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.