It’s always interesting to see how the fans will react when a player returns to town. On Monday night, Jeff Carter, who played for the Philadelphia Flyers for his first six NHL seasons, returned to the City of Brotherly Love for the first time since he was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2011. However, he returned as a member of the Los Angeles Kings – the Blue Jackets traded him to L.A. near the trade deadline during his first season with Columbus.
The Flyers faithful has never been known for their hospitality of returning players, but there was little to no reason for the rain of boos from the crowd at Wells Fargo Center when Carter took the ice.
After the opening period ended scoreless, the fans seemed to settle down as the Kings took the ice for the second frame. They made their point — they weren’t happy that Carter was no longer in Philadelphia. No harm, no foul.
Then Carter scored.
A rebound kicked out to him early in the second period and after he buried the puck behind Flyers goaltender Ray Emery, the celebration from Carter was met with a rough reaction. He never asked to be traded, and he surely didn’t want to be sent to the Blue Jackets. Maybe the fans were upset at management and their boos were subconsciously directed towards the front office.
Maybe fans don’t realize that the 11-year, $58 million contract Carter signed in 2010 with the Flyers had a no-trade clause, but it was only effective from 2012-2015. Maybe fans were upset that their organization molded a guy who would end up being a crucial part to the Kings’ Stanley Cup campaign less than a year after he was traded.
The Kings outplayed the Flyers on Monday night and deserved the 3-2 victory, but the crowd reaction from the Philly faithful seemed questionable at best, even though Carter had said before the game he was expecting to be booed.
I’m sure part of Carter misses certain aspects of being in Philadelphia, but he has found a new home, new teammates and even added some new hardware to his finger in L.A.