Eds. Note: This was bumped from the fanposts because, well, I greatly enjoyed it. You don't have to agree, but it's worth reading.
Ladies and gents,
I'm as frustrated as the rest of you - if not more so - with the state of the Flyers nowadays. There's a lot to dislike, and there's very little to inspire confidence (at least for this year). Quite frankly, I felt flat-out furious with this team earlier on in the season, because I felt like I had been lied to. The Flyers would be "relentless" every game; "next year" would surely be "now."
Not so fast. Instead of a dynamic offense, smothering defense, and good-enough-to-win goaltending, we find ourselves with an offense prone to deep funks, an improving defense (with little depth in case of injuries), and... good-enough-to-win goaltending. So we got roughly 40% of what we were promised, and we see where that's gotten us. Yuck. Oh well, there's always NEXT YEAR! (Cue circus music.)As much as the state of the team flat-out sucks right now, I still have hope for the future. Remember, the Flyers are second all-time in win percentage to the Montreal Canadiens. They have a history of retooling in offseasons to try to get the team competitive each and every year. Additionally, the Flyers lead all expansion teams in Stanley Cup semifinal appearances (15) and playoff appearances (34). So, as much as this season sucks, we can have faith that the organ-eye-zation will do whatever it can to right the ship. Obviously, we have to hope that they don't majorly screw up again, and we need to pray that Homer (or his replacement) learned from his mistakes and gets the team back on track. But given the team's history, I have faith that they'll be back for real next year.
My real purpose in writing this is out of concern for us, the fans. As I said in the intro, I understand the frustration all too well. Remember, I became a fan when Clarke and Barber were still playing in the early 1980s, so I've lived and died a lot with this team. I've always been proud to be a fan and always will be. And it seems like most of us here are of the same mindset. But it also seems like we're letting the struggles of the team CHANGE that mindset a little bit. The long and short of it is that there's been a lot of finger-pointing, name-calling, blame-spreading, etc., etc. going on - not between members of the community, but from us to the team.
Today's FanShot about the team's cars being snowed in was a prime example - an anecdote about two veteran teammates being particularly helpful somehow became an angry discussion about how Richards should not be the captain. Furthermore, there was some hope that the coaching staff were all screaming at the team leaders because they lost. I'm not calling out any of the posters because I almost wrote something along those lines myself. It's easy to get caught up in the negativity when the team is losing - particularly because the team has been an important part of my life for so long. But let's think about two things:
1. Would it really help the team if the coaching staff acted like WIP callers?
2. Does it help the team or allow us to enjoy the games any more when WE act like WIP callers?
Now, I'm not saying we have to drink the orange Kool-Aid and pretend everything is okay. To the contrary, we should acknowledge what is wrong BUT still see the team through it all. We should be proud to be Flyers fans, and we should be proud to expect more from them because the organization has set high standards for itself. I'm only getting concerned about all of the pouting around here (my own included) because it's reminding me of the "You've just changed... that's all" aspect of a romantic breakup. It might sound silly but I just hope no one jumps ship because the team is in a bad way. We've gotten through these times and we will again. Hang in there Flyers fans!
Oh, and if that didn't get you, maybe this will. Towards the end of my regular readership of Puck Daddy, I found myself reading the comments (bad mikefive!) and there was an argument between Flyers and Penguins fans. The Flyers fans were attacking the Pens fans with the tired - though somewhat justified - argument about fan loyalty. The Flyers fans talked about sticking with their team through thick and thin, unlike the Pens fans in the early 2000s. One Pens fan shot back with something along the lines of this: "Well, that just goes to show how much smarter we are than you. Why would we waste our time and money to go see a bad team?"
Well gee, I don't know, maybe because they're supposed to be YOUR TEAM?
Let's never be like that.