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Flyers embarrassing themselves on the ice and with their fists

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For the first time in my life as a Philadelphia Flyers fan, one of our players was administering a beatdown- and I was embarrassed.

 

Yes, there were brawls a plenty during the Washington Capitals (minus Alex Ovechkin) 7-0 schallacking of the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center Friday night. We’ll all get to those momentarily. The brouhaha I’m referring to was the senseless (yes, in hockey there can be senseless fights) one-way throwdown between Flyers’ goalie Ray Emery and Capitals goalie Braden Holtby. Emery, long known as an absolute loose cannon, readily admitted after the game what we all knew: Holtby wanted absolutely no parts of Emery, but Emery could’ve cared less. Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

 

There’s all kinds of ridiculous rationale on message boards about how “Emery saved the Flyers season,” by doing what he did. I also read a few “just like Hexie back in the day” comments. “That’s exactly what this team needed” was also on the thread.  

 

Really?! Really?! Seriously, isn't it about time this Broad Street Bullies mentality was left in the past? For the record, those Flyers teams were actually talented and won two Stanley Cups. The reason why that even started was because at the time, the Flyers were getting the crap knocked out of them by opposing teams and they needed to develop an identity to go with their developing skills.  After all, a team with three future NHL Hall of Famers didn’t just punch their way to championships- as hockey “purists” lead you to believe.

 

It’s disturbing that a certain number of fans took such joy out of what Emery did Friday. Yes, fighting is a tremendous part of hockey. Believe me, I get it. But this was different. As a lifelong fan, it made me kind of nauseous, and I wasn’t the only one. 

 

 

Moreover, Emery’s takedown was NOT just like Hexie back in the day. I could be dead wrong here, but if you recount Ron Hextall’s tussles (I’m getting tired of using ‘brawls’ and ‘fights’ in every other sentence), 99.9 percent of them were either provoked or at least had some kind of merit (remember Chris Chelios’ takedown of Brian Propp?). Emery’s actions were flat-out uncalled for. It’s not like Holtby was talking trash. He was shutting out the Flyers- a team whose top gun (Claude Giroux) hasn’t even scored a goal in his last 18 games. As barbaric as the sport of hockey is designed to be, there still is a code, which Emery obviously cared less about.

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As if it wasn’t bad enough that the orange and black were getting absolutely dominated on the scoreboard, newly acquired Steve Downie suffered a concussion in his first game back as a Flyer after fighting with Washington’s Aaron Volpatti. It was so bad that Downie was apparently taken out of Wells Fargo on a stretcher. Who knows how much time Downie will miss (not that it really matters at this point anyway).

 

Oh wait, we’re not finished. New Flyer Vincent Lecavalier, who is actually one of the few Flyers playing well, suffered facial injuries during his skirmish and will also miss time.

Of course, these wounds look a lot worse when you consider the Flyers poor play. But man oh man, could this team look any worse in any facet of their game right now? Talk about a microcosm of an already forgettable season. There was nothing redeemable about anything the Flyers did on Friday. I’m sorry, but a massive brawl in which the team that beat them on the scoreboard as well as with their fists is not going to re-energize this team. I think every educated Flyers fan knows this, but there’s more to where that came from.

 People are entitled to think whatever they want, but anybody who thinks otherwise should really let go of 1975.

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images