Transitioning Flyers Continue Struggles in Berube Era >

by Timothy March 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 --

It’s no secret that there is trouble on Broad Street.  Seven games into the young season and the Flyers still have the same number of victories as they do coaching changes.  Despite the record, there have been some flashes of hope shining through the dismal fog hanging around the Wells Fargo Center these days.

Now rolling into the third game with Craig Berube at the helm, the Flyers continue to take baby steps transitioning into a new philosophy.  Implementing a new system takes time, effort, and hard work.  Growing pains are something that will happen when a new bench boss takes over, you just hope the team doesn’t do their best Mike Seaver impression.   Unfortunately for the orange and black brethren, the Flyers seem to be channeling the entire Seaver gaggle.

There have, however, been a few faint beacons on the horizon urging us forward into the dark abyss.

For one, the Flyers have steadily improved their play in each of the last few games, culminating with an effort against Vancouver that, quite frankly, deserved a better fate.  The passing was crisp. The breakouts were better executed.  The transitional play through the neutral zone didn’t look like the clogged mess it has previously.  It seems as though there is some hope on the horizon. That if given some time, the new system could improve the slumping Flyers.  All in all, these past few games could have been victories when it was said and done.

Another bright spot has been the play of young Erik Gustafsson on the blue line.  The Kvisselby, Sweden native logged an impressive 23:03 of ice time.  He was second to only his top pair partner, Kimmo Timonen (23:40).  Unlike Timonen, however, Gustafsson escaped Tuesday’s tilt with a +1 rating.  Even more remarkable than just purely numbers has been his anticipation and positioning on the ice.  I spent most of the evening Tuesday watching #26 from atop the Wells Fargo Center.  His positioning and instincts without the puck were impeccable. Coach Berube used the 24-year-old in every imaginable situation and he made him look very wise in doing so.  I see absolutely no reason why Erik should see the confines of the press box the remainder of the season.  It looks like the moment we have been hoping for with Gustafsson has arrived. He is ready to assume a bigger responsibility in the defense, and ultimately, one day, take the reigns from the old war horse, Kimmo Timonen.

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the Flyer’s leading scorer, Tye McGinn.  The Adirondack call up has now planted 3 goals in his first two games of the season.  The injection of fresh new blood into the lineup has made a difference on the scoreboard.  It makes you wonder if any more call-ups (i.e Akeson or Cousins) might follow suit and create some offense.  At this point, it can’t make the offense any worse.  And, unlike Jay Rosehill, they might be able to fill more than 2:38 of ice time.   But this is the Flyers, and for whatever reason, they still think it’s necessary to dress a goon who brings nothing to the lineup.

Keep your heads up, Flyers fans.  It does look like things will get better.  Give Berube some time to get his system together. Who knows what might happen now that they are actually practicing the power play!

Until next time….. 

Oh, and by the way, someone snapped this picture of Braydon Coburn leaving the locker room after Tuesday’s loss. Looks like good ol' #5 is going to need a heavy dose of Head & Shoulders.

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