IF THE FLYERS want to win in Pittsburgh on Saturday - and in the first round of their likely Stanley Cup playoff series - they will have to do so without their good luck charm.
Peter Laviolette said that the Flyers' reason for success in Pittsburgh is their postgame meal, in which they have ribs delivered to their charter plane from DeeJay's in Weirton, W. Va. The Flyers are 5-0-0 at the Consol Energy Center since it opened on Oct. 7, 2010.
Turns out, the owner of DeeJay's, Dewey Guida, couldn't take the heat from the kitchen after getting blasted by Penguins fans.
Not only is DeeJay's closed for the Easter weekend, but Guida told the Steubenville, Ohio, Herald-Star that he is no longer going to be delivering food to the Flyers.
"No more ribs for them," Guida told the paper. "And I pray, I hope, that the Penguins beat their skates off."
Guida, whose restaurant has hosted famous athletes, coaches and even presidents in its 24 years of business, is a die-hard Penguins fan. His relationship with Laviolette, though, dates back to 1997-98, when Laviolette was a rookie coach in the ECHL with the nearby Wheeling (W. Va.) Nailers of the ECHL.
Yes, the Nailers is actually the real name of the team.
"It started out so innocent," Guida said. "Peter Laviolette and I have been friends for years. We became friends, and we've kept the relationship up over the years, as I have with other coaches, like Scotty Bowman and Eddie Johnston."
Now, Guida has done numerous radio, television and print interviews to let his patrons know that he won't support the enemy.
"Those ribs seem to do the trick," Laviolette was quoted as saying after Sunday's win at Pittsburgh. "Whenever the ribs are ordered, we win. I want to thank DeeJay's."
It's unclear what the Flyers are now going to do for a postgame treat on the quick ride home. Word is that they won't go hungry.
Still, it's tough to fathom a little rib factory in West Virginia would be ungrateful for the plug on national television. Then again, things are a little backward there.