Throughout the off-season, Puck Daddy, a hockey blog powered by Yahoo!, has been running a feature called “A Summer of Disappointment.” The post features one team per day based on their most disappointing moments in team history, such as most disappointing team, to most disappointing choice of fashion.
The Philadelphia Flyers version was written yesterday by The Hot Takery, and after reading, I came up with my own disappointing moments in Flyers history. Yes, you get even more disappointment on top of the sadness thrown at you.
Most Disappointing Team
Hot Takery: 2012-2013 Philadelphia Flyers
Brian Nestel (BN): 2010-2011 Philadelphia Flyers
First off, Hot Takery means of course just the 2013 team. They failed to mention that the season was shortened by the lockout.
As they are wont to do lately, the Flyers started off the season rather terribly, dropping their first third games. By the end of November it was all but apparent that this team was bound to hit the golf course come April (which would prove devastating for Claude Giroux‘s butt-grabbing wrist).
Anyway, I do agree the 2013 team was a big disappointment in terms of not making the playoffs and just being absolutely awful. That team had talent, coming off a big playoff series against Pittsburgh (though they forgot it was more than one series and lost to New Jersey in five games next round). But the 2010-11 season was a let down. Having been in first place most of the year, a second round exit was so disappointing. At least in 2013, Flyers fans knew this team sucked.
In 2010-11, the Flyers were just coming off a Stanley Cup Final run, and most of the core group of guys from that team were back. Still led by Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, the Flyers started out of the gate on fire. A young goaltender named Sergei Bobrovsky emerged as a goaltender of the future. The team amassed 71 points by the end of January, leading the Eastern Conference most of the season. Chris Pronger still played, the team was playing great hockey, everything pointed for another big playoff run. But the Flyers wheels fell off down the stretch, losing four in a row in March and finishing out the season losing 8 of their final 11 games, limping into the playoffs as the second seed in the conference with 106 points.
In the playoffs, the Flyers goaltender nightmare continued. After losing Game 1 to the Buffalo Sabres 1-0, Bobrovsky allowed three goals on seven shots to start the Peter Laviolette goalie carousel nightmare. Brian Boucher came in relief for the win, but three games later was replaced by Michael Leighton during Game 5 at home in a 4-3 OT loss. Leighton then was a overtaken by Boucher again in Game 6, and everything was a disaster. The Flyers eventually went on to win the series in seven games, but promptly were swept by the Boston Bruins immediately afterwards.
What was so disappointing about this team is that this was the last year of the core guys from the Finals run in 2010. Just a few weeks later, the whole team was blown to smithereens. Richards and Carter were sent packing. Kris Versteeg, whom the Flyers traded a first and third round draft pick for, was dealt to Florida. The Flyers paid a gazillion dollars for Iyla Bryzgalov, essentially ending the tenure of Bobrovsky in Philadelphia (he was traded one year later). James van Riemsdyk played only one more year in Philadelphia. And Chris Pronger played only 13 more games in the NHL.
For the most part, this season was fun. But having such a great season, only to fall flat on their faces, makes the 2010-11 season such a disappointment. On top of that, the departure of fan favorites made not winning a Stanley Cup this season extremely disappointing.
Most Disappointing Flyer
HT: Ilya Bryzgalov
BN: Ilya Bryzgalov
This. This is the most disappointing Flyer. Finally, the Flyers signed a top-tier goaltender. Did they have to give up the two most popular players to get their alien goalie? Of course. But it’s all worth it. They finally have their goalie that can backstop them to a Stanley Cup.
The Flyers chose Bryzgalov over the young goaltender with major upside in Bobrovsky, who ended up winning something called the Vezina Trophy the following season. As for the Flyers? Well, they owe Bryzgoaliekov about elevnty-trillion dollars for the next 92 years, and he no longer plays for the team.
Most Disappointing Moment
HT: Patrick Kane Stanley Cup Winning Goal in Game 6
BN: Patrik Elias Game Winning Goal Game 7 2000
Don’t get me wrong, Kane’s goal is still absolutely heartbreak. That goal is forever engrained in my head as something so painful, I still shudder every time I look at it. Right through Michael Leighton’s pads. Absolutely unbelievable.
But that game left me more stunned than disappointed. Of course its disappointing to lose in OT of the Stanley Cup Final, but the way it happened was just stunning. The thing is, with that team and that season, no one really expected a Stanley Cup trip, so after time to recover, 2010’s playoffs were phenomenal.
The most disappointing moment in Flyers history personally was Game 7 in the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals against the New Jersey Devils. I was 8-years-old and this was the only sporting event I cried over. Which, still having like three or four more years where that’s acceptable, is actually hard to believe given that I’m a Philadelphia fan. But this game hurt…bad. The Flyers already blew a commanding 3-1 series lead. But the odds still were in Philly’s favor, as Game 7 was at home, having earned the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Then this happened.
And then this too.
Two minutes later I was in tears. This sucked. So much. It still stings. From that point on, the name Patrik Elias made my blood boil. The Devils went on to win the Stanley Cup over the Dallas Stars, something the Flyers should have done.
Most Disappointing Transaction
HT: Trading for Adam Oates
BN: Signing Peter Forsberg
Remember when Peter Forsberg was a hockey player who did things? That was awesome.
Coming out of the 2004-2005 NHL lockout, the Flyers signed the Hall of Famer, eliciting sheer excitement for all Flyers fans. A stud like Forsberg was to don the orange and black. He was the leader to help save the Flyers and turn them into a Stanley Cup winner.
But Forsberg’s feet said otherwise. Instead of being a dominant superstar in Philadelphia (albeit he had 75 points in 60 games in his first season), Forsberg caused a stir with management when he wanted to play for Sweden in the Olympics on an injured foot. In Forsberg’s second season with the club, he played 40 games before being traded to Nashville for Scottie Upshall and Ryan Parent.
In what was supposed to be the moment the Flyers finally rose to elite status, they faltered. Signing Forsberg was oh so disappointing.
Most Disappointing Coach/Executive
HT: Russ Farwell
BN: Russ Farwell
In reality, the only GM’s I’ve ever really remembered have been Bobby Clarke, Paul Holmgren and Ron Hextall. But having led the team through the “Dark Ages,” Farwell takes the cake. He oversaw five consecutive years without a playoff appearance, an absolute disgrace for Flyers hockey. After replacing Clarke as GM, Farwell went on to land Eric Lindros, which was fantastic. Aside from that though, things unraveled and he was eventually replaced by Clarke, the guy he was chosen to replace.
Awkward. And disappointing.
Most Disappointing Fashion Choice
I’d argue the titanium “P” is pretty bad, but this is no contest. Seriously, who the hell wears pants? Well, hopefully everyone, but who wears pants playing ice hockey? Roller hockey, okay sure. That makes sense. But Cooperalls were supposed to revolutionize the hockey uniform.
It only took the Flyers two years before the NHL realized how dumb this was, and Cooperalls were subsequently banned in 1983. Thank goodness.
So uh, yeah that’s about it.