With the Flyers having three consecutive days off after losing five of six, everyone's had some time to let their recent struggles in a variety of scenarios marinate. The current sentiment among fans and media seems to be uncertainty at best. So far, the Flyers can't hold a candle to the team at the top of the East, were dashed by the top team in the West, and the middle of the pack is engulfing them in the standings. Special teams woes have joined injuries, goaltending issues, and defensive lapses to derail the Flyers into a state of upper-middle-class performance that has Frank Seravalli even saying that maybe they should be sellers at this year's trade deadline.
We're still a bit ahead of the market frenzy, with some important games to play tonight and this weekend. The Flyers aren't trying to answer all of the questions listed above. Just beat the Buffalo Sabres, who might be the perfect opponent for them right now.
Although not division rivals, the Sabres and Flyers have for years had a tendency to get chippy early, with more than just goals on the line in their meetings. The Flyers have appeared a little flat (if not a lot) in recent showings, despite national spotlights and marquee matchups. Not a good sign for a contender, but there's still time to strengthen their identity and get hot headed into the postseason. It is, after all, only February.
With that being said, we're still not exactly sure what this team's identity is. Their system and personnel are hemorrhaging goals, too often at a greater pace than their deep attack can counter them. They've been pushed around in games in which they also lost the penalty box battle. And worst of all, they've been outplayed by a few inferior teams.
So tonight, I ask y'all, which team do you want to see take the ice for the Flyers? The group of lunchpailers who love to see Lindy Ruff (god rest his ribs) turn beet red and Ryan Miller throw a hissy fit for various encroachments into the paint? Miller isn't playing tonight, but you get the point. Or do you want to see the team that just tries to play a smooth but attacking system and avoid the box (and resultant power plays) at all costs? Does this team need to come out swinging, or skating?
Don't say both, chicken.
Scouts in the House, New Face on the Way
Dave Isaac says there are scouts from Columbus, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Washington, San Jose, Colorado, and Ottawa at the Wells Fargo Center. Probably just because they like hockey, no other reason…
The Flyers have made their first trade of the season, adding defenseman Nicklas Grossman, previously of the Dallas Stars, for a pair of picks. Will any of the currently rostered players be dealt to a team represented in the press box tonight?
Buffalo has had a well-documented poor showing this season, including getting only four goals from the high-cost Ville Leino, who visits his previous NHL home for the first time since inking a big free agent deal over the summer. Ville wasn't here particularly long, though he was part of one of the most potent playoff lines in the team's history, if not the most. Still, I don't think the reception will be particularly warm...