Flyers Fans React - four
BOSTON -- For the fourth edition of Flyers Fans react, with us we have Shane Davis.
Shane became the Flyers fan that he is today the day Darryl Sittler was traded to the Flyers. Since then he has been a die-hard fan stuck in the Mecca of Canadian hockey, Toronto and followed them through thick-and-thin .
DL – Before this last week, in your opinion, why is has team struggling so much?
SD - This is a tough question because I am not in the dressing room and don’t know if things are stable there or not. I can only comment on what I see on the ice. Discipline has always been something that hurts the Flyers. They take too many dumb penalties and kill their momentum. In conjunction with that, it feels like there is no accountability for those players that take dumb penalties and set us back. I LOVE that Laviolette is not letting players get away with dumb plays, skates guys at practice the next day, and does not try and change the momentum of games with a series of fights.
The Flyers need to look at their penalty kill closely, which ranks 25th. Now if they can address the stupid penalty issue under Laviolette this ranking should come up. Pronger has looked slow at times, and they need to use their speed to pressure the pass, and keep the puck to the outside during the penalty kill.
Offensively this team needs to be more strategic with the game plan, especially during the game. Under Stevens it seemed like they committed to the dump and chase against specific teams and did not have success against speeder defences and did not make the proper in game adjustments to create space on the ice. I have faith that Laviolette will do a better job.
Finally I want to see the Flyers do a better job shutting down the game when they have a 3rd period lead. They recently blew a 3 goal lead to the Hurricanes and have struggled to keep leads and stay out of the box when the game is close and on the line. All of these issues seem to relate to discipline and playing a smart game of hockey night after night.
DL - If you were GM of this team, what would you do to this team?
SD - Everyone always wants to hit the panic button in Philly which is why they are always rumoured in every deal. And they do have some players who are not playing to their potential, or not to the salary they are paid. I would not move Jeff Carter, even though he needs to step up his physical game and would not move Colburn because at 1.4 million he is a cheap, top defenseman who is good, just going through some growing pains. Depth at defence is key when looking to make a long run through the playoffs.
The first thing I would look to do is recoup the 1st round pick we gave up for Pronger. Maybe move a player like Hartnell, who has a mid-level salary but you will not get a 1st rounder for him. Or look at moving Danny Briere because of his salary but we would struggle to find a player who is consistently on the score sheet. I know a lot of people are saying trade for Kovalchuk, but with the Pronger deal, we don’t have the picks or depth to obtain him, or the cap space. Not sure how they get that pick back, as the GM I would need to get creative.
I really think the Flyers need to get serious about finding a goalie of the future. That either needs to be addressed in the upcoming draft or with a deal for a 1st round draft pick playing in the minors. We have ignored that position for too long, and the situation next year would have been perfect to start grooming someone. Emery is young and looked great before the injury, but is he the future, Bachlund was signed from Sweden but when 2 goalies were signed over him when the injuries piled up, he is not the future. Look for someone like Clermont (French born goalie!) could be a good investment and the signing of a quality starter like Emery would be a great tandem.
DL - Should Mike Richards be the captain of the Flyers?
SD - As I stated before I am not in the room so I can only comment on the games I see and interviews. But if I look at the rest of the team I think he is the best person to be the captain. I like that the Flyer brass has given him the C and allowed him to grow into a leader. I always think that team captains need to be role models for the teams they play on, and Richards is a great role model. He plays with passion and a physical presence. I like him as the captain and I will love him as the captain in a few years when he hits his stride.
DL -What’s the best part of being a Flyers fan?
SD - I grew up in Ontario, Canada and have always been hated by all the Leaf/Senator/etc fans in the area. And frankly I love it. I love being the odd man out at the bar or stadium rooting on the Flyers. The Flyers have a great history and have some of the greatest, most savage fans in the league, and being part of that group is awesome.
DL – What are your expectations of the Philadelphia Flyers this season, as much as this question pains me; will they make the playoffs?
SD -As I am writing this the Flyers have won 3 straight and are 1 game away from playing in the Winter Classic, so I am full of optimism and excitement. That being said, I do think they made a smart move with the coaching change, and another team made a coaching change midseason last year, and they won the cup. They are going to struggle with the injuries in net but if Emery can come back strong, and the defence can stay healthy I think we will finish 5th or 6th.
I think if this team does not make the playoffs, they should be ashamed of themselves. 1.8 million left on the cap and you cannot make the playoffs with this line up. That is a joke.
DL – Who is your favorite Flyer and why?
SD -My favourite player of all time is Ron Hextall, being a goalie myself, I loved the way he controlled his crease, went balls out every night, made the clutch save and changed the game by being the first goalie to aggressively play the puck. I cannot believe they have not retired his number, he holds almost every goalie record for the team (Parent holds the rest). My favourite player on the team right now is Giroux. The team was ripped for drafting him, being so small etc, and he has silenced those critics and has been lighting it up. He has amazing speed and can dangle like mad I see him racking up the points in the Winter Classic.
Thanks for letting me participate, Go Flyers!
Thank you for participating, hopefully the O-&-B can get a big win on Friday!
NOTES: Make sure you check back and read my twitter www.twitter.com/DUSTINLEED for all of the Flyers breaking news and updates.