- The Flyers coaching staff needs to sit down and review some basic principles with their team: Fighting is not part of hockey. Fighting is an extracurricular activity which is explicitly sanctioned and regulated by the rules of hockey. The key word here is extracurricular. If you’re going to fight, you really want to make sure the clock has stopped, because otherwise you end up with three of your players trash-talking Gorges next to the Habs’ net while Bouillon gets the puck and a clean break on Niittymaki, leading to a goal literally two seconds before the end of the period. I’ve never believed that, in hockey, physical aggressiveness correlates with stupidity, but maybe in some cases… However,
has been on a hell of a run the past couple games, he certainly deserves to get on the scoresheet for all his troubles. Gorges gets the unofficial assist for sheer sneakiness, though. He’s like the Coyote of hockey players, best keep an eye on him. Frances
- For once, the Habs actually protected a lead competently- like yesterday, their PKing was excellent, and they didn’t allow conservatism to turn into timidity. They did, however, give up a goal in the last 30 seconds, which I think was probably the result of getting mentally out of the game a bit prematurely, particularly on Price’s part, since it was the kind of thing he generally catches like the most inhumane kind of mousetrap. The dude who scored it was, apparently, one of Philly’s babies (side question: why do all our darari come up deferential and speedy at first, while all Flyers’ rookies come up heavy and seething with bloodlust?), and it was his first NHL goal. Congratulations, Cote-who-isn’t-our-Cote, you’ll now get to remember that moment of utter futility as one of the happiest of your life.
- Begin lays an egregiously dirty 1st period hit on Tolpeko, to which Smith takes very understandable umbrage. As I understand hockey-morality, this means everything is cool now, but personally, I wish Begin understood that half the fun of playing the Flyers is getting to indulge a feeling of self-righteous moral superiority. One so rarely gets that in hockey, Steve, don’t ruin it for the rest of us.
- I do like, however, that even though we seem to consistently outhit the Flyers (and, in fact, most of the teams we play), people still question the Canadiens’ physicality. I guess you’re not really tough until you’ve lost 10+ man-games to suspensions. But I’m not complaining. Thwacking, like every other hockey skill, is presumably more effective if your opponents aren’t expecting it. Hey, look at us, rest of the hockey world! We’ve got a bunch of Russians! We’re too full of existential ennui for body checking! Go ahead, go into that corner with your back turned, we’re all too busy pondering whether everyone on the team is equally complicit in Saku’s hooking penalty (can any one man really be held solely responsible for the hooking of another?), to squish you to shit.
- Except for Markov. He’s ornery these days. And Kostitsyn al-Asghar, he’s oversensitive to perceived slights and totally indifferent to punishment. And Kovalev, he’s actually rather big and rather brutal when it occurs to him to be so. So actually, maybe you should be a little careful of the Russians. But the Czechs, you’re totally safe from them, right? Right?
- I’m just ranting now.
- [Deep breath].
- Ryder definitely made the best out of his chance to get back in the lineup, with classic quick-finish goal and several other interesting chances. Between him, Koivu, and Lapierre all scoring, it was an excellent game for the holy-shit-we-needed-to-get-a-break-eventually crowd. Especially Lapierre- after looking lost for a while, he's been getting his confidence (read: bitchiness) back of late, and plays better for it.
- I can handle crap reffing. Adjudicating a game on ice is about as difficult and imprecise of a job as you can have, and mistakes are to be expected. As long as no one can demonstrate to me, with actual evidence, a systemic bias in those mistakes, I’m more than willing to consider it one of those impersonal forces in life that screws all people equally. But slow reffing is unbearable. There comes a point when you don’t so much care what the call is, you just want them to stop talking and get on with things. This game had more unnecessary review and consultation than I’ve ever seen, and that’s in addition to more than the standard number of inexplicable calls against both sides. Who knows, maybe they were actually listening to Carbonneau’s ranting.
We were within three points of
Nothing in this game makes any sense. The vicissitudes of the hockey season are sometimes cruel and sometimes kind. The only lesson I’m taking out of this weekend and it’s victories is the following: it ain’t over yet. There are 22 games yet to play, and trade deadline day is coming. Things look good now. But no one- not me, not you, not Bob Gainey or Gary Bettman, nor KOVYROCKS387 on the message boards- knows anything about where this will end up. After 60 games, everything is still as nearly wide open as it was at 0.