Brian Boucher, Jamie Moyer, and Brandon Graham: Three very different guys, in different sports, but sharing the sports headlines in Philadelphia because of what transpired on Thursday, April 22, 2010.
Starting with the most impressive/important, Brian Boucher and the #7 seeded Flyers advancing past #2 seed New Jersey Devils with a convincing 3-0 win. What an awesome time to be a Flyers fan with the team making the playoffs in the final game of the regular season, off of a shootout no less, and now advancing by the neighboring rival. Considering the historic context of the series, the victory is that much sweeter.
Ten years ago the New Jersey Devils pulled off a heartbreaking comeback to beat the Flyers after trailing 3 games to 1, just as they trailed entering last night's game. The Devils went on to win the Stanley Cup that season and Brian Boucher slumped at the start of the next season, causing him to be traded.
Fast forward a decade and guess who recorded the shutout in the decisive game 5 against the Devils in 2010? Brian Boucher. The same Brian Boucher who the Flyers drafted in 1995 with the 22 pick, rode in the playoffs in 2000 until the aforementioned Devils collapse, traded to Phoenix in 2002, resigned to a minor league contract with the Phantoms in 2007, resigned to the Flyers in 2009 after he played with San Jose, and slumped to a 9-18-3 regular season record. Talk about a guy looking for a fresh start with the team that drafted him 15 years ago.
For all of the drama--the ups and the downs, not only for Boucher but all of the Flyers netminders (Ray Emery was lost to an abdominal tear. Michael Leighton was picked up off waivers from Carolina and finished the season early thanks to a high ankle sprain after going 16-5-2); at least they bested Martin Brodeur for one series.
Jamie Moyer continues to be an enigma in the hearts of Phillies fans because you can't hate him, regardless of how many times he might get shelled on the mound. Here are the top 5 reasons you are not allowed to hate Jamie Moyer: 5) He is 47 and his longevity has to be respected. 4) He has had a winning record with at least 12 wins every year he has pitched in Philadelphia. 3) He is a home town guy who played college ball at Saint Joe's. 2) We made the playoffs every year and won a championship with him, not in spite of him. 1) We may need him now more than ever.
With J.A. Happ and Joe Blanton on the DL, Phillies fans need to give Jamie Moyer another chance. And if he gets rocked, give him another chance. Continue to repeat that pattern for the rest of the season because this is a team that can make the playoffs as long as a team-oriented guy like Jamie Moyer can eat up innings. He has gone 6 innings in each of his 3 starts this year, 2 of which he won.
His success in the starting rotation can make all the difference down the stretch so give the lefty your love.
The Eagles gathered 10 draft picks in various ways, found the guy they wanted, packaged a deal, and grabbed up the talent. At least that's what they did on Day 1 of the NFL Draft, moving up to pick 13 to get Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham.
Graham will fit right in with an Eagles roster full of young, athletic talent looking for a fresh start. Never underestimate the power of a team with something to prove.
Andy Reid and company love the versatile guys that have the skill sets of both a linebacker and a defensive end. Reid constantly talks about guys who play "relentless football," that have non-stop motors, and can make plays on the other side of the line. That's exactly what Graham did last year, leading the nation in tackles for a loss with 26. The MVP of the Senior Bowl also recorded 10.5 sacks.
So whether it is getting ready for round 2 of the NHL playoffs, working your way through the marathon of a 162 game baseball season, or preparing for NFL training camp as a rookie: Philadelphia has a few guys ready for a fresh start.