Please let my return to the WC be a nice one. The last time wasn't so pretty (thanks, Devils). No stress or anything, but it would completely make my Christmas/New Year break if you could win while I'm there.
I'm sure you're all really busy preparing for today, but here's your fun thought for the day:
Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.
Dear Gentle Readers,
If any of you are at the game, come and see me low in section 212. I'll be rocking my Kapanen sweater. Also, Whalers sweater guy, hope you're back for tonight's game. Kristin and I loved seeing you there last time!
I'll have my paper along for a proper game perspective some time late tonight or tomorrow.
If you're a new reader that I meet at tonight's game, please note that I hate stats and so this blog doesn't really contain any analysis.
The Sweep that Almost Was
Kristin mentioned the new pre-game video, but tonight was my first time seeing it. These are my two profound reflections on it:
1. Vesa Toskala is a clothes-whore.
2. Gary Roberts is ripped. Forget milk, organic does a body good! (And how funny is it that Gary's trying to teach Recchi to eat right? Who's helping him now that he's in Atlanta? Or is Recchi calling Roberts for tips in the Whole Foods aisle there?)
Note to Ryan: Please come save me from the stupid, seriously bad male hockey fans in Philly! (Not all of them are bad. The guys surrounding my seat on high tonight were great! But the others, pfft!) By the way, Ryan, I'm sending out New Year's cards. If you want one, email me your address.
Hatch and Kukkie were skating. Please let this mean that Mr. -12 (aka Rory Fitzpatrick) will not be in the line-up!
From my lovely section 212, row 2, seat 7 placement, I can see the benches across the way and the sin bins below me. (As I suspected, the Pens didn't visit the away sin bin for the decor.)
Scratches: Timonen (Oh no!). Fitzpatrick (Yeah!). Cote (Um, not entirely sure, so, no?)
Starting line-up: Biron, Hatcher, Coburn, Tolpenko, (wait for it) Sami Kapanen, and Carter.
I am so happy about Kapi and Cartsie being back together again, even if it's only for tonight. (Theme song, "Reunited and It Feels So Good.") I remember fondly how they fed each other for goals back when we could win at home. Kapi busts his behind on basically every shift out there and Carter seems to keep up with him. Add Tolpenko into the mix and you've got three skilled, quick guys out there.
Hartsie disappeared from the ice for a brief time during the first. From my vantage point, it looked like he was holding his wrist/arm.
At 9:33, Lupul steals the puck away from a 'Cane (doesn't really matter who), skates into their zone and scores an unassisted goal. The boy's still got jump left after walking all over Pittsburgh and in spite of losing to the Habs on Thursday. "Woo-hoo," to quote Beezer (the band, not the goalie, though John could have said that before.)
The 'Canes do manage to tie it up and score a go-ahead goal. I'm not unhappy with the first, but I also expect better.
'Canes score a goal, bumping their lead to two. I'm not really happy about it. Neither was anyone else wearing Flyers gear in section 212. (The random 'Canes fans were giddy.)
On a power play, Hartnell scores a goal at 5:28, assisted by Carter and Coburn. Nice! So glad the refs had to think about this one. My grandmother (may she rest in peace) could have seen it go in before her cataract surgery!
Lups looks around, figures it's time to tie things back up, and slaps one in at 7:32 on the assist from R.J. Umberger.
So, how ready am I for Eager to be the healthy scratch every night? Like, totally! No particular reason for that thought to hit me mid-period, but it did. I've tried to avoid the Eager-bashing, and I pretty much still am, but enough already. Really.
Sami was awesome on his shifts. To me, it seems like he's very underrated. I know he isn't wracking up goals and assists like others, but he's consistently crushing the hopes and dreams of the lines he's sent out to face. (Stevens once said he was pretty sure Kapi could play whichever position he asked him to, including goalie.) It irks me! But, again, I'm biased...he is on my sweater for a reason.
Random 'Cane (okay, Staal) scores another goal for the Dark Side.
"We only need one goal to tie it up." That's the only thing that I thought about as the third got underway.
Thirty seconds into the period, Tiny!Briere earns his ridonkculously over-inflated pay check. Making him look good were Hartnell and Coburn.
We're tied a little too early in the period. It's nice, but I wanted w a y more insurance than that.
Sami puts on a one-man clinic at one point during the third. He even put a guy into the boards hard enough for Raleigh to hear the thump. I loved it! Of course, it was also hugely frustrating because no one was in position for any really good set-up to get underway.
Another 'Cane scores a goal...argh!
But the period is not over until it's over. (Thanks, Yogi Bera.) Lups is not content with just one hat-trick this week. Oh, no! At 11:46, on a power play, he tips-in, he scores. The Mikes (Knuble and Richards) are responsible for the assists.
I love these guys but they give me heart failure! The period ends in a 5-5 tie and we head for the standard OT.
It's important to note that the officiating really...bit...during the whole game. The zebras made some of the worst calls I've ever seen and kept getting in the way...like "stepping on the puck and making it impossible for the players to get it without attacking them" bad.
With that explanation out of the way, and disregarding my dislike of Tiny!Briere (mandated star of the team, whiner, diver and spearer), what has to happen before a penalty is called when he's shoved to the ice and held down? Right next to the boards?
Do the refs see it? No. They're too busy calling Lups for hooking.
Does this occur so far way from the Briere Incident as to not be see by the refs? No, it's happening right next to it, before the hooking is ever perpetrated. In other words, to see Lups' hooking penalty, you had to already be viewing the Briere Pin-Down.
At any rate, nobody scores in OT and we head for the dreaded shoot out. (Nothing more needs to be written. Flyers + SO = Win for someone else's team.) 'Canes win 6-5.
Official (Unofficial) Points Race Update, Sponsored by Nadine of Flyers.Femme
In spite of Tiny!Briere's goal tonight, he's still behind Richie and his assist. While many consider Danny to be our best player, I'm so not buying into the NHL poster-child syndrome that disseminates his name and number onto most of the Flyers Fan Gear I see.
Richie: 14 G + 22 A = 36 points (+/- is a 9)
Briere: 14 G + 20 A = 34 points (+/- is a -5)
Weirdest moment of the game
Marty Biron is credited with the check of the game. Yep, our goalie may be a funny, well-spoken, very personable guy, but he's not afraid to knock you down in the corner! (Hey Cindy, "I don't cheat and I don't whine.")