Another heartless effort

 

It is yet another morning after a depressing defeat.

The good thing about this loss? We are one day closer to the future.

It is utterly obvious that this team may not be that talented as a unit. Although that may be the case, we DO have individual talents that are pretty good at the game of hockey, so lets not let our frustration blind our judgments that much.

Voracek is a fast, solid player who can create space and in the neutral zone and behind the net. He is a leader on the team and carries a lot emotion with his game that his team feeds of off.

Simmonds is the ultimate renaissance man when it comes to his role on this team. Wayne Simmonds is used for battles along the boards, deflections and screens in front of the net, and goal-scoring. He is vital to the Flyers power-play, and this year, he was one of our best penalty killers as well. What doesn’t Wayne do?

Giroux is a another core veteran that has a lot of talent. Is he the player he was years ago? No, of course not. Wear-and-tear is starting to catch up with him. He has had to put this team on his back the last couple of years. After receiving hip-surgery last season, Claude recently admitted its lingering effect on him. 

My question to Giroux and Flyers management is, with his contract, age, and previous injuries, why allow him to play in the World Cup? I know its important for players, but the cons outweigh the pros.

The only reason this team is fun to watch is because of Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, and Jordan Weal.

Ivan Provorov is 20 years old are already playing like a solidified veteran. Yes, the small mistakes come along with being a rookie, but the way he has handled himself is nothing short of phenomenal. Watching him develop as the season has progressed is probably the biggest highlight of this season altogether.

Konecny brings a Briere-like energy to the game. He is a smaller, faster, energetic sniper that is simply enjoying his time in his first season in the NHL. His ability to skate with the puck, along with his wicked shot will make him a deadly player as he continues to progress.

Although it may have taken Jordan Weal a little bit longer to get his shot to prove himself, he is making great use of his time in the NHL. 

The season isn’t over, but the players have been playing like it has been for quite some time now. Even Mason questioned his teams and called them out for for their lack of heart. 

The problem with this team is that there are many problems in many different areas. It starts out with the coach. The coach implements an attitude for the team to have. In post-game interviews, Dave Hakstol provides us with answers that are head-scratching and just just simply wrong.

From roster decisions such as healthy scratches and line combinations, Hakstol has affected the way the team has played. Granted, lack of talent is another issue. The bottom six has struggled, our penalty kill has been atrocious, and the power play could not be more boring and predictable. 

Fourth line players are fourth line players for a reason. They should not be be used as overkill for first penalty killing unit. Over-usage of mediocre players has been a season-long problem for Hakstol. Arguably, it took Hakstol 60 plus games to maximize his roster with effective lines.

Should Hakstol be fired, maybe… will he be fired? Almost a sure no. It is too early in his tenure and doing making this move would look bad on Hextall. Aware of the upcoming talent, it seems as if there is pressure on Hextall to make sure Sanheim, Morin, and Myers are on this team next season.He has recently said they will be here sooner rather than later. 

Hextall’s vision has been needed by this franchise for decades. He is a good GM with a lot more to prove. He has been restricted of doing exactly what he wants because of roadblocks created by Paul Holmgren. This upcoming off-season will be his most important one yet. 

The Flyers have two options. Either play with heart and some grit and at least end this miserable season on somewhat of a positive note, or call up a young guy, such as Hagg or even Stolarz. I doubt Sanheim or Morin will get a look because they will come up together as a pair after this season. 

Now is an important time to pay attention to the Phantoms and possible talents that  could make the NHL roster next year. 

Let us try and stay positive with these last few remaining games, then put our energy and excitement toward next season. This process becomes critical this Summer. It is time for the process to take shape.

Hang in there Flyers fans!

 

Anthony DiGrazio

I am currently a student at West Chester University studying Marketing/Management. I have been playing ice hockey for almost 20 years now. I am nothing short of a Flyers fanatic and I am hoping to spread my knowledge and love of the game to all Flyers fans.

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