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‘Fragile’ Flyers in tough to make playoffs

Mar 12, 2013, 12:25 PM EDT

Ilya Bryzgalov Getty Images

They’ve played more games than any team in the NHL, and they’re still only 11th place in the Eastern Conference.

We’re talking, of course, about the 12-14-1 Philadelphia Flyers. After 27 games, they sit three points back of the eighth-place Rangers, who have three games in hand.

With 21 games left in the shortened schedule, Philadelphia is estimating it has to win 15 games to get into the playoffs. A tall order for any team, let alone one that has yet to win three in a row this season.

“For some reason, whether we are fragile or what, we don’t seem comfortable playing at 0-0 or even 1-0,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said Monday, per “You look at that game against Boston Saturday. As soon as they scored that power-play goal, we became unraveled. We don’t seem to be able to gather ourselves up.”

Holmgren also spoke about the goaltending the Flyers have received from Ilya Bryzgalov, whose save percentage has fallen to .899 after a strong start.

“Some nights we need to play better,” said Holmgren. “Some nights he needs to play better.”

Philadelphia is in New Jersey Wednesday and hosts the seventh-place Devils (12-9-5) Friday in a rematch.

“Big two games,” said recent acquisition Simon Gagne, “maybe the two biggest games of the season for us. After that it could be a big difference where we want to be in the standings.”

  1. jpelle82 - Mar 12, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    tough sledding. time for the “best player in the world” to step up

    • itripledogdareyou - Mar 12, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      The best player in the world has stepped up. Too bad for Philly he’s in Western PA.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      Pens fans need to give this quote up. I understand it stuck in their crawl after losing that series. This season Giroux has struggled, no question. But last season he was a top-5 performer and during the playoffs he was better than both Malkin and Crosby. Hence the “best player in the world” comment. That fictional title is reliant on your play. It is not static. So when Giroux is on he’s a top-10 talent in the league, when he’s off he’s not. Like I said on “Crosby is the best player on earth” page, through the years the title has shifted many times.. for a time it was Jagr, Lemieux, Sakic, Forsberg, Lindros, etc. Even at the beginning of the season people were saying Vanek was the best player in the league. It’s all dependent on performance. So this season, Crosby has proven, once again he is the best player on earth. But during that short period during and after the Pens series it was plausible to suggest that Giroux was the best. No one thinks Giroux is a better player than Crosby, Sid’s resume shows why, but the “Best Player on Earth” title is constantly shifting based on production and play. And Giroux put the club on his back and took down the Cup favorites, a team with the best two players on earth. So was it not a legitimate argument? Even Malkin showed that last season, when many lauded him as a better player than Crosby. So Pens fans like to throw that quote back at us because we’re struggling but at the time it was said it was a legitimate argument. Now it is not, so get over it. Crosby is the best. Everyone knows that. So enough with facetious “best player in the world comments” regarding Giroux. We know G is struggling on a struggling team, something that the City of Pittsburgh is poppin a major bone cone over.

  2. killerpgh - Mar 12, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    The Flyers have a nice easy schedule right now. They play 3 games in 13 days. If Ho we a going to make a move now is the time to do it. Plenty of time to get some practices in for a new coach or teammates to get more to know each other.

    • sportsfreak13 - Mar 12, 2013 at 12:44 PM

      They play the 13th,the 15th, the 18th, the 24th, and the 26th. Thats 5 games in 13 days.

      • sportsfreak13 - Mar 12, 2013 at 12:46 PM

        Forgot to mention those games are 2 against the devils, 1 against the pens,1 against the rangers, and 1 against tampa. Not an easy schedule by any means.

      • killerpgh - Mar 12, 2013 at 1:10 PM

        From March 11th through March 23rd (13 days) they play on the 13th, 15th and 18th. Feel free to look up the schedule and count the day.

      • sportsfreak13 - Mar 12, 2013 at 1:15 PM

        I believe you. I was just counting from their next game and looking ahead. Either way you cut it still not a easy schedule with 4 division opponents (none of which are the islanders), and Tampa bay (one of the highest scoring teams).

      • killerpgh - Mar 12, 2013 at 1:33 PM

        You are talking about 5 games in 14 days. I’m talking about 3 games in 13 days as the easy part. I would be willing to bet most teams play more than 3 games in 13 day under a normal schedule. Getting that much rest in a compressed schedule of 48 games in a 99 days is by far the easiest part of the season. The play the Devils twice who are 3-6-1 in the last 10 games and the Lightning who are 2-8 in ther last ten games. So the Flyers are playing 3 games and 13 days against teams that have a total of 5 wins in their last 20 games and you don’t think this is an easy part of their schedule.

      • sportsfreak13 - Mar 12, 2013 at 1:40 PM

        Sorry were going to have to agree to disagree. When 4 of your next 5 games are divisional rivals and your 3 points out of the playoffs with 3 games in hand, your not going to have any easy games. Yes the rest is nice but the oponents and games are HUGE. Nothing in the atlantic division is easy.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:28 PM

        good, meaningful argument, you guys.

  3. disp350 - Mar 12, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Until the Bryz learns how to stop a breakaway/shootout and to stop going into the dreaded “butterfly” (players know to just shoot it over his shoulders) – they aint going anywhere. And if they do make the playoffs, another one and done seems like its on the horizon

    • kamiller99 - Mar 12, 2013 at 1:04 PM

      i agree 100 percent with your assesment of Bryz, however, they haven’t been one and done in the playoffs since 2009

    • thesableo - Mar 12, 2013 at 7:23 PM

      I think he’s out of shape. He’s leaning way forward when he moves laterally instead of staying upright. Could be a weak core. Could also just be poor form. Whatever it is, pretty much the top half of the net is fair game for shooters right now.

  4. dawglb - Mar 12, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    It looks like it is time to give up two of the younger guys (Read, Couturier or Schenn, Couturier) for a legit goalie. Ryan Miller?

    • jaredphi - Mar 12, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      God no. I don’t want Miller between our pipes.

      I’d prefer a move to bolster D.

      Briere (and some picks…or Coots) for Keith Yandle.

      • sportsfreak13 - Mar 12, 2013 at 1:04 PM

        haha the old “our worst players for your best player”swap. Briere hasnt been performing well lately and has a high cap, and Coots has had a serious sophmore slump and while his potential ceiling is high its not worthy of a top D man especially when your not sending a D man back the other way to replace that huge hole on their backline.

      • jaredphi - Mar 12, 2013 at 1:22 PM

        How about Briere (whom PHX is interested in…along with STL, BOS and NSH) along with Coots and 2 picks?

        Or…..Briere, Coots, Gustafsson and for Yandle?

      • sportsfreak13 - Mar 12, 2013 at 1:35 PM

        Personally (now im a pens fan mind you) I don’t see yandle going anywhere without a solid d-man coming back in the deal. I dont know much about gustafasson enogh to evaluate him but thats a start id say. I know you pay a huge price for puck moving d-man. Pens got neal for gologoski and kunitz for ryan whitney. Both of those guys(neal and kunitz) have a lower cap hit then briere and outperform him ( except playoffs where briere is a BEAST) and gologoski and whitney cant even sniff Keith Yandles game.

      • ml3939 - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:11 PM

        They are not trading Couturier and certainly not as a deal sweetener. Gustaffson has showed very little at the NHL level to be mentioned as a piece that will push a deal through. Laviolette has not helped Gustaffson’s cause putting him in late game situations where he has completely flopped so far. I would rather see Lilja out there.

      • maalea - Mar 12, 2013 at 8:25 PM

        Briere is a proven playoff performer, He’s averaging just over a point a game. His cap number drops quite a bit next year.

        So a playoff team in need of clutch scoring may be interested.

      • ml3939 - Mar 12, 2013 at 8:28 PM

        Only his salary drops next year, not his cap number.

  5. xavier46 - Mar 12, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    “Some nights we need to play better,” said Holmgren. “Some nights he needs to play better.”

    Translation: “At least we’ve got another hour of daylight in the evening so Pierre and I can schedule tee times later in the day if we can canned in the next week. Hey, Pierre, ask Byrz if he is scared of bears on the front nine or just in the forest, they’ll be coming out of hibernation soon!”

  6. bru308 - Mar 12, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    It’s a real shame

  7. 5hole26 - Mar 12, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    nobody wants any of those slunkin flyers. they are done for

    • orangandblack - Mar 13, 2013 at 12:41 PM

      Trolling again on a flyers article I see

  8. jkay1818 - Mar 12, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    Who write’s these articles about the flyers everyday? Bill Murray in groundhog’s day? Man, it’s like deja vu all over again. Why doesn’t PHT just copy and paste the same article and change the title? it’s always a few quotes by holmgren and the same BS.
    Enough about this team already, everyday, “a must win” they aren’t that great. They expected too much from their youngsters and the media/flyer fans anointed them young stars and they arent there yet. Their D isnt very good and their goaltender is a skitzo when it comes to what player will show up each game, usually the bad side. Despite what a lot of flyer fans believe, this isnt the youngest team in hockey, they arent even top 5.
    It’s always the same comments, these delusional trades to bolster the Defense. Let’s deal our 35 yr old small forward with diminishing skills and just grab a top flight young Dman, then we’ll be just fine. It isn’t that easy. Giroux is a really good player but not elite, he doesn’t worry other teams or their fans when he is on the ice, nothing miraculous is going to happen where he scores 3 pts a night and they become unstoppable. The team needs to fill a ton of holes, we get it. Chill with the same articles everyday. Then around 9:45 PM it’s, “FLYERS SINK ANOTHER ONE ON A SHAKY FIRST PERIOD”

    • ml3939 - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:05 PM

      It is called Pennsylvania Hockey Talk and the comments sections are flooded by Flyers fans and the fans that hate them (mostly and rightfully, Penguins fans).

    • cerealrapist - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:18 PM

      I appreciate your realism Jkay.
      I’ve been watching the same crap from my fellow Devils fans during the recent losing streak. All of a sudden, everyone’s a GM. I’ve seen a hundred comments like “Clarkson and Henrique havent scored in two weeks, time to trade them for draft picks!” or “the Devils don’t need all these D-men. Lets trade an aging overpaid defenseman like Volchenkov or Tallinder for a first line win that no team would ever trade!”

      • cerealrapist - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:19 PM

        winger* not “win”

  9. renberg19 - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Trade Briere? Are you crazy —–

    How many goals did Briere score for the Flyers last playoff season? 8 goals in 11 games! How about during their Stanley Cup run 3 years ago? 11 goals and 30 points in 23 games.

    So we know Danny Briere is clutch in the playoffs. And with his no-trade clause, he isn’t going anywhere.

    Let this healthy Flyers team (THAT HAS PLAYED THE MOST GAMES IN THE NHL – SO THEY ARE VERY TIRED), get in the groove, make it into the playoffs, and turn it around.

    • jkay1818 - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:22 PM

      hate to play devils advocate here. Rest won’t do the trick, you didn’t take care of business playing all those games. Now teams behind you and ahead of you have games in hand, if some of them win all their games in hand, you will just dig a deeper hole. I know you’re a fan of the flyers and want the best and root them on, but what groove? Just need to rest and and rejuvenate? Makes sense, since the other argument is they are so young and good. These young guys don’t need that much rest, trust me.

      • renberg19 - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:42 PM

        What I’m saying is, with the Flyers playing such a front-loaded schedule it will be interesting to see if they can use the time off to fix their inconsistencies and climb out of their below .500 record.

    • withseidelinn - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:35 PM

      Sorry bud, not happening.

    • jaredphi - Mar 12, 2013 at 3:31 PM

      Not crazy at all.

      I like Danny, but he is a no-show during the regular season.

      Yes, he turns it on in the playoffs but it’s not like we don’t have other people that can step up and perform in the playoffs (Voracek for one has the ability to be a playoff star).

      Danny is 35 and on his way down. He’s due about $5 million next year. Frankly, I’d rather take the cap space or switch it out for someone else to come in and perform.

      And I have bad news for you. We are NOT making the playoffs this year. We need new blood – esp. better Defense – or we’ll be in the same mess come next season….

  10. sjsharks66 - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Trading JVR was a big mistake. His offensive abilities would really help the flyers right now.

    • xflyersx - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:56 PM

      Letting Jagr walk was just as big of a mistake.

  11. rushledger - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    The flyers would have to make a serious offer to get a player like Yandle. Ryan Whitney is more believable because he’s been a healthy scratch a number of times and the oilers aren’t going anywhere night as well get something for him.

  12. canucks30 - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    Cory Schneider for Sean Couturier

    • letsgopens8771 - Mar 12, 2013 at 3:12 PM

      Enough with the fantasies, please. We all know the Flyers would never give him up, even though he is struggling this year. Glad to see he isn’t “owning” Malkin because that is what gets Flyers fans so high and mighty when talking about him.

  13. letsgopens8771 - Mar 12, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    HAH! 11th, what a joke. Tied with the ISLANDERS for points and 1 under WINNIPEG. Sad.

    To sum up the woes of Philly: An inconsistent headcase goalie, an underachieving captain, a Swiss cheese defense, a head coach who has to burst a blood vessel in order for his team to start playing like they should, and a GM who isn’t willing to change this mess. Hope they keep it up. Don’t want to see them again this year. Oh, and just to make it known, despite all this complaining about the Pens, they are still way atop the division (while Philly is dead LAST) and 2nd in the Eastern Conference (while the Philly Failers are 11th).


    • ml3939 - Mar 12, 2013 at 3:46 PM

      Coming from the fan of a franchise that has finished in last or second to last place 16 times and missed the playoffs 17 times. Thanks for keeping those seats warm in case we need them.

      Another 1975 guy, how creative. How about 142-91-30, the Flyers all time record versus the Pens or 4-2 in playoff series against Pens? If you are gonna make a historic reference, historically this rivalry is a one sided joke.

    • greenkeeper15 - Mar 12, 2013 at 6:22 PM

      yeah its been disappointing so far but we are a very young team and the future is bright. The funny thing is all you pittsburgh fans want us out because you know you can’t beat us and that has been proven over and over. Hell you can’t even beat us in your brand new building. Franchises have down years but at least we still show up and you can say 1975 and I will say bankruptcy

  14. chrisvegas - Mar 12, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    I don’t care if the Flyers don’t make the playoffs this year, people forget how young this team is. If they make a trade trade for the future. Flyers need to buy out Bryz, he is a garbage goalie and they need to get rid of his 8 years left on the cap. Flyers would be smart to try and get Bernier from LA. He is young and can grow with the young core of this team. To me goaltending is the biggest problem on this Flyers team. After that they need a puck moving defenseman, but I am not worried if they don’t get on this year, just don’t trade for any old has-been. The young core of this team still has alot of potential, they will bounce back next year if they have a new goalie.

  15. joewilliesshnoz - Mar 12, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    Couldn’t happen to better bunch of bums ! ! !

  16. matthewmacisaac - Mar 12, 2013 at 8:06 PM

    A real problem is Timmonen, who looks like he’s out of gas already. They signed him to an extension for $6mil next year when the cap goes down (f’n BRILLIANT). They might wind up wasting one of their buyouts on a one year deal. Do you think Phoenix would go for Gervais for Yandle straight up (maybe throw in a cheesesteak and foam finger). With the time off, I hope they work on line changes (still dreadful at this time of year? Really?) and passing (mostly the breakout passes). Watching the Bruins debacle, I was noticing how many Flyer passes were either off the mark, rushed , or mishandled on the receiving end. All this in stark contrast to how the Bruins were playing (deliberate,crisp, accurate passing). The Bruins don’t have a bunch of flat out fast skaters, but they move the puck up quickly with good passing and appear faster than they really are. Last, but certainly not least, will they please cover somebody. The breakaways and wide open shots are getting a little old. I know they miss Pronger, but He’s only one man and he isn’t coming back (unfortunately).

  17. whatthepuck2012 - Mar 12, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    After tonight, the Pens, Leafs and Flyers will have played 27 games. They are currently in 2nd, 5th and 11th place, respectively. Stop with the “we’ve played too many games and we’re sleepy” crap.

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