PHILADELPHIA -- At the basic core, hockey really is a simple game. The easiest way to score more goals than the other team is to control the game, keep the puck in their end and thus, out of your own end. It's just playing the percentages. If you're controlling the game, you're likely going to have more chances to score goals and you're likely going to score more goals and you're likely going to win more hockey games.
This theory holds true with this year's Philadelphia Flyers, and if you want to understand why everybody is panic mode and why the players are beyond frustrated with themselves, it has absolutely everything to do with the fact that they haven't been controlling hockey games over the last month. Yes, they had earned at least one point in their last 10 games before tonight, but anybody who's watched them knows that maybe two of those games were solid efforts.
Simply put, they're not playing good hockey right now. They're dancing around at the blue line like they're on Broadway instead of Broad Street. They're not getting pucks deep, they're not winning puck battles, they're not creating offense. In a word, they're playing lazy hockey. Peter Laviolette called it "easy" hockey tonight, backed up by the fact that they gave up the puck a season-high 20 times tonight.
It feels like they're just on cruise control, trying to ride out the rest of the season until the playoffs come.
That's the silver lining here, I guess, if there is one. We know that you don't need to be firing on all cylinders heading into the postseason to have success once you get there (proven with numbers!). It's so often called "flipping the switch," and it can certainly be done once the postseason comes -- just look at last year's team.
Kimmo Timonen calls it an "individual thing," implying that the guys aren't on the same page in terms of work ethic and all of that right now. There's a lot to play for right now in terms of playoff seeding and all of that, but in the bigger picture, it doesn't matter what seed they earn or what team they play if they're putting in games like tonight and Saturday night and Thursday night come playoff time.
After the jump, questions with answers, post-game video and the comment of the night.
Questions to Answer
- What does Reemer do for an encore? Not much, although his line was the Flyers' best tonight. He, Versteeg and Richie seemed to be the only Flyers unit really generating much and really protecting the puck.
- Can the Flyers get a regulation win against a team that doesn't suck? Ugh.
- Will any charges be pressed against Zdeno Chara? Montreal sucks.
- Bobrovsky was incredible on Long Island, but the defense wasn't fantastic. Can they rebound? The defense was pretty sound, actually, aside from a few individual errors. I seem to get the feeling that most of the issues are in the offensive zone and in the transition game. Things seem generally okay defensively.
- What the hell is up with this 7 p.m. start time on a Sunday? I don't know, but it certainly does suck.
Post-Game Video will be up later, since it's taking a while to upload. Check the BSH YouTube page.
Comment of the Night
Jack Edwards makes me envy the deaf.