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The Puck Stops Here

Flyers Miss Playoffs

In a shortened season there is a greater uncertainty in the final standings than normal.  A run of good or bad luck will have a bigger impact in the standings than it does in an 82 game season.  Perhaps the team that will miss the playoffs that is the biggest change from recent results is the Philadelphia Flyers.  The Flyers have made the playoffs each of the last five years and advanced past the first round four of those times.  In 2010 they made the Stanley Cup finals.  This year they will watch the playoffs on television.

The Flyers currently stand in 12th place in the East Conference.  They have three games remaining and are seven points back of the eighth place New York Rangers.  They have no mathematical chance of making the playoffs this year.

On the short term the Flyers biggest reason for missing the playoffs is their goaltending.  Ilya Bryzgalov has been their number one goalie and he isn't having a strong season.  He is posting a .898 saves percentage and a 2.84 GAA.  In fact newly acquired Steve Mason is posting better numbers so far this year and he is not having a strong season either.  The bigger problem is the opportunity cost that came with making Bryzgalov their number one goalie.  It has forced the trading of Vezina candidate Sergei Bobrovsky to Columbus.  It also forced the trading of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter who were significant parts of Los Angeles's Stanley Cup victory last year.  With these pieces Philadelphia would almost certainly be a playoff team.

On defence, the Flyers have not recovered completely from the loss of Chris Pronger to a likely career ending injury.  Kimmo Timonen is having a solid season but there isn't much behind him.  Brayden Coburn and Luke Schenn have been among the most played members of their defence but neither has been strong this year.

At forward, Claude Giroux is playing well but is not matching last season when he was the third highest scorer in the league.  Jakub Voracek is also scoring well.  After those two only Wayne Simmonds has more than 25 points among forwards.

The Flyers have dropped in every position this year.  They are allowing more goals and scoring fewer goals.  That is why they will miss the playoffs.  It isn't clear that trend will turn itself around in the future and if it doesn't it should cost GM Paul Holmgren his job.  He bet the future on Ilya Bryzgalov and it has become a very poor bet.  That bet has cost him several very good hockey players who have made significant contributions elsewhere.  They Flyers are worse off because of it.  Had Holmgren been inactive and kept his team instead of changing it over for Bryzgalov they would be a better team.  The Philadelphia Flyers are currently in bad shape.

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LiteWork's avatar

If Bobrovsky was still in Philly he would do much better than Bryzgalov.

Posted by LiteWork on 04/20/13 at 11:56 PM ET

LiteWork's avatar

Meant to say he would not help them more than Bryz.

Posted by LiteWork on 04/21/13 at 12:01 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

On what do you base that opinion?  (For the record I agree with your first comment strongly)

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/21/13 at 12:05 AM ET

LiteWork's avatar

Because Philly isnt a good defensive team.

Posted by LiteWork on 04/21/13 at 02:34 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Columbus isn’t a good defensive team and he is succeeding there.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/21/13 at 12:22 PM ET

LiteWork's avatar

Actually yes they are. They have just mimicked other teams styles like Boston, LA, and Phoenix etc.  Bryzgalov looked like a Vezina caliber goalie in Phoenix but when he went to Philly he sucked. So I dont see how Bobrovosky would have done much better if he stayed in Philly.

Posted by LiteWork on 04/21/13 at 05:27 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

24 year old goalies often take a big step forward especially when their role on their team is increased.  That’s what happened to Bobrovsky and I see no reason that wouldn’t have happened in Philadelphia.

Your claim that Columbus has a good defence is a weak one.  You are aware that Columbus allowed more shots than Philadelphia this season ... right?

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/21/13 at 06:32 PM ET

LiteWork's avatar

Except defense in today’s NHL isn’t about shot counting, it’s about not giving up goals. Coaches don’t care about shot quantity, it’s shot quality and that’s because of goaltending. Lots of butterfly goalies, they play the percentages and the equipment today helps to account for flaws in the style (but that’s another story entirely). Coaches trust, that with evolution of goaltending, that easy shots can be surrendered without issue. So they play for easy shots. Knowing that defense is measured in goal prevention, not shot prevention. Who cares about shots?

Only 4 other teams allow more shots per game than Ottawa. So according to your logic Philly has a better defense than Ottawa as well. When Craig Anderson was injured Ottawa’s backups Bishop and Lehner came in and put up some ridiculous numbers. So they either have 3 world class goalies or one really awesome coach. Im going with the latter.

Posted by LiteWork on 04/21/13 at 08:26 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Thanks fro the pointless rant full of strawmen.  I notice you have yet to explain why you think Philadelphia has a weaker defence than Columbus does.  I don’t see it.  At the very least, neither is any good.

Your claim that Bobrovsky would have not have been any better in Philadelphia than Bryzgalov is totally without any support.  But that’s for the strawmen.  Columbus gives up a higher number of shots than Philadelphia and the shot quality isn’t any better either.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/21/13 at 08:34 PM ET

Bossy_Rules's avatar

Shot quality has been studied.  The finding was that there is only a very small difference in the average shot qualtiy allowed by different teams.  DIGR, which adjusts goalies sv% for shot quality makes only very small adjustments.  By and large teams are facing the same assortment of shots.

Posted by Bossy_Rules on 04/26/13 at 04:57 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

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