VOORHEES, N.J. – It might be a different sport but it’s the same city and that could be why the Eagles’ run to the Super Bowl especially resonates with the Flyers.
After Wednesday’s practice at the Flyers Training Center, a number of players said they are drawing inspiration from the energy surrounding both the Birds and the city of Philadelphia in general.
And why shouldn’t they? In all likelihood the hockey team will miss the playoffs for a third consecutive season (second-longest drought in franchise history), so maybe they should be studying what the Eagles are doing right.
“You try and feed off it,’’ Scott Laughton said. “You can feel the energy in the city and everything that’s going on.”
Kevin Hayes, a Boston native, picks up on the positive vibe in the City of Brotherly Love right now.
“It’s not just the Eagles, it’s the whole city,” he said. “The Phillies in the World Series, the Sixers are always good, the Eagles are in the Super Bowl. It’s a fun city to play in. You want to be with those teams, you want to keep winning.”
South Jersey native Tony DeAngelo has family living in the city and can sense this special moment in Delaware Valley sports history. The Eagles are going to their second Super Bowl in five years and establishing themselves as a perennial NFL powerhouse.
“We can only root for them, we can’t exactly follow what they’re doing,’’ DeAngelo said. “If we can get to the level they’re at. . .we just have to go day by day. It’s probably an answer you’re heard 80,000 times but that’s the position we’re in. We have some young guys who have been impressive, it’s coming along.”
Nick Seeler hails from Minnesota and while that might be Viking country, he’s definitely on the Eagles’ bandwagon.
“It’s cool,’’ he said. “You can feel there’s kind of a buzz, even when the Phillies are in the World Series. Obviously they have that swagger, they’ve been doing it all year. There’s something to be said about feeding off that energy. We’re excited for them.”
Across the locker room, Morgan Frost was holding court in front of television cameras and there was a lot of smiling going on as he answered questions about the green and silver.
“You can feel it around the city,” he said. “It kind of motivates you. We still have a lot of work to do but it kind of motivates you to want to be in that position. Kind of like wondering what it would be like to play in the Stanley Cup. Definitely inspiration.”
Near the end of practice, the Flyers were tossing and kicking a football around the ice. Frost made a diving catch on a throw from Travis Konecny.
Laughton was asked if Frost might have a future in the NFL. “Maybe as a kicker,’’ Laughton said with a grin.
“Did you see my diving catch?” Frost chuckled. “I don’t know if I’m physical enough for the NFL. You never know, maybe I could be a punt returner. Or maybe the kicker.”
Like Seeler, Cates hails from the Land of 10,000 Lakes. But forget about the Vikings right now. Cates is going with the flow.
“With the Phillies, too, that was super cool, and now he Eagles,” Cates said. “Just how great of a sports town this city is. Hopefully in a couple years we’re in that mix.”
James van Riemsdyk grew up in Middletown, N.J. in central Jersey. He knows all about the intensity of Philadelphia’s love affair with the Eagles.
“It’s exciting when you see how the city responds,” he said. “And how much they get behind the team. I remember playing in the playoffs a few years ago and how much fun it was. It’s a great sports town. You see the Phillies and the Eagles and you want that for our team.”
>Super Bowl predictions
>Laughton: “Come on, who would you expect me to pick? *Eagles, 28-21.*
>Hayes: “I believe the Eagles’ offensive and defensive lines are too much.” *Eagles, 31-24.*
>DeAngelo: “I just think their offensive line is too good. They won’t let up pressure and our defensive line should be able to get to (QB Patrick) Mahomes.”
>Seeler: “Jalen (Hurts) is fun to watch. They’re an exciting team.” *Eagles, 27-24.*
>Frost: “I really like their receivers. Definitely have some swagger on offense. *Eagles, 30-17.*
>Cates: “Mahomes is sort of like what (Tom) Brady was on the way up – hard to beat but I think the Eagles kind of got the full team going. *Eagles, 35-28.*
>Van Riemsdyk: “It’s going to be a dogfight. Wire-to-wire, they’ve been the best team all year.” *Eagles 35-27.*