Flyers Chemistry a problem or anecdote??

There have been many articles and reviews analyzing the Philadelphia Flyers’ post season face lift which has made a team suffering from Worst Place Hangover look like a possible contender again. And in all the articles I read, most opinionates agree that the Flyers do look much improved and should make the playoffs this upcoming season. However, there is a lot of talk of chemistry being the Achilles heel of the Flyers and could prove detrimental to the team’s success.

I, myself, was skeptical of so many moves in such a short period of time and also felt like they were gonna need at least a season or two to get going. But, after my own analysis, I formulated a different opinion.

Acquisitions:

Daniel Briere

Kimmo Timonen

Scott Hartnell

Joffrey Lupul

Jason Smith

Of the Flyers’ four lines, lines 1 & 2 are gonna have a the biggest changes. Richards and Kapanen will charge lines 3 & 4 and they will remain fairly intact. The chemistry issues lie in Lines 1 & 2 and, of course, on defense.

First off, there already exists more chemistry and comfort on this team than meets the eye. It’s not like it’s a bunch of guys shaking hands for the first time.

Timonen and Hartnell are both from Nashville and already familiar with eachother on the ice. Plus they are buddies and came over together as a joint decision. Not to mention, the already up and coming fan favorite Scottie Upshall, who fit in very nicely once arriving in Philadelphia, is also a former Predator and has spoken very highly of his former teammates Timonen and Hartnell. As an added bonus, Upshall and Lupul are best of friends and knew eachother as kids in Canada playing together in the World Juniors. In fact, Upshall was the one to break the news to Lupul that he had been traded to Philly. And, of course, Jason Smith and Lupul are from Edmonton and have a season of experience together.

I expect a combo for the Flyers secondline to be:

Lupul/Hartnell-Carter-Upshall

This line would be equipped with so much speed and shooting it should make for some very entertaining hockey.

Then there’s Danny Briere. I don’t know about anyone else, but as a Flyers Fan I hated him….and yet, could not be happier he is now a Flyer. He used to kill the Flyers on every occasion and is proving to be a natural playmaker. Not a 20-something year old Forsberg, but not many are. This guy was just as much a key to the Sabers as Drury. Drury just always scored those last second goals which got more playoff notoriety. Briere is exciting to watch and something the Flyers desperately needed. He can skate the puck and transition the play excellently. Now, put him with Gagne, and fireworks should likely occur. Gagne has played with and without Forsberg and still kept up his goal total. He was centered by Forsberg, Carter, and Richards for moments last season and still played his game. He still likes to shoot the puck into the seats once in a while, but is still an effective goal scorer. There should be no reason he and Briere don’t click. Then there Knuble. The quietest 30 goal scorer in the league. Knuble is just a great worker who plays on every and any line and always produces. He’s a class guy and a solid power forward. At 6’3 225 he’ll be good for Briere to have on the wing. These 3 guys will have great potential together.

Onto defense….well, the flyers defense sucked. Flat out. Any change was better. Since it was already being retooled with younger guys (Coburn, Kukonen,Picard) there is no harm bringing in some proven veteran talent…who can actually skate! Pitkanen was not the answer to their prayers. The guy does not have the intensity to be a top NHL defensemen. Never sacrifices his body, gets lost on the power play, and loves to skate down the left wing at top speed only to shoot the puck to the left side of net. He must have done that same move 40 or 50 times last year! Their future is in guys like Parent and Coburn. Having Timonen to add life to a barely-breathing powerplay and Smith to add some much needed leadership to this core of young talent can only help. Hatcher still can play a role but I think he realizes his time is dwindling. There should not be any tug of war over captaincy having brought in 3 former captains. All these guys are looking for a fresh start and the chance to build a Stanley Cup team.

It’s not as though the Flyers pulled a Rangers trademark by signing a bunch of already grained talent. That doesn’t work. Buying up a bunch of 30+ year olds who are great but already set in their ways and mixing them together is a bad method. This Flyers team is mostly a group of guys now approaching their prime. They will learn together and grow together. What the Flyers have added is what they direly needed. Youth, speed, leadership and more speed. Now, I’m not saying they’re gonna be contending for the Cup this year, or next. However, for all the moves they made, it does not look like putting this group of guys together for the first time is gonna be as difficult as many believe.

My biggest question mark actually lies behind the bench in John Stevens. I hope he has the gahonies to lead this team to the promise land!!


7 Responses to Flyers Chemistry a problem or anecdote??

  1. max_fisher says:

    Gagne and Briere should work very well together. Smith wil be a great 5 or 6 defenceman, and dynamite in the room. I’m pretty impressed with the Flyers roster for the up and coming season, however i hope flyer fans don’t expect too much from Lupul, I saw him play my Flames 8 times last year, he is brutal…….

  2. turdfergusson says:

    Yeah, They added character guys. Shouldn't be a problem. This will be one hungry hockey team : )

  3. leaffansareajoke says:

    Pitkanen was terrible skating down that left side and just throwing the puck to the middle, knowing his point spot was left wide open.  Will miss his points, but not his talent tahts for sure.

    I'm dieing to see the start of this season.  I've not been this hyped for the flyers since the start of the 96-97 season.

    The biggest question is in net, Can Nitty return to form?  Can Biron lead this squad to the playoffs?  Can the D hold up?

    Last season wasn't a total lose, they had an excellent PK unit.  Which is funny because even though Nity/Exche were the 2 worst goalies in the league last year, they were still top 10.  Thats why i laugh when the leaf fans blame Raycroft.  Raycroft was better than nitty and esche.  

    John Stevens to me is another wild card, he talks the talk but can he walk the walk sorta speak.  I've known him for a while, as he use to coach in South Jersey and also run some camps in the del. valley.  He was great during on of the press conferences saying that they might not be the best team next year, but they'd be the hardest working team next year.

    Gagne can score with anyone in center.  Knuble i think might fall back a line or two for a younger quicker guy, but we'll see how that pans out.

    Should be an awesome season, with some great games.  Flyers – Rangers.  Flyers – Leafs.  Can't f'ing wait!

  4. senators101 says:

    I don't think chemistry is going to be a huge deal.  They're professionals so they better learn how to play with a few new players.  I expect this team to be in the playoffs.  Everything that could have gone wrong last year, did and even more so.  The Flyers weren't as bad as their point totals suggested.  They'll be just fine.

  5. flyerjim says:

    It's that secondary scoring that his been their achilles the past few years, then throw in a young (Pitkanen, Coburn, Meyer, Picard, Jones) defense with little experience all at once and we wondered why they were so garbage last year. Their D has been stablized with Timonen and Smith- they can balance the youth and limit the minutes of Hatcher and Gauthier. Timonen is like getting a healthy Desjardins back. We just need to isolate that diamond in the rough whose ready to breakout- my pick is Coburn. If someone can feed him he's got a hard accurate shot from the back end. Picard is another with a good first pass that if he can step it up to the next level, he'll help the transition game. Hartnell and Lupul add scoring. The second line won't be comprised of Jeff Carter and whoever he has chemistry with at that time, but will be a legit second line- with people competing to be there (IE: Upshall). The top line will now be one of the best (top 3) in the league, period. It would have been good without Briere- he makes it that much more dangerous. Lupul will bounce back with the right linemates. I think starting him out on the top two lines will have a big boost in his confidence- we don't need another Calder. Their PP can't get worse so there will be an improvement. Holmgren added a great QB on the back end with Timonen and Briere ran Buffalo's PP from the point similar to Brad Richards in Tampa. If their PK can be as good as last year, special teams will be the best it's been for a few years. As for Biron, he's not going to win the Vezina but he'll be the most consistent goalie the Flyers have had since Hextall. He's not going to let in the untimely, deflating bad goal that the Esche's and Cechmanek's of the past did. He's sound technically and said to be one of the best locker room guys in the league- not the hot headed, sometimes abrasive presence Esche was. All in all, the core is still there- Gagne, Knuble, Kapenen, Richards, Carter, Umberger, etc. They've added hungry guys ready to prove themselves as stars in the league- Hartnell and Lupul. Briere and Timonen are professionals that are added to two different dimensions of the team. Essentially, I agree- I don't think chemistry will be as big of issue as people are making it out to be. There's not a big degree of separation from the team last year to the new guys.

  6. Flyers_Fan_In_LA says:

    Last year losing Primeau and Desjardin hurt. Two former C's that really were the force behind the team. Now they have 4 or 5 former captains (Hatcher, Smyth, Brierre, Timonen) with Gagne and Kanuble as potential C material. That's a LOT of leadership. Looking to the Jeff Carters and Mike Richards of the world is WAY premature!!!!

    I think Pitkanen was a problem otherwise they would have NEVER dealt him. With Kukonen, Coburn and Timonen – they have enough puck moving guys. With Hatcher not expected to score 40 points – Smyth can really also focus on keeping the puck out of the net. THink how that will improve chemistry. 
    To me the idea that the 3rd and 4th line players will be playing where they belong and that Forsberg is no longer the KEY to the team's success (even in the unlikely event of a return to Philly) is a real plus. 
    The problem as I see it is that the fans in Philly as well as the overly anxious media will HEAP their Cup or you suck expectations on to a young, new Flyers team that needs some time to gel. Look to after the ALL-Star Break for this team to make a real run. Especially Biron.
  7. leaffansareajoke says:

    Flyers fans are never like that.  We've always supported our team, and never once demanded an implosion to get to the cup.  No matter what we always love our team, unlike those leaf fans who pretend too.

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