Philadelphia Winter Sports Hopes Melting In The Sun

Mark Streit is the newest Flyers defenseman.As the heat turns up outside, looking for a little relief from any Philadelphia team right now seems as likely as a smooth ride home on the Schuylkill at 5pm. The Phillies remain Phrustrating, the Eagles are 25 days from Training Camp (the home version), and our winter teams have been absent for so long you need to look on a milk carton for them. So let’s take a look into the dairy section for these teams and see what they have been up to lately.

The Flyers have come off one of the most disappointing regular seasons in recent memory by…hold for dramatic pause…signing a 35 year old defenseman Mark Streit to a 4 year/ $21 Million dollar deal, attempting to trade for another teams backup goaltender (a move they did in March with Steve Mason), amnestying their starting goaltender, Ilya Bryzgalov, at a cost of 1.6 million for 14 more years, and amnestying Danny Briere at a cost of $3.33 million over 4 years.  With management like that, Wells Fargo might consider taking their name off the building.

So the coach stays, in a league where teams change coaches like they change lines in overtime.  Peter Laviolette, who built his reputation winning in Carolina, and engineered the greatest comeback in 7 game series history, might have juggled his lineup too much. All coaches in hockey have a short lifespan and it would seem that Lavy’s welcome mat is faded.

The General Manager stays in a position where he has helped make two teams into Cup Champions in the last 4 years, only none of them occupy the Wells Fargo Center.  The Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky couldn’t crack our lineup on a consistent basis despite being 42-23-10 with less than a 3.00 GAA in basically a full season in net. The defense was weak and over-matched this past year so signing a 35 year old to pair with Kimmo Timonen would seem to indicate that at the very least they are looking for discounted room and meals on the road with the AARP memberships.

We all know that the object of the Flyers is to try and win one more championship for Mr. Ed Snider before he fades into the sunset, but the continued mis-management of this organization and ineptitude at building a championship contending team is going to cause Big Ed to go the route of Ted Williams. He may have to be cryogenically frozen and brought back to witness any future parades from the cool view of an Orange and Black steel tank and a liquid nitrogen margarita.

Then there are the 76ers…well at least we have a minor league team!!!! Since Doug Collins gave up at Christmas, this team has been on a fast pace to becoming a case study for Cold Case. If a franchise could do more to eliminate themselves from public recognition, I don’t know of one. Letting Doug Collins walk his way out the door and leaving this team worse than he got them was almost inconceivable a couple of years ago. The Draft is here and does anyone know or even care about who the 76ers are looking to pick up? Oh wait that’s right we don’t have a coach or a defined direction of play yet so how can we even come up with an educated guess as to the draft.

Sam Hinkie was hired as the General Manager, ok calm down…I know that is so exciting that you probably called for season tickets right afterwards.  The coaching search has consisted of…waiting until the NBA Finals are over to go ask permission to speak to the Australian National Coach while 6 other teams hired their new coaches. With a storied history of coaches like Doug Moe, Fred Carter, John Lucas, Johnny Davis, Randy Ayers and the “Princeton Man” Eddie Jordan it’s no wonder the coaches aren’t beating down the door to take this job. Since Larry Brown left only 2 coaches even have a winning record…anybody guess? If you knew Tony DiLeo and Jim O’Brien then you need a vacation.

The players are non-descript and marginal by NBA standards. The move to acquire Andrew Bynum was Flyeresque in its approach. Bring in a big name, hope he stays healthy, build your team around him and watch it crumble like inside of his knees. In the meantime, watch the young players you trade for him blossom into productive NBA players elsewhere while the coach who couldn’t get the most out of them steers the ship.

The CEO is fired!.. No I’m not!.. Yes You Are!.. No I’m not!  At least we know that Adam Aron was on safari vacation in Africa while he was being bounced from the Pattison Zoo.  While reports of his demise are greatly exaggerated, the demise of this franchise is playing out right in front of our eyes.  Could the investment partners be positioning this team for a sale and move to Seattle? It’s not like David Stern is going to be around to stop it.

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Martin Roach

Growing up in South Jersey just across the river from the Sports Complex, Martin is a lifelong Philly Sports Junkie. Experiencing the joy of having seen both Phillies World Series Victories and both Eagles NFC Championships Live it still hasn't taken away his cynical attitude toward all of the teams. A proud graduate of St. Joseph's University. He currently lives in Havertown and comments frequently on his twitter @mproach and always has a different (his wife says strange) way of seeing things.