Mike Miss: The Things I Think About
Sometimes, magic things happen in sports and occasionally they happen to your home town team.
A couple of months ago, fans of the Philadelphia Flyers — and perhaps even management itself — were cashing in the season. The Flyers had assembled a team that wasn’t good enough to compete for a Stanley Cup after all, despite the pre-season predictions of the experts that they would be a contender. In their ever revolving merry-go-round of goalies, the Flyers had not made the right call on Ray Emery, who was mediocre before he was hurt. They had to fire another coach. And in the end, only an extra goal in a shootout on the last day of the regular season had given the Flyers the final berth in an NHL playoff format where almost everybody makes the playoffs. [SIGNUP]
And now they find themselves on the precipice of a Stanley Cup final.
It is one of the more incredible stories of Philadelphia sports history, how a team has come together, bonded together, gotten a lift from an unknown, journeyman goaltender, have had almost everyone playing hard and playing well, including a few with yet-to-be-healed broken bones and battered faces and brains.
How the Philadelphia Eagles front office must hate this.
How does a team down 0-3 in a quarterfinals series suddenly find themselves and fight back to win three straight games, then stare down the gun barrel of a 3-0 deficit in the deciding seventh game in the other team’s arena, and win the game 4-3? This is one tough team and the Flyers effort becomes even more admirable and fun because really, very few people saw it coming.
The Montreal Canadiens may have hockey history on their side, but they’ve got no shot to come back and win this series. The Flyers are going to the Stanley Cup finals and will play a team, whether it be the Chicago Black Hawks or the San Jose Sharks, that on paper, will be decidedly more talented. But sometimes talent doesn’t beat heart. The last time the Flyers played in the Cup finals, it was 1997 against the Red Wings. They were blown out so badly that their coach at the time, Terry Murray, called them chokers.
After what we’ve witnessed over the past few weeks with this team, there can be no chance of that.
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The Things I Think About
* The Sixers got their best victory of the season this week when they defied the odds in the NBA draft lottery and wound up with the second pick in the draft. As the envelopes were being opened by NBA assistant commissioner Adam Silver and the Sixers actually had a chance to get the first pick in the draft, I kept thinking about Jrue Holiday. Holiday was the Sixers representative at the lottery and in irony that you could cut with a chainsaw, he was almost partly responsible for the Sixers to draft the consensus number one pick in the draft, Kentucky point guard John Wall, which would have made Jrue a backup. When the Sixers got the second pick in the draft, Holiday may have been the happiest resident of the Delaware Valley. Now the Sixers take shooting guard Evan Turner of Ohio State.
* Did I mention that Jeff Lurie and Joe Banner might not exactly be delighted that another Philadelphia team other than the Eagles has a chance to win a championship?
* Doug Collins is the front runner to become the Sixers next head coach. Nothing against Collins, but does it really matter who coaches this roster? All due respect to Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner.
* Joe Banner and Howie Roseman are sitting around with a bottle of Jack Daniels and throwing hockey pucks at each other.
* I made up my mind last week that the soundest short-term investment in America is betting a thousand dollars a game on Roy Halladay. I had a financial expert verify that if you bet a G on Roy every fifth day for his approximate 35 starts this season, with a 21-7 record, he would bring you a 7% return. Try getting that on a money market within six months time. Trouble is, since I started laying the money, the Phils have lost both of Halladay’s last two starts.
* Donovan McNabb was seen driving out of town with a Flyers’ flag attached to the back window of his Escalade, and he rode right past the Lurie manse on his way to Washington, D.C.
* The biggest weasel in America today is that neighbor of Tiger Woods who is selling a video on line for $3.99 that promises the inside scoop on what kind of guy Tiger is. The vidiot says in the preview that Tiger is “a jerk.” Oh.
* Joe Banner has invited Michael Leighton to his house to teach Joe how to “stand on his head.”
Listen to MIKE MISSANELLI weekday afternoons on 97.5 The Fanatic.