A Flyers Fan Guide to Picking a Bandwagon – Western Conference

Photo by Heather Barry

It’s important to pick an allegiance going into the playoffs with the Flyers heading to their respective golf courses. But picking a bandwagon to jump onto out of a handful of rival teams can be difficult, especially since we know they’re really all garbage even if we are rooting for them. So I’m putting together a little guide that may make it easier for you to pick which team you’ll be rooting for to upset all the other teams we don’t like. 

For Flyers fans, it’s probably best to pick a team out West to follow through the playoffs. While some Eastern Conference teams are fun to watch, going out to the West can avoid those divisional rivalries. We’ll go through them together and talk about why you should or should not root for each team. None of this has anything to do with statistical analysis or regular season performance.

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks have quietly dominated the Western Conference. I wasn’t aware they were doing so well until the end of the season. They finished the season with 109 points Despite a carousel of players and cap issues that go on like the never ending story, the Blackhawks are dangerous. That said, there is no reason for any of us to root for the Blackhawks – and by us, I mean hockey fans in general, not just Flyers fans. Kimmo Timonen isn’t on the team anymore so there’s really no reason to root for them. They’ve had enough good things going for them. Plus apparently people in Chicago eat cut up hot dogs in bowls of milk?

Should you get on this Bandwagon? – Nope. Root for this team to lose.

Nashville Predators

There’s something about the Nashville Predators that just makes me want to see them succeed. Then they go ahead and put Harry Zolnierczyk on their 2nd line.

 

Peter Laviolette could have won us a Cup if he didn’t screw with the goalies. Laviolette may have been the reason the Flyers lost Bobrovsky, but he’s much easier to root for when he’s not screwing up our bench. There’s also PK Subban who is a fun guy when he isn’t playing against the Flyers. They were slow at the beginning of the season and part of that was because Subban was injured. They got their shit together and have the chance to knock the Blackhawks out of the Playoffs early. Gotta cheer for that.

Should you get on this Bandwagon? – Yes if only to root against the Blackhawks

Edmonton Oilers

Connor McDavid has dragged the entire Edmonton Oilers team on his back into the playoffs. McDavid scored something like 41% of all the points the Oilers got this season. They’ve tanked for ten years and royally screwed up more first overall picks than other teams have ever had. They’re horrible and I can’t root for a team to succeed based on pure bullshit luck while they continue to mismanage prospects and basically everything else. Milan Lucic might be a help and their defense is average to mediocre, they still traded Taylor Hall for a 2nd pairing defenseman.

Should you get on this Bandwagon? – Connor McDavid himself is dragging this bandwagon. Stay off it.

San Jose Sharks

All the draw of a “this is finally their year” narrative without the proximity rivalry. The Sharks have been getting closer and closer to the Cup for the last few years.  If the Predators can’t take down the Blackhawks, the playoff veterans of the Sharks could be just the force to take them out. They want it and they’ve been growing their playoff beards for two seasons.

Should you get on this Bandwagon? – Yes

Calgary Flames

The Flames struggled with goaltending early this season, but they did what the Flyers should have done and let their starter work out his issues. Now they’re in the playoffs. They’ve got Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk who are fun to watch. Tkachuk is a rookie who embraces his agitator role and it will be fun to watch him bugging the shit out of the Ducks. The last time Anaheim and Calgary played eachother it was rough. This should be a great playoff series.

Should you get on this Bandwagon? – Heck Yes

Anaheim Ducks

The Ducks are bad guys. There’s no other way to say it. Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry can go to hell. When the Ducks switch back to wearing maroon and teal jerseys then I can consider rooting for them. Until then, they shouldn’t go farther than the 2nd round. They’re basically the West Coast Capitals.

Should you get on this Bandwagon? – Don’t do it. People will know you’re a bad person. 

Minnesota Wild

The Minnesota Wild were one of the dominant teams back when the Flyers were tearing up the league with the rest of the Metro. No one really paid much attention to the Wild, but they were at the top of the West at one point. They hit a slump toward the end of the season, but that shouldn’t affect them too much. Devan Dubnyk was a Vezina consideration as well, if he can get back to that level, the Wild are going to go far.

Should you get on this Bandwagon? – A solid choice to follow.

St. Louis Blues

The Blues are another team that might not be here today if not for their goaltending working itself out. Which just goes to show that the best wat to fix bad goaltending is not to switch your goalies every period. The Blues traded away their best defenseman in Kevin Shattenkirk and still made it into the playoffs. They’ve also got a history of screwing something up int the Playoffs, so follow at your own risk.

Should you get on this Bandwagon? – You’ll probably be disappointed, but go for it.

Final Decision: There are a lot of choices here. You could do the Wild or the Blues, The Predators or the Sharks, or even the Flames. Just don’t root for the Blackhawks.

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