Orange & Black Breakdown
by Marc Siciliano on 10/18/11 at 04:49 PM ET
Please help me in welcoming my good friend Vince AKA Vindisi to the OBB team. He’ll be joining me to provide even more coverage of the Flyers going forward, starting right now with his first gameday post. A man who won’t be mincing words, you can find him with a drink in both hands and a Flyers game on TV whenever possible. Or just find him on twitter: @TheVintern
Tonight, the Flyers take on the Ottawa Senators. I could give a bruising history lesson of the great matches that have taken place between these two teams, but I’d rather stay in the present.
Giroux will look to keep Ottawa down like he has in the past
First and foremost, thankfully we are not sending Lisa Hillary to her hometown on this match. Nothing against the girl, but she knows the native language and could give some secrets away (like how Jagr has butt implants and Giroux’s performance enhancing drugs come in the form of grilled cheeses).
Speaking of linguistics, the Flyers are going against a team representing a province that speaks two more languages than us (French and English - because let’s be serious, some of us in Philly barely speak English), which puts us at a major disadvantage. Luckily, we have two toothless wonders on our squad who are on track to be the future of the Flyers organization.
The “little Genius” (Jagr needs to trademark it to make some extra loot) Claude Giroux has been nothing short of magical. Everything he does is done with a purpose. He doesn’t kill you with blinding speed or amazing size, but does his damage by out-smarting the competition. His play reminds me of another athlete I have come to respect ten-fold this season in the NFL (and for reasons beyond fantasy football).
Fred Jackson from the Buffalo Bills is as smart as they come. I have called him the Emmitt Smith of today not just because he wears the same number as Emmitt, but because he is the straw that stirs the Bills offense. They both set up the tacklers perfectly so that all they get is an arm tackle attempt that can easily be broken. Giroux does the same thing; he baits the player into thinking one thing before switching him up and leaving him lost and out of position as he does another. These players have a knack for making other professionals look silly, which in today’s world of increased technology and skill across the league is a feat in and of itself.
The other person on the docket is Cooter (is this really his nickname?!). He is taking the reserved, focused approach that two marquee players have recently utilized and benefited from. He is living with someone who is established as a family man and who has dominated the league at times in Danny Briere, as Giroux did last year and Crosby did as a youngster with Lemieux. Without documented evidence, I can still assume they learned many more life lessons off the ice by spending time with these families. Sean has a lot to learn about the league, but from the small sample size of this young season he seems to have the hockey IQ of a seasoned veteran. Will he face a long-term long learning curve similar to how JVR did, or will he get quickly acclimated to the fast pace and thrive off the challenge of playing every other day? No one knows. But one thing we do know is that he has a great mentor in Briere who has the wherewithal to lead him in the right direction and push him sooner than later into becoming a potential star.
Faces only a hockey Mom could love…
MATCHUP: Philadelphia Flyers (3-0-1) @ Ottawa Senators (1-4-0)
What to expect from OTTAWA: I’m going to try and stay as positive as possible in regards to the Senators. That being said, they still have Chris Neil on the team (rivals against our toothless wonders). They lack an identity; are they a defensive-minded or offensive-minded team? Their offensive firepower is challenging Brett Favre-esque relevance, and Alfredsson and Gonchar have not aged well with injuries playing a huge part in their decline.
The one glimmer of hope is their three up and coming defensemen (Erik Karlsson 15th overall in ’08, Jared Cowen 9th overall in ‘09, and David Rundblad 17th overall in ’09). The one who is already turning heads in Ottawa is Erik Karlsson. He has 6 assists through 5 games, and he will be one to look out for come 7:30, as he tends to set the pace from the outset with his fluidity on the ice.
In addition, there is talk amongst Ottawa fans to send their only blue-chip forward prospect Mika Zibanejad down before his 9th game (sound familiar Flyers fans?). Selected just two picks ahead of Cooter, if they see him as their future center behind Spezza, I would suggest they keep him in the NHL ranks in order to control his progression as a player and aid his adjustment to the North American rinks he will eventually call home.
Last, but certainly not least; Craig Anderson is not that bad. He went 11-5-1 in the 18 games he played after being traded from Colorado, posting an impressive 2.05 GAA and a .939 save percentage. His numbers are skewed because he played an underrated Colorado team who has busted out of the gate this season earning 5 road wins in the early going. He gave up 7 goals in that game giving him a gaudy 5.07 GAA to start the season. I see him as the glue that this team needs if they ever want to make strides towards relevance in the league again.
What to expect from the FLYERS: I expect a close bout in the first period of this game, but I think the Flyers will take over in the 2nd period by utilizing the long change with their speed and depth.
I’ve seen people label it as a trap game, but that usually happens later in the season when the team is desperate for some time off or to a seasoned team that needs something to get them up for each and every game. The season is too young to look at the records as a true indication of talent. They should get up regardless of the opponent not only because of their youthful exuberance to stay on the team (Rinaldo, Read, Cooter), but also to prove they belong in their new-found roles as young leaders of the team (little Genius, Simmonds, Voracek, JVR).
Predictions: 4-1 good guys
1) Jagr busts out in a big way potting 2
2) Cooter picks up the Flyers first shorty of the season
3) Bob gets the win with ease (goalie controversy? NOPE, more like goalie luxury.)
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About Orange & Black Breakdown
The Orange & Black Breakdown looks to be the ultimate, around the clock source for news and information on the Philadelphia Flyers organization and it’s ever-present quest for the Stanley Cup. Focusing on what the team can do to achieve success is the ultimate goal.
The OBB is written and maintained by myself - Marc Siciliano. I’m a college graduate and media production professional in the sports industry with credits on projects like Hard Knocks: Bengals and 24/7 Penguins vs. Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic. A man of many hobbies, I always seem to find a way to spend a disproportionate amount of my daily routine with two things: Flyers hockey and social media (much to the dismay of my hockey impartial friends on twitter).
So what does this mean for you? The plan is to combine these
time-wasting habits passions with my love for writing to provide you with complete coverage of the Flyers from both my head and around the web, 24/7.
This is my second writing stint focusing on the Flyers, but for a much larger audience - so do be gentle. Different perspectives and opinions on the organization are welcome and encouraged. Just because I see it one way doesn’t mean I’m beyond seeing it your way as well, so speak up!
I’m always interested in interacting with readers, so find me on twitter (@marcs797) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s talk hockey.
Thanks for reading; Lets go Flyers!