Category Archives: Stanley Cup Playoffs

Crosby’s hat trick complaint stuns media

With less than five minutes to play in the third period,  the Washington Capitals took the dominating 4-2 lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins with the third goal of the night from Alex Ovechkin.  As the hats came flying off at the Verizon Center in celebration of  the hat trick from their beloved superstar, Penguins’ captain Sidney Crosby could be seen chatting up the referee.

When asked about what he and the ref talked about, Crosby did the worst thing possible: Answer that question honestly to the media.

“People kept throwing hats,” he said. “I was just asking if he could make an announcement to ask them to stop. I mean, the first wave came and then I think they were all pretty much picked up, and then more started coming. So for us, we just wanted to make sure we kept kind of moving and kept the game going, wanted to try to get back in it. So wasn’t complaining about anything.”

For a player who has the infamous reputation of whiner and complainer, Crosby did no favors for himself admitting to his attempts to cease the fan’s celebration, like his demands could even be met.

And as Crosby, who netted a hat trick himself, whines about the celebrations, Ovechkin continues to separate himself from the league-appointed savior, as the real king of the NHL.


Filed under Around the NHL, Stanley Cup Playoffs

Collapse! Flyers blow three-goal lead to end season

At one point in the contest, the Flyers were booking their flight to Pittsburgh for game seven.  But with four unanswered goals and more power play impotency from Philly, the Flyers dropped the game in front of a national audience, ending their season in devastating fashion, while the Penguins advance to face the winner of New Jersey – Carolina.

Down three games to one in the series, the Flyers battled back to force a game six at home.  And all appeared well after goals from Danny Briere, Joffrey Lupul and Mike Knuble rocketed the Flyers to a 3-0 lead.  But like a microcosm of the season as a whole, the Flyers showed inconsistency offensively and got sub-par goaltending to waste the game.

Early in the second period, Ruslan Fedotenko scored a garbage goal in front to get the Pens on the board at 3-1 and get the team moving.  Shortly after, Pittsburgh defenseman Mark Eaton tapped in a rebound in mid air past Marty Biron to cut the lead to 3-2.  On a similar play, just minutes later, Sidney Crosby smashed in another mid air rebound by Biron, to lock the score at three.

Stunned and bewildered, the Flyers came out in the third period with no momentum.  And the Penguins countered.  Sergei Gonchar took a drop pass from Evgeni Malkin at the blue line.  The potent blue liner set up and ripped a slap shot past Biron, low stick side, giving the Pens the 4-3 lead.  Biron had no screen on the play.

The Flyers did everything they could to lock the game back up, but it wasn’t enough to beat Marc-Andre Fleury, who made 22 saves and was clutch late in the game.

Mike Knuble, Marty Biron, Antero Niittymaki and Andrew Alberts are all pending UFA.

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Filed under 2008-09 season, Stanley Cup Playoffs

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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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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Filed under Around the NHL, Stanley Cup Playoffs

Ross puts Huntsville on the map in NHL playoffs

If someone saw Flyers’ forward Jared Ross in the supermarket, they may mistake him for a bagger or cashier.  But the diminutive 26-year old with a  boyish face and 5-foot-9, 170 lbs. frame has not only played in the NHL, but has done something no one else, big or small, has ever done: Be a native of Alabama and score a goal.

Less than four minutes in the third period of the Flyers – Penguins game three matchup, Ross grabbed an Andrew Alberts rebound and stuck it into the net, giving his team the much-needed insurance goal and 5-2 lead.  The tally was not only the first of his career, but inked him into the record books.  Ross celebrated accordingly.

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Filed under Philadelphia Phantoms, Prospects, Stanley Cup Playoffs

Flyers show depth in first win vs Pens

For rookie Claude Giroux, it was a game of firsts.

In front of a national audience in a  must-win postseason game, many youngsters may be timid.  But not Giroux. The rookie out of Gatineau scored his first playoff NHL goal and assist and even had time to get in his first fight, which he won via take down.  Giroux powered the Flyers to a 6-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins and helped notch Philly’s first win in the series.  The Flyers remain down 2-1 in the best of seven and will return to the Wachovia Center, Tuesday for game four.

After the Penguins silenced the Flyers’ big guns in games one and two, they failed to continue the trend in game three.  Jeff Carter opened scoring early in the first period and a few minutes later, Mike Richards tallied on the power play to make it 2-0. The Flyers’ first multi-goal lead of the series.  Simon Gagne netted a shorthanded goal from a beautiful pass from Giroux and rookie Jared Ross scored his first-ever NHL goal for the insurance.  The Flyers had five different players score, one from each line, an both a shorty and powerplay tally.

But the win wasn’t without a scare. With less than a minute to play in the opening stanza, a failed defensive assignment by multiple Flyers led to an Evgeni Malkin goal to cut the Flyers’ lead in half.  The Pens carried the momentum into the second when Rob Scuderi scored from the point, less than a minute into the middle period.

But the Flyers battled back. Giroux regained the lead for the Flyers, burying a perfect pass from Danny Briere, for the 3-2 lead.

Flyers’ fans were absolutely ballistic in what could be the most energetic and exciting game (other than maybe the Montreal – Bruins series) so far in the post season.

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Filed under Prospects, Stanley Cup Playoffs

Sbisa in for Carcillo at forward

The Flyers have announced that rookie Luca Sbisa will replace suspended Daniel Carcillo as forward for game two of the Flyers – Penguins first-round series.  Naturally a defenseman, Sbisa has played forward on the fourth line sparingly for the Flyers during the regular season. It will be his first career NHL playoff game.

With Kimmo Timonen and Randy Jones  missing practice on Thursday due to injuries, it makes sense to have your emergency defenseman dressed.  Sbisa is strong on the forecheck and can move the puck.  However, his finishing skills are a bit off.

Sbisa was brought up to the Phantoms after his season with Lethbridge of the WHL ended.  He was then brought up from the Phantoms to the Flyers the instant Philly’s post season began because of salary cap allowences in the playoffs.

Darroll Powe will move to a line with Danny Briere and Claude Giroux.

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Filed under Prospects, Stanley Cup Playoffs