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Giroux is the Only Man for the Job

Claude Giroux is having easily the most frustrating season of his career. His team is in dead last in the Metropolitan division, dead last in goals per game with 1.47.

But one thing is for sure, Giroux is the only player on the Philadelphia Flyers that deserves the “C” on his sweater. There is no one on the team currently that has the right to lead this team into the unknown future than this man.

Yes his stats have gone down since becoming the captain, no doubt about it but I personally believe that it’s not because he his wearing the “C” and he has “unneeded” pressure. It’s through the pressure of his own standards to be the best player in the world, which he isn’t and will not be while Crosby and Ovechkin are playing in the NHL.

Giroux needs to find his swagger back, playing simple hockey, even at this point, getting selfish with the puck. He needs to quit trying to make the cute and unnecessary passes and shoot the puck on net and create chances for himself and his teammates at the same time. It sounds weird I know, but the Flyers have to find some way to get pucks on and in the net, Giroux will be that guy.

Paul Holmgren brought former captains of the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders, Vinny Lecavalier and Mark Streit in not for the purpose of being fail safe captains but to help Giroux develop his leadership role on HIS team. Claude Giroux is the Philadelphia Flyers, not Lecavalier, not Streit.

usatoday.com

usatoday.com

Following last nights game against the New Jersey Devils, in which the team suffered another loss, Giroux and the Flyers held a players only meeting. Following the meeting, Giroux refused to speak to the media and the scrutiny he has seen because of this is ridiculous.

Former Flyers captain Chris Pronger loathed the media. He hated talking to them and fueling fire to a Philadelphia media. And yet no one really bashed him for it. He lead his way for the team, despite in being cut short to concussions.

Giroux has taken a page out of Pronger’s leadership ways and done the same thing. Shunning the media and finding a way to lead this team. He’s in his second year in his first stint as a captain of a team. He’s still adapting and he will break out  sooner or later. With a team in last place, a captain’s first concern shouldn’t be talking to the media, it should be finding ways to right the ship that is the Flyers.

The entire Philadelphia Flyers organization is a mess right now. They don’t seem to have put the right personal on the ice to win games, but one thing they got right was putting the “C” on Claude Giroux’s sweater. Make no mistake about it.

Flyers Need a Culture Change

It was ugly, competitive at some points but overall ugly. The Flyers and Pens played tonight to the tune of a Pittsburgh win 4-1.

After 1 period of play the game was tied at 0 but once the puck dropped for the 2nd it really began to unravel.

Kunitz’s goal that put the Pens up by 2 was the true example of where the Flyers stand this season……

HEARTLESS.

That is the “culture” Ed Snider says is a culture that is a playoff team year in and year out. Guess what Snider, this team is now 1-7-0 on the season, THE WORST START IN TEAM HISTORY. Changing your coach 3 games in doesn’t exactly send a message of a team on the track to a cup. It’s more like a team on their way to the bottom.

Photo courtesy of Philly.com

Photo courtesy of Philly.com

During the Kunitz goal I honestly thought the Flyers were replaced by Zombies. No one seemed to be in position, no skating to the 50/50 pucks. Leaving the door open for Kunitz to bury one and put the team up by 2.

Simmonds ended up tipping one in for the Flyers with 2 seconds left in the 2nd period but it really didn’t mean much, most Flyers fans knew the outcome already. The Flyers are completely out of sorts. The young guns aren’t developing correctly, the veterans are old and slow and on the downhill of their careers.

Craig Berube stated in his press conference when hired that the 70s style hockey isn’t part of this game anymore and he is fully correct. The beautiful game we call hockey is now about speed. But it seems he is the only one within the offices that gets that. Ed Snider is stuck in 1975 (the Franchise’s second and most recent Cup), and if the owner isn’t willing to adapt a change in the team then who can over rule him?

Ed, it’s time for a culture change for the Flyers and that change starts with you.  Read the rest of this entry

Tye McGinn Slowly Sparking the Flyers

It’s been a frustrating start to the season for the Philadelphia Flyers, however the last two games, despite loses, have shown pockets of bright spots.

Two games since being called up, Tye McGinn is quickly making  his presence known.

Despite the Flyers being 0-2 since McGinn getting the call, he’s improving himself and the team.

McGinn notched his first goal of the season in his first game against Detroit and then added 2 more against Vancouver Tuesday night.

McGinn was called up after both Scott Hartnell and Vinny Lecavalier went down due to injuries. Honestly though I don’t see how McGinn wasn’t on the opening night roster against Toronto but he’s on the roster now so he’s earning his keep.

With Hartnell out possibly 3-4 weeks, McGinn was put on the top line with Giroux and Voracek and the way he’s been playing he’ll likely stay there when Hartnell comes back.

Despite losing Saturday to Detroit, McGinn’s presence clearly sparked something in the Flyers and the offensive production is starting to improve. The captain, Claude Giroux, finally woke up from his slump and registered his first assist and point against Detroit with McGinn on his line. He even got another Tuesday night on one of McGinn’s 2 goals.

The team still has a lot to work on but things are moving forward and McGinn has made some of that movement happen. He’s a young gun at 23, being that young and creating a spark now could really foreshadow what this guy will bring in the years to come.

The team is 1-6-0 on the season, not exactly pretty, however, the next game is against the Pittsburgh Penguins, you want the team to get fired up and back on track? A game against your arch rival across the state can help.

Where did all the goals go and how do we get them back? – The NHL lockout issue nobody is discussing (Poll below)

New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi prevents a goal / contributes to the slow death of his sport

The reason why the NHL’s 30 owners and ownership groups are willing to lock out the players and miss hockey games is infuriating, arrogant, and undeniably true: When the dispute is over, the fans will be back. The revenue will be back. After a time, all will be forgiven, and the NHL will continue to rake in the profits during what has been perhaps the greatest period of financial growth in its history. In the past two years, we’ve seen labor disputes in the NFL and NBA settled with relatively little long-term fan backlash. Why not the NHL, too?

But there is a huge obstacle to this line of thinking that nobody seems to be talking about: The NHL is hemorrhaging goals. Scoring has been decreasing league-wide for decades. And if this issue isn’t fixed, the NHL could soon find itself dealing with far worse problems than a lockout alone could ever cause.

So what’s the problem?

Ok, maybe I was too dramatic. The scoring drop isn’t quite a hemorrhage. But the fact remains, NHL per-game scoring average has been decreasing almost continuously for two decades. Less scoring means less excitement, less appeal to the casual viewer, fewer new fans, and ultimately decreased profitability.

NHL goals-per-game by season, 1917-2011
Credit http://www.quanthockey.com/TS/TS_GoalsPerGame.php

The graph above represents total goals per game per season since 1917. Since a peak in the early 1980s, scoring has decreased from a peak average above 8 goals per game (GPG) to below 5.5 GPG in 2011-12. There are a number of factors that have contributed to the overall decrease (larger pads, better goaltending techniques, trap defense strategy, etc.) but the particulars here are not important.

The average fan, the guy or gal that makes up a vast chunk of the viewing audience, probably doesn’t or can’t appreciate what good defense looks like, except when it is displayed on the score sheet. I am a rabid fan and I’ll readily admit to having trouble evaluating defensemen I watch every game. Hardcore viewers and former players might be able to pick out and appreciate the nuances of a low-scoring game, but for your typical Freddy Flyers Fan, unless it’s a do-or-die situation, a 3-1 result sounds far less interesting than an equally-competitive 5-3 game.

When it comes to fixing this issue, you first have to diagnose the problem. And when you keep digging at the numbers, an obvious culprit emerges: shooting percentage.

Read the rest of this entry

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