The Flyers' Harsh Reality
The Flyers aren’t winning the Stanley Cup this season. They’re not winning the title of Eastern Conference Champions. We’ll be lucky if they even win another game during these playoffs.
Harsh? Yes. But it’s a reality that’s staring this team and its fanbase in the face.
We can talk about last season until we’re blue in the face. We can relive that historic comeback in our minds over and over and over again. The truth is, it’s not going to happen again. There’s a reason why the 0-3 comeback has only happened three times in the past. In the first round this year, the Blackhawks looked to be the fourth team in history to do it, but were ultimately beaten by the Canucks. Barring a miracle (that we can all pray for, but know deep down inside won’t come), the Flyers are not going to pull that off two years in a row.
When a team goes out on the ice for what is not technically an elimination game but might as well be, and puts forth the “effort” (if you could even call it that) that the Flyers did last night, how are you supposed to believe that they want to go all the way and win the Stanley Cup? It looks like some of them just want to go to sleep.
The Flyers pride themselves on being a team who plays better when their backs are against the wall. We saw that during the Sabres series, where they forced Game 6 to overtime and won Game 7 to win, instead of being eliminated in six. But when a team constantly has to fight back from deficits, it’s exhausting. They have to be twice as good as the team they’re trying to come back against, and, to be completely honest, I’m not sure that the Flyers are even as good as the Bruins in general this season, let alone have the potential to be twice as good.
This is not last season. The Bruins are a different and much stronger team, and the Flyers are a different team. The team looked great in December and January, when they were playing well and they were the best in the NHL. Things began unraveling in the last few months of the regular season, and it all seems to be crumbling down now. This team barely even has a pulse right now.
People can blame goaltending for all of the issues (and they usually do), but goaltenders can’t control their forwards, who can’t even seem to control pucks. Goaltenders don’t turn over the puck to the opposing team and give them golden opportunities to capitalize. Goaltenders can’t be warding off three guys in the crease by himself. Brian Boucher is not the best goalie in the world, but he certainly deserved a better fate than what he’s gotten, and much less criticism. Would starting Bobrovsky over Boucher in the second round have made a difference? It’s possible, but it’s not guaranteed.
Blame can be placed all throughout the team, but it won’t do any good to point fingers. At this rate, there isn’t much fixing that can be done. The Flyers came out playing hard in Game 2, but lost in overtime. One would have thought that they’d use that loss as motivation to come out swinging in Game 3, but instead of a roar, it was more of a whimper.
When the Flyers were struggling the last two months of the season, they chalked their complacency up to the fact that they just wanted the playoffs to begin. That’s fine. But what are they anxious for now? The offseason?
Some Flyers fans remain optimistic. They hold last season’s remarkable comeback run close to their hearts and have faith that the team can pull it off again. Others seem to have accepted defeat and are already wondering about what changes the team will make in the offseason to fix the existing problems, and what the team will be like next season.
For me, I’m holding onto a tiny sliver of hope that the Flyers somehow, miraculously, pull it off. I’m trying my best to stay realistic, though, if only to avoid the overwhelming disappointment if Game 4 doesn’t go in the team’s favor. What more can anyone do waiting anxiously as their team sits on the brink of elimination?
A final plea: Don’t let Friday’s game be the last one, Flyers. Fight back. Prove the naysayers and the non-believers wrong.
We beg you.