***ALERT - This is a sports-related blog posting ... read at your own risk! ***
The Philadelphia Flyers have been acting awfully awkward in the last few weeks. The team that took the Stanley Cup champions to 6 games in a very physical and competitive series decided they needed to change things up more than a little bit ...
First, the Flyers decided to clean house between the pipes, getting rid of nice guy (but woefully inconsistent) goalie Martin Biron, and chronic underachiever Antero Nittymaki, not to mention long-time goaltending coach Reggie Lemelin. When the dust cleared, the Flyers had replaced them with Ray Emery ... yes, the Ray Emery who has done the following:
* Routinely missed practice in Ottawa because he overslept ... because he was partying too hard the night before.
* Called out his entire Ottawa team, thus alienating himself, assisting in a rather large collapse of a promising playoff team.
* After getting cut by Ottawa, he went to Russia (his only real job offer), and ended up strangling his trainer.
So, why did the Flyers take a chance on Emery? He is a VERY good goaltender, and probably has the ability to be a top-tier goalie ... he also came on the cheap - the salary-cap troubled Flyers only had to pay up 1.5 million for him for 2009. I guess, in a sense, it's a small risk, based on the small salary. However, he's already ruined one team ... the leadership in Philly is still very young - I'd hate to see him contaminate this organization.
The Flyers also made waves in the draft, trading for veteran (applying for senior citizen status) defenseman Chris Pronger. Pronger, dangerously close to age 35, is practically guaranteed to make it to the hall of fame when he retires, and he certainly still has enough left in the tank to help the Flyers on the blue line. But, did the Flyers really have to give up so much for a 35-year-old defenseman with one-year left on his contract?
Joffrey Lupol (scored 26 goals last year), Lucas Sbisa (will be a top-tier defenseman in the near future), two first-round draft picks, and a third round draft pick ... folks, that's the mark of a desperate team ... it's risky, and the downside is huge. There's a lot of ifs on this Flyers teams ... and usually that many ifs is not a good thing.