Orange & Black Breakdown
by Vindisi on 11/04/11 at 06:36 PM ET
If you are bored on this first Friday in November and need something to get you excited for the weekend besides us getting one extra hour of sleep, join us for our discussion on all things Flyers after the jump.
Vindisi: Without further ado, I’ll get right into this “Flyerside Chat” by jumping into the biggest issue plaguing the team this year. The defense. They have given me nightmares every game with awful outlet passes and inexcusable turnovers. In your eyes, who is the biggest culprit and what can be done to fix this situation?
Marc: For some reason, Coburn has been standing out consistently for all the wrong reasons. He had some offensive presence last night, but he just seems so lost on the back end. I didn’t expect this in a contract year and he has plenty of time to turn it around, but what gives? A follower recently pointed out to me that he is a new father so maybe he’s just lacking some sleep, but he really needs to start limiting his game and focusing on his play in his own zone. The defense has a whole has been terrible, but he seemed to stand out to me the most. How about you?
Vindisi: I feel the same way but instead about Mr. Meszaros. He can look great one minute than look completely lost a minute later. For a bigger guy, you would expect to see him winning more of the battles in the corners, but his defensive positioning sees him continue to struggle in that department. It’s obvious that the defense has sorely missed Pronger in all facets of the defensive side of the game. What is strange to me is their fall from grace on the power play. I never knew how important it was to have a big ACCURATE shot from the point until his injury. Case and point, look at the Ottawa Senators. Why are they leading the league in power play percentage? The two main reasons are their point-men, Sergei Gonchar and Erik Karlsson. They are lethal and are the main reason Ottawa when on a nice winning streak after being embarrassed by the Flyers. Do you see the Flyers settling at this point with their defensive core the way it is since they are all still relatively young or do you see Homer making his signature splash at the trade deadline?
Marc: You know, it’s interesting to think of all the options the Flyers have. Even though their D-core is underperforming, it still possesses extensive value if they were looking to shuffle up their hand even more. I think the team will likely wait and see what a healthy Pronger does to stable the blue line before making a splash, because they haven’t been able to have that luxury dating all the way back to last season. Once these freak injuries stop occurring Pronger can be on his way to getting back into form. If he starts off slow, I think they might look to pull the trigger on something big to jump start the team. Switching it up a bit…I thought Bob played great again last night, but the shoot-out got the better of them and gave him an ill deserved loss on the score-sheet. What do you think about the skills competition that decided the game last night?
Vindisi: Not a fan of the shootout to end the game. Never have, never will. But it will never change. Bob was a man on a mission tonight stoning Zubrus on a point blank save at one point in the game. If he continues to perform at a high level, then I would love to see him get more of the starts in the upcoming months. Nothing against Bryzgalov, but I would rather see a 50/50 split the rest of the season. In doing so, this would save him for the most important season (the playoffs) and have him fresher than ever. In addition, it allows Bob to stay in a rhythm and allows him to grow as a goalie in case Bryzgalov were to go down to injury. **Knocks on wood** As it sits right now, do you like the current Flyers goalie situation or do you want them to move Bob at some point?
Marc: I love our Russian hammer and sickle between the pipes and wouldn’t have it any other way. I think a 65/35-ish timeshare could work perfectly and keep both in good playing shape for the playoffs. By then, hopefully our offense has pulled it together as well.
The Flyers have been getting tons of production from their first line, but the rest have yet to find a groove. Couturier looks better and better with each game, but they really need some more guys to gel together if they want to make a serious playoff push. Who else can step up? Once some of the guys return from injury we might have a better idea of the answer to this question, but for now who are you looking at to step up and provide secondary scoring? Is JVR really hurt, or in the doghouse because of this?
Vindisi: They keep saying Voracek is on the cusp of breaking out. I can kind of see it at times, but there are other times where he looks like he is drifting. He needs to assert himself early and often in games because there are flashes of that that need to be harnessed into a full 60 minutes effort. I really like Brayden Schenn to play a major role when he gets back. I know he seemed timid with the puck at times when he was called up, but I think that is due to the lack of experience and trying to live up to expectations. I really want to see what he is made up of once he comes back and gets 15-20 games under his belt.
JvR was scratched because he was out too late hanging with Snoop at the Kanye and Jay Z concert
Oh and on JvR, he is another guy that I feel needs to get himself focused on the little things away from the puck (much like Voracek). His defense leaves a lot to be desired and thus may have been the reasoning for his late scratch in last night’s match. Speaking of defense, Simmonds is a beast. He has the most active stick on the Flyers for a forward. I love his defensive approach. Now if only he could harness that agressiveness into a finesse game on offense, he could be one of the toughest Flyers on the team for teams to play against. Problem is, I see Lavvy thinking of Simmonds more of as a defensive forward role the rest of the way this year. Am I wrong to assume this, or am I on to something?
Marc: I can see where you’re coming from, but then he ends up on the power play, so I’m not quite sure. Missing from this all is Matt Read, the dark-horse ROY candidate. He has shown some serious NHL ability, and could play a major role down the line as well. Sometimes the stats tell the tale, but other times a players accomplishments beyond the stat sheet are a better measure of impact. Matt Read has been a force in previous organizations and leaves his impact wherever he has played. He’s the type of guy I think you could see in that R.J. Umberger type beast-mode come October based on sheer passion.
Where did all the ‘Ole’ chants go?!
Vindisi: I can see that, but I’m not 100% certain he can hold up in this long season. Umberger had a different build that was built for playoff hockey. Read’s small frame could cause concerns of his durability as the season wears on. Same could be said for Briere, but he has a knack for getting in the soft spots without putting his body in harms way. Matt Read has a tendency to play bigger than his body (ala Giroux), but doesn’t have the experience/track record of a Giroux to give me the confidence that he can last a full 82+ game slate. I think we have beat the Flyers up in this week’s Flyerside chat. I’m looking forward to the upcoming weeks when we have the HBO series 24/7 to talk about, which will allow us into the personalitites of the players we follow on daily basis. Thanks for reading everyone.
Lets Go Flyers!
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About Orange & Black Breakdown
The Orange & Black Breakdown looks to be the ultimate, around the clock source for news and information on the Philadelphia Flyers organization and it’s ever-present quest for the Stanley Cup. Focusing on what the team can do to achieve success is the ultimate goal.
The OBB is written and maintained by myself - Marc Siciliano. I’m a college graduate and media production professional in the sports industry with credits on projects like Hard Knocks: Bengals and 24/7 Penguins vs. Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic. A man of many hobbies, I always seem to find a way to spend a disproportionate amount of my daily routine with two things: Flyers hockey and social media (much to the dismay of my hockey impartial friends on twitter).
So what does this mean for you? The plan is to combine these
time-wasting habits passions with my love for writing to provide you with complete coverage of the Flyers from both my head and around the web, 24/7.
This is my second writing stint focusing on the Flyers, but for a much larger audience - so do be gentle. Different perspectives and opinions on the organization are welcome and encouraged. Just because I see it one way doesn’t mean I’m beyond seeing it your way as well, so speak up!
I’m always interested in interacting with readers, so find me on twitter (@marcs797) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s talk hockey.
Thanks for reading; Lets go Flyers!