I’m starting to write this post because NBC Sports Network just decided, midway through the second period, that the game between the #1 seed in the East and the winningest hockey team of all time was unfit for television.
NBCSN shifted to a game between Colorado and Arizona, promising that the Flyers and Canadiens would be available on NHL Network. Except NHL Network, to its credit, wanted no part of the Flyers-Canadiens game either, so the middle 10 minutes or so of the game went totally unaired on national television.
It was a de facto halftime in the middle. I surfed some other channels, watched Serena Williams save some set points in front of no fans in Kentucky, checked how late the hardware store is open tonight, and loaded the dishwasher.
The Flyers returned to my television just in time to go down 4-0.
It was the first time I’ve been able to give up on the Flyers in a very long time, and it was honestly a relief.
Yesterday I was on Twitter (never a good idea) and I saw a Tweet that genuinely terrified me.
A website was using math and probabilities to tell me that the Flyers had a better chance to win the Stanley Cup than anybody else. I should have been happy, but it was mortifying. They hadn’t even been that good in winning Game 1, and now math thinks they’re amazing. My Flyers, who have not won a playoff series since the day Veep premiered, could now only win the Cup or let me down in the eyes of all-knowing math.
On the one hand the Flyers have been truly amazing, winning 13 out of 14 dating back to February. When I was trying to convince fellow former BSHer Geoff Detweiler that he should get back into following the Flyers, my main selling point was that the Flyers were really good. This has never previously been a selling point for the Flyers!
The Flyers, even when they’ve gone on playoff runs in the past 20 years to the conference finals (four times) or finals (once), it’s been more about them being great competitors, game challengers who outwork teams while wearing the chip of being the No. 6 or No. 7 seed. It’s been about defying expectations, not living up to them. And now, with 16 teams still left, the Flyers suddenly have more expected of them than anyone else.
By the time I get to this paragraph it’s now 5-0 in the third period. The Flyers are going to lose and lose badly. And I’m pretty relieved about it, honestly. Math will be less excited about them.
The Canadiens, down a game, came out flying after their coach had emergency heart surgery, and the Flyers had nothing to compete with that, not even getting a shot on goal until about 17 minutes into the game. Now they have something to bounce back from, some adversity to respond to. You can’t improve without being bad, and they were very bad today.
And maybe now math will leave them the heck alone. The hardware store closes earlier than I thought so I need to leave now. Go Flyers.