Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know
No...not the entirely forgettable 3rd album by "Dead or Alive" or the bumper sticker that is perennially placed on the back window of many pickup trucks, just below the gun rack.
The phrase was originally intended as a secret diary description of famous English poet and politician, Lord George Byron, by his equally disturbed future lover, Lady Caroline Lamb, in 1812. Lord Byron is most famous for penning his epic poem, Don Juan
For purposes of this blog, however, the phrase "Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know
" applies to one of the most important signings of the off-season by the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers signed three former Captains - Briere, Timonen and the defensive force anchoring the blueline for the Philadelphia Flyers - one, Jason Smith
. Two of those three formed the #1 pair for the Flyers coming into the season. There were a lot of questions as to how two guys who had never played together would mesh when thrown into a #1 pairing on a team that struggled mightily the year prior. No one is asking those questions any longer.
A good portion of the early season success of the Philadlelphia Flyers can be directly attributed to the outstanding play of this veteran, on-ice warrior. Jason Smith can play in any situation and is an excellent example of a player that is not only graced with impressive physical tools, but also outstanding hockey intelligence. The Captain of the 2007-08 Flyers, as you well know, is nicknamed "Gator" and his play in the early portion of the season exemplifies and mirrors the behavior of his animal counterpart. You don't want to mess with this 6'3", *EDIT* 225
pound, 15 year veteran in the corners. You might need to take two aspirin courtesy of #21 after the game...ok, make it three.
The Flyers have not had a hard hitting, defensive presence on the blueline, where you really had to worry about keeping your head up, since the great Eddie Van Impe or the Watson brothers. Jason Smith is that kind of player. A true throwback, stay-at-home, clear the crease defenseman, Jason Smith will hit and block shots and do the little things, that might not show up on ESPN, but will win hockey games. In addition, his on-ice presence and leadership pay dividends that cannot be measured but only attempt to be quantified by time on ice. Smith, and his partner Kimmo Timonen, play quality minutes, in key situations and lead by example. That is all you can ask from your Captain.
This 1992 1st round draft pick of the New Jersey Devils blossomed into one of the games' true leaders when he was named Captain of the Edmonton Oilers in 2001 and served in that capacity until 2007. The longest serving Captain in Oilers' history would be traded to the Flyers, during the off-season, for Joni Pitkanen and Geoff Sanderson. While there were many names thrown about as to who should be the Flyers' 16th Captain, when Gator's name was announced on October 1st, there was little question as to whether or not he deserved it. Smith took the "C" and has played with a fire and intensity that makes you wonder what the Oil was thinking when they traded this guy. I do not remember a Flyers' defenseman who was a better shot blocker or more punishing in the corners than Jason Smith. On a team blessed with a wealth of young defensemen, a steadying force and mentor, such as "Gator," is to be enjoyed and cherished because there are few like him that are able to pull on your sweater.
Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know
...I am quite sure that would suit Jason Smith just fine.
Thanks for reading...