13 September 2011
I haven't seen Sean Couturier play a shift in over 9 months. And even then, during the WJC, I didn't think to pay any attention to him specifically, for obvious reasons. That being said, he is undoubtedly too good for the QMJHL, where he had 96 points in just 58 games last season. And he is surely big enough for the NHL at 6'4 200 lbs. Youth, development, defense, strength...let's hold off on all those fall back arguments for a moment.
Because the real question we're asking here, the question Ed Snider and Flyer fans have been struggling with for years, is what kind of team do we want to be?
The Philadelphia Flyers organization's past looms over the present like a wave at Waimea Bay. Because when I ask you the purpose of an enforcer and then I follow up your response citing unpunished hits that caused injuries to Oskars Bartulis and Danny Syvret over just the past two years, where does that leave us? Great guys I'm sure, but what have Jody Shelley, Riley Cote, Ben Eager, and Todd Fedoruk accomplished over the past 5 years? All they do is fight other tough guys. If you don't have a tough guy then no one on your team has to fight the other team's tough guy. Simple as that. Let's face it, the only thing that polices the sport these days is the common bond of money.
And although they're not one-punch wonders, we have guys who will at least drop 'em in Scott Hartnell, Wayne Simmonds, and Max Talbot. Let's hide behind that 'team toughness' bullshit that other teams do and win Championships with.
Keep in mind this is coming from a fight fan who checks Drop Your Gloves every single day (multiple times) for updates, but the Flyers need to come off it already.
Inserting Jody Shelley in the lineup means two things:
- we can't have a 4th line that could actually be dangerous, and at least not a risk, in Talbot - Betts - Nodl
- Sean Couturier (or even Ben Holmstrom on the wing) is not in the lineup because Jody Shelley is
And this is the main reason I think Couturier should be cast out of the frying pan. Let's give him a shot. Let's see if we have Skinner or not even, a 1999 Simon Gagne.
In a year when we've cashed in all our Scrabble pieces when we were one letter short of spelling Stanley Cup, why not continue on this path of moves more sensible hockey minds would never have ventured down. If it appears Couturier can hang at all in training camp then why not give him a chance? What's left to lose? All expectations were cast aside on one hazy afternoon in June. If we're going for the Charlie Kelley, if we really want to be the wildcard of the NHL, why not have two rookies and Jaromir Jagr in the lineup on opening night? Why not sack the Broad Street Bullies for good?
Philadelphia's a tough town that likes its tough team. A town tough enough to wait over 35 years between Stanley Cups. What a strange idea it is to wonder if maybe being so tough has held us back.
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