A step in the right direction!!!
This is defiantly a disappointment for us Flyers fans. No doubt about it. We win one of the most hard fought entertaining series of our history only to be knocked out of the playoffs again by the Ottawa Senators. We have a very talented team with a perfect mixture of speed, size, and grit. So what went wrong?
As hard as it is for me to admit to, the Flyers lost this series because of goaltending. I am sure if any of us knew Cechmanek would have two shutouts in this series we would have for sure thought that Flyers would win this series. So what went wrong with Cechmanek? Well again as much as I hate to admit it, I agree with Barry Melrose. Cechmanek didn’t make the key saves that he needed to make. He blew a two-goal lead in game one. In game three he let in a soft goal in overtime, preventing the Flyers from taking a 2-1 series lead in a game that they clearly dominated. In game five when the Flyers had the momentum and the one goal lead, he again allowed in a soft goal. This was obviously the turning point of the series. Finally in game 6 he allowed a soft shorthanded goal, which consequently would be the game winner. Basically Cechmanek didn’t come threw the way a goaltender needs to in order to win a cup. Unlike Allen Iverson, Cechmanek wasn’t “clutch” when he had to be.
The good news is that the Flyers showed a ton of heart in their playoff run. Plus if you are going to lose, well losing to the team with the best record in the NHL isn’t that bad. Ottawa is a very good team with tons of talent. Most likely they will win the cup. To be honest though what really gets me is that I think the Flyers should have won this series. They scored first in the first 5 games, yet they lost 3 of them. That to me reflects poorly on the goaltender. A goaltender needs to be able to hold on to the lead and carry the team when it falters. I think the Flyers in all honesty outplayed the Senators throughout the majority of this series.
Even though this is tough to swallow we still have much to look forward to. We have a great coach and a team full of heart and talent. We have tons of draft picks including two first round defensemen who should crack the lineup next year. The major question this off-season will be whether or not to replace Roman Cechmanek. Then again who is out there? Cechmanek is still better then most goaltenders in the NHL.
Again I defended Cechmanek throughout the season, and I hate to admit it I think he really blew it. Although he still showed that he is capable of playing superb hockey. The question is he worth holding on to another year?