It’s no secret that the Flyers don’t always start the regular season strong, and the 2018-19 season has been no exception. With six games in the books, the Flyers have played .500 hockey, winning three games and losing three games. However, their record isn’t totally indicative of their performance, and the injuries the team has sustained so far are certainly not helping them on the ice.
After only two games back in Philadelphia, James van Riemsdyk took a puck off of the inside of his knee, sidelining him for five-to-six weeks. Michal Neuvirth was placed on injured reserve, Scott Laughton and Oskar Lindblom had injury scares, and Nolan Patrick was hurt with what is suspected by fans to be a concussion. Constant injury scares, and actually losing key players to injuries, is not a great way to start a season. I think that should be taken into account when looking at the Flyers’ record so far. Coming into this season, there were many reasons to be optimistic. Several players were coming off career years, Hextall made his first big splash in free agency, and the notion of young guns making the team rightfully excited the fan base. With the Flyers off to another rough start, fans are calling for someone’s head.
It is easy to get upset about how the Flyers are playing, but given the circumstances, a 3-4 record is totally fine at this point in the season but what’s alarming is they could easily be 1-6. If 20 or so more games pass and the Flyers are still playing .500 hockey, then it is probably time for a change. In the sports world, gut reactions don’t always benefit a team in the long run. Sure, a coaching change might energize the team for the rest of this season, but what happens next season? And the season after that? Hextall has worked hard to build the team the Flyers have today, and he’s given every indication that he will stick to the vision he has always preached. The Flyers are a deep team on paper, one that I think could make a playoff run when healthy and rolling. We just need to give them a little bit of time.
Noah is a lifelong Flyers fan who loves the sport of hockey almost as much as the orange and black. He is currently studying journalism and media studies at West Chester University.