Kukla's Korner Hockey
from CBC Sports,
Being down two games and staring elimination squarely in the eye is tough enough, but for Philadelphia, the task is even more daunting: The Flyers have lost their last five playoff visits to Pittsburgh and have won just twice in Mellon Arena in the past two seasons.
Last year in Game 5 the conference final, the Flyers were trounced 6-0 by the Penguins.
The Flyers are prepared for the Penguins to come out strong from the opening faceoff Wednesday night.
“We expect them to come out really hard in the first few minutes and try to put the game away early and try to get us to quit early and I don’t think any of us are going to do that,” Flyers winger Mike Knuble said.
“We’ve all been there before, we won’t get caught off guard.”
from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Figuratively and literally, it would seem that Sid the kid crossed the line the other night. Maybe it was just me, but I think he was surprised his goal counted.
Anyway, here was “The Situation Room” explanation of why Sidney Crosby’s goal was allowed: “Play was reviewed to determine if the puck was batted in by the glove of Pittsburgh forward Sidney Crosby . . . The review determined that the puck went off of Crosby’s stick, then his body, there was no batting motion - call on the ice for good goal stands.”
Yesterday, the Flyers were still digesting that. So were fans, and, yeah, me, too. Hockey’s annual spring tournament is rivaled only by March Madness for its surprises and exciting endings. But among the nuances of sports, only the NBA salary cap is a greater irritant than the NHL’s annual and seemingly unending tinkering with its own rules.
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
You have to feel for Philadelphia’s kind, decent, mature hockey fans, don’t you?
You know the ones I’m talking about. They don’t seem to care all that much about the Flyers-Penguins games. They pay big money to get into the Wachovia Center for the sheer enjoyment of chanting “Crosby stinks!” or some such hospitable thing.
Really, what are those good people going to do to pass time during the long summer if the Penguins end the Flyers’ season tomorrow night at Mellon Arena?
I’m sure your heart is breaking for ‘em.
Or maybe not.
added 1:24pm, from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull at the Philadelphia Inquirer,
It sounds like sour grapes when Danny Briere says the Flyers could have a three-games-to-one lead in their best-of-seven series with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but it happens to be true.
It’s also true that Marty Biron has given a strong account of himself in the series, but that the Penguins’ Marc-Andre Fleury has been the better goalie.
And that, in a nutshell, is why the Flyers are staring at a three-games-to-one deficit after Tuesday’s closer-than-it-looks 3-1 loss to the Penguins at the Wachovia Center.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The Flyers, facing a 3-1 series deficit, didn’t like it (imagine that) and believed Crosby had impeded Biron’s ability to make a save in his net.
“The guy makes a pass across the crease, I think I got a stick on it and it might have hit me and hit [Crosby] and his momentum carried him and threw me into the net,” Biron said. “It’s a dangerous play if you’re kicking a puck around the crease where the goalie is and it’s a dangerous play when you’re sliding in, both feet first toward a goalie who is trying to get to the puck. I didn’t really like that. It’s not the first time where he’s done that and drives the net.”
more and you decide, goal or not…
from Sam Kasan of PittsburghPenguins.com,
The Philadelphia Flyers have the reputation of being a tough team. But the Pittsburgh Penguins are also a tough team. It just depends on how you define the word “tough.”
“Toughness is if you can go out and play your game the way you want to play it and not be deterred from it; then you’re being tough,” Penguins interim head coach Dan Bylsma said.
from Adam Kimelman of NHL.com,
One of the most obvious storylines of this first-round playoff series between the Flyers and Penguins has been the hitting.
In the first two games, the Penguins were credited with 80 hits, compared to 66 for the Flyers. In Game 3, however, the Flyers outhit the Penguins 29-18, and Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, who had 14 hits in Game 2, had none in Game 3.
While real-time statistics like hits seem to vary building by building, the Penguins admit the Flyers dictated the physical play in Game 3.
from Ed Moran of the Philadelphia Daily News,
But the play seemed to justify the Flyers’ belief that at times there is a different level of justice for them compared to their opponents. Daniel Carcillo’s hit to the back of Max Talbot’s head in Game 1 deserved the one-game suspension, but the Kunitz hit looked like a direct attempt to injure another player - and Kunitz was left undisciplined.
The league has talked about eliminating headshots from the game, and Kunitz went very high on Timonen.
Flyers coach John Stevens said he had no doubt of the intent….
“The angle I saw, there were three guys all together and it was a hard, hard hit, and my only concern is if there was a hit to the head there.
“It didn’t look like he left his feet and I didn’t hear from anybody else that there was an elbow or anything, but it was a hard, hard hit.”
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.
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.
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