As doom and gloom rages on the Flyers front, we all are looking for solutions to the winless streak. Eager to go psycho . . . feels it’s the Law of Philly Sports. If’s, And’s, & “Buts” suggests that perhaps it’s a league-wide funk. Flyers Center takes the approach that Sarah Palin has cursed the team. And the Flying P is convinced it’s the curse of Comcast.
All that even comes before mentioning the Curse of Billy Penn - supposedly lifted by a mini-statue on the roof of the new Comcast Tower. Or the 9,276 days since the Sixers brought the last major sports title to Philadelphia. (I say major because the Phantoms have won two Calder Cups in 1996 and 2005, and Jon Bon Jovi’s Philadelphia Soul arena football team won their league championship in 2008.)
I’m not really one to join the superstition train. While I suppose it’s possible that some great forces - see hockey gods - dictate the results of games, I prefer to believe that each player/team makes his/their own luck. I guess that makes me a sports agnostic.
Therefore, here is my wishlist for the Flyers as they enter the back half of a home-and-home with San Jose. And if you’re listening, hockey gods and oracles of sport, consider these a prayer of supplication.
1. The return of the Broad Street Bullies - The Flyers haven’t looked Hungry for More or even Back with a Vengeance. A better slogan might be “Eh, who cares?” So tonight, I’d like to see them play with the same attitude that drew comparisons to the original Broad Street Bullies in the first place: smart backchecking, agressive forechecking, and grit from their own corners to the opposition’s crease. Stop getting pushed around the ice like you don’t belong there.
2. Sustained intensity - Wynton Marsalis, the famous jazz trumpet player, once said that “sustained intensity equals ecstasy.” Granted, he was talking music. But I think the same thought applies here. The Flyers have moments of brilliance scattered in between defensive lapses and bizarre, low-percentage choices like cross-ice passes through the neutral zone against trapping teams. Lengthen and connect those moments of brilliance, and you might get a win. Otherwise known as ecstasy.
3. Balanced production - I wrote a few weeks ago that I loved this team because it doesn’t revolve around one superstar, that it thrives on the full roster working together as one unit. I’ll allow that personnel changes may have affected their chemistry, but we’re approaching the point when that should no longer be an issue. Each man on that ice needs to bring the same level of desire to the ice. It doesn’t matter how hard Scottie Upshall may battle to win the puck if Joffrey Lupul is fighting out there just as hard to receive it. And that can be said for every member on this team, including the captain.
Here’s hoping for that first win. Even this sports agnostic has fingers crossed.