Thursday, March 25, 2010

Guest Post: a frustrated Flyers fan gets a few things off his chest

Guest Poster Mark Trible has had enough. Here are his thoughts on the frustrating Flyers:

"It's frustrating and it has to change."

Above are the words of Flyers captain Mike Richards, and I can’t say that I don’t agree. I also can’t say that Flyers fans across the globe haven’t repeated the same sentiments frequently in the last 365 days. What we as a fan base are facing is Groundhog Day, only around 300 miles southeast of Punxsutawney. This is a reoccurring theme, going hand in hand with the repetition of quotes from El Capitan. At what point do we say we’ve had enough? Well, I’ve had enough. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t had enough to cut ties with the team (I’m a glutton for punishment), but I’ve had enough to write a blog post! I still hold some belief in this team, and hell, I may even believe they can win a playoff series. However, playoff series’ aren’t going to cut it in Philadelphia unless three or four are won. Without further adieu, here are the things that I am absolutely tired of watching night in, and night out…

Lack of a collective heartbeat:
The Flyers only have the identification of a ‘team’ because they all wear the same color sweaters. While it is true that there are leaders on the team (most notably Kimmo and Prongs), it seems as if the boys in orange are never on the same page. Point the finger at Lavy, Richie, or whoever else you feel is the problem. All I know is that finding the heart and soul of this team is as easy as finding which way John Stevens is looking.

Continuous effort on the offensive end: I don’t buy into the idea that the Flyers don’t have talent on the offensive side of the ice. In fact, I think the team is extremely talented. However, when talent and effort don’t meet somewhere in the middle, there is little success to be had. Richie isn’t the most outstanding offensive forward in the game, but he gives you all he’s got. Gagne, JVR and even CARCILLO exert a ton of energy on their shifts and skate hard, dump hard, chase hard, crash the net hard. As joyful as I would be to express nothing but satisfaction with these three there are problems with each one. Gagne is old, JVR is young, and Carcillo isn’t very talented. With that being the case, players like Hartnell and Briere have no more excuses to use. I’m sick of them. I’m sick of Hartnell falling down every time he attempts to mount a scoring chance, I’m sick of Briere going to the box every game for high-sticking and hooking. Most of all, I’m sick of having those two erratic forwards on the same line. Can anyone explain why Hartnell should be on a better line than JVR? I sure as hell can’t. Although I didn’t mention Powe, Asham, Lappy and Betts (due in large part to their lack of offensive ability), at least they do their jobs and show the same type of continuous effort night in and night out.

Braydon Coburn: Mr. Turnstile himself. With the current goaltending situation (or lack thereof), our defense has to be excellent. Coburn is about as excellent as Ovechkin is clean. Clean looks at the goal because Braydon is searching for his jock at the blue line are unacceptable and continue to occur night in and night out. I’ve got news for fellow Flyers fans, Boucher isn’t stealing the team any games anytime soon. He can be consistent and good enough for the team to win, but the defense has to protect him as much as possible.

Lack of passion: Effort and passion is not the same thing. But one certainly is the antecedent to the other. When I watched the Atlanta game on Sunday and the Ottawa game the other night, I saw a bunch of individuals who looked ready for summer vacation. I didn’t see hunger. I didn’t see the will to be the best. I didn’t see a team that is attempting to rectify the choke of last year’s stretch run. I saw no spark. Going through the motions is understandable in November. But in March? Not so much.

Lack of ACCOUNTABILITY: I know much has been made of this matter in reference to ‘oh captain our captain’, but there is more than enough to go around. After every game, we hear the same questions asked to the players, and the same responses are given. “Well, we need to show more urgency.” Or “We can’t be complacent with where we are, a lot of teams are hungry and clawing for the playoffs.” Insert whatever other clich├ęs you’ve heard over course of the season. Why doesn’t anyone say, “It is MY responsibility to get this thing going.”? After the Ottawa game, Prongs said his piece about how the team needs to win games down the stretch, Richie said “It’s frustrating when guys aren’t playing their hardest”, Carcillo blamed the refs, Boosh blamed the refs, Lavy blamed the refs. GROW UP. Someone raise their hand and take some freaking accountability! The referees aren’t going to right this ship. It’s up to the bodies in the locker room. Take some initiative damn it!

Where do we go from here Flyers fans? I’m not sure, but I know I’m not going anywhere. The team can play like bums again tonight against the Wild (pick a name with an s on the end would ya?), and they’ll still be my bums. Things have been bad lately but it’s not too late to turn it around for a playoff run, and that’s what I’m hoping. Although, unless the previously mentioned problems aren’t fixed, look forward to an early offseason….full of watching Sidney Crosby highlights.

Follow Mark on Twitter (@Mtrible) for more great Flyers and Eagles thoughts.


allthingsphilly said...

Mark has a ton of great points. What frustrates YOU the most about the Flyers?

Sami Kapanen said...

This man is a genius. This blog post just changed my life. Viva la Trible!