A constant in post-lockout Flyerville

In the book, Hockey Dad, Bob McKenzie discusses a concept he calls the “Hard Work Fairy”. “I only know I have an unwavering faith that if an individual works hard enough long enough at anything, good things will happen and there will be a reward,” writes McKenzie. “But the problem with the philosophy is that every hockey player of any age or ability always thinks he’s working hard, and most of them aren’t. Not even close.” McKenzie admits that the term is comical but the concept is a solid one. Work hard and your efforts will pay off eventually. No …

An open letter to Paul Holmgren II

Hey Paul, I hope you’re doing well. Did you get my last letter? I understand if you haven’t had time to read it. After all, you’ve been a busy man. I’m writing you again today to express another concern of mine. In recent years, you’ve made Scottie Upshall cry, shocked R.J. Umberger, broke Simon Gagne’s heart, saw Nikolay Zherdev escape giddily after being waived, and sent Jeff Carter into seclusion. Including Joffrey Lupul, you’ve signed three players to significant deals and traded them before the no-trade clause kicked in. You also shipped out at least that many players who were …

On the Masterton: Happy for Lappy, but he wasn’t the best man

Any hockey fan worth his or her salt knows the opening scene of the seminal 1977 George Roy Hill-Paul Newman flick “Slap Shot,” where goaltender Denis Lemieux is explaining to host Jim Carr and the presumed television audience what certain penalties are and how bad you should feel once you get caught committing them. Basically, you follow the rules and everything should work out all right. If you don’t, you sit in the penalty box and…well…you can quote me the rest. Not that Ian Laperriere or the selection committee for the Bill Masterton Trophy should be locked up in a …

The Numbers Game

October 7, 1990. An otherwise unremarkable day in the history of the universe. In hockey circles, It was the Philadelphia Flyers’ 1990-91 home opener, played against the Detroit Red Wings after opening the year with two straight losses at Boston and New Jersey. In and of itself, that 7-2 victory played out in front of a sell-out crowd wasn’t notable, unless you count falling behind 2-0 early and then scoring seven straight goals. What did make it special was, it was the official retirement ceremony for Bill Barber’s #7. Honored first towards the tail end of the 1985-86 season for his 13 years …

The Lost Season

Nursing the heartbreak of a Stanley-Cup caliber Flyers season that came to a screeching halt with a stupefying early playoff exit is a rare and beautiful thing. Although the Flyers have prided themselves on not shitting the bed in the postseason after being near the top of the NHL standings, it has been known to occur every once in a blue moon. Like in the early 1980′s. Tucked in between the Year of the Streak that ended in a loss to the Islanders in the Finals and the Mike Keenan-led surprise 1985 Cup finalists, was four deeply disappointing years that saw a …

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