Yeah, About Those Flyers

sadflyer.jpgHey everybody, Johnny didn’t see the last post so now he’s texting me telling me to discuss the Flyers on the site. Like that’s just what I want to do after last night’s debacle. But hey, he’s the celebrity, and I’m just living in his shadow so his will be done.
Man, what a courageous effort last night, eh? All that rhetoric about getting off to a fast start really came to fruition. But what can you do, Buffalo was the faster, better team, and they won. The big questions start now.

I believe Hitchcock and Clarke will both be back. Hitchcock wasn’t able to get the most out of this team, but I’m willing to let him slide because of all the injuries and the personnel he had to deal with.
I’m also willing to let Bob Clarke slide a bit as well. The Flyers were in good shape heading into this first cap season despite traditionally having one of the highest payrolls in the NHL. The Flyers started the year with lots of young studs under contract, some good veterans and enough maneuvering room to land the likes of Peter Forsberg. That’s a good start but Clarke certainly did make some mistakes this season. Primarily believing that adding a couple of hulking defensemen like Hatcher and Rathje would complete his defensive corp. I don’t think anyone, even the NHL itself really knew what to expect this season. Sure there would be less hooking and holding, but how much less? Clarke took a calculated gamble that the game would open up but that there would still be room for tough rugged defensemen. After all, he had heard the talk before, even seen the calls early in the seasons, only to see the resolve fade as the season wore on. But it didn’t happen this year, and as the playoffs started, the league reasserted it’s crackdown. Calling more penalties than it had been whistling down the stretch. So Clarke’s plan went awry. In hindsight he didn’t need Rathje and Hatcher, one would have been enough. But when you look at all he’s accomplished, I believe he deserves the opportunity to get himself out of this predicament.
And in order to do that Clarke will have to be at his best, convincing more than one team to take some of his high-priced defensemen and other veterans. If he can do this, he can add another scorer and build on his young forwards and mobile defense corp. With just a handful of shrewd moves the Flyers will be back among the elite in the NHL. Sadly they’re still probably the likeliest Philadelphia sports team to next win a championship.