For the love of Gordie Howe, just trade Dan Carcillo already!
Since his arrival in Philadelphia, it has been abundantly clear this team and much of its fan base do not have the intestinal fortitude necessary to tolerate a legitimate NHL pest like Dan Carcillo on the Flyers roster.
From the top of the Broad Street's brass to the depths of Flyers fandom, the uniform talking points unceasingly aimed at Carcillo have never wavered from their demands for the player nicknamed "car bomb" to use his head and to avoid stupid penalties.
Pardon my French Canadien, but the whole fooking point of Dan Carcillo is stupid penalties. Or more precisely, for Carcillo to use his head (and his elbows, and his stick, and his guile) to get into the heads of opposing players, thereby goading them into stupid penalties.
Which by the way, Carcillo has been quite spectacular at.
Does one accomplish that objective by patterning his game after Lady Byng Award recipients? Of course not.
To draw penalties wholesale, one needs to live up to their billing as an "agitator" and a "pest."
In other words, you need to be kind of an a-hole to excel at that type of game, which can manifest in many different ways throughout the course of a game.
An unkind word about the girlfriend of an opponent under your breath at the face-off circle.
An unnoticed slash across the gloves behind the play.
A nutty buster in the scrum.
These are just a few of the secret herbs and spices in the recipe for Dan Carcillo's game, and the result is this: he usually draws far more penalties than he actually takes.
Have you ever heard the saying "you have to spend money to make money?"
The same maxim applies to penalty minutes. It's the reason why many NHL pests frequently find their way into Top 20 penalty minute rankings.
During the 2009-10 season, the Flyers ranked third in the NHL with 317 power play opportunities.
Dan Carcillo was involved in 13 percent of that total, drawing penalties from opponents which led to 42 power play opportunities for Philadelphia.
Half way through this season, with Carcillo spending nearly as much time flanked by Sam Carchidi and Frank Seravalli in the press box as by his teammates on the ice, the Flyers are ranked 12th in the NHL in power play opportunities in 2010-11.
Obviously, with the Flyers hovering near or at the top of the NHL standings for much of the season, the need to deploy Carcillo in an effort of draw penalties has lessened considerably, with Carcillo's 20 games in the press box as proof of that.
And with players like Nikolay Zherdev and Jody Shelley clearly ahead of him on the team's depth chart, I don't see how Carcillo's fortunes improve if the Flyers add another player via trade as February 28th approaches.
I can hear Carcillo's detractors collectively wonder "who would want to trade for that guy?"
My educated guess? Teams that are looking to improve their power play opportunities might consider Carcillo with interest.
At the bottom of the rankings for power play opportunities in 2010-11:
Colorado Avalanche: 160
Florida Panthers: 158
Nashville Predators: 155
Ottawa Senators: 145
New Jersey Devils: 139
It's worth noting that Nashville is in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, and currently has a few pending UFA wingers that fit into the mold of a playoff rental, namely Steve Sullivan and Joel Ward.
With his season ticket plan in the press box, it's clear Dan Carcillo has outlived his usefulness in a Philadelphia Flyers sweater.
It's time for both sides to move on.
For my thoughts in 140 characters or fewer, please follow me on Twitter: @RonnybrookHKY