The preseason is over, that means we can finally look forward to REGULAR SEASON HOCKEY!! You all know you’re just as excited as I am and if there’s any reason to be excited about this Flyers team, the preseason showed it.
The last preseason game against the Capitals gave us the first look at what the roster is basically going to be minus Wayne Simmonds. Simmonds has been out with a lower body injury and is currently listed as day-to-day so Blair Jones was in the lineup in his place. These lines look pretty smooth, the line combinations have been impressive in the preseason and we all hope it’s not just preseason luck. All the Flyers forward lines have been quick and shown offensive capability, except maybe the 3rd line consisting of Lecavalier centering Raffl and Umberer, Even the 4th line has looked like and actual NHL line instead of a group of goons and grinders.
The Flyers last preseason game unfortunately ended in a shootout loss, not the way any team wants to go down these days, with the Caps winning 3-2. That makes the preseason record this year 3-3-2.
Last year the Flyers preseason record was 1-5-1 and led to a horrific start and the firing of Peter Laviolette just 3 games into the season. That preseason was bad and you really got the feeling that the season wasn’t going to be much better, and it wasn’t for a long time.If the preseason is any indication of what the season will be, like last year, then we should be excited for this season, despite all the negativity and inevitable defensive problems.
Since the first line lost Scott Hartnell, Brayden Schenn has been moved up to fill in the wing. While not having much luck in the scoring department, this first line has been smooth and slick and all kinds of beautiful. The chemistry is there and the passing is good, the scoring will come…we hope.
When the Flyers put together the second line they went into it wanting to get Sean Couturier’s scoring a boost, looks like it’s very likely that not only will Coots be scoring, but that whole line of Coots Read and Simmonds will be a big offensive threat. AS for the third line, well hopefully Lecavalier can find his Philly mojo now that he’s back in a center position with young star Michael Raffl on his wing.
Remember the 4th line of players who really couldn’t play that well? Remember the goon line of Rinaldo Rosehill and Hall? Well forget it, it’s gone and (hopefully) never coming back. Instead the Flyers have opted for a more skilled 4th line that can actually play good minutes and let the top line rest, while SCORING; they’ve also sent Jay Rosehill(the enforcer) down the the Phantoms. Zac Rinaldo Jason Akeson and Pierre-Edouard Bellamre are the new 4th line and they look goooood. Okay I get it little repetitive saying all the lines looks good, but THEY DO. Yeah Rinaldo gets some hate, but maybe some actual talent on the 4th line can help him actually become a productive player instead of just a hot head grinder who takes a lot of penalties.
Sam Morin back in Juniors suck it everybody. Still waiting to hear who the Flyers traded to make room for Sam Morin? Don’t hold your breath it isn’t happening. Sam Morin was sent back to Juniors after the Flyers preseason ended putting to rest any rumors that Morin was going to get a regular roster spot. The preseason gave everyone a look at popular prospects Shayne Gostisbehere and Samuel Morin. It also made everyone think that they should definitely get on the roster right away. No that’s wrong.
While they looked good they still showed signs that they weren’t really ready for NHL full time play, not only that, but they were playing against other B teams and none of the final rosters so no you don’t know what they’d do against a full NHL ready team. Ron Hextall has also preached patience with these prospects, especially since defensive players take longer to develop. Suddenly everyone thought that Hextall just decided screw that and planned on trading away 2 D to make room for rookies. It doesn’t matter how much you compare Morin to Pronger, that doesn’t make him ready. Ghost is in the AHL and Morin is in the Juniors where they belong for now. We knew we were getting a bad defensive group since last year; patience is a virtue we could all learn from Hextall.
You know what you CAN look forward to on defense? Mark Streit. Kimmo Timonen was the Flyers defensive backbone and described as the defensive set up guy. Where Timonen got assists, Mark Streit can get goals. Last season Streit kind of fell flat until the playoffs, well it seems like playoffs Mark Streit was the veteran getting warmed up to Philadelphia. With Timonen out, Streit will play a bigger role; moving up to 1st line power play being one of those roles.
Also I’m keeping hope that Michael Del Zotto will have a rebound year. He’s young and he was cheap so we’d love for him to work out, but if Andrew MacDonald is any indication, MDZ will do meh and be signed to at least 3 years so get used to him guys!