Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
As the noted philosopher Scott Hartnell observed yesterday, playoff hockey “isn’t rocket science.”
There is some physics involved, though, in terms of velocity and mass and impact. There is also more than a little bit of sociology, as the NHL finds itself in a transition game between the Bad Old Neanderthal Days and the ideal of a physical but fluid collision (but not violent) sport.
So much of the tension in this suddenly interesting series between the Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins is the result of this conflict. The league’s on-ice officials are mandated to call penalties for any stickwork above the waist or any clutching or grabbing that impedes the flow of the game. Like most team sports, hockey has been trying to legislate more offense into its game.
from Puck The Media,
So this is an interesting one. According to SportsBusinessDaily (reg. required), NBC’s coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs had a mixed weekend. While the network’s Saturday coverage of Rangers/Capitals Game 2 drew a mere 1.0/3, flat with last year’s comparable Predators-Red Wings game, Sunday’s telecast of the Penguins-Flyers Game 3, drew a huge (for hockey) 1.7/4, NBC’s highest hockey ratings since the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day, and likely tied for the highest non-Finals/Winter Classic rating on NBC in the network’s history.
continue with some local numbers…
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
At the time, Chris Kunitz’s flying hit on Kimmo Timonen early in the game looked like it had the potential to be a controversial part of the day’s proceedings. But by the end of the afternoon, no one seemed all that interested in making a big deal of it.
Kunitz flew into Timonen just behind the Flyers’ net in the first six minutes of the game, and the initial look suggested he had either hit or grazed Timonen’s head with his forearm or elbow….
“Man, it’s a hard hit,” Philadelphia coach John Stevens said. It was kind of an odd game. This Kunitz, he plays hard. Originally, I thought he left his feet. Now, I’m not sure if he left his feet or he just went in the air when he went through the hit.”
from Anthony J. SanFilippo at CSNPhilly,
As Danny Briere said Saturday, “We can’t win four games tomorrow.”
Nor three, nor two, nor … well … depends on your perspective.
See, the Flyers, as they have been all season, are very difficult to read right now. They can be the team that is energized by a fantastic effort that fell short, and use it to fuel them even more in front of the home crowd in Game 3.
Or, they can just as easily have their confidence completely decimated because they left their guts on the Mellon Arena ice, weren’t rewarded, and will now be a shell of themselves and go meekly into the April air.
They’re saying all the right things.
“We’re healthy, we’re in the series here, just inches from winning the game [Friday],” said Mike Knuble. “We’re right there, it’s just a question of getting a bounce or two. We still feel we have room to grow.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Interesting comments from Philadelphia’s top defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who was assessed a 10-minute misconduct at the end of Game 2, about the differences he perceives in how the on-ice officials treat the two teams.
“The only thing that I notice is that I didn’t see the refs yelling at their bench, not one time,” Timonen said. “And I can see them coming over to our bench a few times. It makes you wonder, ‘Why?’ That’s for other people to judge. We just go out there and play. And hopefully, we get some breaks, too.”
Pressed about the issue, Timonen said the referees were doing more yelling at the Flyers’ bench.
“Obviously, they had something to tell. Was it us yelling at them? Or them to us? I don’t know,” he said. “But you see [their] guys going to the refs and talking to them and it looks like they talk to them back. But when we go to talk to them, they yell at us. It’s a little bit of a difference. It’s not something we can control.”
read on for more Flyers/Penguins talk…
Barry Melrose of ESPN talks game 2 of the Pittsburgh/Philadelphia series. If for no other reason, scroll to the 40 second mark and catch the save Marc-Andre Fleury made on Jeff Carter. The goal would have put the Flyers up 3-1 with about 8 minutes left in the game.
from Timothy Parker of NBC Philadelphia,
With the Pittsburgh Penguins Philly-bound the Flyers need to get the home ice advantage. When the Penguins invade the Wachovia Center for Games 3 and 4 it is imperative that the 20,000-strong Orange Crush pounce on Crosby like a lion on prey.
Crosby went on record in December that Philadelphia is the worst place for him to play.
Earlier this season “Sid the Kid” described his past Philadelphia experiences as “vicious.”
With that knowledge the Flyers faithful need to get into his head like usual.
Crosby is a talented superstar. But, he often appears like a cocky, spoiled five year old on the ice—his constant complaints for calls and his overall selfish attitude.
more & I would like to know- What do you think of this type of ‘journalism’?
from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News,
When Paul Holmgren traded Scottie Upshall for Daniel Carcillo on March 4, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal. When he earlier waived veteran contributors Glen Metropolit and Ossi Vaananen to make cap room for the return of Daniel Briere, it created even smaller waves. As Holmgren said after practice yesterday, “You can argue that those guys wouldn’t be playing now anyway.’‘
But here’s the thing, and there’s no getting around it. Since those moves, the Flyers have played 11 games against teams involved in the postseason. Including Wednesday’s 4-1 thrashing by the Penguins in Game 1 of their first-round series, the Flyers have lost eight of those games.
from the CP via TSN,
The speed the Pittsburgh Penguins brought at them shift after shift, period after period, shouldn’t surprise the Philadelphia Flyers—they’ve see it from Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal 20 times over the past two seasons.
The fatigue and frustration it caused, and maybe the lack of discipline it provoked? The Flyers didn’t seem prepared for that, and already they find themselves in a likely must-win playoff Game 2 against the Penguins.
The Flyers, just as they couldn’t during last season’s one-sided Eastern Conference finals, didn’t handle anything the confident and under-control Penguins brought at them during a 4-1 Pittsburgh victory in Game 1 on Wednesday night.
from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News,
And when it was over Mike Richards looked tired, damn tired, a look that has become unnervingly familiar over the last month of Flyers hockey. Throughout last night’s surprisingly one-sided 4-1, Game 1 loss to the Penguins, his usually stoic mug was a study in exhaustion, frustration, even - at this early stage of the postseason - desperation.
“It’s frustrating,” the Flyers’ captain said. “It’s frustrating when you have momentum or you’re starting to gain momentum and you’re thrown back on your heels again from a penalty you don’t need to take. Penalties where you’re playing physical in your own end or you’re trying to finish a guy or take away a scoring chance from them, OK. But it wasn’t like that tonight. We were taking penalties away from the puck, away from the scoring angles. And when you do that, it just tires you out. You’re blocking shots, pucks are hitting you, it tires you out.
“It’s a lot harder playing defense than it is playing offense.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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