When Season Ticket Holders Attack!

March 30, 2010

For the third year in a row,  I attended the Philadelphia Flyers  Season Ticket Holder Town Hall meeting. This year, to the inconvenience of all the Jewish STH’s, the meeting was on the first night of Passover. So in addition to serving the folks who usually check in on this annual blog, I hope I’ll be able to provide some insight for those whose observance left them out of the loop.

Luukko and Tilger–Operations

My first stop was with Flyers President Peter Luukko and his right hand, Shawn Tilger (Sr. VP of Business Operations). They started out with a conversation about the Flyers having bid to host the NHL Draft. (When I said I hoped it would be when we actually had draft picks, Tilger did say it was a three-year cycle. I’m pretty sure the underlying agreement with us not having draft picks was not intended.)

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Seven for Seven

October 27, 2008

Yes, today may be the day that the Phils finally blow the tinfoil hats off the silly curse promoters. But before we revel in the potential fulfillment of our sports dreams, the weekend just past deserves some celebration all its own.

I started out this weekend hoping for a nearly impossible run–seven for seven from my favorite teams. And this is how it went:

  • After just enough of a break to let Flyers fans get home, Penn State beat Ohio State in the Horseshoe in Columbus for the first time in 30 years, keeping hopes of a championship run alive.
  • Overlapping the PSU game by only a little, because of the rain, the Phils won an exciting game 3 of the World Series over the Tampa Bay Rays, setting off fireworks at 1:47am.
  • Sunday started with a stunning Liverpool win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea hadn’t lost in 86 matches. This moved the Reds into first place in the Premiership and legitimizes their league championship hopes. I realize this doesn’t fit an amazing Philadelphia sports weekend. But you’ll note this is MY amazing sports weekend. Sadly, the game was not even available PPV. So of all the events of the weekend, I didn’t get to see this one.
  • Then the Eagles beat Atlanta making it hard for Eagles tailgaters to follow instructions and leave immediately after the game, so the parking lots would be ready for Phillies fans.

If you’re anything like me, you are exhausted and happy and looking forward to losing your mind tonight. It couldn’t happen to a more fiercely loyal, frustratingly pessimistic fanbase. None of that curse stuff today. None of the woe is me stuff. No complaining about perceived weaknesses. This is the day to take down the walls around your heart and let it beat for the Phillies. Love them right to a historic victory. Enjoy the ride!

Oh the Humanity

May 8, 2008

When disaster strikes, it is swift and unexpected. With Flyers fans eager for the Eastern Conference Finals to begin so the Flyers can prove to the world they are no fluke, the team has lost its most indispensable player for the rest of the playoffs.

Last night, when Jim Jackson, on the CSN playoff special, answered the question, “Who would be the player they can least afford to lose?” He said, aside from the obvious Biron, Kimmo Timonen, and I had that black cat feeling. You know how it is. The feeling you get when someone mentions that a guy has a shutout going. Or says something about the other team’s power play not having scored for the past 10 games.

So today we find out that Timonen has a blood clot in his ankle and is out for the rest of the playoffs. And I (and many Flyers fans) have gone from thinking our heroes may just be able to upset the Penguins to thinking there’s no hope. Without one of the best defensemen in the league, without their anchor on the blue line and on the point in the power play, the Flyers hopes seem to have just gone up in smoke.

Stinky black smoke.

Rooting for a Merciful End

March 17, 2008

Looking at this it’s becoming more and more likely the freefalling Philadelphia Flyers will be spending April on vacation, not in the playoffs. And I have to admit, I’d rather not spend good money to see this ragtag mess get dominated in the first round.

Of course, my feelings about the play of the team aren’t being assuaged by the actions of the front office. Awaiting me in the mailbox yesterday was the season ticket brochure for 2008-09. I guess now we know why they announced the price increase so early. They want a down payment on next year by April 15. This isn’t exactly good timing. They might have better luck waiting until the bad taste is out of season ticket holders’ mouths from this disastrous second half before they ask for a deposit on next year.

Let’s see.

Bad collapse at end of season. Check.

Moving long-time season ticket holders, some charter season ticket holders, out of the first row to cash in. Check.

Asking season ticket holders to put a deposit on seats before the playoff refunds can be processed. Check.

What a way to celebrate spring.

No 3 Pointer!

March 9, 2008

No, this is not a post about basketball (wait a couple of weeks for that). With the Philadelphia Flyers in eighth place in the NHL Eastern Conference, just one point behind the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers, the last thing a Flyers fan wants is a 3-point game at Madison Square Garden today. So here we are, with 5:50 left in the third period, and what do we have? A 0-0 game. It doesn’t matter which team scores, just please, one of you (and only one of you) score before regulation ends!

Holy Schneikes Batman! This is ridiculous.

February 22, 2008

Two weeks ago, the Philadelphia Flyers were just 3 points shy of first place in the Eastern Conference, in first place in the Atlantic Division. Today, they are in tenth place in the conference, last in the division, and sinking fast in the hearts of Comcast Countrymen.

Why? Some excuses for injuries, of course. It kills to be missing Gagne, although actually it helps to know for sure he isn’t coming back this season. Lupul is a bigger loss, because he’s been in the lineup and very productive more often than Gags has this year, and the team really misses his high energy and physical presence on top of the skill.

As much of a focus of fan dissatisfaction as he’s been, Hatcher had been a key penalty killer on this team. And both extended absences for him have resulted in Flyers slumps. 

But even the injury-depleted crew has been able to come up with wins here and there earlier in the season. And did some of that without Gagne and without Lupul.

Still, it’s becoming more and more difficult to watch the clear signs of a team in distress.

  • Where once they shot lasers on net from pretty much anywhere on the ice, now they try to guide shots, without pace, that never get through or shoot hard well wide of the target.
  • When they were winning, they passed crisply to briskly moving team mates. Now, guys are standing around waiting for passes that are tentatively dinked around.
  • The passes that used to go forward into the offensive zone or were dumped deep have turned into dangerous, oddly timed cross ice passes to no one.
  • Biron, started the year contained, composed, and in position, with the puck finding him and sticking, is now trying to do too much, ranging far afield from the safety of the crease, and looking scrambly and discombobulated.
  • They used to have a good number of players who hit consistently throughout the game. Now it seems there’s a switch some evil mastermind is turning on and off.
  • During the winning streak they were winning battles for the puck. I’m not sure they can find a battle that doesn’t involve a pointless goon padding his penalty minutes.
  • There have been nights with enough muffs on passes and shots that there was cause to wonder if someone had sawed off the sticks as a practical joke. But I guess this is what happens when they’re said to be squeezing the sticks–their arms get short.

It’s becoming more and more difficult to watch, easily as frustrating for the fans, who are starting to pick scapegoats and savage them in the arena with the taunting boos of discontent. It’s always seemed counterproductive to me. Do you remember any player getting better because he was being booed?

The Flyers desperately need to come out Saturday with guns blazing and play like they can, not like they have been. Or suddenly, this will become another long discouraging season.

Bust Gate? And More

February 7, 2008

The day after Ron Hextall’s heartfelt speech and well-deserved ovations talk has been about the bust unveiled at the ceremony inducting Hexy into the Flyers Hall of Fame. The bust, clumsily manhandled by GM Paul Holmgren, was not the bust of Hextall. There apparently, in spite of all the time taken planning this event, was a problem with the Hextall bust.

But what hasn’t been mentioned is that the painting of Hextall that was presented to him and his family (and, in the form of a poster, given to each fan in attendance) clearly shows a blue-eyed Hexy. Hextall, for anyone who remembers seeing him play with a certain unrestrained ferocity, has brown eyes.

So that’s two of three presentations that went awry. We can only hope the watch given to Hextall’s wife Diane is what it appears, and not a cheap knockoff.

Tell Me

September 30, 2007

“The Phillies are three outs away from becoming National League East champions on this amazing run.”


Ok. Tell me you believed. Tell me that when Jimmie Rollins said the Phillies were “the team to beat” that you didn’t cringe, or smirk, or maybe even laugh out loud.


Tell me that when the Phillies free agent pitchers kept dropping like flies (or allowing big flies) that you didn’t start dreaming of Eagles or Flyers season.


Tell me that when Ryan Howard hit the disabled list, or when Chase Utley broke his hand, or when Cole Hamels elbow ached, that you said it was no problem. Tell me you thought the Phillies would be resilient. Tell me you didn’t think competitive was still the organizational buzzword for mediocrity.


Tell me that when the Phils were 4-11 that you thought Charlie Manuel would still be manager in September. Tell me no matter what you felt about his management of men that you didn’t pull your hair out with his management of the game.

The Fish Rots from the Head

July 26, 2006

“The fish rots from the head.”

Cliches become cliches because they carry such a concentration of truth, their use and reuse is unavoidable.

Isn’t it obvious? We didn’t need Bill Giles to speak up quite so cluelessly to know it, but his remarks that the fans aren’t really unhappy and those who are vocal are basically nut cases offer vivid evidence of the reality. Read the rest of this entry »

A Strange New Team

August 7, 2005

Well, a self-imposed news blackout didn’t seem too risky in February, when I was making the reservations. Imagine my surprise when I arrived in SF on Wednesday, having spent three days with no phone, no tv, and no radio, to discover the Flyers had become a fantasy league hockey team. 

I’d been impressed with the Flyers handling of the whole lockout. They treated season ticket holders like trusted shareholders, trying to keep us informed without inflammatory shots at the union. And it helped that most of their full-time employees could be shuffled through the bigger Comcast organization, letting the customers feel that we’d be dealing with the same folks when it was all settled.  Read the rest of this entry »