Flyers

Flyers

BOX SCORE

There are 67 historical landmarks in the city of Philadelphia alone.

You may as well put South Broad on that list because the days of the hockey arena being an intimidating, nightmarish place for opposing teams are ancient history.

Thursday’s game against the Hurricanes, a 5-3 Flyers loss (see observations), offered up the undeniable proof.

For starters, the Flyers made the Hurricanes feel right at home by granting Carolina’s request to wear its red home sweaters on the Flyers' home ice. Thirty years ago, the old Hartford Whalers would have had reservations just slipping on a jersey before taking the ice at The Spectrum.   

This isn’t even the Wells Fargo Center from the days of the Legion of Doom. This has the atmosphere of your Wells Fargo branch. Grab a lollipop or two on your way out the door.

Not too long ago, this building would play the movie clip from “Rudy” when coach Dan Devine, played by Chelcie Ross, tells the Fighting Irish in the locker room, "No one, and I mean no one, comes into our house and pushes us around."

Well, the Flyers have won an absolutely alarming seven of their first 18 games on home ice, and we’re still waiting for any form of a pushback. 

 

You would have thought after another utterly embarrassing road trip in which the Flyers were outscored 9-2 over their last three games that they would have used Thursday’s game as a statement, a chance to reclaim some pride on home ice, especially against a Carolina team that had beaten them soundly just three days earlier.

But not this team. And definitely not this season.

Early on, the Flyers were presented with a couple of chances to deliver solid, clean hits to bring the crowd to their feet, create some energy throughout the arena, and send a message that last place is far from acceptable. 

Michael Raffl could have steamrolled Micheal Ferland at the blue line and Ivan Provorov could have nailed Brett Pesce near the red line — without being penalized. In both instances, the Flyers elected to travel down the path of least resistance.

It became clear toward the end of the second period, with the scoreline 3-0, the most uncomfortable seat in the house wasn’t anywhere near the Hurricanes' bench, but rather located inside the Flyers' penalty box. After all, if you want real, raw emotion from this team, you have to wait until someone feels slighted by a call on the ice. 

Which is what happened when Jakub Voracek slammed his stick into the glass after he was whistled for a holding penalty (see video). The NHL has now created a league in which respect trumps hate, and the real spite is directed toward the men in black and white stripes.

“Obviously there are different ways to show passion, but certainly again, playing a full 60 is a good way to show passion, too,” James van Riemsdyk said. 

Van Riemsdyk was one of several players wearing a plain black shirt with the words “Broad Street” written on the front.

Broad Street called. It wants its shirt back.

If that’s the standard for passion, you can count on one hand how many “full 60s” the Flyers have given this home crowd.

There’s simply no incentive to play with an edge from start to finish.

After every game, the hallway between locker rooms looks like a U.N. peacekeeping assembly with laughing and bro hugs. The Czech players congregate with the other Czechs. The Russians huddle with the Russians, and the same can be said for the Americans, the Finns and the Swedes. 

Don’t expect the Flyers to develop any tension on the ice when there’s a postgame friendship worth preserving. 

Right now, they’re not good enough to win on skill, and they’re not angry enough to do anything to change it.

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