I’m a little behind in my blogs. I apologize for that. A lot has been going on throughout the hockey world.
I want to touch a little bit on the Milan Lucic hit on Sabres’ goaltender Ryan Miller. Lucic wasn’t suspended nor fined for the hit however, this has left plenty of fans upset. NHL Dean of discipline, Brendan Shanahan has a shot of having consistency when it comes to throwing the book at players. Several people which include; the fans, Sabres and former referee Kerry Fraiser who believe that the wrong call was made by Shanahan. I however completely disagree. I think that the right call was made. Miller came out of his crease to play the puck. Lucic dropped the shoulder into Miller and if you look at the video closely, Miller puts his shoulder up and expects the hit. I don’t think goalies should be protected because they’re goalies. That’s why they have the crease. This is the game of hockey and hits are part of the game. Miller left his “green zone” and went out into the battle field and got hit. That’s just part of hockey. What I thought was a little classless of Miller, is when he swung his goalie stick at Lucic shortly after the hit. Miller suffered a concussion on the hit which is why I think fans are upset that there wasn’t a suspension.
This brings us back to the Hit vs. Injury, debate. A clean hit is a clean hit. A dirty hit is a dirty hit and an injury should never factor the outcome of suspension. (Light Injury; 2 games, heavy injury; 10 games) A dirty hit should be a set amount of games, plain and simple. This is why I think Shanny got this correct. Miller took a clean hit, far away from his crease and got hurt. Just because he was hurt, the hit was clean thus no suspension. This is exactly what the NHL needs. If goalies don’t want to get hit then they should stay in their crease.
I was also surprised about the Sabres lack of vengeance. Miller is arguably a top 3 goaltender in the NHL and he gets cruised out of commission and the Sabres did not retaliate. Perhaps they agree with me and it was Miller’s fault and his losing battle. I don’t think that is the case. However, this does spice up the rivalry and it will make it an entertaining season series the rest of the way. “We're going to have five more chances to play them.” said Ryan Miller after the game.
Per Paul Holmgrim, Flyers Defenseman Erik Gustafsson underwent wrist surgery and is expected to miss six weeks.
The Flyers are 6-1-1 on the road which is a NHL best. The Flyers seem to be more comfortable with one another. Their chemistry is getting better and their playing more of a team game than an individual effort. They still have one nagging problem that I see; they’re undisciplined. Since the season started the Flyers have taken way too many penalties and it has cost them. Lately, their PK has been dominate however if the Flyers keep this up, their special teams are going to lose energy fast as the season progresses. Regardless, any close game can be decided on special teams as we have seen before.
Brayden Schenn has been skating with the team and I’m curious to where he’s going to fit in. The Flyers aren’t going to let him sit since he was part of the Richards deal and is one of the top prospects in the NHL. I think sitting Nodl and letting him get a start on the 4th line is the way to go. Rookie Sean Couturier as proven he’s a solid 3rd liner and needs to gain more experience because he will be a top line forward at some point in the future. (2-3 years) He’s been bouncing back and forth between the 3rd and 4th line and has been an essential part of the Flyers PK success. Schenn could replace Nodl, who I think has been a bust while Harry Z is sent back to the Phantoms. Rinaldo has proven that he’s more worthy than Jody Shelly and even brings speed and scoring to the table. Shelly’s lack of discipline, speed and skills has him as the odd man out in my opinion. He’s a heavyweight, but is a risk to the Flyers. Rinaldo isn’t afraid to take on a heavyweight, despite his small size. The kid can hold his own when it comes to dropping the gloves.
I’m not going to talk much about Tampa’s 1-3-1 “trap” but I will say this; The Flyers handle that situation very well and the NHL should not intervene and come up with a rule. Hockey can be a game of strategy and even though it’s bad for the game (in an entertaining sense) it shouldn’t be up to the officials to stop the play. The 1-3-1 can work if played correctly, but can take the momentum out of the team applying it, if the opponent responds the same way the Flyers did.
The Flyers faced the Winnipeg Jets of old, the Phoenix Coyotes tonight and Ilya Bryzgalov got the victory against his former team. The Flyers have extended their winning streak to three and have points in eight consecutive games. The Flyers will follow this game against the Winnipeg Jets of new on Saturday. Perhaps we’ll see a much closer game than the 9-8 final than we saw a few weeks ago. Jagr left the game with a groin pull and will not make the trip to Winnipeg. According to a friend of Jagr’s, he doesn’t suspect the injury is serious and is on a “day to day.”
On Monday, a Flyer great was nominated into the NHL Hall of Fame. This would be the great Gordie Howe’s son, Mark Howe. Howe, collected 197 goals, 545 assists for 742 points in 929 games for the Flyers, Red Wings and Hartford Whalers. You can watch Howe’s acceptance speech here;
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