Why My Team is Better Than Your Team: Philadelphia Flyers

A few years ago, I attended my high school’s 5-year reunion in Southern New Jersey. Aside from realizing you’re standing in a room with ice cold appetizers, a crummy cash bar, and a bunch of people you still have no interest in talking to, the only other thing you leave that evening with is a small booklet that serves to tell you what all your old classmates have gotten into post-graduation. As I was flipping through it the following morning, I was surprised to see that one girl with whom I graduated had scored a job working “with the Philadelphia Flyers.” What the hell?? I used a $2k collegiate research grant to put together an NHL sports marketing project, and I couldn’t even get a job in hockey! What gives?

Later that day, some buddies and I attended the annual Black Friday Matinee game at the Wachovia Center. Flyers-Islanders, if I recall correctly. As we discussed at Way to go, Ashley.  Mom and Dad are proud.intermission how baffling it was that this girl was earning a living from the same payroll as Jeremy Roenick and John LeClair, the Delta Dental Ice Girls skated out on the ice to launch t-shirts to the crowd, and our conversation ceased instantly. Yep, you guessed it.

That’s her on the far left.

After the jump, join me in the praising of a team who won just 22 games last year.

All Work and No Play Make Homer Go Something Something: After holding every position in the Flyers’ organization aside from junior skate sharpener, Paul Holmgren was named the General Manager of the team one month into the ’06-’07 campaign. Following a period where many of former GM Bobby Clarke’s acquisitions floundered (e.g. signing defensemen with comparable speed and agility to Easter Island statues), Holmgren used a lost season of franchise implosion to evaluate talent and build this year’s team. At the trade deadline, he dealt Peter Forsberg to Nashville for Scottie Upshall, future star defenseman Ryan Parent and a first-round pick, which he returned to the Preds before the draft for the right to sign Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell. He also brought in Martin Biron at the trade deadline, who had been stuck behind the lead singer of Guster in Buffalo. Homer also found new NHL homes for trainwrecks Kyle Calder, Petr Nedved, and Nolan Baumgartner – all highly-touted Clarkie signings.

In other news, Bobby Clarke is now our Senior Vice President. (Psst: Don’t tell Mr. Clarke. He thinks all SVP’s in the league have to park cars during home games.)

Ooh. Shiny.The Potent Combination of Youth, New Guys, and Mike Knuble: Last year’s hopes on the offensive end of the ice were too often pinned on, “Man, I sure hope Sami Kapanen develops a scoring touch,” as well as “It’s so nice to see the other teams play their back-up goalie against us. Now Geoff Sanderson may actually light the lamp.” This year, we’re taking a more optimistic approach. And by optimistic, we mean holding our wallet upside down over our head and letting cash – lots and lots of cash – fall to the free agent market. The first line will now feature Daniel Briere centering Simon Gagne and Mike Knuble. Gagne has scored 88 goals over the past two seasons, Briere is coming off a near 100-point season, and Mike Knuble can be counted on to not screw things up. (It’s amazing what a few seasons alongside Joe Thornton and Glen Murray can do for a former checking liner’s confidence.) After that, the ability to get major minutes for the kids last season needs to pay off, as it is time for guys like Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, R.J. Umberger to step up alongside the new Nashvillains and Joffrey Lupul.

The 2007 Defense: We’re Taller than You!: Aside from the salary cap, the biggest change to the NHL since the lockout has been the new style of play. Thanks to Bobby Clarke, the Flyers were always one step behind the new trend. The first free agency period following the hockey void resulted in the signings of Derian Hatcher and Mike Rathje, and later the trade for Denis Gauthier. In a former season, all three could knock your scoring winger through the glass. However, the rules changed and the Flyers’ D all hit the Injured Reserve on account of whiplash. After that, we depended on quicker, puck-moving defensemen like Kim Johnsson and Joni Pitkanen. Problem was, they assumed turning it over at their own blue line to the other team counted as moving the puck. Now Anaheim’s won the Cup with a combination of big and quick blueliners. The Flyers have hopefully caught up with the trend, with Jason Smith, Hatch, and Braydon Coburn as the former, and Kimmo, Kukkonen, and Alex Picard as the latter.

The Scheduling Gods Are Smiling Down Upon Us: Normally, it’s the NFL season that can be won or lost based on the scheduling hand you’ve been dealt, but for once, the Flyers will actually have a power play thanks to some fortunate game planning. They start the season one the road, playing the three Western Canadian teams, giving them an opportunity to bond as a team and to push Antero Niittymaki down a ski slope in his sleep. They close with two straight at home, and since Reasonable Doubt has assured me of it, the finale against Pittsburgh is a guaranteed W. As for the Black Friday Matinee, the Caps are coming to town. It’s the day after Thanksgiving; Come check out all the action!

…and my former high school classmate, Ashley.

Advertisements

8 Comments

  1. They close with two straight at home, and since Reasonable Doubt has assured me of it, the finale against Pittsburgh is a guaranteed W.

    That’s a bold statement. 0-7-1 ring any bells?

  2. who let the dogs out?

  3. It’s a shame that by the time all of that youth you speak of develops it will be near-impossible to fit under the cap due to the presence of a aging Daniel Briere eating up cap space.

    /bitter Sabres fan

    But seriously $10mil. for Briere? I thought the 5 he made last year was pushing it.

  4. It’s only 10 mil in the first year, it’s not like that’s the AAV of his deal.

    Briere offered the Sabres a 5 year, $25 million offer at the start of the season and they told him to piss off.

    Then he had a 95-point season.

    What does Buffalo offer him? The same 5 year, $25 million offer that they themselves had rejected at the start of the season.

    I think they clearly put their eggs in the Drury basket. They were pissed at Briere over taking them to arbitration, ignoring the fact that Briere wanted to stay in Buffalo and Drury had one eye out the door all along.

  5. KC, that’s exactly what happened (at least as far as the public knows).

    Briere wanted to be here, Sabres didn’t.
    Drury didn’t want to be here, Sabres did.
    Because of that, we lost both.

    Pretty much sums it up.

  6. He also brought in Martin Biron at the trade deadline, who had been stuck behind the lead singer of Guster in Buffalo.

    I say he looks like the son of Ian Rush, complete with non-horizontal eye-level.

  7. Bro, Bro!!! Your friend: is she single? I’m willing to let an exception for just this once on not dating blonds or flyers fans or girls from New Jersey…

    …ohh…..is she that hot? Date someone from NJ? What the heck! Giggidy! Giggidy!!!

  8. You had me right up until In other news Bobby Clarke is now our Senior Vice President.

    Thankfully for the rest of us in the East, anything Bobby Clarke touches, with the possible exception of Valeri Kharlamov’s ankle, turns to crap. Come to think of it, so did the ankle. That said the Flyers should make the playoffs…at which point the circus will be very entertaining!

    Oh…and MUCH bigger pics with these sorts of posts. That’d be great. Thanks.


Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s