Better With Popcorn

The state of the Orange-and-Black union

The Philadelphia Flyers currently sit at seventh in the Eastern Conference with a 12-8-1 record with 25 points.

The problem; the Flyers haven’t won since Nov. 18 and are in the midst of a three-game losing streak, around the Holiday season, yet again.

Flyers fans have seen this all before. The streaky Flyers will put together a great stretch of games and pile up the wins, then go about 7-10 days and look like the worst group of players you can put on the ice.

A 6-3 loss to San Jose – I can handle, the Flyers won seven of their eight games before the loss to SJ. Yes, just two weeks ago, the Flyers were in the middle of a six-game winning streak.

The 3-1 loss to Phoenix was really tough, some bad officiating and tough breaks. Though through adversity, you see what kind of team you have.

We were all ready to see how the Flyers would respond in Colorado. We all thought we’d see a great, hungry team fly out of the gate with purpose and grit!

Well weren’t we dead wrong.

Before the Flyers knew it, they were down 2-0 and thinking ‘oh lord, here we go again.’ The Avalanche were up 5-2 and Emery looked terrible. The Flyers put two more goals on the board and made the blowout, a game late. Bottom line, unprepared team lost 5-4 – their third in a row.

We can all point fingers. But I can tell you that I do not agree with some of the things Stevens does and has done – I think he could do a better job, but what John Stevens does behind closed doors, no one knows. But, in my eyes, more often than not, the team isn’t ready to come and play

The losing streaks and stretches of poor play happen every year in Philadelphia. Does it happen to other teams? Of course, but the Flyers have expectations of an original six team, or a Canadian marketed team, in every way possible.

I understand they’re some legit teams who have a longer Stanley Cup drought than the Flyers – Buffalo, Toronto, Chicago and Toronto – but you get the point.

The problem in Philadelphia is always the expectations. And when you go 25-plus years without winning a Stanley Cup…there really shouldn’t be expectations...right? Well unfortunately not, because this is Philadelphia, not Florida.

The Flyers have a hell of a roster, many great individual talents, but they haven’t come together to play as a team, yet. They put up great statistics, Jeff Carter looks like one of the best goal-scorers the League will see, but in the end, does it matter if you’re not winning?

The thing that hurts the more is that the Flyers put together winning season after winning season, and don’t win the Cup.
The Flyers have only two losing seasons since 1993-94 (two in 16 years) and in their 41 year history, the Flyers have only missed the playoffs nine times.

With that said, I don’t think there is any way that the Flyers will not make the playoffs, though how far they go - is another question. But as many Flyer fans can tell you, the Flyers have been down this road of bad play before. And in my eyes, it happens over and over.

They Flyers are never the most dominant team in the Eastern Conference. I don’t care what you may think. The Flyers’ fans need to realize this. Can they be? Sure. But if you don’t play, game-in and game-out, like you want to be the top seed, it’s not going to happen.

The last time the Orange-and-Black were the number one seed in the East was ten years ago, 1999-00. I understand that not every top seed wins the Stanley Cup or makes it to the Finals, but what I’m trying to say is that the Flyers never have an absolutely dominant season where they look like one of the best teams in the NHL, ever. They go on stretches and once the Playoffs come around, it’s hit or miss.

The Flyers have lapses throughout the year, throughout the months, throughout the weeks, throughout the games, throughout the periods.
The Flyers blow entirely too many leads, and period-to-period they are a different team. All I’m asking for is a legit, eye-opening season. Not a mediocre five or six seed season where they make the Playoffs and get beat, going out without a fight.

I wouldn’t worry, all is not lost. But with that said, I’ve seen this act over and over and right now, the Flyers are asking for an early exit this spring. It’s always so bitter-sweet in Philly. We win games, but we never do it for long enough periods of time, or with convincing fashion.

The good: We often make the playoffs, are one of the best eight teams in the Eastern Conference and always put a team that competes and wins on the ice.

The bad: They never win enough, and there is always a feeling of let down.

Bottom line: we need a Stanley Cup.

Losing Darroll Powe and Blair Betts is BRUTAL for this team. Andreas Nodl and Jared Ross will do what they’re supposed to and can fill a roll, but not what Blair Betts and Darroll Powe (six goals in 19 games) bring to this team.

Instead of bringing up two guys who have been there before, play a role and never standout - I think the Flyers should have brought up two players who can provide more of a spark to the team.

I like Ross, but I don’t like his play for the Phantoms thus far. He has one goal and is a minus-5, while Nodl has four points in 16 games in the AHL. I understand the reasoning, but I think someone else should be given a shot.

Maybe someone like Patrick Maroon, who has 10 points in 16 games with 30 penalty minutes with Adirondack and can use hit fists to send a message, or Jon Matsumoto who leads the Phantoms in points. Maybe even newly acquired Stefan Legein who has six points in 16 games (three goals in 10 games in Adirondack) but what’s more impressive is his 39 shots – he oozes offensive ability and in my opinion, could succeed in the big show.

But they’re bigger problems to fix besides whom plays on the Flyers fourth line.

Ultimately, the Flyers can’t cruise through the regular season, compile 85- 95 points and then go into the Playoffs with the same mind-set like it’s just another game in the regular season and get ousted.

For the Flyers to get to the ultimate goal they need to dominate in the regular season and so far there has been way too many mistakes, bad coaching and soft defensive play and goaltending.

Sound familiar?

Something has to change - because right now, it looks like an early exit will be happening again.