Over the past week or so a few mandatory lineup changes have started some conversations about the end result of this season.
The Flyers recent 4 game winning streak has some people questioning why they would try to pull off an actually impossible sprint to a playoff spot this late in the season when they could keep doing badly and get themselves a high pick in this year’s draft and get a future franchise talent.
Ryan Lambert of YahooSports pointed out just how unlikely it is for teams not in a playoff spot by February 1st to make the playoffs. The teams he talks about are 2-4 points out of a playoff spot. Currently, the Flyers are 11 points behind a wildcard slot. So given the impending early end to the season, it would make sense for the Flyers to cut their losses for the season and go for the highest draft pick they can get right? A four-game winning streak isn’t gonna help them make the playoffs and it’s not gonna get them McDavid. But why, after all this time playing like shit, have they now decided to start winning? Because they’ve actually been forced to put a good team on the ice. Well, a good defense at least.
For the last few games Braydon Coburn and Nick Grossmann, the bottom portion of the Flyers D, have been out with injuries, forcing Berube to give more minutes to Michael Del Zotto and Nick Schultz and pulling Carlo Colaiacovo out of the press box. The result has been a handful of wins including a 4 game win streak.
Tonight Nick Grossmann is set to return to the lineup, not only that, but he’s supposedly being paired up with Andrew MacDonald, another of the Flyers worst defensemen. Which makes you wonder if the Flyers really are trying to win every game, why in the hell would Berube make such a stupid move, in fact, why would Berube make ANY of the stupid moves he’s made so far this season? The answer seems simple now, Berube is trying to flush the season down the toilet in the most discreet way possible.
Sure Hextall has said that the team wants to win every game, they want to play their hardest all season, but Berube doesn’t necessarily have to be on the same page. Or more likely, Hextall is lying. Why else would Berube still have a job after this horrid season and the numerous stupid decisions he’s made? Because they’re on purpose. Having a good team play like shit to get a high draft pick seems suspicious, but constantly playing your worst players like they’re top superstar talent? Just seems like bad decisions, why else would Berube give Zac friggin Rinaldo almost double the ice time of the top line, Giroux, and Voracek? Why else would he bench Michael Del Zotto for a long stretch of games while acting like Coburn and MacDonald are our #1 defensemen?
It HAS to be intentional, Berube’s personnel decisions have been about as crazy as the decisions made by Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. The odds of having two people that batshit crazy associated with Philadelphia sports seem very, very slight. Instead, I believe we’re dealing with a GM/Coach duo that’s trying to be really sneaky.
By keeping Giroux and Voracek and Simmonds etc still playing hard while putting an absolutely shitty defense behind them for no reason, you get a team that looks like they actually can’t win, but then you see them with a competent defense and you realize that, hey, this team can actually be good, why weren’t they good all season?