Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Our Favorite Flyer? Philly Betts on Blair

In baseball people "get it" when a shortstop is a Gold Glove in the field but can't hit. They know a run prevented on defense is a good as a run scored on offense. But in the NHL - a superstar penalty killer like Blair Betts - can't get a job. But at least Philadelphia has stepped up and invited Betts to their training camp. I really hate to say anything nice about Philly - but it is a classy move and smart hockey by the Flyers.

Why are guys like Blair under appreciated? For one thing, Hockey statistics (like goals, assists, points, and even plus-minus) do not tell the real story. The value of a great player on the Penatly Kill gets lost. We have all seen how, when a team can't score on the Power Play, they get demoralized, their even-strength play begins to suffer, and even the refs get involved. The Zebras swallow their whistles - figuring what's the point of calling a penalty if the team can't convert them? We have all seen this happen to our opponents - and to the Rangers themselves.

What the NHL needs is a new stat to track this. Somebody please try to get this going in this. Something like Short-Handed-Opponent-Tallys-Each-Minute (SHOTEM?)

So the contribution of a valuable player like Betts get lost. Worse than lost really. What was the result of the brutal hit by Don Brashear on Betts in the playoffs?

Here's your result: The Rangers hire the thug for $1.4 million and dump his victim who was earning far less. And Betts gets no offers from the Rangers or anyone else. Just an invite to the Flyers camp. Think about it. The Ranger's player gets hurt from a dirty hit and the Rangers don't even invite him to camp - the hated Flyers are the one's to step up.

And Brasher's reaction to his nearly putting a hard working player out of the NHL? He's told the Daily News that his hit turned the series around. His quote:

"It certainly gave our team some wings. In the playoffs, you want to get that extra edge, and sometimes it's things like that that make a difference. That extra spark got the guys going on the bench."

I love the Rangers - but at Blueshirt Brothers we have say what we're thinking. And what we're thinking is that dumping Betts and hiring Brashear is an ugly, classless, move.

So - we wish Blair well and hope he sticks in Philly. And if he takes the ice against our Rangers next season - we're going to have a hard time not giving a little cheer for our favorite Flyer.

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