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06-18-2013, 12:21 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Montreal, QC
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Now to address some of the recently posted nuclear explosions. As CharlieGirl (I just want to underline the second part of this compound word for the person who referred to her as 'he') pointed out, the 3 positions forward, defense, and goal are somewhat disjointed in their developmental curve (okay, she may have said it more emphatically). I agree to a point, as the team is relying too much on end-of-career vets on defense; however, IF they stay the course with their draft picks to stock high-quality defensive prospects, things won't look as dire. I like that L Schenn is able to learn on-ice from Timonen and has Pronger mentoring him, and hopefully Gustafsson will be privy to that same well of knowledge. Beyond them, I agree there is little to get hugely excited about on the farm; hopefully Gostisbehere continues his development and tops out to his ability ceiling.

That being said, I haven't the slightest idea what to expect from a defensive corps that seemed to improve in this weird season as the NHLers fell to injuries. Sure, it was an aberration, but there are so many question marks: health (Grossmann, Meszaros), consistency (Coburn), salary shedding, whether L Schenn will follow up a strong season with a weak one, which seems to be his MO, etc. On paper, they look balanced, even with dealing Meszaros for magic beans.

As for goaltending, even as the Bryzgalov bank heist is blowing up in Snider and Holmgren's faces, I haven't given up hope that he can provide good to very good goaltending, especially now that the team has a 1a whom the coach will actually put in net during a game. All the same, I'd just go ahead and staple the compliance buyout form over Bryzgalov's dressing room stall for use sometime in 2014. However, if the buyout + rumoured trade (Read for Bernier) goes down, it will be an intriguing new chapter in the saga of Flyers goaltending to see how Bernier + Mason do.

And I am absolutely a believer in the urgent need to improve team defense. Watching Boston and Chicago's positionally sound own-zone pack mentality combined with the simple short passes to exit their zones makes me audibly sigh at how bloody effortless they make it look. I hope Laviolette is preparing a best-of video from these playoffs on defensive-zone coverage and 5-player puck movement. At the very least, Peter, please, please! make the defensemen stop the strategy to pass back and forth behind the net until one coughs up the puck.

Where the team stands right now, I'm a glass two-third full fan. They definitely have the talent to make it to the playoffs, especially if the sophomore slumps are shaken off, but will likely be tripped up in the doing by some easily avoidable problems and self-inflicted wounds.

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