So I know I’ve been promising a hockey column both in print and in person for quite a while now. Despite not being a big hockey guy, I certainly recognize that I’ve totally neglected the Flyers up to this point in what is one of the few hockey crazy cities in the United States. But while I follow and root for the Flyers, I readily admit that I don’t have an extensive knowledge of the game. It’s the only major sport I never played as a youth (soccer doesn’t count even less than hockey in the U.S. as a major sport). So despite knowing a large percentage of the players and all the rules, I don’t really have the grasp on the intricacies of the game that only those that play it understand. While I can speak with great authority on defensive rotations in basketball, or blitz packages in football, I don’t have the first clue what the various systems in hockey entail, or even the specific differences between them. I hold my writing to an extremely high personal standard both in structure and content; if I can’t speak intelligently about a topic, I’m not going to attempt to fool anyone by pretending I know more than I do. Too much of that goes on in the blogging world as it is.
However, with the goaltending situation rising to a crescendo yet again in Philadelphia amid the playoff push, I knew that I could no longer ignore the issues plaguing the Orange and Black. When Ilya Bryzgalov once again allowed a couple soft goals tonight while the opposing netminder stood on his head, I knew the situation needed to be addressed immediately. If Wayne Simmonds hadn’t rescued Bryz by scoring to tie the game with ten seconds left, the mob would’ve reached Defcon 5 levels. Even with Jaromir Jagr’s game winner in overtime, the goalie is guaranteed to be the target of venomous Flyers fans on the airwaves yet again tomorrow. However, while I followed along with the events of the Flyers game, I was busy watching my own nightmare, as the Sixers lost their fourth straight game on the road in Memphis. While the Flyers defense/goaltending continues to fail them, the Sixers have simply stopped scoring. So this focus on the Flyers is also a welcome distraction to help me retain a shred of sanity until the NBA All Star break this weekend.
Since I was too busy with my own train wreck of a team, I turned to someone who CAN speak with authority and intelligence on the Flyers. The Barback on Fridays at my job is one of the biggest Flyers fans I know; more importantly, he’s not your typical absurd whiny Flyers fan that turns off the other teams’ fan bases (sorry but it’s true, I wrote about it here). He’s passionate without being unreasonable, a traditionalist that loves fighting in hockey and hates the shootout. We often spend Friday nights peppering each other with questions about each other’s first loves in order to get an informed opinion on each other’s sport of choice. I ask how he feels about the latest Flyers trade rumors; he asks me what the hell is wrong with the Sixers right now. He asked me once if the public perception of Andre Iguodala was similar to that of former Flyer Jeff Carter, a comparison/question I liked so much that I meant to use it in a column. When Carter and Mike Richards were shipped out of town on the same day last year, I immediately text The Barback asking if he had kidnapped Flyers GM Paul Holmgren and taken over, in order to finally rid the team of “Captain N Coke” and his running buddy.
So welcome my new resident Flyers expert to the Guest House; hopefully he’ll become a frequent visitor to my Home. You’ll find his place in The Guest House here.