Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Flyers bottom out in Buffalo

It's official: The Philadelphia Flyers are the last place team in the NHL.

They hit the basement in style, too, losing 9-1 to the undefeated Buffalo Sabres last night and looking every bit as bad as their 1-4-1 record would indicate. And while it's early, you really have to wonder if injuries to key players like Antero Niittymaki and Mike Rathje could derail a team that, for the majority of last season, looked like a Stanley Cup contender.

This season, the Flyers have simply looked positively awful, to the point where you have to wonder how low this club could sink this season. If Niittymaki's not going to be good to go, where does GM Bob Clarke turn in goal? And what does this poor start mean for Philadelphia's playoff aspirations?

Consider this — the team's captain, Peter Forsberg, hasn't missed the playoffs since entering the NHL in 1994, which happens to be the last year the Flyers didn't make it to the postseason. Only the Detroit Red Wings (1990) have a longer consecutive playoff streak going.


At 9:01 a.m., October 18, 2006, Anonymous rob said...

just wanted to note that before people start jumping in Robert Esche's face as being at fault here...if you watched the game last night Esche was perhaps the sole reason the Sabres didn't set an alltime record for goals in a game. That was unreal - Buffalo could have had at least 15 last night if not for Esche keeping it close early, and even playing well in complete garbage-time in the 3rd (as well as Lindy Ruff giving increased ice time to Andrew Peters, who had multiple quality chances).

The Flyers were truly dreadful, giveaway after giveaway - while Afinogenov's brilliant end-to-end rush (dare i say Gil Perreault-like?) was no doubt thrilling to the giddy Sabres faithful, it was a complete embarrassment to the Flyers and especially Darien Hatcher, who once again is proving himself woefully overmatched in his decaying state.

My overworked point is that it's always easy to see 9-1 and blame the goaltender (who stayed in there the entire game - can there be any doubt it was in response to Esche's comments at Hitch?) but there are far more troublesome reasons for Philadelphia's blowout.

At 9:31 a.m., October 18, 2006, Blogger Matt said...

I couldn't agree more with Rob. As much as I don't like Esche, the game was not his fault. I remember Hatcher making a comment about being embarrassed after last year's playoff loss to Buffalo. Well, he has even more reason to be embarrassed after the Afinogenov play. What a disgrace. Someone give Rob Ramage a call -- I think the Flyers may have a roster spot open soon.

At 9:45 a.m., October 18, 2006, Blogger Tom L said...

During the Vs. broadcast it was mentioned that Hatcher had lost a bunch of weight to be better prepared for this season... well, if that's him better, then I have two words for him....

Beer League.

And, yes, Rob, you are correct. Esche was the best player in a Flyers sweater last night, that's how sad this was.


At 10:38 a.m., October 18, 2006, Blogger BlackCapricorn said...

Yea Esche was not the end all be all of the Flyers problems last night. I had the displeasure of watching the Devils vs Flyers preseason game a few weeks back and could see this coming for the Flyers. Despite all of their fan's talk about increasing the speed on D- it wasn't evident when I was watching them 2 weeks ago and it wasn't evident last night. Anyone who doesn't have the Sabres in their top 5 after the 6-0 start they have put together has to get their head checked!

At 11:22 a.m., October 18, 2006, Blogger girlysportsrant said...

They were never a cup contender last year. They finished where most people thought they would. 5th place and a 1st round exit.

Philly's in the dark ages. Clarke and Hitchcock have to go because the team is too old and too slow and the coach should not be treating his goaltender that way.

At 12:06 p.m., October 18, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) Have to agree with the assessment of some here that Esche was NOT the problem last night
2) Watching the game, when it was 1-0, it seemed to be totally lopsided THEN! Esche made it a game for a period.
3) Going in we thought the Flyer defense had question marks, but their forwards would be up to the challenge to help them. now we're not so sure. Or Buffalo is THAT good and we may see a Cup in Western NY


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