Welcome to the Weekly Power Rankings–a definitive list of the good, the bad, and the fistful of dollars in the BSH-verse this week.
1. The Flyers’ power play
The power play went 3 for 6 this week, with two goals against the Avalanche and another against the Capitals; they didn’t get any man advantage opportunities against the Golden Knights on Friday. For a power play that went 0-for-20 at one point this season and whose current 16.67 percentage currently puts them at 29th in the league, a 3-for-6 week is enough to catapult them to the top of our rankings.
2. The IR
The injured reserve list is on fire right now. Yes, it’s full of Flyers–Sean Couturier, Cam Atkinson, Ryan Ellis, Wade Allison, Bobby Brink, and Tanner Laczynski–but it also has its hold on enough Avalanche players to give these Flyers a win over the defending champs. Not only is Colorado without Gabriel Landeskog, Artturi Lehkonen, Bowen Byram, Josh Manson, and four other players, but the IR snagged Nathan MacKinnon in Philadelphia. The Flyers’ only win of the week came in that very same game.
3. Scott Laughton
Laughton had 3 points this week, tying Kevin Hayes and Tony DeAngelo for the team lead–Scotty’s all came at even strength, though. He also had the only point in an overtime loss to the Golden Knights, a forecheck interception that he tossed towards the net from below the goal-line.
WOAH— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) December 10, 2022
Scott Laughton ties this one up! pic.twitter.com/uT9cMSaVjC
4. Trea Turner
The 29-year-old shortstop got paid: 11 years, $300 million from the Phillies. It’s a bold move for the franchise as they come off a World Series trip. The signing even surpasses the other big Philly sports acquisitions of 2022–James Harden for the Sixers, AJ Brown for the Eagles, and Justin Braun for the Flyers.
5. Hallmark (or Hallmark-style) Christmas movies
There’s so many of them and they’re all so good (good-bad!). It’s not new this year, but now that all the streamers have gotten in on the game in addition to Hallmark, Lifetime, Freeform, and the like, there’s enough big-time New York City/Los Angeles/unnamed big city advertising executives/musicians/lawyers/writers getting stuck in their hometowns/country bed and breakfasts/one-horse towns trying to save the old movie theater/uncover their shadowy past/write their next big hit to last us a hundred Decembers even if streaming dies tomorrow.
Honorable mentions to: Travis Konecny; biting something in such a way as to set up a really great next bite; Jalen Hurts; the Fishtown Freeze; Tage Thompson.
1. Jakub Voráček’s future
This week brought the unfortunate news that decade-long Flyer, lovably straightforward forward, and Springsteen superfan Jake Voráček is going to be sitting out of hockey games for the foreseeable future, and possibly forever. Voráček said on Monday that the chances of him playing this season are “very slim”, but he also said that he’s not ready to retire yet.
Voráček was always one of my favorite players during his tenure–our tabby is named after him–and it was a wonder to me that he wasn’t even more of a fan favorite than he was. He had a Philly-style give-no-sh*ts attitude when it came to decorum and the like, he play high-risk high-reward hockey, and he looked like Gritty before Gritty was even a thing. He called out reporters when they deserved it, he wasn’t afraid to mix things up on the ice, and he scored–177 goals and 427 assists for 604 points. Those numbers put him 19th, 5th, and 10th in Flyers franchise history, respectively. We wish him the best.
2. Rasmus Ristolainen
The six-foot-four Flyers defender finds himself in the bottom five for a very different reason than Voracek. He’s gone without a point in every game he’s played this season–21. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t record a point in any of the three Flyers games this week. Ristolainen is at the disadvantage of spending almost a third of his ice-time with Nick Seeler (106 minutes), but he’s also spent basically the rest of that time playing with Ivan Provorov (127) or Travis Sanheim (122). To be fair, Ristolainen isn’t typically a point-machine, but his defense has left a lot to be desired, too: no lineup regular has a worse shot attempts-to-shot attempts allowed ratio than Risto this year.
3. Cris Pannullo
Ocean City’s own finally took an L on Jeopardy!, but not until after he had won 21 games in a row and won $748,286, numbers that put him at sixth and fifth all-time, respectively. Most games that he played weren’t even competitive, as he seemingly excelled at a very wide range of categories and took huge gambles on the Daily Doubles. He lost on a Final Jeopardy question asking about the story that may have influenced Shakespeare’s The Tempest. While his week contained some disappointment, his overall performance was enough to make South Jersey proud.
4. Wells Fargo Center Attendance
The Flyers this year are averaging 1,672 less fans per game than the last pre-COVID NHL season, good for a 9.1 percent decrease. That’s bad. They’re a team that has performed well historically in attendance numbers, even during the lean on-ice years. The Flyers have this double-whammy of two seasons with no or limited fans and a product that is significantly worse than it was before those two seasons. Maybe we’ve all become pretty accustomed to watching the games from home, maybe there’s still some COVID apprehension, maybe the Flyers playing bad and boring hockey, or maybe it’s a combination of all three.
The man at the center of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella A Christmas Carol is one of the most famous characters in history, to the point that his name has transcended the actual story it comes from. But why do we all use the term “Scrooge” in a derogatory sense? Why is “Scrooge” synonymous with someone who hates Christmas when literally everyone knows how the story ends. Scrooge changes his ways! He reverses course for the better and spends the rest of his days on earth making merry around the holidays! It’s not enough that he avoids an after-life condemned to spirit-walking the world, he needs redemption in the court of public opinion, too! Scrooge has been taking hard losses for almost two hundred years. And don’t even get me started on the Grinch.
Honorable mentions to: Adrian Dater; the box around the Christopher Columbus statue in Marconi Plaza; Cards Against Humanity; the Love Actually subplot where they keep calling that perfectly normal-sized girl “fat”; the Philadelphia Flyers.