A few days ago Puck Daddy did an article about the Flyers and their coaching change. Until tonight, the article appeared very wrong. After tonight it reads oh so well.
Say what you will about the Islanders, they are a very competitive team. In fact, before the game they were ahead of Philadelphia in the standings. Now they are tied and that should be the closest the Islanders get to the Flyers all year.
Their new coach, Peter Laviolette, moves from the press box to the bench, giving them a strong leader who most likely will push them over the top. Although there were rumors of no fighting and a less physical team I would like to remind you these are still the Broad Street Bullies. Dan Carcillo felt no need to tone down his game, and it looks like Chris Pronger won’t either (see Boarding call on Tavares).
For this team to be successful they need to maintain their physical nature while feeding off consistent production from their top two lines.
This is why this game is a true turning point.
Mike Richards? Two goals. Jeff Carter? Two goals. Claude Giroux, a player who seemed to have an unlimited offensive ceiling before the season… you guessed it two goals. In fact, five of the top six forwards registered points.
In addition, the grit also played a large part in the game. Pronger played an especially nasty game as did Richards. Scott Hartnell and Ian Laperriere were both involved in tussles yet neither registered a fighting major.
Does this mean Laviolette watering down his lineup?
I sincerely doubt it. GM Paul Holmgren built this team in the true Flyers image. The forward are mostly larger in size and have snarl while the same can be said for the defense. This team as comprised is a cup contender and will not be torn apart just to better suit a coach. Their new coach will adapt to his players just as much as his players adapt to him.
The learning process is just that… a process. Coaching changes have helped the Penguins and the Capitals the last two years and the Flyers should be no exception to recent history.
Fantasy Take: Going into the season, four teams in the East were seen to be true powerhouses: Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins. Of these teams I would put the Flyers as the third, regardless of their place in the standings.
As a powerhouse, three to six forwards are roster-able as well as two to forward defensemen. If the Flyers go on a tear from this point, riding out their top players will propel you to a fantasy championship.
I would love to get some feedback on this. What do you think? Did this team turn the corner? Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the article. You can help NHLHS stay alive by visiting our sponsors to the left.