Philadelphia Flyers Mid-Season Report

TEAM: Philadelphia Flyers

RECORD: 27-9-0-6

1st in Atlantic – 7 points ahead of NYR

1st in East – 1 point ahead of OTT

1st in NHL – 1 point ahead of OTT/DETInjured Players: Dennis Seidenberg (DTD knee sprain), Robert Esche (groin pull Dec 15th), Turner Stevenson (DTD right hip flexor), Eric Desjardins (Right shoulder subluxation, 8-10 weeks as of Dec 7th), Joni Pitkanen (Athletic Pubalgia, 4-6 weeks as of Dec. 5th), and Keith Primeau (concussion, out indefinitely).

Team Point Leader: Simon Gagne leads the team in goals (29). Peter Forsberg leads the team in assists (42), and points (56).

Current Situation: The Flyers started the season as expected; strong. It soon became apparent that injuries were going to play a big part in the beginning of the season, when the heart and soul of the Flyers, Captain Keith Primeau suffering a concussion relatively early in the season. But John Stevens proved that his Calder winning cast of Phantoms are more then able to fill the void left by the injured players. Not only have Richards and Carter played well, but the superb play of the other rookies like R.J. Umberger, Ben Eager, Freddy Meyer, and goalie Antero Niittymaki have kept the Flyers neck and neck with eastern conference rivals Ottawa. Umberger (people laughed when I said he would crack the line-up in my pre season report on the Flyers) has played great and has even managed to get a chance to play on the first line with Forsberg and Gagne. Niittymaki (16-5-0-4) has played simply amazing in the absence of Esche, and played a big part in the huge road win streak just recently ended. Nitty, the Co-defensive player of the week and Calder Cup MVP has proved that Esche isn’t the only star in Philly, and when Esche returns, I think the Nitty/Esche combo will be practically lethal come playoff time. The Flyers have set themselves up to have a strong 2nd half of the season.

Strengths: Right now the Flyers have several strengths that are helping them win games. There road play is amazing, as they come to a close on an 11 game road trip, there 7-1-0-1. The loss to the devils marks the first road regulation loss since 11/14 at Tampa. These wins were possible due to the amazing goaltending of Antero Niittymaki. He’s make key save after key save and kept the Flyers on top time and time again. Also, the Flyers have scored clutch goals, and have been able to hold onto slim leads. All these factors are the keys to there success.

Weaknesses: The only weakness as of late for the Flyers is Special teams. There power play hasn’t been much to brag about. It’s still 10th in the league at 18.5%, but been very inconsistent, and very un-clutch. The penalty kill started horrid, and has gotten slightly better, but is still 27th in the league at a mere 79.8%. The only thing to be happy about there is the fact that they have 10 shorthanded goals, tied for 2nd in the league. The PK has improved though, and the Power play is showing more signs of life, as Forsberg is settling for just an amazing pass instead of the ‘HOLY CRAP HOW DID HE DO THAT?’ passes he was making in the beginning of the year, which is fine by me.

Needs: Right now the team needs to keep playing the way they are, they are on fire. With the uncertain future of Captain Keith, there has been talk of trading for another center. But people don’t realize that Cater, Richards, Handzus, Umberger are all more then able to fill the void, but it’s possible a trade could happen.

Expectations in Second Half: What I expect from the Flyers in the 2nd half of the season is like my new years resolutions: Stay in shape and stay healthy. A lot of the big injuries like Pitkanen and Esche are coming back very soon. If they are not up to standards, the rookies can still play. The Flyers are only going to get better, and if they are just a tad healthier then what they are now, they will be huge favorites. The Esche/Nitty combo, the Balanced Defense with offensive players like Johnsson (first time I’ve seen a hockey play number 1 on ESPN’s top 10 in a long time) and Pitkanen, stay at home goons Hatcher and Rathje, and the superb offensive play of Knuble, Gagne, Forsberg, and the rest of the team will all play part in the future of one of the greatest teams in Philadelphia Flyers history.

22 Responses to Philadelphia Flyers Mid-Season Report

  1. Viller02 says:

    Except for the last game in NJ, the flyers have done extremely well. This will probably continu through the 2nd half and onto the playoffs. Its definately the flyers team that has the most “energy” type of players ive seen in quite alot of time.

    Primeau’s absence is definately showing, leadership wise I mean. They need a captain, thats the bottom line.

    The younger guys definately deserve their spot on the roster, they’ve earned it, they are the major reason the Flyers are doign so well(well Forsberg-Gagne-Knuble too 😉 ).

  2. 92-93 says:

    I am a leaf fan and dislike the flyers but i have to admire them this year (2 straight playoff losses will do that).

    i have much more respect and admiration for the Flyers then i ever will have for the Sens. the way this team plays under adversity makes it clear that even if the Sens regain 1st overall in the East, the Flyers will be the team to be come playoff time when injuries pile up.

    as tough as ottawa claims they are this year (and they are tougher), the way they have folded after losing some of their key players has put some doubt in my mind about just how ‘great’ they are.

  3. 92-93 says:

    note: “team to be” = team to BEAT.

  4. Neely4Life says:

    ok, losing 3 all stars on a 4 game road trip is a tough deal. Philly came through their injuries, and played well and won, but most of their games were at home. Plus, Emry didnt help the situation. Thats being said, i think Philly has the most depth in the league, its apparent, and i was wrong when i thought the sens did. But a rookie goalie in the playoffs vs Hasek, ill take Hasek every time. Plus Eager is a good friend and we were all stoked when he got the call against NJ this year. So, i cheer when hes on the ice.

  5. Neely4Life says:

    Gotta hand it to the flyers, they have had injuries, and come through, granted, not all at the same time like the sens, but injuries none the less. People said their D was too slow, and big for the “new” NHL, and were proven wrong, like my self. They will get through the year in 1st or 2nd (2nd is my bet) and have home ice. Only concern going into the playoffs might be a rookie goaltender, and younger forwards not playoff ready. That being said, Hitch***** will get them as ready as possible.

  6. Neely4Life says:

    EAGER IS THERE TO STAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. rx79msg says:

    Sorry for the above post.Just wanted to see if you could type Hitch*****.That pretty *****ING lame!

  8. rx79msg says:

    Sorry for the above post.Just wanted to see if you could type Hitch*****.That pretty F****ING lame!

  9. Trickst says:

    Lol so true! Go Leafs GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Gretzkin says:

    The Flyers have proven what I thought would happen wrong.

    I thought their Defense was going to be glacial and penalty filled. I thought their only chance at any success would be if they could kill the numerous amount of penalties they would collect.

    I figured that Peter Forsberg would spend most of the season injured (it’s not too late), and was concerned when he had to have surgery at the beginning of the season.

    Desjardins went down hard, Primeau, Esche, Ptikanen…

    Nittyamaki has played outstanding, and these guys face the ongoing revolving door of injury better than everybody else.

    A couple of Allstars go down, and the train keeps a chug-chug-chuggin along without even a hiccup (Ahem, Ottawa)

    These guys could be the real deal in the East, and they are proving it.

    Hats off to 1st place for these guys.

    They are the only team I would be afraid to face in the East.

    All the others should keep their eyes peeled for these pricks.

    Good God! Well done Bobby!

  11. CechmanekForVezina says:

    People really underestemated the impact that the Phantoms winning the Calder last year would have. The AHL was filled with the best talent the league had ever seen and the Flyers’ kids pulled it off. Now they all proved that you don’t have to be names Crosby or Ovechkin to take the next step and make an impact. The Flyers are just doing what they always do, put forth a full team effort.

  12. mtrakker85 says:

    I remember in the beginning of the season, all the Flyers haters bashed the team because they couldn’t survive if any injuries occured. It’s been nothing but injury’s this year and they are 2nd in the east I believe.


    Desjardins and Pitkanen need to get healthy and help out the Flyers power play. They work the same play on each power play: Down low to Gagne, pass to the boards to Forsberg rinse, lather and repeat lol

    They need the shots from the point and get some garbage goals.

    The PK…. whats up with that? Could it be that Primeau was that key to the PK?

  13. marcs797 says:

    i kinda felt they were being really aggressive on the pk (hint hint 10 SH goals) and now that zues is gettin back to his old form the PK has been getting better., but still not good enough

  14. poulin20 says:

    Before the season, there were a lot of doom and gloom folks out there saying how much the Flyers would miss Recchi, Roenick, Amonte, Leclair and Zhamnov. Here is a stat breakdown, those guys versus their replacements.

    Recchi, Roenick, Amonte, Leclair, Zhamnov:

    37 G 63 A 100 PTS -43

    Carter, Richards, Umberger, Forsberg, Knuble:

    57 G 90 A 147 PTS +61

    Gotta say that Clarke did a stellar job putting the squad together.

  15. big_booty says:

    I would just like to take this brief oppurtunity to ask all of those Einsteins out there who preached to whoever would listen that the this team’s signings of Rathje and Hatcher (a combined plus-32) would spell doom for the Philadelphia Flyers how they would like their crow:




    Lightly sauteed?

  16. Gretzkin says:

    I’ll take mine grilled, please.

    1 1/2 minutes per side, relaxed for 5 minutes under foil.

    Small amount of salt, lots of Pepper…

  17. poulin20 says:

    I have watched every minute of the Flyers’ million game road trip and I have been impressed to hear the ‘ZUS! chant in every arena along the way (probably not tonight in Detroit, though).

    When did Handzus get such a cult following?

    Given the recent fall of big sports stars in Philly (TO, McNabb, Roenick gone, Thome gone), I wonder how he would rank in popularity? Iverson would be #1, obviously, but then you’ve got to wonder…

  18. mtrakker85 says:

    That is a good question.

    I’ve noticed it as well now that you say it lol.

    Is it the hair? Or his accent?

  19. mtrakker85 says:

    Not to mention the $$$$ he saved by unloading all those guys.

  20. marcs797 says:

    i dont think iverson is #1… personally theres gagne, esche, forsberg now, PLUS Mcnabb, abreau etc etc…

    even smarty JONES!!


    (too bad none of them win in philly.)

  21. goflyers16 says:

    I’m a huge Philly fan and I did hear a rumor that Philly could be wanting to trade for Glen Murray… but I think you missed a need. The Flyers are STRUGGLING on the penalty kill. They need a solid penalty killing d-man

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