There’s a lot to like about Flyers, Eagles, Phillies and Sixers
There’s a lot of excitement brewing in this city for the sports fans. We have experienced some down-time over the last year with all four teams failing to make the playoffs. Eh, it is what it is. But I see a lot of good things happening, starting with the Flyers (of course).
Training camp is only six weeks away and Flyers have made two good moves:
1. Bringing in Lecavalier. I refer to him as “the great move.” The best way to describe how I see this turning out is comparing Lecavalier’s foreseen impact to the role Jagr played when he was with Philly; a strong, well-rounded player that has been around the block. Lecavalier is a good playmaker and he’s going to help the team tremendously.
2. Bringing Emery back in goal. And what a wonderful story, too. Emery went from having hip replacement surgery to working his way back up to the NHL after playing in the minor leagues for two years. What Emery did last year was incredible and he’s a great goalie.
We have two strong goaltenders now; Emery at the age of 30 and Mason at the age of 25. They are not competing against each other. They are working as a team and helping each other. We got a couple defensemen, I think Paul Holmgren did a wonderful job and I think the team will perform well.
In addition to this, the organization brought Hextall back, who has had so many brilliant years in Philly, among other places throughout his career in the NHL, of course. Hextall has obviously been great as a player, but he’s done an outstanding job as an assistant general manager in Los Angeles. He is bringing a lot of wisdom back with him, and I think it was a wise move by the Flyers. I have faith that Hextall will aid this organization by continuing to make quality draft picks, trades, and ultimately, build a winning team.
A forecast for this upcoming season? Hard to predict, especially with last season being so short. I believe, to be successful in any sport, you have to prepare. The Flyers, among the rest of the teams in National Hockey League, weren’t able to prepare as they should have last year with the lockout. This year, we have training camp, the whole team is together and there are a few new personnel, and I have high expectations for this team, even being in a tough division.
After the amnesty of Bryzgalov and Briere, Holmgren managed to keep the nucleus of this young team alive, instead of blowing the team up approaching the trade deadline. Holmgren kept it together. You have to take notice when you have a good base. You don’t want to disrupt the symmetry. You buy the players out for the main reason that it doesn’t go against the cap. The cap came down from 72 million to 64 million this year, and we will see what happens as the team continues to improve.
I know everyone is anxious to see what the Eagles have in store for us this season. Chip Kelly; good Irish guy, packing a whole new level of excitement coming to Philadelphia this fall. Never met the guy, but just by looking at him and the way he’s running his ship, he just seems like a good friend that I’ve never met.
The Eagles are a great franchise run by a great ownership team. But right now, we are in the dark. The “unknown” can be very exciting, but very frustrating, as well. I look at the Eagles and focus on the positive things that come with a new coach, new philosophy, and a fresh start.
Everyone is excited. Guess what? Part of the “unknown” is understanding that you could wake up in the morning to beautiful, sunny skies, or you could wake up to rain clouds and thunderstorms. The Flyers and the Eagles have a positive “unknown” that is creating all kinds of excitement and energy, which we haven’t seen in a while in the Delaware Valley. We haven’t had to face the unknown in recent years, especially with the Eagles. Andy Reid is a man who has undoubtedly accomplished so much and provided the fans with so many winning years of football with the Eagles. But after all of this time, it became predictable, and the unknown had faded away. We knew what Reid was going to give us, and it was simply time for a change. And now, no one truly knows how this upcoming season is going to play out, but the majority of the fans feel good about it, even if they don’t want to admit it. Chip Kelly is bringing in a fresh, exciting, new style of football. I think they’ll have a 9-7 year.
The Phillies have had a heck of a run. They employ great management, players, and they have done a tremendous job with Citizens Bank Park and selling out games. I believe they’re number three in the league for spending money on salaries. But the scary part about the Phillies’ “unknown” has been the injuries. Halladay and Howard are two MAJOR players missing from that team. Utley was out at one point, so was Ruiz. At that point, the pressure rests on the younger players to step up to the plate (literally and figuratively) and prove their place on the team. It’s scary, questionable, and nerve-wracking to watch this team struggle while missing some major talent that makes this team successful. But they’ll be back.
Finally, the 76ers are in the middle of a rebuilding stage. Most people have chosen to stand on the negative side of things, considering we still don’t have a coach. But I applaud the organization for not running and making snap-decisions on a coach just because they need one. They need to make sure the right decision is made for the long-term good of the team. I think we owe it to ownership to at least be patient and see what they come up with. In basketball, if you are fortunate enough to get a stand-out player on your team through the lottery, then you will be able to build a cast around him and hopefully have a solid run for years to come. All we can do is hope that there is a light at the end of this tunnel.