Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Those Other Teams Pt. 1: Philadelphia

It's clear that as Devils fans, we hate the Rangers. To the point where fans make their own "Rangers Suck" apparel (trust me on this, but I couldn't find any pictures of those dudes from the playoffs. If you go to games, you probably seen them), make some quasi-questionable quality videos on Youtube (bonus! kid playing a quasi-decent version on trombone!), writing long, rambling and not very good pieces about why they despise the Rangers, and people buying a domain only to have a Calvin peeing on a Rangers logo on the page.

We hate the Rangers. But who else do the Devils hate? To be honest, I don't think any team really rates on the hate list like the Rangers. When the losers in blue shirts come around, we look to raise the hate. Some do it every game (unfortunately and annoyingly). But let's look at some other teams that Devils fans especially do not really care for.

Today, let's look at the team whose most famous player who couldn't stop Valeri Kharlamov so he cut him down, showed off the Cooperalls in the early 1980s, put together a ridiculous and hilarious-in-hindsight deal for an 18 year old prospect, and couldn't maintain a starting goaltender in the last 10 years or so*. I am, of course, talking about the Philadelphia Flyers.

*(Taunting tip! Ask a Flyers fan if they remember Vanbiesbrouck, Boucher, Chechmanek, Esche, and/or Niitymaki? Then ask them if Biron will be next and be replaced in about 3 seasons?)

On the proverbial Expletive List for rival teams, the Flyers would take the #2 spot in many Devils fans' eyes. After all, they are the key role that makes the Rangers Suck chant more juvenile by proclaiming that they swallow. In all fairness, there's a lot the Skating Pylons have going for them. First, they are from Philadelphia. Second, they are from Philadelphia. Third, they have a reputation of dirty players going all the way back from the mid-1970s to now, where guys like Steve Downie keep a terrible tradition going. A look at the penalty stats at NHL.com justifies this rep. They finished as one of only three teams to have had a player assessed with 2 match penalties, tied with Toronto with the most game misconducts issued (6), and the third highest amount of total penalty minutes than any other team last season with 1,457 (1 minute behind second place Vancouver and 8 behind Anaheim). There is a reason that Philadelphia Discipline is a joke.

As it is stands, they are quite unlikeable - especially considering point #3. But the fourth and most crucial, their constant failure. A team led by the Legion of Doom in the mid-90s? No Cups! Eric Lindros making a comeback when the Flyers seemingly had the Devils done in the 2000 playoffs? The Devils smacked them right in the face in 3 straight as Lindros got smacked to the ice. Even if the Devils aren't involved, the Flyers just live to disappoint. Consider the 2006 first round against Buffalo, Game 6. Must-win game, the Wachovia Center is packed in orange, and the Flyers proceed to lie like a cheap rug for the Sabres to the tally of 7-1. Were I to use a tired Internet meme to describe that, it was a true "EPIC FAIL." To see a geographic and unlikeable rival fail in so many ways and on so many levels (e.g. after that Sabres failure, they missed the playoffs completely! Oh ho ho ho. It doesn't get old.) is very enjoyable, indeed. If you enjoy your rivals consistently disappointing, you know you truly don't like them to a point.

In a way, their constant failure is what keeps the Flyers from being truly as hated as the Rangers. I mean, even if the Flyers beat the Devils in the playoffs or an important game, I'll feel bad. I certainly won't like it and neither should you. But at the same time, I can't feel too burned. Why? Because I am that confident that they won't get it done. 1975 was a good long time ago, Philadelphia faithful. Maybe if the franchise truly evolves and puts together a likeable team, that may change. But at this rate, they'll keep it up and we'll have the closest thing to the 1940 chant all over again. It can even fit in the rhyming scheme so we don't have to come up with something new!

My sympathies to the Devils fans in southern New Jersey and those in eastern Pennsylvania that you must endure the Flyers dominating your pro hockey zone. At least you can look forward to the Devils beating them - again and again and again.

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As much as I hate the Rangers,the Flyers truly make it a 1 and 1a battle for me.
Maybe it is because there are more Flyer people here (Maryland),but I might give them a hairline edge in hate.
As a Devil fan in South Jersey, having the Flyers become the main topic of hockey conversation is sickening. Flyers fans in NJ are traitors and should get out of the state if they knew what's good for them.
Ive got to agree with the 1st comment, and even throw it out there that the Flyers are #1 for me. This is for a few reasons.

Te Rangers, aside from the 3 post lockout seasons have been terrible since their one shot of glory in 1994. The Flyers on the other hand were the team always pushing the Devils for the division in the mid to late 90's and early 2000's. Also consider in the 35 game winless streak the Rangers ahd against the Devils during this same time span. The Rangers fail just as often as the Flyers - neither of them has really had an extended run of success in the last 20 - 30 years (save of course for 1994).

Although after last years first round, the hate for the Rangers started to climb back up.

Philly is worse than NY. The dirtiest team in the league. I may not be a Ranger fan, but I hate everything the Flyers stand for.
Well. I stand corrected. I can see why if you're in south NJ the Flyers would top the list of hate. I wouldn't go as far as to ask them to leave the state. I'd just be kind and let them know that A) life is about choices and B) there's a much better choice in Newark. Still, all very good comments.

Now, sean raises a good point. The Flyers save for 2006-2007 were a contending team like NJ. Only, the Flyers didn't actually win anything. While Philly was more competitive, they continued to fail when it counted. Whereas for the Rangers, they stepped on New Jersey for the one shot at glory that we will never hear the end of because of the lovely selective memory of Rangers fans.

That's the difference, to me. The Rangers actually DID succeed where the Flyers couldn't. So while the Devils were stomping all over the Rangers for most of the last decade; they'll always have 1994 to crow about.
Enjoy yourselves while you can Devil fans, for the winds of change are blowing hard in your direction. Your years of being an elite team in the NHL are waning as the real reason for your success ages and continues on the downward side of his great career. Marty has been the backbone of the Devils for a very long time but his best is behind him. The Flyers will pass the Devils as an elite team soon and there is nothing that the Devils can do about it.

The thing I don't getabout you Devil fans is why don't you show up for games. The attendance at the Meadowlands and the Rock is shameful!! Too bad because it will be a long time before you can enjoy a great home time again. GO FLYERS!!!
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