If one decides to click on any Philadelphia Flyers related blog, read a beat writer’s column, or peruse facebook and twitter, the topic of conversation will inevitably be some regurgitated form of what Mike Sielski asked when the Flyers held a press conference to inform the public of their recent decision to change coaches. Sielski’s question, and I am paraphrasing for the lack of need to post the actual quote since 99% of Flyers fans have listened or read it to the fact that it is burned into their soul, was “Do the Flyers need a culture change?” My short answer: No.
My long answer: The Philadelphia Flyers do not need a culture change. In order to actually debate their culture, we must first understand what the Philadelphia Flyers’ culture is all about. In my opinion, the Flyers culture is to be talented, gritty, tough, intimidating, and play with heart.. Those five words are an embodiment of a team – a successful team. The Flyers may have only won two Stanley Cups, but that is more than 17 teams in the NHL. Obviously, they are doing something correct. Let us not forget that the Philadelphia Flyers also made 8 Stanley Cup appearances since their creation. I understand the amount of time the Flyers have been in the league plays a factor, but why throw away such a rich tradition and culture to conform to the play styles of other successful NHL teams? There are plenty of teams that are perennial contenders that stick to the same type of culture as the Flyers. The Bruins for instance have done a great job sticking to their culture – which is similar to the Flyers – and they are fourth in the most Stanley Cup appearances per team. The Toronto Maple Leafs are another example. They are one of the toughest teams in the league and they are serious contenders for the Stanley Cup.
My point is that the Flyers do not need a culture change in order to win a Stanley Cup. What they need to do is make better personnel decisions. If someone wants to make the case that the Flyers need a new General Manager with a fresh set of eyes to look at this team and makes some moves to better them, than I’d agree. I do not think the Flyers need to bring in some outsider to change the culture and change this team into a speedy, puck moving team. I think everyone needs to realize that the Flyers can keep their culture and add to it but employing gritty puck movers and offensive weapons. Wayne Simmonds is a great example of this. He plays with passion, heart, and has offensive skill. I have read some opinions that he is the same player as Scott Hartnell. That is not true. He is faster, a better skater, and is better in front of the net. Scott Hartnell just has a better shot. Also, when it comes to defense… yea they have a tendency to draft or acquire big defenseman who aren’t the best puck handlers. Do not forget that there are big defensemen who can move the puck well. This team has not made great personel decisions, and that needs to change.
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