Popsicles are Delicious

by Ryan

The title is very true, and today Bucky Gleason tells us in so many words that his favorite color is orange.

Moments after scoring the winner to give his team a 3-1 series lead, Flyers center Daniel Briere made a point to say the best-of-seven matchup with the Canadiens was far from over. Remember, he warned, Philadelphia was in the same position in the first round and needed seven games to dispatch Washington.

When you almost choke away the first round, most people try not to overlook choking away the second round. Continue…

The message could have come from anyone.

Mostly whoever Versus decides to interview.

Philly has other players in their dressing room who have stronger personalities and have enjoyed greater success.

But we didn’t lose any of them in free agency…

Derian Hatcher won a Stanley Cup with Dallas. Captain Jason Smith reached the finals two years ago when he was playing for Edmonton.

At least the Flyers have a message worth embracing.

NEVER GIVE UP! NEVER GIVE IN!

No matter what happens from this point forward, they’ve already won this season.

Really?

How?

Yeah, what he said.

Because three rounds of the playoffs for a team that finished last in the league a year ago amounts to monumental progress. They’re going through a massive growth spurt before our eyes, one that will boost them next season.

Little League was awesome. That’s Bucky’s message here. It doesn’t matter what happens anymore because the Flyers have grown so much. Nevermind actually winning anything, what matters is where you finish based on expectations. In other words, there should be victory parades being conducted in Phoenix, Chicago, Nashville, and Washington. We’re all winners when you’re expected to suck.

I know it’s unbecoming for a born-and- raised Buffalo guy to shower such praise upon Philadelphia. Here we are, 33 years after the fact, and people around here still haven’t overcome Bernie Parent and Bob Clarke. This team is building around Briere, and he’s become a mature voice of reason for his young, emerging teammates.

This is my favorite part. It’s the start of his “holier than thou” voice, where he tells us that liking a team means we can’t look rationally at the sports scene. It’s so very… journalistic, isn’t it? I hate the Flyers so they suck. No matter what. Always.

Yes, this is Briere’s team.

BREAK OUT THE POPSICLES!!!

He was the guy Flyers management targeted as a centerpiece, the guy who signed the eight-year contract worth $52 million last summer and offered hope. He was the guy fans booed during a midseason slump in their search for a leader. He’s also the guy who is now leading his team in postseason scoring for the third straight year — all three of which included trips to the conference finals.

Tastes like leadership.

Say what you will about Briere and the Flyers, despise them if it soothes your soul. But they have become a gritty team that plays together.

If the same players performed to the same level for Buffalo, this town would be buzzing about their toughness and camaraderie. But because they play with an edge in Philly, blindly loyal fans around here claim Hatcher & Co. are a bunch of no-good goons.

He’s got me there, if Daniel Briere was on my team I’d probably like him. Dare I say, I would cheer when goals were scored. Yes, if he were to throw on the blue and gold, heck, even the red and black, I bet he would be a good hockey player and I’d like that. Maybe we could even give him the “C” for a little bit. If only…

Wake up, folks. The Flyers are doing what works in the playoffs. They’re a resourceful underdog that’s getting timely scoring from role players and terrific goaltending from ex-Sabres backup Martin Biron.

And Briere is wearing other uniform numbers and making pad saves… how?

“We don’t have that superstar like the [Alex] Ovechkin or the Sidney Crosby or the [Jaromir] Jagr,” Briere told reporters last week. “We are a team that relies on depth. We have different lines that can score and give you that boost on any given night.”

DareIsaytheFlyersare . . are. . . likable?

HUSH YO MOUF, FOO!

No wonder they’ve awakened a fan base that for years has lived with a sense of dread. Believe me, having lived and worked in Philly, the fans there have more in common with the fans here than either city would like to admit. Both are tortured sports towns, ours more than theirs, longing for a run toward a title.

FYI: Fans there cheered the tears out of former Flyers center Jeremy Roenick during a brief ceremony this season after he scored his 500th career goal. Fans here booed the Sabres’ ex-captains after they took Buffalo to the conference finals in consecutive years.

It’s like a “How To…” recording. “This is how you cheer.” “This is how you think.” “This is how I’m right.” He writes prose beautifuly, but the moral is always that Uncle Bucky knows best. We are the plebes working on his land, praying that one day God will save us from our earthly ignorance.

Philly had a 39-point improvement over last year in the regular season. They turned things around in less than a year because ownership supported General Manager Paul Holmgren without breathing down his spine. It gave him the confidence he needed to make necessary upgrades and manage the salary cap.

Interesting master plan, wouldn’t you say?

“This is how you manage…”

Briere has eight goals and 14 points in 12 postseason games. Biron stopped 162 of 176 shots (.920 save percentage) against the Canadiens before the series shifted back to Montreal.

I can’t figure out of he was too lazy to figure out his stats with Game 5 included or if it was up against deadline. No matter.

Vinny Prospal, acquired at the trade deadline, has 12 points. R. J. Umberger, who had 13 goals all season, has nine playoff goals.

Italics are my emphasis. This is the difference in the Montreal series, and as I said earlier, Umberger will get no credit for it.

Mike Richards evolved into one of the NHL’s better two-way players. Jeff Carter and Mike Knuble are gamers.

Apparently, enough guys were getting the message.

The message is this: Bucky Gleason will always be right, especially when using an argument from hindsight.

The bitterness leftover from last summer is palpable, and he is going to use every opportunity to prove that he was right. It is sad, really; he could have removed that proper management crack and the morality play about how to be a fan and I would have been much less skeptical. Instead, Bucky takes a decent point about the quick turnaround of a frustrated franchise and makes it about himself. Pathetic.

6 Comments

  1. twoeightnine

    Because three rounds of the playoffs for a team that finished last in the league a year ago amounts to monumental progress.

    Monumental progress, monumental money… the fact that last year was an aberration… nope. It’ all Danny.

    FYI: Fans there cheered the tears out of former Flyers center Jeremy Roenick during a brief ceremony this season after he scored his 500th career goal. Fans here booed the Sabres’ ex-captains after they took Buffalo to the conference finals in consecutive years.

    Fans there regularly boo the players that have left, injuries, anything… but cheering for Roenick once changes everything. He’s lucky he didn’t score it last year, the empty seats (of a “hockey-town”) don’t make much noise.

  2. Ryan

    But 289… he worked and lived there! That’s like… twice of what you did! He knows, man, he knows…

    There is such a thing as fundamental attribution error, Bucky just happens to apply it in the reverse. Sabres fans boo former players, justified or not, and they are bad fans. Flyers fans boo… everything, and they are just passionate. They needed a hero to come in and make them love hockey again, and Danny is that pint sized hero.

  3. twoeightnine

    I lived and worked there too. Suck it Bucky.

  4. Ryan

    Expect an email invite to the Ivory Tower, 289. Bucky will love to hear your viewpoint of how wonderful the fans were.

    (As you’ve told us before, they are just the very best. Donovan knows…)

  5. coolman856

    I think I am at the point of creating the Bucky Gleason condescending quote directory. I imagine it would be relatively large in like two months.

  6. Evan

    Great post. The “NEVER GIVE UP! NEVER GIVE IN!” reminded me of every single Throwdown song ever written. The message just isn’t that great when it’s coming from a bunch of thick-headed tough-guy goons. I guess that applies to beatdown hardcore bands AND to the Flyers!