I think few Flyers fans would say that this has been a great season for the Broad Street Bullies. Starting out slow, and struggling to climb back, the season needs to get turned around, and fast. However, there are two guys that are fighting hard for the team, and leading them back into playoff contention.
When Peter Laviolette was fired after losing the first three games of the season, I was pretty shocked. Although I figured his job was in danger if the Flyers missed the playoffs again this year, I was not expecting such a quick exit. The main office made their point very clear when Craig Berube took over, they want wins. I was skeptical that a coaching change would do much for the Flyers. While their record has not improved significantly, I think Berube has instilled some energy into the team. By mixing up the lines and trying out some new things, at least the team is coming together more and working to find the right strategy to get some wins. Berube’s presence has broken some of the complacency that might have plagued the team coming into the season.
In terms of leaders on the ice, Vinny Lecavalier has been spectacular. I have to admit I was not happy when I heard the former Tampa Bay Lightening captain was coming to the Philadelphia (still bitter about a conference final lost to the Lightening in 2003-2004). I would also be lying if I said his age did not concern me. After playing 15 years in Tampa, I was not sure he could bring the same talent and energy to another franchise. Even after some strong performances in the first couple games, I was even more doubtful when Berube moved him from center to right-wing on the first line. How would he adapt to playing a different position? But he has been just fantastic and has become a leader on the team. When Lecavalier missed three games with a lower-body injury, the Flyers scored just five goals and went 0-3. However, when he returned the Flyers beat the Rangers 2-1, and the new first line gained some confidence. Lecavalier has clearly become a leader among his teammates, and I hope he can help Giroux get out of his scoreless funk on the top line.
As the Flyers continue to search for a consistent strategy that can bring them some wins, Berube and Lecavalier have both stepped up to help lead the team in the right direction. Hopefully their leadership can ultimately turn around this season and will bring the Flyers more victories in the coming games.