When the Flyers acquired Dan Carcillo from Phoenix in 2009 for Scottie Upshall and a second-round draft pick in 2011, general manager Paul Holmgren said the feisty winger would be a popular player.
"The fans," Holmgren said at the time, "are going to love him."
It hasn't quite happened.
Oh, Carcillo has had some bright (and never dull) moments, and he has attracted his share of supporters, but….
In a philly.com survey of about 4,400 fans (through Tuesday), 67.4 percent said they wanted to see Carcillo go.
Because of his carefree personality on the ice, Carcillo is frequently misunderstood. He cares about results more than most of his teammates. That's why he was crying between the first and second period of Game 4 of the conference semifinals against Boston on May 6.
Carcillo felt he had let his teammates down, drawing a first-period cross-checking penalty that was converted into a power-play goal that gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead.
After that period, a frustrated Carcillo also screamed at the officials _ and on Tuesday he was given a two-game suspension that will be served at the start of the 2011-12 season.
Will he be serving the suspension with the Flyers or with another NHL team?
The Flyers are undecided about whether to re-sign the potential restricted free agent.
I can understand both sides.
Carcillo, 26, brings much-needed energy to the Flyers with his hustling play.
Then again, his penchant for bad penalties _ which improved a bit under coach Peter Laviolette _ has proved costly.
It figures to cost a little over $1 million to re-sign the player affectionately known as "Car Bomb." Is that too much for a player who dropped in goals (12 to 4), points (22 to 6), plus-minus ratings (plus-5 to minus-14) and time on ice (11:15 per game to 7:46 ) from 2009-10 to 2010-11?
If Carcillo isn't re-signed, his work ethic and passion for the game will be remembered fondly _ at least by the "other" 32.6 percent who voted in our survey.
* * *
The Flyers signed free-agent goalie Niko Hovinen, a 6-foot-7, 200-pounder, to a entry-level contract on Tuesday. Hovinen is an intriguing 23-year-old prospect who had decent stats (2.59 GAA, .921 save percentage) for a lowly Finnish team last season.
"I've seen him for a few years," Holmgren said. "He's very athletic for his size, and obviously he covers a lot of the net."
* * *
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BroadStBull.
Get exclusive videos and analysis in our new app for iPhone and Android. Download it here.