A final word on Philly
The defence was too slow. The goaltending too porous. And then the coach — the one with a 408-249-100 record — lost the ear of his troops.
Or so the story goes.
I missed the pile-on due to a busy Sunday, but I did want to throw a final two cents on the Philadelphia situation into the mix:
Lost in much of the finger pointing the past two days is the fact the Flyers are in deadlast in goals scored with 1.88 goals for per game. And as bad as Derian Hatcher has been — with a plus/minus on pace for a staggering -103 — there has been absolutely no goal support on this team for ages.
Watching the Flyers play late last year, in their first-round series with Buffalo and again this year, it's been an incompetent offence that has held the team back as much as anything.
Philadelphia scored 14 goals in six playoff games last season (2.33/game) and only 116 in the second half of the regular season (2.83/game). Their power play this season is third from the bottom (7.3 per cent), managing to score on only 4 of 55 attempts, and the top line of Simon Gagne, Peter Forsberg and Mike Knuble has contributed two thirds of the team's goals.
New coach John Stevens has his work cut out for him, and it won't be as easy as relegating Hatcher and Mike Rathje to his bottom defensive pairing and coaxing some solid netminding out of Antero Niittymaki.
Let's just say it's too bad that Stevens' teams in the past have had as much luck scoring goals as this year's Flyers.