Jake Voracek chose a strange time to make himself the story. He also did it in the exact wrong way.
The Philadelphia Flyers, moribund and irrelevant for much of the last ten years, are finally playing like a Stanley Cup contender again. Two straight wins against any opposition to start a new season would be cause enough for optimism. They didn’t merely do that, though. The Flyers curb-stomped the hated Pittsburgh Penguins in consecutive games, winning each by three goals and chasing the Penguins’ keeper 11:30 into the first period of last night’s win:
🔶 FLYERS WIN! 🔶
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) January 16, 2021
This should be a new feel-good dawn for the Flyers, and their timing couldn’t be much better.
The Eagles had their worst season since 2012, and like 2012 that season ended with the coach getting canned. Another similarity to 2012 for the Eagles is that firing the coach probably won’t be the whole solution.
The Phillies have spent most of the offseason watching the New York Mets load up in hopes of wresting the National League East from the still-very-good Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals, who struggled in the shortened 2020 season but won the World Series two years ago.
And while the Sixers are off to a nice start, their most recent two victories came over a COVID-decimated Miami Heat team that played without its two best players. Plus, Ben Simmons is still here and James Harden isn’t.
The city is aching for some good news on the sports front, and Flyers fans specifically are absolutely dying for the team to be good again. Which, from all available evidence, they definitely are. Even the Flyers’ perpetual Achilles’ heel, goaltending, appears to be sorted out.
And then, in last night’s post-game press conference, Flyers’ forward Jake Voracek goes and does this:
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) January 16, 2021
That’s right, Voracek – the same Voracek that’s in the middle of the first tweet above celebrating the win and the sweep of the Penguins. In the midst of all of this goodness, Voracek picked that moment to settle a personal score and make himself (not his team) the story of the night.
If his skin is really that thin, Voracek might look at this as a hit piece, too, but in truth there is no agenda against him here. There are only facts.
This is Voracek’s tenth season in Philadelphia. He is 31 years old. Voracek isn’t some newbie to the city unfamiliar with the media’s role, and he’s not some petulant rookie who doesn’t know better than to accept the good press and ignore everything else.
Voracek has been a very good player for the Flyers for a very long time. He has made three NHL All-Star teams. Maybe it’s not his fault, but seven of those seasons (2012-2013 through 2018-2019) saw the Flyers either lose in the first round or miss the playoffs. When you’re a very good player on a pretty bad team, your accomplishments are often lost in the futility surrounding them.
And maybe some of that frustration factored in here. Or maybe Voracek just thinks Sielski is a bad writer and/or a bad guy. Whatever Voracek’s reason was for behaving this way, it’s a bad reason and it’s no justification for his words.
Voracek is in the middle of a $66M contract extension that will keep him in orange and black through 2023-2024. He’s also an alternate captain. With the huge paycheck and the “A” come responsibilities which include but are not limited to not punching down on a newspaperman.
More than any other team sport, hockey is the one where selflessness, humility, and character are valued most.
Voracek went 0-3 on those counts last night.
Kinkead: I don’t necessarily agree with Phil, but I think it’s worth pointing out that columnists write with critical scrutiny when necessary. Mike’s job is to share opinions, and as such, he does not function as a “beat reporter,” like Sam Carchidi. Voracek, in my mind, is justified in responding how he’d like to respond.