Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star,
First, we had the case of Pittsburgh’s Maxime Talbot starting a fight with Philadelphia goon Daniel Carcillo on Saturday afternoon.
According to almost everybody at Hockey Night In Canada, the fact that Talbot started a fight knowing he was going to be clobbered somehow inspired his teammates to overcome a 3-0 deficit and win the series.
Though analyst Gary Galley first said the fistic defeat would probably spell the end for Pittsburgh, he later agreed with his colleagues that Talbot’s impression of a punching bag had indeed changed the course of the game….
But here’s where the confusion comes in. That evening, the Blackhawks jumped out to a 5-1 second-period lead over the Flames.
They were dominating the Flames the way the Flyers had dominated the Penguins in the early going. Amazingly, Calgary defenceman Adam Pardy went on a Talbot-like suicide mission and attacked Chicago tough guy Ben Eager. The results were the same as Talbot’s strategic gem, a one-sided defeat – with one exception. The Flames didn’t score another goal and are now on the verge of elimination.
from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull at the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Wholesale changes aren’t needed. But the team needs more physicality from its defensemen.
Never was that more evident than Saturday, when two of the Penguins’ goals were scored when players batted pucks out of the air and into the net.
I’m in the minority of people who think the Flyers can compete for the Stanley Cup with Marty Biron as the goalie. Biron wasn’t why the Flyers lost this series. He had a 2.29 goals-against average before Saturday, and only two of the Game 6 goals were his fault.
Re-sign Biron and get a crease-clearing defenseman like Montreal’s Mike Komisarek, a potential free agent. The Flyers missed the injured Derian Hatcher this year more than they will admit.
more on the Flyers…
added 11:27am, from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
There is something seriously wrong with a hockey team that blows a 3-0 lead, at home, in a playoff-elimination game. That part is easy.
Figuring out exactly what went wrong with the Flyers in yesterday’s stunning collapse against the rival Pittsburgh Penguins will be much harder. And that is the challenge that faces the franchise’s leaders - all of whom appeared shell-shocked after the team’s sudden, breathtaking dismissal from the first round of the playoffs.
The turning point of the game, Flyers up 3-0, Maxime Talbot of the Penguins battles Daniel Carcillo of the Flyers and Penguins go to work from then on.
One of the examples of why fighting needs to stay in the game. This fight had some meaning.
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
For a week, Flyers coach John Stevens set the tone, saying his club was playing well enough to win and that good things eventually would follow. Had the Flyers gotten bounced out of the first round in five games, it would have been fair to wonder if Stevens’ apparent complacency was a sign that he was past his expiration date as head coach.
But the Flyers didn’t get bounced. They bounced back. Because they did, they get a chance to play this afternoon at the Wachovia Center in what veteran Mike Knuble predicted “could be one of the better games at that arena, in the history of the rink.”
It certainly shapes up as an intense one.
from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,
John Chapman doesn’t skate, coach or handle a puck but the Philadelphia Flyers scout made the save of the Stanley Cup playoffs earlier this week.
All he did was rescue a mother and her two-month-old baby girl from drowning in a Calgary pond prior to attending Game 3 of the Flames-Chicago Blackhawks series.
The incident occurred last Monday afternoon, when Chapman stopped to visit his daughter in the southeast neighbourhood of MacKenzie Towne and take his faithful Labrador, Bailey, for a romp next to one of the community’s retention ponds.
Along the way, Chapman met a mother who was walking with her young son while pushing her two-month-old daughter in a stroller. The woman went to pet Chapman’s dog when she accidentally let go of the stroller then watched in horror as it rolled down a steep incline towards the pond, which was no longer frozen over.
from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Bottom line, after one period it was 0-0. And the Penguins had expended an awful lot of adrenaline. “With Marty playing like he did, he allowed us to regroup between periods,” Stevens said. “He really gave us a shot of confidence that allowed us to get back to playing.’
They go back to playing tomorrow afternoon at the Wachovia Center. They still trail in this series, but they have been the better team over the last three games. Not by much, not by more than a big save here, a hit post there. But this series is now close enough to steal, close enough that one man, one play, could ultimately decide it. That might frighten some goalies. If nothing else, Biron has proven he’s not one of them.
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…
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org