That's where I'd place the Flyers on the scale from "good" to "not good".
Through 7 or 8 games, the boys in orange and black were in a good spot. They had beaten the Blackhawks, Bruins, and Rangers. They took a point from the Lightning game. They got creamed by the Panthers, but bounced right back and shut the same team out in their next game. Even the 8th game of the year - an overtime loss to the Sabres - was okay. They were sitting at 4-2-2 and looking like they might be able to make some noise this year.
And now that dream is dead. Losses to the Devils, Sabres, Canucks, Oilers, and Flames made for a pretty awful road trip. Closing it out with a win at Winnipeg helped, but they follow it up with one of the most pathetic hockey games I can remember watching.
COL-PHI: Third shutout win of the night, this time by Avs. pic.twitter.com/CoKMzOoULd— Muneeb Alam (@muneebalamcu) November 11, 2015
There were a few mild bright spots. The Giroux line fared okay against Colorado's top pair of defensemen. We did a decent job overall of handling their bottom three forward lines. That Duchene-Landeskog-MacKinnon line, though. We threw our two best defensemen and our best defensive forward line at them, and it just flat out didn't work. They were dominant, and the box score reflects it. Duchene scored twice and had one assist, and the other two each had an assist.
I can't wait to match those same scrubs against Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, and Oshie! Claude me one time:
rage dot gif pic.twitter.com/H4vbozDzWs— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 11, 2015
Let's switch gears and talk about how we're going to fix this dumpster fire. My new theory: Dave Hakstol was an only child. He's playing guys on lines with people who are 4 or 6 or 10 (hey Vinny) years younger than them. Nobody wants to hang out with their little brother's friends.
Here's what we're going to do:
Born During The 1987-88 Season (Brendan Shanahan's First Year In The NHL)
Vandevelde (3/15/87) - Giroux (1/12/88) - White (3/17/88)
A lot of heart with this unit. And that's what we need out of a first line. I also happen to believe that all three of these guys are underrated and underutilized. Vandy has more skill than a typical fourth liner, and White always seems to play up to G's level when they're together. This also frees up Raffl and Voracek to play on more specialized/sheltered lines.
Born During The 1990s (God Damn Millennials)
Schenn (8/22/91) - Couturier (12/7/92) - Read (6/14/86)
We're starting to get away from the birthday thing here, because Reader is like five years older than the other two (and not actually born in the 90's), but he and Coots have always played like they're twins. That leaves us with an interesting decision on the other wing: Schenn (16 months older than Couturier) or Bellemare (15 months older than Read). Ultimately I think Bellemare is more of an old man and my vision of this line was that they should all be familiar with Tinder and Periscope. Give me Matt Read here, because I get the sense he Snapchats pictures of his cock to chicks all the time.
Born During The American Revolution
Umberger (5/3/82) - Bellemare (3/6/85) - Lecavalier (4/21/80)
Sorry, Pebs. Here's the thing: this line doesn't have to be generating a million goals. They can play a smart (kinda physical) game and basically act like a fourth line. It's a shame that two fourth line wingers combine to make almost eight figures, but that's just how it goes sometimes when your franchise is a goddamn mess.
Here Is What The Fuck We Have Left
Raffl (12/1/88) - Laughton (5/30/94) - Voracek (8/15/89) - Gagner (8/10/89) - Cousins (7/20/93)
Couple things here. Who would have guessed Raffl was older than Voracek? Not me. Voracek and Gagner were born in the same week, which is a cool fun fact. As for what we're actually going to do here, I think you have to go with a rotation until the fans finally boo Lacavalier so much that he decides to just retire.
This was a stupid exercise. I know that. But it doesn't matter anyway, so maybe it really is best to throw a bunch of guys with similar birthdays in a boat together and see if they float. As for the defensemen, here are my pairings:
Mark Streit Was Legitimately Born In The 1970s
August 1982 (CDs Are Released For Sale In Germany)
Medvedev (8/27/82) - Schultz (8/25/82)
Birthday friends! Also a decent pairing, if you're judging based on what the Flyers have looked like this season.
June 1990 (Universal Studios Orlando Opens)
Manning (6/4/90) - Gudas (6/5/90) - Del Zotto (6/24/90)
Guys, this is great news! Now, instead of "Oh no why are 3 and 23 on the ice together? They both stink!" we can say "Hey those guys were both born the same month than Universal Orlando opened!" The Flyers are fixed!
The Trading Block
Schenn (11/2/89) - MacDonald (9/7/88)
I call these two The Trading Block sarcastically, because (1) I think Luke is a valuable defenseman and (2) nobody in the world will ever trade for Andrew MacDonald's contract until the trade deadline before it expires.
The Only Reasons For Hope
Alt (10/18/91) - Morin (7/12/95) - Hagg (2/8/95)
Sanheim (3/29/96) - Provorov (1/13/97)
Gostisbehere (4/20/93) (nice)