Author’s Note: Funyuns is an entirely satirical column that should never be taken seriously.
As the Philadelphia Flyers closed out Game 4 of their opening round series against the Washington Capitals, staving off elimination with a hard-earned 2-1 victory, the raucous energy in the Wells Fargo Center gave way to quiet contemplation. With the Flyers not guaranteed another home game this season, the team’s players and coaches took a few moments to reflect on the season, most of them echoing the same familiar sentiment:
“Do you think we’re bad influences?”
That was the question posed by right winger Wayne Simmonds, whose pleas for the fans to stop throwing ceremonial bracelets from the stands during a 6-1 Game 3 loss fell mostly on deaf ears. “I mean, I’d like to think we try to set a good example for how to behave around here, but when you see them booing an opponent’s injury and throwing bracelets at someone getting medical treatment on the bench, you have to stop and wonder ‘Where did we go wrong?’ Is there anything we could have done differently?”
“I just … I just think they’re so much better than that,” Simmonds lamented. “Why can’t they be more like their cousin Pittsburgh? Pittsburgh is just such a NICE place.”
“It’s about setting an example”
Flyers assistant coach Joe Mullen was more pointed in his critiques. “Call me old-fashioned, but as long as you’re underneath OUR roof, you’re expected to follow ALL of our rules,” Mullen said. “When you’re outside of the arena, on your own time, you can do whatever you want, but in this house we have expectations for how you’re supposed to behave. If you don’t like it, well, tough luck.”
In the wake of their actions, the immediate question became one of discipline. How much was too much? What was too little? Ultimately, the officials decided on a two-minute minor penalty for Delay of Game. “Some people asked why we’d punish the team for something the fans did,” noted referee Brad Meier, one of the referees who worked Game 3. “To me, it’s about setting an example for everyone. Maybe next time they’ll think before they do something that can hurt others,” he chided.
When told that some found the punishment to be a little light, Meier was dismissive. “I couldn’t care less what others think. Are we perfect? Heavens no! But it’s our job to decide how to discipline and ours alone. It’s no business of anyone’s how we handle things here.”
A voice of reason
Ultimately, it was Flyers captain Claude Giroux who offered perhaps the most measured response to the situation. “Look, it’s a tough situation, and I’ve been in their shoes before — I totally understand where they’re coming from,” Giroux told reporters after Game 4. “It’s frustrating more than anything, because I know that deep down they’re capable of so much more than that. Those weren’t the Flyers fans I know, and if we’re lucky enough to earn a sixth game, I’m hopeful they’ll learn from this and be better next time. I’m not angry, just disappointed.” Several sources confirmed that being disappointed was, in fact, much worse than being angry.
As he packed his bag and prepared to depart the arena, Giroux added that he’d “encourage fans” to go to their rooms and “think long and hard about what they’d done.” As of press time, the Wells Fargo Center box office was researching the possibility of adding everyone’s middle name to their tickets to prove they mean business.