A week ago today I woke up excited as anything for a chance to see my favorite sports team force a Game 7 for the most prized trophy in all professional sports. A week later, it still hurts knowing only two more wins were needed to secure an orange parade down Broad Street. I haven’t been able to get myself to write about it, I needed time to think.
There are many reasons why we lost Game 6, but I’ll be ashamed if any Flyers fan truly believes it was all Michael Leighton’s fault for the loss. Were a few of his goals soft? Yes, but our defense also needed to play better in front of him because he made some key saves. Then, is it Jeff Carter’s fault for not being able to lift the puck? No, but that could have made winning Game 6 a lot more probable. It was just frustrating to see our team carry the play for much of the 3rd and the beginning of overtime before letting Patrick Kane get a little shot through to the net. It reminded me a lot of how Team USA tied it up against Canada late in the 3rd after carrying the play for a while, then losing on a simple goal in overtime. It really stung after the game, and even worse when I had to shave the playoff beard the next day.
Pretty soon I will be writing about my ideas on what the Flyers need to do given their current roster and cap situation, and eventually look at plausible free-agents and trades that could improve this team and keep them motivated. I’ll try to write again as soon as possible, because there’s only a few weeks till draft and free-agency starts.
One last thing I will say about this team though. This was one of the most memorable playoff runs that I’ve ever experienced in sports. After watching the ’08 WFC Phillies put it together, I really thought this was our year. The way the Flyers fought through so much adversity and played with their hearts on their sleeves, it reminded me very much of a certain baseball team who had every one of their players ready for their cause. Regardless of the outcome, I’m still proud as ever to be a Philadelphia Flyers fan. I don’t remember having this much fun during a season. I know we did not win it all, but two wins shy of a Cup is a lot better than ending your season in a shootout at home. So many worse things could have happened to this team, yet they fought through it and almost got there. There are a few important decisions that Paul Holmgren will have to make this off-season. The goalie situation is probably the biggest, since they had said before the end of the regular season that finding a true #1 goalie would be their first priority shortly after Leighton went down with an ankle injury. There are a couple of contracts that need negotiating, such as Scott Hartnell and Jeff Carter who may be moved. Daniel Carcillo, Braydon Coburn, Ryan Parent, Danny Syvret and Darroll Powe are restricted free-agents, while Mika Pyorala (remember him?), Michael Leighton, Lukas Krajicek, and Aaron Asham will be unrestricted free-agents.
Lot of work to be done. Look for more soon.
Thanks for the great season Flyers. 2009-2010 will always be remembered.