June 22, 2009
But from the sounds of things, at least they were able to fall back on other memorable moments: In beer pong or flip cup, theoretically.
GM Paul Holmgren did a Q&A with Wayne Fish of PhillyBurbs.com recently that candidly touched on his relatively young team's love of the nightlife. Fish asked him if there were any concerns from management, and Holmgren replied:
Holmgren: "Let me say this: The issue has been raised by (coach) John (Stevens) and myself with all the players.
"I think this all falls under the umbrella of discipline. It's on-ice discipline - not overstaying-your-shift discipline - it's off-ice discipline, it's night before a game taking better care of ourselves. That's a natural maturation process that a lot of our younger players are still going through. We've addressed that. So am I concerned about it? We'll see how it goes this year. All our players have been talked to about it. Is it an issue? The fact that we've talked about it, I guess it is an issue."
Fish asked if the lecture stemmed from a particular incident, and Holmgren dodged it thusly:
Holmgren: "If you look at our season, I don't know if we were fatigued (at the end) but our record wasn't what it needed to be going into the playoffs. In the Eastern finals, Pittsburgh and Carolina were the two teams playing. They were the best teams over the last 20 games (of the regular season). So did they take better care of themselves as a team? Why did they win and we stubbed our toe? We can't win 82 games but, each loss, you can't just say it's one game. It's unacceptable."
Interesting stuff. The Flyers were famously captured "crashing" a Temple University frat party earlier this season (some NSFW photos), which did nothing to dispel this reputation. Neither did Joffrey Lupul's(notes) boozy (and ironic) appearance on VH1's "Sober House."
So the Flyers become the umpteenth young team in recent memory that parties too hard, gets a reality check from management and then either straightens up or squanders its potential. Did executives even have these discussions with players in the 1970s? And if they did, was it over a few beers?
Thanks to Flyers blogger Ronnie Brook for the tip. He has a follow-up post that attempts to track wins and losses after "party nights."