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Flyers-Capitals rivalry from a fan’s perspective

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Capitals and their fans hate the Flyers, and I understand that. Believe me, I’ve watched the Flyers lose enough playoff series to the New Jersey Devils to know exactly how that feels and how the residual feelings linger for years. So I have no complaint with having a healthy rivalry.

But I will admit that it saddens me to see some of the Capitals’ verbal responses to their new rivalry with the Flyers. Sure, I love the Flyers, which makes me biased.

BUT I ALSO LOVE THE CAPITALS. I’ve been on the bandwagon ever since I saw Mike Green play for the first time in Hershey. I relish the opportunity to watch AO, with his hard-hitting and wicked shot. And Brooks Laich deserves so much more credit than he’s given outside Washington for his grit and tenacity; I caught a penalty kill earlier this year where, in one shift, he blocked pucks with both arms and a leg.

As a Caps fan, I want better from this amazing group than bitter words that hit below the belt. I especially expect better sportsmanship from Bruce Boudreau. As head coach, he’s a leader for a young team. His actions influence their behaviors and will for the rest of their playing careers.

Sure, tough words about tough guys happen frequently, and there’s no shame in it. However, there is a way to show respect afterwards. Consider how George Laraque, then a Pittsburgh Penguin, responded to reporters’ questions after a bout with Riley Cote last year: Cote is “pound for pound . . . the toughest guy in the NHL.” Laraque played for a team that has no love lost with the Flyers, but he still found a way to demonstrate an admirable level of sportsmanship. BTW – he kicked Cote’s butt big time in that game.

As to Boudreau’s comments regarding complaints about Philly’s injuries, please remember that those injury articles came from the press. I did not read a single quote from a Flyer or Flyers management bemoaning the fact that we don’t have enough guys to fill the jerseys right now. Yes, Paul Holmgren spoke to the press about who had what injuries – that’s the GM’s job. Holmgren also pointed out that he was proud of the Flyers’ gritty performance in LA and that he expected them to bring an equally intense game into Washington last night. That’s not anything close to a complaint.

I think Boudreau is a fantastic coach with a terrific bunch of players down there in Washington, and I hope to watch many more exciting Caps games in the future. As a fan – and this is the Caps fan in me talking – I want better from him. I want to see honorable, sportsmanlike comments. I want to be able to respect Boudreau as a good man as well as a good hockey coach.

Otherwise, I’m going to have to agree with Mike Richards on this one. (Scroll down to Tuesday’s version of “Tonight’s Lineup” – quote’s at the end).

And the Caps’ fan portion of me would really hate that.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Carmine permalink
    Wednesday, January 7, 2009 10:02 am

    Frozen Fan I totally agree with you. I am a Hershey Bears season ticketholder and had the opportunity to shake Boudreau’s hand during the Calder Cup playoffs a few years ago. (I am also a die-hard Flyers fan.) I did not have a problem with Boudreau’s words after their humiliating defeat in Philly last month even though I felt they were bitter and whiny because he is like that and he would say similar things here in his tenure with Hershey after such demoralizing losses. But the stuff about Cote? COME ON! They did replay Boudreau’s interview from Monday on the local CSN-Philly here. I don’t like the whining. I like Stevens’ response to his words yesterday. Panaccio has Cote’s response on

    It was a good game last night. I didn’t expect the Flyers to even gain a point as banged up as they are.

  2. Wednesday, January 7, 2009 10:48 am

    As much as I was disappointed in Boudreau, I was blown away by the Flyers’ performance. On the end of a roadtrip, at the Verizon Center, so many injuries knocking guys out of the lineup, so many injured guys IN the lineup, down by a powerplay goal on a bad penalty taken by Luca Sbisa – the Flyers should have gotten spanked by the Capitals.

    Instead, the Flyers battled it out to the very end and pretty well dominated the 4-on-4 play. Insane effort on their part. Speaks well of them as a team.

  3. John permalink
    Thursday, January 8, 2009 4:56 pm

    Come on FF, I need another Flyers win over a Northwest opponent. 😉

  4. Thursday, January 8, 2009 7:49 pm

    Hey, I’m with you on that one.

    But we could use a few calls in our favor. I don’t object to any of those called against the Flyers, but there were definitely a few missed hooks and trips in the Wild’s end in that first period.

  5. John permalink
    Thursday, January 8, 2009 10:49 pm

    3-1 Philly, yay Flyers! Now Raycroft just needs to get Colorado the win tonight.. I know, it’s amazing, isn’t it? Two straight starts for Andrew. Maybe Granato is onto something. 😉

  6. John permalink
    Thursday, January 8, 2009 11:12 pm

    Alright, Hejduk got us a lead, now it’s up to Raycroft to hold off Chicago.

  7. John permalink
    Thursday, January 8, 2009 11:16 pm

    CORRECTION: Wolski got credited for the goal.

  8. John permalink
    Thursday, January 8, 2009 11:26 pm

    That’s a final! Andrew Raycroft stops 43 of 44 shots for a 2-1 victory over the Blackhawks and Colorado’s first win over Quenneville in three tries this year. Thanks to Budaj, we lost the other two.


  1. Flyers-Capitals rivalry from a fan’s perspective | Flyers Fan Central

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