I'm going to be careful in how I write this, if only because a number of my friends are good, knowledgeable and respectful Philly fans with a clue. But to be honest, this series exposed a few simple truths about Philadelphia and many of its sports fans:
1. Much of the talk about how good and knowledgeable Philadelphia fans are is a bald-faced lie. Fact is, folks in this town are probably the most provincial in the country -- completely and utterly clueless about the reality beyond Broad and Pattison. Before the series began, a lot of commentary had focused on the falsehood that the Penguins had "tanked" their final regular season game against the Flyers so as to avoid playing them in the first round. The thinking was, the Pens were afraid of a physical team like the Flyers, as if this were 1975 and Bob Clarke was going to be punching someone in the face and frightening him into playing poorly from the moment the puck dropped. What it ignored was that the Pens wanted to rest Sidney Crosby for what was essentially a meaningless game because he was still feeling the effects of his high ankle sprain. Anyway, now, after a series in which the Pens won four games against just one for the Flyers, after the 6-0 whitewash that that took place in Sunday's series-clinching game at The Igloo, how does that analysis hold up?
2. Another misconception that made the rounds these last two weeks is that Pens fans are johnny-come-latelys to the sport of hockey. Even Rich Hofmann's column in today's Philadelphia Daily News has generated some comments from folks who continue to argue a) the Pens are in this place because they were so bad for so long, thereby allowing them to draft good players (which is true), and b) unlike in Philly, where everyone is supposedly loyal, no one cared about hockey in Pittsburgh until now. Now, while the life of kings pleads guilty to being on the bandwagon (and shamelessly so), many others in Pittsburgh have indeed been loyal since at least the mid-to-late 1980s, when the team began its first real run of success. But the Pens eventually got to be so bad again because their ownership group had literally run them into the ground. A perceived lack of fan support, as a simple read of Mario Lemieux's Wikipedia page makes clear, had nothing to do with why the team nearly folded or left town before Lemieux rescued it. Besides, as we've already demonstrated, Philly has also failed the loyalty test in recent years. But few in this town will tell you that, and fewer still will want to accept it.
3. If it wasn't already known, this series made it demonstrably clear: Philadelphia fans are the most boorish and obnoxious anywhere. It's funny to me that some will point to incidents in other cities as evidence that it's not just a Philly thing. But in Game 4, both times the Penguins scored goals and began to celebrate in the corner, several Flyers fans stood against the glass above the boards and raised their middle fingers -- some even reaching above the heads of children to do so. Real classy. After all, as we all know, a true tough guy does such a thing from the safety of his front-row seat. Losers.
4. Passion and knowledge are not to be confused with loutish behavior. But a lot of people in Philly will never understand this.
5. The back page of today's Philadelphia Daily News. Just 'cause: