Reader Email: Was Paul Holmgren Al Davis’d?

Email from reader Joe:

This morning, I was thinking about how much I hate the Flyers’ offseason moves.  After a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, I realized it’s not Homer’s fault.  Crazy, but please bear with me.  Looking at his moves as GM, I actually like them right up until Versteeg.   Quick review:

Turns aging Forsberg into Parent, Upshall, Timonen & Hartnell

Steals Coburn for Zhitnik

Picks up Biron for a 2nd rounder

Signs Briere instead of Gomez or Drury (At the time, all three were considered all star caliber FA’s)

Trades for Carle

Trades for Pronger

Trades bag of used pucks for Leino

Swaps Meszaros for 2nd round pick

Remember how bad the Flyers were in 06-07?  Through a series of good signings and great trades he revamped the defense and added some firepower to a young loaded offense.  His first 3 years were Rube-like.  The guy invented the “I’ll trade you a 6th round pick for the rights to your FA, so we can sign him before free agency really begins” move. 

So why would Homer go crazy and start trading cornerstone pieces of the franchise?  He’s been Al Davis’d.  I think Ed Snider grabbed the wheel and is now making personal decisions.  The more recent Flyer moves seem fit the “crazy owner decided to be GM” mode usually seen in the NFL.  Think about it.  You can practically hear Al Davis on the phone with Ed Snider.   “You found a 39 year old hof-er just playing in Russia?  Reminds me of when we signed Larry Brown.  He was a Superbowl MVP and WE signed him.  Just Win Baby!”

I’m sure there’s a lot more “Ed Snider is a passionate owner stuck in the 70s just like Al Davis” jokes to be made. 


Very interesting points, Joe. Homer not only invented the “I’ll trade you a 6th round pick for the rights to your FA, so we can sign him before free agency really begins” maneuver, but he also has a patent on it. Although, it doesn’t always work out (see Hamhuis, Dan). 

And, ala George W. standing on a pile of rubble, I hear you loud and clear on the Al Davis thing. Spot on. In Snider’s creepy off-season interview with Neil Hartman, the one that was shot in a Zamboni tunnel or the torture chamber beneath The Well where they’re keeping Bill Barber, he seemed less than pleased with his captain, a guy he formerly championed and built up to be the next Bobby Clarke.

What’s more, for years (and I don’t have to tell you this), Snider and Co. sat idly by as teams with world-class goalies won the Stanley Cup: Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy, Dominik Hasek, Mike Richter, Tim Thomas, etc. 

He ignored the need.

But after this season’s goaltender roulette, he snapped. Every time he watched Bob, Bouche, and Leighton skate dejectedly toward the bench, his switch flipped like when the Manchurian Candidate saw the Queen of Diamonds.

Must get goalie.

Logic and reasoning was briefly thrown to the curb (not unlike the GM, really…). Homer was instructed to obey the chairman's commands: get the goalie, purge all evidence of partying, rebuild even though we just went to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and kill Dan Carcillo. Homer obeyed. Mostly.

Snider’s fingerprints aren’t merely all over these moves, he left a semen stain on Homer’s wedding dress. Perhaps the first sign that something big was about to go down was when Snider’s private jet ominously departed Las Vegas and headed for his home in Santa Barbara at 2:53 PM Eastern on June 23rd (moments before the trades). Just one hour later, Snider reversed course and pointed the pilot toward Philly. Homer had commenced the purge. Snider's disciple had done his bidding. The GM was, in fact, Al Davis’d.

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14 Responses

  1. The problem is, Holmgren had a pretty solid off season. He rid the dressing room of guys who had entitlement or stupidity issues, brought in a top level goalie, added several excellent young players and prospects, still has a deep and talented roster and a good head coach, who should now be firmly in charge of the ship.

  2. While i agree that Snider may have finally decided it was time to put his foot down and gave homer the orders. i dont disagree with the moves. they traded richards and carter who in all honesty were not gonna do anything more for this franchise. carcillo was a plug, leino – expendable, versteeg (we all know had to go). and in return we get the WORLD’S 5th best goaltender. we get the 7th (or was it 8th?) overall pick sean coturier whos a stud. you know who last years 7th pick was? jeff fucking skinner aka 2011 rookie of the year. they got brayden schenn who may just prove to be the next eric staal. they got wayne simmonds who is everything scott harntell should be and 8 years younger. they got jake voracek who resembles andrei kostitsyn which is pretty much saying heres a gift wrapped zherdev who actually tries. holmgren did more in 2 days to set this team up for the next ten years than anyother gm in sports. and in my opinion hes on the same level as ruben in making incredible moves and putting a winning product on the fiel or in this case ice.

  3. oh and talbot brings toughness and grit to the lineup and even a tad bit of offense. and jagr is going to prove to be invaluable on our powerplay. watch it go back to the top 5 in the league next year. and everyone seems to forget that we still have claude giroux and a young player entering his prime by the name of eric lindros….um i mean james van riemsdyk sorry.

  4. IF you think Carter and Richards arent better than Jagar and Bradyen Shenn… right now…as far as winning a cup… you dont know hockey. Character got you to the Stanley Cup finals in 2010. Period. Get over your man love for Snider and Homer.

  5. “Holmgren had a pretty solid off season. He rid the dressing room of guys who had entitlement or stupidity issues, brought in a top level goalie, added several excellent young players and prospects, still has a deep and talented roster and a good head coach, who should now be firmly in charge of the ship.”

  6. We should all reserve judgement for until midseason at least. Not only are these guys going to need time to prove themselves, but they will also need the time to jell…… I don’t see a cup in the immediate future for the Flyers. Had they kept one of the frat boys I’d say they still had a shot. But now i’m pretty sure it won’t happen this up coming season. I hope I’m wrong.

  7. Lets see how well Carter and Richards do in thier new settings, in both situations each player should get considerably more ice time then they did here, if thier production drops off then the problem wasn’t homer. Lets also wait to see if thier games played drops off, i’d bet it does. Leino’s money was crazy the sabres are a-holes, the only semi head scratcher is the Jagr move but at that price and considering the power play issues it’s really a solid move.

  8. i can’t wait until we win the cup this year without carter and richards, not because i dislike carter and richards, but because the complaining about the trades is so fucking old at this point. has anyone even given thought to the idea that maybe homer, i don’t know, knows what he’s doing, given all of his great moves in the past?

  9. This isn’t news to me. I thought everybody assumed Snider was the one making the roster decisions this offseason. I wouldn’t be surprised if Laviolette had some input though. Holmgren definitely was not the one who made the decision to get rid of those guys. Also, thank god Versteeg is gone. He chugged cock.

  10. I can’t wait for L.A to win the cup or at least be a contender to show all u a-holes what we lost!! Be it Richards and Gagne!!!

  11. @iwj514 100% agree with you!!! I’m so sick of hearing everyone put Richards down, the man can play hockey (anyone remember the shift?) And I’m glad Kyle keeps them in his post’s…hope it continues threw the season too!!
    Right with ya tried of!!

  12. I really don’t think the trades had as much to do with the partying as people think. Keep in mind that Carter and Richards both had no trade clauses that were going to kick in after this season. If ANY sports franchise had two guys that would be locked in for a decade, who they didnt believe were the keys to winning a cup, they would get rid of them.
    Also, stop bringing up the whole “they were 2 games away from winning a Stanley Cup in 2010” argument. They were also one shootout away from missing the playoffs that year and probably having all these moves happen then.
    They traded a ton of dead weight in Carcillo and Versteeg, but its too bad they forgot about Hartnell.

  13. queez, i agree. I would’ve loved to see Hartnell go. Also, with richards and carter being traded, everyone seems to have forgotten that we finally got what we’ve wanted since Hextall left the net – a slammin’ new goalie!
    What’s done is done. Hockey is about to be back and we open the season against the fuckin bruins. Get excited people!! Also, why hasn’t anyone attributed any of this team’s success to Lavi? We didn’t win games because of richards and carter. We won games because we have a coach that was able to turn a last place team into Stanley Cup contenders in half a season. I’ve got nothing but optimisim for this season. go flyers.

  14. People can complain all they want about past moves, but the bottom line is that you still are a Flyers fan. If you really hate the way this organization works than change your allegiance like a coward. I’m a fan of the crest on the front, not any one player’s name on the back. I have a Richards jersey, and will always appreciate the way he played for this team. The change had to be made while it was still possible though. It would have been brutal to have such great talent at forward and suffer miserable defeats in the playoffs year after year because we couldn’t acquire a quality goaltender due to salary cap issues. We have all seen teams that typically win the cup have quality goaltenders. Blackhawks are an exception, and that roster is just a shell of what it once was now.

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