Thursday, January 21, 2010

Evolution of a sports Philly sports fan

Back in June of 1994, I was a month shy of my 10th birthday. I had just started following hockey about a year earlier, and was of course, a Flyers fan. But they stunk during the early 90's, so come playoff time, I would "adopt" a team and root for them to win it all: I took the Kings in 1993, (what little kid didnt love Gretzky?) In the spring of '94, I adopted the Rangers. They were such a likable team, trying to end a long championship drought. They had so many players that I liked; Richter, Messier, Graves, Leetch, MacTavish. When they won, I was very happy for them and their fans.

Jump ahead to 1995. The Flyers have rebuilt themselves into a contender, we've got Lindros, LeClair, Renberg, Brindamour, Hextall, etc... We faced the Rangers in the 2nd round of the playoffs, this was a key moment in my sports education; how could I have ever "adopted" or been happy for a New York sports team to succeed when I'm a Philadelphia fan?! I got great joy from watching the Legion of Doom eliminate the defending champs in 1995 and again in the '97 conference finals (suck on that Gretzky!) It was during these couple years that I realized just how annoying New York sports fans are, thus increasing my love for the city of Philadelphia, its fans and its sports teams

As Ive gotten older (and hopefully wiser) I still "adopt" teams once my team is out of the playoffs (go Colts!) but you couldnt pay me a million dollars to root for a New York team. Especially the Rangers. The '94 team was likable and exciting. The '09-'10 Rangers? Drury? Avery? Gaborik? Prospal? Callahan? please, they are about as exciting to watch as paint drying. (although Henrik Lundqvist is one of my top 10 favorite non-Flyers)

For all of these reasons I hope the Flyers put a good old fashioned South Philly beatdown on the blueshirts tonight similar to the one we put on them on New Years eve eve. The role players need to keep rolling, the stars need to keep shining, and Razor needs to get sharper. If at least 2 out of those 3 happen, I expect a big win

LETS GO FLYERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Flyers Caps Re-cap

The Flyers got beaten by a better team yesterday, plain & simple. Although, in my opinion, the Flyers didnt show up yesterday, even if they did, the Caps are one of the top 5 teams in the league, and you have to be hitting on all cylinders to be competitive with them. In the grand scheme of things, its just one loss (and 2 in a row), and Im certainly not going to lose any sleep over it, but this team dosent have the room to lose points in the standings. I think the difference between the 6th seed and the 10th seed will probably only be 5-6 points, so this team needs to get back on track.

Some quick notes from Sunday's game-

-Ole Kristian Tollefson is completely 100% useless, he is no where near a NHL caliber defensemen

-I dont care what anyone says. If this team is going to make the playoffs, and make a run once they get there, Ray Emery is the guy to take us there. No disrespect to Michael Leighton, but Emery is a better goalie. He looked very rusty yesterday, which is obviously to be expected, but I hope Laviolette sticks with him and gets him back into the groove.

-I love watching games at the Verizon Center. Even though they are fairweather fans, they are very passionate and make it a fun atmosphere to watch a game. I went there last year, and it was a blast.

-Alex Ovechkin is the best player in the world, and its not even close. Crosby is good, Malkin is good, but for my money, it dosent get any better than Ovechkin. Every time he touches the puck, its a jump out of your seat moment. Man he would look good in orange & black

Also, I just heard on WIP about how Richards was criticizing the Philly media for "throwing guys under the bus" when things go arent going well. He added something along the lines of, when things are going well, you never hear anything. All of that IS true, but c'mon Mike, you've gotta be smarter than that. Philly fans and media are like vultures, they will eat you alive if you say or do something stupid. Just ask Donovan McNabb.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dallas Sucks!

Tonight the Flyers will try to stand up for Philadelphia & beat Dallas. Although a 11-0 win still wont erase our memories of another recent Philly vs Dallas matchup, it certainly wouldnt hurt. As Ive mentioned before, I think the Flyers are starting to "get it" under Laviolette. That, along with a stretch of winnable games could mean great things for the Flyers.

As for tonights game, I dont know, Dallas really bores me. They've got a couple good players but they dont excite me in any way. I have a strange feeling that this game is going to be really boring & slow with only a couple minutes of exciting action. With that being said, if we come out on top, I dont care. As long as we get 2 points, Ill sit through a snoozefest. By the way, Im really glad that the Carter for Turco trade rumors earlier this season werent true. I think Turco is as overrated as they get

Now that the Eagles are done, and the Phillies are a little over a month away from spring training, its all about the Flyers. However if they go into another tailspin, the wonderful local media will ignore them and find something else to yap about. This is an exciting young team that is starting to play really well, so pay attention everyone!!

LETS GO FLYERS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

E-A-G-L......ahh never mind

Well at least one Philly team one last night. I must say for the first time in a while, I'm feeling really good about the Flyers. They're winning games consistently, & they're looking solid doing it. For the most part, the stars are playing well lately, and as always, the role players are doing their role well, as seen by Blair Betts' potting 2 last night. It took a few weeks, but it looks like the Flyers may finally be starting to "get" Laviolette's system, and the results have been really good. Over the next couple weeks, we have winnable games. No team is going to win all of them, but if we can average 4 out of 5 against winnable teams, that will go a long way to moving us up in the standings.

Ray Emery made 12 saves on 14 shots last night for the Phantoms in his rehab start. This is where it gets interesting. When he comes back to the big club (Tuesday?) What happens with the other 2 goalies? Leighton has been the biggest surprise on the team this year, and dont forget, before Boosh hurt his finger against Florida, he was playing really well too. I dont think their is any argument, that if this team is going to make a run in the playoffs, Emery is the guy to take us, and when he comes back, he will be & should be the starter, but what happens to Boosh & Leighton? My guess is that they carry 3 goalies on the roster for a little while & healthy scratch one of them until they see if Emery is 100% healthy. Once he is back full time (and knock on wood, stays healthy) I would put out some feelers for trade and see what you could get for Leighton or Boosh. Although I doubt we would get much, if someone was desperate and wanted to give up a 2nd round pick, I'd make that trade in a heartbeat, rememeber for all this team has, it dosent have many high draft picks over the next couple years.

Of course this is all speculation on my part. Obviously Homer & the rest of the front office have probably been thinking about what they're going to do for a while now & probably already know whats going to happen. Its just nice for the first time I can remember, we have too much talent at the goaltender position. Thats certainly a good problem to have!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Future of the Winter Classic

Its obvious after the success of the previous 3 Winter Classic's that this has become the NHL's marquee event. Some would argue that its bigger & gets more attention than the Stanley Cup Finals. The NHL is trying to get back to where it once was, and the Winter Classic is a big step towards doing that, mainly because casual fans are interested in it, whereas they may not be interested in a bad finals matchup.

With that being said, my fear is that this event will potentially become stale over the next few years. The reason is, there are only so many places that you can actually do it. Wrigley Field & Fenway were awesome venues, & are certainly more appealing to watch than, say, a Winter Classic at Lincoln Financial Field. In addition, doing these games at football stadiums requires a couple things. First, you need to coordinate the NHL schedule with the NFL's and have the football team be on the road for the last couple weeks of the regular season to have time to set everything up. Also, if you're going to have it at a football stadium on New Years Day, you wouldn't be able to do it if New Years fell later in the week, because depending on how the NFL schedule is set up, there is the potential of the football team having a playoff game that weekend.

Here are some ideas I have for future matchups/sites for the Winter Classic.

Capitals vs Rangers @ New Yankee Stadium- Another historic venue, a big market, & the most exciting player in the game. This is my pick for Winter Classic 2011

Devils vs Islanders @ Citi Field (Mets Stadium) -I'm sure the league would like to let Martin Brodeur play in this event, and if the Islanders continue to build with all the young talent that they have, this could be an intriguing matchup which again would be big in the New York City market

Wild vs (insert team here) @ new Twins Stadium- Minnesota has arguably the best hockey fans in America, and there is no doubt that it would be a huge event there. The only problem is that the Wild aren't exactly the "sexiest" team in the league right now, and I'm not sure if the league & NBC would be "Wild" about Minnesota being in their showcase event

Capitals vs Penguins @ PNC Park (Pirates Stadium) Heinz Field, Nationals Stadium, or Camden Yards (Orioles) -I have no doubt that within the next few years, this will be a Winter Classic. This one is pretty self explanitory-Crosby vs Ovechkin against each other in the league's showcase game

Winter Classic @ Lambeau Field- Im not sure how this would work, since there arent any NHL teams in Wisconsin, but that would be an awesome site for the game

My personal favorite: Flyers vs Penguins @ Penn State-Close your eyes for a second....Now imagine Flyers vs Penguins playing outdoors in a stadium that seats 100,000 you have goosebumps too?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Im Back

OK well Ive been away for a few days. So I wont bother writing a Winter Classic review, because everyone already has. All I'll say that it was a goosebumps day. One of the coolest things Ive ever watched on TV. I really wish I was there.

Yesterday, the Flyers returned to hockey of the indoor variety. It was a very entertaining game, especially if you enjoy yelling & cursing at the TV and throwing things around the house, because thats what I did. After taking an early 1-0 lead, Michael Leighton allowed 2, & was then pulled for Boucher, who then allowed 2 more. Then in the 2nd, the Flyers came out on fire and tied the game up. Then I cursed more as the Flyers blew it.

Up until yesterday, the Flyers had been playing much better under Peter Laviolette. Im just hoping yesterday was a minor speed bump on their road to the playoffs. With the exception of the 2nd period, they looked horrible. They have a winnable game back at home on Wednesday against a bad, but tough Maple Leaf team. It dosent matter who your opponent is, if they play like they did yesterday, they will lose. Laviolette knows this, & hopefully, everyone in the locker room knows it.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

2 in a row!?

On paper, last nights game probably didnt get anyones heart racing. Carolina is the worst team in the league, & the Flyers are struggling bigtime. But the game turned out to be one of the more entertaining ones I've watched in quite some time. I was pumped when Danny Briere made it 3-0, but then all hell broke loose, & in the blink of an eye, the game was tied 3-3. Overtime was back & forth with both teams getting several quality scoring chances. Im a fan of the shootout, but it would have been neat to see overtime keep going the way it was.

If the Flyers played the way they played in the 3rd period last night against a team like Washington or Pittsburgh, they would have gotten killed. But the fact is they did what they had to do to beat the team they were playing. A win over the Canes counts for the same amount of points as a win over any other team. Bill Clement said it best on the post game when he said that this game showed how far the Flyers have come under Peter Laviolette, and it shows how far they still have to come.

Theres no doubt that the previous couple & next couple games are against some of the weaker teams in the east, compared to the stretch that they were playing when Laviolette took over. But wins are wins, and this team its gaining confidence back. There is no reason why we cant take 4 points from the New York teams over the next couple days and take that momentum into Fenway on Friday. Im not saying were back on track yet, but were certainly alot closer than we were a few days ago

LETS GO FLYERS!!!!!!!!!!