I wonder what Mr. E is thinking now the Flyers in the Stanley Cup Finals. This gem from January 16th, 2007. Oh my. Duck and cover kids.
Date line, January 16th, Seattle, Washington.
Far, far away from the land of Snider-ville, though still covered in snow, conventional wisdom would hold that my home town of Seattle would be just far enough away from Philadelphia, that the waves of sadness, depression, and crushing hopelessness that seems to be coming full circle into malaise, would easily be avoided. Oh, contraire gentle reader! My Orange and Black blood, coursing through my Orange and Black veins is carrying the pain, the loss, the frustration and humiliation that all Flyers fans seem to be feeling, like mass hysteria, only backwards. Even my cat Hextall has quietly been hanging his head low for these past months. No my fellow suffering Flyers fans, not even the good, joyous spirit of the Holidays could stop this spiritual free fall (though there was just enough light in this dark tunnel to give us all the glimmer of hope, that there was a Santa Clause after all… turned out to be a train). No, Hextall wouldn’t even purr Christmas morning.
But that was long ago my brave comrades, even longer ago was, what I believe, was the symbolic beginning of this slow, ever so dramatic car wreck. No, no, not the birth of Bobby Clarke, not that far back, no it was last August. The details of my revelation are still a bit fuzzy, but I found a scrawled note, pinned to my shirt, more of a confession of sorts, one that confused myself and airport security alike. And one that began my search for answers, and one that I submit to you, not as proof, but evidence… evidence that it was “good ideas” that were the beginning of the end of the Flyers 2006-2007 season, the season of “Intentions”. And the note begins:
"Dateline; August 5th, 2006, Chicago, Ill. As I got back to my feet, hazed and dizzy with a certain brand of savage hangover that is only attainable from the requisite 2 day drinking binge that marks my bi-annual arrival at Paddy’s house in Chicago, Hockey (and the thought of writing extremely long sentences) was far from my mind (that doesn’t happen often...the part about hockey, not the long sentences, I don’t think about that too much).
We had already started the panicked self medication process, evidenced by the collection of partially dissolved pills in the toilet (luckily, I chewed up the valium/ klonopine mixture, so I wasn’t totally out of luck), and, as I stood at the sink, coughing, leaning and doing my best to wash my face off (the closest to a shower I would get this trip), things began to get... well, weird. O.k., weirder... about that time (or a few hours later, I really don’t know), I noticed a news paper, open, on the bathroom counter, open to a headline reading “Black Hawks trade Calder for Flyers Handzus” . This was huge! Handzus, not only a fan favorite, but possible spiritual leader of the flyers (after captain Keith Primeau’s early exit in a reserved seat on the god awful train of injuries that was to plague the 05-06 flyers season) , was gone. No more chants of “ZEUS!” whenever he came near the puck, no more long curly locks, streaming from underneath his helmet as he (kind of) flew down the ice. No more Handzus… And Calder, 59 points and a minus 4 for the 05-06 season, may not sound like impressive numbers, but he played for the Black Hawks. They suck. Well, they sucked last season, and the season before, and will continue to suck well into the future, as long as a one, Bill Wirtz continues his ownership of said poor, poor team. His goal, I believe, is to wipe hockey off of the Chicago Land map, and, so far he’s doing pretty well. His real passion, is the creation of an army of trained bears (trained in the art of pedophilia, I figured you would ask. And yes, I have studied and written on this subject extensively.), trained to do what you ask? Well, go back and read the parenthetical statement that preceded this sentence. I think I explain it clearly there..."
I fear I might be getting off track here… but, I think you get the point; the first attempt at a Flyers heart transplant. And like all invasive surgery, the decision was not made under the calmest of circumstances; a combination of injuries, desperate times, bad luck, and Bob Clarke, sent this seemingly good, if not sad trade all to hell. Calder never paid off (not for lack of trying), and Handzus is out for the season (tough break ‘Hawks fans, he’s a damn good player!). No, I do not suggest that this one trade caused the Flyers decent into an early golfing season, but I do believe it was a tipping point. Soon, the heads of Clarke and coach Hitchcock would roll into Snider’s office. Injuries and too much pressure on the Phantoms youngsters would implode an already fragile locker room. The bad decision to make the great Peter Forsberg a captain against his will, not to mention is problematic foot (and Timmy P’s new found and fucking annoying use of the nick name “Footpa”) has caused trade rumors (that I SO hope are not true), and comparisons to the dreaded “Lindros situation” have dogged the Flyers most valuable (and absent) player. Add to that the new Mystery Of The Three Goalies, and the discovery that Hatcher makes Chris Therien look like The Flash, and we Flyers fans are set for quite an over dramatic, under achieving second half to the season. And play-offs? ugh... I wonder how the Canucks are doing? Oh well, I gotta’ feed the cats.