Four-for-Four: The Broad Street Bullies Edition-A week in Philadelphia

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Kimmo Timonen. Image Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports


Regardless of how one feels about Ed Snider, one cannot knock the guy for doing everything he can to try to put his team in a position to win. ‘Mr. Snider’s’ philosophies and approach to the modern NHL may be a bit dated, but he is never shy about allocating resources to help make the Flyers one of the most consistent contenders in professional sports. There are those owners around all sports that take a passive approach when it comes to the day-to-day matters regarding their team. Many owners feel that, by hiring the right people, they can be hands-off and allow the experts to put the organization in the best position to win. Ed Snider is not one of those owners. Through the good times and the bad, Snider has never been hesitant to shed light on a topic involving his team or the league. Even at 81, the Flyers owner still has the fire to butt heads with the media at the drop of a hat.

Mr. Snider has been more active than usual this season, given the tumultuous nature of the offseason and regular season. He lashed out towards a reporter when the team fired Peter Laviolette, defending the traditional approach the organization has taken in turning over the roster and coaching staff. Snider’s methodology might not be one that can yield the Flyers a Stanley Cup in the near future. That said, the team was two wins and even average goaltending away from a title within the last five years and its tough to count out any organization that keeps going for it the way the Flyers do.

Thursday night, hours after it was announced that Giroux would not be joining team Canada, Snider joined his team in the locker room following an impressive 3-1 home win against the Colorado Avalanche. In addition to celebrating a hard-fought victory over one of the top teams in the league, Snider took advantage of the platform he had to express his thoughts on his captain not being selected.

Snider would go on to expand on his comments, noting the possible relation between St. Louis and Yzerman as a reason for the selection.

"“But it’s politics to a certain degree. He had to pick his own guy, and his own guy is good, but Claude is better.”"

In the rest of’s Tim Panacio article, Snider expanded the guise of his criticism to the in-season Olympics in general, noting the inconvenient timing compared to other leagues that send their athletes to the games.

"“I haven’t taken a poll, but how can anyone be happy breaking up your season? No other league does it. Why should we? “There’s no benefit to it whatsoever. If anything, I only see negatives. The players want to play and the players’ association has a lot to say about it. As an owner, I think it’s ridiculous.”"

The list of criticisms of Snider is long and justifiable. That being said, there are few owners with the courage to stick their neck out for one of their players like he did knowing the political nature of the most powerful figures in sports. It can be very frustrating being a Flyers fan the way that Ed Snider micromanages the team at times. At the same time, with all the questions about the ‘culture’ of the Flyers, Snider’s passion and involvement in the team has established a culture of winning before everything else. He is not afraid to back up what he says and he will stick his neck out for any member of his team or coaching staff. The Flyers might not be able to get Snider the third Stanley Cup he so desires. I am not even saying that he deserves to, given how tough it is to even win one. I will say that he has done enough in this league and his lofty position to have his words carry serious weight with them. When Snider does speak in the media, as he did Thursday night, it usually makes for intriguing fodder. Seeing him act as a voice for Giroux when he was unable to was what makes Snider an owner who carved his way in this city and deserves to not have his actions bashed at every turn.


Feb 6, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason (35) and defenseman Nicklas Grossmann (8) celebrate win against the Colorado Avalanche at Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers defeated the Avalanche, 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Trying to hitch one’s wagon to Steve Mason as the Flyers goalie of the future has been a frustrating ordeal. After he was acquired at last season’s trade deadline, Mason was stellar in his limited action between the pipes toward the end of the 2012-2013 campaign. In the midst of his team’s miserable start to this season, Mason was a lone bright spot carrying over his previous season’s form. Through pretty much all over November and December, Mason was everything a Flyers fan could have asked for.

In mid-January, the organization decided to sign Mason to a three-year/$12.3 million contract extension. The deal was a far cry from the one handed to Ilya Bryzgalov, but it was enough to indicate the franchise sees something in Mason and are hoping, with some security via the contract, Mason can continue to solidify the ‘franchise goaltender’ position the Flyers have been searching for since Ron Hextall’s departure (and really since Bernie Parent retired).

For reasons unknow, Mason’s worst stretch as a Flyer happened to fall around the time of his contract extension. The young goalie’s confidence was waning by the day as he saw his goals against average shoot up in a matter of two weeks. Following possibly his worst game in Flyers colors, a 6-1 loss to the Boston Bruins at the Wells Fargo Center, Mason was suddenly becoming more and more of a question mark.

The Sunday following the loss to Boston, the Flyers held their annual, ‘Flyers Wives Fight for Lives Carnival’. The 37th installment of the yearly event took place at the Wells Fargo Center and, as it is every year, was littered with Flyers alumni young and old. While every year has its fair share of surprise appearances and prolific cameos, one figure usually distinguishes himself from the masses: Philadelphia’s own ‘Most interesting Man in the World’ Bernie Parent.

Parent, who manned the pipes for the last and only two Stanley Cups for the Flyers, has emerged as one of the more endearing figures in the Philadelphia sports scene. The whole city seems to bow down to Bernie no matter where he is and the Hall of Fame netminder carries himself with a bravado that would indicate so.

Parent still takes his role within the organization seriously. Like several other former Flyers, he has been embraced by the organization and he often goes out of his way to pay back the Flyers. The man most recently blessed with the sage advice of the ageless Bernie Parent is the aforementioned, Steve Mason.

Recently, Mason shed light on a conversation he had with Parent to gather suggestions on how to deal with his first rut in Philadelphia. The current Flyers goalie gushed about his distant predecessor and the ability for Parent to reach him, goalie-to-goalie.

"“Bernie gave me one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten…It’s something I just kind of took to heart and it simply helped. There are obviously ups and downs through the entire season, but it’s a matter of how you come out of it. You just can’t let a couple of negative things affect you.”"

While it seems simple, there is something to having a legend of the position talk you through the down times. Mason has made multiple appearances at various outlets, and has maintained his tight-lipped stance on what the snippet of advice that hit him the hardest was. Whatever it was seems to have flipped a switch in the young goalie’s head.

In his last five starts, Mason is 4-1 with a 1.41 GAA and a scintillating .955 save percentage to pace the surging Flyers. There is little doubting the talent of Steve Mason, given the fact that he won a Calder Trophy with the Blue Jackets. However, it is well-documented that goalies have a different psychological makeup than most professional athletes. Parent knows this better than anyone. For him to reach out to the young Mason and talk him through his struggles had to be invaluable to the young Flyer. It is yet to be determined whether Mason will continue to play at his current level. Given the nature of his recent turnaround, though, one has to wonder whether a conversation involving a 68-year-old man might have saved the Flyers season.


At Thursday’s win over the Avalanche, SportsRadio WIP and’s Rhea Hughes was in attendance. Hughes is one of the heavy hitters in terms of Philadelphia sports media and has carved out a solid niche for herself after years of being ‘the girl’ on WIP’s ‘The Morning Show’. The quick-witted Hughes caught this gem at the Wells Fargo Center and made sure to let the demon hordes of Philadelphia know how people from the Mile-High state feel about the Flyers faithful.

He’s probably just salty after what the Seahawks did to the Broncos…THAT was mean.