Though the Flyers season has now come to an unfortunate end, we here at Broad Street Hockey believe now is a time for celebration. It was a fun year! We saw lots of cool stuff, like Shayne Gostisbehere being a goddamn hero and Radko Gudas being helpful and even some playoffs!
It hasn't been perfect and at times it's been heart-breaking, but now that it's over, I think we can all agree that it was a good ride.
To mark the end of the 2015-16 season, I've given a superlative to each player because it seemed like the type of thing I would/should do. Enjoy.
Best Eyebrows: Scott Laughton
The coveted Best Eyebrows title was held for years by former Flyer Zac Rinaldo. With his departure, the award was completely up for grabs. And man, there are some great brows on this team. Neuvirth, Manning, Del Zotto ... they've all got great eyebrows.
After much deliberation, however, Scott Laughton took the crown. Something about the way his brows make him look so angry all the time really got me. They're his defining feature. They make him who he is. I'm gonna get blocked because of this.
Most Likely to Eat the Last Doughnut and Not Fess Up: Brayden Schenn
A very simple scenario can yield a universal truth. For instance, imagine this scenario: the Flyers have a box of doughnuts. They are sitting on a common area table. Everyone enjoys them, because hey, it was really nice of someone to bring doughnuts in. If a doughnut is being saved, say, for a General Manager who's angry gaze could laser through steel doors, an argument might arise if the doughnut has suddenly vanished.
And here's the universal truth: if a doughnut is suddenly gone from where it once was, a Schenn Brother has eaten it. And if it's Brayden Schenn, you know he's acting like he had nothing to do with it.
Biggest Disappointment: R.J. Umberger
I know that I can't give the "Biggest Disappointment" superlative to R.J. Umberger since we expected nothing of him to begin with. Essentially, our expectations were met. No disappointment there. So no, I can't give him this title in good faith. I can, however give it to him in bad faith. I don't care. I'm still mad about him being here. Sorry. Go back to Pittsburgh.
Best Hockey Boy: Shayne Gostisbehere
The Best Hockey Boy award was decided by the Number One Hockey Boy committee, which votes weekly to determine which boy is the best boy. It's tough work they're doing, but it's important work. Over the course of the season, with 17 total lists issued, Shayne Gostisbehere received the No. 1 spot five times. And it should be no surprise, of course. He's our wunderkind. He's our savior. He's our best hockey boy.
Most Likely to Embarrass Themselves at Karaoke: Brandon Manning
Something about Brandon Manning leads me to believe that the kid knows how to have a good time. A couple of cheap pitchers, watching Claude Giroux do his version of "Country Boy" ... next thing you know, Brandon Manning is screaming out Barbie Girl by Aqua and everyone is recording it.
Best Ears: Sam Gagner
Please don't think I'm being rude. I just like Sam Gagner's ears. I think he looks very sweet because of them. They give him so much character. Like a live action actor who's playing Dumbo. God, this is coming out all wrong.
Most Likely to Carry a Baguette with Him at All Times: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
It's a French joke. I know it's bad. Leave it alone. Move on.
Least Romantic: Michael Raffl
In perhaps the most awful Valentines video of all time, the Flyers unanimously voted Michael Raffl "least romantic." It hurt me on so many levels. It was over a full calendar year ago, and it still breaks my heart. I volunteer to teach him in the ways of romance.
Most Likely to Start a Bar Fight Over Something Inconsequential: Ryan White
- Ryan White: Listen, bro, you've been starting shit all night. Are you gonna put up your hands or not?
- Random Human: W-what are you talking about?
- RW: Are you gonna put up your hands or not?
- RH: Is this about the drink? I told you, it was totally an accident. It's really packed in here and I didn't mean to bump into yo--
- RW [grabbing RH by the collar]: I put Adele on the jukebox. You think you can just turn that shit off?
- RH: Is this what it's about? Shit, I'm sorry, man. I didn't know Adele was that important.
- RW [speaking to group of Flyers behind him]: Somebody better hold me back.
Best Smile: Steve Mason
Steve Mason has no reason to smile, like 80 percent of all the time. Life is a hellscape when you're a goaltender. I mean, who wants to hunch over like that? And you have to do the splits at a moment's notice? No, thank you. I can't even split when I've had months of preparation. Body's weren't made to move that way. That's not even to mention that most games, he's forced to make about 10 unreal saves because our defense thinks it's funny or something.
But guess what. Steve Mason just keeps on smiling. And for good reason too: his parents spent a fortune on those braces and he always wore his retainer.
Most Likely To Come to My Birthday Party At Dave and Busters: Wayne Simmonds
This is mostly just me putting positive energy and positive thinking out into the universe and hoping it all works out. I'm trying to get Wayne Simmonds to come to my birthday party at Dave and Busters. I hope he shows up. I'd love to play skee-ball with him, even though I suck at skee-ball. On the off-chance that Wayne Simmonds reads this, I just want him to know that my birthday is July 5th, and I would buy him as many pitchers of beer as he wanted.
Biggest Goofball: Claude Giroux
Here's an incomplete list of the weird shit Claude Giroux has done:
Correcting Sean Monahan's feet during a faceoff
"Fuck you, Raff"
Biting Erik Gudbranson's jersey
Wiping his nose on an official:
His legendary chirping:
The puck fakeout:
Most Likely to Hang Out with Mayonnaise Lovers: Andrew MacDonald
Remember how Andrew MacDonald hangs out with Crosby and MacKinnon? I don't give a shit that they all happen to live in the same province. No excuses for this. He's spreading mayo culture to the Flyers, and I refuse to stand for it.
Least Teeth: Sean Couturier
I don't actually know this for sure. It seems like the sort of thing that should be easily quantifiable (and it is), but hockey players use fake teeth so dang often that it's rare you see them without them! For instance, remember when Sam Gagner got a puck to the face and it broke his jaw? He must have lost some of those wiggly, cross-hatching teeth, right? I don't know. I'm not a medically-licensed dental surgeon.
Regardless, the members of the Flyers with the most visibly missing teeth are Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier. Claude Giroux's missing tooth is so attractively placed that it almost makes me wonder if he knocked it out himself in order to look more charming. Sean Couturier, however, is missing both his front teeth in true Bobby Clarke fashion. And I love it. Less teeth, more tongue. Is that too vulgar? If it is, I'm sure someone will edit it out.
Most Forgettable: Nick Schultz
My whole deal with Nick Schultz is an hour long shoulder shrug. It's just, at this point, do I have the time or energy to care about him? Or do I value my mental and emotional health more? Actually, I'm not sure.
Most Likely To Get Name Mispronounced by My Dad: Mark Streit
My dad can't really say Streit the way it's supposed to be said, but he makes an attempt. It always comes out like "street", which is close only in that it contains the same consonant sounds.
Best Dad: Matt Read
There are some really great dads on this team. Vandevelde, Gudas, MacDonald, Umberger ... they all have such beautiful families! It's wonderful. But who, bar none, is the best dad? I gotta go with Matt Read. To me, he sums up fatherhood so nicely! He's normally a very easy-going and mild-mannered man. You can imagine him doing yard work pretty easily, can't you? Just happy to mow the lawn, boys.
Multiple times, though, I've seen Matt Read step in to fight or defend one of the younger guys on the team. Take, for instance, his only fight this season: Oscar Lindberg basically hounded Scott Laughton for a shift and when the whistle blew? Matt Read decided that that was quite enough. And was it a shitty fight? It certainly was. Dads don't care about that, though. They'll take punches in the face if it means their sons don't have to. What a dad. Love Matt Read.
Most Likely to be Cast in the Broadway Return of Seussical The Musical: Michal Neuvirth
Michal Neuvirth looks like he stepped right the fuck outta Whoville.
Best Hair: Jakub Voracek
I don't know if a person with sight could argue with this one. The entirety of this season has been leading up to the most momentous mane I've ever seen. Jakub Voracek looks like he just woke up from a 50 year nap, an orange-tinted Rip Van Winkle. Jakub Voracek looks like he has never heard of scissors, or at the very least, is afflicted with aichmophobia, the fear of knives, needles, and other sharp objects like scissors. Jakub Voracek looks like an even hairier, wilder, more raucous version of Animal, drummer from Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem, a fictitious band from Jim Henson's The Muppets. I love him for all of these things and more.
Most Likely to Star in a Disney Animated Feature Film: Chris Vandevelde
Chris Vandevelde looks like a goddamn Disney Prince. End of story.
Most Dramatic: Michael Del Zotto
Nothing I say about Michael Del Zotto holds any weight anymore. I'm so damn petty because he blocked me. I wasn't even being that rude. I didn't even mention him! He was searching his indirects! He was looking for shittalkers to block! I, the shittalking-est of shittalkers, just happened to be caught in the crossfire. He's never going to unblock me, but I wish he would. We're both Cancers, we'd probably get along.
Best Beard: Radko Gudas
Is there really anything to say on this one? Radko Gudas shaves at 7 AM on a Monday morning and by noon, he looks like a member of ZZ Top. And no, not the drummer.
Most Mysterious: Jordan Weal
Still have zero clues about this fella. He could be a league spy for all I know. I've got my eye on you, Bettman. Trying to take us down from the inside? Ballsy, but I see your game.
Special thanks to Heather Barry for permission to use her photo.