On Friday night, things were looking pretty ugly for the Flyers, and for our city too.
The Flyers were down 7-0 to the Washington Capitals, in front of a hostile Wells Fargo Center crowd. In the third period, things looked pretty hopeless.
At that point, some teams would have rolled over and died. Some teams would have given up the fight. Some goalies would have stood idly by and let their team get its butt kicked. But not Ray Emery.
The Flyers goalie skated the length of the ice and challenged Caps goalie Braden Holtby. Holtby wanted no part of it -- can you blame him? -- but Emery won the fight decisively (video here). The brawl had the positive effect of sending the crowd home happy despite a 7-0 loss.
Some complained. Some called it "classless" or "bush league," the way they always have, for the last 40 years, whenever the Flyers have showed any kind of on-ice toughness. Even the commissioner of the NHL reacted to the fight by vowing to change the rules to prevent it from happening again! if something you did causes the commissioner of your sport to take action to prevent it, that's a sign that you're doing something right.
Are the Flyers supposed to change the way they play the game because Pat Sajak doesn't approve?
And guess what: it worked. Emery, it's clear, provided the local teams with a spark that they desperately needed- because since that game ended, every Philadelphia professional sports team is undefeated.
The Flyers won their next game, 1-0 against the Devils on Saturday. The Sixers -- a team that's not even supposed to be trying to win -- started the year 3-0, including wins over the Bulls and Heat. And the Eagles, behind a record-tying performance from Superstar Nick Foles, notched a dominant road victory over the Raiders on Sunday. When the baseball free agent signing period starts Tuesday, I expect the Phillies to immediately sign Robinson Cano, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Matt Garza.
So thank you Ray Emery. You're our spark plug. Our inspiration. Our hero.
Other Philly sports takes:
- You know I don't like to gloat. But I was clearly right, all along, about Nick Foles. Did Donovan McNabb ever throw seven touchdowns in a game? I rest my case.
- A lot to be happy about in that big Eagles win Sunday, but best of all, how about that Riley Cooper? It's hard to disagree with what Nick Foles told Peter King after the game: "I am so proud of Riley Cooper. So happy for him. After what he's been through, and how hard he's worked, this is great." With the adversity that Cooper has overcome, he's clearly frontrunner for both Comeback Player of the Year and the Ed Block Courage Award.
- Most importantly, the Eagles sent a clear message. To Marcus Vick. They sure showed him.
- I knew the Sixers would start winning as soon as Andrew Bynum was healthy.
- Philadelphia athlete/sometime convict power rankings: 1. Dykstra 2. Pete Rose 3. El Wingador 4. Michael Vick 5. Ugueth Urbina 592. Freddie Mitchell.
- Speaking of which, I've got a feeling that when it's the 20th anniversary of the 2008 Phillies team, Shane Victorino and Brad Lidge won't be getting into near-fistfights at the Granite Run Mall.
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