Fan Files: No accountability or heart in Flyers

It's time for our second of three editions of Fan Files, a take on the Flyers from the fan's perspective.

This week's contribution comes from Robert Wilson, better known as FlyerRob.

Hey, Flyers fans!

Well, I first want to thank the site of Flyerdelphia for allowing me to be able to write about the Flyers from a fan perspective in Fan Files.

I'd thought that I would first introduce myself. I am a 43 going on 44-year-old Flyers fan, born and raised in Delco. While In High School in the late 1980's, I was a shy guy who was afraid to talk to girls. In my science class, all I did was talk to my buddies about Flyers games with Hextall, Tocchet, Zezel, Poulin and yadda yadda yadda, you get the point.

This popular attractive girl came over to me and said, “you know, all you do is talk about the Flyers. From now on, you’re ‘FLYERROB.’” And so it stuck! But it gave me confidence to talk to pretty girls!

I have been on the local sports radio stations and satellite radio for NHL as well, so if you call up or tune in, you may have heard me call in a few times as “FLYERROB.”

So I went to the game on Tuesday against the Colorado Avalanche, thanks to the Wounded Warrior Project. Yes, I am an Iraq War Vet and have PTSD. In fact, while in Iraq, I made the little Iraqi kids say “Let’s go Flyers! Let’s Go! Clap clap! Clappity Clap!” if they wanted a bottle of water. I also had a Flyers flag on the gunners turret for a few missions before the high brass told me I had to take it down.

I also went to the game Thursday against the Washington Capitals and I wanted to go over a few things that I saw as a fan from the two games.

The actual game itself was quite upsetting. As a fan, what I noticed was that the Flyers are lacking some of the basic, basic hockey skills. Majority of their passes are “blind passes.” They seem to lack the ability to connect tape-to-tape passes. The Avs were able to outwork, outshoot, and out muscle the Flyers up and down the ice.

The fans were booing and rightfully so. The loyal die-hard Flyers fans know good hockey when they see it and they were seeing a Red Herring on ice. With 10 minutes left in the game, there was a mass exodus going on at Wells Fargo Center. Of course, I never leave a game early.

It also seems that a lot of the shots that the Flyers are taking are missing the net completely. There was hardly any checking going on. In fact, the only person I saw giving big checks was Vinny LeCavalier. In my assessment Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Radko Gudas, Michal Neuvirth, and Ryan White appeared to play with some — some — passion. The rest of the team, however, seem to be going through the motions. Poor Neuvirth seemed to be hung out to dry a lot of times by his own team.

With the NHL going away from fighting, it appeared that every time Simmonds or White would try to spark things up, the opposing Avalanche player would exercise wise caution, knowing the score on the scoreboard favored their team, and would not oblige any suitors to a good ole' fashion "donnybrook." Losing 4-0, where the Flyers were practically outshot 2-to-1, was not pleasant. About the only thing pleasant was the tribute to the military that took place all night.

Heading into Thursday night's game, I had some high hopes but knew that it would be a hard battle knowing that Washington Capitals have a well-coached disciplined team under Barry Trotz. Alex Ovechkin was trying to break the NHL record for the most goals by a Russian. Seeing a Flyers team that had lost seven out of its last eight games, I am sure Ovechkin could smell blood in the water like a Great White shark.

Going into the second period, the Flyers were way out shot, 11-4. Steve Mason had done his best to keep the Flyers in the game. The score was tied 1-1.

Still the lack of communication is evident on ice. There was no chemistry. Blind passes led to Washington odd-man rushes only to have Mason bail them out. The Flyers had, at one point I counted, four odd-man rushes on the Capitals, but they themselves could not pass or bury the puck in the net.

The second period is where the Capitals, the better team, pulled away and left the poor play of the Flyers behind. It looked like Ovechkin had his goal to break the NHL record for the most goals by a Russian born player when, oh snap! Coach Dave Hakstol in his first ever coach's challenge was victorious and won the challenge. The Flyers challenged on whether or not the Capitals were offsides led them to take the goal back and put time back on the clock with the Flyers still trailing, 4-2.

White tried to spark things by getting into a fight but Michael Latta pulled his jersey up over his head and tossed him around pretty mightily. Embarrassing, the team once known as the Broad Street Bullies can't even fight right nowadays.

One more goal in the third period led to the final score of 5-2 Capitals. Embarrassing.

In fact, the final goal was a prime example of what the Flyers should do to win games. Beat the opposing player on the forecheck, strip the opposing player of the puck, a couple of crisp passes because you have chemistry and know where your fellow players are on the ice, and leaves Steve Mason totally exposed and unable to stop an obvious goal.

Take notes, boys. This is how you are supposed to win games, not the slop you have been rolling out the last couple of weeks.

I said before the season started that the Flyers were in a transition year and good enough to make the Playoffs. With eight losses in their last nine games, I take that back. They are bottom feeders in the basement where they belong. This team has no accountability and no heart. Blow it up.

The rule of thumb is if you are not in a playoff spot by American Thanksgiving time, the end of November, you can pretty much expect to not make the playoffs. So, for the third straight year, I, as a fan, am left to deal with that conundrum.

Do I root for the Flyers to pull it together and make the playoffs but probably not win or get anywhere close to the Stanley Cup? Or do I go against everything that I know and wish to see them lose more to get a higher draft pick?

You can only get worse before you can get better.

Robert Wilson III, FlyerRob, is a contributor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @NAARobertWilson.

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