We’re only three games into the 2013-2014 season but it appears as if the Flyers’ faults remain. The five-on-five numbers indicate that the Flyers just might not be very good.
If you know me you know that I am not an emotional fan. I tend to approach the Flyers much like I do everything else in my life, logically and with rationale. If the title of this article looks a bit familiar it may be because I wrote a similar piece last February.
I don’t want to be one to jump to a conclusion after three games. Three games is an exceptionally small sample. You could pull a three game sample of any team and prove pretty much whatever you’d like. In this case however, the Flyers seem to be no different than they were last year.
Last season the Flyers had the league’s third best power play and the fifth best penalty kill. However, they struggled mightily at five-on-five. When looking at shot attempt differential (shots+missed shots+blocked shots) the Flyers operated at 47.6% last season, good for 23rd in the league. That essentially means the Flyers were effectively getting outplayed and outproduced at even strength. For every 100 shot attempts at five-one-five the Flyers had just over ~47, meaning their opponents were attempting ~53.
If we look at the Flyers through their first three games this season, it doesn’t appear to be headed in the right direction. They currently sit at 44.9% or 26th in the league.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the problem is. For once, I think we can say that goaltending has not been the problem. It’s obvious that the Flyers are struggling offensively, but the questions is why?
I think Charlie from The Hockey Guys summed it up best:
The Flyers are struggling because they are playing bad hockey. Simple as that.
— Charlie O'Connor (@THG_Charlie) October 7, 2013
They are just bad. I think the team has more than enough talent, but for whatever reason it isn’t all coming together. Some might say that’s an indictment of the coach, and it’s hard to argue. But at the same time, the Flyers seem to be constantly on the losing end of loose pucks and board battles. That’s on the players.
One thing is for sure though, if the Flyers don’t turn it around relatively quickly, I think change is inevitable.
Edit: This was written and scheduled last night, and sure enough this happened…
Flyers have fired Peter Laviolette, per a source. Replacing him with Craig Berube. Press conference at 11am.
— Frank Seravalli (@DNFlyers) October 7, 2013