Saturday, December 19, 2009

Don't Panic

So this last month has been pretty tough if you're a Flyers fan. Since the Flyers beat the LA Kings a month ago, the Flyers are 3-11-1. John Stevens has been fired, and the trade rumors are starting to swirl. Despite this slide, I'm not ready to hit the panic button yet and declare the season over.

While November and December are traditionally strong months for the Flyers, this year they battled a TON of injuries. On this losing streak they've lost: Blair Betts, Darrol Powe, Jared Ross, Ole Kristian Tollefsen and Ray Emery to injuries. Plus they haven't had Gagne since October.

One of the biggest reason for the losing streak has been the Flyers inability to kill penalties. When you lose one of your top PK men (Betts), it gets a lot harder to kill penalties. Another area where the Flyers have struggled is scoring. Powe, when he was injured, had had 6 goals in 19 games. While not stunning numbers, he was off to the best start of his career, and he is a sparkplug for the 3rd and 4th lines. Powe is set to return next week, as is Gagne and Betts came back last night. Hopefully with the Flyers getting healthy, we'll see their game start to pick up.

The Flyers are also still adjusting to new coach Peter Laviolette. Laviolette brings a whole new style of play with him, and with frequent games, it has been hard for the Flyers to practice the new system. Laviolette likes to run a two man forecheck, and to play aggressively in the offensive zone. This isn't something the Flyers are used to, and it requires a lot of conditioning to execute it well. The Flyers obviously weren't conditioned to run this system under Stevens, so it may take a little time for them to get used to it.

The bottom line is, this team has too much talent not to contend with Pittsburgh and other elite teams. This is a rough patch for them, but they have weathered worse in the past (remember that 10 game losing streak back in 08?). I fully expect the Flyers to recover from this slump (they just played a great game against Pittsburgh last night) and to get on a roll for the second half the season. Keep the faith!

Friday, December 4, 2009

What Would You Do for Free Flyers Tickets?

This is what I did:

I came in second, but still lost by like 17... It would've been cool to win the santa sack, but the consolation prize was great!

Also- Flyers need to get their act together.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Inconsistent Discipline Strikes Again!

Apparently Danny Briere has been suspended for two games because he cross checked Scott Hannan in the neck in the second period last night. There was no penalty on the play, and Hannan isn't expected to miss much time, yet the league decided it was worth suspending Briere over. In the Flyers past three games, Giroux has been boarded (went into the boards nose first) and cross checked hard in the neck after scoring, Powe was hit late behind a play where the defenseman took five or six strides to come hit him, resulting in a shoulder injury that has had him out of the lineup for the past two games, and he'll be out for five more weeks, and Jeff Carter was boarded and went face first into the boards last night in Colorado. Yet none of these plays drew a second look from the disciplinarians in Toronto. The league's bias against the Flyers is pretty amazing sometimes...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Blue Line Attack

If anyone is interested in helping beta test a hockey mmorpg- sign up here:

It's kinda cool. If you have questions, I can answer them for you.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Flyers Wrap

So now that the Flyers are finally playing games again...

They've been so-so since the week long break. They split games with Florida, losing 4-2 in Fl, but crushing them 5-1 here. They beat Boston in a shootout (on a beautiful goal by Claude Giroux) and played extremely uninspired hockey against San Jose in a 4-1 loss.

Is it just me, or do the Flyers seem bored on the ice recently? They looked good in the win against Florida, but in the loss to Fl, the Boston game and the San Jose game, they just looked like they don't want to be out on the ice. Coburn has really regressed this year imo, and Timonen isn't looking like his usual self either. Pronger has been ok... but he hasn't been the game changer I was expecting.

I think a lot of the Flyers problems stem from Mike Richards. Now I'm a huge Richards fan, but he's been making me grimace more than cheer this season. He started off the season really hot, but he's as uninspiring a leader as ever... and now he's in the middle of a couple of controversies as he's acting like a petulant brat and refusing to speak to the Philly media, and he narrowly avoided a suspension last week after his ugly hit on David Booth (granted, while I don't think he was trying to hurt Booth, it's still never a good thing to see a hit like that). Richards is young, only 24, but he is sorely lacking leadership skills needed to captain a winning hockey team. Richards is going to be here a long time, and he needs to grow up. That being said, the Flyers brass needs to recognize that he might not be fit for the captaincy right now. It was given to him before last season because there really was no better option. Now that Pronger is here, it might be wise to make him the leader of the team for the time being and let Richards learn under him. Pronger has won everywhere he's been (even in St. Louis), and he knows what it takes to bring Philadelphia fans what they want most. I say that if the Flyers continue to play the way they've been, it's time to send them a message that it won't be tolerated by stripping Richards of the captaincy.

Also- Brian Boucher sucks. Bring back Nitty.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This One's For Harry

2/3 of the way there. Four more wins til we repeat. Do it for Harry!

Has Hockey Season Started?

It feels like the summer all over again. 1 game in 11 days is KILLING ME. It's a good thing the Phils have been playing well or I'd be out of my mind right now.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Let's Go Phillies!

We've got hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh hopes, we've got hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh hopes. We've got, high apple pies in the skyyyyyyyyy hopes.

That was the most exciting baseball game I've ever seen. Phils take a 2-1 lead into the 8th, blow it and go down 4-2, but then score three in the top of the 9th to win 5-4. Ryan Howard is clutch clutch clutch. He can strike out as many times as he likes, but when it counts, this dude is nails. Ahhh so we're back in the NLCS for the second straight year, and again we've got the Dodgers. I think we can beat them, as it took all the breaks going their way for them to beat us at all during the regular season.

Anyways, while the Flyers hibernate for awhile this week, I'll enjoy my Phils. Here's to another parade!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Flyers vs. Ducks Live Blog

So I just decided to live blog the rest of this game. It's been awhile since I've done one of these.

7:23 - Flyers power play ends, but they sure put a lot of pressure on Hiller.

7:25 - Giroux barely missed Gagne on a long pass. That's the third time that's almost happened. It will before the end of the game.

7:26 - Emery is making it look tough. Hartnell tripped in front after missing a scoring chance. Flyers back on the PP.

7:29 - Ducks winger Bobby Ryan is a native Philidelphian. He speeaks very highly of the area, he'll be a Flyer before his career is over.

7:30 - Gagne, Giroux and Richards finally hook up. Richards grabs his 6th goal of the season. 1-0 Flyers.

7:34 - Emery shoved by a Duck, no call. Nothing came of it though.

7:36 - Cote tripped, Gagne elbowed, two more no calls. The Ducks are playing a little dirty right now.

7:38 - Asham looses his helmet as he streaks in on goal, long hair flowing behind him. Reminds me of some old time hockey.

7:40 - Richards sluggish going off the ice... that's not good. Carter gets a mini breakaway and is stoned by Hiller. Period over. Good showing from the Flyers so far.

7:58 - The puck drops and the second period is underway. Richards loses the faceoff, this is definitely a concern.

8:00 - Emery gets beat, but somehow manages to flash a pad out to rob Perry of a goal. Flyers manage to clear and the threat is neutralized.

8:02 - I'd just like to note that I really like the fact that the Flyers made the orange jerseys their permanent home jerseys. Tollefsen heads back into the penalty box.

8:03 - Emery makes a HUGE point blank save on Koivu. Then another diving stop seconds later. Then swallows up a cross ice one timer.

8:05 - Flyers really need to stop taking penalties. The Ducks are doing a good job of keeping the puck in the zone during the power play. They've rung up 7-8 shots on that PP. Emery is making huge save after huge save.

8:08 - Hiller with a great save on a Tollefsen shot from the point. Ducks get called for hooking. Flyers PP coming up.

8:10 - Cote gets called for unsportsmanlike conduct, even though he was just talking to a player... that's really weak.

8:13 - Coburn nearly deflects the puck back into his net... he's having bad luck lately.

8:16 - Selanne in for holding. Flyers on the PP again. Apparently Ducks' tough guy George Parros graduated from Princeton. Man Lupul looks so much better on the Ducks than he ever did here.

8:19 - Flyers get a couple of nice chances on the PP... but so do the Ducks. Carcillo in for slashing now.

8:21 - Getzlaf breaks his stick on a one timer. Laperriere and Richards break up ice and come close to scoring. It seems like any time someone winds up for a slap shot they're breaking their sticks these days. Time to go back to the wood.

8:23 - Corey Perry gets called for unsportsmanlike conduct now. Apparently the refs don't like the players talking to each other tonight.

8:24 - Chris Pronger has a CANNON. He slaps one by Hiller on the PP. Oh yea, it's his birthday, and he's playing against his former team.

8:27 - Ah it's one of those games where the refs think they're super important. I think Richards just got called for hooking... I never saw it.

8:30 - Geeze. There's a penalty every 30 seconds. Ducks player goes off for slashing, but again it was a weak call.

8:34 - Emery is playing really well tonight. He's giving up some rebounds, but the Flyers' D has been there to clean everything away.

8:52 - Puck drops, and there's a scrum in the Flyers net 8 seconds in. What a surprise.

8:54 - Hiller misplays a puck behind the net... Flyers can't make him pay. Hartnell came close to scoring on the previous shot, but Hiller made a fantastic save.

8:56 - Pyorala/Carcillo/Asham have been playing very well offensively tonight.

8:57 - Powe steals the puck from Hiller and again the Flyers can't score. The refs miss a penalty that actually shouldn't have been called when they don't call Brown for delay of game when he intentionally dislodges the net.

8:59 - Watching Richards/Giroux/Gagne play together is making me think this will be one of the Flyers' legendary lines. Faceoff in the Flyers' zone and the refs call an interference penalty on the Ducks... weak, but I'll consider it a make up.

9:02 - Hartnell tries to dump a puck into the Ducks zone, but misfires and it ends up in the bench. If this was the baby pens, they would have been complaining that it was intentional and he was trying to injure everyone.

9:05 - Giroux is having a great game tonight. He only has one assist, but he could have had several tonight. He is making gorgeous passes.

9:08 - Giroux puts a nice hit on Ducks' tough guy Parros. Knocks him right off the puck.

9:09 - Selanne gets a step on Coburn and beats Emery high. 2-1.

9:11 - That was the first goal the Ducks scored in Philly since 2002. Wow.

9:13 - Flyers catch a huge break when Anaheim takes an interference penalty in the offensive zone. The Ducks had the Flyers running around and made a huge mistake there. There's only three minutes left in the game, there won't be a lot of time left when they are back at even strength.

9:16 - If the Flyers don't score, the Ducks will have 1:40 left to try and tie the game up. Stupid, stupid penalty.

9:20 - 1:08 to go in the game. Ducks' goal is pulled. This is good stuff.

9:21 - Laperierre comes up with a HUGE blocked shot. Richards has a shot blocked when he was aiming for the empty net.

9:22 - Selanne scores with 16 seconds left.

9:25 - OT underway. Pronger gets the game winner imo...

9:28 - Flyers are buzzing, but Hiller is playing out of his mind right now.

9:31 - The Flyers suddenly look like a high school team as they turned the puck over three times in their own zone. Good job Emery.

9:32 - One last flurry by the Flyers is stymied by Hiller. Shootout time. Ugh.

9:34 - Briere up first. Hiller makes a pad save.

9:35 - Perry for the Ducks. Emery turns him aside.

9:36 - Richards can't elevate the puck. Had Hiller beat.

9:36 - Selanne scores.

9:37 - Last chance for the Flyers. Gagne just misses. Damn.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Can We Buy A Break Please?

-A phantom penalty 14 seconds into the game that leads to a PPG.
-Coburn scoring on his own team
-Bounces that always seem to find the baby pens sticks

Why does this only happen when we play the Penguins?

Also- what b.s. is this? Kunitz goes in with gloves off after Hartnell who's already fighting with Letang... and nothing is called on him? This is ridiculous. It's gonna take an act of god for us to ever beat the baby pens.

Also- Ray Emery, you can't give up 10 goals in two games against playoff teams. You better get your head out of your ass.

Ahh the BS Begins

A phantom hooking call 14 seconds into the first? How much are you paying those refs pitt? Jeeze.

I Love D & E

Apparently when Comcast told me last year that the NHL blacked out Flyers games in State College, they meant that it was THEIR deal with the NHL to black out games in the State College area. Now that I have D & E this year, lo and behold, the Flyers game isn't blacked out! Suck it Comcast. You guys are terrible. Thank you D & E for bringing my Flyers back to me.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Most Exciting Game of the Year (So Far)

Wow that Flyers/Caps game was awesome.

I was able to watch the game today because I found a stream online, and wow I wasn't disappointed in what I saw. That was by far the most exciting game I've seen in a long time, and the nice added bonus was Danny Briere grabbing the game winner with less than a minute to go in OT.

Mike Richards had a hat trick and Matt Carle added four assists in the second period which was encouraging to see. Richards now has 5 goals on the season, which is the best he's ever started off. Jeff Carter was held scoreless, but he started the play in OT that led to the winning goal.

The Flyers also got three more powerplay goals today, including the game tying goal from Scott Hartnell with less than five minutes to go in the 3rd.

It was a great to see the Flyers win this, last year I wouldn't have believed that they would come back after falling behind twice, but they dug deep and erased the leads both times.

One of the more interesting facts of the night is that the Flyers haven't started 3-0 since 1998. That astounds me because the Flyers have only missed the playoffs once in that time span.

Anyways that leaves us at 3-0-0 going into the first matchup with Cindy and her baby pens on Thursday.

Should be a good game.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Looks like the Flyers are finally getting off to a fast start! This is good because the last couple of seasons we've gone on major slides during February/March, so we need to rack up wins now in case that happens a third time.

Today we spoiled Martin Brodeur's 1,000th game and made him look pretty ordinary. Emery had his second straight great game, and was about a half a period away from having two shutouts to start the season. Carter and Richards scored again, and so did Carle, Laperriere and Powe.

It's nice to get two road wins early to help build momentum because the Flyers have three tough home games next week, as Washington, Pittsburgh and Anaheim come to town. The Flyers have a chance to make a big statement this week, hopefully they can take advantage of it.

The Flyers penalty killing came up huge again today. They did give up a goal, but they've killed 12 of 13 penalties this season, and they killed off a full two minutes of a 5-3 powerplay in the first period.

There are a lot of positives for the Flyers right now, and I'm excited to see how long they can keep it up. But it's too soon to get too excited...

Cautious Optimism

Well the Flyers opener was tonight. It resulted in a 2-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. The two goals came on consecutive powerplays at the beginning of the second period and were only 14 seconds apart. The biggest story tonight though was Ray Emery. He made 28 saves and played really well in his Flyers debut. He was the first goalie to register a shutout in his debut since Jeff Hackett did it back in the opener in 2003 (who else forgot that Hackett used to play for us?). Other positive signs from tonight was our defense, which allowed few good scoring chances and our penalty kill which killed off 8 Carolina powerplays. It's a little troubling that we took 8 penalties tonight, but our penalty killers did a good job of collapsing on the puck and driving it down the ice whenever they could, we also had a few nice shorthanded chances. Our powerplay looked really nice tonight, as we scored on back to back power plays in the first minute of the second period. Anyways, this is one of the best games we've played to open the season in a long time. I know one game doesn't make a season, but it is nice to see all the important pieces clicking so early. We will be tested next week with games against the Devils, Capitals and Penguins, but if we play as well as we did tonight, we could see a quick start to the season.

Happy rosh-a-hockey everyone!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

NHL Preview/Predictions

So I figured I should throw together a preview for the NHL this year.

Here are my thoughts:
Eastern Conference:
Atlantic Division (Predicted Order of Finish)

Pittsburgh Penguins - With Crosby and Malkin, you can never count this team out. I'd say they're the pre-season favorites to win the division.

Philadelphia Flyers - Chris Pronger will bring some much needed balance to the defense and made Randy Jones expendable. Great move. Ray Emery could be Stanley Cup Finals good, or the player that played in Russia last year. The Flyers' success largely depends on him.

New Jersey Devils - It's bad when your biggest weapon is your goalie.

New York Rangers - I like the Gaborik acquisition, but I don't think he can make up for the offensive deficiencies that the Rangers have.

New York Islanders - Good luck Marty Biron. The fans won't expect much from you there, but you're probably playing for the worst team in the conference now. Tavares should be fun to watch though.

Northeast Division (Predicted Order of Finish)

Boston Bruins - Despite losing Kessel, I think that they have a great shot at winning the division again. Tim Thomas needs to continue last year's form for this to happen though.

Montreal Canadiens - If there had been another week in the season last year they would have missed the playoffs, as they were limping towards the finish line. There are a lot of new faces and question marks on this team, but I like the changes they've made, and a third straight playoff appearance is likely on its way.

Toronto Maple Leafs - The Leafs have went from rebuilders to playoff contenders really quickly. I'm not sure they will make the playoffs, but they will be in the mix until late in the season.

Buffalo Sabres - They have some solid talent, but I don't think they have what it takes to make the playoffs.

Ottawa Senators - They got a great deal for Dany Heatly, but this team has too many issues to be much of a threat this year.

Southeast Division (Predicted Order of Finish)

Washington Capitals - The Capitals have Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin and Green to give them a ton of offense. They'll need it too because you're not going to see their defense hold opponents in check very well. If they have any thoughts of winning a Stanley Cup they really need to beef up their defense.

Carolina Hurricanes - The 'Canes made a great run in the playoffs last year, I see them giving the Caps a serious run for their money for the division title.

Florida Panthers - The Panthers hung in the playoff race until the last couple of weeks last season. I really like the look of their roster, and think they could make the playoffs for the first time since 2000. However, only 18 or so fans will watch them do it.

Tampa Bay Lightning - Tampa has become a who's who of former Flyers, as they have Antero Nittymaki, Todd Fedoruk and Steve Downie on the team. They also picked up Alex Tanguay this year and still have Lecavlier and St. Louis... they will challenge for a playoff spot.

Atlanta Thrashers - Kovalchuk is still a highlight reel player, and one of my favorite players to watch in the game, but one man can't do everything for this team.

Playoff Bound Teams:
1. Washington Capitals
2. Pittsburgh Penguins
3. Boston Bruins
4. Philadelphia Flyers
5. Carolina Hurricanes
6. Montreal Canadiens
7. Toronto Maple Leafs
8. Florida Panthers

Western Conference

Central Division
(Predicted Order of Finish)

Detroit Red Wings- The Red Wings are aging, and they lost Marian Hossa to free agency, but it's really hard to pick against the Red Wings. I can't remember the last time someone else finished in front of them in the division (Ok I just checked, it was the 99-00 season when they last finished somewhere other than first in the division).

Chicago Blackhawks - If anyone can wrest the division away from Detroit, it's the Hawks. They lost Havlat this year, but they did manage to lock Hossa down for the rest of his career, and he should be a big help when he comes back from injury.

St. Louis Blues - The Blues broke a long playoff drought last season, and they're only going to get better this year.

Columbus Blue Jackets - The Jackets made the playoffs for the first time ever last season, and they were quickly disposed of. Still, it was nice to see them show that they are more than just the team Rick Nash plays for.

Nashville Predators - Seriously, relocate this team now.

Northwest Division (Predicted Order of Finish)

Calgary Flames - The Flames added Jay Bouwmeester and have Rene Bourque back from injury. Along with the addition Olli Joikenen, I think they have a great shot at taking the division.

Vancouver Canucks - The Canucks managed to keep the Sedin twins and still have Luongo. This team is set for awhile.

Minnesota Wild - They missed the playoffs this past season, but they added Martin Havlat and they still have a pretty good defense. They will definitely return to the playoffs this year.

Colorado Avalanche - The Avalanche are rebuilding, and lost long time captain Joe Sakic to retirement. However, there is a wealth of young talent on the team and they won't be kept down for long.

Edmonton Oilers - The addition of Khabibulin was nice, but I don't think they have enough on their roster to really make a playoff push this season.

Pacific Division (Predicted Order of Finish)

San Jose Sharks - The Sharks have one of the best rosters in the league, but they continually underachieve in the playoffs. They should run away with the division again this year, but I'm not holding my breath for them in the playoffs.

Anaheim Ducks - No more Chris Pronger, but this team is always dangerous.

Dallas Stars - Brenden Morrow is back from an injury that kept him out most of last season. They'll need a big year from him if they hope to get back to the playoffs after missing them for the first time since 2002 last year.

Los Angeles Kings - The Kings have some nice additions this season, but it's hard to see them competing for a play off spot.

Phoenix Coyotes - See Nashville.

Playoff Teams:
1. San Jose Sharks
2. Detroit Red Wings
3. Calgary Flames
4. Chicago Blackhawks
5. Vancouver Canucks
6. St. Louis Blues
7. Anaheim Ducks
8. Minnesota Wild

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Congrats Phillies!

Taking a break from hockey, the Phillies wrapped up their third consecutive division title today with a 10-3 win over the Houston Astros. This time the Phillies didn't have to make a comeback in the division to win it, as they lead comfortably in the East for most of the season. Hopefully we can pull off a few more victories to earn homefield throughout the conference playoffs...

In other *hilarious* baseball news... click this link to listen to a strange prediction that came true on Sunday.

2 days til hockey season!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Good Bye Randy Jones!

Randy Jones is finally no longer a Flyer! I can't say I'll miss the fifty or so bad turnovers you make every year. Maybe you'll find your way to Pittsburgh so you can lose them game after game due to your mediocrity. Buh bye!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Flyers' Roster Battle

There's a fight for the last roster spot for the Flyers' defense. Right now Ole Kristian Tollefsen is battling Danny Syvret for the 7th d-spot. I really hope it goes to Tollefsen for this reason (taken from Anthony Sanfilippo's blog): "Tollefsen hasn't had much of a chance to play after losing a tooth and requiring two other root canal surgeries after being hit in the mouth by a Mike Richards shot during practice last week. 'He's a nice captain to welcome me to town that way, eh,' OKT joked Monday"

See? He fits right in.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Thoughts on the Offseason So Far

So we've almost arrived at training camp. All the big deals are done and the draft has passed. Teams will be spending the rest of the summer just tweaking their roster here and there while preparing for the beginning of training camp. Since things are pretty much set for the Flyers, I figured that I'd break my 3 month hiatus and comment on their moves this offseason.

Ray Emery:
I'm already on record saying that I do not like this deal as I think we could have gotten someone better. However, my position is changing and I'm looking at this a little more optimistically. If we hadn't signed Emery, and instead had gone after someone like Khabibulin or even re-signed Biron, I don't think we would have been able to pull off some of the moves that we made later on. Emery can be a great goalie, but I still don't trust his head until he proves that he can go a season without being crazy. However, if he wants to get into a few goalie fights this year with say... Marc-Andre Fleury... I'm all for it.

Chris Pronger:
This was our big splash for the summer. We shipped an underachieving Joffrey Lupul and an unproven defensive prospect in Lucas Sbisa for one of the best defensemen in the league in the past 15 years. Pronger has played in two Stanley Cup Finals, winning one of them. More importantly, he made the finals as part of an 8th seeded team, so he knows that no team is out of it based on their seed. He also hates losing, is an offensive force, and can lay someone out when he feels like it. This guy is the complete package, and when you look at his game, you realize that he was born a Flyer, it just took him several years to come home. A lot of people have complained that we gave up too much to get him. I disagree. Lupul was overpaid for the production that he put out, and Sbisa is a prospect. We don't need prospects, we need a proven, shut down guy, and that's what Pronger is. The Pronger acquisition has also caused me to rethink the Emery signing. I believe that Pronger will not put up with any crap that Emery might try and pull, so his guidance and maturity will help keep Emery in line this season.

Ian Laperriere:
Laperriere is good at two things- annoying the other team, and faceoffs. The latter is the more important part. Over the past couple of seasons one of the Flyers biggest issues has been winning faceoffs in clutch moments of the game. Hopefully the addition of Laperriere will give us a boost in that department. He should also help Richards and Carter get better at taking faceoffs. It's little moves like this that could really help us this season.

Ole-Kristian Tollefsen:

Translation- come across our blue line at your own peril.

So yea, I'm excited for this season. I have a feeling that the Flyers are going to play rough and tumble hockey. It looks like toughness and discipline will be the theme this year. Even if we lose, we won't be losing without a fight. It's going to be a classic Flyers year. GET EXCITED.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Waaa We Lose Lets Hurt People

Seriously, is there a more chicken team than Pittsburgh in the league? Down five nothing and Crosby and Talbot slash the two best players on Detroit?!? HOW ARE THEY GETTING AWAY WITH THIS STUFF? A two minute minor is not going to discourage them from bringing this crap to the table again. I hate the NHL's front office. They are doing a poor job of officiating evenly and fairly, and somebody is going to get seriously hurt, and it's going to be a Red Wing. They need to grow some backbone and send a message to the league that goonery when you're losing will not be tolerated. Crosby intentionally slashed Zetterberg away from the play, and Talbot intentionally slashed an injured Datsyuk. What purpose does that serve other than trying to knock them out of the playoffs? They should both be suspended for their actions and it's ridiculous that they continue to get away with slaps on the wrist. I'm getting so sick of the NHL.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

You Have Got to be Kidding Me

Ray Emery? Really? This is who you choose to sign when goalies like Nikolai Khabibulin and Jean-Sebastian Gigure will be available. The guy is a team cancer, with a terrible work ethic and couldn't cut it in a city with low expectations... just how do you think he's going to cut it in Philly where there will be a lot of pressure and no veteran leadership. This is just another chapter of the Flyers front office failing to address our greatest needs properly. We need a goalie that is consistent. Emery is anything but. He's going to flop in Philadelphia, and if we rely on this guy, we're just going to keep exiting the playoffs early while Pittsburgh continues to go to Stanley Cup finals. Seriously, how could Holmgren decide that Emery is the answer. Ridiculous.

Monday, June 1, 2009

NHL Double Standards: Part Two

This is absolutely ridiculous. The NHL rules state that if you get an instigator penalty in the last five minutes of a game, you are automatically suspended for the next game. Apparently there is some fine print that says "unless your one of Pittsburgh's stars". In game two of the Stanley Cup Finals, Evgeni Malkin started a fight with Henrik Zetterberg with about 15 seconds left in the game after Maxime Talbot took a vicious stab at Detroit goalie Chris Osgood. Malkin was given 5 for fighting, a 10 minute misconduct and a 2 minute instigator penalty. Minutes after the game was over, the NHL issued a statement saying that they weren't suspending Malkin for game 3. GROW A BACKBONE NHL. YOU CANNOT LET YOUR STARS RUN AROUND LIKE THEY ARE ABOVE THE RULES. It really sickens me to see the double standards that exist and really makes me want to stop watching hockey altogether. The more I see this, the less I feel that teams are treated fairly by the league brass.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Roland Garros - The 2009 French Open

If you like red clay, long rallies and lots of unforced errors, then you should be watching the French Open. The French Open has long been a place where relatively unknown players from countries such as Argentina, Chile or Spain can make names for themselves. The slow, red clay used at the Roland Garros has created a vein of players that dominate on the surface, but struggle to translate their game over to grass or hard courts.

Rafael Nadal started out as one of these clay court specialists back in 2005 when he won his first French Open title in his first attempt. Since then he has won three more French Opens, but has also proven that he can play on more than just clay. Last year, he won his first Wimbledon title, becoming the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1979 to win both Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same season. Nadal then proved he could win on hard courts when he earned his first Australian Open to start off 2009. That win denied Roger Federer his chance to tie Pete Sampras's record of 14 Grand Slam titles. Federer still needs a French Open title to complete the career Grand Slam (winning at least one title at the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open), but he has lost to Nadal for four consecutive years. Could this be the year where he finally breaks through?

The Clear Favorite:
Rafael Nadal - As I said earlier, Nadal has won four straight French Open titles, and he's never lost a match at the French.

The Contenders:
Roger Federer - While Federer has never won a French Open, he has been to three straight finals, losing to Nadal every time. Age is no longer on his side though, as no man over 26 has ever won a French Open title.

Novak Djokovic - Djokovic won his first Grand Slam at the Australian Open in 2008 and has been to the quarter-finals or better in three of his last four Grand Slam appearances. He has also made the semi-finals of the French Open each of the past two years.

Andy Murray - Andy Murray still has not won a major, but he made it to his first final against Roger Federer at the U.S. Open last year. He has risen to #3 in the world and his incredible fitness and his defensive style of play make him a tough out for any opponent.

The Dark-Horses:
Juan Martin Del Potro - Del Potro has never been past the quarter finals of a major, but he is playing as well as anyone lately and should easily live up to his seeding, and will be tough for anyone to play in the quarter finals.

Jo-Wilfred Tsonga - Tsonga hasn't played in a French Open since 2005, but he has been one of the hottest players on tour over the past year. He'll have the backing of the French fans, but he is on a collision course for a fourth round matchup with Del Potro.

Gael Monfils - A local favorite, Monfils made it to the semi-finals here last year, but injuries have kept him from making a serious run at a title since then. However, with the backing of the French crowd, a return trip to the semi-finals is very possible.

Just Hoping to Win One Match:
The American men - There used to be a time when American's such as Jim Courier and Andre Aggasi would regularly compete for, and win, French Open titles. However, in the past few years, they have struggled in France. No American man has been past the second round since 2005 (I think).

Monday, May 18, 2009

Five Goals for this Summer

So I decided I'm going to make some goals this summer, so I don't go crazy from work and school.

Goal #1:
Get A's in all three of my classes this summer.
If I get straight A's, I'll finally get my GPA back over a 3.0. This is a very attainable goal because two of the classes are online, and the other class is tennis.

Probability of Success: High

Goal #2:
Improve my serve in tennis. I absolutely love playing tennis in the summer, but any of you who have played me before know that my serve has always been a mess. I would be a much better player if I can improve my serve at all. Luckily, I have tennis as a class starting in July, so that will help.

Probability of Success: High

Goal #3:
Perform well enough at my job that I can get a letter of recommendation from my Prof. if I ever need one. I just started today, this job is going to be pretty demanding it seems. I hope I'm up to the task.

Probability of Success: Medium

Goal #4:
Attend at least one Phillies road game. I love my Phillies and will see them at least twice in Philadelphia this summer. I would love to see them play the Natinals in Washington, or the Pirates in Pittsburgh or the Mets in New York. I have a car, and I don't mind driving, so it really all depends on if it fits my schedule and if I can find someone to go with.

Probability of Success: Medium

Goal #5:
Code a small computer game. I'd really like to dust off my Java skills and write some sort of game this summer. I dunno if I'll be able to though, it's been awhile since I've written any sort of code.

Probability of Success: Low

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Conference Finals

I really need to stop predicting winners. I'm apparently terrible at it. Anyways, I'm not sure if there has been a more exciting conference semi-finals in recent memory. Some notes:

-Three series went 7 games, and the fourth went 6 games.

-The NHL got 6 great games from their dream match-up of Ovechkin vs. Crosby, but the Capitals started their summer vacation a game early and were massacred in the series decider.

-Carolina and Boston played an exciting game 7 that went into overtime before Scott Walker knocked the game winner in with less than a minute to go in OT.

-Detroit and Anaheim continued their trend of tightly contested games and it took a late third period goal by Dan Cleary to finally send the defending champs into the conference finals.

-Chicago's 7-5 win over Vancouver in game 6 was the highest scoring playoff game since Buffalo beat Ottawa 7-6 in 2006.

Eastern Conference Finals:
#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #6 Carolina Hurricanes
Pittsburgh returns to the Eastern Conference Finals just a season after going to the Stanley Cup. It's Carolina's first trip here since they won it all in 2006. The Canes are one of the hottest teams in the league right now, but Pittsburgh is showing their experience as they were able to erase the Caps 2-0 series lead and eventually win that series. Pittsburgh has had some trouble with winning elimination games this season. They failed to eliminate the Flyers and the Capitals on the first attempt.

The Prediction:
My head says Pittsburgh, my heart says Carolina. I'm going with the Canes to get it done in 6.

Western Conference Finals:
#2 Detroit Red Wings vs. #4 Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks are the youngest, and possibly the most exciting team left in the playoffs. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Martin Havlat have really carried the team offensively, and Nikolai Khabibulin has been fantastic when he's needed to be (as I write this, he stoned Johan Franzen twice at the goal line). Detroit has the experience in this series, but they have also failed to go to back to back Stanley Cup Finals since the late 90's when they won consecutive titles.

The Prediction:
Again, the head says Detroit, but the heart says Chicago. I like Chicago a lot, but I just don't see them getting it done this time. They'll push Detroit to the limit though. Red Wings in 7.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Round Two

So my picks were a little off last round. Here is an updated preview for round two.

Eastern Conference Semi-finals

Boston Bruins vs. Carolina Hurricanes
The 'Canes season was over with about 1:30 left in game seven against the Devils. 45 seconds later, they were suddenly hanging on for a surprise win in game seven. Boston cruised through their first round matchup against Montreal, just as many thought they would. Boston has already won game one against Carolina, and they haven't lost to Carolina yet this season.

The Prediction:
Boston wins in 5

Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
The Capitals staked the Rangers a 3-1 series lead, while the Penguins were outplayed by the Flyers in games 2-5. Both teams managed to win their series and now the NHL has their dream matchup. Sidney (read: Cindy) Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin. The Penguins have the better defense, but the Capitals have the most explosive offense in the league. This will be an exciting series to say the least.

The Prediction:
Washington wins in 6

Western Conference Semi-Finals

Detroit Redwings vs. Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks managed to upset this years President's Trophy winner, the San Jose Sharks, in six games. Detroit swept playoff first timers Columbus Blue Jackets. Game one was a tightly contested game, but Detroit stayed perfect in this season's playoffs and eeked out the win. This promises to be the hardest hitting series of the second round, and it should make for some great playoff hockey.

The Prediction:
Detroit wins in 6

Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Vancouver swept through St. Louis on the back of Roberto Luongo. Chicago won their first playoff series since the 90's as they sent Calgary packing. This series features some of the NHL's best young talent that doesn't get a lot of exposure.

The Prediction:
Vancouver wins in 7

Monday, April 13, 2009

2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview

Well the regular season is finally over, and now the real season begins. The sixteen best teams in the league will take to the ice this week in an attempt to bring home the most iconic trophy in all of sports, the Stanley Cup. Here are my predictions and breakdown of the first round.

Eastern Conference:
#1 Boston Bruins vs. #8 Montreal Canadiens
This is a rematch of last seasons opening round matchup, except this time the seeds are reversed. The Canadiens started off the season hot, but Montreal has been a soap opera since January, culminating with the firing of Guy Carbonneau back on March 9th. Boston has been a solid team all season, finishing with the second best point total in the league at 116 points.

The Prediction:
Boston wins the first three games of the series. Montreal wins game four, and their fans go nuts and riot in the street, torching cop cars and causing general mayhem. That's how they celebrate wins in Montreal right? Boston then finishes Montreal off in game five.

#2 Washington Capitals vs. #7 New York Rangers
What are the two most important things in the playoffs? Goaltending and defense. One of these teams has both, the other doesn't have either. Yes, New York hasn't played that well since their fast start, but Henrik Lundqvist is the second best goalie in the playoffs, and the Rangers have a much better defense than the Capitals do. Alexander Ovechkin has the ability to take over the series, but the Capitals don't have the depth or balance that New York has, and earned a high seed because they play in the worst division in hockey.

The Prediction:
Lundqvist stymies the high octane offense of the Capitals just enough to send Washington packing in seven games.

#3 New Jersey Devils vs. #6 Carolina Hurricanes
Three weeks ago, the 'Canes were looking at an early offseason. Then they ripped off a nine game winning streak to jump back into the thick of things. They dropped their final two games, and cost themselves a shot at home ice, but this team is playing well right now, and they can beat anyone they play. The Devils are playing the opposite of the 'Canes right now. They were one of the hottest teams in early March when Brodeur returned from injury, but then they went on a six game losing streak, which dropped them to third in the conference. However, they will always be a favorite for winning the conference as long as Martin Brodeur is in goal.

The Prediction:
The greatest goalie in the game gets the Devils past the first round with little hiccup. Devils win in 6.

#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #5 Philadelphia Flyers
It's a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference Finals, which the Penguins won in 5 games. The Flyers are a lot healthier this year, and they are as deep as they've ever been. If the Flyers can play to the best of their ability, there's no reason they can't sweep the Pens. However, Cindy Crosby and Evgeni Malkin always seem to play their best against the Flyers so this should be a tight series.

The Prediction:
The Flyers are looking for revenge after being embarrassed last May. They'll get it. Flyers in 6.

Western Conference:
#1 San Jose Sharks vs. #8 Anaheim Ducks
The Sharks put together one of the best NHL seasons in recent history. They had only three losses in regulation at the end of 2008, before slipping a bit in the second half the season. They still finished with a 53-18-11 record and won the President's Trophy. The Ducks on the other hand, didn't secure a playoff spot until the last week of the season. The Stanley Cup Champions from two years ago are always a dangerous team, but the Sharks have far too much firepower to lose this series.

The Prediction:
Joe Thornton + Evgeni Nabokov + Patrick Marleau = Sharks win in 4

#2 Detroit Red Wings vs. #7 Columbus Blue Jackets
The Red Wings are the defending champions, and finished just shy of the #1 seed. The Blue Jackets are making the franchise's first ever appearance in the post season. That emotion should be good for netting the Jackets a win or two, but Detroit is too balanced, and too experienced and that will overwhelm the Blue Jackets.

The Prediction:
Blue Jackets wingers R.J. Umberger and Rick Nash will do all they can to keep Columbus in the series, but will ultimately fall to the balanced Red Wings in six games.

#3 Vancouver Canucks vs. #6 St. Louis Blues
The Blues are making their first appearance in the playoffs since the lockout. They have all the important things going for them: balanced scoring, a hot goalie, solid defense, and (most importantly) the best home uni's in the NHL. Vancouver has Roberto Luongo. Game over.

The Prediction:
Luongo and the Sedin twins carry the Canucks into round two. Canucks in 7.

#4 Chicago Blackhawks vs. #5 Calgary Flames
Is there a team in the NHL that has more potential than the Blackhawks? Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Martin Havlat and Patrick Sharp are all in, or entering their prime. Add in a solid defensive corps that includes Brian Campbell and Brent Seabrook and a goaltending tandem of Nikolai Khabibulin and Christobal Huet and you have a strong dark-horse candidate for the Stanley Cup victors. Calgary is an explosive team in their own right. Jerome Iginla is consistent as ever, and fowards like Mike Cammalleri, Ollie Jokinen and Craig Conroy make them a dangerous team. Goalie Mikka Kiprusoff can be lights out when he gets hot too.

The Prediction:
The Blackhawks win their first playoff series since 1996 behind young phenoms Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.

Round 2 Matchups and Winners:
Boston Bruins beat New York Rangers (4 games to 1)
Philadelphia Flyers beat New Jersey Devils (4 games to 2)

Chicago Blackhawks beat San Jose Sharks (4 games to 3)
Detroit Red Wings beat Vancouver Canucks (4 games to 1)

Conference Finals Matchups and Winners:
Philadelphia Flyers beat Boston Bruins (4 games to 3)

Detroit Red Wings beat Chicago Blackhawks (4 games to 3)

Stanley Cup Finals Matchup and Winner:
Detroit Red Wings beat Philadelphia Flyers (4 games to 2)

Harry Kalas Died :(

The voice of the Phillies is dead at 73.

This is a sad, sad day for Philadelphia. Kalas was quite possibly the most recognized voice in broadcasting due to his involvement in commercials and endorsements, and of course, his classic "It's outta here!" home run call. For nearly 40 years, Kalas was a mainstay in the Phillies broadcasting booth. I've been listening to him all my life, and it's going to be weird without him.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Pittsburgh Fans are Pathetic

So I'm walking down Beaver Avenue tonight, on my way home, and I'm walking with my friend who's wearing his Jeff Carter jersey. All of a sudden I hear "F**K the Flyers!" and then got hit in the back of the head with a piece of pizza by a kid with a Pittsburgh hat on. Then he proceeded to yell at me that we should all be locked in a cage and that we're in a sh*thole of a city... I wonder, do all Pittsburgh fans only have one insult? Cuz that's all I ever hear from them and it's not very creative... Jeeze they're pathetic.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

This is a Disgrace

This is a little off-topic, but once I read it I felt I had to comment on it. Now, I generally operate under the belief that the police try their hardest to be fair and levelheaded when they pull someone over. It really disappoints me when I read articles like this where it seems that the officer acted very aggressively even though he was unprovoked. There was no reason for the officer to have his gun drawn before Moats' wife got out of the car, but from the explanation, it seems that he had it drawn the whole time. As much as I hate to play the race card, that action, and his threat that "I can screw you over" really seems to indicate that he was treating Moats differently because of his skin color. It's shameful the way this particular officer acted, despite confirmation from another officer that Moats' mother-in-law was indeed dying. Because of his actions, and the fact that he cost the dying woman's father a chance to see his daughter one final time, I really have to agree with Moats when he said that the officer should lose his job. His actions were despicable and there is no place for that on the police force.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

2 Games in a Month?

Yea, I'm going to the Flyers/Caps game on Thursday!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Flyers vs. Islanders

So I broke my nearly two year absence from Flyers home games today. I picked Soph and Jess up from Rosemont around noon, and then fought the monster truck rally traffic to get to the rink on time. We parked exactly at 1 pm, so we missed about five minutes of the game as we walked in. Here is a pic of us in all our glory:

We went up and got some food (all you can eat tix FTW!) and walked into the game just as Giroux scored his goal. We sat down and Asham immediately drops the gloves with Jackman, and they go at it for awhile, Asham clearly won the fight. Once play got started up again Hartnell (originally credited to Carter) scored the Flyers second goal in 45 seconds.

The second period, and the first part of the third period sucked. The Flyers played nearly the entire time in their own end, and thanks to some great play by Biron, only gave up one goal. Then about three minutes after the Islanders got their goal, the Flyers fourth line woke up and put the game out of reach. Matt Carle poked in a loose puck on a scrum in front (the goal was originally credited to Glen Metropolit) then 13 seconds later, Asham skated down the left wing, and tried to make a pass to Scottie Upshall, but it deflected off an Islanders skate and caromed in past Danis (again, the goal was originally credited to Upshall). Gagne completed the scoring on a penalty shot just under a minute later.

Anyways, the game was fun, and I was glad that it was a win. I may be back in three weeks for the Predators game.

Oh, and thanks girls for the Malkin card :P

Monday, February 9, 2009

5 days!

5 days, one economics exam, one book report, one quiz and one 2 page essay is all that separates me from my first Flyers game in 2 years! I'm excited!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

AO Update

So I was a little off in my predictions, but not way off. Actual quarterfinal matchups in the Mens' Draw were as follows:

1 Rafael Nadal v. 6 Gilles Simon (I picked Gael Monfis who retired in his match against Simon, after going down 2 sets to 1)
14 Fernando Verdasco v. 5 Jo-Wilfred Tsonga (I picked the wrong upset here. I figured that Blake would finally break through against tougher competition, but he didn't. Verdasco and Murray played a great five set match which Verdasco pulled out in the end)

3 Novak Djokovic v. 7 Andy Roddick (dead on)
2 Roger Federer v. 8 Juan Martin del Potro (dead on)

So I did pretty well, getting 5/8. I'm 1/2 on semi-final predictions so far. Roger Federer only lost three games en route to destroying del Potro and securing his place in the semis. Andy Roddick's improved fitness was extremely evident in his three and a third set win over Djokovic. Djokovic won the first set in a tie-breaker and then promptly ran out of gas. Roddick pushed him all over the court for the next two sets, and for the first three games of the fourth set before Djokovic finally retired. Here's hoping Nadal and Verdasco win tonight!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tennis is BACK!

And I'm strongly considering staying up until 3:30 AM to watch Rafael Nadal play. The Australian Open started Sunday, and it's shaping up to be a good tournament.

-Nadal is still ranked #1 in the world, which makes me happy. It'll be interesting to see how he does here. Traditionally, Nadal does alright at the Aussie Open, he's made the semis once and the quarters a few times I believe, but he's never played the type of tennis he brings at Roland Garros or Wimbledon.

-Novak Djokovic is starting his first Slam defense and he looked pretty good dispatching Stoppini in the first round.

-Roger Federer won his opener in straight sets as well, but he played a lot of long games in the second and third set and still does not look like the player that dominated the tennis world for the better part of four years. He's still better than any player ranked below #4, but I think he'll lose to Djokovic in the semis again this year and he'll eventually slip to #3 in the world this season.

-Can Andy Murray finally break through at a Slam? He made it to the finals of the U.S. Open, but was man-handled by Federer, so I'm guessing he's still not quite ready to win.

-Conversely, James Blake and Andy Roddick need to come up big in this tournament or I'm pretty much writing them off as afterthoughts in Slams from here on out.


1 Rafael Nadal vs. 12 Gael Monfils
4 Andy Murray vs. 9 James Blake
3 Novak Djokovic vs. 7 Andy Roddick
2 Roger Federer vs. 8 Juan Martin del Potro

Rafael Nadal vs. Andy Murray
Roger Federer vs. Novak Djokovic

Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic