So my daily visit to the Flyers website revealed an interesting piece of news. Bill Guerin had an informal skating session with our boys, with permission from Paul Holmgren. He downplays the significance, saying that he was visiting family in the area, and just wanted to skate a bit. I call bullshit! I do not want him wearing Orange and Black; he’s not welcome. But I have a sneaking suspicion that he’ll get a chance to earn a roster spot.
It’s not about whether or not he can play and contribute something to the team (he can). It’s about his history, and what he’s been a part of over the years. He’s been a significant part of two franchises that rolled over us in the Eastern Conference Finals en route to a Stanley Cup Championship. And it’s not just any franchises, it’s two out of our biggest rivals of all time: the New Jersey Devils (1995) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (2009). He beat us with clutch goals, tormented us with solid checks, and pretty much has been a pain in the ass all of the time.
Most of this hatred goes back to the mid-90’s, when he was there for the beginning of the Devils’ dynasty. 1994-95 was the season we made it back to the playoffs, when Eric Lindros and the Legion of Doom were supposed to bring us to glory. Instead, the franchise that plays in a swamp, in front of relatively few fans, came along with their mind numbingly boring trap defense, with their clutching and grabbing, and stole our dream. Guerin was a major part of that team, fitting in with that group that nearly ruined hockey with their boring style of play. He scored twice in the opening game in those playoffs as Jersey began the upset on our home ice.
That team that they had seemed to own the Flyers for most of the following decade, and he was a part of it for about half of that time. There’s no way I can respect anyone from a franchise I hate so, so much. As we all know, he traveled around the NHL like a nomadic assassin after leaving the swamp. Of course, over the last few years we grew to hate the Pens as they became relevant again. And when he came back on our radar as they acquired him for the playoff push (worked out well for them). Once again, he was a big role player for a team that ripped our hearts out.
And now, it’s possible that he’ll play for us? I know, sports is a business, it’s about winning and acquiring the right pieces. Sometimes, however, I wish it was more about loyalty. And I think it would be disloyal to bring along a player that’s been there to witness our misery, while he sat across the ice, laughing. Ultimately, I do want to see the Flyers win a Stanley Cup, and I want them to make any deal necessary. Some deals, just aren’t worth it.
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