Dazzlers and Duds: Giroux v. Boucher and Zherdev v. Brashear

Image courtesy of philly.com

Image courtesy of philly.com

Several weeks back, we asked our beloved Twitter followers who were their most loved and hated Flyers of the past decade. It led to some great names and some great discussion. Well it got us thinking. In the doldrums that is August in the hockey world — not to mention the impending doom of a lockout —  we decided to put together a tournament; poll style!

We’ve compiled the responses for both the Loved and Hated categories, and seeded them according to our whims and wishes. What you see before you is the result of our efforts. While we may not necessarily agree with some of the nominations, the people have spoken!

Over three weeks, beginning on Monday September 3, we will determine who is the most loved and the most hated Flyer of the past decade.

Each weekday we will post a new poll, containing one match-up for each bracket, both the Loved and the Hated. That poll will remain open until midnight of the same day — or, frankly, whenever we decide to tally the votes — where we will note the winners, and announce them the following day, along with the next day’s match-ups.

Ranting and raving about your love and/or hatred for the given players, is not only allowed, it is encouraged. I, for one, am excited to see the results for some of the more polarizing Flyers!

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Today’s candidates: (Note: the authors of the write-ups below are not the individuals that nominated the player.)

Claude Giroux:
write-up courtesy of Dain S

He is the young, up and coming face of the Flyers and a superstar in the NHL, winning a fan vote for the cover of NHL13, the official video game of the NHL. Giroux’s charm and affable nature make him popular with both men and women and his skill on the ice is second to none. If these aren’t reason enough for Giroux to be one of our favorite Flyers, I give you the first shift of Game 6 against the hated Penguins in the 2012 playoffs.

Not only does Claude absolutely level our most hated enemy Sidney Crosby with a tremendous body check, but he then scores the first goal of the game mere moments later. It was the perfect shift, one we have waited for years to see. If that isn’t enough for you to vote for him as your favorite Flyer, then I don’t know what to tell you.

Brian Boucher:
write-up courtesy of Bob H

How can we not love a guy cut loose not once, not twice, but thrice by the Flyers, but each time he was here you can say he did at least one memorable or valuable thing for the organization? Member of the first Phantoms Calder Cup winners in ’98. Backstop for the 2000 playoff run as a rookie and author of the sprawling, backwards save on Patrik Elias in the Eastern Finals. Veteran back-up presence for the kids before the AHL fled to Glens Falls. Man who sent the Orange and Black into the 2010 playoffs and endeared himself further to the fan base with a strong shootout against the Rangers on the final day of the regular season. Goaltender for the first half of the 2010 run to the Finals until a knee injury caused by Ryan Parent derailed his postseason. Famous, if not blameless, member of the 2011 playoff “goaltending carousel.” Even in a loss, the Game 1 debacle at Boston two years ago, Boucher outshined the victors. His overtime performance included a half-dozen 10-bell saves of the 14 he made before Marc Savard ended the contest. Even better, as he decided to settle down and raise a family, he chose Haddonfield, New Jersey to do so.

Who is the more loved Flyer of the past decade, Giroux or Boucher?

  • Claude Giroux (79%, 136 Votes)
  • Brian Boucher (21%, 38 Votes)

Total Voters: 172

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Nikolai Zherdev:
write-up courtesy of Estebomb

16 goals in 56 games. Look at that stat without looking at the name. Not too bad, eh? Now look at the name. Hi Nikolai! How are you? Do you feel like actually playing hockey today, or do you want to go mope in a corner because Peter Laviolette thinks you backcheck even less than Danny Briere and use only half of your talent?

Nikolai Zherdev was a certified menace (someone go photoshop his head onto Spider-man). He fulfilled every negative stereotype about Russian hockey players with his maddeningly inconsistent and sometimes lazy play. He was a jerk to the media, hilariously calling Tim Panaccio “Russian mafia” at one point. His dismissal was a relief to all involved and should be celebrated as a holiday in Philadelphia.

Donald Brashear:
write-up courtesy of reader Brian Smith

In the fan’s eyes, Brashear was brought in to be the team goon, following in the lines of Schultz, Brown, etc. Yet, he tried to play with skill – be a power forward, with some moves. He wasn’t very good at it, and fought less (probably due to coaches’ edicts). So many fans jumped on him for being a crappy forward and a non-fighting goon.

He also was generally considered one of the best fighters in the league, yet most of his fights consisted of him tying up his opponent in close quarters – hence the nickname “Huggy Bear”. Let’s face it, the fans wanted someone who was going to just start throwing bombs. Brash didn’t do that. He just seemed to irk the fans in every area.

Who is the more hated Flyer of the past decade, Zherdev or Brashear?

  • Nikolai Zherdev (79%, 129 Votes)
  • Donald Brashear (21%, 37 Votes)

Total Voters: 164

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