So I was reading Anthony’s recap this morning after the Flyers stumbled to a disappointing 25-23-8 record, finishing well short of expectations following 2020’s exciting season.
Obviously Ant and Russ are down at every game, and they give you the quotes and the stats and all of that micro-level stuff that Flyers fans are looking for. I don’t watch every game but try to keep an eye on the team and absorb what I can from editing our stories throughout the season.
After absorbing as much as I can, admittedly from a casual and detached perspective, here’s my take on the Flyers:
There’s nobody on this team that makes me tune in to watch. There’s nobody on the roster that makes me say to myself, “I can’t wait to see this guy play tonight.”
It wasn’t always like that. Back in the day, the Legion of Doom line was must-watch hockey every night. I was 12 years old and couldn’t wait to see Eric Lindros, John LeClair, and Mikael Renberg on the ice. The honest truth is that I haven’t felt that way since.
In a way, it feels disrespectful to Claude Giroux, who has been fantastic for this team over the years. He had a 100-point season at age 30, and he’d wear the captain’s C on any NHL team. But not once in the last five seasons have I said to myself, “I’m hyped to see G on the ice out there.” I’m not hyped for Jake Voracek or Sean Couturier or Carter Hart.
It feels even weirder to say that when you consider that:
- Coots won the Selke last year
- Voracek has the 11th-most points in franchise history
- Provy is a legit #1 defenseman and only 24 years old
- Young Beezer scored 20 goals in 55 games this year
- JVR had a good individual year
- TK will have a better year in 2022
Beyond that, Nolan Patrick doesn’t do anything for me. Kevin Hayes is not a needle-mover. Scott Laughton is fine. NAK is fine. Whatever. They have good forward depth but just not enough “oomph” at the top.
Maybe it shows a lack of hockey knowledge on my part, and I’m not naive to the fact that this is a team sport where superstars don’t take over a game in the same way as Michael Jordan or Aaron Rodgers. But I really do think more casuals would watch the Flyers if they had cultivated or stumbled into drafting just one talented goal scorer over the years. We haven’t had an Ovechkin, Kane, or Tarasenko in more than a decade. Maybe longer.
And that’s a legit thing to ponder. Who is the last Flyers player that made people rush to Modell’s and buy his shirsey? When was the last time the Flyers had a guy that made you want to wear his shirt?
There isn’t one. Meantime Dallas fans, all five of them, got to watch Tyler Seguin. Lightning fans got Steven Stamkos. The Oilers have Connor McDavid and the Leafs have Auston Matthews. Meantime, we missed out on Patrick Kane and Rick Nash by a grand total of four draft spots. Life can be cruel sometimes.
That’s basically the take. It’s not a super-educated take, but I’m sure other people feel the same way. I’m looking for a generational superstar to put on a Flyers jersey and take over the town. Somebody who makes me find the remote control at 7 p.m. and flip on NBC Sports Philadelphia, instead of casually scanning for Twitter highlights.