorthanded 53 times in 13 games (seventh in the league). Speaking of being shorthanded, the Flyers find themselves with the second worst power play percentage in the league, with 9.4%. I can go on and on with stats but I’m sure you get the message, the Flyers aren’t doing that well to start the 2012-2013 season. The main reason I find myself so frustrated with this team is the lack of offensive production. We acquired Vincent Lecavalier this off season and he is currently leading the team with seven goals, closely followed by Brayden Schenn, who has six. Our other notable players like Giroux, Voracek, Hartnell and Simmonds all combine to have earned just seven goals. With all of the talented skaters we have, I expect much more than just 1.6 goals per game. But luckily, they have been turning it around lately.

Claude Giroux breathes a sigh of remorse, an emotion allegorical to many fans.
Claude Giroux breathes a sigh of remorse, an emotion allegorical to many fans.

The Flyers lost seven of their first eight games of the season and we fired head coach Peter Laviolette just three games into the season. Now this is where it gets really frustrating for me. I believe Paul Holmgren is one of the worst general managers in the NHL. Since he took over for Bob Clarke in 2006, he made mistake after mistake, and put the pride and joy of the Philadelphia hockey fans in a downward spiral. To save us some time, I won’t even mention the Carter, Richards trade because I have been trying to suppress that memory. Let’s begin with Holmgren’s ludicrous carelessness with money. Remember when we signed Jody Shelley to a three year, $3.3 million contract? Wouldn’t every team want to spend $1.1 million a year on a 34 year old enforcer? He only played 89 games in three seasons. How about when we signed Kimmo Timonen for a ONE year $6 million contract? Does he forget about age and assume that they can continually play at a high caliber? Timonen is slow and has been fighting chronic back pains. He has already been taken out with a lower-body injury this season. He is playing how you would expect a 38-year-old would play, not how a $6 million player would play. Speaking of age, what beats the signing of Mark Streit this year for a four-year $21 million contract? Not only are we overpaying for a 35-year-old defenseman who was last on the Islanders in +/=, but we also gave up AHL forward Shane Harper and a fourth round pick in the 2014 Entry Draft. We get to have him until he is 39 with his current contract and he has been placed as the team’s fifth defenseman in ice time and second on the power play unit. Another great $21 million spent. Holmgren also doesn’t understand how to develop young players. He throws them away like they are nothing. From Sergei Bobrovsky to JVR, Holmgren does not have the patience to groom these players to their prime. Bob has already won a Vezina Trophy with the Blue Jackets and JVR has become a first line threat who scored 38 points in 55 games last year and is on track for another great season this year. I love Luke Schenn but he is currently a slow, physical defenseman who is averaging just over 15 minutes per night. I know a lot of people love him, but these are facts. Well, to wrap up this long rant on Holmgren, why would you keep Laviolette, just to fire him three games into the season? Why not just fire him during the off season and get a new coach that can get adjusted with the team? Paul Holmgren: The reason why the Flyers’ future looks bleak and full of financial struggle.
There has been a recent turning point for the Flyers in the past couple of games. The Flyers have won six out of their past ten games and they have just been playing good hockey. Well, better hockey. I feel the turning point for the Flyers happened on Nov. 1, 2013 against the Capitals. I’m sure everyone remembers this game, in which Emery destroyed Holtby in a fight but the end score was 7-0 Washington. I don’t know whether it was a wake-up call to the Flyers being blown out or the momentum caused by the fight, but the Flyers have been producing on offense after that night. Most notably, the Flyers beat the Penguins 2-1, which made me jump with happiness, but they also beat the Senators 5-0 and Edmonton 4-2. They are currently riding a four-game winning streak and I hope this trend continues.