With Iginla Going to the Pens, I've Officially Become Certifiable >
 
 

by Michael DeNicola


Thursday, March 28, 2013 --



Let's start from the beginning. Rewind back to May, 2012; the Philadelphia Flyers get ousted from the post-season after falling to the New Jersey Devils in a 5-game SemiFinals series. Peter Laviolette & Co. failed to adjust to an aggressive forechecking style which cost us goals-against and any chance to make a comeback. 


During the offseason, we fail to land top tier defenseman Shea Weber after slipping him an enormous offer sheet. Nashville matching our offer was a gut punch to the organization and Flyers fans everywhere. GM Paul Holmgren then set his sights on free agents (F) Zach Parise and (D) Ryan Suter which he also failed to reel in. The time he spent throwing money towards the League's top two available free agents, players like Matt Carle and Jaromir Jagr sign elsewhere, leaving our roster depleted without any considerable additions. Meanwhile, Columbus sells its star captain Rick Nash to the Rangers for a bucket of piss in return.


We then take this hosed roster into one of the worst 100+ days of childish litigation and collective bargaining any work-stoppage has ever seen. As hopes were risen hundreds of times throughout the lockout, either the Players Association or the NHL was there to sink them like stones. Our emotions were being kicked around like a soccer ball on the recess yard. 


But then things started to look up. The lockout had ended, and the sunshine emitted its glory on NHL fans once again. 


We saw our Flyers take to the ice for the first time that calendar year. With Giroux donning a freshly sewn 'C' on his sweater, a new brand of optimism was instantaneously injected into our orange & black souls. 


Sure, it's an abbreviated season, victim to greed and infantile stubbornness. But we have our hockey back.



Fast-forward a couple weeks into the schedule; excitement and enthusiasm has been replaced with worry, frustration, and jolted cynicism. Injuries have swept through our dressing room before our Club even had a chance to stretch their wings. Our star players were either shelved on IR, or under performing. Conference adversaries were gaining ground while our Flyers couldn't even reach .500. 


This just wasn't the Flyers team we know, or expected. 


And now? Today our Club is riding a one-way ticket to the seabed of the standings. Not just the Eastern Conference. The whole entire League. After our loss to the Broadway Blueshirts on Tuesday night, the Flyers sit 14th in the East, looking down on only the Florida Panthers. 


We're stuck having to listen to our team's leaders tell us "These are must-win games," and then shake our heads when they follow up with saying, "We just weren't ready to play."


Players who'd be useful to us by trading away have fallen to injury with indefinite timetables on their return. We have a roster of role players with an overabundance of no-trade and no-movement clauses. And worse yet, this piss poor team is up against the goddamn cap ceiling which is set to plummet another 6-million dollars in another few months.



Looking outside this box of agony, we witness a Pittsburgh rival grow without any form of subtraction. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal have now been surrounded by the likes of Brenden Morrow, Douglas Murray and Jarome Iginla. Penguins GM Ray Shero continues his mind-blowing sorcery, deepening his roster against all the odds of the salary cap. 


The Pens ride a 13-game winning streak. They perch at the top of the standings, continuing to add points, players, victories and assurance. 


What am I -- as a Flyers fan -- supposed to do? Say, "They'll blow it in the Playoffs,"? 


That's wishful thinking, ladies and gentlemen. All I can do is grit my teeth in my own helpless contempt. I can feel this emotion begin in my sinuses; it's a slow, steady flame. Like a pilot light. As it grows hotter and more abundant, it consumes every thought, and converts to chemical reactions in my body. I begin to sweat with vexation and anger. My skin transforms into the walls of this house of horrors. My eyes become daggers, slicing whatever sprouts in my field of vision. The bones in my hands and fingers compact into fists. My muscles tense and shred as each thought prods at them like a child with a stick. 


I've become a lunatic. Certifiably insane. 


Jarome Iginla, one of the NHL's greatest players and class acts it has ever employed, is now a Pittsburgh Penguin. This just after falling asleep believing he'd be a Boston Bruin, according to a multitude of inside sources. 


He's done it again. Ray Shero has shocked the hockey world once again. And the demented part about this is, he's not finished.... We still have another week until the trade deadline, and with this "All In" attitude from Pittsburgh, there's no way they're finished wheeling & dealing. 


Now granted, they can stockpile their roster like the Miami Heat of the NHL all they want, it doesn't guarantee  a Stanley Cup win. But if I were a betting man -- which I'm not, but let's say if I was -- then I'd bet my fucking mortgage on the Pens being Cup favorites. 



And here we are, Flyers fans. Relishing and hanging onto a victorious '70s era. Year after year, we're subjected to a front office who seems to constantly chase the Cup from prior years, as Bill Meltzer put it. Instead of proactively building a contending team through the draft and under-the-radar trades, Flyers management continues to mortgage future draft picks and prospects for over-the-hill talent and stopgap solutions. They continue to build teams with that '70s mindset while the rest of the League wins hardware. Holmgren hands out inflated contracts, NMC's and NTC's like they're fucking leaflets.


We've become the laughing stock of the Atlantic Division. With 16-games left on the schedule, I don't see room to go on a hunt; I see a dark chasm staring our Club in the face, ready to swallow us even deeper in the standings. I see a general manager, a director of player personnel, an owner and the rest of a front office sitting around with their thumbs in their asses, dumbfounded and miserable..... wondering how they got themselves in this mess. 


Meanwhile, on the other side of the Keystone State, I see a damn good hockey Club....


....and it fucking kills me



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