-Mike Prince, Sportswriter
Zero wins, three losses, two overtime losses. That is what the Philadelphia Flyers have done after only five games of the 2008-2009 season, just months removed from an Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
After missing out on a Stanley Cup Finals birth by only three games, one would expect a team to come out even stronger in the following year. But for the Flyers, they can’t seem to find a way to win a game.
They trailed 4-0 after only one period in the season opener against the New York Rangers. They held a two-goal lead at San Jose, only to see it slip away before finally losing in overtime. And in between those two games, they have just been downright outplayed.
Now, with the league’s worst record, the Flyers need to step up and turn things around quickly before they fall too far behind and the season turns into another 2006-07 campaign—an abysmal season that left the Flyers with one of the worst records in the history of the National Hockey League.
There is one good thing for the Flyers at the moment. Not too many people in Philadelphia have been paying attention to their recent downfall.
With the Phillies in the World Series and football season in full swing, the Flyers are off the radar. Now this is not to say that no one cares how the Flyers do, but they could not have picked a better time to lose games.
While the Eagles have not exactly been giving the fans something to cheer for, football is still football and the week leading up to Sunday afternoons are still the most important thing to follow for sports fans in Philadelphia. As long as the Eagles are still playoff contenders, which, with the recent losses of rival-NFC East teams, they certainly still are, hockey is well below the radar.
But for now, forget about football. The entire Flyers roster and coaching staff should be writing thank you letters and offering free dinners to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Not only have the Phillies made it to the World Series for the first time in 15 years, they have captivated the city. They have turned Philadelphia into a baseball town for at least a few weeks. They have made all those Eagles losses, those injuries to Brian Westbrook and Shawn Andrews, and this Flyers bad start merely seem trivial when compared to what the possibilities have become for what this city might endure in the upcoming weeks.
The Phillies have a chance to end one of the biggest droughts in sports history and because of that, nothing else really matters right now to Philadelphia fans.
And let’s not forget about the Penn State Nittany Lions. While State College may be a couple hundred miles away from Philadelphia, it is still considered one of the “local” teams. A large population of Penn State students and graduates grew up in or reside in the Philadelphia area and with Penn State’s current run at a national championship, it has given even more for some sports fans to look forward to.
For the Flyers, the time is now to get things turned around. It is only a matter of time before the baseball season is over and focus is back on the other professional teams in Philadelphia.
History has a way of showing that the Flyers can still turn things around. The last time that the Flyers started a season this poorly (1999), they went on to put together a 17-3-3 run over the next two months, finished atop the Eastern Conference, and were just one win away from a Stanley Cup before losing in the Eastern Conference Finals to the New Jersey Devils.
Can history repeat itself? Well, Flyers' fans certainly hope so. For the average Philadelphia fan and Phillies fanatic, there is the hope that they won’t have to worry about this for a couple weeks after a possible parade and month-long celebration, 25 years in the making.
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