Us vs Them: The Battle for the Philadelphia Flyers

It’s been a very tense week for the Philadelphia Flyers and their fans. The inactivity from the organization at the trade deadline saw a bubbling pot boil over and fans are at a breaking point as their favorite team continues their seemingly endless spiral out of control.

95 percent of fans are angry. There are still a few weirdos out there that will try and tell you everything is great, despite all evidence to the contrary, though most have been pushed one too many times after watching the team they used to love crumble right before their eye thanks to questionable leadership from all corners of the front office.

The feeling between the fans and organization is strained and that’s probably putting it way too nicely. After two of the worst seasons in franchise history from 2020 to 2022, Chuck Fletcher & friends in the front office followed that up by promising an “aggressive retool” then let hometown hero Johnny Gaudreau slip through their fingers, bought out the contract of cancer survivor Oskar Lindblom and acquired and re-signed controversial defenseman Tony DeAngelo.

At the end of the day, the Philadelphia Flyers are a business, and insulting your fans and paying customers at literally every possible opportunity is a bold business strategy. They spent the entire offseason doing so and continue to do so throughout the 2022-23 season and it culminated with the trade deadline.

Just three days after Chuck Fletcher publicly called the Flyers “sellers” he failed to move pending unrestricted free agent James Van Riemsdyk.

It highlighted what everyone already knew- Chuck Fletcher is incapable to lead the Philadelphia Flyers.

Then the following day the annual season ticket holder’s town hall meeting took place. (Side note, whichever genius booked a public event for Fletcher the day after the trade deadline knowing his standing in the eyes of the fans, regardless of the results of the deadline itself, is probably unemployed right now.) Fans took the opportunity to boo their GM and were promptly criticized by host Steve Coates.

What did they expect to happen? A raucous ovation for one of the men most responsible for destroying the franchise they loved? The season ticket holders were told to have some class, like it’s the bracelet incident all over again.

Fans are united together, which has been a relatively uncommon occurrence since social media became a thing.

It just feels like we’re starting the last decade over. The franchise hinting at a rebuild though simultaneously noncommittal to the idea and possessing a roster that doesn’t have the ability to rebuild. A lackluster roster that won’t be torn down but also not built up and banking on a couple random draft picks to come in and save the day… where have we heard that before?

The biggest question is whether or not the organization is cognizant of the damage they’ve done to the fans? It’s not just a couple years of terrible hockey. It’s a trend of tactically killing the history of the organization and selling a sub-par product that is being completely rejected by the paying customers.

They have to see the dwindling season ticket holders as well as overall attendance and feel it in their pocketbook, but it’s a matter of whether their bottom line is effected to the level that change is bound to happen, and somehow it doesn’t seem like it’s hit that level yet.

Whether it’s Dave Scott, the shadowy panel of 70-year-old advisors composed of the typical suspects, Chuck Fletcher or Danny Briere, somebody’s gotta step up and break the mold to start turning the team around. They’re aboard the Titanic and are watching every lifeboat leave one by one and soon they’ll be on the sinking ship together if some last minute heroics aren’t attempted.

It’s hard to believe the level this situation is allowed to devolve to. What power does Fletcher have over the rest of the front office that they’re willing to just sit back and watch this team careen rather than moving on from the guy? The smug arrogance Fletcher walks with knowing he is seemingly invincible is palpable.

There’s the old saying that anger lets you know that you care. And that’s what the Flyers organization doesn’t seem to realize. They chastise the fans for not accepting the lackluster product quality rather than realize most people just want to see some wins and a return to a perennial playoff contender like they were for the first 50 years of their existence, before this current group of shithead leaders were there.

There’s another old saying- fuck around and find out. That’s a lesson that the Flyers’ front office is going to learn the hard way if they don’t change their ways and keep ostracizing the fans that are no longer remaining in silence as Dave Scott and Chuck Fletcher burn the once mighty Flyers organization to the ground.

By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)

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