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Game #17 – Hawks vs. Flyers Spotlight: The Abyss In The Crease

You can go around to any of the four major sports and it would be nearly impossible to pick a team and position, or helplessness at said position, more identifiable than the Flyers and their goalie situation. For as long as you’ve been alive, no matter how old you are, the Flyers have had goalie issues. And that’s putting it kindly. When describing the Flyers’ crease, some might be tempted to use words like, “garbage dump,” or “wasteland,” or “Chernobyl.”

Going through the list, it’s like Bears quarterbacks. Have some penicillin on hand. The Rockies and a rotation? That’s setting-based and they may have actually solved it, finally. The Cubs and 3rd basemen was in this category for a while. That’s solved now, too (and Kris Bryant is likely to keep both of his feet!). The Browns and a QB? The Browns and everything? That’s about the closest comparable.

Did you know that the best SV% in a season for the Flyers is Roman Cechmanek’s .923 in 2003? That’s 15 years ago, where the SV% of everyone has steadily risen to the point that that mark is just about league-average now. 15 years and they haven’t bettered it. And yes, Cechmanek is now a thrower at some one-terminal airport in the Czech Republic now.

Nor have they even really come close. Once in the past 10 seasons have they had a team save-percentage over .920, and that was three years ago that saw them be a first-round out anyway. For as long as time it seems, the Flyers have been searching for anyone or anything that can make a stop. This is what the U2 song was about, as if it wasn’t bad enough being a Flyers fan.

You want to hear some names? You don’t, but here’s the list of fuckwits and shit-gibbons that have taken the starter’s role in eastern PA for the orange: Brian Elliot, Michal Neuvirth, Calvin Pickard, Petr Mrazek, Steve Mason, Ray Emery (twice), Ilya Bryzgalov, Brian Boucher, Michael Leighton, Sergei Bobrovksy (pre-Vezina form), Marin Biron, Antero Niittymaki, Robert Esche, Jeff Hackett, Shawn Burke, John Vanbiesbrouck at 107 years old, and Ron Hextall at even older. That’s 20 years worth of Flyers goalies, and our fingers just disintegrated after typing all of that.

You’d think over that span, 20 years, you’d just find a goalie by accident. On that list, who even had a passable NHL career after leaving the Flyers? Bobrovsky and….Bobrovsky. Fuck, Ray Emery is dead and he’s assuredly dead from being a Flyers goalie twice. It has to be terminal.

How do you miss this consistently, not just on one position but the most important position in the sport? Of any sport? You’d almost have to be trying to do this. You can’t do this by accident. Even the biggest dumbass GMs end up with a goalie. Somehow, someway they get there. Glen Sather was incontinent and blind as Rangers GM and he got Henrik Lundqvist. Every Canadien GM has literally been the French teacher from the Simpsons and they have Carey Price. The Leafs at least signed Curtis Joseph back in the day or whatever. Bob Pulford was throwing up 17 hours a day and thanks to Mike Keenan as well the Hawks had both Eddie Belfour and Dominik Hasek at once.

Even if you stick to the last 20 years, pretty much every team has had a goalie worth a shit. Not the Flyers, Nope, fuck you, that’s the Flyer way! It’s going to be loud and stupid and orange and then some clown is going to let in a beer-belch from the red line in and we’re going to Wawa (which also sucks)! Generations of Flyers fans have grown up staring at some jerk-ass in net and wondering how they’ve been cursed with such a thing. Or maybe that’s why they’re cursed with such a thing. They want it this way, because it gives them something to complain about.

Maybe that’s why it has to be this way. The Eagles have won a Super Bowl now. The Phillies a World Series and look to be rounding into contenders again. The Sixers are at least young and interesting. As long as the Flyers don’t have a goalie, and at this point you’d be right to conclude they never will, it give the Philly fan something he can stab himself with a fork over in front of the viewing public, because it’s that last part they care about most. They need you to know how angry and red they are, otherwise they wither and die. It’s true. If a Philly sports fan goes eight minutes without someone looking at them they fucking get Thanos-snapped.

They’re going to throw Carter Hart into this at some point, maybe even this year. With any other team, he would probably go on to a successful NHL career. In Philadelphia, his hips will turn into a loose band of goldfish within months. It’s just that way. It’s the way they want. Well, they get it.


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