May 20, 2008
(Ed. Note: Hoo-boy, here we go.) As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we're bound to lose some friends along the journey. Gone but not forgotten, we've asked for these losers to be eulogized by the people who knew the teams best: The fans who hated them the most. Here is JP from the Washington Capitals blog Japers' Rink recalling the Philadelphia Flyers.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, "Vengeance Now" to worm food now.
Friends, we gather today to mourn the death of the Philadelphia Flyers' Stanley Cup Championship dreams for a 32nd consecutive season. As we all, together and individually, come to grips with this loss, we are reminded of the fragility of life in the playoffs. One moment you're pushing opposing players into their own netminder, and seemingly the very next moment you're pushing up daisies. One day you're whining for respect, and less than a fortnight later you're taking the dirt nap.
But the Flyers' demise at the hands of their cross-state rival was hardly unexpected, and some had the vision to question the team's intestinal fortitude early on. After nearly asphyxiating on a three-games-to-one lead against Washington in the first round and watching the Conference champion Canadiens implode from the goal on out in the second, the Flyers' accumulated injuries became too much to bear. Top sniper Simon Gagne has been out since early February (and though he said he might have returned should the Flyers make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, clearly he wouldn't have wanted to rush things and come back a week early). All-Star defenseman Kimmo Timonen was declared finished for the year on the eve of the series opener (though he miraculously returned to share in Sunday's elimination embarrassment). And two of the team's three regular-season scoring leaders -- Daniel Briere and Vaclav Prospal -- missed the Conference Finals altogether. The list goes on and ... Wait, what? Briere and Prospal played against Pittsburgh? I must not have recognized Briere behind his playoff beard, but I'm fairly certain I didn't see either all series.
How could they know that their beloved team -- who had the most penalty minutes in the Eastern Conference during the regular season -- might not get every call come playoff time?
How could they know that when they needed a Bernie Parent, all they'd be able to muster up was a Ryan Parent, when they needed a Moses Malone, they'd get smacked around by Ryan Malone, and when they needed a big goal from Jeff Carter, they'd simply get hammered like a Mitch Williams heater to Joe Carter?
And now they're gone, nothing more than a few orange and black stains on the end boards of Mellon Arena, Jarkko Ruutu's elbow pads, and the broadside of the U.S.S. Hal Gill. Take your ball and go home, Patrick Thoreson -- it's over.
As we lower this mostly-full casket into the ground (apparently Mike Richards and Scottie Upshall took it upon themselves to swan dive right into the open grave), we are left asking the age old question - if not vengeance now, vengeance when?
Vengeance never, my friends, vengeance never. It's been that way in the City of Brotherly Love for the past twenty-five years, and probably will be that way for the next twenty-five.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a private, one-on-one grief counseling session to attend.