As I sit here on a snow covered Saturday waiting for the Flyers vs the Kings I took a look back at some of the worst teams the Flyers have had as well as the longest losing streak for each of the 4 major teams in Philadelphia. Let's start with the Flyers.
13 games in a row without a win. You have to go back a full month to December 29th against the Kraken for the last win. Sure they have gotten 3 loser points. 2 Overtime loses and a shootout loss but no win. It was the coach though right? Vigneault sat in for the first 10 game losing streak and now Interim coach Mike Yeo has sat in for a 13 game losing streak. The worst team (up to this point) in Flyers history was the 2006-2007 team. That team finished 22-48-12. Every team in the Atlantic Division won at least 40 games that year. The Flyers were so bad that year they finished 11 points behind the 29th place Coyotes. Flyers fans remember that season well because the Flyers lost the draft lottery that summer giving them James Van Riemsdyk instead of Patrick Kane. Side note, just 4 years later Kane would score the game winning goal over the Flyers in the Stanley Cup finals.
Currently the Flyers sit at 13-22-8 good for 27th out of 32 teams. Don't worry it can still get worse. Before I get to the recent press conference the Flyers had with Chuck Fletcher and Dave Scott. I wanted to point out the other 3 teams and how bad their losing streaks have been.
Phillies. 1961 lost 23 games in a row.
76Ers 2015 27 in a row (17 to start the season and 10 prior)
Eagles 1936-37 14 in a row.
Flyers 2021-22 13 (and counting)
Wednesday morning GM Chuck Fletcher and Flyers Governor Dave Scott held a press conference. Dave was a surprise addition to the mid-season presser. Good for Dave for coming out and not shying away from questions but did we really learn anything form all of this?
Dave opened the press conference with some good quotes. He's as angry as the fans are. They are sick of losing and they want to right the ship. Dave is angry, the fans are angry.
“I just want to address our fans for a second and really just say I’m sorry, you deserve so much better than what we’re dealing with right now. This isn’t what anybody signed up for. I can tell you we’re determined to right the ship here and get it right and looking forward to the future.” That's the right thing to say there. I didn't see that as disingenuous at all. I truly believe they are angry at what is being put on the ice. Things went downhill from here in my eyes and in the eyes of every other report I've read on every other website and blog. Will Ryan Ellis play this season? I don't think so. We've only seen him for 4 games, it was a flash, but it was a nice flash. Chuck Fletcher said of Couturier and Ellis “I think they're both working hard, I think it could go either way with both players. There is a change that they could come back and there is a chance they will need procedures”
There is more to this quote but it's more or less Chuck saying they could or they could not. Shut them down. You aren't making the playoffs this year.
Claude Giroux and his no movement clause. Fletcher said he talks to Giroux's agent two or three times a month. Claude Giroux is a franchise icon. Love him or hate him, and more fans seem to vocally dislike him, he's going to be in the top 5 of a lot of categories for this franchise. His jersey will get hung from the rafters one day as Chuck mentioned. As of this writing he's 20 games away from playing in his 1000th NHL game. It would be really great to see that happen as a Flyer. Will he be traded? I think so. At this point you have to trade him and get a nice return. He's going to be one of, if not the most attractive trade deadline option and he deserves the chance to go win a cup.
Will the Flyers be in rebuild mode at the deadline and will veterans be traded off?
“Everything’s on the table. We’re going to try to aggressively retool here,” Fletcher said. So as much as he remade the roster in the off season you can see the roster being turned over more. Giroux, Martin Jones, Derick Brassard and Justin Braun can all be attractive to playoff bound teams. Keith Yandle likely will be gone as well. The only reason he's playing as much as he has been, ontop of the IronmanIronman record are the injuries.
There was a lot of talk at this point about getting top end talent through the draft but one thing Dave Scott said that really stood out to me was this.
“Let me just add, too. I don’t really see this as being a 3, 4, 5 year rebuild at all. I don’t think Chuck does, either. We have a pretty good core, I think it really starts with a healthy Coots and Hayes, Farabee, we’d love to have Ellis back. We’ve got a core group to build on. I think as we look at the reality of it, two, three pieces we’d be great. Maybe a little more.”
If you are talking core, where was Provorv, Hart and Konecny in that blurb? Could we really get to the point where we lost patience with Provorov regressing the past 2 seasons? We are not in a year long rebuild. Dave expects us to be right back in the hunt next season. With about 14 million in cap money coming it's possible, a few trades to free up some more and a buyout or two?
They touched on the coach. It's not something they are going to really look at until the summer. You'll have coaches fired after the season, you can step back and take your time and nail this. I see fans banging and yelling for John Tortorella, I don't think he works here. I also don't think Rick Tocchet is the answer. I honestly don't know who to point too at this point. I posted a short list a few weeks back but are any of them the answer? I don't know but Mike Yeo isn't the answer just like Vigneault wasn't the problem.
Next we talked about Attendance, that's definatley taken a hit this season. Dave Scott blamed some of it on the teams performance but also on COVID protocol. He claimed it was impacting the Wings and the Sixers. I don't think you can really count the Wings as a premier sports league. The Sixers are second in the NBA in average home attendance and percentage of tickets sold. The Flyers are 13th in the NHL in average home attendance and 20th in percentage of tickets sold. Paid attendance is not actual people in the seats. If you watch any Flyers home game you can see the lack of people. Maybe we get to a point where they tarp off the upper levels like the old WWE shows did when they didn't sell well.
They got into development and the general feel of this was Fletcher basically saying that he's doing the best with what was in the cupboard when he got here. IE: What Hextall left him and what picks didn't hit. Now Fletcher has been drafting since 2019 and you should start to see results (or not) within the next few years.
Dave Scott said about Fletcher “I mean, right now, Chuck is my guy.” Right now stands out and could be almost anything. Short leash? Longer leash? Chuck didn't get the Wild over the hump but maybe he's learned since being there and he can do it here. That's goal right? Comcast has no plans to sell the team and Danny Briere is getting a bigger role in the club. He's doing some amateur scouting now. Almost losing him to the Candaiens really opened the door for Danny here. He's got a good hockey mind and could eventually be groomed for the GM job.
All in all, I wasn't stated after this press conference. I don't feel as confident going forward as I did coming into this season. I was all behind Chuck and the moves he made. I thought he did a great job but he hasn't seen the roster he built as a whole on the ice once this season. Not one game in the first 43 did you see that whole team and you won't this year at all. I know it's hard to tank in hockey and the results don't always play out. There is no generational talent in the draft this year, but there is next year. Still, even when they Flyers had the first overall pick, they ended up with the 2nd and missed out on Patrick Kane. Strap in everyone. It's going to be a long 39 games.