I’m angry. You’re angry. The Flyers? Their not angry, nor do they play with any anger. Don’t believe their “We aren’t happy with how we’ve been playing and we’re going to do something about it” garbage, because it is just that. According to our great friends at Dictionary.com, to “have heart” in playing sports means that you compete with “vigorous and efficient activity, while possessing courage throughout.” It’s fair to say that the Philadelphia Flyers – losers of 12 of their last 15 contests – lack this so-called “heart.” In fact, it’s appearing more and more that this group never even had it in the first place.
Like most Flyers fans, I love my team. I support the guys they throw out on the ice through and through, regardless if it’s John LeClair or Jiri Dopita. One of the reasons that the Flyers have consistently had the wave of ongoing support from the Philly faithful is because this team, whether first in their division or last in the conference, would never be at a loss when it came to effort and having every player give his all on the ice. Suddenly, however, that Flyer persona is gone. As it vanishes, so too do some fans, as well as individuals who once believed the Orange and Black could do no wrong, regardless of the fact that the Flyers certainly have done far more wrong than right over the course of their history.
I write this post to you in the assumed minority. I am going to stick it out with this team till the (bitter) end, because it’s never crossed my mind once to give up. In my last statement, by no means do I mean that Flyer fans are going to start giving up on the Orange and Black. Instead, it’s a matter of gradually losing more and more interest as the season progresses. I – although it admittedly may be a poor life choice, as well as do severe damage to my ego, psyche, as well as my heart – will not fall into that category. I have the great disadvantage of spending 3/4 of the year out of the Philadelphia area, as I attend school in Ithaca, New York. As a result, I can’t go to Flyers games often, but that doesn’t stop me from following the team. I watch every single game, regardless of day and time, and become very involved in each contest. Believe me, my roomates’ ears and the dents in my room’s walls can attest to that. So, imagine my excitement yesterday, as I drove home from school knowing that I’d get to see two teams in the tank of the Eastern Conference battle in South Philadelphia? No, really, I was excited. Now, I want you to imagine even more how upset I am at this team as I type these words. Enough of this – the rant begins now.
Why can’t the Flyers consistently play good hockey? It seems like it’s an impossible task, and something that shouldn’t be hard to deal with given their group of skaters. However, for some reason, the feat is near-impossible. The Flyers have won 3 times in their last fifteen games. That’s embarrassing. They were swept during a potential momentum shifting home-and-home series with their cross state rivals. They were spanked in Pittsburgh in the first game, and got sent home packing courtesy of Sid the Kid in a shootout in the second leg. The Flyers probably won’t want to see those Penguins any time soon, but it would behoove this squad to watch the Pens play. Remember that whole “playing with heart” thing? You better believe the Penguins have it. Don’t want to believe me? Trust me, I didn’t want to believe myself. However, it’s hard to argue with the results: two straight playoff knock-out punches delivered to the Orange and Black (one on home ice), two straight Eastern Conference Championships, and, oh, that Stanley Cup they won last year against the then defending champion Detroit Red Wings. Believe me I loathe the Penguins, and it’s hard for me to admit it, but their just better than the Flyers right now. In fact, the Rangers were better than the Flyers this afternoon, and believe it or not, the Bruins were better than the Flyers in the one game the Orange and Black won this week. For the first time in my life, I’m starting to come to the stark and harsh reality that yes, the Flyers have good players, but the team as a whole isn’t good. And as the Penguins show the Broad Street Bullies time and time again, it’s a team effort that wins you hockey games.
I could get more angry here, and believe me I planned on it. But I’m not. To be honest, the Flyers haven’t played with enough will and power on the ice to warrant any time wasted on their behalf. The bottom line is this: win. This week the Flyers have the Panthers, Lightning, and Hurricanes. For their sake, they better win all three. Lose? Then the anger comes full force.