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jkrdevil

Philly-Buffalo

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Crap.

It's not like I even have anything to say in defense of the Flyers. They were outplayed in every period of every game; how they managed to win 2 games is still a mystery to me.

More interesting to me is the talk I'm hearing now about how this failure will be a sort of referendum on Bob Clarke's work as GM. It's aboot ( :flagcanada: ) time for an honest look at his philosophy and where this team is headed. He's had carte blanche with the checkbook forever, and the team seems ever farther off the pace now than before the lockout. Everyone who drooled over the Flyers' chances at the start of the year (myself included) really underestimated the effects of the "new NHL". Loading up on old, slow physical defensemen amounted to nothing - after all, you can't hit what you can't catch.

Worse still, people are trying to spin this as the result of injuries. Yeah, there were injuries. So? It meant NHL playing time for the young guys. Who'd they miss in the end? Therien? Heck no - the slowest of the bunch whose best games are reserved for the Pittsburghs of the NHL. Primeau? A little bit - he was the voice of the dressing room, and a good 2-way center, but he wouldn't have made that much of a difference trying to slow down Buffalo (or any team the Flyers would've faced in the 2nd round if they could've gotten past the Sabres). Johnsson? OK, a quick, puckhandling defenseman would've been nice. But he wouldn't have turned the tide by himself.

Clarke's apologists claim that Philadelphians like physical hockey to the point that it's ingrained in the team philosophy, like the Oakland Raiders and the vertical passing game, and they build the team to cater to the fans' love of physical hockey. This Philadelphian prefers winning hockey to adhering to a given style.

Teams like the Sabres are the model of the new league - 4 interchangeable forward lines that can all skate fast and stickhandle and maintain an aggressive forecheck, a solid, aggressive defense corps and steady goaltending if it all breaks down. It also works in places like Ottawa and New Jersey, although there is a little more star power on those teams, where Buffalo's scoring is as balanced as I can remember in 2 decades of watching and playing hockey. Hitting still occurs on teams predicated on speed; witness Campbell's open-ice hit on Umberger.

I couldn't care less about an underlying philosophy. Give me a friggin' Cup for the amount of money you want me to fork over for tickets, and for the amount of money you spend assembling the team.

How long until Eagles minicamp again? :mad:

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