Saturday, February 23, 2008

Flyers Comeback Season Crumbling

Last season, the Philadelphia Flyers finished in last place. They made some moves to try to improve things. They signed Kimmo Timonen, Scott Hartnell and Daniel Briere and already had some young players in their core ready to make a leap forward including Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and RJ Umberger. The team jumped off to an excellent start this season. It was build largely a big improvement in goal. Martin Biron had a very good start to the season and was an early MVP candidate. When Biron cooled off, Antero Nittymaki picked up the slack for a while. Philadelphia looked good. They were contending for first place in the Atlantic Division and often held onto first.

Things have not been so good lately. The goaltending is starting to fail. The defence hasn't been as strong. The Flyers have lost their last nine games in a row. One loss was a regulation tie, so they have one point to show for the skid. If the season ended right now, the Flyers would miss the playoffs with a tenth place finish in the East Conference. That is still a huge improvement from finishing in last place in the league by eleven points. It is a huge step in the right direction. It is one Flyers fans should be proud of. It is nearly impossible to remake a team that is as bad as the 2006/07 into a playoff team in one year. They came as close as anyone could and with some luck they still might slip into a lower playoff berth.

It will be hard going. They have lost Simon Gagne for the season due to concussions. The Flyers will be tempted to try to make a trade to secure a playoff berth. Rumors have Jeff Carter available. That would likely be a bad move. Carter is a very good young player who has a bright future ahead of him. If the Flyers sell him to attempt to make playoffs today it will be a move the learn to regret.

The Philadelphia Flyers have made a big leap forward from last year's last place finish. Even though a playoff berth no longer looks likely, it is something to be proud of. They are heading in the right direction and it would be a mistake to make a big move at the trade deadline in order to win this year. They are not good enough to win this year, but if they let their young players continue to mature and continue to build those days will likely come.

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