As training camp wound down, and we flipped the calendar to October, what did we expect from this Flyers team? We thought that the team would win a ton of low scoring games. We wondered where the offense wold come from. Experts picked to finish anywhere from 1st to out of the playoffs. There was so much wholesale change, that it was hard to get a consensus on what we had.
Even team management didn’t know what they had. Paul Holmgren even said he wasn’t sure if we were necessarily better, but we were different. It was clear the team didn’t like where they were headed, and wanted to get younger. I didn’t think the moves were good, expected a big step back, and thought we would fight for a playoff spot during the final days.
Instead, things were far different from what any of us expected. The offense was usually on fire. The team defense was terrible. The new goalie was mostly bad, with an amazing stretch in March. Everyone always says it doesn’t matter what your record is, all that matters is how you are playing entering the playoffs. The Flyers were mostly winning down the stretch. A few small deadline moves seemed to cover up our defensive woes.
Once the playoffs began, the only people picking the Flyers were homers. Despite dominating Pittsburgh during the regular season, most thought they would win. A ridiculously high scoring series win later, the Flyers were looked upon in a different light. Despite having a porous defense, they seemed to have an unstoppable offense. Everyone expected us to smoke New Jersey. Instead, the Devils badly outplayed us, a lot of it thanks to great coaching. And the fan base is shocked and disappointed. So what should our grade be?
I label it a huge disappointment. Sure, at the start of the season, we had one set of expectations. But we know thing can change a lot over the course of the season. Once team showed that they can push the play, up the tempo, and attack in waves, it was fair to have lofty goals once the postseason came. After demolishing the Pens, it was more than fair to expect a Finals appearance, even with the Rangers still in the hunt. Instead, we lost to a team that is far inferior on paper. Like everyone else in the league, this team will have plenty to improve upon in the offseason. With Bryz locked up long-term, we need to really look to improve the d. But that’s another discussion for another post. For now, we can just sit around in shock and awe and wonder what could have been if the team had managed to play up to the potential that they showed us they have.
Thanks for reading!
I’m also on Facebook: Broad Street Buzz fan page
Check out our great NHL site, Too Many Men on the Site
Fansided is also on Facebook: Fansided Fan Page