Hockey After Dark: Night 14 (the HAHA FLYERS Edition) by @DXTraeger - PensInitiative | Pittsburgh Penguins Blog | Rumors | News

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Hockey After Dark: Night 14 (the HAHA FLYERS Edition) by @DXTraeger

"...Where Insomnia Hits the Ice."
(Welcome to "Hockey After Dark," a late-night recap of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Topics will include scores, injuries, controversies, the Twitter-verse, and random jokes at the expense of the Philadelphia Flyers)

Welcome to yet another edition of "Springtime Without Hockey!"'s like we all live in Philadelphia, right?!?!   HEEEEEEYYYYOOOOOO

Really, I haven't ragged on the Flyers nearly enough since they clinched their 42nd consecutive season without winning the Stanley Cup.  And I definitely haven't acknowledged their fans enough, whose individual illusions of grandeur borderline on mass delusion:

....Let's call him Bobby.

Anatomy of a Delusion #1

Superficially, Bobby's tweet looks cautiously optimistic.  He's at least willing to concede that his favorite team from Philadelphia might not, in fact, be in contention for the Stanley Cup.

Unfortunately, there's definitely a "WHEN YOU SEE IT..." angle to his tweet that should make palms smack foreheads.  Do you see it?

Bobby was still holding out hope well past the Flyers' expiration date, when the Flyers' miraculous amazing NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE 10-game winning streak was a fading memory, and HE WAS BANKING IT ALL ON TONIGHT, BABY!

Bobby was likely the guy keeping Trump's now-bankrupt "Taj Mahal" Casino afloat in New Jersey by wagering thousands of dollars a spin on the non-existent "1975" on the roulette table.

I'm (mostly) kidding Bobby, I'm sure that you're awesome.  Delusional, but awesome.

Michael Del Zotto occupying a roster spot should have been THE sign. Like, Ace of Bass SIGN SIGN SIGN.

Anatomy of a Delusion #2

If you've read Matt Larkin's work at The Hockey News, then you understand that this was not one of his finer days.  While part of the media and not overtly (or covertly, as I couldn't find out online) a Flyers' fan, he bought "the FLYERZ AREZ FOR REALZ" charade this past season, which happens more often than one might imagine (<----- click on this to see my favorite Tweet ever).

Larkin, in what was no doubt an effort to capitalize on the then "White-Hot Flyers," managed to exaggerate hyperbole when he lavished the following praise on the 2016-2017 Philadelphia Flyers less than halfway into the season:

"[Chris] Mason has shaken off his bad start, however. Before the team’s streak, he was 5-8-3 with an .892 SP. He’s won seven of the nine games in the current run, posting a .930 SP. It seems he’s back."

Woof(no, seriously, stop and click on "Woof."  I spend the extra 25 seconds to make these links for a reason, folks!)

"The likes of Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn were monsters in the second half last season and have carried over their efforts."

Giroux, Simmonds, and to a lesser extent, Schenn DID play well in the latter half of 2015-2016.  Larkin is correct, although hindsight statistical analysis should always be 20/20 (you're stating fact).  The fallibility of small sample sizes from both seasons (the Flyers had only played 31 games in 2016-17 when Larkin wrote his piece) yields an end-of-year comparison graphic like this one:
"Regression."  Philadelphia's 4th favorite word behind "Beer," "1975," and "Rocky."
I'll be the first to volunteer the following two points:

     1)  Raw stats rarely tell the whole hockey story, and 
     2)  +/- is one of the most misleading statistics in all of sports, ever.

I'll also rehash one of my primary analytics barking points in that Larkin saying Philly had done "...a phenomenal job pelting opponents with shot attempts" is simply that, and the correlation to actually winning games is just a facet of confirmation bias (noteworthy when the team wins, forgotten when the team loses).

All that being said, those Flyers +/- stats harken back to the days of Rico "X Generation Fata and his whopping -46 in 2003-2004 for YOUR...PITTSBURGH...PENGUINS!

.........AND FINALLY, we have THIS guy:

I present to you "Flyer Fandom"

In the words of Ellen Griswold to her husband Clark W., "...Don't stay up too late."

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