Flyers-Bruins: Postgame Review
The Flyers had three days off and two practices between games to regroup. That was three days of time for people to focus on what has been over the last few weeks: a losing streak that reached nine games on Tuesday, a closed-door meeting to air out frustrations and talk and grumbling about the players, coaches and overall direction of this team.
You would think that would force the team to show some inspired play. Not even close.
The beat just went on with another lifeless and pathetic loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday, the Flyers 10th straight and also their sixth shutout loss of the season.
Let's just jump right in with our Postgame Review.
- Simply Unacceptable - If losing nine straight games while playing "pretty good" is unacceptable to Ron Hextall, then what do you call that? The effort in the entire game mirrored Tuesday's game, especially the third period.It's getting ridiculous at this point. Early in this streak it was a lack of scoring and blowing leads. Now there aren't any leads to lose because the Flyers just fall behind early and essentially play out the rest of the game as if it doesn't matter.
Well it should matter. But that's the problem. Where is there a sign of accountability anywhere? This is a team that is so lethargic and apathetic that it's like they are just going through the motions. Skate here. Take a poor shot there. Maybe try to hit someone here. Make one pass too many just because. There's no change and no accountability at all.
And when that happens, this is what you get. A team so far gone that it might just take major change to inspire anything out of them.
- Playoffs? - Ron Hextall actually went there on Tuesday and said he still believed this team could make the playoffs.You know the Jim Mora quote regarding playoffs. It's memorialized on old highlight films and in memes and the likes. The follow up to Mora's famous playoffs questioning is "I just hope we can win a game." That's where the Flyers are.
- More Frustration - The Flyers have every right to be frustrated with a call that went against them for goalie interference on what should have been a good goal late in the second period.That aside, there are no excuses here. The Flyers didn't follow up with a strong third period that would help alleviate some frustration. They just flat out didn't show up.
Before that, the Flyers had a power play where Shayne Gostisbehere let his frustration get to him. He let it out on a cross-check in open ice on Brad Marchand that took care of the rest of that power play. That's the second time in about two weeks that Gostisbehere has let his frustration take over and it has cost the team. He acknowledged that his mistake in the Flyers overtime loss to Calgary on Nov. 18 was him not putting the team first. But this shows he didn't learn from it.
At the very least, it needs to be addressed, either by meeting with coaches and management or by losing playing time.
- Where are the Kids? - Speaking of losing playing time, the third period wasn't a very good one for the Flyers. Maybe that had to do with the fact that Nolan Patrick, Jordan Weal and Travis Konecny literally didn't play much in the period.Nolan Patrick played 5:39 in the third period to bring his ice time total to 13:49 for the game, but half of that came on a Flyers power play with three minutes left where they had the goalie pulled.
Jordan Weal saw the ice for 2:06 of the third period. And Travis Konecny took two shifts for a grand total of 36 seconds in the third period. Weal, by the way, finished with 8:33 of ice time, and Konecny finished with 10:12.
You know who didn't get a shortage of ice time? Dale Weise, who finished with 13:01 of ice time, and Jori Lehtera, who finished with 12:03 of ice time.
If you want to look at some struggles and mistakes and mishaps as kids playing and learning and growing, that's fine. But you can't defend that when the ice time numbers say you are literally playing your fourth line more than the kids.
- Time for Change? - It's now 10 straight losses and a whole lot of frustration. At what point does it all come to a head and bring change?There's no answer for that yet, because you don't make a reactionary move right after the GM defended everything in the organization.
But the winds of change are starting to stir. They have to be. I wrote this week in the downtime between games that Hextall had issued a challenge to everyone. He called this game a must-win. He noted that no matter how the team looked in the last nine games, the result is still unacceptable. And the team didn't respond.
I don't think that you can pin that on one aspect or another, but it certainly seems like there's something big that's going to happen sooner or later. What other choice do the Flyers have? Fans are frustrated with everything. They haven't liked the coach's tendencies and decisions. The players just look uninspired to play. And it's gotten to a point where every game is becoming the same story of utter brutality.
At some point, you have no choice but to make a change just because you don't get to this point unless something is not working. How much longer we go and what that change is becomes the question at this point.
Kevin Durso is Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.