Flyers Begin Season with Three Losses, Laviolette Fired >

by Michael DeNicola

Monday, October 07, 2013 --

And a pleasant good morning to you, too. 

It wasn't bad enough closing the books on a depressing, locked out 2012-13 season where our Flyers started off 0 - 3 - 0 and finished outside contention. But we've kicked off this schedule in similar fashion, and despite the offseason additions and healthy players returning to the blueline, we don't look a lick different than the crumbling Club from less than a calender year ago. 

Through this past weekend, Philadelphia jotted two more L's in the loss column while the win column remains vacant, mocking us like childhood friends playing outside as we gaze grounded from our bedroom window.

Until Sunday's 2nd period versus Carolina, the Flyers had failed to score an even-strength goal, a feat reached by a defenseman no less (Luke Schenn), and we still have not lit the lamp more than once per game. Our line combinations are already a mess; bench boss Laviolette wasted no time shuffling the proverbial deck, and sent out a checking-line consisting of Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier and Zac Rinaldo. If you're doing the math, that's one demotion (Schenn) and one promotion (Rinaldo) mixed with our 2011, 8th Overall draft choice lethargically splitting the two at center. 

Our "star" forwards Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek have failed to record a single point through 180-minutes of some of the most discouraging hockey we have ever witnessed. Despite leading all forwards in average ice-time thus far (22:21), our Captain has looked nothing more than intermediate talent. His passes haven't connected with linemates, his shots have missed their targets, and his possessions have created a network of mediocrity rather than creativity which we've come to love him for.

The best I can say about Claude Giroux this season is that he's split his Faceoff Win% right down the middle at 50% (28 FO Won, 28 FO Lost). 

Jakub Voracek looks absent. I mean, I see him out there. He's skating around. His sweater floats around the ice but it might as well be suspended and manipulated by wires from the rafters. 

Kimmo Timonen? Mark Streit? Braydon Coburn? Niklas Grossmann? Luke Schenn? Andrej Meszaros?

On paper, this defense does not look half bad. In fact, if each of these players were firing on all their cylinders (which isn't much to ask, given the season's only just begun), then we'd have quite an effective defensive umbrella. 

Though they haven't been (what I'd call) horrendous, they haven't stolen a memorable play away from any opposing chance and/or forecheck. They've juggled with the puck in our zone, and even the most casual forecheck defeats their efforts to stretch the play up ice. 

Here we go, are you ready?

This team should be playing a lot better. Yes, on paper, this team is a Playoff contender. But they'll never contend for a second if they continue to skate without energy and motivation. 

Lots of fans are demanding for the heads of Paul Holmgren and coach Peter Laviolette (UPDATE below). Whether if it has been Holmgren's knee-jerk roster flipping through the years, Laviolette's system gone stale, or a combination of both, one thing is certain -- the fire is missing. 

For example; shots put on the opposing net have decreased through each game. The Flyers fired 32-shots on Bernier, 23-shots on Price, and a modest 18-shots on (backup) Anton Khudobin. What's even more depressing to mull over is knowing Khudobin faced a total of three pucks in Sunday's 3rd period. 




In the middle of writing this, news has just broke that Philadelphia Flyers have dispatched Peter Laviolette as head coach. 

A farewell to Laviolette is in order. The decision is warranted. You may be saying that the blame ought to fall heavier on Paul Holmgren's lap. Well, if you believe firing Lavy has jettisoned Homer outta the woods, you're mistaken. 

Because NHL players are bound to contracts like the roots of an oak tree, they're next to impossible to expunge on a moment's notice. General Managers aren't quite fired on an early whim either, so the head coach tends to become the scapegoat. 

If firing Peter Laviolette is any indication that Mr. Snider is (once again) ready to give this franchise an enema, then Homer's seat is blistering like the first bite into a microwaved Hot Pocket. 

In the meantime, let's hope the Chief can add a spark as interim bench boss. 

As for a new coach, my guess is that Guy Boucher is brought in before the end of the week. If that becomes reality, get ready to see a lot of the Tampa T, fans. 

UPDATE: Part Deux:

Craig Berube is not an interim head coach. According to Broad Street Hockey, "Chief" is our new head coach. Yes, that means, allegedly, the Flyers are not interested in entertaining resumes for the position.

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