Bobby Holik: he's one of us now! He blogs. Maybe from his parents' basement. The man knows his hockey, but his real value is in how unafraid he is to give strong opinions, even unpopular ones. Like today's entry, on Flyers West and Flyers Original Recipe.
Simon Gagne, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter all wore the orange and black as recently as two seasons ago. Last summer the team shockingly traded away Richards and Carter, who were assumed to be the cornerstones of the franchise for years to come. A Columbus fire sale later, and the three were reunited in Los Angeles to hoist the cup. Reaction in Philly has been surprisingly supportive. They're still slightly bitter, but mostly happy that some of their former favorite players get to celebrate a title. Bobby Holik says: wake up.
I read reports about the Flyers organization being happy the Kings won, and even rooting for them after their second round loss to the Devils. I can't see how the Flyers are happy. How could a team who decided Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, and Simon Gagne couldn't win in orange and black, feel great about guys who won the second they left Philadelphia?
I just cannot believe it for a second. I played in the NHL for almost two decades and never came across such a "friendly" attitude. NHL hockey is a tough and very competitive business.
How can the media not call out the Flyers for trading these guys? After all, it was a sudden shift from when they drafted them, nurtured them, and then built a Stanley Cup Final team around these players. Two years later, they got rid of them, and they go on to win. I respect the media, but they need to question Paul Holmgren and Ed Snider, because it shows a deficiency in the way the Flyers conduct their business.
Holik's thesis seems to be that the Flyers are good at identifying, drafting, and signing talented players, but not so great at nurturing their play. I think that's off-base. First off, if even half the whispers out of Old City are true, Richards and Carter weren't shipped off because of their on-ice play, and no amount of nurturing was going to turn them into teetotaling good citizens. And it's not as if the Flyers didn't get a haul for the pair: Voracek, Schenn, Simmonds and Couturier are all productive players, and Couturier could end up being better than Richards and Carter ever were.
The Flyers didn't crash out of the playoffs because Richie and Carts weren't there to carry the team, just as the Kings didn't win on the backs of Flyers West. The Kings have drafted well, made key signings and trades, rode a phenomenal goaltender, and had the universe sync up so everyone was under contract and played their hearts out at the right time. In Los Angeles, Richards and Carter played on the second line with Dustin Penner. In Philly, they had to be the two best players. If there's blame for the Flyers front office, it's not for trading the pair away. It's for being forced to because the team had bigger holes than Richards and Carter were able to fill.
Calling out the Flyers [Holik on Hockey]