The month of November is here and the Philadelphia Flyers are ready to turn the page. Just ahead of Halloween, the Flyers delivered two scary performances, losing 6-3 to the New York Islanders this past Sunday and 7-1 to their divisional rival in the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. Now 11 games into the regular season, with a record of 5-5-1, there are still a lot of question marks in regards to this team.
Each week, Philly Sports Network will feature a piece in which Flyers fans can send in their questions and get them answered in what will be called “Flyers Special Delivery”. This week, we look at Carter Hart, Philippe Myers, and whether or not it’s time break up the core. Without further ado, here is the first ever edition of Flyers Special Delivery.
Right now, personally, I think it’s a little too early to speculate. In his first three games of the season, Hart looked spectacular between the pipes. He went 2-0-1, and stopped 75 of 80 shots fired his way. However, since then, the 21-year-old netminder just hasn’t looked like himself. That gave the Flyers no choice but to go with the hot hand in Brian Elliott. I actually thought this was a good thing for Hart. Giving him some time off to clear his head wasn’t the worst thing in the world. Coming into the game versus the Islanders, I fully expected Hart to rebound. Instead, he delivered his worst performance in net all season, allowing five goals on 14 shots. However, I still believe Hart will make a comeback.
Hart’s struggles shouldn’t be worrisome as of right now. With just a few minor adjustments, he should be able to slowly work his way into a groove and get back on track. He’s off on his angles. He’s having trouble tracking the puck and he’s just simply not playing with confidence. Those are all simple fixes. Sometimes, it’s as simple as making a series of big saves or having that one strong game to get a player back on track. I don’t believe a sophomore slump is in the cards for the Flyers netminder. I actually think he’ll bounce back relatively soon and start playing like he was at the beginning of the season. He gets the start between the pipes tonight when the Flyers take on Taylor Hall and the New Jersey Devils.
The answer to your question is not long at all. The Flyers recalled Philippe Myers early yesterday morning along with forwards German Rubtsov and Carsen Twarynski. In addition, the Flyers sent down forward Mikhail Vorobyev and defenseman Samuel Morin (on a conditioning stint) to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
It was only a matter of time before Myers got called up. However, with the way the team has played of late, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher was left with no choice to shake things up sooner rather than later. Coming into training camp, most people, including me, thought that the 6′ 5″, 210 lb defenseman was a lock to make the Flyers. Unfortunately, Myers didn’t have the camp everyone expected him to and ultimately was sent down to Lehigh Valley when the Flyers returned from Prague. In six games with the Phantoms, Myers has tallied four points, all of which were assists.
The fact of the matter is, Myers is an NHL defenseman. His days in the AHL are likely over. Any kinks in his game that need to be worked out will have to be worked out at the NHL level. Are there still parts of his game that he needs to work on? Of course there are. Even veteran defensemen like Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun have things they can improve on. Nobody is perfect. Myers will just have to learn as he goes. It’s as simple as that. Hopefully he sparks the defense because lately, it’s been scary to watch. Based on the pairs at practice yesterday, he’ll be paired with Travis Sanheim to start the game tonight. Robert Hagg will be the odd man out and likely will be for the foreseeable future barring an injury.
These two questions go hand in hand. Personally, I think it’s a little to early to be talking about breaking up the core. They’ve played eleven games. Up until the game versus the Islanders this past Sunday, the Flyers had played pretty good hockey. At least good enough to muster up decent results. I will say that those core guys need to do more though.
The Flyers simply need their veterans to step up.The two that stand out the most to me are Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek. They need to be better. When they’re playing their best hockey, the Flyers seem to win games. Another guy who needs to step up is Sean Couturier. Through eleven games, Couturier has only six points and just doesn’t look like himself.
As of right now, I don’t believe it benefits the Flyers to make a big move or to break up the core. This team is still trying to figure out who they really are. Its still early in the season. However, if they come into January still struggling to find out who they are, then Chuck Fletcher may decide it’s time to shake things up. You also have to remember that these guys have contracts that are tough to move. Fletcher will have to find someone that is willing to take on those big contracts. Whether or not he does, we’ll have to wait and see.
Next Up for the Flyers:
The Flyers are back in action tonight as they take on former Flyer Wayne Simmonds and the New Jersey Devils in a Metropolitan Division Showdown.
Last time out versus the Devils, Carter Hart recorded his first career shutout as the Flyers blanked the Devils by a final score of 4-0. Ivan Provorov, Kevin Hayes, Sean Couturier, and Travis Konecny all scored. The Flyers struck twice on the man advantage and went a perfect 5/5 on the penalty kill.
Puck Drop is set for 7PM from the Prudential Center.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports