RJ played in Philly for the first time since being traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Columbus wanted him and made an offer that was hard to the Flyers to pass up. As a Pittsburgher, I’m suppose to hate Philly. Trust me, other than hockey- I do. I always thought that Philly was a great city in general I just hated them for sports reasons. That all changed after I lived in Philly for a summer training RJ. I came to enjoy their fans and their love and respect for their athletes. When RJ and I would venture out he would be recognized, but never bothered. The fans always “gave him a pat on the back” but respected his privacy.
Last night RJ wasn’t sure how his return to a city the booed Santa clause would go. RJ was cheered as lineup were introduced. He scored 2 goals(16 & 17) early and wasn’t booed. When the 3rd CBJ’s goal was scored it appeared as if RJ had tipped the puck into the net. Out of respect, Flyer fans threw their hats onto the ice thinking that it was RJ’s hat trick. Yeah, that happened in Philly last night. I still don’t believe it myself.
As the 3 stars of the game were announced(RJ was the 2nd star), they announced him as “the second star of the evening Philadelphia Flyers forward- RJ Umberger, I mean CBJ’s forward RJ Umberger” and they cheered.
RJ’s hasn’t missed more than 10 games in his NHL career. He plays hurt and has averaged just shy of .75 points per game in the playoffs. He killed penalties and made other the system work by doing the little things. Those are things that you don’t read about if you aren’t making $7+ million a year. You don’t read/hear about all of the charity work and public appearances that RJ does. The Flyer’s fans knew how much he gave the team and city. They knew that RJ “got what being a Flyer was all about” . They gave RJ the ultimate respect that a visiting player can get….
(For some reason I can’t post the picture of the hats.. I’ll work on it.)