What an emotional roller coaster this season has been for the Flyers. There were some ups, and a lot of downs as the first half of the season came to a close over a week ago. Fortunately, there is some life back in the locker room with the arrival of Carter Hart. Hart was the man, the myth, the legend of the first half of the Flyers season.
Let’s start with the firings of General Manager Ron Hextall, Head Coach Dave Hakstol, Gord Murphy and Chris Pryor. It was a turbulent time for the team, the players, and their fans. These dismissals sent shockwaves through the Tri-State area, and the players felt a direct blow. After the Flyers gave up a 3-1 lead, to which the Ottawa Senators came back and won 4-3 on November 27, 2018. I saw Travis Konecny sitting in his stall after a post-game interview with his hands covering his head, while he was bent over. It appeared as though he was almost in tears.
— Jamey Baskow (@JameyBaskow) November 28, 2018
There is only so much a player can take emotionally. Konecny, like most Flyers players, had a rough week that week. First Hextall was fired, then Murphy and Pryor were fired. It’s easy for people to say it shouldn’t bother you, but in reality, it bothers all of us. I’m sure it bothered everyone. Moreover, I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Konecny to answer question after question in regards to all this drama, it’s tough, it’s tough. It’s not easy to say it doesn’t bother you.
We cannot forget we are all human. We all put our pant legs on one leg at a time. Konecny is a young 21 year old man, and there is only so much he can take emotionally.
— Jamey Baskow (@JameyBaskow) January 4, 2019
I understand Wayne Simmonds is on the trade block. However, Simmonds has 187 career goals as a Flyer. I would love nothing more than to see him pot 200 as a Flyer. He's the definition of a Flyer. #LetsGoFlyers #flyerstalk
— Jamey Baskow (@JameyBaskow) January 25, 2019
Wayne Simmonds has been the heart and soul of this team, since his arrival to the Flyers on June 23, 2011. Simmonds is a warrior, a beast, and one that never gives up. He’s a voice in the locker room and one that the younger players look up to. Moreover, Simmonds is one that sticks up for teammates, and to be quite blunt this great player has great hands. He has given his all to this organization, and then some.
To field all these questions in regards to the trade deadline is hard for Simmonds. He very much wants to be a Flyer for life, however, Simmonds does know that this is a business. Regardless of such, this is still a very emotional time for him and his family. We’re all human…it’s never easy to possibly leave your best friends in Claude Giroux, and Jakub Voracek. As media personnel enters the arena after passing through security for the games, usually Voracek, Giroux, and Simmonds are shooting basketballs together in the tunnel area. The trade deadline is truly eating Simmonds up inside, you can feel it and see it in his eyes.
I was fortunate to sit down with Ghost, and he explains to me that in order to right the ship this season, the PP has to become more consistent. He vows to right the ship this year. Thanks Ghost for the interview. #Flyers #LetsGoFlyers #FlyersTalk https://t.co/4FReTTt9TZ
— Jamey Baskow (@JameyBaskow) January 21, 2019
Ghost has a cannon from the point. He is a master at keeping pucks in at the blue line to keep the Power Play going. Moreover, Ghost was a great Quarterback of the Flyers PP for the past few seasons. Unfortunately, the PP hasn’t been kind to the Flyers this season. To put this into perspective the orange and black currently own the 30th ranked Power Play, with a success rate of 13.3%.
Ghost takes full responsibility for the PP woes, as he has since been moved down to the second PP unit, “I’ve been on the ice for a lot of goals against, obviously I’m not happy about that,” Ghost said. “We want better results on the PP. It will help us in future games. We have to become more consistent in this area.”
This shows exactly what type of person Ghost is. He bears responsibility for the PP woes, and to me that takes guts. It’s not just his fault, and he didn’t point fingers. Hopefully, the Flyers improve on the man advantage from here on out.
Carter Hart on Patrick's in between the leg goal:
"We had some skill plays too there with Patty between the legs, that was a pretty nice goal but it was nice for us to get this win tonight."
Patrick on if he's scored a goal like that before:
"In beer league, yeah." #Flyers
— Jamey Baskow (@JameyBaskow) January 15, 2019
This will be the Carter Hart show for years to come. It's about time #Flyers fans get consistent goaltending, and a guy that goes out and makes the tough saves look routine. Philadelphia and Carter Hart were a match made in heaven, and I'm hoping this marriage last a lifetime
— Jamey Baskow (@JameyBaskow) January 17, 2019
Hart gets a standing ovation from the crowd on a beautiful save. Staying with the puck keeping the score 3-2 #Flyers
— Jamey Baskow (@JameyBaskow) January 17, 2019
It really has been a breath of fresh air at the Flyers practice facility in Voorhees, and at the Wells Fargo Center since Carter Hart’s arrival to the big club in December. According to Hart, “I’m living out of a hotel right now.” Hart is giddy, happy, and just loving life as a member of the orange and black. His play has sure shown as he is 6-5-1 with a 2.66 GAA, and a .918 Save Percentage.
Talk about pressure…Let’s not forget that Hart donned that Canadian sweater twice as a member for Team Canada during the WJC tournament. You can’t get much pressure than that can you? Well, it sure helped Hart’s success during his first tour with the big club.
Hart has stabilized the Flyers in terms of the Penalty Kill. He makes that save and really gives the orange and black life. His happiness has sure rubbed off on not only the players but the fans, as well. Well, Carter Philly loves you, and what a second half it will be.
Look for a really solid second half Flyers fans. It’s not over, till it’s over. These players mentioned in this piece will have a strong second half, you gotta believe. Never stop believing.
Photo credit: Alex Mclntyre