When they won the Stanley Cup a second time in the first eight years of their existence, it was to be expected that the Flyers would build a stunning collection of championships.
That was 46 years ago.
Guess what: it won’t happen.
As for consolation prizes, however, the Flyers have not only been blessed by great players, but also by players who have done everything on and off the ice to bring pride and value to a community that played for both uniform and paycheck and were eternal sources of franchise and regional pride.
You’ve had too many lazy goalkeepers too, but that’s another issue.
But in the Brotherhood of Forever Flyers, and that membership role is thick, there must be room for Sean Couturier. Because of this, the six-year contract extension recently signed by the two-way hockey treasure was a well-spent $ 26,000,000.
Couturier is about to enter his 11th NHL season and is a three-time winner of the Bobby Clarke Trophy as MVP of the Flyers, received the Frank J. Selke Trophy in 2020 as the most effective defensive striker in the NHL, twice he was a 30-plus goalscorer, was an all -Star and has never wasted a shift on either end of the ice.
Had the choice been made, Cups would have picked out dignified professionals as the fans’ favorite collection. But in a chain of franchise treasures that are too long to go into detail, consider “coots” a strong and important link.
That’s not bad either.
• For the first time since 2016, the Flyers will expand their Franchise Hall of Fame. About time.
The list of ideal candidates is thick like a telephone directory, although the constellation has clearly been missing for too long, in alphabetical order Danny Briere, the Flyers Wives, Simon Gagne, Mike Keenan, Pelle Lindbergh, Lou Nolan, Mikael Renberg, Kimmo Timonen and Rick Tocchet .
But if the idea is to correct the longest-running situation first, then the choice for a likely one-man class by 2021-22 must be Paul Holmgren. An all-star, member of some great Flyers teams, and the strongest puncher in a long era of great Flyers fighters (a legitimate hockey value in its day), Holmgren had success as a player, assistant coach, head coach, scout, general manager and executive while they simultaneously demonstrate a deep, sincere appreciation for a proud organization and its importance to its community.
Those rolling billboards dragged through the streets of the city by gasoline-wasting trucks … I don’t understand them.
• • •
By the time the season is over, and it will happen soon enough, the Phillies will have earned two well-deserved but conflicting reputations.
They will have fought for the right to be remembered as late inning heroes who could ever win with rallies in the eleventh hour and an endearing refusal to surrender.
They will also have been tattooed as a team that burst 26 saves and played too many times with defensive disinterest for the last three innings of the game.
How is that possible?
One theory: baseball.
The sport is designed to reveal the truth after 162 games, and not after 161 either. For most teams, this will be a gradual revelation. For the rare ones, it will require more dramatic attractions. Either way, the system will work, the definitive record will be the definitive record, and how it eventually happened will be lost in the vortex of history.
In the meantime, enjoy the 2021 Phillies and their rarest abilities to both madden and entertain. It could be decades before such a collection of adrenaline teasers resurfaces.
• In recognition of a bipolar baseball season, here on Joe Girardi who has been criticized for months with good reason but managed to improve the Phillies’ overall defense, overcome an unreasonable wave of injuries and keep his team in an unlikely pennant race .
• • •
It’s hard to believe that these buttons stuck to the back of cell phones are necessary.
• • •
OK, OK, it’s OK: it’s impossible to win last-round NBA playoff games with Ben Simmons as point guard. He doesn’t shoot. etc. Got it. Required.
The problem for the Sixers, should they swap Simmons, and for dozens of reasons they have to: The regular season. While it is likely that they will acquire one in any trade with Simmons, they are not currently using an alternative, high quality point guard.
Tyrese Maxey is a formidable talent with editing skills, but lacks flavor and a reliable outside shot. Shake Milton can make quick attacks from the bench, but was always overwhelmed when he passed the ball as a starter. Seth Curry may be able to tinker with this, but at the expense of its more valuable presence on the grand piano.
It is September of a season that can extend through June. So it is time. But if Simmons is traded, there will be 82 lead guard games in the regular season.
Well, only one solution: box the process trust threefold.
• • •
Get the Notre Dame Leprechaun Hat?
• • •
Zach Ertz, who was spotted after a souvenir walk over the Linc last season, somehow got through the off-season and will open his ninth season as an eagle next Sunday.
Good for Ertz.
Good for the eagles.
While there is seldom any value in the continued employment of players in any sport for reasons of nostalgia (see: Phillies, 2011-15), there are also costs for unloading the glue types. Having a couple around is never a risky idea. It’s mandatory to keep them around while you try to move on to a sophomore quarterback and entry-level head coach.
• • •
That’s enough “Field of Dreams” for me, thank you very much.
Contact Jack McCaffery at email@example.com