Flyers owner Ed Snider still has faith, says his guys ‘will never quit’
|05.05.11 at 12:17 am ET|
He acted like a man who wanted to believe what he was saying but deep down Ed Snider had the look of a beaten owner of his beloved Philadelphia Flyers.
There isn’t an owner in hockey who has seen more. He brought hockey to the City of Brotherly Love. He rejoiced in 1974 and 1975 when his Flyers became the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup.
He beamed with nearly as much pride last spring when his team made history by overcoming an 0-3 deficit to beat the Bruins. His team fell two wins short of one of the best Stanley Cup championship of all time.
Well, after being shelled 5-1 in Game 3 at TD Garden Wednesday night, his team is in that very same hole. But in the Flyers dressing room afterward, Snider wasn’t talking like a man who really believes he can catch lightning in a bottle twice.
“It’s a really difficult thing to do and they would be the first team in history to do it two years in a row,” Snider offered.
That’s one way of looking at it.
This is another.
“It’s an awful lot to expect and Boston is playing very well and we’re going to have to step up our game in order to compete with them,” added Snider, who began to finally see the neon writing on the wall. And it’s starts with goaltending and continues with defense.
Tim Thomas is now 9-0-0 alltime in regular season and playoffs against the Flyers. He has stopped 89 of the last 92 shots he has faced in winning Games 2 and 3.
“We’ve had trouble scoring against their goalie, who’s played extremely well,” Snider said. “We’ve had a lot of chances and, I don’t know, I think this guy has maybe stopped 80 shots in a row or something like that. I don’t know, but he’s playing extremely well.”
Snider has watched with presumably a great deal of pain as his goalies have been pulled midgame an amazing six times in 10 playoff games. It happened again Wednesday in Game 3 as Brian Boucher gave up two goals in the opening 63 seconds.
“I don’t have an opinion,” Snider said. “The coach is making a decision and I think I have no qualms with the decisions that he’s made. He’s doing everything in his power to win.”
But hockey being what it is in Philadelphia, Snider was asked point-blank if there’s enough quality goaltending in the organization to win a Cup.
“The season’s not over and we’ll evaluate everything when the season is over,” he said. “It’s unusual. That’s all I can say. It’s unusual but I don’t think it’s wrong. I think it’s something that had to be done and I think the coach has done a good job deciding what he’s going to do and when he’s going to do it.”
But while coach Peter Laviolette can’t be blamed for goaltending or lack thereof, preparation is another thing altogether. And that was very telling in Snider’s next answer.
“No, I don’t think there’s a lack of urgency,” Snider said. “I just think that Boston is playing very well and maybe we weren’t quite as prepared as we should have been for what they did at the beginning of the game.”
Now, all eyes – especially Snider’s – will be on the Flyers Friday to see if they put up a better battle than they did in Game 3.
“Well I thought there was a fight tonight,” Snider said. “I don’t think they quit. They kept playing. They played hard, but unfortunately we didn’t score enough goals to make a difference. But, I never would think this team doesn’t fight. It fights always. It’s shown that throughout. It came back from a 3-2 deficit going into Buffalo, won two in a row, won that series. Last year we showed fight throughout the playoffs. Very much the same squad so I have a lot of faith in these guys, they’re not going to ever quit.”