Flyers Come Out Flat, Stay Flat in 2-1 Loss
After the Flyers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night, there was reason to believe that the team was up off the mat. There was reason to believe that Captain Mike Richards had snapped out of his slumber. There was reason to believe that the team had found a way to overcome their slow start. With a game against Columbus in a half empty barn kick-starting a four game week, I figured the upswing had begun. Right?
The Flyers lost Monday night in Columbus 2-1, and it shouldn’t have been that close. Aside from the last eight or so minutes of the game, there was absolutely nothing on the ice that resembled a hockey team. If you’d like me to refrain from my cynicism, I’m sorry. There were probably four or five Flyers that looked like they played ice hockey for a living. Brian Boucher played a heckuva game in net, and was promptly rewarded with no offensive support. The Flyers are depending on the line of Scott Hartnell, Danny Briere and Ville Leino to carry the offense. The line scored the team’s lone goal. The rest of the team was nowhere to be found.
After Leino’s tally at the five minute mark, the Flyers had a chance, and some hope. Maybe the ‘two-goal lead’ monster would rear its ugly head on the Blue Jackets. Nope. Immediately following the faceoff, Darroll Powe took an Interference penalty. By the time the penalty was killed, the team had three minutes to score and much like the first 54 minutes of the game, they were unsuccessful. Although the team played a fairly clean game, the penalty couldn’t have happened at a worse time.
I’m no professional athlete. I played high school sports and intramural sports, but I’m not exactly Jim Brown. I understand that many of the players on the ice are playing with nagging injuries, or rushed back from surgery, or they’re having trouble finding chemistry with their line-mates. But, I really don’t care about those things. The bottom line is everyone in Orange and Black should be downright ashamed of what was on the ice tonight as well as what’s been on the ice most of this young season. I don’t know if the talent is overrated. I don’t know if the coaching is getting through to the players. I don’t know if there’s a leadership problem. What I do know is that most people should have enough self-respect to try to do the job at the best of their ability. If there’s an apologist out there that saw full-fledged effort out of the Flyers, bottle what you’re taking and sell it.
I would expect to see a strong bounce back performance at home against Buffalo tomorrow night. It will seem promising, I’m sure they’ll play with determination and fire. It will look like they’re the team we’ve all been waiting to see. It will seem like they’re on their upswing.
Don’t rush to judgment.