Thursday, July 19, 2012

Flyers are still the Broad Street Bullies

Once again, the Flyers are the Broad Street Bullies in the NHL, if not on the ice, then certainly in the offseason.  More appropriately, they are acting like the New York Yankees, buying the best available players by structuring offers in such a manner that smaller market teams cannot match them. Unlike the Yankees, this strategy has yet to pay dividends in the form of a Stanley Cup championship (the drought is 37 years and counting). The offer in question is to arguably the best all-around defenseman in the NHL, Shea Weber, the small market team that will be hard-pressed to match is the Nashville Predators, who have already lost premier defenseman Ryan Suter(on whom the Flyers also bid) to the Minnesota Wild.  As a Flyers fan, I’m always impressed by the Flyers constantly swinging for the fences, going all-out to win the ultimate hockey prize, the Stanley Cup.  But, I can’t help but feel that pilfering the small market teams , teams in regions where hockey is trying to get established, build a fan base, is not good business for the NHL as a whole.  On the other hand, baseball’s small market teams have proven that a well run organization in a small market (the Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins,  and this year even the Pittsburgh Pirates),  can still be relevant. So my feelings are mixed, I’d love to have Weber in orange and black, love the fact that the Flyers are always trying to win it all, but, as a fan of the sport as a whole, I’d like to see the smaller market teams throughout the league have a chance, give their fans a thrill rather than the constant feeling of hopelessness (a thrill the league-owned Phoenix Coyotes gave their fans this year in making the Western conference Finals before losing to the eventual champion L.A. Kings) that must result when your star players are always pilfered by the leagues “Bullies”.

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