The Los Angeles Kings beat the Phoenix Coyotes in five games to earn the right to play for the Stanley Cup. The Philadelphia Flyers were convincingly pushed out of the Stanley Cup playoffs by the New Jersey Devils.
But, all loyal fans understand this code: Once a Flyer, always a Flyer and as such they must lend their allegiance to their left coast friends.
Setting the scene
The Kings victory over the Coyotes ended all potentially uncomfortable final round goalie comparisons. Imagine if Mike Smith, who replaced Ilya Bryzgalov in net for the Coyotes this season, would have won the Cup. Just another line of awkward questioning that 'Bryz' would have had to deal with at some point.
On the other hand, some might be thinking that it will be even worse if various members of the Kings (most prominently Mike Richards and Jeff Carter) raise Lord Stanley in a few weeks.
They were two great players during their time in orange and black. They also never requested a trade, but instead had their contracts transferred due to philosophical shifts within the Flyers front office.
I backed Paul Holmgren's decision to change course last summer and still do. Following that line of thought, it's easy to root for the Kings to win the Cup.
Heaven and Hades
Beyond the players mentioned, Justin Williams has also been a key contributor to the Kings efforts this year. Simon Gagne has recently been cleared for contact after being sidelined for months with another concussion, but might not be able to play in the postseason.
Among other personnel includes one of the greatest Flyers of all-time, in assistant general manager Ron Hextall.
'Hexy' deserved to win the Cup in 1987, when the Flyers faced the Edmonton Oilers. Speaking to him after the Winter Classic Alumni game against the New York Rangers, he mentioned that he and Bob Clarke had recently discussed that famous seven-game series.
Hextall was looking down and spoke with a still-pained voice as he told me that. Clearly, the depth of that disappointment had still not been reached. I would like to see him be part of a Cup-winner this year for that simple reason.
Honest fans can support the hockey men they once cheered for when the hometown squad isn't the opposition. But, what a dream series that would have been.
By the way, the New Jersey Devils are now leading their own series against the Rangers 3-2. No rational human being this side of Hades wants to support them.
Sean O'Brien is based in the Philadelphia region. He has written professionally for over two decades and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and also read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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