Wednesday, May 09, 2012

A Woeful Tale Of Three Teams

Well, sports fans, it wasn't a particularly good night to be yourselves if you reside in the Delaware Valley.

All the local professional teams lost.  None were pretty.

The Flyers, who a few weeks ago seemed poised to make a run at the Stanley Cup, were left wondering what happened after utterly collapsing against the New Jersey Devils, losing four straight as they were eliminated from the playoffs.

Here are a few suggestions:

1.  The coaching staff  never figured out how to deal with the Devils' press.  Indeed, watching the Flyers struggle to clear the puck at times made we wonder what Peter LaViolette and company did between periods let alone games.  They could not or would not adjust.

2.  It turns out Ilya Bryzgalov was not the answer in goal.  Indeed, I have never seen a goalie who was worse at handling the puck than Bryzgalov, and I don't refer only to last night's gift goal in the first period.  GM Paul Holmgren surely must have thought he'd finally solved the goalie problem last off-season when he signed the Russian.  He was wrong.  Dead wrong.  Now they are saddled with a huge contract for an unreliable goalie for another eight years.

3.  The Flyers were streaky all season, particularly on offense.  Their power play had been a strength at the end of the season and in the first round of the playoffs.  It literally disappeared versus New Jersey.  Again, the coaches failed to adjust.

4.  The Flyers are a good mix of veterans and rookies, but some of those veterans are on their last legs.  Jaromir Jagr looked his age toward the latter part of the season.  I doubt he will return.  Kimmo Timonen is nearing the end of a great career.  He might have had enough.

The Sixers failed to close out a wounded and depleted Chicago Bulls team, scoring the fewest number of points in the first half of their loss last night since 1955.  That's all you need to know about the Sixers, whom some sports writers in this town named Hayes think are poised to make the jump literally and figuratively to the next level.  If they were playing the full Bulls sqaud, the Sixers would already be playing golf.

And then there were the Phillies.  Woe are the Phillies.  Can't  hit much, especially in the clutch.  Spell "relief" GASOLINE.  Send out at least two or three starters every night who are really AAA players at best.  They are now four games below sea level and taking on water fast.