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You solve the Flyers’ offense…

Posted by Chris Shafer On December - 21 - 2009

This was supposed to be the breakout year for the Philadelphia Flyers, but so far it has been a disaster.

Just about a month and a half ago the Flyers offense was in the middle of a back-and-forth with the Washington Capitals for the most goals per game. Since then, they have dropped to 19th leaving the actual rank of the offense during this lull to the imagination of the fans.

Things seem bad, but they are actually playing well under Laviolette. Outside of a few terrible games, the vast majority of losses have been winnable with another two goals past opposing netminders.

The power-play, normally the Flyers’ bread and butter, has been particularly cold.

Despite Emery’s injury the goaltending Boucher has provided night in and night out has been great. His only job is supposed to be to give the Flyers an opportunity to win every night. For the most part he has done that.

With the offensive lineup relatively the same from last year, none of this makes sense. The following chart is the offensive production of the Flyers’ 11 key players for 08-09 and 09-10.  (GPG = Goals per Game / PPG = Points per Game) Note: From 08-09 to 09-10 Mike Knuble and Joffrey Lupul change to Chris Pronger and James vanRiemsdyk.

2008-09

  • Jeff Carter: 0.56 GPG – 1.02 PPG
  • Mike Richards: 0.38 GPG – 1.01 PPG
  • Simon Gagne: 0.43 GPG – 0.94 PPG
  • Scott Hartnell: 0.37 GPG – 0.73 PPG
  • Danny Briere:  0.38 GPG – 0.86 PPG
  • Claude Giroux: 0.21 GPG – 0.64 PPG
  • Joffrey Lupul: 0.32 GPG – 0.63 PPG
  • Mike Knuble: 0.33 GPG – 0.57 PPG
  • Kimmo Timonen: 0.04 GPG – 0.56 PPG
  • Braydon Coburn: 0.09 GPG – 0.35 PPG
  • Matt Carle: 0.07 GPG – 0.34 PPG
  • TOTAL: 3.18 GPG – 7.65 PPG

2009-10

  • Jeff Carter: 0.35 GPG – 0.76 PPG
  • Mike Richards: 0.38 GPG – 0.79 PPG
  • Simon Gagne: 0.10 GPG – 0.60 PPG
  • Scott Hartnell: 0.26 GPG – 0.62 PPG
  • Danny Briere:  0.41 GPG – 0.74 PPG
  • Claude Giroux: 0.21 GPG – 0.62 PPG
  • James vanRiemsdyk: 0.23 GPG – 0.65 PPG
  • Chris Pronger: 0.15 GPG – 0.62 PPG
  • Kimmo Timonen: 0.09 GPG – 0.56 PPG
  • Braydon Coburn: 0.12 GPG – 0.33 PPG
  • Matt Carle: 0.06 GPG – 0.56 PPG
  • TOTAL: 2.36 GPG – 6.85 PPG

So as the Flyers take on Florida tonight, what’s your theory on the offensive issues? Then, how would you deal with the problem?

1. Strong competition/hot goaltenders?

2. Power-play confusion?

3. Locker room drama/chemistry issues?

4. Lack of skill/injuries?

5. Coaching problems/confidence?

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  • Adam

    2. Power-play confusion?
    I hope we get it back.

    3. Locker room drama/chemistry issues?
    I think the locker room stuff is overblown, there may have been something, but if there was I think it has passed. This team has made me want to ask people more knowledgeable than myself about hockey in the past if there was a team that seemed to have a lot of talent on paper but for some reason just didn't work well together. I'm hoping that isn't the case for the Flyers, and it probably isn't because 13 of the guys on our team now were here last year (including Powe, Carcillo, and Gagne who just returned) and have been able to play well with each other in the past.

    – Now that I think about it more a lot of the guys who were with the team last year are playing with different line mates than last year, so it could be a factor.

    4. Lack of skill/injuries?
    I don't think lack of skill is our problem, nor injuries really. Gagne was out for a while but he wasn't producing much offensively before anyways, and that has been one of our largest issues. Though I like both Betts and Powe, we should be able to carry on without them. Emery playing hurt on the other hand, definitely hurt us, though you have to commend him for still wanting to play.

    5. Coaching problems/confidence?
    I think Laviolette is a good coach (though maybe not the best for the Flyers), and I don't think our current situation is any way his fault. I place the blame for these teams bad play on the players but of course it is easy to call someone out for seeming unmotivated but for myself I know its tough to become motivated. The team's bad play could definitely take everyone's confidence down though I hadn't thought of it much- that may be a factor in their bad play- I think Gagne actually mentioned it in the post-game interview on Saturday.

  • Jeff

    1. No excuses on competition, this team was slated to challenge for the Cup this year.

    2. Not the root of the problem.

    3. THIS is the main problem. I think there definitely is something going wrong in that locker room and off the ice. There's definitely a toxic environment there right now. Why? We've seen photos of the young guys partying in Olde City all the time, and I bet the Vets who live in South Jersey are pissed that the young guys aren't serious about winning. In the middle of it all is Richards: he wants to win the Cup and lead this team, but he wants to win the Cup with some of the doofuses in the OCC (Carter and Hartnell specifically) who are not likely to fly right and get it done. He's stuck between leading the team of vets, and getting the young guys to listen to him. You can sense the tension leaking out in locker room individuals.

    4. This team has plenty of skill, and there were no MAJOR injuries to key offensive players, besides Gagne. No excuses here.

    5. The team got too comfortable under Stevens. He was not a tactician, he was not a guy who focused so much on the intricacies of the game. He was a bottom line coach, but the bottom line was this team was doing way worse than expected. Laviolette is left to clean up this mess, and it could take a while.

  • http://www.cornonthejob.com/ Rich DeMatteo

    3 and 5. It goes hand in hand.

    When Key players went down with injuries (Powe, Betts, Gagne) it really affected the team. The Betts – Carcillo – Lapierre line was playing the best out of all of our lines. They provided instant energy and were a strong defensive force. Betts also is our best face off man, so he helps tremendously. When those 3 players went down our entire team struggled and chemistry vanished between lines.

    Also, Emery shouldn't of tried to play with the injury. That hurt the team more. Now we have a lack of confidence after losing a great number of games.

    Laviolette's system is a tough one to learn and they've been so busy playing that practice time has suffered. The season can still be saved, but they have a lot of work to do.

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