I can't believe the surprise and reaction to the line brawl on Friday night. In terms of the surprise, these guys are human. They were clearly frustrated with the way things were going. It's one thing to run up the score (which I actually don't have a problem with), but the celebration after the 7th goal was ridiculous (I don't care if it was a hat trick). You poke the bear, you pay the price. That's not old school or new school or Flyers hockey, that's just human nature. As for the reaction from the 'fans,' what would you have preferred? That they rubbed our nose in piss and we just accepted it??? Fuck off.
The problem with this team wasn't Lavy, it wasn't Bryz, it wasn't Ritchie or Carter, it's not Berube, it's not G, it’s not Hartnell, it ain't Luke Schenn. The problem with this team can be summed up in one word - pressure. I want a Cup. You want a Cup. Ed Snider wants a Cup. The players want a Cup. But we're all so goddamn starved that we've become such miserable pricks. The fans. The media. The owners. Hell, even the players. It's not for a lack of caring. In fact, it's the opposite. As a group, we clearly want to win more than any other fanbase in this league (and let's be fair, Cups aside, we've been a pretty spoiled bunch over the years). But we all just need to chill the fuck out. It's a game. The players are trying. Management is trying. If anything, they're all just trying way too damn hard to live up to our collective years of pent-up expectations.
Imagine trying to perform your own job under constant fear of making a mistake, under constant scrutiny and while constantly being told you suck. You would suck. You really think it's a coincidence that the likes of Williams, Prospal, Zubrus, Seidenberg, Sharp, Lupul, Gagne, Richards, Carter and JVR achieved a higher level of success elsewhere? Is it odd that the likes of Biron, Versteeg, Bryz, Grossmann, Brayden Schenn, Couts, Streit and Emery were highly respected elsewhere only to come to Philly and struggle? Young players and goalies face the most pressure in this game and you think it's a coincidence that we struggle with both? Look no further than Sergei Bobrovsky. In his last year in Philly, his play didn’t even warrant a spot in the NHL. In his first year away from Philly he miraculously turns into the best goalie in the NHL? Fuck off. A roster overhaul will only see us disappointed when the likes of Couts, Schenn(s), Read, Simmonds, Voracek, G, Mason, Morin and Laughton go elsewhere to develop into winners.
Still disagree about the pressure? Think of recent Flyers history when our diminishing expectations temporarily relieved the pressure. In 2009-10, a stacked lineup struggled all year under high expectations until they squeaked into the playoffs in a shoot out. We were all just relieved to get to the dance and then our boys took us to the Finals. Even that spring, we wrote them off when they went down 0-3 to Boston. At that point, history suggested almost zero expectation for a comeback. But they did. And again last year, they buckled under pressure all season long until they were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs and a wounded group finished the year 6-1.
Pressure is the problem. Who puts the pressure there? We do. The media does. And unfortunately our fiercely competitive owner does. Our collective asinine expectations are the problem. Simple math tells us one Cup every 30 years is realistic (and yes I realize it's been longer than that), but yet we demand it every year. Quite simply, that’s a recipe for disappointment. All I expect is that the boys work hard, that they play to entertain and that they represent that logo and the passion of the fans with pride. And as a lifelong fan, I can say that most of the time they've done just that. Our roster doesn't suck. Berube doesn't suck. We don't need a fucking culture change. When the fuck did playing tough become a bad thing? And what the fuck drew you to this team in the first place? I don’t live in Philly. I don’t cheer for this team because of geography. I live in another NHL market but have bled orange and black since I was a fucking fetus because that logo represents everything I love about this game – hard work, determination, toughness, a desire to win and supporting your team mates at all cost. If you hate watching them, then don't. You’re crippling us. We don’t need you. 4-9 or 9-4, I fucking love this team and if everyone could just chill the fuck out I think we could actually turn this thing around.