Monday, June 27, 2011

Are the Flyers, the Yankees of the NHL?

You have to give the Flyers credit. They never rest on their laurels (even if those laurels are looking a little wilted after 36 years) and wait for something good to happen. They are always pushing to enhance their chances of winning the Stanley Cup, and they, more than any other Philadelphia team, reflect the fan base, aggressively focused on winning, occasionally to their own detriment, jettisoning young talent when a little patience would serve  them better (remember Patrick Sharp, Joni Pitkanen, Dainius Zubrus?).  Similar to the Yankees in the 80’s, they bring in fading stars who excite the fans, but whose best years are behind them, players such as Paul Coffey,  Adam Oates,  Tony Amonte, Petr Nedved, and  goalies such as John Vanbiesbrouck and  Sean Burke (twice). Well, they’ve done it again, jettisoning young captain Mike Richards and leading scorer Jeff Carter to sign productive, but aging (31) goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine year contract.  Bryzgalov almost certainly has a few highly productive years remaining..but nine?  And what happens to last year’s goalie of the future,  Sergei Bobrovsky. Obviously, the future came and went for the 22 year old.   The Flyers brought in quite a haul of talented but unproven players in the Richards and Carter deals, but will they be allowed to develop, or will they too become victims of Ed Snider’s Steinbrenner like impatience?  Of course, if Bryzgalov leads them to the Cup that they’ve been single-mindedly chasing since 1975, no one will care.  The Flyers are always trying, and for that, credit must be given where credit is due.

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