The NHL Lake Tahoe Event is less than a week away, and while there are certainly questions on the Flyers even having enough bodies to fill the bench, one player who should be on the bench is Alex Lyon.
Carter Hart and Brian “Moose” Elliot are one of the best goalie tandems in the league. A classic story of the young rising star paired with the stable veteran, much like “Wild Thing” Ricky Vaughn and Jake Taylor from Major League.
Who gets the start in the 72-hour PR-stunt in Tahoe? Neither has beaten Boston this year, so I honestly don’t care, nor am I going to predict.
However, third-string Alex Lyon should make the trip for the betterment of the team.
Hear me out…
Alex Lyon Backing up in Lake Tahoe: Three Reasons
A Long Trip to Freeze on a Bench
The Tahoe game would be the dream hockey weekend trip for many fans with skiing, gambling, and Mystery Alaska-style hockey to be played. Of course, fans will have no such experience, and the players are likely not going to have a memorable weekend either.
With bubble-esque restrictions put on teams, coaches, and staff – along with a roundtrip cross-country flight – it is unlikely the players will see the town, beauty, slopes, or attractions outside of the game/practice itself.
Why trek both reliable net-minders out there when one rides the bench all night? Travel, dressing, warmups, and sit in a 30-degree night takes a toll on the backup goalie.
Manage Simultaneous Inability
Like not having the President and VP in the air simultaneously, the Flyers need to manage the risk of having both Elliott and Hart in Lake Tahoe. There is a realistic scenario that Covid protocol could incapacitate both of its goalies at the same time.
Monday’s scheduled practice was canceled, and there are currently seven players on the Covid protocol list: Travis Konecny, Claude Giroux, Oskar Lindblom, Jake Voracek, Scott Laughton, Justin Braun, and Morgan Frost. That is a lot of Taxi-Squad fill-ins against the top team in the division. However, the NHL has said that both Thursday’s game against the Rangers and Sunday’s game in Lake Tahoe is still on.
The Flyers are in the midst of a Covid outbreak that could dismantle a promising first quarter of the season. However, holding the non-starter back in lieu of the third-string, Lyon keeps better control of the goaltending health, which will be paramount in the coming weeks while the team gets healthy.
A Condensed Season Gets More Condensed
The Flyers have missed four games, and what will eventually be 11 days in an already condensed 56-game season, when they restart play on Thursday night against the Rangers (fingers crossed).
As the schedule stands now, the Flyers have five “true” back-to-back games in consecutive days. It is rational to think that number will increase to make up the four missed games even if the NHL extends the season by another week. Increased back-to-backs mean Brian Elliot will likely get a few more games than planned to ensure Hart is fresh down the stretch. Making goaltender-rest a premium for the duration of the season.
For those three reasons and the long-term success of the Flyers 2021 campaign, Chuck Fletcher should make the call to send Alex Lyon out west as the backup.
Photo by Nicole Fridling/Icon Sportswire