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