1. The Flyers...well, they haven't done so well this year. Which is worse: Pronger's cap hit or Bobrovsky's dominance in Columbus?
Both suck, but Pronger's cap hit is easy to get around with the LTIR exemption. It doesn't hurt the Flyers on a day-to-day basis. It's more that Pronger will never play again and the situation in which that ultimately puts the organization that hurts more than his cap number.
We've also talked about how the Bob trade made sense at the time and that it's not really fair or productive to judge a trade in hindsight. So yeah ... it sucks that he's putting together a Vezina-caliber season for another team. But when the deal was made, the Flyers turned an undrafted goalie with a .909 career save percentage into two solid draft picks, and we still don't know what the future holds for the prospects taken with those picks.
All in all, the Bob situation hurts a lot more because of the irony and Steve Mason and Flyers goalies and blah blah blah hockey is the worst thing, but if I could answer "neither" I'd do that and point to the general problems on defense as the biggest problem they face.
2. The last time the Flyers did this poorly, they bounced back in a big way the next year. Think they can do worst-to-first again?
Ugh, who knows. Paul Holmgren was a damn magician that summer. He picked up Hartnell and Timonen and Scottie Upshall and Braydon Coburn and ... yeah, I can't see him pulling off the same magic again. Again, it comes back to the defense. They need to be better there. They need Kimmo Timonen to be healthy, they need Luke Schenn to keep getting better, they need another player who can play on the top-4. They also need to see continued growth from their young players up front -- guys like Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn, Matt Read, Wayne Simmonds, etc. They're a young core up front and with that brings some natural instability, but the potential is obviously huge. There's a ton of talent there.
I can't see them winning the Atlantic next season, but I'd expect them to make the playoffs. A lot has to come together for them to be a contender but depending on what Holmgren does in the offseason, it's within the realm of possibility.
3. There are 5 teams (WSH WPG NYR NYI OTT) fighting for the 4 remaining spots in the east. Which team would you like to see drop out the most?
I live in DC and want to go to playoff games here, so I'm not exactly rooting for the Caps but I'd like to see them get in. I'd love to see the Rangers get rolled by the Bruins in the first round, I'd like to see the Isles get in for nostalgia purposes and Ottawa might be awful re: the Karlsson/Matt Cooke thing but it's hard for me to find any true hatred for them.
While it'd be nice to see Columbus make it and Rick Nash not, I really would rather see Rangers fans get excited for the playoffs and then lose in round one. Winnipeg is just stupid as an Eastern Conference thing and they've been beating the Flyers since they were the Thrashers, so they can go to hell. Yeah, fuck off, Jets.
Couldn't agree more about that last part. Thanks again to Travis for doing this!