Philly Phaithful
Better With Popcorn

Flyers Tough To Solve

Before the season, no one really knew what to make of this year's Philadelphia Flyers.

Despite the team having played 20 games, there's still no way to know.

The team has rookies getting their feet wet with each game.

Some of those considered to have experience are players playing in an expanded role for the first time at the NHL level.

Legendary veterans have played well, yet their age nags at them with each hit as injuries begin to become a concern. 

And the injury bug hasn't been limited to the old men in orange and black.

Since the season started, the Flyers roster has looked like Bernie Madoff's ledger. With so many changes throughout the lineup, it has become difficult to know who will play and who they'll play with on any given night. 

Despite their 11-6-3 record (good for second in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference), it's been a topsy-turvy ride. 

Some nights, the Flyers look almost scary good. Some nights, they look like the young and injured team that they've been. In Philadelphia, that's far scarier.

But, this is what a new roster of young kids, a risky comeback, and high-priced goaltender looks like. 

It looks different than it did last year. There are no expectations that the team plays to or doesn't play to every night. No, 'well this team made the Stanley Cup, they should win tonight'.

Everything is brand new, and while it doesn't offer a fantastic end goal that everyone can agree on, it provides a focus on the present. 

Each game seems to be isolated from the last. No one can bank on the performance. No one can bank on the lineup. Everything is up in the air, and everyone who follows the team is up there with it. 

When Flyers fan X turns on game Y, they may see Matt Read show off his fantastic speed in a five-game goal streak. 

Or they'll see Sean Couturier continue to grow into the team's best defensive player.

Maybe seeing Claude Giroux connect with Jaromir Jagr on a highlight-reel goal will be enough to have them turn the game on the next night.

The fresh look of the team and the journey of finding what they are is enough to keep the remote flipping back for some. No matter how awful they may look on a given night, there's always a chance the kids will be alright the next.

It's unpredictable. After having a sustained core of players, unpredictable is different.

How different?

Last season, anything less than a repeat Stanley Cup appearance was a disappointment.

This year, if the Flyers put all their pieces together and win the Atlantic Division, there would be some surprise. 

If they missed the playoffs altogether, the surprise would still be there.

As of right now, there's no way to expect either. The season will show what this year's team is and what they're capable of doing. For Flyers fans, that should be an encouraging thing to know. 



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Matthew Brigidi's picture

It's been a while since the roster was this wide open and that in turn has allowed for a lot of competition beyond the top-two center positions. In the past it felt like players were cemented into roles; now it feels like they earn them.