The 2019 Stanley Cup Final begins Monday night and of course there are some Flyers ties.
Seems only fitting, right?
Two of those ties are Blues head coach Craig Berube and forward Brayden Schenn.
In Philly, we're not too fond of people who once played or coached here and then do well elsewhere. It's just natural. Remember when some fans huffed and puffed about the curtain calls for Chase Utley in his August 2016 return, which featured a grand slam and solo shot for No. 26?
What are you doing?! He's one of them now!
For the orange and black faithful, it can be difficult to watch a former Flyer succeed elsewhere. It might make you wonder why that success couldn't be achieved in Philadelphia, where a Cup hasn't been hoisted by the Flyers since 1975.
But if Flyers fans need to take a rooting interest in this Cup Final between the Blues and Bruins, the decision is simple: Berube's bunch.
Is there any genuine reason to have a strong distaste for Berube? He took over for Peter Laviolette, who was fired three games into the 2013-14 season. Berube led the Flyers to the playoffs that season, which ended in a first-round exit via a Game 7 loss at Madison Square Garden. Then, following one down season, he was fired as former general manager Ron Hextall put his stamp on the team by hiring Dave Hakstol.
Berube played parts of seven years in Philadelphia. He was a tough dude (still is) and Philly will always have an affinity for tough dudes.
The Blues' goal song also has Philly origins (watch the video above) and does anybody want to see Boston win? St. Louis' run has been special. Under Berube, who took over Nov. 19 as interim head coach, the Blues have gone from the NHL's basement in early January to the Stanley Cup Final. This is their 51st season and they've never won a Cup. Why not get behind that?
And, most notably, let's not get worked up over Schenn by revisiting the June 2017 trade just because he's in the Cup Final. The 27-year-old is a good player. He scored a lot of power-play goals with the Flyers. But how much better would he have made the Flyers over these last two seasons? Does he make them a contender?
Schenn complemented talent and played a prominent role on a team not there yet. Hextall capitalized on Schenn's stock with a pretty darn good trade, acquiring two first-round draft picks (and, yes, Jori Lehtera — a throw-in by the Blues).
Prospects are prospects until they prove themselves in the NHL, but these two look promising.
Meanwhile, this season, the Flyers got comparable goal production to Schenn's from 22-year-old rookie Oskar Lindblom.
Here's a look at the stat lines:
Schenn: 72 games, 17 goals, 37 assists, 54 points, 18:35 TOI
Lindblom: 81 games, 17 goals, 16 assists, 33 points, 13:45 TOI
If Schenn wins the Cup with the Blues, he deserves it. He's certainly helped them in two seasons. But the trade was made with the big picture in mind and nobody should lose sight of that.
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