Preview written up by Grace.
There is one word to describe the team last year: DRAMA.
There was personal drama: 3 players got divorces (Danny Briere, Scott Hartnell, Riley Cote)
Goalie drama: I don’t have the energy to spell this out, but we had 7 goalie changes due to injuries
Locker room drama: Supposed battle between Mike Richards (Richie) and Chris Pronger
to be the alpha male
Media drama: Richie’s feud with the media (Philly media can be particularly difficult and he let it get the better of him)
Coaching drama: Coach John Stevens was apparently fired for not controlling his team’s partying ways (no confirmation on this)
League drama: In the off-season, the league added a new penalty (major and game
misconduct) based on Richie’s hit on David Booth, and another hit by some guy across
the state on Marc Savard.
With all this drama, the season itself was a roller coaster of highs and lows. But the team came together when it mattered the most. Last game of the season, shootout with the dreaded rival NY Rangers, winner goes to the playoffs, loser goes to the golf course.
Snipers Briere and Claude Giroux scored their goals and Brian Boucher came up with the stop of the season, sending the Rangers packing.
In the beginning of the season, the Flyers were picked by some media outlets to make it to the Stanley Cup. How they would get there, no one could have guessed. The team was lucky to have a first round match up with the Devils who they owned in the regular season. They finished them off in 5 games; however, they lost Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne and Ian Laperriere to injuries.
Unless you were living under a rock, most people remember the history making series
with the Boston Bruins. As the team battled back from down 3 games and down 3 goals, they won the hearts of many. Side note: I was actually on a plane when game 7 took place. The score right before we took off was Bruins 3-0. I prayed the whole flight. When we landed I checked the score and saw the Flyers won. I just started
screaming on the plane. I think everyone thought I was nuts.
Note: Coach Lavy jumping in the air at :20 seconds, priceless.
What do I remember most about the Eastern Conference Finals with the Montreal
Canadiens: SANDGATE!!! Really, we were grateful for the Canadiens picking off the
Capitals and Penguins, 2 teams the Flyers probably wouldn’t have beaten. Aside from game 3, the Flyers dominated this series and finished the team off in 5 games, led by Richie who showed all the qualities of a great captain. By the way, Richie had no problem grabbing the Prince of Wales trophy.
I was actually at this game in the 7th row. This goal happened right in front of me, still gives me chills.
Stanley Cup Final
I’ll be honest, most of us knew that the Chicago Blackhawks were the better team. But many thought the Flyers were a team of destiny, so our hopes were high. Since this was the hardest series to watch from my perspective, I’ll keep it brief. The Flyers lost both games in Chicago, but only by one goal each.
Then there was this hit. Worthy of a laugh, even from a Flyers fan.
They then tied up the series with 2 wins at home, but were dominated in game 5. Both Richie and Pronger were running out of juice and I suspected Pronger was injured, which was confirmed in the off season. Game 6: Ugh, sad, sad, sad. Down one goal in the third, I started to prepare myself for the inevitable, but then Hartnell gave us hope. They played great in OT, but Carts missed practically an open net and Michael Leighton’s 5 hole was wide open for Patrick Kane to seal the win. Game over. Season over.
Going into the playoffs, no one expected us to get as far as we did. Despite playing a better team in the Hawks, I think the Flyers held their own and represented our city well. No fan of the team can be anything but proud of them.
How will they fare this season? Time will tell. The Flyers now have one of the best defenses in the league thanks to some off season moves. In addition, there are several players on contract years, most notably Carter, Giroux, Ville Leino and Nikolai Zherdev, who they will all be trying to prove they deserve raises. Can the team handle more drama this season? Well, last year despite the drama, they were two wins away from winning the Cup. So, yes, in my opinion they can handle more drama. "Mr. Pronger, meet Mr. Zherdev." Cue ominous organ music.
General Manager: Paul Holmgren (Homer)
Coach: the fantastic Peter Laviolette (don't get this guy mad)
Team Captain: Mike Richards
Note: Richie stretches a lot due to a previous groin injury much to the delight of his female fans. Stretch on Richie.
Players everyone should love: Claude Giroux – the man has amazing puck handling
skills and for some reason, I just want to pinch his cheeks (I actually wrote this before reading last year’s write up. Funny how that girl wrote the same thing). Also, there is FB fan page devoted to this man's orange beard, no joke.
Danny Briere – Mr. Playoffs, he should have won the Conn Smythe in my opinion.
Laperriere (Lappy) - how can you not like this guy, he stopped not one but two pucks
with his face last year.
And who can forget Richie – great all around player, what’s not
Players we don’t love: I really love the whole team, but at times Dan Carcillo frustrates me. Too much diving, agitating, not enough playing. When he does play, he is actually quite good. Also, if he is not on your team most people hate Pronger, especially Adam Burish.
Who they got: Homer was busy in the off season – Nikolai Zherdev, Andrej Meszaros, Sean O’Donnell (a John LeClair look alike), Jody Shelley (basically to fight the Rangers), and Matt Walker. No sign of a #1 goalie as of yet.
Who they lost: Due to some cap management issues, the Flyers were forced to part ways with Simon Gagne, who should have retired with the Flyers. We also lost Ryan Parent and at this point, Arron Asham is unsigned, so he will likely go elsewhere.
Located at: Formerly Wachovia Center, now the Wells Fargo Center – “Welcome to the Well,” sounds catchy to me
Hotness Level: 8
This team has something for everyone. Pretty boy: Jeff Carter (Carts).
Classically handsome: Mike Richards. Cutie: Claude Giroux. All around good guy:
Danny Briere. Tough guy: Dan Carcillo. Even some of the older guys like Kimmo
Timonen aren’t bad to look at.
The Flyers also have one of the best bromances in all of hockey, which of course would be Richie and Carts (see date night). I can't imagine what would happen if these 2 were on different teams, so we'll hope Homer finds a way to keep Carts when his contract is up this season.
Finally, this team loves to party, which makes them fun to watch, on and off the ice. All in all, the Flyers are most definitely HOT!