After The Favorite That Shook The World, news of where Steven Stamkos will land if he's traded or hits free agency have flooded the media. Will it be Toronto? Will he sign and stay put in Tampa? Someplace else? Montreal? Nashville?
Nay, I say. He'll sign with the Flyers one way or another, and I have ten reasons explaining why.
1. The food.
Philadelphia is a Food Town. You know how I know? In order to be classified as a Food Town, a city must be widely known for a food stuff. Philly? It's known for several. Most notably, Philadelphia is known for cheesesteaks, but it doesn't stop there. Soft pretzels, water ice, hoagies, Tastykakes, pork roll...and believe me, the list goes on and on. So yeah, Philadelphia is a Food Town, but I posit that Philadelphia is actually The Food Town, the city in America that has the most draw when it comes to delicious food. I know, I am totally unbiased, and my opinion is now fact. I truly believe that even the strongest-willed human could not resist the greasy, artery-clogging fare that this city has to offer. No, not even you, Steven.
2. Coach Hakstol.
I can see the meeting of Dave Hakstol and Steven Stamkos going exactly one way: Dave Hakstol would greet Stamkos, reach out to shake his hand, hold it in a vice-like grip, and refuse to let go until Stamkos signed the binding legal contract (with his non-dominant hand, of course), all the while staring daggers into his eyes. As soon as the deal was done, Hakstol would immediately release Stamkos's hand and tell him to hit the ice. They have plays to work out.
3. Shayne Gostisbehere.
It seems like the entire hockey world is in awe over Shayne Gostisbehere, and it's clear why: he is magic. Nearly every single time the kid touches the puck, something good happens. Really, I'm far more shocked when something bad happens. It's always something like, "What? Ghost did something bad? Are you kidding? Is that a joke? That must be a joke. Oh, sure, there you go. He just made a great play. Everything's fine." It would not surprise me at all if Steven Stamkos joined the Flyers simply to play with Ghost.
4. The Philadelphia aesthetic.
Steven Stamkos has a face that is not suited for happiness. That sounds like an insult, but it isn't. He just wears smirks or frowns much better than smiles, in my opinion. There's nothing wrong with that either. Scott Laughton has a similar face that way. That's one reason I know that Stamkos would do so well here. He fits the Philadelphia mold. He understands the city-wide aesthetic. Frowning. If I see someone smiling at me on some random street corner, I'm assuming that there's something wrong with them. Please don't smile at me. Stamkos gets it.
It's gloomy today, and I hate it. That got me thinking. I bet Stamkos has to take a lot of precaution living in Tampa. He's so pale! I bet he burns like a lobster! Well, I'm here to tell him that, not only is the weather in Philly awful, but I would personally apply his sunscreen on any It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia-type days. We need to protect Steven Stamkos and his health.
6. Media hellfire.
The media in Tampa Bay is way too tame. Stamkos could probably poop in the mayor's pool and it would barely make a headline. You know what would make a headline? How giant Ben Bishop is. That's all I ever hear about. I'm sick of it, and I bet Stamkos is too. He wants some drama. Some spice. You know where he could get some of that? Philly. The birthplace of sports drama. Beats and bloggers alike, there are plenty of people who would be more than willing to dissect every minute detail of Steven Stamkos's life.
7. Claude Giroux.
I don't know how well known their friendship is, but Claude Giroux and Steven Stamkos are pretty good buddies. Great buddies, in fact. Just google image search "claude giroux steven stamkos" and you'll see what I mean. Celebrating at Worlds? Hanging out at multiple All Star Games? Signing sticks for each other? Riding a roller coaster together? And then, when you think you've gotten the idea, there's this picture, featured in an Orleans Star article from 2012:
As the old adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. I would say this one is worth more like six thousand. Eight thousand. A million, perhaps.
8. The Toronto Effect.
Remember when Danny Briere signed in Philadelphia because Montreal was just a little too wild? That was The Montreal Effect. Steven Stamkos signing here will be a product of The Toronto Effect. Their media is just a couple hairs more dramatic and shitty than ours, so he'll be edged in our direction. Thank you, Toronto, for pushing Steven into our loving arms. We'll never forget the kindness you've done us.
9. Proximity to Markham.
Tampa Bay is much farther from Steven Stamkos's hometown of Markham, Ontario than Philadelphia is. Exactly how much farther? I'm glad you asked. If you were to drive nonstop from Amalie Arena to the city of Markham (not advisable), it would take you approximately 20 hours and 39 minutes, travelling 1,357 miles (or 2,184 kilometers for our Canadian friends). Wells Fargo to Markham? A pittance, comparatively. 8 hours and 15 minutes for 523 miles (841 kilometers). I mean, that's less than the distance between Ottawa and Claude Giroux's nearby hometown of Hearst. Pretty amazing. Yeah, I can definitely see how the closeness to home would play a role in bringing Stammer here.
10. He just wants to, OK?
You can see it in his eyes. He wants this down in the depths of his soul. He yearns for it, alright? It's something you can't explain. You can't put that kind of connection into words. It all defies explanation.
You can all thank me later when our top line looks like HUT from NHL 16.