A miserable week that saw things spiral out of control has wrapped up.
The Flyers head out West on a three-game losing streak, and it isn't pretty.
Some observations from this week as we try to make sense of what has gone so horribly wrong.
• Dave Hakstol issued a public challenge to the Flyers on Friday afternoon and his team responded Saturday afternoon with another lethargic effort filled with defensive breakdowns, turnovers and silly mistakes. Something has to give, and it's beyond time to look at the coaching staff. It's been the same story every year under Hakstol.
This team was supposed to take a step forward this season, and sure, they're without James van Riemsdyk but scoring hasn't been the team's biggest problem. JVR wouldn't change anything. The Flyers have regressed. That's a problem.
It's time to make a change, some type of shakeup, whether that's firing Hakstol or making a trade, and something bigger than calling up Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Tyrell Goulbourne (see story).
Something has to give and fast. Having young players in this environment is not healthy.
• Which brings us to another point. Where is this team's heart?
Hakstol rightfully receives a lot of criticism, but it's unfair to pin this all on the man behind the bench. The players are responsible for playing the game, and they're playing with no emotion, no structure. They're pressing.
This four-game West Coast trip could be the best thing for them. It could let them regroup and get away. Or it could spell more disaster. It'll have huge implications on what happens going forward.
• Ivan Provorov laid Mathew Barzal out Saturday with a crisp, old-school hockey hit across the blue line, reminiscent of the Eric Lindros-Scott Stevens hit (see video).
Barzal was skating with his head down, not aware of his surroundings and Provorov made him pay for it. Lucky for Barzal, this isn't the game we grew up watching. It's a different sport, for the better. But Barzal hopefully will learn to keep his head up. He put himself in a position to suffer a serious injury there. But that was as beautiful as a check as we'll see.
• Let's talk about Travis Sanheim after what was mostly a pretty good week.
Sanheim played a season-high 20:09 with an assist in Monday's 4-1 loss to Colorado and then 15:28 in Boston on Thursday. He did a lot of positive things, created chances, moved the puck, limited his mistakes in his own zone.
But on Saturday, Sanheim struggled with his coverages and finished as a minus-2 in 16:32. This play, in particular, was simply inexcusable.
Overall, there were more positives than negatives this week on the Sanheim front.
• Another positive to come out of this week was that Brian Elliott is starting to look like a goalie the Flyers can rely on.
Elliott picked up two losses this week but certainly was not a problem. A couple soft goals but overall, he played his best hockey this season. The Flyers need him to compete at that level going forward.
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