| Sports

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Rossi: Hockey fans not so sunny in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren, right, pauses during an NHL hockey news conference in Philadelphia with newly hired head coach Craig Berube on Oct. 7, 2013.

Penguins/NHL Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Rob Rossi podcasts

  • Loading...

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, 9:53 p.m.

The Philadelphia Flyers are lousy. How are they this bad, though?

Winners just once in their opening eight games, the Flyers were minus-13 in goal differential and 24th in overall goals-against before NHL games played Saturday.

Traditionally, the player between the pipes has been blamed for the Flyers' seasons that have ended without the Stanley Cup returning to Philadelphia.

Well, the Cup is not coming back this summer, and will be a 39th season without a title will probably stretch into the 40s because of the Flyers' real problem.

Their culture, and a big part of that is haphazard management.

General manager Paul Holmgren is reputable for correcting problems with aggressive moves, but there are too many things to fix for this season — and the list of problems is only going to grow.

Consider arguably the Flyers' best player: center Claude Giroux, who was signed to an eight-year extension in the offseason. He will count $8.275 million against the salary cap on that contract.

Giroux never has scored 30 goals in any season, has topped 75 points only twice, and — though it is early — appears to be yet another young Flyers captain not suited for that role (see: Eric Lindros and Mike Richards).

Two years ago, after his brilliant performance in Round 1 of a playoff series, Flyers brass seemed to genuinely believe Giroux had surpassed Penguins captain Sidney Crosby as the world's best player. Two years later, Giroux might crack a list of the top 10 players in the Metropolitan Division.

He is very good, not great. He is not — as are Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin (Capitals), Henrik Lundqvist (Rangers) and Eric Staal (Hurricanes) — a franchise player.

This is not to suggest the signing of Giroux was a disaster by the Flyers.

They did commit too much for too long to him, though.

They always do.

Defensemen Braydon Coburn ($4.5 million), Luke Schenn ($3.6 million) and Nicklas Grossmann ($3.5 million) are all signed for two more years, and each will count more against Flyers' future caps than Rob Scuderi, who returned to the Penguins as a free agent for an annual hit of $3.375 million.

Scuderi has played a pivotal shutdown role for two Cup winners.

The Flyers will spend $4.5 million on a past-his-prime Vincent Lecavalier for the next four seasons. Scott Hartnell will cost $4.75 million over each of the next five years.

Holmgren has the right idea in identifying core players, but he has not picked the right players to comprise a core.

That is why it is very much not sunny regarding the future of the hockey club in Philadelphia.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.




Show commenting policy

Most-Read Penguins

  1. Rossi: ‘Hockey guy’ Sutter will be missed
  2. Sutter: Staal effect felt on 3rd line with Penguins
  3. Penguins trade Sutter to Canucks, sign free agent center Fehr
  4. New Pens winger Fehr ready for defense-first role
  5. Reliving the moment a decade ago that shifted the Penguins' history
  6. Rossi: ‘Hockey guy’ Sutter will be missed
  7. Penguins bring in analytics expert from Carnegie Mellon
  8. Penguins to appear on national TV 18 times in 2015-16
  9. Detroit hires Penguins’ strength coach
  10. Pens assistant GM Fitzgerald leaves for Devils