"No time for love, Dr. Jones"
- Short Round, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
What's more important that Hilary beating back Obama in Nevada. Or Romney taking another for the Republicans. It is that I make my return to the Isles Blog Box to kick off 2008. Ok, not that stupendous. But, throw me a bone here.
I met Jon Jordan, our Tampa Bay blogger and fellow Isles Blog Boxer of the The Long Distance Islander . He and I broke bread at Champions. Well, actually broke wings. But close enough. Also at Champions were some chaps involved with www.lilighthouse.com
. We chatted for a bit. It is always great to see how everyone seems to know one another or know of one another in the small community of Isles fans. It's a small world, especially on LI. Now is the time to get involved.
The Isles website confirms what we already know. Chris Campoli is out tonight.
Dee Karl of the 7th Woman blog has brought us cookies in honor of Jon's jaunt to NY from Tampa. Despite being chock full of wings, beer, fries, onion rings, sliders and god know what else, a cookie is taken anyway. I feel like Mr. Creosote, about to be offered a wafer in Monty Python and the Meaning of Life.
Nolan is talking during a pregame interview about the D has stepped up their game. Nolan is finally admitting what many had seen with Campoli with icepacks in interviews and after the game (posters on both hfboards and islandermania was keyed on this). .. Campoli was hurt for a while and simply couldn't keep going.
Billy Jaffe is having mic trouble. Finally gets it going. Like a Metamucil cocktail. He talks about the keys to the game. He cites that Sutton will be key. Good call. And hopefully he won't take any bad penalties. Jaffe reminds us that the Flyers have a prolific powerplay, making them tremendously dangerous if we keep going into the box.
Jaffe might be dead-right here. He's come along way as that Atlanta farmboy on LI when the evil empire took Joe Micheletti from us. He is polished now. Tough on the team at times, and very astute.
Ok....almost time for the puck to drop.
Kate Murray DID NOT drop the puck. Her 2nd in command did. Interesting.
And awayyyy we go . . .
Early on the Isles D are disrupting the offensive rush of Philly. No, I won't be doing a play-by-play. But this battle between the crafty and talented Flyer offense and the playing bigger Isles D will be an important tale here.
Johnson with a nice play chasing his man and stopping the rush again.
Richard Park with the first infraction on the night: Hooking. This is what might deep-six us.
And it does cost us. Three Flyers come in. Pass is made, third guy gets it past DP. Flyers up 1-0. Hopefully this will warn them to stay out of the box. Hartnell from Carter and Jones.
And right after . . . fastbreak up the ice. GOAL, Isles. Park makes up for his transgression. 1-1. Berard and DP get the assists.
Hatcher gets caught for Tripping. Must be a Grateful Dead fan. Flyer now in the sin bin. Isles lead the shots 7-3, btw.
Like most Isles powerplays, it is a nailbiter. Philly got a shot off.
Isles setup, Biron makes a good save, getting the puck out of dodge. Isles don't make any better chance this PP. 8 to 4 in shots now. Isles all over Philly after the PP now. Defenseman has to slide in net. Next time the Isles break-in....another SCORE.
Vasicek gets the tally. Assists by Satan and Bergie.
Philly takes a timeout.
Nice to see the Isles sharp in the 1st period. Bodes well, either way this game goes. I'd rather see the Isles lose a heartbreaker than not come to play and give their all.
Bad giveaway, but DP makes the save. Philly buzzing a bit more now. Isles miss a chance that has the fans reacting. By the way, this is a very filled audience. Might be a sell-out or very close to it.
S...s...s...ooo c...c...cold in here. I hope the refurbished coliseum as part of the plans has some heat. I feel worse for Jon, who has the Tampa Bay warmer weather acclimation, and is shivering in a ball on the floor.
Flyers with another call when the Isles press. Isles are getting good chances. Hartnell for Holding.
Isles take their time...Flyers unable to clear. Then, they strike. GOAL!!! Wooooo, you suck is the chant. Such a catchy rejoinder for the manly game of hockey. Take that Botta!!!!!
Guerin on a tear with another goal. Gervais and Berard with the assists.
Flyers takes a run at DP. Fans are hot. Upshall gets a tripping call AND THEN an unsportsmanlike conduct call. 4 minutes.
Period ends with another 2:28 of PP next period.
BD's Fun Facts and Stats:
15 shots for the Isles to Philly's 8. Bad Giveaway: Isles 1, Flyers 0. Questionable Goonery: Flyers 1, Isles 0.
BD 1, His HB Flyer buddies commenting on his blog 0
Isles in the Flyer zone. PP continues.
Trent Hunter drops the gloves vs Lurch...errr...Hatcher. Hatcher shows him why Hunter, gritty as he is, just isn't a fighter.
4 on 4 opens the ice. Flyers press in the zone and make the Isles pay. 3-2 now.
Downie with the tally. His 3rd of the season. Assists to Hartnell and Richards.
Isles not looking as good as in the first. Meyer gets a tripping call. This is just allowing Philly entry into the game and they might tie it soon at this rate.
Isles PK holds. Meyer comes out, grabs puck and races down the ice. But Flyers D keeps him from making his shot count. Isles are waking up a bit. More action in the Flyerzone now.
Jon Jordan points out Biron's habit to move off to the side and meditate during breaks and when the Icegirls clean the crease. I just think maybe he is constipated.
Isles find their way back in the box. Gervais for hooking.
Flyers cleave right through the PK like a hot knife through butter. 3-3, tie game. Shots are tied 18-18 as well.
Hartnell with the PP goal. Upshall and Jones with the assists. Place is quiet now.
Guerin leaves the ice. We think it was equipment issue.
Flyers leading in shots now 19-20
Jackman dishing out hits. I miswrote that line originally and it read: Jackman dishing out gits. Oops. Don't think so.
And then he gets a penalty for being a bit over-exuberant with an interference call. Isles on the PK.
As I said in the Hockeybuzz chat to the Philly fans. I didn't expect the Flyers to take the 1st period laying down. This is not last years team.
Sutton with a holding call, which caps an Isles letdown in the 2nd. Only 4 shots on goal for them.
2nd period ends. Fans not happy. Nor should the Isles be. They need to not turn it on at first, and then suddenly go to sleep. And kudos for Philly to regroup after a poor first and tie the game. The 3rd will start with them on the PP.
BD's Fun Stats:
BD 1, Flyer fans 1. Good rebound boys. Isles 4 shots to the Flyers 13 plus penalties tells the tale. BD 4, Cookies 0. It really was no contest. I decimated Dee's baked goodies.
3rd PERIOD to start. Isles on the PK.
DP goes to play the puck and gives it away himself. That or it was just a bad bounce. Out of position, the Flyers then score. DP still has to find the narrow line of playing and overplaying the puck.
Hartnell gets another. Assisted by DP....ok...ok...Coburn and Timmonen.
BTW: Guerin is back on the bench this period.
Jason Smith gets a hooking call for Philly.
Not much doing. Flyers now all over the Isles. The Philly D has tightened up.
Isles milling about. Shots tied at 26 now. Biron and the Flyer D holding them off.
Flyers head up the ice and take a knife to fans hearts. 5-3 now. Richards with the goal. Gagne has the lone assist.
Off to head below soon. More later.
As we blog boxers head down to the locker room, I try to convince Jon Jordan that all first-timers need to run down the steps naked. No dice. The Blog Boxers, in general, are a pretty tight knit group. Everyone of them is talented, smart, and good eggs. There is no bad blood, stepping on toes, or even anxious moments. Jon fits right in. A smart and observant game watcher who has honed his own skills at Tampa Bay games, and a good blogger.
"This didn't have to do with our defense. This was about our team defense . . ."
". . . We didn't play as a smart team"
So we enter the media room to question Coach Nolan, and in he comes. Not a happy camper. Basically he felt, that despite that they were leading after the 1st, they weren't playing well. And then they got too focused on playing that same loose way in the 2nd period, and it then bit them.
I hear Ted on this...but I don't agree. I think they came out with spunk, and even if loose, it was because of that energy that they got those bounces and luck spinning their way. Sometimes energy can make things happen. But when the Isles came out in the 2nd, they were tentative. Nolan felt they were trying to be too fancy and not playing defensively. They were too stuck on going 4-1 and 5-1 instead of holding down the other team and the 2 goal lead.
Personally, I think if they were focused on 4-1 and 5-1 they actually would have been shooting the puck. They didn't. They had 4 shots on goal for the entire 2nd period as Philly came out stronger and their defense tighter. Their defense was absolutely porous in the 1st, letting the Isles come in to strike. And it is that plus the Isles energy which got them going. Then that energy turned. Then they made mistakes. Penalties. Bad bounces. It all fell inward. The biggest telling thing, and what probably irked Nolan the most was that there were 13 turnovers by the Isles in the 2nd period.
Ted felt that, ultimately, that the Isles are not the type of team that is going to score 7 goals. Therefore, they need to play a better game all-around. He seemed annoyed that the Isles played carelessly at times where they were overruning their man, or underrunning their man. So to him, he was frustrated that the Isles schemes based on what they wanted to do, were very off.
". . . Those are NHL defensemen out there. You are not going to beat them on some of those things we were trying . . ."
Bill Guerin, when interviewed, felt that the team was doing some really poorly thought out plays that were careless. Things that just would not work on a NHL-level defense. He felt the opposite of Nolan where he felt the team was trying to sit on a 3-1 lead, which is more what I saw in the 2nd, as well. He agreed with Nolan that they did not play well. He felt they good the good luck and bounces in the 1st and Philly got them later on.
Aaron Johnson didn't expect the amount of minutes he was given in the game. But felt good out there. I felt he seemed very winded and slower in the 3rd period, personally.
Rick DiPietro felt they played well, despite some turnovers and gaffes. The 2nd period is where he felt they ran into trouble A couple of bad bounces and caroms also didn't help.
So, a disappointing night, despite the sell-out and explosive first period. Philly is now 3-0 versus the Isles this season. Very important since both us might be vying for the same spot come the end of March.
Campoli: They are hoping he'll be back soon (Monday). Might be touch and go, to me, based on how Campoli and his shoulder feels.