Sunday, April 19, 2009

Around the League: Thoughts on the Flyers/Pens Series. . .

A few notes from Around the League...

I love for fans who get Versus that they are getting the opportunity to see games they otherwise would not, but damn, I'm getting tired of it. I would love just once to get to see a CBC broadcast of something! I have mostly flicked from game to game on given nights because I haven't been able to tolerate one broadcast all the way through, or because I want to see as much as possible and watching an entire game of one matchup when other games are going on seems greedy. I am not sure which.

Regardless, I found myself watching a lot of the Flyers/Pens game on Friday and the majority of their game today. I felt so badly for Marty Biron on Friday night. He played very well; again, remember, I've been the one saying for years he really can play better than most people give him credit for. The Flyers held a 2-1 lead with the minutes ticking down in the 3rd. A sketchy call against the Flyers when they didn't really hook Jordan Staal, that the announcing team seemed okay with because a bad non-call against the Flyers earlier when Hartnell threw his stick, allowed the Pens to tie the game. It went to OT. Where veteran Mike Knuble and rookie Claude Giroux had brain cramps and took two bad penalties at the same junction. 5 on 3 powerplay, Pens win. I felt for Marty Biron.

Today the game proved two things. A 2-0 lead is not safe against anyone, and certainly not against the Pens. They tied the game 2-2 in 25 seconds over the first and second periods. However, the Flyers scored a few more and held on for a 6-3 win. Two, the Flyers can play with the Penguins. Look the Penguins are loaded and Marc-Andre Fleury can make some marvelous saves, but the Flyers didn't get where they got this year and last without capable players of their own. Anyone on that Flyers team can score; remember, only one team in this league had five 25+ goal scorers and that's Philadelphia.

This series is odd for me to wrap my head around. And not what was on the ice, but why I seemingly am so invested in it. I was mad when the Flyers lost on Friday. I was cheering when they scored today and happy they pulled it out. I think it is, more than likely, more dislike for the Penguins than love for the Flyers. Perhaps I am still not over last year's defeat at their hands. The Devils will always be my most hated divison rival, but the Pens in the last two years have really risen up to take the second spot. The Islanders aren't good enough right now to warrant my attention, and I like how the Rangers match up against the Flyers, so they are not the biggest threat.

Even though I find something very psychologically wrong with my "rooting" for the Flyers, I am. I won't lie; remember the honesty policy here. I'll worry about that next round. For now, I hope it's a nice, long series, and I hope the Flyers prevail.


NJ broke a long streak of losing in playoff overtime games to Carolina, winning the first of two down in Raleigh, to take a 2-1 series lead.

Vancouver may just be proving too much to handle for the young Blues, as they go up 3-0 in the series and threaten to close it out next game.

Sharks are down 1-0 in goals in the 2nd of game 2 of this series. I've been complaining a bit that this game was not played last night, on a night when I could feasibly stay up to watch it. A Saturday night 10pm game sounds a lot better to me than a 10pm Sunday night game. Look, I realize they are not scheduling to make me happy here, ;), but it's just disappointing that I'm going to bed having seen hardly any of their series at all.


Luke said...

It's an ugly night at the Garden and the VS commentary does not make it any easier to watch. What happened? Where is our composure? Our physical play? Our desire?

Am I being too harsh? If it wasn't for a goalpost and some unlucky bounces this would be a very different game. The first two games were hard to watch because you spent the entire game on the edge of your seat, with your heart in your mouth. This one has been frustrating from the outset.

Re Flyers/Pens series, I was thinking about this while reading your post at work. *Stands up and nervously clears his throat* My name is Luke, and I secretly root for the Flyers.

They play a gritty, attacking and physical game. It's not elegant but, as long as they are not playing the Rangers, it's fun to watch.

The Pens, on the other hand, are the team you love to hate. Even before last years second round defeat at their hands. They are almost the 'anti-flyers' - priss, preppy... bah, even writing about them winds me up! Grrrrrr.

8 minutes on the clock and the good guys are yet to trouble the scoreboard. Lets make a statement and start thinking about this in a long term capacity. Send out a "checking line" and at least try and make Washington feel like they earnt the victory :-(

kels said...

No, Luke, not too harsh at all. They were very uncomposed. And lacked much of what made them successful the first two games.

I am not sure why, and apparently some post game interviews suggested they didn't know either - which is troubling - but I do hope they fix it QUICK for game 4.

I think the missed goal by Cally (?) hurt them. Score that one, it's 1-1 and a completely different game. But that's hockey, and that is why we love the game; how quickly things can turn.

Unfortunately the Rangers didn't have it in them tonight, and sadly didn't end the game much better than they started, like you hoped.

I mean, credit the Caps for playing better, and we'll just have to hope the Rangers figure it out - whatever it is - by Wednesday.

Lol @ the Flyers comment. It's like a Flyers Fans Anonymous Group. I kinda like that I'm not the only one that thinks they are fun and doesn't "hate" them. And you're right. They are fun to watch because they bring a little of everything. Since they got Biron, who I like, and lost/misplaced some of the guys I didn't, like Hatcher, I find it easier to enjoy watching them.

And yes, regardless of what everyone thinks about why people dislike the Penguins, it isn't all about Crosby. It just feels wrong to root for them. I remember watching the Penguins years ago, back when the Rangers were in their dark playoff-less years, and the Rangers would play them tons down the stretch, desperately needing every point, and still end up losing to the - at that point - very dismal Pens.

And the team now? It's hard to wish well for a team that appears to accept everything handed to them - penalty calls and good luck draft picks - and that could win by being skilled and talented, but chooses instead to complain and whine when it's unnecessary. Prissy is a good word to use, Luke.

It's a shame, because perhaps if circumstances were different, we wouldn't feel that way. Perhaps it's a little bit a fault of the NHL holding the Penguins up as "our favorites" that makes us like them a little less. And a little bit a fault of them letting their mouths do the talking instead of their skills on the ice.