BITTER BIRDS
The Triangle of Death: Flyers Edition
By Caleb Weiler It seems with the Philadelphia Flyers recently, it has been that fans have to pick between two of the following three. To me it’s known as the triangle of death; offense, defense and goalies. Right now, the goalies are the missing piece. With Michael Del Zotto completely healthy and no more suspensions, the Flyers’ roster is starting to take shape 13 games into the season. They are currently top five in goals scored and now have a fully healthy defense with Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov only getting better. If you had told me that the Flyers would be top five in goals, would have three point per game players and two solid rookies that seems like a good thing. Right? RIGHT? Wrong. Both Steve Mason and Michael Neuvirth have collectively thrown away many winnable games for the Flyers this season. Both Goalies have a sub .900 save percentage and over a 3.00 goals against average. Unfortunately, as a Philadelphia sports fan we just cannot have nice things. This season many fans, including myself, were expecting big things from the Flyers this year. Last year it was almost the exact opposite, as both Mason and Neuvirth had spectacular seasons and the offense just had a hard time finding their groove. This year, the Flyers have two great scoring lines and a great up-and-coming defense which is doing more than just holding their own and for some reason the goalies cannot get back to form. Well, one may ask, what can the Flyers do about it? The answer is nothing. The Flyers have a glutton of goalie prospects with the Phantoms and in Juniors. Anthony Stolarz, who was an AHL All Star last year, has a record of 5-2-0 and a save percentage of .928 over seven games played this year. That is phenomenal. The reason the Flyers can’t do anything about the current goalie situation is, while the defense has been better than years past, this still isn't the best defense to ice in front of a young goalie. Confidence is a huge part of being a netminder and Stolarz obviously has it playing behind the Phantoms defense right now, but chances are he wouldn’t feel the same way in the big leagues. Both Mason and Neuvirth have the talent to be a 1A and 1B tandem. Last year, they were one of the best tandems in the league and Ron Hextall and Dave Hakstol need to ride this out until one of them can find their groove again. Chances are that when one of our goalies do find their groove, the offense or defense will fall off, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there. Hopefully it happens soon.