Carter Hart made his return to the net after an eight-game “reset” for the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, and no, let’s not go with any rising from the dead analogies, but he was looked to as the savior of the franchise.
The Flyers needed two third-period goals from Claude Giroux to get a loser’s point against the Islanders. Mat Barzal beat Hart in the shootout, but Hart looked good, even if every point lost looms large as they sit four points out of a playoff spot.
It’s worth noting that Giroux, at 33, is still playing elite hockey, he’s still scoring at a first-line rate and controlling possession like a superstar. That should quell any “break up the core” talk around the Flyers, which is really just thinly veiled anti-Giroux talk.
Trying to analyze and assess this team right now is pointless, because the coaching staff of Alain Vigneault and assistants Michel Therrien and Mike Yeo need to go, and soon. Rangers fans are enjoying their bit of schadenfreude after beating the Flyers in historic fashion last month, 9-0 and 8-3. “We told you so.” And indeed, they did. They said that AV buried young players and just rode Henrik Lundqvist’s heroics to a Cup Final.
After four years of utterly inspired play under Dave Hakstol, anyone was going to be an improvement, and Vigneault was roughly “anyone.” Hakstol’s team at North Dakota was so happy after he left, they immediately won a national championship. That’s exactly what happened in St. Louis when the Blues fired Yeo in the middle of the 2018-19 season: They hired former Flyer coach Craig Berube and won the Cup.
So yeah, when you have two guys like that on your coaching staff, it shouldn’t be a surprise when the team tunes them out at some point. There’s no other explanation for the Flyers’ struggles this season than that, you don’t consistently get blown out by weak competition if the team has any faith in its coaches. Did we mention the Flyers helped Buffalo snap its 18-game winless streak, losing 6-1?
Somehow Vigneault and his coaching staff are still employed, and the Flyers haven’t made any moves, but remember, general manager Chuck Fletcher has a “bias for action.”
Hart and Brian Elliott and the Flyers gave up an insane 75 goals in March, and as if things couldn’t get worse for the franchise, well there’s this:
The responses to that tweet were exactly what you’d expect. You know America is in trouble when we’re relying on Carter Hart to feed the hungry.
Former owner Ed Snider must be rolling over in his grave.