Labor Day Weekend has passed, grilling season has ended (for most people), pools are closing, and school is in full swing for the kids. The weather is starting to turn crisp, and leaves will soon shrivel up and cover the streets. And finally, after a few agonizing months of waiting, HOCKEY IS BACK!
As usual, the Flyers have plenty of questions heading into the new season, along with high expectations. Here is a list of issues for this season:
- More balanced scoring: Hartnell, Briere, Zherdev, Giroux– these guys need to give Richards and Carter a lot more support
- Healthy Chris Pronger: He makes an impact every time he is on the ice. Matt Carle looked awesome playing alongside him, and the offense transitions much more efficiently with him out there.
- Forecheck: This was our biggest issue for the first half of the year, and our biggest advantage over the second half and the playoffs. If we can consistently pressure other teams, night in and night out, we can possibly get 50 wins.
- Timonen/Coburn combination: Two years ago, this was out best defensive pair, now, not so much. Coburn stopped improving, and gets beat 1 on 1 a bit too often, and Timonen showed his age a bit towards the end of last year. His positioning wasn’t solid like it had been, and he was the one who Kane easily head faked before scoring that Cup clinching goal.
- Goaltending: We know that Leightonsucks, but we brought in better defenseman to cover up for him. The Flyers are doing the best that they can to not rely on him, and ive him enough support. As long as he doesn’t give up too many softies, we’ll be ok.
- Beating Pittsburgh: I don’t care if the Devils won the division, the Pens are the team to beat and the harder match up. We went 1-5 against them. And if we met them in the playoffs, I don’t think we would have gotten past them. I want to feel more confidence when we play against them.
- Better play against top teams: San Jose, Phoenix, Buffalo, Washington, Vancouver, Colorado all handled us pretty well last season. NJ was the only division winner that we owned. We beat Chicago in our only regular season meeting, but we know how the rematch went. That’s why we squeaked into the playoffs in our last game, rather than locking up a spot a few weeks earlier.
In addition to roster spots, these are some of the main issues I want the team to address during camp. Maybe I’m missing a few, so feel free to chime in and leave some comments. Meanwhile, the countdown is on.
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