A season that many thought would be a promising turning point for the Philadelphia Flyers has devolved into a chaotic nightmare of failed playoff dreams. So obviously someone must be banging a teammate's wife, right?
Right around the time that the Flyers were drubbed by division rival Pittsburgh this week, the blog "The Philly Four" addressed the rumor that dissension had split the Philly locker room in half. The alleged cause of the partisan bickering? Centerman Jeff Carter is boning the wife of teammate Scott Hartnell. Ouch.
A source close to the Flyers (who is not the editor of this website) tell us that the affair rumor is untrue, although there is a history of these sorts of stories being bandied about. Urban legend has it that Philly's own Rod Brind'Amour was traded to Carolina after Eric Lindros slept with his woman. Ted Nolan was allegedly fired from his coaching duties in Buffalo because he slipped one past the goalie's wife. Brendan Shanahan's current spouse is the ex-spouse of his former St. Louis Blues teammate Craig Janney. (That one is true, actually.) Basically, anytime two guys on a hockey team don't get along, every one just automatically assumes that someone slipped into someone else's penalty box It's (almost) always nonsense, but it does make for good barroom talk.
However, the Flyers are in a tailspin and the rumors of locker room strife appear to be valid. The team has lost 11 of their last 14 games, already fired one head coach, and the playoff teams are slowly starting to drift out of view. The team has been dogged for months about their lack of discipline both on and (especially) off the ice. Their GM called them out on their love of the nightlife during the offseason and their new coach called them out on it yesterday! (The gang even crashed a frat's date party last year, for Hextall's sake.) Old Man Chris Pronger was brought in to add a little gravitas and leadership for the younger players and all anyone can talk about is him butting heads with the team's much younger captain, Mike Richards. It's like the first half of a really bad sports movie, except I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for an inspiring turnaround or a romantic comedy to develop.
There's also the distinct possibility that GM Paul Holmgren has built a team full of guys who simply don't like each other. A man doesn't have to screw your wife for you to think that he's a total prick.