In the time warp where the Flyers permanently reside, Ed Snider is still 40, his team wins Stanley Cups with its fists and – above all – there is no such thing as a shootout. That’s why, nine years after the NHL installed its tiebreaker system, the Flyers are still terrible at it.
No, that’s not entirely accurate. They would have to improve to be terrible at it. The Flyers are 27-53 since the shootouts began, worst in the NHL. Already this season, they are 0-2, a grim reality accepted with a smile by the team.
This is how behind-the-times the Flyers are: Last week, after the first of back-to-back shootout losses, coach Craig Berube was openly joking about the current state of his one-on-one shooters. He thought it was comical that Jeff Hextall, the 19-year-old son of GM Ron Hextall, had stoned the team during shootout drills.
“I guess we’d better wins some games in regulation,” Berube said.
It is no secret that the Flyers organization, from chairman Snider on down, has contempt for what they derisively call the “skills competition” – so much so that they see no reason to get better shooters or better goaltenders, or to develop the skills of the players they already have. Instead, they just accept the fact that they will lose a majority of the games tied after the five-minute overtime.
The big debate last year at this time was over the culture of the Flyers, the stuck-in-the-past organization run by an 81-year-old man still adjusting to the 21st century. Well, the tiebreaker in that argument should be painfully obvious by now. It’s the shootout.
- Six years ago, Phillies president Dave Montgomery had to decide between Ruben Amaro Jr. and Mike Arbuckle as the successor to Pat Gillick as GM. Montgomery made the wrong choice. Arbuckle ended up as an assistant GM in Kansas City, and is headed to the World Series. Amaro is still here, ruining the Phils. Ugh.
- Jonathan Papelbon made quite a spectacle of himself last week, dressed in a maroon suit and dangling a big cigar from his mouth while partying at his alma mater, Mississippi State. For a guy who takes losing so hard, the Phillies closer seems to have gotten over his team’s wretched season amazingly well.
- Mo’Ne Davis got another award last week. Just one question: How many honors would she have received if she had actually won the Little League World Series?
- Chris Christie said last week that he would rather go to the dentist than hear the Eagles fight song. Well, let’s all pray that the New Jersey governor – and avowed Dallas Cowboys fan – gets stuck in a massive traffic jam, and the only song playing on the radio is “Fly, Eagles, Fly.”
- Joe Banner is a dynamic presence on Twitter these days. In his latest verbal assault, the ex-Eagles president called Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Todd Haley “awful” last week. Why wasn’t Banner this interesting when he actually had a job?