Monthly Archives: April 2009

It’s over! Phantoms’ tenure in Philly ends with loss

With a 1-0 victory on Friday, the Hershey Bears completed a four-game sweep of the Phantoms, knocking them out of the playoffs.  Graham Mink scored the lone goal for the Bears, as they ended the Phantoms’ 13-year reign in Philadelphia.

The Phantoms were sold earlier in the season to the Brooks brothers out of Pittsburgh , after news broke that Comcast-Spectacor would demolish the Wachovia Spectrum and build an entertainment complex called Philly Live! The Phantoms have a likely home in Allentown, but it is unknown if they will remain the Flyers’ AHL affiliate, or if they will change the name of the team.

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Bad JuJu: Lauren Hart to miss game

Due to the poorly timed trip to Ethiopia to adopt a child with her husband Todd Carmichael, Flyers’ anthem singer Lauren Hart will be absent for game six, as the Flyers take on Pittsburgh at the Wachovia Center.

It is the first time in eight seasons that Hart will be unable to perform live.  The Flyers will not replace Hart, but play a video of her singing “God Bless America” with Philadelphia icon Kate Smith.  During every home playoff games, Hart sings a duet of “God Bless America” with Smith.

Hart is the daughter of famous Flyers’ play-by-play announcer Gene Hart.

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Philabright’s 2009 NHL Mock Draft: Updated 6-17-09

The 2009 NHL entry draft will take place at the Bell Centre in Montreal on June 26 -27 and it is set to be an active one.  With many teams in the top-10 holding multiple picks in the first and second round, it is almost unpredictable as to which teams will deal to move up or down.

The top-end talent in the 2009 draft is one of the best in years, so many teams are hungry to get in the race.

The list below is a preliminary and is subject to change as the draft approaches and teams narrow down their choices.

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Flyers need more “G” to win

Anyone watching the Flyers – Penguins opening round playoff series, would be hard pressed to say that Philly rookie Claude Giroux, the kid the rest of the players simply call “G”,  has not been the Flyers’ best player.

He is second on the team with two playoff goals and is tied for first on the team in playoff points with four in five games.    As much as the league has been focused on rookie Bobby Ryan, Jerome Iginla and Alex Ovechkin, Giroux has matched all of them in points while getting much less ice time.

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Optimistic Flyers not giving up on series

Down 3-1 in the opening round of the post season, the Flyers would need a miracle to not be eliminated.  But don’t tell the players, who wrongly believe they’ve gotten jobbed out the series thus far and still have a shot.

“We could be up 3-1 instead of down 3-1,” said Flyers’ forward Danny Briere. “But, it is what it is.”

One could argue that the Flyers have  been the better team this series, but lack of consistency on offense, just like down the final stretch of the season, has been a common problem for the orange and black.  Throw in an en fuego Marc-Andre Fleury, and it’s a recipe for early elimination.

“We’re happy about the effort and the urgency but we have to keep going,” Briere said. “We’re not dead. It’s going to be a tough task, but to be successful you have to overcome some challenges. We’re not quitters.”

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Pens can’t touch Timonen’s spirit

Since game one, the Penguins have had the strategy of trying to destroy Flyers’ defenseman Kimmo Timonen, every time the 5-foot-10, 175 lbs. Finn touches the puck.  But however smart the strategy is, Timonen has not been phased.

The hardest hit came early in game three at the hands of Chris Kunitz. As Timonen skated toward the corner to dish the puck, Kunitz came flying out of nowhere and collided with the defenseman’s head, sending him quickly and violently on his back, hitting his head on the ice.  The crowd let out a gasp and Scott Hartnell charged Kunitz for some payback.

But the type of hit that could have easily knocked a player out for the rest of the series, was simply brushed off by Timonen, who continued to play as if nothing happened.

“If he is going into the game trying to hurt me, that’s fine,” Timonen said.  “I don’t really care.  Hopefully, we can do the same things to them tomorrow.  It really doesn’t bother me unless I don’t stay healthy.  I’m fine now.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow, actually.”

Aren’t we all.

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Ovy gets the boot from Rangers’ practice

After losing the first two games at home in their series with the New York Rangers, the  Capitals are desperate for answers.  So much so, that captain Alex Ovechkin was caught attempting to watch the Rangers practice at Madison Square Garden.

After just a few moments of observing, Rangers’ coach John Tororella  asked Ovechkin to leave. The Rangers PR staff offered him a seat in the stands, but he declined, but clearly made a point with the obscure move.

When asked by Capitals’ beat writer Tarik El-Basir about the incident, Ovechkin clearly knew what he was doing.

“Just to get Tortorella pissed off,” Ovechkin said.

When asked why they made him leave, Ovechkin had another gem. “Because they afraid of me,” he said.

Capitals’ coach Bruce Boudreau played the incident off as an innocent mistake.

“I think it was more of a lack of knowing the rules, that’s all,” Boudreau said. “They asked him to leave; he left. He just went out there and he wants to be around the rink. I don’t think he had a pen and paper, writing down line combinations or anything, but I can understand, I’ve gotten into the same arguments with different people when I want privacy in my practice, so I can understand what John was going through as well. ”

When asked about it, Rangers’ coach John Tortorella avoided knowing anything about the situation.

“Oh, God, I didn’t even know,” Tortorella said. “This is the first I’ve heard of it. Ask me a question about the game, not that crap.”

How great is playoff hockey?

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