Easy Doesn't Do It
If you haven’t figured it out by now, the 2009-10 edition of the Philadelphia Flyers isn’t exactly the type of team to make it easy on themselves. The path to this point has been bumpy and winding for them, full of incredible highs and lows. Now facing a 2-0 series deficit and looking the depths of offseason directly in the eyes, we’ll see if there’s any magic left under the orange sweaters.
The most problematic theme of the first two games is that the Flyers literally could have won either game. Not only does this make me want to seek out the nearest inanimate object to throw every time it comes to mind, it also makes me worry to a degree. That degree is the understanding that Chicago has not necessarily dominated play throughout their playoff success. Ask Vancouver, Nashville and San Jose how far moral victories went in determining their fates. The Blackhawks find themselves in the winner’s circle at the end of day, and whether it’s convincing or not, convincing doesn’t show up in the win column.
Chicago knows more than one way to obliterate conventional wisdom. Flyers fans should take solace in knowing that games three and four will be played on Broad Street. Or should they? The Blackhawks are 7-1 on the road in the playoffs this year. The fact that the games will played in Philadelphia is usually worthy of a security blanket, only this time the blanket may be covering up the monsters in red, black and white.
So, where do Flyers fans look for comfort? Going into a game that is a must win, can’t lose, and the clearest possible example of a rubber hits the road moment, it’s tough. However, I’ve said it before and I will reiterate my thoughts. With all the obstacles this team has overcome, all the frustration that turned into character building, the odds that have been defeated, do we as fans have any right to doubt this team? Quite simply, hell no. We as fans must have faith that there is another phone booth large enough to fit the team near the Wachovia Center. Oh, and by the way, the Wachovia Center won’t win game three, the puck controversy of Ben Eager and Chris Pronger won’t win it either. The fact that Chicago hasn’t won a cup in almost 50 years will win it as much as the 35 years Philadelphia has waited. Subplots are unnecessary when the plot is the fight for Lord Stanley’s Cup. Please recognize their irrelevance and focus on the ice, which is what it all boils down to.
It boils down to our guys versus theirs. It boils down to making the plays that a champion makes with their back to the wall. For players like Claude Giroux it boils down to baptism by fire and the necessity to grow up when the chips are down. For the Simon Gagnes, Arron Ashams and Ian Laperrieres it boils down to maybe never getting another chance like the one that faces them now. For Michael Leighton it boils down to proving yourself in front of every critic that has used the word ‘journeyman’ to describe you. For Mike Richards, it boils down to etching your legacy as a Flyers captain forever. For the average joe hockey fan like you or me that can’t touch the ice, it boils down to faith. Without it, we are no fans at all.
I read a tweet today that said there’s a sign above the door to the rink in the Flyers’ dressing room that reads, “The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory”. When I first read the words, I thought, ‘Damn guys, you didn’t have to take it so literally!’ But the more I think of it, it’s so true. If the Flyers manage to spit in the sandman’s face yet again tonight, it will be sweet. If they manage a game four win, even sweeter. And so it goes. Besides, if it was easy to win the Cup, what would be the point? Luckily, it seems as if the Flyers feel the same way.
Win Game Three.