“And I suppose, in return, you want me to not kill the whelp.”
“No, no, no, by all means, kill the whelp… Just wait for the opportune moment.”
If you’ve seen Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl you recall this little conversation between Barbossa, played by Geoffrey Rush, and Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp. Throughout the movie, Jack Sparrow shows himself to be great at manipulating people and swindling them into doing what he wanted them to do because they thought he was on their side. Cap’n Jack was scheming, shifty, sly, and smart… Other thing about Jack Sparrow is he always waited for the right moment to pull his biggest tricks out of his hat.
There’s another guy I can think of that does this, and we’ll get to that and why I’m bringing up Pirates of the Caribbean while talking about the Flyers or hockey at all… But we’ll wait for the opportune moment.
The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins squared off this week in what was an epic game at the Consol Energy Center Thursday evening. And it was epic. The Flyers held the Penguins scores through two periods, most would argue, because of the play of a certain rookie netminder named Sergei Bobrovsky. The Penguins eventually notched two goals, and only one which Bobrovsky had any chance at stopping. But as a Flyers fan, you get to thinking… Wondering… Hoping, this guy is for real.
After one game in the NHL it’s hard to tell, but he certainly seemed it Thursday night. If there’s one thing that this Flyers team was missing, people constantly would say that it’s goaltending. A true number one goaltender. Is Bobrovsky the answer in net? I don’t know, but I can tell you this. He started on Thursday night in Pittsburgh against one of the best teams in the NHL and won a game… On the road… In a new building… Where the team that will call it home for the foreseeable future, had no desire to start the inaugural season in that new building with a loss… This is no small feat. But does this mean that Bobrovsky is the guy?
I can’t tell you the answer to that. What I can tell you is that Peter Laviolette, the Flyers bench boss, is scheming, shifty, sly, and smart… Other thing about thing about Laviolette is that he always waits for the right moment to pull his biggest tricks out of his hat.
Laviolette is willing to put players in positions they’re uncomfortable with and challenging them to be better. He is willing to give them opportunities when opportunities present themselves. He is willing to take chances. Of course sometimes he doesn’t have a choice like pretty much all of last year, but whenever these opportunities have been presented to players under Laviolette, they’ve taken them and ran with them.
Look at Leighton last year. Look at Boucher. Look at Leino. Look at Briere. Look at Gagne. Look at Giroux. Look at Pronger. Look at Richards. You can even look as far back as a rookie goaltender named Cam Ward. All he did was win a Stanley Cup in his rookie year after coming in cold off the bench to replace Martin Gerber.
Peter Laviolette is very good at getting the very most out of his players. And I don’t think it’s goaltending or defense or offense. It’s not players…
That’s what this team was missing: a true coach who knows his players and knows how to get the most out of them. If Laviolette was with them all season last year, the Flyers might have been able to squeak into the playoffs and then go on to win the Stanley Cup instead of falling two wins short.
Peter Laviolette is the missing piece of cursed Aztec gold. It’s his blood the Flyers need to lift the curse that’s plagued them and kept them from winning a championship and drinking from Lord Stanley’s Chalice. And he knows when that opportune moment is…
Now, everyone, as Jack Sparrow would sing:
“Now bring me that horizon… And really bad eggs… Drink up me hearties yo ho.”
-Select quotes taken from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl written by Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio