It's going to be hard for Blackhawks fans, and the hockey world in general, not to link the Flyers and Hawks for a long time.
They're similar teams -- or at least were once similar teams -- that met up in a pretty thrilling final series and are constant contenders. So watching what happened to Philly this summer has been interesting indeed.
As you may have seen, the Flyers shipped off what had been two of the team's cornerstone players in captain Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Both had signed long-term deals over 10 years and were assuredly going to spend their entire careers in Eastern Pa.
There have been various reasons for why the Flyers decided to change course, though we may never really know why it happened. Richards' prickly dealings with the Philly press didn't help, seeing how he was captain. There were rumors of dressing room unrest with teammates, and Carter's habit of not doing much in the playoffs certainly didn't help his cause. Maybe it was just cap reasons in order to fit in Ilya Bryzgalov. Maybe Claude Giroux was ready to take over a #1 center role.
But on Monday our hockey blogging overlord Puck Daddy had a story about another possible reason. The stories of the Flyers' nights out on the town are no secret among hockey fans. They've been everywhere, including Temple sorority parties, Eagles games and pretty much everywhere in between.
It's funny though that the Flyers might think their players' nocturnal activities will keep them from winning a Cup. They were an OT goal from forcing a Game 7 where anything could happen. They were Conference Finalists two years before that. They were the league's best team for long stretches of this year. How much was that affecting the Flyers?
And what if they had gotten that OT goal and then finally broke through at the United Center in a Game 7? How would we view the Hawks players with the same activities? If Kane and Toews and the rest were entering their fifth season now without silverware, and we saw all the pics and Deadspin stories, would we grin goofily at them? Would we just give the stories we hear a "boys will be boys" reaction? Would the organization look at it the same way? Would they wonder if changes need to be made to wake everyone up?
Thankfully, we don't have to worry about that. Yet.