Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Time for the "Bullies" To Run Wild Again

by Bob Herpen
The Phanatic Magazine

Here we are again, the Flyers at another crossroads.

Defenseman Randy Jones has just been slapped with a two-game suspension for “ramming” Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron in the back and driving him face-first into the boards. Steve Downie is sitting for 20 games for one of the greatest flying checks in NHL history, and Jesse Boulerice rides the pine for 25 for acting out his displeasure for Ryan Kesler going after his head.

We’re down to a bunch of fleet-footed French-Canadians, timid Europeans who wear out the middle of the ice and a gaggle of North American boys who have yet to really get their jerseys sullied by the spoils of battle.

This just can’t be. The team doesn’t even have 10 fighting majors this season yet. I can’t believe what I’m seeing.

Kudos to the towering public relations machine of the NHL in Toronto. They’ve successfully fueled the fires and permitted every person with an axe to grind and fingers to type on a keyboard to fill chat rooms and column comment-spaces with vitriol against our beloved victims of a smear campaign.

Because it’s all just been an elaborate ruse. Millions of fans across North America have finally caught on to what only the inner-most of all inner-circles know: the Philadelphia Flyers are waging war with the rest of the league.

Sure, the organization wants you to think they’ve been unduly burdened by 30-plus years of the reputation for chaos and mayhem. They need you and the rest of the league to believe that they’ve finally bought into the new philosophy of speed and skill.

However, I say, what good is trying to live down that well-worn and oft-quoted reputation when the overwhelming evidence remains to the contrary?

This year’s new corporate slogan is “Back With A Vengeance.” So far, the Flyers have lived up to that without having been wronged first (which implies that one would be “back” with a “vengeance”), so what’s the harm in intentionally going for the scare tactics and taking further steps to instill fear in the opposition?

The actions of Downie, Boulerice and Jones have already convicted the hockey club in the court of public opinion, so why not stop the farce of trying to reverse that violent image and start making it work again?

A roll call in the effort should be easy. Riley Cote is already with the team. Let’s re-sign Todd Fedoruk who would be the only player in league history to play with a face made entirely out of steel. With the creative cap movement, Downie and Boulerice should be ready by March for a playoff run of pure malevolence.

Flyers alumni would also be key for the task. Billy Tibbetts can’t be far away. Brantt Myhres could throw down, too. Frank “The Animal” Bialowas lives in New Jersey. Dave Brown works here. Craig Berube suited up just two years ago. Rick Tocchet has gouged a few eyes in his time. Ryan McGill crushed a man’s cheekbone with one punch.

With apologies to the late Mayor Frank Rizzo, the Flyers should be the ones prowling around with a fury which will make Attila the Hun look like a you-know-what.

A message to the rest of the league – Danny Briere may appear to be the unassuming kid from rural Quebec, but he hides a demonic side the likes of which you’ve never seen. His nickname in the locker room is The Baby-Faced Assassin. Talk about his mother or his wife, and he’ll carve out your soul with a mere flick of the wrist.

After all, the colors of Halloween are orange and black, so why can’t the team revel in the spirit of the season and make it last all Winter long? Put Michael Myers in a Pelle mask and goalie pads and let the fun commence.

Do us all a favor, though. Keep winning while you go on your macabre appointed rounds, and it wouldn’t hurt to take down Scott Burnside while you’re at it.

No comments: