Thanksgiving is going to look a little different at my house this year, but one thing won’t change: my love of the Philadelphia Flyers. After spending Thursday cooking and eating, I will spend Friday putting up my Christmas tree as I watch the traditional Black Friday Flyers matinee. If my prayers are answered, they will hand that Bunch of Jerks a big, fat L.
On Thursday, I will take time to offer thanks for all I have in my life, a very new life this year. I have my health, both physical and emotional, an amazing kid who has been my biggest fan, and grew up right along with me this last year. I have a job that pays the bills, and has allowed me to be on my own. I have a very small group of friends who have supported me through this crazy year; you know who you are, and you know I am grateful beyond words. I also have this opportunity to write about my first love, the Philadelphia Flyers, with a truly great group here at Brotherly Puck. In case the above mentioned folks missed it, you all mean the world to me, and this is a heartfelt, public thank you.
I was explaining recently that my love of the Flyers is unconditional; that while I might not like them sometimes, I always love them. For me, that is how love is supposed to be; it doesn’t bend, it doesn’t break even when it is tested. There have been plenty of years that I have not liked the Flyers, but that love has never waned. This year, not only do I love my boys in Orange and Black, I like them. A whole lot.
The Flyers are a fun team to watch so far this season, mainly due to the off season additions made by Chuck Fletcher. I know, I know, I said he was dead to me when he put Ghost on waivers, but I may have learned a few things this year besides how to use a drill. (Yes, I now own power tools. Be afraid, be very afraid.)
The best of the bunch, in my humble opinion, is Cam Atkinson. I picture a huddle during his first game at the Wells Fargo Center. “Guys? You hear that chant, the SHOOOOOT!!!? They mean us, and the puck.” To my great joy the team has listened, and everyone seems to have a shoot first mentality now. I was a fan the second he showed up for his introductory press conference sporting a Gritty tee, but that has quickly gone to straight up adoration with every shot and every highlight reel goal. I know Atkinson cost us fan favorite Jake Voracek, and I miss him. Jake will always hold a special place in my heart for calling a certain journalist a weasel, that was just pure gold; however; I am thankful that Chuck Fletcher understood that sometimes you have to let go of the past to have a better future. That is a lesson I learned this year as well.
Keith Yandle has to be my next favorite of the new additions; he is just a beast on D and an Iron Man Beast at that. Lots of folks said he was too old, that he didn’t have anything left in the tank. I normally quote Kenny Chesney, but here I am going to quote his buddy David Lee Murphy, and another lesson I learned this year:
“There might be a little dust on the bottle, don’t let it fool you ’bout what’s inside.”
Every time Yandle keeps a puck in at the blue line, I do a little dance in honor of all of us who are past our twenties by a long shot. Speaking of shots, he has a hard heavy shot that players 10 years younger would kill for. Oh, and he is pretty easy on the eyes to boot, further proving that wine isn’t the only thing that gets better with age.
There is also plenty to be thankful with the familiar faces in Orange and Black; the resurgence of Carter Hart as a #1 goalie is first in my book. Hart did not have a good season at all last year, causing Flyers fans everywhere to lose hope; we are not known as a patient bunch. Luckily, Flyers management decided we all needed to learn some patience; sometimes the things you wait for are worth far more than the things that come easily. Hart has looked like the goalie from his rookie season; he is tracking the puck well and has made saves that take my breath away….we just needed to be patient. If you are laughing yourself silly at the thought of a Sicilian woman learning and preaching patience, believe me kids you are not alone.
Two other vets that seem to have a new lease on life are Captain Claude Giroux and Selke Smooth Sean Couturier. In the first nine games of the season, Coots had four goals and seven assists for a whopping eleven points, and was a +2. That aside, he is back to his Selke form, quietly bottling up the top line of the opposing team. Captain Claude, who will be 34 in January, seems to have found the Fountain of Youth. In those same nine games, he also has eleven points from five goals and six assists, and is a +1.
New daddy Travis Konecny is my honorable mention in this category, with four goals, four assists and a +1. All three players were given a second chance after disappointing fans last year. I rarely give second chances, but Flyers Management gave all three a fresh slate, and I am thankful for that lesson as well; people can grow and learn from their mistakes and certainly can become better people.
Flyers Twitter can certainly be an ugly place, but on this Thanksgiving, maybe we can all just be thankful for what we have….a full season of Flyers hockey, and a fun team to boot. Here is wishing all of you, from my smaller family, to all of yours, a peaceful and bountiful holiday. LET’S! GO! FLYERS!!!!!
By: Phyllis Ceci (@flyersfan1129)
photo credit: mcall.com