I know this is going to sound unbelievable, but there’s trouble on the horizon in Philadelphia Flyers Land.
“What’s that?”, you say? “A team that makes significant roster changes almost every summer is having trouble establishing an identity? A franchise that looks at goalies the way Taylor Swift looks at boyfriends is having some internal combustion issues? The hell you say! I refuse to believe it!”
Well, rhetorical debating partner inside my head, believe it. The problem in Philly isn’t chiefly about goaltending right now, but for only the third time in team history, the Flyers are winless in their first three games to start a season. And that cannot be seen as something that will lead to stability and patience with the roster.
By the way, the second time the Flyers started the year 0-3 was last season. I’m not saying that coincidence is going to result in head coach Peter Laviolette paying with his job in the very near future, but there were rumors about his job security last season and this will lead at least to more smoke, if not fire.
As noted earlier, Philadelphia’s goaltending – often the inspiration for many a Twitter joke of mine – isn’t what has them in their current hole. The offense has scored just three goals in as many games (while allowing nine). Their defense corps no longer is the envy of the NHL. Yes, the Flyers could benefit from Ray Emery or Steve Mason stealing a game sometime soon, but there’s more than enough blame to go around here.
The central issue facing the Flyers is the tentativeness that can be seen in almost every facet of their game right now. There’s no flow out of the defensive zone, no trust between the forwards and defensemen. Cohesion and chemistry are in very short supply.
Some perspective is in order, of course. It is only Game No. 3 of an 82-game campaign. But we all know a good start goes a long way toward bettering your playoff chances later in the season. And we know Flyers owner Ed Snider has never been one to sit back and hope for the best. Change is almost assuredly coming and the interesting thing from my perspective will be seeing what effect new assistant GM Ron Hextall has on the process.
In any case, we knew before the season started that It’s Always Something In Philadelphia. And as the Flyers work furiously to undo the damage by not getting so much as one lousy loser’s point in their first three attempts, it will always continue to be something when it comes to this team.