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Written by Ryan | 26 October 2011

netpucks

As if Occupy Wall Street wasn't enough, this NY Mag article was the final straw. If you don't feel like reading it it's basically a rewrite of this MORLEY SAFER story from 3 years ago, with a recession spin to it. If you don't want to click on that, let me sum it up for you:

People between the ages of 18 and 30 are screwed because of their parents and the system and history and the economy.

I was born on July 27, 1981. I was a B- student and got a 1340 on my SATs back when there were only two parts. I went to college and my parents paid for it. I wasn't as serious about my academics as I should have been in college but still managed to swing an entry-level job at a financial services firm 2 months after I graduated. I've worked extremely hard during some periods and just hard enough during others, and have managed to stay employed since 2004.

Age-wise I'm a Millennial, but I just don't share this self-righteous, still entitled point of view, and I honestly think it might have something to do with hockey.

From the ages of 8 to 18 I played hockey for my schools and on clubs. That means every other day I was around some good coaches and some bad, some good teammates and some assholes. So while I stopped playing at 18 I would argue that my current perspective was shaped partially by hockey. And the advice I would give anyone who buys this overly-generalized, woe-is-my-extremely-unique generation bullshit surely is twofold:

1. If you want something and you're not achieving it, work harder or work different.
2. Shut the fuck up - no one who doesn't personally know you could give a shit about your feelings.

If you've been around here before you know that I give hockey personalities as much shit as anyone for not saying anything during interviews, but the script they've settled on may actually have been perfected over the generations to provide what essentially are lessons on how to be an adult, not just an NHL ventriloquist's dummy. These guys never blame other people for their bad decisions, they never blame circumstances that were out of their control, and they always offer a solution which is inevitably some thing to do with hard work or team efficiency (working smarter together).

And as a matter of fact, hockey might also serve as a decent metaphor for those suffering souls confused by the fact that their hard work hasn't landed them their own personal plane and seat on the board of Facebook. Some of us, no matter how hard we work, are not destined to make it to NHL. We just weren't born with or developed the smarts and skill to be incredible - not everyone is a genius. A lot of us won't even make it to the AHL or the ECHL. But maybe there's room in the SPHL, the CHL, or some tier II league in Europe. I'll tell you what, you're never going to find out if you don't bust your ass. Paint more, mop more diligently, be more corporate, write more posts, make more music. Whatever it is.

I also have advice for today's parents. I was recently talking to a youth hockey coach and he was telling me that some of the parents of the kids on his peewee team were upset because he ran their children after a game they lost. A game in which the effort level was unacceptable and systems were not followed. Parents were calling him and either berating or crying to him about how you can't treat children like that.

Parents: teach your children solid values, let them know they will always be loved, and then feed them to the world. Nurture their wounds in a productive way when they get home, but don't put them back in their diapers. They need to get taken to task by coaches, they need to go cage-to-cage against other kids their age and stick up for their teammates, they need to be held accountable for mistakes in this construed, simulated adult-like environment.

I was coming back from mono during the fall of my senior year of high school when my new coach pulled me aside, not 3 days after my first practice in which I puked on the ice during a bag skate, to tell me that I was his 13th forward. Somewhere during the course of the discussion he asked me what I thought he could do to help me get back to where I was that summer, when he saw me make the U.S. team at Elite Prospects Camp in Montreal. I don't know if it was for lack of anything to say, I pray it was, but I told him I thought I could use a bit more positive reinforcement. During practice that day I scored in some meaningless drill and he gave me an ambiguous "way to go to the net", and I have never forgotten it. It haunts me a bit.

When I was in a situation where the only thing I could do was get in better shape, work harder on the ice, study more film, get in some off-ice stick work, or a million other little things that were under my control, all I did was ask for praise.

In the New York Magazine article I linked to earlier the writer tells the story of a friend named Sam who was an over achiever in science and math in high school, and then decided to take literature courses in college because he wanted to get a high GPA. When he graduated he took a wood workers apprenticeship, and when that didn't work out, took a series of other jobs before realizing he had fucked every thing up. He blames himself, the writer blames society.

And that's the problem - Sam has it right, she has it wrong. Sam made some bad, under-informed decisions, and now he has to work his way out of that hole. The lottery isn't going to come through, it's all up to him.

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Written by Ryan | 25 October 2011

In case I ever die I want my future kids to come to this site, like a virtual grave, and know that I thought this was incredibly funny.

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Written by Ryan | 25 October 2011

jagrsalute
Caption A - Don't front. You knew this picture was getting up here today.
Caption B - Whereas the guys on the left are rabid the gentleman in the brown coat on the right is just straight up proud.

Let's get this out of the way first: I RARELY watch hockey alone in my apartment in footed jean pajamas - The Canadian Bed Tuxedo.
But of all the times I have, I've sprung from the couch exactly three times.

And they were all last night.

I'm not sure what it is about Jagr, but it's spreading like the monkey aids in Contagion. Or Outbreak. Everyone in Philly fell in love with the guy during the preseason and shortly thereafter the national media fell in love with him when they found out he's a midnight skater, teaching skills to goons like Jody Shelley. It's just...I have no idea.

All three times he went in alone on Felix Potvin last night I found myself wondering "when the hell did I stand up?"

I almost saluted the flipping tv on his second goal. I just, I just...I just don't know.

He skates kind of weird, I'm always worried he's going to run out of breath, he randomly left the NHL for 3 years, I spent almost two decades not liking him and 3 years in New York actively hating him.

But as Fran would say, *swoon*.

I just hope he keeps up the decent play. The worst thing that could happen to the team (read: me) would be for Jagr to putter out and spend the 2nd half of the year recovering from the lower body injury also known as old balls.

The courtship is over and this fanboy is in love. Don't let me down, Jaromir. My Czechoslovakian Cheese Steak.

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Written by Fran | 24 October 2011

Fester
Sergei Bobrovsky and the Flyers play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight down at the Well where Philly is going to try to break their two game losing streak against a familiar foe.  This is going to be a blue collar game, with plenty of physical action (read: a ton of penalties) and a close game (read: probably a 14-12 final score).  The Leafs are a quality hockey team, they are no longer considered the bottom dregs of the Eastern Conference.  Brian Burke has assembled a solid core of young forwards, and a hard-nosed blue line.  Sound familiar? 

For a game against a team we don't have much of a rivalry with, there are a ton of subplots to tonight's game.  Jody Shelley is making his first start of the season after being suspended in the preseason. Looks like he'll sub in for Nodl, who while decent on the PK, hasn't amounted to much in the offensive zone.  Matt Walker is dressing tonight as the Flyers try to stock up their arms against the very physical Leafs team. There is also some Schenn on Schenn action tonight as Brayden takes on his older brother Luke.  Brayden hasn't looked bad, but one has to wonder if somehow the team's losing funk and his call up from the Phantoms are related. 

Both teams are still testing out their new parts, but that doesn't mean tonight's game isn't iimportant to both clubs.  For the Flyers, stopping Phil Kessel is a key part of tonight's gameplan. Scientists believe he is on pace for 115 goals and a 436 points this year.  He's come out of the gate scorching hot and has scored some very timely goals that have the Leafs sitting atop the Northeast early on in the season. Kessel is a very dangerous transitional player, the way Danny Briere used to play, and his persistent attacka nd offensive mindedness means the Flyers D need to be extra cautious each time Uncle Fester hits the ice.

Bob's in net to right the ship, and you better believe Scott Hartnell is scoring a cot dam goal tonight - I'd put money on it, if money was something that grew on soft pretzel trees.  Break this early season funk on some Maple Leafs.  Also, we're lifting the curfew, you can drink tonight.  Yup.  Tell everyone. Let's Go Flyers.

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Written by Ryan | 24 October 2011

harnellnet

The renissance of Scott Hartnell is upon us.

There have been plenty of stories written over the past two weeks about Hartnell's diminished role and decrease in ice time that have obviously led a number of people to jump to the conclusion that Hartnell will/should be traded. Which is ridiculous.

Forget for a moment about his NTC and his $4.2M cap hit and consider this - the guy's missed 3 games in 4 seasons as a Flyer while averaging 23 goals and 50 points. Yes he takes too many penalties but he also plays a gritty Flyers brand of hockey.

Well shit, if it's just because he hasn't scored a goal yet this season should we trade Jagr too?

We're 8% of the way into the season, and in 5th place in the conference. The Bryzgalov-Coburn miscommunication on Saturday was a visible example of a team that is still settling in and getting to know each other.

Speaking of Saturday, against the Blues Hartnell had the 6th most ice time of the forwards, he mixed it up with the Blues captain and took him off the ice, and led the team with 5 hits. And yes, he took a stupid cross checking penalty in the 3rd. Sometimes that's going to happen with him.

Hartnell's the type of player who will continue to work hard and he'll finally get through his little slump and find the back of the net.

Lavy was spot on about him and Jagr - you're not going to keep them off the scoresheet forever. And if the Flyers traded people for slumping Jeff Carter would have been on the block multiple times during his 45 goal season.

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Written by Ryan | 22 October 2011

jagrshrit2

"We realized that we would have to become tougher, stronger and bigger," recalls Ed Snider. "We decided that no team would ever intimidate us ever again, and we conducted our drafts and we conducted our philosophy in that direction."

It's surprising to think that of all the teams that the Flyers have played since their inception in 1967, of all geographic and historical rivals, that the St. Louis Blues may have bad a bigger impact on the Philadelphia Flyers organization than any other team. The quote above is taken HBO's documentary, Broad Street Bullies, and is in reference to back-to-back playoff loses to the Blues in '68 and '69, the second of which Flyers chairman Ed Snider felt that the team had been pushed around and taken advantage of. And now the Bullies live in infamy.

To tell you the truth I've always kind of been a closet Blues fan. I'm not sure why. As far as American teams go in the Western Conference I've always been much more into the Red Wings, Blackhawks, Kings, and Blues than any other of the relocated or popped-up-in-the-90's clubs that litter the standings.

This also didn't hurt:
hull50

As far as this Blues team that our boys are facing off against tonight, the story line is simple - they were a really young team and they've brought in some really old dudes like Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbruner to offer some veteran presence. Their 3-4 record shows that this tactic as provided mixed results.

There is going to be some young, fresh talent out there that you're going to want to take a good look at tonight in the form T.J. Oshie, Anthony Stewart, and Captain America David Backes. Otherwise the team's just a bunch of plugs playing in front of our old friend Jaroslav Halak, of former Montreal Canadiens fame.

And as far as the Flyers go, yeah, they kind of Shattenkirked the bed on Thursday. I'm sure that's going to stoke their fire tonight. I mean, they had 42 shots, they just need to put more of them in and not make dumbass plays in their own zone, and then even if they do, they shouldn't act like a bunch of depressed babies and give up. Just play hard every shift regardless of the score and the game will take care of itself.

Uh duh.

We've got a one night stand with the Blues in South Philly this evening. The most important thing is we get two points. And then that no one gets injured. And then that Jagr scores. 

But, actually, the real most important thing is that you consume an alcoholic beverage right now. If you're at home crack a cold one. If you're at a bar take a shot. If you're in the parking lot shotgun that biznatch.

It's the weekend.

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Written by Ryan | 21 October 2011

bryzeffort

Well that wasn't fun. And now nothing else going forward will be either. Things will never be the same. The locker room will forever be marred by last night's loss.

Bryz won't be as funny and carefree.

Jagr is probably considering early retirement.

The rookies' shine has dulled.

I heard JVR is applying for Libyan citizenship.

Dios mio…Jody Shelley will probably play against St. Louis. What happened to our new toy?

- - - - - -

In happier news from happier times, yesterday at about 12:30 in the afternoon @flyersfan124 not only guessed that Claude Giroux would score the first (read:only) goal of the game for the good guys, later she was also fortunate enough to have her name drawn from one of those old-fashioned lotto ball things that you have to crank by hand.

DM us girl, with the shirt that most tickels your fancy. Not all designs are on lady shirts but that can be fixed easy peasey. Just tell us which you want and if you have a better idea than currently exists we'll custom make that shiiiittteeee for you.

Congratulations! And to the rest of our contestants, May the odds ever be in your favor!

- - - - - -

If we had been running a contest for which Flyer would put the puck on a Caps player's tape when the team was 1:20 away from going into the dressing room up 1 after the first, I think everyone would have guessed the same person, and I think everyone would have been right.

They have reunite that jamoke with Briere. Maybe put Jagr on the wing as LeinoIOS5.

- - - - - -

I really appreciated Bryz's effort on both parts of the Joel Ward goal. Hope I see a lot more of that this year.

I'm never going to dance again, guilty feet have got no rythym….

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Written by Fran | 20 October 2011

SchennCity
Schenn City

Have we got one for ya tonight, Flyers fans.  The Washington Capitals are in town and two of the East's best square off in what will be a slobberknockin' panty-droppin', Giroux-danglin' hellova good time.  This game features some of the best danglers and scorers in the Eastern Conference.  Last year's tilts were always shootouts, many needing overtime to decide the winner.  The start of this season has been very fun to watch, and thankfully we have another enjoyable matchup tonight, just in time for the weekend.

The Capitals may be the best team the Flyers have faced so far this year. An undefeated squad, the Caps roll 4 good lines and pressure their opposition in a number of ways. It will be a daunting task for the Flyers defense to contain the Caps rushes at even strength, and even tougher to keep their powerplay off the board.  We'll be seeing Thomas Vokoun in goal for Washington as Michal Neuvirth is still on the shelf.

Keep in mind the stink the world made when Bryzgalov signed for 69 years and Vokoun for only one.  I'm sure the main subplot of this game will be how this one 60 minute contest will define the winner and loser of the summer's free agency goalie grab. Vokoun is a better Marty Biron.  That is not a knock, but Vokoun wasn't the long term goalie the Flyers needed.  Will he be good for the Caps for 1-2 years?  Yes.  Would you be willing to build your team around him?  Doubtful. Both tenders have been playing well early, and I expect both to be ready to go tonight. 

Regardless of the outcome in tonight's game, the big news is that Brayden Schenn got the call and will be playing his first game as a Flyer tonight.  What line he's on and how much ice he sees remains to be seen, but all of Flyerdom is geeking out to see this kid in real action.  We're hoping Lavvy ices an all-rookie line of Read, Schenn and Cooters on the wing.  It may be safer to spread the rooks out across 3 lines, but that isn't the plan this year.  The Flyers seem to have something with their young talent, and testing that talent is the best way to see what lies ahead. It will certainly be scary seeing three 14 year olds potentially going up against OV, Backstrom and Knuble, but that doesn't mean it's not going to be wildly entertaining. I hope they get tons of ice time and are paired together all night.   It adds another layer of awesome onto this already tasty hockey-cheeseburger we all get to eat tonight. 

Kimmo Timmo has been extremely impressive to start the year, and he's up for another tough task tonight.  Don't be surprised if Timonen finds the scoresheet as well.  Puck drop can't come soon enough.  Those Caps are back at the Well, buckle up for some awesome action.  Let's Go Flyers.

REMINDER: It's T-Shirt Thursday around these parts. You could have one of our beautiful shirts for free. All you have to do is email us, tweet at us, or drop a deuce in the comments with the name of the Flyer you think will score first tonight. Everyone who choses the player who scores will be put into a drawing and the winner can select any of the shirts in our store. No shipping. No tax. No nude pics required.

Rules for all you hamsters out there:
- 1 entry per email address, 1 per commenter name, 1 per twitter handle (so you could enter 3 times)
- that's it.

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Written by Ryan | 20 October 2011

dorny

Known better by a younger generation of Flyer fans as the color commentator who was about 50/50 in identifying his own team's players, and by and even younger generation as the guy who just wandered into their club box and choked down a pizza in the corner, Gary Dornhoefer was an integral part of the Flyers Stanley Cup winning teams.

And much more of a formidable opponent than I've ever given him credit for.

I'm currently reading one of hockey's seminal works, George Plimpton's Open Net. It tells the story of a time when hockey players didn't hate journalists, to the point where the Bruins allowed Plimpton, who was not a hockey player in the least, to join them for all of training camp and then play 5 minutes in a preseason game against the Flyers. As a goalie.

Although it was written over 30 years ago, the book provides a vivid glimpse into the psyche of the modern day NHLer, covering everything from pride to drinking to Don Cherry to fighting to muking to summers on the lake to the game itself. A part I'm finding particularly interesting, however, really has little to do with the Bruins or Plimpton, but the esteem with which the Bruins players hold Gary Dornhoefer. You always hear about Clarke, Shultz, Kelley, MacLeish, Leach, Barber and a slew of others, but I always though of Dorny as more of a fringe player. Yeah, he has a statue outside of the WFC, but that was because of a great goal he scored, not because he was such a great Flyer. Or was it? Maybe their one in the same.

Dorny is mentioned a number of times in the book, but here are a couple selections that have me looking at him in a different light:

The first mention of Dornhoefer comes out of nowhere:
They talked a lot about the big Philadelphia rightwinger, Gary Dornhoefer. "You'll be seeing a lot of him," they said. "He'll jam you in the crease. He's not supposed to touch you, but he likes to jam, set a screen so you can't see what's going on out there. All you'll see will be the numbers on the back of his jersey - number twelve, if that's of interest to you."
"Thanks," I said.
"Oh yes, you're going to have a tête-à-tête with Dorny. You'll have a great rapport with him."
Apparently, Dornhoefer was hugely irritating. Larry Robinson of the Canadiens had once tried to "knock the stuffing" out of him - as they put it - by checking him into the boards…on this one occasion with such a vengeance that play had to be stopped while workmen came out with hammers and crowbars to pry the bent-out section back into place. I asked if Dornhoefer had been cooled down by this treatment.
"No."
"None of you is going to try to help me by 'knocking the stuffing' out of Dornhoefer?"
"No."
"What happens if I get in a scuffle with him?"
"If Dornhoefer fights you in the crease, we're all skating to the bench. We'll have some water, and blow a bit, and watch. We're not fooling around with that guy. You're on your own."

And later when talking to his roommate, Seaweed, another goalie:
"…in your game against the Flyers you're going to have to deal with Dornhoefer shoving at you…"
"I've been hearing about him."
"Dornhoefer," Seaweed said. "Big Philly wing. Gary Dornhoefer. If you don't clear him out of there you won't be able to see anything. He parks his rear right in your face. He blots out the sun. You have to chop him in the ankles with your stick. Crack him in the ankles."

A conversation with the Bruins goon, John Wensink:
"Philadelphia has four or five of them who can go… Dornhoefer, he can go too."
"Oh yes?"
"You'll have to worry about him. He'll be in the crease with you. He is not really an enforcer. But he likes goaltenders. He likes them very much."

A couple of days later, another conversation turns to G Dorn:
"What you're going to see is Dornhoefer, big guy, who's going to get in the crease with you."
"You were telling me about him the other night. My sleep was fitful."
"He's like a really big, go-get-'em type dog, one of those big elkhound types, trying to get into bed with you. You've got to get him out."
"You're sure you won't let me go to Hershey?"
"No, he's all yours."

Some in-the-lockeroom pre-game advice from Jerry Cheevers:
"As for Dornhoefer, he'll jam you in the crease," he went on. "He's not supposed to touch you, but you'll think he's part of your uniform. Get rid of him. Crack him with your stick!"
"Crack him with my stick?"
"That's right. Chop him."
"Chop him. You expect me to chop Dornhoefer."
"Why not?"
"I can hardly lift my stick up. Much less chop anyone with it."
"Use both hands."

In the end, Dorny isn't really involved in Plimpton's five minutes in the NHL. The Bruins keep the Flyers pinned down in their end for the first two minutes. Then there are some goals on Plimpton and a penalty kill, and then it's all over. As fast as you'd think.

But the reverence that his enemies held for Gary Dornhoefer, I have to tell you, it kind of surprised me. And it meant more that it wasn't an old man remembering an adversary the size of Paul Bunyan, that it was tough guys in their prime talking about Dorny in his prime. He really must have been quite the player out there. Too bad for him that he was surrounded by so many better players.

Actually, he probably feels differently about that last sentence. Especially every time he catches a glimpse of his two Cup rings when he's finishing of a stranger's pizza crust in a random club box.

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Written by Ryan | 19 October 2011



"She wanted to name the baby Ty, but he wanted Nathan...for Nathan Gerbe."

"He leads the Sabres in penalty minutes."

Ice T nods.

- - - - - - - 

Just for the record, this season Gerbe has 4 PIM in 5 games and last year he came in 12th on the squad with 34 PIM in 64 games.

Also, he's 5'1.

SVU with a swing and a miss on the goon/tough guy allusion.

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