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Old
12-10-2008, 11:15 AM
  #1
sharkeyanti
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What Are the Emerging Trends?

With one-third of the season gone, I think it's time we can start to observe some trends. The Flyers are 6th in the Eastern Conference, and 3rd in the division (with the Rangers playing 3 more games). Is this about what everyone expected? Goaltending has been a hot topic (when isn't it with this team) and I won't hesitate to say we could be in 2nd place easily if we had a higher caliber goaltender. But, you do have to commend the team for their recent play; despite the naggings we may have, they are 7-1-2 in the last 10. I don't think it's a stretch to say if Carter wasn't playing to his potential and Gagne wasn't full strength, they would not have played so well. But luckily, things are turning out ok in Flyer-land!

As for individual expectations, the guy you have to start with is Luca Sbisa. I remember hearing on draft day he was a long-term project guy. Instead we got a guy who showed he has NHL-ability now, but has trouble maintaining that level of play. The kid looked pretty solid in the first 5 or 6 six games, but has since fizzled. He reminds me of some cross between Braydon Coburn when we first got him and a young forward trying to prove himself. His positioning on the backcheck has been real iffy lately, as well as his net coverage. It seems sometimes he's not quite sure when he wants to switch for backskate to man-press, which might be a confidence issue. He has offensive flashes, but not the kind of steadiness you want from an offensive defenseman. He definitely needs experience, but I think sending him back to juniors would be detrimental. Keep him for the year, send him to the AHL next year (if he'll be old enough?).

Looking at the offense, it seems pretty clear Gagne, Carter, and Richards have pretty much shouldered the load. Knuble is doing his job, Hartnell and Upshall have been on and off, and Lupul has been absolutely pedestrian. Nodl has been MIA most nights unless he's making a mistake, it seems like John Stevens has kept him out of any type of aggressive forecheck, asking him rather to be a late man, or maybe act as a sort of Jamie Langenbrunner (dark days...). I think Carter can sustain this level because so many of his goals are about positioning and just shooting the puck. Pretty soon defenses are going to adjust, and he'll need to become a more efficient passer. Look at the difference between the way Carter passes and Timonen or Richards passes, it's quite noticeable. Richards, while racking up the points, hasn't really been too obvious to me this year. Last year I always noticed, "Richards has the puck, something good is going to happen." Again, defenses seemed to have adjusted and his game has been less pronounced on the offensive end. Other than this cosmetic difference, Richards has proven his worth: his production, leadership, and defensive presence has made good on his contract so far. I feel that Gagne has been the source of creativity on this team, a source of steady offensive dynamism. He's like Timonen transformed into a winger, he seems to have really changed since a couple years ago. It's no longer a toss-up is Gags will do waht he can do, I feel very confident when he's on the puck.

I think evaluating the defense as a whole right now is actually kind of difficult, because of the new faces. I will say that Vaananen and Carle have looked pretty damn good through the neutral zone and on the backcheck. Carle's net coverage has been here and there, while Vaananen's size has been welcome. I think the Flyers need to use Timonen more in their 5 on 5 rushes, too often we settle for a dump in or chip in. Coburn thus far has been dissapointing, he needs some inspiration or better playing or something...

That being long-windedly said, what does everyone else think with a third of the season gone? Is the age-old philosophy of play good defense, dump the puck in, get in front of the net, and shoot a lot the path the Flyers should follow (yet again)?

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12-10-2008, 11:27 AM
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BobbyClarkeFan16
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Richards has been producing over a point per game so far this year. He's going to end up with about 85 to 90 points this year (if he remains healthy of course). I think the big thing about Richards' offensive game is that it is not as highly noticed this year with Gagne's return to form and Carter being tied with the league lead in goals. To me, Gagne and Carter's offensive production make Richards even more dangerous in that teams are going to focus more on Carter and Gagne than they will Richards.

As it stands, Richards is still the straw that stirs the drink in Philadelphia.

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12-10-2008, 11:28 AM
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I agree with most of what you're saying, accept for Nodl, which I'll get to in a sec.

Before the start of the regular season, myself and many others had high expectations for the Flyers. Even though this is how every sports fan acts with their team, we can honestly say that the Flyers have a solid group on paper and the chances for the cup are not that hard to obtain. As the season started with losing people began to question goaltending and defense and a few offensive situations. I feel that obviously Biron was not up to par and the defense was a mess. We made a good trade for Carle and our special teams started to show how dangerous we really are.

So as the season progresses, with us tied for 2nd, I think our chances for a cup are still there and with the way we've been playing I think we can win our division considering the Rangers projected downfall and a possible and hopeful winfull season over the Pens.

About Nodl...he hasn't scored yet but he is very agressive in both the offensive zone and on the backcheck. He's also a very good passer and I like the way he works with Metro.

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12-10-2008, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Flyers84 View Post
I agree with most of what you're saying, accept for Nodl, which I'll get to in a sec.

Before the start of the regular season, myself and many others had high expectations for the Flyers. Even though this is how every sports fan acts with their team, we can honestly say that the Flyers have a solid group on paper and the chances for the cup are not that hard to obtain. As the season started with losing people began to question goaltending and defense and a few offensive situations. I feel that obviously Biron was not up to par and the defense was a mess. We made a good trade for Carle and our special teams started to show how dangerous we really are.

So as the season progresses, with us tied for 2nd, I think our chances for a cup are still there and with the way we've been playing I think we can win our division considering the Rangers projected downfall and a possible and hopeful winfull season over the Pens.

About Nodl...he hasn't scored yet but he is very agressive in both the offensive zone and on the backcheck. He's also a very good passer and I like the way he works with Metro.

Nodl is "too good" a passer. There are times he's thrown it over to Carter when Carter is covered. The boy should shoot. Slot shots should be taken and not passed off. Chalk that up to inexperience/nervousness/confidence but he needs to shoot from the slot.

I also disagree with Sbisa. I love the kid. Let him make his mistakes. It's the only way to learn. Besides, he's noticeable. Rushes up, a booming shot that I can't wait goes in one of these times and he has awesome awarness when he takes the puck behind his own net. He either passes it out nicely or skates it right past the forechecker.

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12-10-2008, 11:38 AM
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sharkeyanti
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tytech View Post
Nodl is "too good" a passer. There are times he's thrown it over to Carter when Carter is covered. The boy should shoot. Slot shots should be taken and not passed off. Chalk that up to inexperience/nervousness/confidence but he needs to shoot from the slot.

I also disagree with Sbisa. I love the kid. Let him make his mistakes. It's the only way to learn. Besides, he's noticeable. Rushes up, a booming shot that I can't wait goes in one of these times and he has awesome awarness when he takes the puck behind his own net. He either passes it out nicely or skates it right past the forechecker.

Sbisa will bring it out sometimes, but he gets pushed back by the forechecker a lot. Maybe he doesn't have the confidence to make a cross-ice pass yet?

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12-10-2008, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tytech View Post
Nodl is "too good" a passer. There are times he's thrown it over to Carter when Carter is covered. The boy should shoot. Slot shots should be taken and not passed off. Chalk that up to inexperience/nervousness/confidence but he needs to shoot from the slot.

I also disagree with Sbisa. I love the kid. Let him make his mistakes. It's the only way to learn. Besides, he's noticeable. Rushes up, a booming shot that I can't wait goes in one of these times and he has awesome awarness when he takes the puck behind his own net. He either passes it out nicely or skates it right past the forechecker.
I agree....Nodl has made some amazing passes that I have seen but the boy needs to shoot more. If he develops some solid chemistry with one of the centers, and shoots more often to keep the defense guessing, that passing is going to become pretty dangerous

Quote:
Originally Posted by sharkeyanti View Post
Sbisa will bring it out sometimes, but he gets pushed back by the forechecker a lot. Maybe he doesn't have the confidence to make a cross-ice pass yet?

Fine by me, I hate those cross ice passes....

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12-10-2008, 12:14 PM
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I don't think nodl will ever amount to more than 15 goals in a season. He's far to highly rated on these boards

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12-10-2008, 12:20 PM
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mikedifr
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I don't think nodl will ever amount to more than 15 goals in a season. He's far to highly rated on these boards
No, if you look at past posts about it I said the same thing....I think his ceiliing is a 15 goal 30-35 assist 3rd liner that can fill in on the 2nd line. The guy defninitely has skill if put in the right situation.

I am curious as to when liking a player became overrating them???? (Not directed specifically at you)

People kept saying the same things about Downie. Just because we are liking what we see from someone doesnt mean we are overrating them. Especially Nodl. The guy is a rookie, it is hard for anyone to say what he will become.

Who the hell ever thought Patrick Sharp would be a 30+ goal scorer???

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12-10-2008, 12:21 PM
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sharkeyanti
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Originally Posted by mikedifr View Post
Fine by me, I hate those cross ice passes....
Well. because centerman know Sbisa won't make that pass, they can more easily turn him back. It also doesn't help that the Flyers suck at the cross-ice pass because the off-winger is almost never in motion. Too often that winger will just play for a red line dump-in or play too high. With the new rules (smaller neutral zone, no grabbing) the cross-ice pass has become a very effective way of changing up the play, and getting a man with speed going over the red line. That set up allows for a dump-in or a medium pass hitting a man into the zone. Couple that with an aggressive defenseman on your team, and you could be looking at a quick 4 on 4 situation in the offensive because you've left the other team's centerman behind.

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12-10-2008, 12:23 PM
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mikedifr
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Originally Posted by sharkeyanti View Post
Well. because centerman know Sbisa won't make that pass, they can more easily turn him back. It also doesn't help that the Flyers suck at the cross-ice pass because the off-winger is almost never in motion. Too often that winger will just play for a red line dump-in or play too high. With the new rules (smaller neutral zone, no grabbing) the cross-ice pass has become a very effective way of changing up the play, and getting a man with speed going over the red line. That set up allows for a dump-in or a medium pass hitting a man into the zone. Couple that with an aggressive defenseman on your team, and you could be looking at a quick 4 on 4 situation in the offensive because you've left the other team's centerman behind.
Yes, it is called a crappy breakout system....something most of us have wanted the coaches to address for the last 2 years now.

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12-10-2008, 12:24 PM
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I think he (Nodl) suffers from the "get Carter the puck" syndrome a little. Can you blame him the way Jeff is playing?

It seems Nodl works hard, but just can't buy a goal to save his life when he does shoot.

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12-10-2008, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharkeyanti View Post
That being long-windedly said, what does everyone else think with a third of the season gone? Is the age-old philosophy of play good defense, dump the puck in, get in front of the net, and shoot a lot the path the Flyers should follow (yet again)?
Wow, good post, good topic.

= if the Flyers D are healthy, I think Sbisa won't see much ice come playoff time

= Nodl looks fine to me

= Gagne and Knuble are exceeding expectations

= Carter and Richards look like All Stars

= Lupul is a trouble spot. he is clearly uncomfortable.

= Coburn is a HUGE trouble spot. he MUST play better if they are to go anywhere in the Spring

= if Biron weren't committing gaffes with the puck outside his crease, I think we'd not be talking about him

= I was kinda hoping Metropolit would hit then net every now and then...

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12-10-2008, 01:04 PM
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mikedifr
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Wow, good post, good topic.

= if the Flyers D are healthy, I think Sbisa won't see much ice come playoff time

= Nodl looks fine to me

= Gagne and Knuble are exceeding expectations

= Carter and Richards look like All Stars

= Lupul is a trouble spot. he is clearly uncomfortable.

= Coburn is a HUGE trouble spot. he MUST play better if they are to go anywhere in the Spring

= if Biron weren't committing gaffes with the puck outside his crease, I think we'd not be talking about him

= I was kinda hoping Metropolit would hit then net every now and then...
To be fair JXC, I will give credit when it is due....I actually agree with your assessment here, although I wouldnt call Coburn a HUGE problem. I do agree he does need to play better though.

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12-10-2008, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mikedifr View Post
To be fair JXC, I will give credit when it is due....I actually agree with your assessment here, although I wouldnt call Coburn a HUGE problem. I do agree he does need to play better though.
'Preesh, dude.

I guess I consider 5's play to be a huge issue because I was expecting huge things and considered him to the other 1st pairing guy on the roster (along with 44). They're going to need a steady first pair in the Spring and I don't him being it the way he looks now.

If I had him (in my mind) penciled as 2nd or 3rd pair, his play wouldn't concern me as much.

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12-10-2008, 01:19 PM
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sharkeyanti
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Who benefits most from our system? (If you wanna call it a system) Who benefits the least?

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12-10-2008, 01:28 PM
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Who benefits most from our system? (If you wanna call it a system) Who benefits the least?
The opposition benefits most. The Flyers benefit least.

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12-10-2008, 01:45 PM
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nodl, much like hartnell when he first came here is doing every you can ask of him, but the puck just isn't going in. He hits, does the dirty work in the corners, he plays well defensively. He's playing a grittier workman like game than what I saw of him in college, where he was a gagne type sniper darting in and out to get scoring opportunities. He's working hard and feeding the beast that is carter. Basically the opposite of lupul who's not doing anything, but he has goals, what the heck happened to the lupul from last year that was leading the team in hits?

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12-10-2008, 02:05 PM
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I liked the way Nodl has played and I think he played really well when Briere was centering him (even if only for like half a game).

Sbisa is too much of a wild card right now. His D play as dropped off a bit, but he shows that he can start a rush and I'm extremely impressed with his composure. So much for thinking we had to wait a few years.

My expectations for this season were to try to get to where we were last year, but once we got hit hard with injuries I think I lowered it too much. The team can be solid, but then sometimes it looks like they don't know what to do out on the ice.

I had really hoped that Lupul would be getting more production, but when you lose ice time it's difficult to produce (that's why I think he was moved up so he can play with a producer and he's a good passer for Carter).

Goaltending is always going to be a hot topic issue in Philly, but I was really hoping we would have a long-term plan in mind.

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12-10-2008, 02:26 PM
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one big trend i've seen is the anticipation this team's starting to play with. they've flat out known where other guys are going to be on the ice, whether it be their own guy or one on the other team.

something like that makes for exciting hockey.

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12-10-2008, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by sharkeyanti View Post
It seems sometimes he's not quite sure when he wants to switch for backskate to man-press, which might be a confidence issue.
I don't think that is so much a confidence issue as an experiance issue. it reminds me of when I was playing football. When I was a rookie, I would see a play develop and then decide what i would do to stop it, but that little delay would be costly. But as I got more playing time, I wasn't thinking about what I needed to do, I was just reacting to the play without thinking

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12-10-2008, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by JXC View Post
Wow, good post, good topic.

= if the Flyers D are healthy, I think Sbisa won't see much ice come playoff time

= Nodl looks fine to me

= Gagne and Knuble are exceeding expectations

= Carter and Richards look like All Stars

= Lupul is a trouble spot. he is clearly uncomfortable.

= Coburn is a HUGE trouble spot. he MUST play better if they are to go anywhere in the Spring

= if Biron weren't committing gaffes with the puck outside his crease, I think we'd not be talking about him

= I was kinda hoping Metropolit would hit then net every now and then...
Pretty bang on. I don't know how to add to that.

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12-10-2008, 02:55 PM
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what the heck happened to the lupul from last year that was leading the team in hits?
hatcher happened.

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Old
12-10-2008, 02:58 PM
  #23
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One big and troublesome trend I have noticed is that we give up a lot of one goal leads late in games. Most notably, the loss against the Devils a few games ago and the last game against the Pens. I know we have managed to win a couple of games in overtime after giving up a game tying goal in the third, but the fact that we are letting the other teams get that extra point is something that really needs to be nipped in the butt going into the second half of the season. It's best to fix these sort of things earlier in the year. A good benchmark for a typical team that makes it deep into the playoffs, is one that is able to hold onto its lead by playing sound defense late in a game.

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