- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 27, 2002

PHILADELPHIA At some point, somebody possibly Flyers owner Ed Snider is going to ask an important question: When is the Philadelphia Experiment going to end?

Team Turmoil is in full bloom. The players don't like the coach's system (they never have, no matter who was coach); the goaltender doesn't like the players (he skated over to the bench in Game 4 and screamed at his teammates to start playing hockey); the player who was to be the answer at center is hurt and hinting he wants to go back to the Czech Republic for good; the guy the club mortgaged its future for at the trading deadline, Adam Oates, is centering the third line need we go on?

And Eric Lindros isn't even part of the equation.

The Flyers scored a goal last night, and that is big news around here. It wasn't enough, of course, and for the fourth time in the last five years the Broad Street Bullies were KO'd in the first round of postseason. If you're counting, it has been 27 years since the Flyers won their last Stanley Cup.

Martin Havlat scored at 7:33 of overtime last night to give Ottawa a 2-1 victory and a 4-1 win in the best-of-7 series. It was only the second playoff series the Senators have ever won.

The Flyers are a team reeking of tradition, everything tied to the past, and that may not be the path to glory. Bobby Clarke is the general manager, Bill Barber is the coach, and they were teammates when the club won back-to-back titles. The Flyers brutalized the league back in the mid '70s and apparently see no reason to change, no matter what the results show.

Coaches come, coaches go. It's hard to understand why some are hired in the first place only to be quickly dumped. Former Washington Capitals boss Terry Murray was the last coach to take Philadelphia to the Stanley Cup finals, and he was fired when Lindros demanded it. Some of the dismissals were ludicrous, such as firing Roger Neilson while the man was undergoing treatment for cancer (he is now an assistant for Ottawa).

Lindros? A guy who could produce a championship if anybody could, but in the end just another experiment gone astray. He was the guy with the build like Paul Bunyon but a marked propensity for ill health and never being satisfied. He now toils for the New York Rangers and hasn't turned them into winners either.

Philadelphia added Jeremy Roenick during the offseason, and his arrival is like winning the lottery for the local media. Roenick never saw a notebook he didn't want to fill, but the Flyers couldn't win the conference with him.

Oates was brought in to center for people like John LeClair and Mark Recchi, to give the club veteran leadership and some of the best playmaking skills the league has ever seen. The Flyers stumbled to a 2-7-1 record in the stretch.

Scoring? Bad teams playing soccer in Europe score more than the Flyers have.

Dan McGillis, the defenseman who had all of zero goals in his previous 51 Stanley Cup games, gave the Flyers their only lead of the series early in the first period last night. It was Philadelphia's first goal in 181 minutes, 53 seconds more than three games. It was the Flyers' first goal in regulation in the entire series, 251 minutes.

Too little too late hardly describes the situation.

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