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The Flyers are just 4 points out of a playoff spot in a terrible Metropolitan Division

Nov 18, 2013, 6:14 PM EDT

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So far this season, the Flyers have endured their worst eight-game start in franchise history at 1-7 , saw their head coach hit the unemployment line after all of three games, made headlines for all the wrong reasons after a goalie “fight,” and have gone through such awful offensive dry spells that their most-skilled players wouldn’t have been able to shoot the puck into the ocean at times.

And while the team has played much better hockey of late and may have turned a corner under new coach Craig Berube, who has led the them to a 7-7-2 record since taking over behind the bench for Peter Laviolette, the Flyers sit in 14th place in the Eastern Conference and last place in the Metropolitan Division … and are just four points out of a playoff spot.

You read that correctly.

With 16 points, the Flyers — prior to Monday night’s games — sit just four points out of playoff spot as in a weak Eastern Conference and an even weaker — and terribly named — Metropolitan Division.

But how is that possible given how poorly the Orange and Black started the year?

There are a few explanations.

When the NHL realigned over the summer to put Winnipeg out west, it created two divisions for each conference and forced the league to revamp its playoff system.

Eight teams from each conference will still qualify, but the league created a bracketed, division-based playoff system, much like it used to have in the 1980s when the Flyers were in the Patrick Division of the Wales Conference.

The top three teams from each division are guaranteed playoff spots while two “wild-card” spots will go to two remaining teams with the most points regardless of division. The wild-card team with fewer points will go into the playoff bracket that has the team with the most points, leaving the other wild-card team in the other bracket.

The Metropolitan Division is probably the worst division in hockey right now. The NFC East is pretty logical comparison. Both divisions feature marquee teams and big-name superstars, but both divisions are incredibly average for the teams and talent they feature.

Washington currently sits in first place in the Metropolitan with 25 points. But outside of Alexander Ovechkin and their power play, there’s nothing too menacing about the Capitals.

Sidney Crosby and the Penguins are in second place with 24 points, but Evgeni Malkin is having a down year when it comes to putting the puck in the net, their defense isn’t the best, and Marc-Andre Fleury is an elephant-sized black and gold question mark in net.

The New York Rangers are in third with 20 points but are missing their top offensive player in Rick Nash and can’t find the net to support goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

The New York Islanders have John Tavares and loads of offensive talent, but don’t have much defense nor a goalie. New Jersey can’t score. Carolina and Columbus are nothing to write home about.

Currently, the Atlantic Division’s Detroit and Montreal hold the East’s wild card spots. Detroit has 25 points and Montreal has 22.

That leaves the Flyers just five points out of the last wild card spot, too.

Compare all of this to the stacked Western Conference, where the last divisional spot belongs to St. Louis at 29 points and the last wild card spot is held by Los Angeles, which also has 29.

If the Flyers were in the West, they would be 13 points out of each of those spots. When you are about to scarf down some turkey next week for Thanksgiving, be thankful the Flyers aren’t in the Western Conference.

So, with all turmoil and issues that have surrounded the team, despite the facts its three games under .500 in regulation and Claude Giroux has just one goal seven weeks into the season, the Flyers are just four points out of that last division spot and five points out of that last wild-card spot.

Could be worse.

  1. rockstonic - Nov 18, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    Not something you hear often: 4 points out of a playoff spot and still a guarantee to miss the playoffs

    Reply
  2. mike - Nov 18, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    Counterpoint-
    http://www.cbc.ca/sports-content/hockey/opinion/2013/10/30-thoughts-playoff-chase-begins-early-in-nhl.html

    The loser point in overtime games makes it hard for teams to make up ground. The Flyers are 3-0-1 in their last 4 games and are still in last place. Since that garbage game against the Devils on November 8. On November 9th, the Flyers were a point behind Columbus for 7th in the division and 3 points behind the Devils for 6th. They were 7 points out of the playoff spot. They did make up 3 points, but so did Columbus, the Islanders and the Devils. The Flyers challenge will be leapfrogging the 4 teams ahead of them while all 4 teams play each other and get the loser point just for forcing overtime.

    Reply
    • BenE. - Nov 18, 2013 at 10:15 PM

      I’m glad you brought this up. The “third” point that comes out of nowhere when a game goes to OT is stupid and actually hurts the team that eventually wins the game. You want to win to make ground in the standings.

      Each game should be worth 3 points. Regulation winner gets 3 points. OT winner gets 2 points and the OT loser gets the third point. That lets the NHL keep its socialist “everybody is a winner” BS with giving the LOSER a point. But it more heavily rewards teams who win in OT.

      Personally I’d accept 2 two points for a win, 0 points for a loss, too f*cking bad. Win the game if you want ground in the standings.

      Reply
      • BenE. - Nov 18, 2013 at 10:16 PM

        more heavily rewards teams who win in regulation*

      • mike - Nov 18, 2013 at 11:58 PM

        I understand the thinking behind the loser point. There were overtimes when both teams would just ice the puck for 5 minutes straight because they were afraid of losing. But now we get final 5 minutes of regulation when both teams ice the puck because they want the OT point.

        I had no problems with ties. I’ve seen hundreds of games when a tie was an appropriate result. Both teams played equally. No need to go to a shootout. I would much prefer a system similar to soccer with 3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie and 0 points for a loss. Have a 5 on-5 10 minute OT. Earning 3 points vs. earning 1 point would give OT the added excitement. I might like the shootout better if the Flyers weren’t so brutal at them.

        My other problem is the announcers claiming things like the Flyers are 3 games under .500 because they are 7-10-2. No, they are 5 games under. They have lost 12 games, won 7. At the end of the season, you have 3/4ths of the league claiming they were .500.

        The Flyers best bet for making the playoffs is for the Penguins and Capitals to beat the Islanders, Rangers, Hurricanes, Devils and Blue Jackets in regulation as often as possible.

      • t800m101 - Nov 19, 2013 at 8:31 AM

        I like the socialist reference, hahahaha. That’s very true.

        Anyways, they need to figure something out with OT, at the very least they should go to a 4 on 4, then a 3 on 3 before going to a silly shootout. Far too many games are decided on a ridiculous skills competition.

      • willh888 - Nov 19, 2013 at 10:42 AM

        Flyers had something like the 3rd most wins in regulation in the entire NHL and it only got them the 5th seed in the east. Something is wrong with that

      • Bob - Nov 19, 2013 at 6:12 PM

        @ Mike

        By the point system they are 3 gms under .500 because an OT loss is 1 point, which equates to a 1/2 win and 1/2 loss.

        Personally, I’m for extending the OT to 10 mins and then a shootout. You would likely see a lot less games decided by the shootout. 2 pts for the winner, 0 for the loser

  3. Lol - Nov 19, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    Bundy and Tim Saunders were talking league rule changes during the last game and said they were seriously considering doing a 2nd OT with 3 on 3.

    That would be amazing.

    Reply
    • 2sentz - Nov 19, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      3 on 3′s are the most exciting thing in hockey, nothing else comes close. Never even knew they existed until my kid got into a few 2OT games for states & districts.

      Reply
      • Nive - Nov 19, 2013 at 12:01 PM

        I think they banned 3 on 3 originally because Gretzky was too dominant on it. Or that could just be the legend?

  4. Nive - Nov 19, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    “But outside of Alexander Ovechkin and their power play, there’s nothing too menacing about the Capitals”

    Any team that would stand around and let their goalie take a beatdown like that is pretty gutless

    Reply
    • t800m101 - Nov 19, 2013 at 12:19 PM

      Agreed. They stood there like broads.

      Reply
    • mike - Nov 19, 2013 at 1:04 PM

      The Caps are 6-1-1 since that game.

      Reply
      • t800m101 - Nov 19, 2013 at 4:19 PM

        ….and still a bunch of vaginas that let their goalie get pummeled. Sad.

      • Bob - Nov 19, 2013 at 6:14 PM

        The Caps are always a regular season beast. It’s the playoffs with tighter checking and less PPs where they fall. It will be no different this year

  5. FlyersFan - Nov 19, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    This team is going nowhere unless the offense improves drastically. Next to dead last in goals per game at 1.84. Only Buffalo is worse.

    24th out of 30 teams in Power Play %. Dead last in total goals scored at 35.

    Holmgren should be fired for this. It’s clear now that this wasn’t Laviolette’s fault.

    Reply
    • FlyersFan - Nov 19, 2013 at 12:32 PM

      *UPDATE*

      Eklund is reporting on Hockeybuzz.com that Yakupov’s situation in Edmonton is getting worse. Holmgren needs to be on the phone with MacT if that guy is available.

      Reply
      • Marvin Monroe - Nov 19, 2013 at 12:56 PM

        Yea, because if there is one place a Russian hockey player with a questionable work ethic will thrive, it’s with the Philadelphia Flyers.

      • FlyersFan - Nov 19, 2013 at 1:15 PM

        What a racist comment.

        Equating Bryz with Yak shows all the hockey intellect of a dead plant.

      • BenE. - Nov 19, 2013 at 1:41 PM

        The Flyers would do well to stay far away from Yakupov. Especially considering the Oilers are rumored to want Simmonds and/or Brayden Schenn — two of the hardest workers on the Flyers.

        Yakupov is another lazy, cherry-picking Russian. He is nothing special. Don’t be fooled — these aren’t your menacing Russians of the Soviet days: Vlad Konstantinov, Fedorov, Larionov, Bure, Kozlov, the Markovs…guys who worked their asses off to come to the free West, and played hard and fast in the NHL. Today, these new age Russian floaters are unwilling to sacrifice themselves once they reach a certain level. In the NHL, they are all about hanging back and waiting for someone to pass the puck to them. Make no mistake, Yakupov is another Radulov or Kostitsyn.

      • Marvin Monroe - Nov 19, 2013 at 1:50 PM

        The Flyers and Ed Snider don’t really show a commitment to Russian and Eastern European players.

        Most games played by a Russian for the Flyers:
        Dmitri Yushkevich 215 games over 4 seasons. (2 less than perennial whipping boy Randy Jones)

        Most games played by an Eastern European for the Flyers:
        Michal Handzus 237 over 3 seasons.

        Pelle Eklund has the most games played for an European for the Flyers with 589 in 9 seasons. Most of the Flyers European players with any longevity have been Swedes and Finns.

      • t800m101 - Nov 19, 2013 at 4:21 PM

        What racist comment?

  6. FlyersFan - Nov 20, 2013 at 7:58 AM

    @BenE.

    You don’t have a clue as to what to you’re talking about. Yakupov lazy? Not in any sense of the word. The kid is as hard a worker as you’ll find in the league. The kid has never been lazy a day in his life.

    The Oilers are ruining him by pitting him with less-than-ideal linemates. You put Yak on the Flyers on a line with Giroux and you’re talking an 85 point player a year minimum.

    Today’s Russian players are floaters? LMFAO yeah sure. Datsyuk, Gonchar, Malkin, Ovechkin, Semin, Kulemin, Anisimov, and Loktionov are just a bunch of lazy bums floating around waiting for someone to pass them the puck.

    BenE. and Marvin Monroe……two posters who have the combined hockey intellect of a dead fruit fly.

    Reply
    • MJS - Nov 20, 2013 at 8:41 AM

      “The Oilers are ruining him by pitting him with less-than-ideal linemates.”

      So when someone says this about Coots, it’s a poor excuse, but for Yakupov, it’s a reason to sign him?

      Reply
      • FlyersFan - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:21 AM

        Except Coots doesn’t have poor linemates like Yakupov, genius.

        Couturier gets far more power play time and he’s got two 20 goal scorers on his line in Read and Downie. Yakupov has to carry his line by himself, in essence.

        What a joke comparing Couturier to Yak in any sense.

      • MJS - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:32 AM

        4 games. That’s how many game he’s had those two linemates.

        And I’m not comparing the two. I never even said we shouldn’t pursue Yak. I’m just pointing out that when the same exact thing was said about Coots, you immediately said it was a poor excuse.

      • FlyersFan - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:36 AM

        Coots still gets much more power play time. He still doesn’t produce. You are the one who brought up the Coots/Yak comparison. You can’t compare their situations. They are not even remotely the same. Coots has almost zero offensive ability. He went almost 1/3 of an entire season without scoring. He is purely a defensive player.

    • BenE. - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:17 AM

      I didn’t realize half a dozen former #1 and #2 picks are less-than ideal teammates. I wish the Flyers were less-than-ideal.

      If the Flyers trade for Yakupov, especially for the rumored asking price of B. Schenn and Simmonds, Flyers fans will turn on him in a month for being lazy and taking shifts off.

      Reply
      • FlyersFan - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:22 AM

        Except he’s not playing with former #1 and #2 picks, genius.

        Why don’t you watch an Oilers game before you speak?

      • FlyersFan - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:24 AM

        Except he’s not playing on a line with those former #1 and #2 draft picks, genius.

        Why don’t you actually watch a game before you speak?

      • BenE. - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:28 AM

        Sorry, #6 (2007) and #13 (2001) overall. -_-

    • BenE. - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:19 AM

      Also, you posted an Eklund rumor. So much for YOUR hockey intellect. Eklund couldn’t nail a hockey rumor if the trade happened yesterday.

      Reply
      • FlyersFan - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:30 AM

        Eklund has a decent track record when it comes to the Flyers. Shows how much you know. What a genius.

    • t800m101 - Nov 20, 2013 at 10:05 AM

      Russian players of today are not like the Russian players of the past. Russian players of today (generally speaking) come across as either being very lazy and only playing when they want to (Ovechkin), or only playing for the money (Kovalchuk). They aren’t what they used to be.

      Reply
  7. FlyersFan - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    Yakupov isn’t on a line with those former #1 and #2 picks, genius. They have him on the 3rd line not playing with Eberle, Hall, and RNH.

    Why don;t you actually watch a game before you speak? I think it would help you.

    Reply
    • BenE. - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:28 AM

      How many times are you going to post and +1 this comment?

      Reply
      • FlyersFan - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:32 AM

        Until you stop making retarded comments.

  8. lahoe819 - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    @FlyersFan are you a 7 year old? Is calling someone a genius in a sarcastic way your only basis of countering arguments. I may not always agree with what BenE says but when it comes to hockey posts and comments on the level, he’s more knowledgable than most. If they can steal Yak then fine do it. But if it comes at a steep price (as it likely would) they’re better off doing what the flyers don’t seem to do and just develop the talent they have now…. Genius.

    Reply
    • FlyersFan - Nov 21, 2013 at 10:36 AM

      @lahoe

      Per your screen name, are you in LA or just a hoe? Sorry had to do it.

      His comments are laughable. Not worth reading. As for stealing Yak, depends on what you mean by stealing. For me, we should be building around the Schenns, Giroux, Simmonds, Voracek, and Mason. To me, they are the only untouchables right now.

      Having Laughton tear up the OHL the way he has been pretty much means he’s probably going to be up next year with the Flyers. This makes a guy like Couturier expendable if the right trade comes along.

      With all the rumors about Brayden being available, I’m wondering if Paul Holmgren secretly smokes crack rocks. Anyway, back to the point. Edmonton needs defense in the worst way. Maybe a trade for Yak built around Couturier and a defenseman would work for Edmonton with a pick coming back to us also.

      Bottom line is you’re not going to get a former #1 overall pick for nothing. The key is finding the pieces your willing to live without and give up without destroying the core.

      Reply

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