Ah yes, it’s a traditional unlike any other in Philly. No, I’m not talking about Philly TV personalities tweeting about their glam night at [insert local charity dinner] where they, and other celebutants, can get their rocks off under the guise of philanthropy. I’m talking about the annual blame the captain calls on the heels of yet another Flyers playoff defeat.
Today, we have two entrants, one of whom has a pile of poop for a head, and another who just likes to hate things.
First up, Marcus Hayes.
I’ve been waiting to do this for a while now, and so it is with great pleasure that I bring you this dramatic reading of portions of Hayes’ piece taking Claude Giroux’s comments about fans booing substantially out of context:
Claude Giroux says those masses sometimes are so unwashed that they’re hurting his team.
Maybe Giroux’s stunning assertion at his end-of-season press conference Wednesday will change the way angry Flyers fans express themselves during games. Maybe pigs will fly.
The Flyers didn’t win any of their three home playoff games against the Penguins. They lost the series, four games to two. The Flyers were often booed. The Flyers are booed too often for Giroux’s liking. He believes that negative energy made the Flyers try too hard too often.
Giroux’s comments will elicit howls from some of the same throats that produced the bruising boos that Giroux says make the players play tight. They won’t care that he’s a Hart Trophy finalist who collected 102 points despite moving from center to wing.
They’ll care much more that, in the past three years, Giroux has earned $27 million …. and has scored one playoff goal.
Perhaps I flushed the lede there, which was literally Hayes’ lede:
This isn’t going to help the captain’s popularity.
But then, captains aren’t made captain to win popularity contests with the unwashed masses.
They’re made captain to help the team win games.
Astute. Truly next level commentary.
For context, here’s actually what Giroux said:
“I think sometimes — I’m not saying every game — but some games, at home, it wasn’t going our way. And sometimes it can happen like that. You can have a bad start. You can be down, 1- or 2-0. You [ideally would] keep going the same way you planned on playing the game. That wasn’t the case. We kind of changed our game. We tried to do a little too much. Trying to do somebody else’s job instead of going out there and playing the game.”
Next up, Angelo Cataldi:
Claude Giroux is blaming the fans for the Flyers flopping at home during the playoffs. Wow. These people paid hundreds, or even thousands, to see the captain go -10, and it’s their fault? Maybe Giroux needs a more forgiving city to call home.
— Angelo Cataldi (@AngeloCataldi) April 26, 2018
Look, Claude Giroux is certainly not above criticism, and his playoff performances – to the tune of three goals in his last three playoff series – leave a lot to be desired. But I’ll continue to argue he makes a better Robin than Batman. I simply don’t think he’s good enough to carry a team deep into the playoffs like other stars around the league, and there’s certainly not a good enough supporting cast around him. The Flyers have been banging their heads on the wall for seven – SEVEN – years with a core that simply isn’t good enough. Ergo, blaming the captain is how idiots evaluate sports. Sure, while Giroux’s comments were probably a touch deflective of the real issue – the Flyers aren’t good enough – he didn’t sit there and volunteer an excuse, he was asked a specific question by I think Sam Carchidi, who is the captain of the all narrative team, which he led in goals and stupid-fucking-questions-asked eight years running now.
Ironically, Hayes is more critical of fans than Cataldi, who focuses his beam squarely and unfairly on Giroux. The whole thing is such a tired trope, though. If you want to rip the Flyers for lacking direction, a good coach, or an entire second line, then by all means, do so. But can we please do better than this whole captain-fans thing? Somewhere, Eric Lindros chuckles with that little grin thing he does when he doesn’t want to let you in, probably because he had to put up with this bullshit for so many years.