After the first game of the Flyers' November road trip, they have been playing absolutely dreadful hockey. They are 1-6-0 since beating the Kings on November 18th (literally a day before my Flying High post) and currently have a three game losing streak. They haven't scored a goal is seven straight periods and when they get on the power play, I'm scared that the opposing team is going to get a shorthanded goal rather than being excited about the possibility of scoring. There have been glimpses of quality play this year, but the team just hasn't been consistent enough to keep it up. It's time for changes to be made.
1) Fire John Stevens and Co.
The John Stevens era has been quite a roller coaster ride. He became head coach of the team, taking over for Ken Hitchcock, during the worst season in Flyers history. During his first full season as coach, he took the Flyers to the Eastern Conference Finals where they eventually lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins. And in 2008/2009 the Flyers had a first round exit this time, courtesy once again of the Pittsburgh Penguins. And the beginning of the 2009 season hasn't gone quite as planned either. There is so much talent on this team, and for them to be 10th in the conference and playing at a level like this is unacceptable. The players know it, the coaching staff knows it and the fans know it. I just don't know if the current coaching staff is the right one to fix the team's problems. It may be that Stevens has lost control of the locker room or maybe his system (if you can call it a system) just isn't working. Or maybe it's both? A change may really jump start this team and set them in the right direction. It worked for the Pens last year, why can't it work for the Flyers too?
2) "C" is for change
I believe that if a coaching change is made, Mike Richards should be relieved of his duties as captain. He hasn't shown that he is mature enough to be the captain of an NHL team. Now, when he was officially named captain I was all for it. He shows, on the ice, that he is a leader and will do whatever it takes to will his team to victory. But there's more to being a captain than on ice performance and attitude. A lot of what it takes to be a captain is shown in the locker room. A captain should take responsibility for his team and prove to his teammates that on and off the ice, this team is his team, and no one's going to mess with that. Chris Pronger has shown this year why he was a captain of the Anaheim Ducks. He has taken responsibility for the Flyers poor play and has stated that on ice changes will be made or there may be personnel changes instead. I'm not saying to make Pronger captain right now or this season for that matter, it just may be something to think about.
If something, anything, isn't changed this team could be in for a tough season. I hope they don't need to make any changes and they can turn it around like this never happened and make me sound like an idiot. It might me a personnel change like Pronger said, but whatever it is, it needs to happen soon or this losing streak could turn into 2006/2007 really fast.