The Flyers will host the Calgary Flames this afternoon in what will be their last game before the Olympics cuts into the season. It has been a roller coaster of a start for the Flyers this year. As luck would have it they are on a pretty good run right now which really irks me that now is when they finally seem to be putting everything together. Team Chairman Ed Snider was quoted a few days ago about how much he and others dislike the Olympic mid-season interruption. I get where he, and other owners, are coming from. They invest a lot of time and much more money into these players and there is nothing to gain from their vantage point. Pro athletes as a whole, regardless of the sport, live lives of constant routine during a season. It’s that repetition that keeps them going each and every year. Now enter the Olympics and things start to get a bit thrown off; not only for the players invited to play for their respective countries but the ones left here at home. The ones that are staying are most likely going to take some sort of vacation sometime over the next 19 days. I don’t blame them; I would too but instead of gearing up for a home game against the Sharks some players will be somewhere warm avoiding them. That’s not to say that they are going to come back out-of-shape, but there is a difference between in-shape and game-shape. The other problem is on the players that are going to Sochi, Russia. They will have a different sort of vacation; one that will have them playing along side not only their fellow countrymen but some of the best talent in the NHL. This is great for the players that have the chance to represent their countries, but these are pressure filled contests. Games that mean a lot of all involved. It changes up that precious routine of a normal NHL season. Upon returning home, regardless of the outcome, it is a small task to get back into the flow of playing a regular season game again. What also happens if one of the players on the NHL team that you root for ends up injured. This might seem a bit un-American, but the US winning a gold medal, albeit special, would not mean as much to me as the Philadelphia Flyers hosting Lord Stanley’s Cup. That is why I tend to lean more towards Ed Snider’s perspective on the subject.
***With that said I would like to wish the Flyers players that are going to Sochi the best of luck and good heatlh. http://t.co/0J38P8JZYK
***This past week the Flyers organization lost one of their most influential members ever, Keith Allen 1923-2014. RIP . For those that don’t know or remember who he was or what he meant to this franchise here are a couple of excellent links. Here is a video tribute on philadelphiaflyers.com. Here is another link for an unbelievable article written by hockeybuzz.com scribe Bill Meltzer.
***The Flyers during their resent stretch of games have been playing the sort of hockey that I felt they should have been from the start of the season. I hope the Olympic break doesn’t throw off that momentum that they were building heading into the break. They have been limiting some of the dumb penalties and being more responsible in their own end which has turned into more quality scoring chances. They have been able to roll all four lines with success. That is always a good recipe for winning hockey games. What is also not lost is the goaltending, which has been nothing short of awesome. Steve Mason has not had to make a whole ton of great saves, but he has when called upon, just the ones he should make which leads his teammates to have more confidence in the offensive zone.
***The offseason acquisition of Michael Raffl is looking more and more like a huge addition this year. Although he will be a restricted free agent this offseason; he also needs to get resigned before he has a chance to test the free agent market.
***The Flyers had most of their front office brain trust in attendance at the Oilers/Devils game last night. I smell something may be cooking between the Flyers and the Oilers. That rumored connection seems to make a whole ton of sense. They have needs that we could fill and they have commodities that that could work for the Flyers. Who knows???
***Although as good as Flyers have been playing lately, March 5th is the official trade deadline this season and make no mistakes the Flyers will be involved. They are on the lookout for help on defense along with a second or third line winger.
***If there is a silver lining to the Olympic break it’s that the last time it rolled around was 2010 and that years Flyers team, which is not too much different from this one, made it all the way to the Finals and two wins away from winning it all. Why not finishing it off this year???