Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Stanley Cup Final Game 3: Inevitable?

Chicago and New York fans alike - as well as many mistaken others - were ready to write off the Flyers after they went down 0-2 in the series against the Hawks. But, as the adage goes, a series isn't decided until the home team loses and the home team has yet to lose, as the Flyers got Game 3 by beating the Hawks 4-3 in overtime tonight.

Yep, another one-goal game.

It is hard to believe but the more you watch these teams, the more even they are ... despite coming from two different places. Chicago is speed, Philly is power. Sure both have some quantity of the other qualities - they wouldn't be here if they didn't - but the basis of their games are speed and power respectively. Tonight the Flyers' power limited the Hawks speed and they won ... that simple.


*As you can see in the photo, they sold Flyer logo-shaped pretzels at the Wachovia Center. Yes, I had one. But I didn't feel good about myself afterwards. Haha.

*The national anthem in Chicago beats out God Bless America in Philly by a mile. The anthem and it is corresponding ovation is thunderous. God Bless America ... well, Philly would be better served just airing the full Kate Smith recorded version than having Lauren Hart butcher half the song.

*That being said, when the Flyers stepped on the ice to the Rocky theme ... wow. The building went wild. And when the Flyers needed a boost late, the building MC played Eye of the Tiger. Sly Stallone's opus = Philadelphia.

*Philly overcame Pat Kane's arrival to the series, which was unexpected. Kane was physically challenged early and often and responded with a goal and an assist.

*A number of times Chicago just collapsed back into their own end, which was expected. When the Flyers started pressing in the third of the last two games, the Hawks did the same thing they did tonight - gave up the blueline and chased the puck. Coach Q noticed and put Ben Eager out to change the tide - which he did for a minute or so but his teammates weren't able to keep it up.

*For all of the hitting going on by Philly, I'm not sure Ian Laperriere played. Sure the box score has him over six minutes but I didn't notice him once.

*It is amazing what experience brings as Marian Hossa and Chris Pronger clearly had a poise and drive that their teammates couldn't match. Hossa's effort was outstanding.

*Danny Briere had a goal and an assist, was constantly swarming the Chicago net and won nine of 12 faceoffs. Sure glad Glen Sather signed Chris Drury instead, huh?

*But a dumb signing by Sather is inevitable, as was Philadelphia's victory. They had a potential game-winning goal waved off (good call) and, unlike many other teams, kept their heads up and feet on the pedals to press the action. It paid off in the real game-winner when Chicago backed into their own end, lost coverage and left their goaltender out to hang.

After the game Coach Laviolette had this to say: "(Down) 2-0 for us is comfortable. We're ok with that, we know how to battle through it. We knew how imporant the game was tonight. once we wake up tomorrow morning, we know we have to hold serve on home ice."


mike said...

Lame gripe on signing Drury over would not have come close to saying that during last season's 29 games-played total for #48. I can only imagine the rage Briere would've faced from the Ranger fanbase if his groin problems kept him out of 53 games for the Rangers while making $8 million. It would have made the hatred of Malik or Redden look like nothing.

Anonymous said...

Did the OT goal go off his skate? It sure looked that way to me.....

Scotty Hockey said...

Mike - Are you saying that fans will be outraged at Marian Gaborik when he inevitably returns to being Marian Gaborik and gets hurt? Injuries are injuries, you can't get mad over them. They happen.

You can get mad at paying a guy seven million dollars to be a mediocre third line player on the downside of his career and the worst captain in New York Ranger history...

mike said...

Scotty--In relation to Briere vs. Drury, if memory serves Briere was asking for more $$$ than Drury or Gomez, and the Rangers wanted to sign two players rather than just one injury-prone player. In a game of attrition like hockey, it's arguably the smarter move to go for two bodies instead of one. We're not talking about Gaborik here either, but instead Briere vs. Drury. Hindsight is always a great vantage point to look at something like this. If Gabby had missed 53 games this year Sather would have finally been fired, the press would've massacred him along with the Ranger fanbase. Fans do get mad at guys who get hurt a lot too, Danny Briere at this time last year was a league punchline who had nearly been chased out of Philly by the fans and the press.

I have a question for you. Briere has certainly been excellent this year, playing a full slate of games and performing well in the playoffs. But what if he gets hurt again next year, and misses 60% of the season? Considering the nature of his injury it will probably reoccur, like Gaborik's. In a salary-capped sport, is it worth overpaying a good player like Danny Briere to miss a lot of time over the duration of his contract? You can argue either way, I'm curious.

Some moves just don't work out. Drury will never approach the numbers that Briere is capable of, but then he never really did in his career anyway.

bsv said...

Briere hasn't even been that excellent this year. 53 points in 75 games isn't exactly setting the world on fire when he's making 6.5 million until 2014-15. Plus, he's 32 years old right now. He's not getting better. He's a good player, maybe even very good when healthy. But in a capped league he's paid like a great player.

If the Rangers wanted Briere, I'd bet the Flyers wouldn't charge too much for him. The Flyers forwards that they'd want to keep over him (factoring in cap hit):

Richards, Carter, Giroux, Leino, Gagne (expiring contract),Van Riemsdyk.

Drury is vastly overpaid and one of the few forward's contracts worse than Briere's. But in two years, Drury is gone. I'm sure the Flyers will love Briere hitting their cap for 6.5 mil when he's 35 years old. And then again when he's 36 and 37.

Scotty Hockey said...

Overpaying for free agents is what we do as the Rangers - we did it for Drury and Redden and we will do it for Volchenkov and who knows who else. But if Volchenkov and whoever else could bring a Cup to New York, then whatever the money is is worth it.

Even if Briere helps the Flyers to the Cup and scores the clincher, he still will eventually be ran out of town injured and old. But the team will have won a Cup and those are quite precious. The Rangers started a bad trend in the NHL by assembling mercenaries to win a Cup but the '94 team is still hailed as heroes just the same.

Ya know what I mean?