I will start this off by saying that Ed Snider is the greatest owner this city has ever had. He made a big time roll of the dice when he brought an NHL expansion team to the city of Philadelphia and turned the Flyers into the huge success they are today. The city of Philadelphia only had one other foray into hockey before 1967, the Philadelphia Quakers in 1930 who were a colossal failure. They lasted one year and then had to fold. So Philadelphia had zero hockey success before the arrival of the Flyers.
Meanwhile, the Flyers have been one of the most successful franchises in NHL history. Yes, we all know it’s been forty years and counting since the Flyers won their last Stanley Cup. But they have won two Stanley Cups, made eight trips to the Stanley Cup finals and have the second highest winning percentage in the expansion era behind only the Montreal Canadians. Even in their lean years, the Flyers play to packed houses. The Flyers are as integral a part of our community as any of the other three Philadelphia sports teams and Mr. Snider is the main reason for it.
With all of that being said, it’s time for him to take a back seat and stop saying things like he said yesterday in order to try to sell tickets. I have to believe that is his motivation for saying it because it’s the only plausible explanation for it. It’s either that or he has deluded himself into thinking this team is a lot better than it actually is.
Here is what it is he had to say:
It’s really irritating to hear such statements. It insults my intelligence. Here is the reality. People don’t like hearing this but, it’s the truth. The Flyers are not a good team and haven’t been for a while. Yes, they do have some talent in guys like Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek and Wayne Simmonds. Those three guys are the only three proven, bona fide forwards on this team though. After that, the well runs dry. The Flyers ranked 23rd in goals scored last year. They had the second fewest goals in the league while playing 5 on 5. The main reason is because they had no secondary scoring. Guys like Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier have shown flashes of promise but have yet to prove themselves as reliable second line scorers. Matt Read and R. J. Umberger played most of last year injured and that hurt their production. If one or both of them bounce back, it will help with the Flyers scoring issues, but this won’t be enough to put the Flyers in the upper echelon of offense in the NHL.
I found it convenient that Mr. Snider didn’t mention the Flyers defense at all. It has been one of the most porous defenses in the league over the last two years. Night after night, Steve Mason has to play lights out just to keep this team in games. Yes, we all know about the prospects they have in their system who I am extremely excited about. But, all of these guys will be Flyers down the road. They won’t be on next year’s team.
Yes, the Flyers did make the playoffs two years ago but they failed to qualify tbe year before that. That’s two out of the last three years the Flyers have failed make the playoffs. They also finished with the seventh worst record in the NHL last year. And if you want to look at just how far away the Flyers are from being one of the NHL’s elite, look no further than that first round match up with the Rangers in 2014. Let’s look past all the “we took the team that eventually went to the Stanley Cup Finals to 7 games” crap the players kept trying to feed us going into last season. If you watched that series, you would have seen the Flyers were completely out classed by a much better team. If not for goaltender Mason, that series is over way before seven games and Game 7 would have been an absolute blow out. Mason put on one of the greatest goaltending performances I have ever seen in that game and I watched Pelle Lindbergh and Ron Hextall carry the Flyers in great playoff runs.
Here’s another quote from Mr Snider that he rolled out there last year when the Flyers were struggling to get in to the playoffs. “With this team that we have, we should be a playoff team” With what team? The way Ed Snider talks, you woud think the Flyers were one of the most talented teams in the league. They’re not. Plain and simple. When you look at the upper echelon teams in the league, it is so clearly evident how far away the Flyers are.
Let’s look at the Tampa Bay Lightning as an example of how much more depth a good team has compared to the Flyers. Tampa’s first two lines go Callahan/Filppula/Stamkos, Kucherov/Johnson/Palat. The Flyers go Raffl/Giroux/Voracek, Read/Couturier/Simmonds. You could make an argument that the teams’ two first lines are about the same. But when you compare the team’s second lines, this really shows you just how far away the Flyers are from being a really good team. Tampa’s second line is as good as a lot of team’s first lines. They played so well in the playoffs last year that teams started playing their best checking lines against them because they were scoring at such a prodigious clip. Compare that to the Flyers second line where you have Matt Read who had eight goals, Sean Couturier who had 15 and the one legitimate player on that line Simmonds who had 28. Tampa is head and shoulders above the Flyers. Add to that the fact that Tampa has an elite defensman in Victor Hedman (something the Flyers don’t have) and a fourth line center in Dan Boyle who had 11 goals last year. It shows you how much more depth a truly good team has as compared to the Flyers.
Even if you want to make the argument of, “well the Flyers might not be on the level of Tampa Bay but they are good enough to make the playoffs.” Again, I don’t see how this is the case. The Flyers finished 10th in the conference last year and were 14 points out of a playoff spot. It wasn’t a case of they finished only two or three points out and with a break here or there they could have squeaked in. They finished 14 points out. That’s not even remotely close. And just about all the teams ahead of them made significant improvements, more significant than the upgrades made by the Flyers in the offseason. Pittsburgh added Phil Kessel. Washington added Justin Williams and T. J. Oshie. Columbus added Brandon Saad. And all of these teams were better than the Flyers to begin with.
So Mr. Snider, please tell me how you can look at all of these things and then tell me the Flyers are a good team and will make the playoffs next year? Are you that delusional or are you trying to sell a few more game plans? Here’s a pointer coming from a knowledgeable fan of the team for the last 37 years: you’re not helping your cause by trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes by making such statements. People know what’s going on. We know the Flyers are not a good team right now and even with the new coach and with some of the new players will most likely miss the playoffs again next year. Stop insulting our intelligence by making such statements. We’re not going to be fooled by them.