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Сообщение hongwei28 » 11 окт 2018, 07:46

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Flyers needed a true No. 1 goalie. They needed to shake up the nucleus of a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff series since 2012.

The Flyers needed to add some sort of impact player behind James van Riemsdyk to prove they will again be nothing more than a fringe playoff team.

What they did was Gritty.

Gritty , the new Broad Street Bushy mascot, was unveiled to a mix of amusement and horror this preseason. The wild-haired, googly-eyed 7-footer seemed uncertain on the ice and fell on his orange, fuzzy rear during his debut. Gritty in no time was trending on Twitter and became the wacked-out face of a 1,000 memes. The Flyers’ backstory for their new mascot goes like this: He was recently “found” during construction and the $250 million renovation underway at the Wells Fargo Center.

Give the team this: The Flyers can barely make “SportsCenter,” but Gritty was featured on “Good Morning America” less than 24 hours later. People were definitely talking about the Flyers.

The Flyers have been oft-criticized for their sentimental attachment to the past, from a 1970s “God Bless America” video to the recycling of former players as coaches or in management. The Flyers had tried a mascot before, too, but Slapshot lasted just one season in 1976. That’s Mascots 2, Stanley Cups 0 since 1975.

And that’s a problem.

All the efforts can’t make up for the fact the Flyers have had little juice of late in a crowded Philly sports scene. The Eagles are the Super Bowl champions. The 76ers had the Process. The Phillies contended until late August this season. The Flyers have been just a point or two away from not even making the playoffs in the years they’ve qualified since a run to the Stanley Cup final in 2010.

The Flyers have won between 33 and 42 games each of the last five years and haven’t touched 100 points since 2012.

“We like who we have in the room,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. “We like the team we have now. We just have to go and have that chemistry and make sure we’re all on the same page.”

Van Riemsdyk signed a $35 million Authentic Dallas Goedert Jersey , five-year contract with the Flyers in July, and set a career high with 36 goals last season in Toronto. Taken by Philadelphia second overall behind Patrick Kane in the 2007 draft, van Riemsdyk played with Giroux and Jake Voracek during his first stint and returns with newfound confidence and experience from a bigger role in Toronto the past six seasons.

“That’s one of the fun things about playing here, is how into it the city is and how behind the team they are,” van Riemsdyk said.


The Stanley Cup drought is one of the longest in the league: The Flyers haven’t won a championship since back-to-back Cups in 1974 and 1975. Philadelphia lost in the finals in 1976, 1980, 1985, 1987, 1997 and 2010.


Look no further than Philadelphia’s usual unsettled goaltending to understand why the franchise has gone 42 years without a championship. Michal Neuvirth is hurt again. Alex Lyon is hurt. And Brian Elliott is recovering from offseason hip surgery that makes his status a bit of an unknown headed into opening night.

Carter Hart is the minor-league star expected to eventually become Philadelphia’s franchise goalie. But Hart hasn’t even played in the AHL yet and even though the Flyers have nothing but uncertainty in net, Hart isn’t expected to become the everyday goalie this season.


Dave Hakstol, the surprise pick to coach the Flyers out of the college ranks Adidas Jaromir Jagr Jersey , has led the team to two playoff berths in three seasons. Angry fans chanted “Fire Hakstol! Fire Hakstol!” in the playoffs.

But there is little reason to think general manager Ron Hextall is going to acknowledge his biggest gamble has been a bust. Hakstol had a reputation for developing young players and there are enough on the roster to merit at least one more season. He is in the fourth year of his five-year contract, and might have to show he can do more than take a so-so team to the first round to merit an extension.

Paul Stastny has made plenty of tangible contributions for the Winnipeg Jets since they acquired him just before the NHL trade deadline.

The latest example played out for all to see.

The center scored twice at Nashville in Game 7 of the second round in a 5-1 win Thursday night, lifting Winnipeg into the Western Conference finals for the first time.

Behind the scenes, Stastny is also making an impact with intangibles.

”Some of his best performances are things none of us get to see happen inside the dressing room and on the plane and sitting beside the players,” Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said Friday. ”We knew we were getting a quality player – obviously, you can see that on the ice. A quality person, we knew that from our due diligence in the past. But what he can bring inside the room … you don’t really appreciate until you have.”

The St. Louis Blues valued Stastny, too, but were willing to part ways with him in February because Winnipeg gave up a first-round pick this year, a fourth-round pick in 2020 and a prospect.

”Stastny is a great, veteran player Nyheim Hines Jersey ,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. ”He plays a 200-foot game. He plays on the power play and penalty kill. He was a big pickup for those guys and he’s fitting in well on their team. That’s no surprise to anyone around the game.”

With more than 200 goals and 600 assists in Stastny’s career, the Jets invested in this season to make a push in the playoffs and it paid off.

Winnipeg will host the Golden Knights on Saturday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals .

”It’s one step closer to where we want to be,” Stastny said. ”It’s kind of nice that we play really quick, so in one sense we get to enjoy this then forget about it and then focus on Vegas right away.”

If a Game 7 proves to be necessary, Vegas will have to keep a close on Stastny because he has a knack for scoring decisive goals.

Just like his father, Hockey Hall of Famer Peter Stastny, who defected from Czechoslovakia with his brother, Anton, in 1980 to play in the NHL.

The 32-year-old Stastny has scored four goals and has eight points in four Game 7s. Just three active players have more points in decisive games: Justin Williams, Patrice Bergeron and Henrik Zetterberg.

When he was seven months old, his father scored in overtime to push the Quebec Nordiques past the rival Montreal Canadiens in division finals of the 1985 playoffs.

”Not that I know my dad’s goals Steelers Game Jerseys , but I know that one,” Stastny said. ”Rebound off a draw. He still talks about winning that draw.”

No one drew up a conference finals matchup with Vegas and Winnipeg.

And, Stastny is determined to enjoy the ride and help his younger teammates do the same.

”As you get later in your career, you’ve just got to enjoy these moments,” he said. ”You’re going to have some guys that get nervous out there and that’s fine. It’s our job, older guys, veteran guys, to go out there and try to be loose and try to make everyone comfortable.”

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