The Philadelphia Flyers, on paper, should be considered a Stanley Cup contender this season. However, roster potential doesn’t always translate to success on the ice. The team came out of the gate looking like one tough team to play against, yet, after the first few games, they seemed to revert back to the same team we’ve seen the last couple of years – lackadaisical, inconsistent and unfocused. To be fair, they did have a helluva run at one point, winning 7 of 8 and playing very strongly, but over the last 12 games they have gone 3-8-1 and have been outscored 32-34, the last two games being shutout losses. They currently sit in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, 2 places south of a playoff spot.
Who gets the blame? There has been a lot of discussion around the internet on this subject. There are those who say that Coach John Stevens must go; that he can’t motivate the team. Others will argue that the players should be able to motivate themselves for the games, and that Stevens can’t be blamed for that. The rest blame the coaching staff and the players, and I think that’s the closest to the truth.
Stevens appears to have lost the players. Some of them have said it’s not his fault; that for some reason they aren’t playing well. There are reports that there is a divide in the locker room between the young guns and the seasoned vets, which, in reality, is up to the team’s ‘leadership group’ to work out. Whatever is going through the players’ heads, they can’t seem to get it together in the games.
Stevens will probably pay the price by losing his job, his fault or not. The next coach will have his hands full, but, if he plays his cards right and makes the players (no matter what nameplate is on the back of their jersey) compete for ice time and his respect, could have this group of guys playing like the team it looks like it could be on that roster sheet – a contender.
EDIT – As of 5:00 this afternoon, John Stevens has been fired. I hope the players feel like shit.