DEEP IN the orange belly of the beast, Broad Street Bully joined 20,000 fellow-diehards at the Wachovia Center last night, hoping to power our desperate Flyers to victory by shrieking our crazed heads off.
A MAN & HIS CUP: Bully will never forget seeing Fritz Schoeninger, 58 - who has seen more than 1,000 Flyers games since 1967 and says that his hometown is "Flyerdelphia" - hoisting his homemade Stanley Cup seconds after the Flyers beat Montreal to get into the Stanley Cup Finals.
He was mobbed by happy fans.
Last night, Schoeninger hoisted his Cup before the game, pumping up the mob of Flyers faithful in the Wachovia Center lobby.
"They want to hold it, rub it, kiss it!" he said. "The desperation here is in our favor.
"If the Flyers realize, 'We're so close to never having to pay for a beer in this town for the rest of our lives,' they will dig down deep and win this thing!" Schoeninger said.
How Flyered-up is he? "I remember when Roman Vopat smashed a guy's head through the glass and the shards landed in my lap," he said. "I saw Eddie Hospodar hit a [Boston] Bruin in a preseason game, and there was a piece of the guy's scalp left on the metal support."
Ah, good times!
FLYERED-UP LIKE DAD: "As you can see, I was born with orange blood!" writes Breanne Sylvester, 10, of Northeast Philadelphia, who sent her Flyered-up infant photo and said that her dad, Mike Sylvester, lived several childhood years across the street from team owner Ed Snider in St. Davids.
"When he was 10, my dad and his friend Scott Shields interviewed Mr. Snider for a school project," Breanne wrote, "and told him they'd tried to sneak into the '74 Stanley Cup party but had been kicked out by the police."
Snider said that he'd invite them over if the Flyers won the '75 Cup.
"When they won," Breanne wrote, "my dad [and Shields] went to Mr. Snider's party, met all the Broad Street Bullies and even got to touch Lord Stanley's Cup, which was on a table in the yard, guarded by two police officers.
"My dad said he will never forget how amazing Mr. Snider was to let them share in Philadelphia Flyers history."
FLYERED-UP BEVERAGE: Paul Viggiano, of Haddon Heights, sent a photo of his Flyered-up 5-year-old, Sophia, whose mom makes lucky orange game-day cocktails with Rita's mango water ice, and whose dad wrote:
"To this day, my fondest memory is walking out of Bishop Neumann High School to attend the 1975 parade, running up to [goalie] Bernie Parent and [coach] Fred Shero, and shaking their hands! Awesome!"
No wonder the kid's a Flyers fan!