(Ed. Note: As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we're bound to lose some friends along the journey. Gone but not forgotten, we've asked for these losers to be eulogized by the people who knew the teams best: The fans who hated them the most. Here is Hooks Orpik of the Pittsburgh Penguins blog Pensburgh, fondly recalling the Philadelphia Flyers.)
By Hooks Orpik
We lay the Philadelphia Flyers down for the summer as we have ever year for the past 33 years: with no Stanley Cup. But at least they got back to playing "Flyers Hockey".
The top sports headlines of the day
You know, that of one suspension, two wins, golf in May. Sounds about right.
Firstly, for the fans more intent on chanting "Crosby sucks" than "Let’s Go Flyers," I need only to refer to what noted philosopher of our time, Shaquille O'Neal, once posed to Philadelphian Kobe Bryant about the flavor of his posterior (PG-13 video). Crosby's now 8-3 against Philly in the postseason, with six goals and nine assists in the 11 games.
Philadelphia's 2008-09 season started with an ominous note, with the Flyers losing an exhibition game to their AHL affiliate the Philadelphia Phantoms. Since they couldn't beat an AHL team, as you might expect, the Flyers started the NHL season slow, going 0-3-3
Jeff Carter really had a breakout year and has emerged as a young star. Apparantely that star doesn’t translate to the postseason. Carter notched 46 goals in the regular season (no one except that Ovechkin guy had more). But when you score as many goals in a playoff series as Rob Scuderi ... not a good sign.
Daniel Carcillo somehow managed to simultaneously be one of the Flyers' best and worst players. Carcillo had as many goals as Carter, and as many assists as Kimmo Timonen, which unfortunately was '1' and '1'. Carcillo had the Flyers' best playoff plus/minus at a plus-3, and somehow the only penalty he took was the fighting major in Game 6. But he also took the suspendable hit, cost his coach a cool $10K and the fight he engaged in (and won) flipped the momentum of the game and series.
Timonen, who missed most of the 2008 playoff series against Pittsburgh, was supposed to be a difference maker; at least that was last year’s excuse. Aside from getting absolutely freight trained by Chris Kunitz in Game 3, Timonen wouldn’t be heard from at all.
Mike Richards's vaunted leadership was only good for one goal on the series too. I guess leadership doesn't exactly fill nets this time of year. Especially when Marc-Andre Fleury is standing in front of it. To be fair, Richards probably would have had Crosby or Evgeni Malkin stats if he was shooting on Martin Biron.
Oh well, at least there’s always Pierre McGuire to pick him up ...
Another character we all got to see too much of is the man who looks like Krusty the Clown with the attitude of Bozo: Scott Hartnell, one goal and 23 penalty minutes. See ya later, Fartsmell; hopefully after you discover where the barbershop is.
To be fair, Philly did have some bright spots and reasons for optimism. Simon Gagne, ever the brittle one, made it through a full season and reverted to near point-per-game production. Twenty-one-year-old Claude Giroux (2G, 3A) was arguably the Flyers' best skater from start to finish in their short playoff season. Someone named Darroll Powe (1G, 2A) emerged as a legit NHL forward, leaving observers to wonder just who the hell the un-drafted player was. Defensemen Matt Carle and Braydon Coburn had a good series (three assists a piece) and both are only 23 years old.
Then again, for every piece of good news, you can remind yourselves that Daniel Briere’s still the player with a $6.5 million cap hit until 2015. Yowzers.
So adieu 2008-09 Philadelphia Flyers, and condolences to the obnoxious fans they leave behind.
Hopefully all the orange shirts provided will come in handy for cleaning up trash on the road by the "most intimidating fans in hockey, whose playoff home record was 1-2." There's always next year for Lord Stanley ... unless of course you see the black and gold in the playoffs for the third time in as many years.
And then when that series is done, you’ll be able to tell me -- in the timeless words of Shaq -- how Crosby's ass tastes.