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And then there were five: New-look Flyers produce familiar results

May 8, 2012, 10:25 PM EDT

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During the off-season, Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren tore apart the team’s structure in a mad rush of moves. He didn’t say the team would be better, but he said it would sure look different.

Instead, the Flyers’ 2011-12 season essentially seemed like a bizarre sequel to last season, only with a wildly different cast. Philly didn’t win the Atlantic like they did last year, but they were a formidable if flawed group nonetheless. The Flyers then overcame shoddy goaltending in the first round against Pittsburgh (much like they did in 2011 against Buffalo) only to get smacked around in the semifinals against a hated rival (this year: New Jersey in five games thanks to tonight’s 3-1 loss; last year: Boston in four).

The more things change, the more they stay the same for this fascinating Flyers franchise … but this time they probably can’t just trade their “problems” away.

What happened?

After a track meet series against the Penguins, the Flyers almost seemed bewildered by the thought of facing a more balanced and controlled opponent in the Devils. A totally flat Game 2 from Philly could have been a reality check. Instead, it was a harbinger of things to come as New Jersey essentially dominated every facet of the series.

Who takes the blame?

Everyone, maybe? Claude Giroux‘s suspension hurt. Ilya Bryzgalov‘s bonehead moves were brutal, but he also kept them in some games that weren’t particularly competitive. The Flyers’ defense looked porous yet the most disturbing thing for a high-powered offense for Philly was that they didn’t have much success in their strongest area.

Bryzgalov will get a lot of blame – and to some extent, rightfully so – yet it was a near-total failure. For that reason (and a virtual refusal to give solid backup Sergei Bobrovsky even a slight chance), some might actually point a finger of blame at Peter Laviolette.

I’d say make your choice.

What will they do about it?

For better or worse, the Flyers seem pretty locked-in. Sure, Holmgren isn’t shy about making bold moves, but who’s going to take Bryzgalov’s albatross contract in a trade?

The most obvious concern (in-house, at least) is bringing back Matt Carle and/or Jaromir Jagr. Then again, you never know with the Flyers; they could very well arrange things to get in on the Ryan Suter sweepstakes. For all the money they spend on their defense, they could really use a No. 1 guy with Chris Pronger possibly done for good.

Logic says the Flyers largely “are what they are.” But when has logic really factored in to this wacky and consistently entertaining franchise?


And then there were 15: Is Detroit’s dynasty on its last legs?

And then there were 14: Sharks come out flat in playoffs

And then there were 13: Powerhouse Pens fall flat

And then there were 12: Presidents’ Trophy-winning Canucks bounced in Round 1

And then there were 11: Another first-round exit for Blackhawks

And then there were 10: Bruins run out of Game 7 magic

And then there were 9: Senators out, but future’s bright

And then there were 8: Panthers go out swinging

And then there were seven: Blues swept out of Western Conference semifinal

And then there were six: So much for Nashville’s mid-season reload

  1. thefacts121 - May 8, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    I’m really surprised that the Flyers didn’t do better in a game where their best player was suspended, they got one power play to their opponent’s four, and an offsides goal was allowed.

    • crashtheboards55 - May 8, 2012 at 10:50 PM

      The facts are: rinaldo is a piece of garbage who should never see the ice again. The offsides well karma is a real b@@ch isnt it? Any your best player acted like a complete moron and deserved to be suspended. Maybe place the blame on the team for playing like a$$.

      • modogg42 - May 8, 2012 at 11:32 PM

        the only positive to come out of the flyers losing is that hopefully these penguins fans and other idiots finally leave this site. really add nothing constructive to any discussion

      • benzoids - May 9, 2012 at 9:24 AM

        @crashtheboards…you nailed it. How thefacts121 has the nerve to complain about an offsides missed call is beyond me. Short term memory I guess. Anyway, the Flyers fans should be happy they weren’t swept in this one…that very well could have happened.

        Knock knock….

    • bmscalise - May 8, 2012 at 10:51 PM

      Funny how in the last round a goal that was offsides by 2 ft. and determined the outcome of a game (far and away the worst call of the playoffs) – was a-okay and should have been overcome.

      • steelwarriors55 - May 9, 2012 at 12:12 AM

        You’re kidding right? The game was still 3-1 at that time I dont see how a goal that put the Flyers still 2 goals behind was the outcome of the game.

      • deathmonkey41 - May 9, 2012 at 12:17 AM

        So, the Flyers lose the series 4-1, lose 2 at home, lose 4 in a row when scoring first, but one call was the difference in the series? This is why everyone hates Flyers fans.

      • pbhatesphilly - May 9, 2012 at 9:06 AM

        How funny that you philly leeches are ripped up over an offsides goal, had that same call that you now see as “unfair” was called in game one against the pens you leeches would have been trolling the playgrounds and school yards by now. Like crashtheboards55 so eloquently said “kharma is a bi*ch. And why are philly fans so obcessed by the pens, all post season you gutless nameless bloggers have constantly blooged more about the pens than the flyers. Closet pens fans or jealous, you make the call. Knock, knock, knock-na na na na, na na na na, hay hay hay gooood bye.

  2. napoleonblownapart6887 - May 8, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    Devils played a great series. I think Philly might have been worn out or checked out after the big win over the Pens.

    Flyers have some good young players so this is definitely a team on the rise. But unfortunately the question is a familiar one: do the Flyers need to improve between the pipes?

  3. vindicatus - May 8, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    You score points by getting the puck into the opponent’s net, not by injuring their players.

    • tfoz5150 - May 8, 2012 at 10:58 PM

      You got to bang to beat that forechecking. At least they showed some life tonight tryIng to do that.

  4. martyb30 - May 8, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    Flyers in 4…. no, 5…. i mean 6… well 7 then…HAHAHAHAHA

  5. cmdrsmooth - May 8, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    Starts with respecting your opponent. Talking to you Philly radio.

    • jimw81 - May 9, 2012 at 12:24 AM

      what station? wip? they just lost flyers broadcast because they treated flyers bad.

  6. biffnasty - May 8, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    Knock knock

  7. bmscalise - May 8, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    The Flyers sat Max Talbot down and had him teach the team every strength, weakness, and intimate detail of extremely complicated Pens systems. And then designed a system to beat it.

    I’m not excusing the Pens, because they should still have been able to win. But this is what happens when you treat the first round like the cup and design your team to beat one particular team: you lose to another.

    • maalea - May 8, 2012 at 11:06 PM

      Then how did the Flyers dominate the Pen’s last year when Talbot was still a Pen?

      • bmscalise - May 8, 2012 at 11:22 PM

        Might have been because 87 and 71 were out half the year. Maybe.

      • maalea - May 8, 2012 at 11:49 PM

        What will be your excuse next year?

        We had to trade Staal?

      • maalea - May 9, 2012 at 8:14 AM

        This is why I hate hockey fans, we are ignorant.

        Dude, I hate to tell you the Pen’s DO NOT have an “extremely complicated Pens systems”.

        Have you ever heard of Roger Neilson AKA Capt. Video? This isn’t 1972

        Do you really think that teams don’t breakdown every aspect of every other team. Just like every other sport there are no secrets.

        I also love how you contradict yourself.

        Either your team is a system based team (NJ Devils) or it’s talent based (Pitt/Phila) and you see a team in transition. (Wash)

      • pbhatesphilly - May 9, 2012 at 9:09 AM

        I can’t believe all the flyers fans care about is irrellevent regular season games.

      • maalea - May 9, 2012 at 10:02 AM

        It’s not about the reg season. It’s about winning 8 out of 12 playoffs included this season.

  8. epictron1 - May 8, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    Bobrovsky was never given a chance? He was given many shots when Bryzgalov struggled in January and couldn’t get the job. Even when Bryzgalov was hurt he only played average.

    And the Flyers shouldn’t resign Carle or Jagr. There are players out there that can fill their void.

    • dsd3 - May 9, 2012 at 10:16 AM

      Yeah, pretty sure Bobrovsky would’ve given them many less chances to win in this series than Bryzgalov did. I guess James O’Brien never watched Bobrovsky play in the second half of the season. He got many chances to start, and he was MUCH worse than Bryz. Like, a million times worse.

  9. sportsfreak13 - May 8, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    Jagr watch 2.0 now begins

  10. vindicatus - May 8, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    I actually feel bad for Bryz. He’s going to get crucified for the gaffe that led to Clarkson’s GWG, but for 4 out of the 5 games in this series, he was the Flyer’s best player.

    • steelwarriors55 - May 9, 2012 at 12:15 AM

      WHAT ???? He was awful the 1st game as he was the reason they went to OT(ugly goal he gave to Sykora to tie the game) and he was certainly not the best player tonight.He was our best player game 2 and 4 but that’s it.Please stop protecting him he just cant make the saves.Brian Boucher was a better option at a lower cost.

      • dsd3 - May 9, 2012 at 10:19 AM


  11. tfoz5150 - May 8, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Bryz wasn’t the problem. They got out muscled. I don’t even know if Girioux would’ve helped tonight. I think the team is set for the future, they have a lot of youth. They just need to learn how to play against this type of team. I thought they were past the devils , but obviously they continue to have their number.

    • steelwarriors55 - May 9, 2012 at 12:18 AM

      When your goalie has .902 save percentage in THIS series and a 3.00 and above GAA he is one of the reason why you’re not playing anymore.Yes the Flyers were outmuscled(I think they have too many finesse players and not enough gritty players) but the fact is that the only time when Bryz was solid was when the Flyers were not in the game.When they were in it and really needed him to step up he didnt show up.Sometimes in the playoffs you need the goalie to steal one for you and I’m sorry but at 10 million this year he needed to do that and didnt.

      • dsd3 - May 9, 2012 at 10:19 AM

        Did you watch the games?

  12. murtdurt - May 8, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    Phillyphans come out come out where ever you are…oh wait there all hanging out in troll caves

    • cleverbob - May 9, 2012 at 10:37 AM

      We’re not hiding. And for the most part we’re not whining, nor will we spend the rest of the playoffs posting childish comments about the Devils. They were the better team.

  13. philly4lyfe - May 8, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    Congrats to the devils. They earned it. I would like to see them go all the way and win it so Marty can finally retire!

  14. rehmer2389 - May 8, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    Different team same results? Well I guess every team that doesn’t win the cup sucks then. Ur a genius O’Brien

    • James O'Brien - May 9, 2012 at 12:09 AM

      You’re right. The Flyers won five playoff games in 2012 and ONLY four in 2011. Thanks for schooling me there.

      • maalea - May 10, 2012 at 3:09 PM

        How about round one then? Compare a weak Sabres team to a 4 – 1 cup favorite Pen’s team.

  15. jagrbomb18 - May 8, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    Impressive series jersey…I know I didn’t expect that…jersey looks hungry…I hope yous been NY that’s for sure

  16. steelwarriors55 - May 9, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    I just cant wait to see what they will do this summer.They certainly need help defensively.I wouldnt re-sign Carle and I would trade one of Coburn/Meszaros.They need to find a solid anchor on the D.Then we need to get rid of Bryzgalov and I dont care if it means buying him out.I heard that there might be a clause in the next CBA that will allow team to buy out without counting against the cap.If it’s true we need to use Bryz contract and buy him out as quick as possible.I wonder if Colombus would take a problem for another(Bryz for Mason).

    • dmfc1112 - May 9, 2012 at 1:32 AM

      Did you watch game 4???? HOw can you blame Bryz for any of those goals?? No D in sight and if there was they were making a lame attempt at a stick check. How about the goal by Zubrus?? how many blown assignments on that one?? They need to let Carle walk. They could use a crease clearer and a defenseman who can run a power play.

  17. jimw81 - May 9, 2012 at 12:28 AM

    It was Peter Laviolette and Bryzgalov fault. Laviolette should of played players like wellwood who were skating and genrating chances.Bryzgalov was on a far planet from earth during periods of season.

  18. jakpsu1 - May 9, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    Apparently the Flyers cared to much about beating the Penguins and no one else. Amazing how all the Flyers fans are hiding. But, you can’t expect much from Philthy fans.

    Let’s Go Pens!

    • chap6869 - May 9, 2012 at 8:56 AM

      Hiding? I was here after the last game and congratulated the Devils fans, Nobody is hiding idiot! What’s really sad is that your team was eliminated 2 weeks ago and you’re still here spreading your own misery. Get a life, loser!

  19. heyzeus143 - May 9, 2012 at 1:30 AM


    • chap6869 - May 9, 2012 at 9:06 AM

      heydouche, what’s more pathetic? Coming on to type 1975, real laugher there, or the fact that your such a loser that your sitting on your computer at 1:30am on a Wed. morning. I guess you finished up with your porn for the night and got bored huh?

      • pbhatesphilly - May 9, 2012 at 9:19 AM

        Lets keep our heads up flyers fans because this really was a good year, who thought with all of our young players that we would have done so well. And the future is really bright cause we ll do better next year. And it’s wasn’t really fair that Brodeur played the puck outside the trap. And for sure that offsides goal wasn’t fair! But look at the bright side, we are competetive EVERY year, well not every year but sometimes. Just because the Pens have won three cups and played in another finals series since we have won a cup but ya know we just got hosed. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA you flyers fans are such losers, keep thinking your great and keep chasing the pens and the rest of the NHL! knock, knock, knock, knock!!!!

  20. teddybess - May 9, 2012 at 3:57 AM

    I know two players Philly have their eyes on for next year are a German defenseman U R Krapp and Russian goalie Ivan Redlamp.

    • pbhatesphilly - May 9, 2012 at 9:22 AM


      • chap6869 - May 9, 2012 at 9:29 AM

        I know what’s funny, watching a pathetic Pens fan, still hanging around 2 WEEKS after being eliminated, posting little douchey comments. THAT’S FUNNY! HAHAHAHAHAHA

  21. mungman69 - May 9, 2012 at 8:41 AM

    murtdurt: = loser. Nice name. And where do you hang out? I know, I know.

  22. pkswally024 - May 9, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    As of anyone even had them making the playoffs with all the moves last offseason. They had a good year. Bryz needs to step up and our young guys need to keep training, they obviously lost their legs after the pens series

  23. jkaflagg - May 9, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    This team has a bright future, with a great mix of veteran and young talent up front…..however, Coburn is the only above average D man, and if they can’t get Suter they may want to convert some of that depth into a young defenseman…..

    As far as Bryzgalov…..they’ll have to make the best of it; unfortunately, Philly fans don’t react to disappointment very well, and he’ll hear about every soft goal……

  24. jkaflagg - May 9, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Before the NJ series, I felt the Flyers would win easily; but the team that showed up in the Devils jerseys were not your fathers’s Devils…..the usual game plan of boring teams to death (such as the Florida series) was nowhere to be found; they were suddenly attacking off the rush and forcing the action, which may have shocked the Flyers as much as it did me…..I think game 4 was the best game I’ve ever seen them play.

    I think the Flyers are smart enough to realize they caught the wrong team at the wrong time, and there is no reason to tear the whole thing down and start over…..

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