Friday, December 22, 2006

Flyers Flying as Low as They Can?

1) The numbers for such a proud franchise are scary, and with each Flyers game, they get worse. Last night, with a 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadians in Montreal, the Flyers added another dubious numeral to their dismal season. They again set a franchise record for most losses in a row, at eight, after tying one for consecutive home losses, at five in their last game.

2) "We flat-out didn't compete," said coach John Stevens, who appeared as exasperated as he has been all season in describing his team's lack of effort in the second period. "We didn't win any board battles, we didn't finish any checks. "We challenged them in between periods and they came out and looked like a good team. Until we realize that it's a hard game, it's a man's game, you have to play the game hard, we're just way too easy to play against in the second period. We just let them do whatever they wanted, and that is just absolutely unacceptable."

3) In and of themselves, the number eight wouldn't define this season. But when you add them to the number of total losses, now 22, and the amount of points the Flyers have after 34 games (20), it all adds up to one big loss. The question remaining is, how far will this go?

4) About the only thing left to play for this season is the future, not the postseason, and developing the army of younger players the Flyers are skating. This is a hard way to learn. But there are lessons. They can say what they want about never giving up and not yet being mathematically eliminated from the postseason, but there is just about no way in the Devils' domain that the Flyers can turn this season around to do more than play for pride and development.

5) If they play just a smidgen over .500, they'd still finish with only about 70 points, falling short of the playoffs by about 20 points. That much is easy to see. The players know the score. "Hopefully, we have pride, and that was something that we talked about said Derian Hatcher. "Obviously, you never give up hope, but you've got to play for yourselves, you've got to play for your team, and I know it sounds corny and cheesy, but you know there are people in the stands.

6) Peter Forsberg missed another game last night, this one because of a concussion that came when he was testing out another new skate for his loose right foot. He appeared to be playing well Saturday before suffering what should be at least his fourth career concussion, and there is reason to doubt he will be back to test it again soon. Lump-taking is now a way of life in Flyer-land.

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