(Kate Frese/SB Nation)
By Chuck LaGrossa, Sports Talk Philly staff writer
There is a quote that comes to mind from Sir William Osler of Salem, Massachusetts. "Be calm, strong and patient, meet failure and disappointment with courage." This quote was written in the late 1600's during a very turbulent time in Salem, known as the Salem Witch trials.
The reaction to the Flyers nine-game losing streak could be comparable right now and maybe even make the Salem Witch trials look like a minor disagreement right about now.
But enough with the brief history lesson. Although it may sound difficult, here are a three reasons to stay calm despite this losing streak and not look for the coach and/or GM's heads.
- "If you look at the way we’ve played from the start of the year, I’m pretty good with the way our team has played the last nine games."
That was a quote from Ron Hextall after Tuesday night's loss to the San Jose Sharks. Now you must know the very passionate Philly fan base, in that playing good but not winning will not fly and that it isn't good enough for that classification Hextall put out there.
With that comes the first reason. We cannot forget that this is a young team, in fact a very young team at an average age of 26.4 according to sportingcharts.com. There were and are going to be growing pains along the way. Rome was not built in a day, let alone a few years and Hextall had a hand in building the Stanley Cup-winning teams in Los Angeles, which took several years to build as well.
Hextall said it himself: "When I looked the other night, we had a 20, a 21, two 22, and a 24-year-old defenseman out there. That’s five of our six; that might be the youngest defense I’ve ever seen."
In layman's terms, there is a bunch of young guys out there. What did you expect?
- The second reason is the Flyers penalty kill. This was a big area that needed to improve and it seems to be turning the corner in improving after the San Jose game, where though they allowed a goal at 5-on-3, the Flyers were in passing lanes, blocking shots and staying in formation, regardless of the offensive puck movement around them.
If you are going to be a successful hockey team, you have to kill penalties to win games. For the last few games of the losing streak, the Flyers didn't kill many of the penalties they had taken. If the Flyers can continue to build on some success from Tuesday, they can turn this into a strength with their team and use that going forward.
- The third reason is the hot starts they are getting to the games. Yes, you do need to finish the game strong, which they are struggling to do, but when you come out of the gate firing on all cylinders, and especially score like they have been early in games, it sets a good tone for the game.
That is a promising sign to see for this team with these young guys all up and down the lineup. Good starts and early goals are great, but there is a lot more work to do.
There are trials and tribulations throughout the season where teams will go through ups and downs. The ups are some awesome times. The downs are like that nagging cold that just won't go away until you find the right medicine for it. When you get into those lows, staying positive, avoiding the frustration and working hard on a daily basis at everything from system plays to fundamentals is how you beat it.
This is a prototypical, young, rebuilding team that has a bunch of young players on the roster. On paper, this is a better team than the results show and the numbers show. Being a playoff team, as Hextall said they were, is not out of the question with the right kind of work ethic and determined play.
Sure, it is easy to get on the team for under performing. As it should be. But let's understand that this team is young and inexperienced, so before we go looking for a scapegoat to get rid of someone or call to blow up the entire team, keep in mind that this is a growing team that is learning as they go and that patience is required.