Crosby or Flyer Fans?
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Just for fun, I like to read the opposing team's blog and comments during the playoffs. It helps me to get a true hatred for the other team's fans going!
I am kidding of course.
I have been alive too long to HATE any other team's fans or even any of the other teams at this point...although as players go...Scott Hartnell is tough to like...when he is NOT on YOUR team. But I guess he wouldn't be a very effective player if that wasn't the case.
So, leading up to and through this series I have read Bill Meltzer's and Tim Panaccio's blogs (as well as others on the net) and the numerous comments from the Flyer (and some Penguin) fans.
Given the well established criticism that Sidney Crosby gets from the Flyer nation...something struck me as a bit ironic.
Philly fans REALLY like to complain...probably MORE than Sid does...
Now, don't get me wrong, PLENTY of Penguins fans complain too...it's just that there seem to be many, many replies by Philly fans and LOTS of them are complaints about numerous things.
These are in no particular order...
Uneven officiating caused by Crosby's whining.
Gary Bettman's obsession with...Sidney Crosby.
The Pens are a two man team.
The Pens fans are whiners
Crosby is not as good as Ovechkin
and on and on...
Of course, one of the main vote getters in the "most popular complaint" category would be Crosby's whining.
Here's the funny thing about that...in this series I am really not seeing that as being an issue - especially as it pertains to power play chances
First, let me get one thing clear...I am not here to debate what SHOULD and SHOULD NOT have been called a penalty. We could be here for the rest of our lives talking about that. For the record, so far, I think there has been a pretty even amount of calls vs. non calls (that should have been calls) for both teams...including a number of high sticks against both teams that were missed.
Though 4 games, the total power play chances are 25 for the Pens and 22 for the Flyers.
A Flyer fan might argue...Hey, there is your proof right there!!!! The Crosby Effect!!!
But look a little deeper.
In game one, the Pens showed up to play, and frankly, the Flyers DID NOT. The Flyers were clearly the slower team in game 1 and until later in the contest, were totally outplayed. In that game the Pens had 9 power plays and the Flyers had 4. That's a big difference. But if you keep in mind how lopsided most of the game was...and how the Flyers simply did not seem to have their legs in that game (as most Flyer fans would HAVE to agree), it's not too tough to see how uneven power play chances could occur. When you are not moving your feet, you are definitely more likely to use your stick in ways that are illegal.
Game 2..Pens had 5, Flyers had 4...Game 3...both teams 6...Game 4... Flyers 8, Pens 5..
So, over the last 3 games, which have been very competitive, the Flyers actually hold an 18-16 advantage in power play chances.
And if I am not mistaken, there have been more calls made for hooking and holding Jordan Staal or Evgeni Malkin than there have been for doing the same to Crosby. In fact, to the best of my recollection, I can only think of 1 or maybe 2 calls that have been directly associated with Crosby during this series (penalties committed while defending Crosby).
So if Crosby is whining to the refs...I am not seeing it as really helping the Penguins to date.
The second most popular (by no scientific means of measuring whatsoever), is that Crosby is a diver.
Well...honestly...I haven't seen him take one in this series.
On the other hand...I saw a few interesting "falls" by Flyers last night. A very large and strong guy named Knuble took an interesting fall from what looked like "minor" contact...and Scott Hartnell seemed to lose his edge while trying to cut back to the net after what appeared to be "marginal" contact by Sergei Gonchar...both resulting in Flyer power plays.
But even more interesting were the number of Flyers that seemed to lose their complete ability to skate and thus fell helplessly on top of goaltender Marc Andre Fleury.
Let's face it...Crosby's goal was a tough one to take. As a Pens fan, I can honestly say I would have been PO'ed too if the Flyers had scored with a player "crashing" the net.
I think the goal call, although tough to take, was legit. And I knew the rest of the game the Flyers would be crashing the net...which they did.
But by late in the 3rd period, it was almost comical how frequently Flyers were "falling" all over Fleury. They should have awarded style points for those efforts. The "Flying Powe" and the "Double Lupul" would be good names for a couple of those.
(Unofficial stats of the night: Pens won the game 3-1 but the Flyers won the "players into the opposing net" contest 4-1).
And that brings me to my last point. Complaints that the Pens are a two man show.
I think it's safe to say that we have a pretty good goalie here in Pittsburgh. He did not perform to his standards in game 3 and he made sure everybody forgot about that quickly in game 4. Granted, in game 3 he did not get much defensive help, but in game 4 he made sure it DIDN'T MATTER how much defensive help he got. He was brilliant. If it were not for a vicious body check by Orpik that sent a helpless Lupul flying into Fleury and knocking him down (please read the sarcasm in that body check comment), Fleury may have even saved the follow-up shot that Carcillo scored Philly's only goal on.
Offensively, it's tough to argue the impact of Crosby and Malkin...they have 6 and 7 points respectively and have scored 6 goals. But there are 13 other Penguins who have registered at least 1 point in the series and 5 other players have scored a total of 7 goals (Guerin 2, Kennedy 2. Talbot, Eaton and Scuderi all with 1). So there have been contributions from many other players...including the Kennedy GW from last night.
I guess where I am going with all of this is that I understand fans love their teams. I understand they like to "argue" with the opposing teams fans. I also know that NO fan can be completely objective...being "fanatic" about one team makes that virtually impossible.
BUT...fans CAN be more realistic and knowledgeable. And it's that second one that all fans should strive for...being more knowledgeable.
When you watch a game, you watch it with your eyes...but as a fan, you see it with your heart.
Sometimes it's a good idea to look at the numbers a little and try to get some distance from the emotional element of the game...that way you can get a better appreciation for what's really going on.
What's really going on in this series is...
Crosby is NOT whining more or less than anybody else
Crosby is not diving more or less (well probably less) than anybody else
The refs have been pretty even in their calling of the games...they are screwing up calls for both sides on an equal basis (if it helps for you to think of it negatively)
The Penguins are a pretty well rounded team...with a goalie who CAN BE EXCEPTIONAL when he is focused like he was last night...
Right now, the Penguins deserve to be up 3-1 in the series...mostly because Philly did not show up in game 1.
Flyer Fans complain more than Sidney Crosby does...
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