Weber deal is why fans love the Flyers - Jason Mazda's Blog

Weber deal is why fans love the Flyers - Jason Mazda's Blog

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Weber deal is why fans love the Flyers

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Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2012 3:15 pm | Updated: 5:57 pm, Thu Jul 19, 2012.

This is why Philadelphia fans cut the Flyers slack.

The question often is posed since, despite a Stanley Cup drought dating to 1975, the Flyers don't catch nearly as much flak from fans as the Eagles do.

But how can you complain when a team consistently is the most aggressive in the league in acquiring elite players, leaving no doubt that it is all-in every single year?

Shea Weber may or may end up playing for the Flyers. The superstar defenseman signed a multiyear offer sheet that the Nashville Predators have seven days to match.

But fans can't say the Flyers didn't try. And that's nothing new. Ed Snider, the team's founder and chairman, is like a less obnoxious version of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban - fans know he actually wants to win as badly, if not more so, than they do.

Back in 1991, everyone wanted Eric Lindros. The Flyers got him.

In 2005, after a year of no hockey due to the lockout, the Flyers shocked everyone by signing the best player in the world, Peter Forsberg.

In 2007, after a disappointing last-place season, they signed the top free agent on the market in Danny Briere, plus Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell.

In 2009, they traded for Chris Pronger, a future Hall of Famer who carried them to the Stanley Cup finals that year.

In between those deals were dozens of midseason trades that made the Flyers postseason contenders nearly every year.

When the Flyers missed out on signing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter earlier this offseason and in the process also lost Jaromir Jagr and Matt Carle, Press sports editor Mark Melhorn texted me asking for my take. I responded: "Flyers dropped the ball and need to pull something out of their hats. They always do pull something out, though, so I have faith."

And they did.

Do the headline-grabbing deals always work out? Absolutely not. The Flyers could have had Forsberg for his whole career if they hadn't included his draft rights in the deal for Lindros. And goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov's nine-year contract looks pretty bad right now.

But the Flyers have been back to the Cup finals six times since winning in 1975, while the Eagles - with Andy Reid constantly ignoring fans' pleas for seemingly obvious moves - have been in the title game just twice in 52 years since their 1960 championship.

The Flyers want to win, badly. Shea Weber would help them do that. But if he ends up back in Nashville, fans shouldn't worry - the Flyers will never stop trying.

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David Weinberg
Mike McGarry
James Clark
  • James Clark
  • Assistant Soccer Coach at St. Augustine Prep
  • James Clark has been writing about soccer for various media outlets, including The Press of Atlantic City, for 15 years. The Northfield resident coached travel teams in the South Jersey Soccer League for a decade and is currently an assistant soccer coach at St. Augustine Prep. Clark's blog will appear three times a week and daily during this summer's World Cup.
David Weinberg