Everyone, at least once in their life, had a report card in school they did not want to open, look at, or for heaven’s sake, show to mom and dad.
Well, it’s kind of how the Philadelphia Flyers feel because their first-half grades are in and, just like the team’s record, they’re abysmal.
At the all-star break, the Flyers are 19-23-6 and are tied with the Los Angeles Kings for the third fewest points in the league – a three-game winning streak to close the first half prevented them from finishing with the fewest points. Along the way, they fired their general manager, assistant general manager, head coach, and an assistant coach and endured an eight-game losing streak.
So, no one should be surprised by the grades the Metro has handed out for the team’s mid-season report card.
The unit has been shut out six times, held to two goals or less 20 times in their first 48 games (42 percent) and ranks in the bottom third in the NHL in goals scored. However, the 16 goals they scored over the last three games was more than the previous 11 games combined.
Individually, outside of captain Claude Giroux (14 goals, 38 assists) and Sean Couturier (19 goals, 20 assists), none of the forwards can claim that they are having a better than mediocre season. The major disappointments include Jake Voracek (39 points), Wayne Simmonds (15 goals, eight assists), although he is coming off major injuries, James van Riemsdyk (12 goals) and Nolan Patrick (9 goals, including five in the last three games).
Mistakes, poor decisions, turnovers, regression of young players, terrible goaltending – you name it, and the Flyers are likely guilty of it on the backend. They have allowed the third-most goals in the league and probably lead in allowing odd-man rushes. Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere are a combined plus/minus of minus-26, while Radko Gudas (plus-10) has probably been the team’s most consistent performer, which says a lot.
However, the few bright spots have been the development of Travis Sanheim and Robert Hagg, who is proving that last season’s solid rookie campaign was not a fluke.
Goaltending (Carter Hart only): A-
The heralded prospect’s arrival in December lifted the spirits of the entire organization and fan base, and he hardly fell short of the high expectations. Through 12 games, Hart is 6-5-1 with a 2.66 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. He has stabilized the position, given his team a chance to win each night and looks every bit the No. 1 goalie the Flyers hope he will be.
Goaltending (everyone not named Carter Hart): F
The Flyers used six goalies before Hart arrived, and none of them could either (A) stay healthy or (B) stop the puck. Even with Hart, the team owns the third-worst goals-against average. Hopefully, at least one of them can get and remain healthy to serve as a reliable backup to Hart.
Marketing Department: A+
The introduction of Gritty, the team’s mascot, has been a genius decision. Since the initial outrage following his introduction before the season, the orange monster thingy has become one of the most popular mascots in professional sports. In between appearances on national late night talk shows and Good Morning America, Gritty innocently entertains fans during games and has a new BFF in former Flyer Scott Hartnell.