Last season, there were a ton of things that went wrong. The talent was there, but the desire waned and never came back. For most of the year, the team completely destroyed everyone at will. When they started realizing how good they were, they stopped hustling. Bad habits crept into their play, and they started losing. A large lead atop the Eastern Conference disappeared, and they lost the top spot, and nearly the division. Eventually, a first round series against Buffalo went 7 games, when it should have been over in 4 or 5. The Flyers prevailed, and faced the Boston Bruins in Round 2.
Boston was looking for a measure of revenge from the previous season. That, of course, was when the Flyers overcame a 3-0 series deficit, as well as a 3-0 deficit in Game 7 to make history. Unfortunately, that’s where the the 2011 playoffs would come to end. Boston once again took a 3-0 lead over the Orange and Black. Game 4 turned into a cakewalk for the B’s, as they swept the Flyers aside.
The new look Flyers will be very, very different from last season. If healthy, they’re coming back with a stingier defense than last season. Chris Pronger is now the captain, taking over the role vacated by Mike Richards. Aside from a new title, that doesn’t really change Prongs’ role on the team. He’s been a very vocal leader since coming over a few years ago. The goals should be a bit harder to come by for opposing teams because ofIlya Bryzgalov in net. While Bobrovsky was very, very good, he wasn’t great. He could play, but he didn’t seem to be able to handle the workload. Maybe that’s the coaches fault, but that’s a different discussion.
Scoring will be a bit harder to come by. Giroux and Briere are now the top centers, and behind them, we don’t know what else we have. In addition, the Flyers expect JVR to play like the monster that he was in the playoffs last year. We’ll have to wait and see how well the new guys and the youth infusion mesh. All of the lines will be new, so right now it’s impossible to guess how potent the offense really will be. I do think we take a large step back from last year.
In general, there are many, many questions surrounding this team. Who will kill penalties? How good is the team defense? Do we have enough scoring depth or will we have problems like the Rangers have had the last few years? Will Giroux thrive with the added responsibility? Will all of the trades pay off? Will Pronger be healthy enough to be a factor in the playoffs? Will we definitely make the playoffs?
The season starts on October 6. Over the next 7 months, everything will be answered.
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