Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Marc Siciliano on 07/26/11 at 05:26 PM ET
I thought I might have been able to avoid it; but merely halfway through the offseason, a dry island iceberg has reared its ugly head ever-so-slightly above the surface, smoldering enough to catch the eyes of a Philadelphia Daily News gossip reporter. His accounts yesterday have simultaneously rejuvenated belief in the unsinkable team the Flyers apparently had over a month ago, while also fanning the foolish notions of alcoholism burning deeply below the surface and beyond sight.
I only intend to touch on it once, because quite frankly what’s done is done and a lot of opinions are bound to stay unchanged, but the team did what they felt they had to do to take that final step as an organization. It isn’t the end of the world, and it has more to do with a few drinks and numbers on a corkboard. Simply put – they were hockey moves.
“It’s completely frustrating, and we got exactly what we deserved tonight. When you don’t show up and compete, you don’t execute, you don’t play the game with energy, you’re gonna lose.”
It’s ok, Peter. Hockey season is right around the corner
Sounds like a quote from after the playoffs right? It’s actually from a game in November of last season, when the Flyers embarrassed themselves by disappearing for 40 minutes in a terrible, losing effort versus Columbus - a team that went on to finish 13th in the Western Conference.
But it goes further than that, even dating prior to when Laviolette was first brought in and this whole dry island was instituted. He was brought in as a means of correcting an issue of complacency within the team without actually making major moves to the core, relieving John Stevens of his duties after he had turned the Flyers around with little NHL head-coaching experience just a few seasons prior. This was a team oozing with talent, but seemingly incapable of taking that next step year after year.
As a team, the Flyers have underperformed the past few years and everyone who follows them knows it. Otherwise, we would be satisfied with the results, right? Well, are you satisfied?
How many times can you repeat the same experiment with the same results? We all know the win now attitude couldn’t continue to last – something big had to be done to alter the future of the organization before it ultimately crumbled beneath the massive expectations without a proper foundation to fall on.
And to be blunt, would we really care as much as we do if they didn’t have those contracts that enabled us to cling to the notion they were actually the franchise players of the organization to begin with? Regardless of our perceptions and allegiances, this is a business above all, and ultimately the business is winning. If the organization values the talent and potential of Giroux and JVR over Richards and Carter for the long-term, who are we do disagree?
These are the types of trades that can awaken some demons within and really revitalize the blood up and down a lineup marred with inconsistency in recent memory. The organization received at absolute worst a contingent of players in a position to help the team both now and in the future, while also making room to answer some other questions in the lineup simultaneously.
Even if next year proves to be a step back, this team is still deep enough to be a few tweaks away from perennial contention. Couple its front office tenacity with its ability to develop first-round picks (particularly Canadian first-round picks), and the picture is not bleak as it is made to seem by some.
Remember: we don’t need the new guys to necessarily replace Carter and Richards – it’s the total anticipation of JVR, Giroux, Voracek, Simmonds, Schenn, and even Nodl to a lesser extent elevating their collective games in order to offset their departure. Even if the offense proves to be less fruitful, they were one of the top offensive teams in the league last year – it’s ok to not be as offensively potent.
There are many different ways to win, and only 30 teams have done it in the past 30 years. If it were as easy as figuring out one mathematical formula for success or assembling a particular combination of guys, it would be done already and every team would look almost identical. There are an incomprehensible amount of little things that go on behind the scenes that are impossible to predict, even by those in the most elite of positions within your team’s front office. Given everything they know, the organization simply decided to shake up its depth to take a new approach: why try and read between the lines when you can just enjoy the ride?
Continue the discussion with me on twitter (@marcs797), email (email@example.com), or in the comments below
The ‘Welcome to the Flyers’ series continues tomorrow, and coverage will only increase from here as I get my bloggers pants properly hemmed and fitted for the season. I asked them to add some cargo pockets to fit all the cool crap I’ve got in store for the season, so stay tuned.
As always - Lets Go Flyers!
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