Stuck in a Jam: Time for Flyers to step up in front of goaltending

It might be the only consistent part of the Flyers play to this season: the most helpless person on the ice stands between the pipes.

Michal Neuvirth was hardly the reason for the Flyers 4-0 loss on Tuesday, their seventh in the previous eight games. He faced 40 shots against the team with the worst offensive percentages in the league. He sprawled around the crease, desperately trying to keep his team in the game while the rest of the players on the ice stood around and watched.

In the Flyers victories this season, it has often been the goalie playing the biggest role. Three of the Flyers five wins have been shutouts. Steve Mason stole the Flyers a win against the Rangers. Only the Flyers win over the Bruins was an offensive showing that bailed out poor defense.

Enough is enough. It's time for the rest of the Flyers to step up in front of the goalies for a change.

It's not the lack of goal scoring, the lack of physical play, the struggles with discipline. The most frustrating part of the Flyers struggles to this point in the season is the general nonchalant approach the Flyers have taken to games.

They don't skate. They don't create opportunities and scoring chances. They aren't aggressive on defense — clearing the porch, making strong outlet passes, clearing the puck. They don't win puck battles. They don't threaten the opposition with hits.

Where's the jam?

Without trying to go back in time to 2010 and Peter Laviolette, the Flyers haven't shown the energy or effort of an NHL hockey team. Let's be honest, that performance on Tuesday is laughable at the AHL level. It is completely unacceptable for an NHL team to look like that.

So the Flyers had another meeting. Will that do anything? No. It's not a morale booster, but more of a wakeup call. It falls on each and every player in the locker room to take it upon himself to play better, to be energetic, to be passionate about the game.

That doesn't mean breaking your stick into pieces out of frustration. That just shows further weakness.

At this point, the Flyers will be looking at the bottom of the standings and the Draft talk will be starting at Christmas, if not already. That wasn't the expectations this team set for themselves.

That said, they are the only ones to blame. This is not a coaching thing. You can not say that Dave Hakstol's system is a pass or fail after just 15 games of NHL experience. 

But you can start to say that Jake Voracek's slow start isn't just a slow start anymore. It's turning into a poor season-wide effort, though he was one of the more energetic Flyers on the ice on Tuesday.

You can't say that continuing to play Vincent Lecavalier, even due to injuries to other players, helps this team. It doesn't, reflective on the 0-5-1 record the Flyers have when Lecavalier dresses.

You can't say that these defensemen are good enough to be the patches that keep the team competitive for this season and possibly the next while waiting for the prospects to come up. They're not.

If the players are frustrated, just look at the fan base. This is maddening. It's an embarrassment to even some of the worst teams in franchise history. Those teams may have company at this rate.

15 games into the season is early enough to still turn some things around to at least make this team somewhat respectable. But the only way to do that is to improve the effort. And it's up to the players to create the turnaround.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.