Dazzlers and Duds: Recchi v. Richards and Shelley v. Downie

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 3rd, 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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Yesterday’s Results:
Kimmo Timonen beats Scott Hartnell in the battle of former Predators, and Mike Rathje eliminates Roman Cechmanek.

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

Mark Recchi:
write-up courtesy of Estebomb

Mark Recchi, aka Rex, aka Recching Ball, was one of the smaller Flyers I can remember, but my God was he durable. He played until the age of 42! The word consistent also comes to mind. In Recchi’s last 3 seasons with the Flyers, in which he was in his mid-30s, he put up point totals of 64, 52, and 75. A year in which he scored less than 40 points was almost unheard of.

Recchi was also one of the smartest and most tenacious Flyers I’ve ever seen. The guy simply had no quit in him (which explains why he played until 42).

Mike Richards:
write-up courtesy of kimpollock 

Despite all of the negativity that surrounds him (which, really, I still don’t understand), Mike Richards embodied the “Flyers style” of hockey. He was gritty, hard-working, and not afraid to get his hands (or his hits) dirty. His determination to contribute and win was no better proven than during his last season with the team, where he played through the entire season with an injured wrist. The Flyers had a completely unexpected and unbelievable run at the Stanley Cup two years ago, and he was a huge part of that, both as a leader and as a player. It’s true that perhaps he wasn’t ready for the captaincy, but none of his teammates ever complained about his style of leadership. It wasn’t just what he said in the locker room, but also what he did on the ice that earned his teammates’ respect. It’s the same story for him out in LA now, where his performance, his personality, and his leadership skills have all been praised. People in Philadelphia might not have liked what they read about the guy, but there’s no denying that he put his heart into every game he played and will always be remembered as a great and important part of the Flyers’ recent history.

Who is the more loved Flyer of the past decade, Recchi or Richards?

  • Mike Richards (58%, 82 Votes)
  • Mark Recchi (42%, 66 Votes)

Total Voters: 142

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Jody Shelley:
write-up courtesy of Estebomb

Few in Philadelphia were pleased when it was announced that Jody Shelley was coming to Philadelphia. Part of it was the fact that he had signed a 3 year, $3.3 million contract, drastically overpaying him on an already cap-challenged team. Part of it was the fact that the Flyers were wasting a roster spot on an old-fashioned goon, a dying role in today’s NHL. If Shelley had come in simply a decade earlier, he might be remembered fondly, like Craig Berube. Instead Shelley is slow and his only on ice skill is punching.

Jody Shelley might actually be the slowest hockey player I’ve ever seen. Sure, he could skate circles around me – he is an NHL player after all — but it’s still difficult to watch him try and keep up with the pace of today’s game.

It’s a shame too, because Shelley is known as a fantastic locker room presence and overall great guy. Perhaps that’s what the Flyers are paying him so much for? That matters little to the fans though, who have to see him get skated around and benched.

Steve Downie:
write-up courtesy of Marcello De Feo

It is easy to have a soft spot in your heart for Steve Downie. At the impressionable age of 9, Downie’s father died in a car accident while driving him to practice. This alone would be difficult for most people to handle but Downie also suffers from otosclerosis, which caused him to go deaf in his right ear.

There’s also plenty of reasons to like Downie these days, the promising kid who finally made good on his talent.

Back when he was a prospect in Philadelphia, it was a different story, though. He earned a well-deserved reputation as a hot-tempered recluse who could not be controlled.

Before even having a chance to put up modest numbers in Philadelphia, Downie became a household name when he leveled Ottawa’s Dean McAmmond with a dangerous, bone-crushing hit in a preseason game. That resulted in a 20-game suspension. Some believed he deserved to be banned from the game. Downie also sucker-punched Jason Blake, who announced he had cancer not long before the incident.

These are just some of the lowlights that overshadowed Downie’s skill and resulted in his premature exile to Tampa Bay as part of the deal for Matt Carle.

Who is the more hated Flyer of the past decade, Shelley or Downie?

  • Steve Downie (62%, 79 Votes)
  • Jody Shelley (38%, 49 Votes)

Total Voters: 128

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  • http://www.facebook.com/vaughanpiccolo Vaughan Piccolo

    Mark Recchi owns the single season points record for the Flyers and last time I checked, was never in any awful, uncharismatic BMW commercials. How is he not winning?

    • http://www.flyersfaithful.com/ Kevin Christmann

      Haha fantastic point! I actually voted for Richards. I love Recchi, but I’m just a Richards fan. Maybe if I was a little older I’d feel differently.

      • M.C. Philly

        Agreed with the above points. If this was an All-Time Flyers team debate then Recchi might beat out Richards. But this is a different story. Oh Richards, how I miss thee

    • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.j.appel Kevin J Appel

      I voted for Richards. Recchi did most of his damage during the nineties. This poll is about the 2000-2010 decade, of which Rex was an unfortunately small part.