I was playing NHL 2K11 the other day because as a freelance writer, my schedule is 90% hockey video games.

The other 10% is of course freelancing.

My goal was to play effective defense, of course, and to do so, I naturally began smashing my player’s bodies into the opposition.  Some of the time I would entirely miss and send Chris Pronger or Andrej Meszaros into the boards, at one point seriously injuring one of them.  I forget which one, because as a coach’s rule I choose not to get to know my players in hopes that they develop a violent hostility toward me and channel it onto the ice.

Whoever it was, they left the game, but I forced them to play with a broken wrist anyway because also as a coach’s rule, I punish my players for not having indestructible bones and there were still 44 entire seconds left.

“What are you doing?” my friend asked, horrified.

“Why don’t you keep your fuck-ass coaching on your filthy side of the rink,” I suggested, calmly hurling my controller into the drywall.

I was down 8-2 at the time, and felt as though an impassioned, inconsolable complete mental breakdown would do… something.  Instead, all it did was ruin a perfectly good PlayStation 3 controller and my friend’s respect for me and probably his wife’s respect for me too.

Why are we talking about this?  Because the NHL just spewed out the All-Star ballots, and we’ve got six Flyers in desperate need of attention.  After talking things over with my friend’s drywall guy, I’ve decided to take a second or two away from sports to let this “Clinical Sports-Induced Mania” simmer down a bit.

So what I need you guys to do is vote 1,000 times in my stead.  Here’s why everyone of my votes would have been for the six nominated Flyers.

Claude Giroux

What more appraisal do you need than being called a “little genius” by Jaromir Jagr?  That’s like being open-mouth kissed by whatever god you believe in; or in an atheist’s case, by no one.  He’s fourth in the NHL in points, fifth in goals, and first in being beloved by Jaromir Jagr.

Jaromir Jagr

“That’s it,” Jagr’s Czech friend told him when they discussed him playing for the Flyers.  “You’re talking to me about them differently than other teams.”

And that’s how we got this 39-year-old grizzled man, presumably withered from grinding his ankles into Russian ice for three years, on a line with Giroux and Scott Hartnell.  Its been going great.  So great that all the theories on Jagr’s effectiveness have landed on the side of “!!!!!?!!”

So thank you, Jaromir Jagr’s Mysterious Friend Whom He Won’t Divulge Any Information On.

Danny Briere

People were making a big deal about Danny’s shootout goal against the Devils, in which he came to an immediate stop in front of the net and poked the puck in for a case of Tastykakes.

“You can’t do that!” people apparently screamed.

Not only could Danny do that everytime and be totally within the rules (puck kept moving forward), but both New Jersey goalies said everything was fine.  Martin Brodeur suggested maybe there should be a defender chasing Danny when he’s taking a penalty shot, just to make things fair.

As one of the several Flyers who remained a Flyer after 2010-11, it is easy to see what Paul Holmgren found so appealing about Briere, and why he deserves to risk injury playing in a game that doesn’t count, halfway through the season.

Ilya Bryzgalov

“I am terrible and I have zero confidence.”

Ilya Bryzgalov, two weeks ago

Sometimes you just have to look down at your goalie and say, “Hey, you know what?  We did the goaltender-carousel last year, and it was the shittiest, most undignified strategy ever, so your confidence issue, while adorable, is far from the immense, confusing physical trauma it would take to put you on the bench for an extended period of time.”

An All-Star appearance would be just the ticket to fix our goalie forever.

Chris Pronger

Remember the other night, when the Lightning were trying to play defense in that special way that works every time, and the Flyers refused to play with them because fuck all that?  Well, Pronger was just as vocally pissed as you were when you were watching the stalemate unfold, or stay folded I guess, on TV.  Except he continued to be pissed off about it.  Plus, he’s the captain and he’s always on the ice and come on, this one’s easy too.

Kimmo Timonen

The Flyers just gave Braydon Coburn $18 million to stay in Philadelphia and keep being Timonen’s defensive battery partner.  They got together in 2008, just like we always hoped they would, and their skills balance each other out–Coburn’s frenzied, manic puck-chucking gels smoothly with Timonen’s cold, slick maneuvering.  That, combined with Kimmo’s endless wisdom and the sheer chemistry exuded by the two of them just oozes with beautiful friendship.  Why only one of them is nominated for the All-Star team is beyond me, but its fair to assume that Timonen won’t go without Coburn anyway.

“We’re a package deal,” he’ll snarl to confused officials as he forces them up against the wall with a hockey stick.

Whoa, whoa!  Calm down, Kimmo!  It’s just a game!

Ha, ha, ha.  Just kidding.  Kill everybody.