04 November 2011
I've reviewed the tape six times now. And someone who stood out, in not a great way, during last night's 4-3 shootout loss to the Devils, is Braydon Coburn.
With Chris Pronger on sick leave all the Flyers defensemen have been asked to step up in his absence. Not only that, but they also have been forced to change their routines, to break habit and play with a number of different defensive partners. Sometimes even in the same game.
It's like American Gothic went Big Love out there.
With Kimmo as the obvious foundation of our defensive house, Braydon Coburn is the first floor. Now, I don't know exactly what that metaphor means, but what I mean is that Coburn is shouldering a lot more responsibility and bit more ice time. The Flyers, and fans, are looking for him to step up and play the game that we see glimpses of from time to time. And last night he didn't do that. Especially in in his own end. Last night giveaways were killing the Flyers in their own zone, and he had some of the more memorable ones.
But were they his fault? I'd argue no, in a lot of the cases.
I lauded Claude Giroux for playing excellent defense yesterday. In the offensive zone. Forwards don't necessarily need to be in a defensive mindset at all times, but they need to get back to the defensive zone and get to where their D-men expect them to be. At no point was the forwards' lack of intensity in the defensive zone displayed more egregiously last night than when Braydon Coburn was dragging the puck back into his own zone, then into his corner, and then put the puck not hard off the glass, but right to the boards on the hash mark….for a Devil forward to eventually come pick up and take in on B.O.B. for a scoring chance.
When the play was unfolding there were three Flyers on the screen, in the zone, and two Devils. Coburn went so far into the zone that the 3rd Flyer got cut out of the view. When Coburn put the puck to the sideboards even I expected that guy to be there. He wasn't. I was wondering why someone would go for a change right then. I guess if the guy was absolutely dead and the defensemen had control the puck that could be understandable. But on a replay of the scoring chance they showed Maxima Talbot drifting back to this spot and the BLOWING THE ZONE. He just started skating away. He got on the wrong side of two Devils players when he could quite obviously see Coburn was facing the wrong way, and had no chance of knowing the guy he was counting on would not be there.
This happens all the time with the Flyers forwards. They know that the Flyers D-men are going to rip the puck around the boards. Shit, you know they're going to. But the forwards don't start skating until the defensemen actually fire the puck. If the puck doesn't somehow bounce past the opposition's defensemen these plays lead to some long spans of pressure, full shifts in the D zone.
Not to say that the Flyers defensemen are infallible by any means. But the old cliché that says if one of the parts breaks the machine breaks holds true in this case. The defensemen have dudes barreling down on them at full speed, trying to put them through the boards. The least the forwards could do is expend a little extra energy and get to their breakout positions every single time.
Don't even get me started on the forwards dicking around with the puck 3 feet from the blue line….
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THREE people chose Zac Rinaldo to score the first goal last night. Just 3. Ha. Suckas. Only one of them won our drawing, although all successful guesses will be included in our season-ending grand prize drawing for a night in John Stevens' house in Sea Isle this summer. The winner was @tunzo17. You didn't see that coming, did you.
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