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The Flyers have been pretty awful, but least the goaltending isn’t the problem

Oct 21, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

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Ed note: Greg Paone is a decent guy and may or may not be writing about some Flyers stuff here moving forward. Greg writes …

During my near quarter-century as a native Philadelphian, I’ve pretty much nailed these few things down as my birthrights:  the term “yous” is proper English, you’re not doing it right if you’re not jaywalking, the Roxborough Roll/South Philly Slide is a perfectly legal form of stopping at a stop sign, and it’s always the goaltender’s fault when things go south for the Flyers.

While the first three things on that list will always be true — at least in my book — the last one hasn’t been for the Flyers this season. Not thus far.

The Flyers’ 1-7 start isn’t on the shoulders of goaltender Steve Mason. In fact, the story is actually quite the opposite.

Mason has been superb in the six games he’s started this season. The Oakville, Ontario native is sporting a solid .923 save percentage and an excellent 2.37 goals-against average. He’s given up just 14 goals on 183 shots against in his six starts, yet his record stands at 1-5.

Ilya Bryzgalov is smiling approvingly from somewhere on the Las Vegas Strip.

But think about Mason’s numbers this season for a second.

The guy is basically giving up just two goals a game. In today’s offense-friendly NHL, two goals against per game should mean more than one win.

But that’s how unfathomably bad the Flyers’ offense, which has scored a league-low 11 goals so far, has been through eight games.

There’s also the whole defensive-breakdown-in-front-of-the-net thing where the opponent is left wide open in front of the Flyers’ net, but we’ve grown accustomed to that over the past few seasons. That’s nothing new.

It’s a shame because Mason’s return to his 2008-2009 rookie-of-the-year form has been one of the only fun things to watch with the Flyers this season. (It might be the only.) Mason has kept the Flyers in games they’ve had no business being in.

The most recent example was this past Thursday against the visiting Penguins.

At one point late in the second period, the Flyers were being outshot, 29-10, but trailed just 2-0 and were in the game because Mason was standing on his head. With the defense the Flyers were playing, it’s totally plausible the Penguins could have been up 7-0 instead.

Mason should be used to that predicament by now, though.

What do you know? The year the Flyers may finally have a legitimate goalie, they can’t shoot the puck into the ocean.

The hockey gods are so cruel.

  1. Jim - Oct 21, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    The hockey gods aren’t cruel at all. If the GM and Owner weren’t stuck in the 70s we’d have a decent hockey team and something to look forward to. Instead we have “muckers” and “grinders” with zero talent apart from Giroux and horrible contracts for senior citizens. Thank god we weren’t hasty and held onto Schenn and Couturier instead of trying to get bobby Ryan.

    Reply
    • BenE. - Oct 21, 2013 at 11:11 AM

      Right…the 4th line, which gets, at most, 6 minutes a night, is why the Flyers are losing. Not the fact that our scoring lines aren’t scoring. Not the fact that Giroux, Voracek, Hartnell, and Read haven’t scored a single goal yet. It’s not that Lecavalier, arguably the team’s best offensive player so far, is injured. It’s not that Streit and Timonen, who are the team’s most expensive defensemen, look like utter dog shit. It’s that Rosehill, Newbury, and Hall are getting 4-6 minutes a night.

      I do agree with your last sentence, though. It was Homer’s biggest mistake, labeling Couturier and Brayden Schenn “untouchable” when the Ducks were offering Bobby Ryan.

      Reply
      • Jim - Oct 21, 2013 at 4:10 PM

        That’s my point. Streit and Timonen are how old? How about that Scott Hartnell contract too? The flyers think they have players that are great (Read, Simmonds, Hartnell) when the sad fact is they are at best good players and at worst average. Matt Read is ok but he isn’t special. Neither is Hartnell or Simmonds. What exactly does Brayden Schenn or Couturier do well? Voracek is very good and Giroux is borderline great but that’s about the only real talent i see on this team. Lecavalier may be nice edition but again he’s 30 and was given a long term contract.

  2. Scott B - Oct 21, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    Bryz actually isn’t with Las Vegas. still training back in NJ. The More You Know.

    http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2013/10/16/ilya-bryzgalov-remains-a-free-agent-after-echl-tryout-ends/

    Reply
    • Michael_Tandino - Oct 21, 2013 at 11:22 AM

      I like to think this was your thought process before leaving this comment: “I am such a self-righteous asshole that there’s no way that line could have conceivably been for effect — or two abundantly clear link dumps — and now’s my chance to really show everybody how informed I am. God, what a moment for me.”

      Reply
  3. Scott B - Oct 21, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    Michael_Tandino – I’m sorry the Eagles lost, the Flyers suck, you soon will also sit through the Sixers season and are probably sitting in your cube hungover from drinking all those Coors Lights yesterday. Some people might have cared that Bryz didnt make the Las Vegas squad but instead is sitting in NJ training and playing men;s league hockey at Hollydell arena.

    in other words, go fuck yourself.

    Reply
  4. psudrozz - Oct 21, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    reminds me of the phillies back in the early aughts….either they had awesome pitching for the season and couldn’t hit or vice versa.

    Reply
  5. hgaff14 - Oct 21, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    Ma$e

    Reply
    • thehealthyscratches - Oct 22, 2013 at 1:14 AM

      Reply

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