Two Sides of the Coin: Philadelphia Flyers Edition

Share

The Flyers and their Fans celebrate winning the Eastern Conference Finals

The Flyers have the underdog luck and momentum on their side. As a 7 seed that waited until the final seconds of the regular season to secure their playoff fate, they’ve been riding the lightning ever since. Their route to the Stanley Cup Finals was an unconventional one as they knocked off the Eastern Conference’s #2 seed, #6 seed and #8 seed. Now they play a Chicago Blackhawks team that won 11 more games in the regular season and has lost a total of 12 less games in the regular season and post season combined. Do the Flyers have a chance? I’ve got your two sided outlook after the jump.

By Bryan Vickroy

The Flyers' acquisition of Pronger has worked out.

Why Philadelphia Will Win

Ever since this team snuck into the playoffs on the last day of the season, by shootout no less, they have been defying the odds. They have all the confidence in the world, and have already done something very few teams have ever done by coming back from down 3-0 in a series.

As the playoff stretch, and beards, have gotten longer the Flyers bench has been getting deeper. Players who have been banged up are healing and contributing. This team is stronger now than when the playoffs started.
Philadelphia management brought in Chris Pronger for one goal: to win the Stanley Cup. Pronger controls the flow of the game, skates about 2/3 of the game, and has been voted the best defenseman in the game by his peers throughout his career. He has already won a cup in Anaheim, and was brought in to show the Flyer lineup his winning ways.

Flyers fans are possibly the most rabid in hockey. Chicago folded under the pressure against Detroit last year. San Jose is a fierce place to play, during the regular season. This is a city that throws batteries at Santa Claus, throws up on its own fans, and enjoys it when one of their own gets tasered. Most of the Hawks can’t grow facial hair, but they better grow a pair when the City of Brotherly Love invites them to brawl down Broad Street.

Why Philadelphia Will Lose

This is a team, that until last round, has been skating on thin ice all year. They barely snuck into the playoffs, needed a miracle against Boston to advance, and continually have a string of players hanging out in the training room or owner’s box instead of skating.

The Flyers don’t have a lot of speed, and their aggressive, mean defensive scheme can be disrupted by vertical play and quick puck movement. Beyond their top two defensemen (Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timmonen) there is very little punch or bite from the blue-line.

Both goalies (Michael Leighton, Brian Boucher)  have shown stretches of brilliance in this postseason, but both are also claimed off the scrap heap this season to provide depth in net. Both have a spotty history that may surface at any moment.

Philadelphia may have won the East, but the showings of its top seeds show the parity (or mediocrity) of the Eastern Conference. The West has been the dominant conference all year, and for the last few years.  The play is faster, slicker, and more European than the conservative, lockdown North American tendencies of the East. Backing in and choking off the other team in the neutral zone doesn’t help if you can’t jump out to an early lead.

Predictions

Stanley Cup Winner: Blackhawks win in 6 games

Conn Smythe: Dustin Byfuglien

Comments

  1. paulmbanks says

    The Flyers were 18th in the NHL in pts??!!!! I know the Hawks were third, so I have to take the homer pick and say Chi in 6. I know I know San Jose is exhibit A that regular season doesn’t translate

Speak Your Mind