Lack of identity
The Flyers are sorely missing something to define themselves by this year. They lack consistency game in and game out. We’ve watched them get off to painfully slow starts, and yet we’ve seen them score early. First-period struggles in one game will be third-period struggles in the next. And they can give up 4-goal leads just as easily as they can get them, if not even moreso. The offense struggles sometimes, and the defense struggles sometimes. The one constant has been Steve Mason, who deserves even more credit than what he’s already gotten, but they need to find a strong point outside of the net and build off of it if they’re going to get anywhere in the playoffs come Spring.
Plenty has already been said about the Flyers’ handling of Brayden Schenn after he took that nasty hit from Washington’s Tom Wilson, so I won’t say much more than this: A player should not have the final say in whether or not he gets tested for a concussion after taking a hit that may jeopardize his brain functions. Schenn didn’t remember the hit or getting off the ice after it; when chunks of time are missing from someone’s memory, that’s a pretty bad sign. I understand that some players are afraid to admit that they’re hurt, and if anything, that’s even more reason to make them take these tests. Rushing a player back onto the ice might be the best thing for the team, but it’s not necessarily the best thing for the man himself. They need to be smarter. Thankfully, Schenn has appeared to be fine over the last several games since the hit.
Vinny Lecavalier returned to the lineup on Saturday, less than two weeks after it was announced that he would miss 3-4 weeks recovering from a back fracture. A player coming back early from injury is nothing new, but it’s something to keep an eye on. He has looked pretty good in two games since returning, so perhaps there’s nothing to be concerned about. The Flyers are off until Saturday’s game against Edmonton, so at least Lecavalier will have the few days over Christmas break to recuperate a little more.
We’re going streaking!
The Flyers have won nine straight games at home for the first time since 2005… Scott Hartnell recorded the 500th point of his career during Monday’s game against Minnesota… Claude Giroux set a new career-high point streak at seven games with his assist on Wayne Simmonds’ first goal in that game against the Wild (five goals and eight assists during this current streak)… Simmonds has scored five goals in his last four games, plus two assists… Jakub Voracek has 13 points in his last eight games.
Steve Downie remains out with an upper-body injury and likely won’t return for another week. Downie has been a surprising upside for the Flyers, and has 19 points in 31 games so far this season… Erik Gustaffson will be out for about two weeks with a sprained left knee sustained in Saturday’s loss against Columbus. This will give either Andrej Meszaros or Hal Gill a chance to get back in the lineup for a few games.