For some unknown reason in Philadelphia, our star players can almost never win a championship when they are here, but often go on to win one somewhere else. This has happened to us time and time again and when it does, it can really sting. It’s one of the many cruel ironies of being a Philadelphia sports fan. It is analogous to having a really hot girlfriend who dumps you, and shortly thereafter hits the Mega Millions Lottery.
Why does this keep happening? Fate? Bad luck? Bad karma? The curse of Billy Penn? Who knows. Whatever the reason, there are countless examples of it. Reggie White had to go to Green Bay to do it. Curt Schilling had to go to Boston and Arizona. And now Andre Iguodala (or should I say NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala) had to go to the Golden State Warriors to do it.
For many Flyers fans, the two names that immediately come to mind when this topic is brought up are Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. Yes, this pair came very close to winning it all with the Flyers in 2010, losing in overtime of game six of the finals to the Chicago Blackhawks. However, it was only about a year later (June 23, 2011) that both players were dealt from the Flyers.
Most people would argue that the Flyers got the better part of both the Carter and Richards deals. Jeff Carter was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jakub Voracek and two draft choices that turned out to be Sean Couturier and Nick Cousins. Carter was a bust at Columbus, and was later traded to the Los Angeles Kings. Mike Richards (who was team captain at the time) was traded to LA for Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn. On paper, both deals seem to clearly favor the Flyers, don’t they?
But here’s the thing – since those two blockbuster trades were made, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter have won not one, but TWO Stanley Cups with the Los Angeles Kings! And in that same time frame the Flyers have won, uh let me count- ZERO Stanley Cups. (And don’t even get me started on former Flyer, now King, Justin Williams). As a matter of fact, in the four seasons since the big trades, the Flyers have actually missed making the playoffs twice.
So the big question is, will there ever come a day when we see Claude Giroux or another player in orange and black joyfully hoisting the Stanley Cup over his head? We just saw Kimmo Timonen do it a couple of days ago as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks, but the last time a we saw a Flyer skating with the cup, Gerald Ford was president and gas cost 57 cents a gallon. The odds are, sooner or later, it has to happen. And if and when it does, I can promise you one thing – on that magical day it’s going to finally feel like we were the ones to win the Mega Millions Lottery, and not someone else for a change.