I love y'all. I really do. I'm as upset as all of you - if not more so - that the Flyers lost this series. I've seen my share of ups and downs with this team; I've been going to games since 1982. I know when the Flyers "have it" and when they don't, and despite all of their talent on paper, this year's team did not "have it." (By "have it" I mean having the proper collection of luck, favorable match-ups, healthy bodies, and overall level of play it takes to succeed.) You know what I mean. It never stops sucking when the Flyers fall short, much like it never stops being awesome when the Flyers go on a deep playoff run.
But this is neither here nor there. It's not why I'm writing this.
I understand that some folks' reactions are knee-jerk in nature. The Flyers lost and everyone is upset, so it's only natural to try to figure out what went wrong. I am writing this to counter some of the opinions that I've come across in the game recap thread - not to call anyone out, but just to add a little perspective to everything. Mind you, my points are not going to be supported by statistics or anything of the sort. I can only offer my experience of being a hockey fan for most of my life.
Without further ado:
- "We're never going to win unless we get this type of player / goalie!" Certainly there are situations where a team is one piece away from a Stanley Cup. The Flyers have experienced it a number of times. But adding one or two more players is not necessarily going to translate to a title. As I said above, everything has to break right for a championship. A team has to be healthy and playing well; it needs to avoid unfavorable match-ups; and it needs to get the breaks. Adding one or two players - even someone like Tomas Vokoun - gives you a better chance, but it guarantees nothing. This isn't the NBA.
- "Something is seriously wrong in that locker room!" Really? Why are you saying this? Is it because the Flyers haven't won the Cup with the current core? Well, that must mean something has always been wrong in cities like Washington, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Buffalo because each of those clubs have fielded some very good teams over the years, yet they've never won a championship. May I remind you that lots of people were saying the same thing last year, and then the team surprised us with that memorable playoff run? I'll never forget when Arron Asham said: "We're a family, and we're finally starting to play like one." Ah, but wait! Are they not a "family" anymore, even though most of last year's players are still here? Do they miss guys like Asham and Ian Laperriere THAT much? Have they been lying to us this whole year when they've been saying how much they believe in themselves and in each other? They MUST have been in order to protect certain players, because...
- "Carter and Richards are teh SUCK! Trade them! They party too much and don't care!" If you can prove all of these things to me with evidence that does not leave any reasonable doubts, then maybe I'll join in this chorus. But I don't see that happening. Many articles have been written on this very site on Mike Ricahrds' excellence as a "heavy lifter," how much Jeff Carter has stepped up his game this year, and so on. And even our wonderful mainstream media representatives often talk about how much Mike Richards hates to lose. Again, if people can prove to me (and to the organ-eye-zation) how much Richards and Carter "don't care," then I'll be all for getting rid of them. But I doubt this severely. You don't come back from a sprained MCL if you "don't care." You don't play injured or sick if you "don't care." You're not the only guy on the ice hustling back to defend a possible empty-net goal against if you "don't care." Let's keep these things in mind when launching our criticisms, folks; perspective is everything. Speaking of which...
- "The Flyers weren't tired! That's BS! You don't get tired in the playoffs!" I'm assuming none of you have played 213 games from September 2009 to the present? That's 15 preseason games, 164 regular-season games, and 34 playoff games from September 2009 until May 2011. As has been said many times, that's more games played than any other team in the National Hockey League, and the barely three-month break between seasons was the shortest in Flyers' history. Let's also remember that this was the first season in which Laviolette instituted his "true" uptempo/attacking system, which has drained just about every team he's ever coached on the NHL level. Furthermore, just because the players themselves don't use fatigue as an excuse doesn't mean it isn't a factor. It's not like the Flyers didn't want to beat Boston. The main reasons they lost the series were because Boston was a bad match-up for the Flyers, from the goal on out; the Bruins had revenge on their minds after last year; and the Flyers simply had nothing left to give.
Again, I'm not trying to call anyone out. I know we're all upset. But let's have some perspective. There are reasons why things went wrong, true. But it's probably not because of all of the "sky is falling" shit that the media spoon-feeds to us.
I'm looking forward to a productive off-season and more desirable results next year. This too shall pass, my friends.
Let's go Flyers!