Written by Ryan | 31 August 2011


Noted Canadian novelist Hugh MacLennan, 1954:

Next to the Swedes and Swiss, Canadians in their daily lives are probably as self-restrained as any people in the world. By comparison, Americans sometimes seem as volatile as Latins. Yet the favorite sports of Americans are neat, precise games like baseball and college football. Baseball I dearly love, but after growing up with hockey, I find American college football as slow as an American finds a week-long cricket match; even its violence seems cold to me. But the violence of hockey is hot, and the game at its best is played by passionate men. To spectator and player alike, hockey gives the same release that liquor gives a repressed man. It is the counterpart of the Canadian self-restraint, it takes us back to the fiery blood of Gallic and Celtic ancestors who found themselves minorities in a cold, new environment and had to discipline themselves as all minorities must. But Canadians take the ferocity of their national game so much for granted that when an American visitor makes polite mention of it, they look at him in astonishment. Hockey - violent? Well, perhaps it is a little. But hockey was always like that and it doesn’t mean we're violent people.

I would make the plea that the debate over violence in hockey, in particular fighting, end but I know that will never happened. If it hasn't abated in the past 100 years, despite the cyclical nature of debate that arises every decade, why would it happen now. Unless there was a solution. Which there is.

Let the players vote on it every year.

Now, before you cast this suggestion away with most of the nonsense that is written in this space, let me ask you a question:

Why is it so preposterous that the 600 men whose vocation ice hockey is are allowed to decide whether or not fighting is an appropriate part of the game?

Is it any more ridiculous than having silver-topped old men who can't see their players' eyes past the dollar signs decide for them?

What about doctors who know fighting is "bad," but have yet to strain fighting from the rest of hockey's physical play as a cause for anything?

Or maybe the sponsors who obviously never have ulterior motives should decide?

Or the guys at the bar?

Or the millions of people at their keyboards right now?

How about politicians? Yes - joint committees from the Senate and Canadian Parliament. Eventually leading to President Bachman signing legislation that eliminates fighting from hockey because it sets a bad example. Or is found distasteful by some. After that she can address the long list of other things that would fit into that category in North America.

So how 'bout it? These are the guys taking the risk so let them decide. Every training camp the league has all its players watch the most up-to-date informational video and then cast a secret ballot. If they decide to remove fighting from the game but then realize it was a mistake they can secretly change their minds next year. Or every year.

"Well, of course no one would vote against it because they wouldn't want to appear weak in front of…." Save it. Everyone's got to quit it with the conjecture that leads to arguing both sides of everything. That's the main reason we never get anywhere. So at least we can agree to settle on this:

If you like fighting continue to watch hockey.

If you find it so offensive that you don't watch hockey then continue to not watch hockey.

If you would stop watching were fighting eliminated, then when it is, just stop.

The sad truth is that you're all wasting your breath anyway. When someone can prove, or at least convince enough other people, that it makes sense financially, fighting will be eliminated. Thousands of posts, hundreds of articles, dozens of books will be written.

Those too will only matter to the extent that they provide money to the people who stand to benefit from the decision.

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Written by Ryan | 30 August 2011

Oh I forogt how humble New York was. Thank God for Brad Richards. Mark Messier is reborn in the Big Asshole.

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Written by Ryan | 30 August 2011

There are no right answers to this (these) question(s). But whenever I'm finishing up a 40 mile run on the treadmill I always find myself doing the same thing. I'll remove the towel I've had hiding me from the truth of the dashboard (?) and begin to do some math to pass the last minute or two of my run.

So at 39.7 miles I'm thinking "only 30 left to go." At 39.78 I'm thinking "only 22 left to go." I'm counting hundreths, Einstein.

And for some reason, a reason that's beyond me, I can't picture numbers without picturing that number on a Flyers jersey. So essentially what I end up doing for the last 1/3 of a mile or so is count down Flyers. I wish I didn't, but I do. And let me tell you this, there are some weird Flyers that spring to mind as I count.

So without further ado, here are the 30 current or former Flyers that pop into my head first (just spit it out, no thinking) for each sweater, 30 through 1:

30 - Nitty
29 - Joel Otto
28 - Jason Bowen
27 - Ron Hextall
26 - Brian Propp
25 - Shjon Poedin
24 - Derick Smith
23 - Ilka Sinasalo
22 - Rick Tocchet
21 - Dave Brown
20 - Dave Poulin
19 - Scott Hartnell
18 - Mike Richards
17 - Jeff Carter
16 - Bobby Clarke
15 - Pat Falloon
14 - Ron Sutter
13 - Daniel Carcillo
12 - Tim Kerr
11 - Dan Quinn
10 - Mike Bullard
9 - Pelle Eklund
8 - Mark Recchi
7 - Bill Barber
6 - Chris Therien
5 - Dmitri Tertyshny
4 - Barry Ashbee
3 - Dan McGillis
2 - Adam Burt
1 - Bernie Parent

Now, I don't deny there are som real rough ones in there. It's no secret why Tertyshny would sneak in, but Burt, Bullard, Bowen… I mean, I don't even know who Dan Quinn is, but apparently he was a Flyer and he somehow creeped into my subconcious like the Night Man.

Try to run down 30 to 1 yourself and tell me you don't come up with some weirdys. If you don't you're probably not a true Flyers fan anyway.

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Written by Ryan | 29 August 2011

During our 5th and final season in the spider web we'll be bringing you some retro news, funny segments, and assorted stupidity. Basically we'll be going back into our vault and reusing material because we're lazy and coming up with new material for a topic that is seasonally cyclical is, well, work. Copy and paste is not. Today, waaaaaay back in 2009, this was Flyers news, holmes.

Who The Hell is Rick Kozak?

(wasted draft pick Rick Kozak lugs the mail as Wiener Stevenson of the Colorado Eagles chases him up the ice, in a game in the CHL last season, at night, maybe on the weekend, but also maybe not.)

He’s the Flyers 3rd round pick from 2003, you asshole. I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I did not mean that. I just need to get some coffee and I’ll be fine.

If you’ve been reading here for a while, and I know you have for at least 5 seconds unless you just jumped right to this paragraph, in which case I’d have to ask you to leave because I don’t encourage that type of behavior here, then you know I’m slightly obsessed with Flyers draft picks of the past. Especially in the month of August I like the idea of not having to wait. The Flyers have like 30 prospects right now and I don’t know what’s going to happen with any of them. That’s boring. But if I just drop back five years and check out the 2003 draft it’s like looking into the future…from the past. Get it?

So in 2003 the Flyers took Jeff Carter and Mike Richards in the 1st round and the drafted ended. Oh, see! I got you! The draft did not end even though those are the only two guys anyone ever talks about from that draft. You should have seen your face! As a matter of fact, the Flyers had more 9 picks before the end of the 6th round that year. Some you know, like Alexandre Picard, Stefan Ruzicka, and Ryan Potulny, and some you do not know like Rick Kozak.

The Flyers have always liked size and this 6’3 210 pounder from Manitoba was apparently too much to pass up for Bobby Clarke when the 95th pick of the draft came around. Kozak was coming off his first partial season of Major Junior where he picked up 15 points in 38 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL. He had also dropped his pants, excuse me, gloves, yes gloves, a couple of times that season which the Flyers have also like, in case you did not know. He put up 11 points in Brandon’s 16 game playoff run that spring just before that draft and the Flyers reacted exactly the same way they did to Kyle Wellwood's impressive playoffs with the Memorial Cup winning Windsor Spitfire's this past spring.

From Hockey’s Future’s draft review that June:

Rick Kozak, one of the younger members of the 2003 draft class, got better and better as the season went along. Pointless and bad penalty prone in his first four games for Brandon after coming over from Prince George, he improved steadily thereafter and his solid playoff performance raised hopes that the aggressive rookie has only begun to tap his abilities. A relatively obscure player coming out Swan Valley in Manitoba Junior Hockey League, Kozak earned his keep in his first WHL season by throwing his weight around and going to the net; which earned him powerplay time for the Wheat Kings.

I’m not going to make you hold your breath for this one. Long story short, swing and a miss. Kozak was traded from Brandon to Kamloops after a really disappointing first half of the season and then his rights were sent to the Rangers for Vladimir Malakhov in March. Little did he know it then but that day, March 8th, was probably the highlight of his life. “Did you know I was once traded for Vladimir Malakhov? Gimme a Schlitz.”

After graduating from Major Junior Kozak split time between the ECHL and the CHL, and somehow managed to squeeze an AHL assist in there during one of his five games at the highest level of minor pro. Stories of problems with coaches, undisciplined play, and general douchebagary followed him everywhere he went. In 2008 he signed a contract to play in England and was “mutually released” from it after both receiving a 10 game suspension in the team’s first game of the season and then going on to cause the coach “difficulties” off-ice while serving out that suspension. He came back to the U.S. to have a decent season for the Laredo Bucks of the CHL, but it’s safe to say his time has run out – which is a strange thing to say about a 24 year old in general. Looks like he’ll be suiting up for the Tulsa Oilers this season and then another team the year after, and another the year after that until he finally decides to put an end to it or grows up and heads back to Europe where he can make some decent money.

Chalk this one up as just another example of what a crap shoot drafting 18 year olds is. There are guys from that draft that were picked before Kozak and never made it. There are guys who were picked after and might be all-stars some day – sometimes you get the Kozak and sometimes the Kozak gets you, as the saying goes.

(poke check and triple minor for roughing to the F Block Blog for giving me some color around that internet hockey database line with no stats on Rick Kozak’s profile page.)

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Written by Ryan | 28 August 2011

During our 5th and final season in the spider web we'll be bringing you some retro news, funny segments, and assorted stupidity. Basically we'll be going back into our vault and reusing material because we're lazy and coming up with new material for a topic that is seasonally cyclical is, well, work. Copy and paste is not. Today, waaaaaay back in 2010, this was Flyers news, holmes.

Mumford & Sons' Jody Shelley

First there was Bruce Willis. Then there was Jared Leto. And finally, or so I thought, was Joffrey Lupul singing Deep Blue Something's Breakfast at Tiffany's on the rooftops of Old City. But there is a new comer to the celebrity-for-other-reasons-but-also-a-musician scene. And he's a Flyer. A Flyer named Jody Shelley.

Mumford & Sons formed in late 2007 and have recently scored a huge hit with their critically acclaimed (except for Pitchfork, which is how it remains Pitchfork) debut Album Sigh No More. Shelley had always been interested in music since his family moved to Nova Scotia at an early age and ended up living next door to Roland Orzabal of Tears for Fears. It was at this early age that Shelley also saw a performance by Joy Division on television, in which he saw 'band member' Bez dancing around high on drugs with a pair of maracas and first thought 'I could do that.'

Over the years Shelley has dabbled in the wind chimes, the spoons, the maracas, the triangle, and the tambourine. In the fall of 2004 lead man of Mumford & Sons, Marcus Mumford, saw Shelley playing the harp at an open mic night at a bar in Jyvaskyla, Finland, where Shelley was playing for an FNL team called JYP during the lock out. He was instantly intrigued by the giant man's delicate melodies and a union was formed over a bottle of Sambuca at the bar afterwards.

As the band has climbed to international fame it's been difficult to work around Shelley's ice hockey schedule. During the NHL season they'll often have someone fill in for Shelley on the multitude of instruments he plays, but are planning a tour that coincides with the Flyers travel schedule in 2010-11. Whether the Flyers new tough guy can handle the late nights on the road is something we'll have to keep our eyes on. He's becoming increasingly more integral to the bands' live shows as he has just begun to lay down back up vocals on the groups latest song My Life is a Bar Full of All My Friends Across the Street From a Coffee Shop with Everything I Have to Do In It.

But Philadelphia, get ready to hear some harmonious folk this fall:

In related news, official favorite band of Flyers Goal Scored By and local product Enter the Rooms has released their new EP. Download it for free and then get your ass out to The North Star, Temple, Khyber and up to NYC's West Village to see these guys make your pants pop.

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Written by Ryan | 27 August 2011

During our 5th and final season in the spider web we'll be bringing you some retro news, funny segments, and assorted stupidity. Basically we'll be going back into our vault and reusing material because we're lazy and coming up with new material for a topic that is seasonally cyclical is, well, work. Copy and paste is not. Today, waaaaaay back in 2010, this was Flyers news, holmes.

Do I Tweet @MikeTestwuide?

I'm a fan of the Flyers. No shit, right?

But there's all these articles coming out about bloggers rights and responsibilities and guess what - I don't give a shit about any of it. If bloggers are fighting for their rights I'm like the Japanese Internment Camp guy who's like 'No, I'll just stay in here, I kind of like this cage.' (by far the least controversial setting-civil-rights-back analogy I can make because everyone pokes a little fun at Asians, amirite?)

We didn't start this blog because we wanted to get free tickets, and especially not to talk to players. They never say anything anyway except how great their teammates are. 'Yeah, I already know that guy. That's why I have all those pictures of them and candles I carved to look like them.' But things are getting weird.

Twitter is causing me quite a bit of anxiety. A couple weeks ago we convinced JVR to follow us and then we got drunk at a staff meeting and Tweeted the shit out him and the rest of the internet. He doesn't follow us anymore. I don't think he blocked us, but pretty sure he doesn't follow us.

But that's the problem - he doesn't need to follow us. If you're not familiar with Twitter it's like having everyone in the world's email address, you just have to keep it to text length. You can let them know you want their attention just by including their name in your message. It's very strange.

I imagine those of you who still check phone bills with a pencil, have a 'land line', or have raved to your friends about The Magic Jack just crapped your jean shorts.

So I was reading this very decent article by Julie Robenhymer of Hockeybuzz and she dropped Mike Testwuide's Twitter account at the end of it. So we now follow him (Mike, btw, you need to get that picture changed to some mother fucking Flyers shit - you're not in Colorado anymore, hippy). But what do I have to say to the guy? What does he have to say to everyone? He went golfing yesterday with his teammates. I don't want to know that.

It's weird. Athletes on Twitter just say what they do and we gobble it up (@CamJanssen55 being the exception). If you're no one like us you have to be witty, funny, clever, or at least provide some news. If I was listing off my activities for the day no one would follow us - sitting at my desk, sitting at my desk, just got a forward from a friend, sitting at my desk, thinking about pooping but need to charge my iPhone so I can play solitaire, sitting at my desk, Tweeting (which = pooping), back at my desk, thinking about leaving but it's only 11AM, watching YouTube, ….

So we follow Mike on Twitter now, but I'm thinking about getting in front of this one and dropping him.

This blog exists to do what Michael Leighton did to our Cup hopes, but to the internet - fuck it up.

On a side note, if the city of Philadelphia wants any money from me to keep an online diary of my emotions regarding the Flyers they're gonna make me get all Mel Gibson pre-Nazi Braveheart on their asses. I have some demands, and the first one involves the mayor L-ing some B's.

(Blogger these days, Stan…..just, just, no accountability at all…..I tell ya')

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Written by Ryan | 26 August 2011

During our 5th and final season in the spider web we'll be bringing you some retro news, funny segments, and assorted stupidity. Basically we'll be going back into our vault and reusing material because we're lazy and coming up with new material for a topic that is seasonally cyclical is, well, work. Copy and paste is not. Today, waaaaaay back in 2010, this was Flyers news, holmes.

OFFSides 2010

It's funny to think that the result of a strong iced coffee and two Excedrins in August could lead the most fun Flyers party of all time in October. But I guess the same thing happens on a smaller scale every Tuesday afternoon when you text or email your friends asking them if they want to get drinks on Thursday and ruin any level of productivity that the Friday workday was going to bring.

With this, I introduce and invite you to (you being anyone who can read, be read to, or even be dragged along) the first annual, possibly never to be repeated Online Flyers Fans Summit. We're referring to it as OFFSides because it's a hockey term as well as slang for 'over the line' in terms of conversational etiquette, but have no idea what the 'ides' would stand for. So take a stab if you want.

What I'm picturing:
- John Vanbiesbrouck doing racially charged stand up
- drink specials, such as free drinks
- the eliminator from American Gladiators
- a banner
- some kick ass pre-game pump up jams. In the vein of Pearl Jam and Jock Jams, not Acidwash Bus Stop.
- no celebrity guest, except for the guy who played Al Borland, and only because he wants to be our Vince Vaughn
- a juggler
- one of those tall poles where you hit the base with a giant sledge hammer an the thing rises up and hits the bell
- a roller coaster
- that game where you try and hit the frogs onto a Lilly pad

Ok, now I'm just describing a fair. Yep, I got too excited for Fall and started to describe a fair where I would go and wear sweaters and pick apples and drop them in a wooden bucket.

What it will probably actually be:
- a group of people that get together pre-game representing their Twitter name, commenter name, blog, professional writing name, real name…whatever…having a couple coffees or drinks before we head to the WFC to watch the Flyers take on an Atlantic Division foe. Thinking McFaddens would be better than the Pavilion because we could have some separation and tell who each other are instead of wonder where any sort of event is in a sea of Flyers jerseys.

The most important thing is that this is not brought to you by anyone, it's brought to you by everyone. We're on board, Broad Street Hockey's on board, Crossing Broad's on board, if Matt P from the 700 level actually exists or comes back from Asia he'll probably be on board, @hewish, @mtrible, @estebomb, @PhilaDaviea are in. @phillykelly goes to every sporting event in the city so I can't see why she wouldn't be there. @HockeyGuy_DLEED might be on board or he might be mocking us, I can't tell. Dios Mio, even local beat writer Sarah Baicker might stop by.

And I can't promise you anything except it could be fun. I can't promise any $1 off well-drink specials, any banners, or that Rock God John Tesh will perform (I can't promise he won't either). I can promise you that we'll be there (if we end up moving it to pre-Isles game on October 30th and either way Jon might have to be there in spirit with a picture and candles). And we'll be drinking beer. I can also promise you that I'll try my darndest not to put anything in your drink. Key word Try.

So I don't know where to take it from here except choose a date and build the buzz. I think we'll try to reach out to McFaddens and probably get shot down. Should we have some contests leading up to it where we can release the results? Some polls? Some give aways like one afternoon riding the ferris wheel with Fran?

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Written by Ryan | 25 August 2011

During our 5th and final season in the spider web we'll be bringing you some retro news, funny segments, and assorted stupidity. Basically we'll be going back into our vault and reusing material because we're lazy and coming up with new material for a topic that is seasonally cyclical is, well, work. Copy and paste is not. Today, waaaaaay back in 2009, this was Flyers news, holmes.

Rumor: Pronger Pushes Someone at Canada Camp

Rumor confirmed.

Isn't it weird that two months ago this picture would have elicited no response from you, because let's face it, who cares if some big goony Canadian from the Western Conference is tossing Ryan Smyth (200 lbs) around at the Team Canada Summer Olympic Camp. But now you're all like "that's what I'm talking about!" The joys of professional sports.

I managed to catch glimpses of some other pictures that led me to believe that Jerome Iginla and Sidney Crosby might be bunking together...in the same bed (hey yo!). But they're not suitable for this site.  

Also, if you were worried about Jeff Carter making friends while he's away at camp, fear not. On only the first day Carter seemed to be enjoying the company of 19 year old Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty on the bench. Rumor had it they were talking about pigeon tits, but Carter did not immediately return phone calls. Neither did his parents. Or yours. Actually no on returned any of my phone calls. Did I do something wrong?

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Written by Ryan | 25 August 2011


Some people's childhood is defined by a sled. Some by a sexual experience with their uncle. Mine was defined by the three video game covers you see above. As 12 year olds, me and my buddy Matt would spend hours if not days sitting in front of the tiny tvs of the 90's playing out our NHL dreams whenever we couldn't be on the ice. I'm actually embarrassed to admit that back before the concept of online play had ever even been considered, we would talk on the phone while playing separate games of NHL '93 with the Flyers, dreaming of the day that one of us might be able to put up "Pat Falloon Points" in the NHL ourselves.

But the times change and you get older. Unless we're talking about the cover of EA Sports' NHL series - there, you get younger. Take a look at the data, Eggbert:


What you're looking at is the age of the NHL series cover athletes from 1995 to 2012. It seems to me that there's been a youth movement over the past 7 years, one that I don't see changing unless Jaromir Jagr puts up 150 points this season (which he probably will).

In 1994 Electronic Arts officially received licensing from the NHLPA to include real players in their ice hockey video game. 1995 was the first time they flexed it on the cover with a real picture of real NHL players with logos on their jerseys and everything. At that time they decided to go for a meaningful picture from the previous season, with Alexi Kovalev (21) scoring on Kirk Maclean (28), rather than feature star payers the way they would over the next 15+ years. As thinking progressed, the following year they moved into what I would call an "important players, no play" action shot where Stevie Y was hawking Scott Stevens for the puck.

After these first covers Electronic Arts as a company decided on a marketing campaign that would be an entity unto itself over the years - the cover athlete.

The next cover of an NHL game, in 1996 (for NHL '97) was the coming out party for the solo cover athlete, and the whole thing kicked off with former Florida Panther, New York Ranger, Philadelphia Flyers, and racist, John van Bezzerbrouck.

You then had Forsberg (24), Lindros (25), and Pronger (24) to round out the millennium, as well as the "We were, or are, all Flyers" contingent. After that things went Rascal for two years with Ownen Nolan (28) and Mario Lemieux (35!). And just when it looked like EA was focusing on a return to youth with 25 year old Jarome Iginla and a still diaper wearing 22 year old Dany Healtley, out of no where comes 31 year old Marcus Naslund.

Marcus Naslund was on the cover of an NHL game produced by EA Sports.

But Naslund was the end of the line. The average age of the next 7 athletes to grace the cover of the hockey gaming world's perennial number one product is a tender 22 years old. We had Lecavalier, OV, Staal, Phaneuf, Kane, Toews, and now Stammer. All stars, all very young.

And let me tell you what. Depending on how things pan out this season (obviously there's no doubt that this young trend will continue), I'd say Jeff Skinner, Claude Giroux, JVR, Drew Doughty, and Trent Klatt all have a really good chance of being the NHL 13 cover boy.

But now, as a 30 year old quasi-gamer for the NHL series only, the whole thing has me feeling a little bit like Matthew McConaugheyin the iconic movie The Lincoln Lawyer - "Naw man. That's what I like about these young NHL cover athletes; I get older, they stay the same age."

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Written by Ryan | 24 August 2011


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