After more than 20 years as a Philadelphia Flyers fan, you would think that I would come to expect days like this…days when former Flyers players, and not current Flyers players, are celebrating a trip to the Stanley Cup.
After beating the Phoenix Coyotes in overtime last night, the Los Angeles Kings will represent the NHL’s Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals. And representing the Los Angeles Kings will be a glut of former Philadelphia Flyers:
• Jeff Carter, who had 2 assists last night, including a helper on the overtime game winner
• Mike Richards, who had a goal last night and has 11 points in 14 playoff games
• Justin Williams, who had an assist of his own
• Simon Gagne, who isn’t playing due to an injury
• John Stevens, who is the Kings’ assistant coach
• Ron Hextall, who is the Kings’ vice president and assistant general manager
Back in February, on the eve of the Super Bowl, I wrote a column about the worst-case title game scenarios for Philadelphia sports fans. In hockey, the nightmare match-up was these very same Los Angeles Kings and the New Jersey Devils.
The Kings have already punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals and, in what should have been a predictable scenario, the Devils can do the same if they win two more games in their Eastern Conference Finals series that is currently tied at two games apiece. Rooting for the Devils’ opponent? That’s not an option, either, because it’s the disgusting, despicable New York Rangers.
It’s not that I dislike these former Flyers players and coaches. In fact, I’m quite happy for them, especially Carter and Richards.
But while I’d love to see them hoist the Cup next month, it would pain me to see them do it in LA white, black and purple instead of Philadelphia orange and black.
With the way the Kings are playing, though, it seems unlikely that they won’t be the league champions, no matter what team they from the East they end up facing. I guess it’s just the story of my life.