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03-16-2006, 03:13 PM
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BobbyClarkeFan16's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: London Ontario
Country: Canada
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I think we can all agree that when our defense is healthy, it isn't that bad at all. Now that we know Rathje has been playing with a torn labrum in his hip, that could explain why he's been labouring to make it through a game the past little while. I'm willing to give Rathje the benefit of the doubt because playing through that kind of pain can only be excruciating right now. It's tough, but dumb. I wish that he would have gotten the surgery done now so that he could be ready for the playoffs, when the real grind begins.

As for Hatcher, I've never really been a fan of his, but when Rico and Pitkanen went down with injuries, and I'm willing to give props here, Hatcher really stepped up his game. However, he's no longer a 25+ minute man on defense. He's more like a 22 minute a night guy and those three extra minutes seem to have sapped him, so maybe a little rest might be called for to get some of the juice back in his game.

What I'm disappointed with is how bad the team is offensively after the Forsberg line. I really thought that guys like Carter, Richards, Umberger, Handzus, Kapanen, etc.....would have really benefitted with the new rule changes, but they seem to be labouring out there trying to get points. I thought that Carter in particular would have been at least third in rookie scoring. Instead, he mans the third line and gets what 12 - 13 minutes a game? I knew this year was going to be somewhat of a transition year, but I never thought we'd see our young players not score at at least a half point a game clip. As well, I think system being used in Philadelphia isn't taking advantage of the offensive players we do have. It's like they rely on one line to do most of the scoring and everyone else is to play defense.

I may not like "defensive" hockey and I realize that every team needs to have some sort of defensive structure. However, the logic of the Flyers right now in terms of defensive hockey is very flawed at best. When they have a one goal lead going into the third, the team goes into trap mode and instead of putting the hammer to a team when they have them down, they play the final 20 by trying to prevent scoring chances and to slow things down. I've never understood that logic in the game now. With the rule changes, being down by one goal in the third is no longer an automatic anymore. Teams can comeback from that deficit and it's more and more common now a days than it was in previous years. The other thing that bugs me is that even if we're down by a goal in the third period, the game plan never changes. It's never about being agressive, it's about being meticulous and sometimes micromanaging in terms of how the flow of the game is going.

Hopefully after this season, Hitch might change things up for the following season. I think he has to realize that he can't be as restrictive as he is when it comes to the team. I think he has to loosen the reins a bit. I'm not asking to go all out and let the players loose, but give them a bit more freedom to do things offensively. As well, maybe it's time to really start focusing on our special teams. Even without Primeau and Kapanen, there's enough talent on that team that the penalty kill shouldn't be one of the worst in the league, yet there are the Flyers languishing near the bottom of the league. And the power play isn't much better either. And I just can't figure it out why the special teams are like that. You can blame the injuries, but there's still enough talent on that team that our special teams just shouldn't be that bad.

The last thing that really bugs me about the team is how there is a lack of leadership. You'd figure that somebody by now would have stepped up to try to lead this team. Hatcher is no captain, he's nothing more than a Hitch snitch and heaven forbid if you have a problem with the direction of the team because Hatch would probably snitch you out to Hitch. As well, that whole veteran committee that Hitch uses has been pretty much useless. Sometimes a voice that speaks against the coach is needed. Now, I'm not talking Terrell Owens here, but I think you can have a successful team with players being honest about the game that's being played. I don't think a player should be admonished if they said the system used in Philadelphia sucks. But, everyone seems to keep quiet about that. Watch a game and look at the frustration on everyone's face. Do you not think the system plays a part of that? I think it does.

I really hope that when the offseason comes around, the organization has closing interviews and heart to heart talks with players. Some players really need to step it up next year. As well, the coaching staff needs to be tweaked with someone who can help us with our penalty kill and power play. As well, maybe if Hitch hears from the boys that he needs to be a little less restrictive, it might open things up more and some of the talent on this team will get a chance to shine.

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