In 2010 the Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers matched up in the Stanley Cup Finals. Since that summer it has been a tale of two very different hockey clubs.
The Chicago Blackhawks have become the model of excellence in the NHL while the Philadelphia Flyers have now become the model for complete dysfunction. After dismissing their head coach Peter Laviolette earlier this week the Flyers have cornered the market on complete disarray.
Since their last trip to the Stanley Cup Finals the Flyers have been running an organization that seems the right hand doesn’t speak to the left. General Manager Paul Holmgren has made some interesting moves to say the least and this week’s was among the most puzzling. Firing your coach after only 3 games during an 82 game schedule seemed to be the final sign that panic had set in with the Flyers. This move capped of a whirlwind of colossal failures for Philadelphia over the last few seasons.
Whether it was trading away your dynamic duo of super stars in Mike Richards and Jeff Carter or trading away a future Vezina winning goaltender in Sergei Bobrovsky to sign Ilya Bryzgalov the Flyers just can’t seem to get it right. Both Carter and Richards went on to Stanley Cup glory in Los Angeles and that was the same Bryzgalov that Philadelphia had to buy out just two seasons later after poor performance. It has been one bad decision after another. Even the moves that do pan out to be somewhat of successes tragically end in failure. Take the Chris Pronger signing or the Ray Emery signing the first time around for example, both of these moves were solid acquisitions at the time but that ended in terrible injury and no championships.
The bigger question is, where do the Flyers go from here? How can this team restore respectability in a hockey crazy city? It’s hard to tell what direction Holmgren has this franchise pointed right now. I’m not sure he even knows. The team has limited cap relief and a very limited young nucleus. The buyouts of Daniel Briere and Bryzgalov this summer should have given the Flyers some much needed cap reprieve but then they went out and signed Vincent Lecavlier which just stressed the finances even more. Buying out one goaltender in Bryzgalov and then signing Ray Emery (again) was yet another contradictory move.
Will the Flyers should do is start a total rebuild and look to build around younger players. But something tells me they will continue to invest in aging veteran stars. The signing of Vincent Lecavlier seems like a nice move but if the team should be rebuilding does it make much sense?
Is this team as it currently stands good enough to win the Cup?
Absolutely not. It’s time to rebuild.
The Flyers are light years away from where they were just 4 seasons ago and are nowhere near the upper echelon teams in the NHL.
It seems to me there are more puzzles than pieces in Philadelphia and that is a problem.