It's great when your team hands out an old fashioned ass-whompin'. It's better when they do it to a division rival. It's even better when that rival is loaded with hypocritical, whining clowns.
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The Flyers utterly destroyed the Pittsburgh Penguins last night in South Philadelphia. The line of Mike Richards, Joffrey Lupul and RJ Umberger combined for ten even strength points and and tagged Sidney Crosby with an ugly -3. Lupul and Umberger each had a hat trick. Richards had three assists and was a defensive force. Lupul finished with 6 points and Umberger had 5.
Marty Biron had a strong outing in goal, and outside of two poor penalty kills in the first period the Flyers defense was very solid, too.
The game almost got out of hand in the third period. The Pens were down 5-2, so they decided to start being physical. That managed to include stickwork and hits from behind as well as tripping the Flyers goalie and then taking a shot at his knees.
The Flyers, the NHL poster boys for dirty play, kept it clean. They responded to the Pens chippiness by being willing to man up and fight, yet didn't repeat the issues they had in past games this season. It was refreshing to see, especially for me as I have been calling on the Flyers to play smarter all season long.
Flyers coach John Stevens wasn't happy following the game, pointing out that a few Pens broke their sticks in slashing Flayers, and continued to try and goad the Flyers with less than sportsmanlike behavior.
Pens coach Michel Therrien responded in much the same way Sidney Crosby responds to most on ice activities....with a fine whine.
"Are we talking about the same team that had five players suspended this year? It's a lack of respect to do what he did. You don't send your best power play on the ice at 7-2." Therrien said, when told of Stevens' comments.
Well, Flyers' beat writer Tim Panaccio dug out his game notes from a few games last year, where the Pens had lumped up the hapless Flyers. Panotch found instances of the Pens running their top PP unit when the game was 5-1. My question is, is Therrien the pot or the kettle?
Another good story line from last night was the continuation of the Sidney Crosby-Mike Richards war of the words. Unfortunately, Sid didn't back up his mouth with his fists or his play last night. Even though Rob Parent named him one of the games three stars, Crosby's biggest effect on this game was giving the raucous Philly crowd a whipping boy.
Crosby is a great player, but he needs to grow up. Michel Therrien is a subpar coach. He needs to find a new line of work.
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