Five Reasons the Flyers will win the 2010 Stanley Cup
By Joe Vallee and Dennis Bakay
When looking back at the previous seven Stanley Cup appearances by the Philadelphia Flyers, it's pretty safe to say that this particular version of the orange and black that just knocked off the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Finals is THE least likely of all of its predecessors who have attempted to bring home a hockey championship to Philadelphia. On Saturday, the Flyers will try to complete their mission as they face the Chicago Blackhawks. Please take the following observations here with a grain of salt. Some of these points carry some weight, some are played for laughs. Enjoy!
1. The four year Philly quota of losing a championship has expired until 2013- 1993 Phillies, 1997 Flyers, 2001 Sixers, the Eagles (2005 Super Bowl), 2009 Phillies. You do the math. It doesn't add up!
2. We're not playing a dynasty.......yet- The Flyers won their first two trips to the Stanley Cup. Since then however, they have lost their last five appearances. When the Flyers ran into the superior Canadiens in the 1976 Stanley Cup Finals, Montreal had been winning titles for years. In fact, their victory in 1976 would be the first of four consecutive Stanley Cups for the "Habs" They even won the year before the Flyers in 1973, so that's five out of seven years if you're scoring at home. When the Flyers lost to the New York Islanders in 1980, that was also the first of what would be four consecutive Stanley Cups for them. Then you have the losses to the Edmonton Oilers in 1985 and 1987 (all that team did was win Stanley Cups in the 1980's). The Flyers were embarrassed by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1997 finals, paving the way for four Stanley Cups over a twelve year span for Detroit.
Fact of the matter is, ALL of these teams had regular playoff or Stanley Cup experience when the Flyers took the ice against them. From 1958 through 1997, the Blackhawks (and Black Hawks to get technical) only missed the playoffs twice. Pretty damn impressive. Wanna hear what's not impressive? 1998 through 2008, when the team only made the playoffs once. See a pattern here? I do, until you get to Chicago. Maybe I'm stretching things a bit, but I hope you get the point either way.
3. Michael Leighton- Leighton is our Kurt Warner, Bernie Parent, and Rocky all rolled into one. He is the epitome of a Philly sports hero. The guy was a waiver wire claim in December and bounced around to a dozen teams over the years . He is 2010's version of Warner from 1999 and could be the latest rags to riches story culminating with a championship.
4. Chicago still OWES the Flyers for the 2007 NHL Draft- Flyers will get revenge on the Blackhawks for being awarded the number one overall pick in the draft two years ago when they were nine wins better than the Flyers, who had the WORST record by far in the NHL. The Blackhawks ended up with Patrick Kane-a bona fide superstar. Meanwhile, the orange and black ended up with James van Riemsdyk, who sat in college for two years and just now completed his rookie season. van Riemsdyk may still end up being a nice player, but Kane by far is the superior player.
5. The Flyers have been through wayyy too much crap to stop winning now, and this story is just too good to end on a sour note- Advancing to the playoffs on a shootout in game number 82. Coming down from three games to none against the Bruins. Fighting off injuries to multiple goalies and top goal scorers. The exciting and inspiring play that the Flyers have provided over the last month is the stuff which legends are made of. I know, I know, we're all proud of these guys no matter what they do, which is true in every aspect.
Only thing is, if you get to the Stanley Cup, you finish the job, and the Flyers are thinking the same thing. I'm sick of this second place complacency nonsense just because Philly teams are a Kyle Abbott-esque 1-8 in championship play since 1983. It won't be easy. Chicago is a powerhouse and have been playing like it all year. They have several weapons in their arsenal, but something tells me the Flyers aren't scared. And having NOTHING to lose can be the scariest weapon a team can have when it's all on the line. NOBODY is giving the Flyers a shot to win this thing. However this team, whom many accused of having no heart or character, has proven the naysayers wrong. They have all of the above, but have to prove them wrong one more time. Bring it on Chicago!