Allow me, for a minute, to draw a parallel. Another hockey team in a rut has forced its head coach to change the lines on a nightly basis.
"Truth be told, [coach] is doing what every coach would do. He feels he has to fix the problems, so he starts trying all sorts of new ways to fix the problems. The irony is that last season when the team was playing well, he seemed to leave the lineup alone, creating a calm consistency..."
"Most would feel this lineup, on paper, would be better."
In 2009, the Los Angeles Kings selected Brayden Schenn with their first round pick. Formerly a star with the Western Hockey League's Brandon Wheat Kings, and brother of highly-touted defensive prospect Luke, who was picked a year prior, Schenn possessed different kinds of skills that would encapsulate a top pick.
"When [scouts] talk about a comparable player in the National Hockey League, think Mike Richards of the Philadelphia Flyers," TSN's Bob McKenzie said moments after the pick. "This guy is a complete package in terms of being a prototypical second line pro center in the National Hockey League who can do everything. Offense, defense, and most importantly, winning hockey."
Fast forward to 2014. After scoring his first NHL goal at the 2012 Winter Classic, and completing his first 20-goal campaign, the now-23-year-old centerman has accumulated 94 points in his 204 games.Those numbers are good for a 0.46 points per game rate.
On Saturday, there were two versions of the Philadelphia Flyers to be observed.
Through the first two periods, the Flyers looked like a team that was on its way to win the first game of the season. But in the third, they were a team that barely came away with a point.
The Flyers blew a 3-0 lead in the third period, ultimately losing 4-3 in the shootout to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. The Flyers (0-2-1) lost their third straight game, starting the season with three losses for the third straight year.
"It sucks," winger Wayne Simmonds said. "We were up 3-0. Obviously you don't get the two points, you’re disappointed."
The Flyers are on their way to a Game 7 with the Rangers in New York.
Wayne Simmonds, who led the Flyers with 29 goals during the regular season, lit the Rangers up for a hat trick in Tuesday's 5-2 win in Game 6. It was his first career playoff hat trick and the first Flyers playoff hat trick since Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier did it against the Penguins in 2012.
After a game two victory, what seemed like an overplayed narrative of being unable to competently play at Madison Square Garden seemed to be vanquished by a 4-2, come-from-behind win. That storyline returned in full force after Sunday.
Heavily outpossessed and outchanced, the Philadelphia Flyers dropped game five 4-2 to the New York Rangers, giving Broadway the 3-2 edge over Broad Street in the series.
A lacking power play ruined any continuity the Flyers could have possibly constructed. Rangers forward Carl Hagelin took two penalties in two consecutive shifts to open the game. The result of those power plays was complete disaster.
It is said as a general rule that the first goal after a 2-0 lead is the most crucial. Jakub Voracek's monumental late first period goal sparked a comeback resulting in a 4-2 Flyers win over the New York Rangers. As a result, the series is tied at one apiece heading into game three.
As had been the largest story coming into this series, the Flyers snapped a nine-game losing streak at Madison Square Garden in comeback fashion.
Luke Schenn capped off the furious comeback by tapping home a rebound past a sprawled Henrik Lundqvist halfway through the second period. On a delayed penalty, Adam Hall collected a Michael Raffl pass and shoveled a shot on goal that popped right on Schenn's stick. No Ranger would score after that goal was scored.
If you go back into the early episodes of the TCL Flyers podcast, you'll hear me proclaim Ray Emery as the Flyers' starting goaltender in 2013-14. Why? He had shown an ability to be competitive after suffering avascular necrosis in 2010. He also proved to be a valuable backup on a juggernaut Chicago Blackhawks team that won hockey's greatest prize.
Steve Mason, that other guy, played well during his seven-game tryout at the 2013 season's conclusion. Prior to that, I, and many others, fell into the trap of thinking of Mason as the sad sack goalie from The Buckeye State with undersized pads who produced a record fit for the NHL's version of a discard pile.
Wayne Simmonds is making the trade from three years ago pay in full.
Simmonds scored two more goals, his second proving to be the decider in a 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars on Thursday. The goals were his 22nd and 23rd of the season, putting him second to Claude Giroux for the team lead in goals and points.
It was the fourth straight win for the Flyers, who are now 11-2-1 since Feb. 1.