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"All Geeked-Up for the Deadline..."
Newtown Square, PA • United States • 45 Years Old • Male
"I love the smell of napalm in the morning...it smells like....victory"
- Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore Apocalypse Now

Napalm in the morning
If you were to walk into Bank Building in South Philadelphia today, it would would have a peculiar odor...no not stale beer or rock hard pretzels...but of the scorched remains of the bird with the genus Toxostoma - otherwise known as a typical thrasher. The species of this on-ice bird, however, is a little more rare - the Atlanta Thrasher.

The Philadephia Flyers laid waste to the, now 0-6, Atlanta Thrashers last night at the Wachovia Center with a 4-0 shutout, winning their 4th game in 5 tries and picked up their Division leading 8th point. This victory was also their second home win in a row. Quite a bit different than last year's campaign, where they didn't win their fourth game until late in November and finished with only 10 home wins all season. At this point, John Stevens has the current crop of Flyers not worried about erasing the pain of only winning 22 games in 2007 - they are just concerned with winning the game they are playing that night, against that opponent. Nothing else.

It smells like victory.

This was a classic set up game against a team playing poorly, in fact five losses to open the season, and two days before a Turnkpike clash with the Jersey Devils. The Flyers had to be on their toes and not allow themselves to look ahead. The Thrashers came in and took the play to the Flyers for much of the first period. In fact, the save of the night was a highlight reel save off a high shot from Eric Perrin that forced Marty Biron to windmill around tossing his legs in the air to block, what looked to be, a sure goal. After watching that save, I shook my head at how calmly and confidently Marty moves between the pipes and how sound he is when he squares to the shooter. I get the feeling watching him that there will be no short-side goals, no tragic miscues or buzzer beaters from the red line. This guy is solid and unflappable. While I am not about to anoint Biron the second coming, his play, his demeanor and supreme confidence reminded me of another Philadelphia goalie...Pelle Lindbergh (RIP). Whether or not Marty reaches the same levels of personal and team success remains to be seen, but one thing is certain...he will have a chance to have more than "a cup of coffee" with this team.

After a hotly contested, scoreless first stanza in which Atlanta comanded the play, Mike Richards continued his torrid play with a smokin' wrister from 8ft out for his third goal to open the scoring 1:21 into the 2nd period. Lupul and Briere picked up assists on the Richards goal as both continue their strong play. Jeff Carter, another young gun, scored his fourth on a wrister from Hartnell and Lupul. I am so impressed with the play of Richards and Carter and, as I mentioned in my initial look at this team before the season began, the season will largely go where those two young men take it. They have more than answered the bell and are leading in many more ways than just points scored. Another pleasantly surprising player is Joffrey Lupul, who was disparaged by many an oiler fan. He has done nothing but put up one goal and five assists for six points, tied for second in team scoring with Gagne and Richards, played hard every shift, created opportunities and taken the body when it presented itself.

The backbreaker came 34 seconds after Jeff Carter's 4th, on a slam dunk goal, past a bewildered Johan Hedberg, by Sami Kapanen. Sami potted the goal into a wide-open net off a beautiful shot by R.J. Umberger coming down on the wing. That goal was the one that the Flyers never got to last year. The trailer was never there, the goalie ate it up, the shot went high and wide...you know the story. This year, the puck is bouncing right, the shots are on net with traffic in front, the trailer is in the right position and the goals are coming. Man, it is beautiful to see the game played like this. The napalm bomb that ended it was an absolute gem of a one-timer by Randy Jones, off a feed from Jeff Carter, for his first of the year.

Yes, it is only the Thrash. I know. But these were also the type of games that the Flyers would find a way to lose or tie last year.

Perhaps the most telling thing about the victory last night is that the goals were not scored by anyone named Knuble, Gagne or Briere. The young guys are stepping up and making themselves accountable every night. The defense is clearing guys from the crease, blocking shots (Thank you Jason Smith) and breaking up passes. The forwards and defensemen are getting rubber on the net, routinely causing havoc by screening netminders and taking advantage of their team speed. I cannot remember the last time when I have seen so many odd man rushes just born out of effort, anticipation and quickness. Marty Biron has been nothing short of spectacular thus far showcasing his acrobatics while circulating ice water in his veins. Last night's win was Marty's first as a Flyer and 19th of his career. He earned it.

One thing that is a truism about team sports is that success breeds confidence which in turn fosters further success. The Orange and Black are confident and playing well.

Will this team win the Cup? Who knows. Will they make some noise in the East? To be determined. Are they as fun a team to watch as we have seen in ten years, since the glory days of the Legion line? Hell yeah!

While I feelfor the plight of the Atlanta Thrashers, I also know that we were there last year. It isn't fun. The Flyers have risen from the ashes and are on the way to returning this storied franchise to respectability.

I love the smell of burnt Thrasher in the morning...it smells like...victory.

Thanks for reading...


(sorry two war movie references in two days....but then, I am a Republican)
October 17, 2007 1:27 PM ET | Delete
Sounds like you're having a lot of fun up there in Flyers-land. Poor Atlanta..."the horror, the horror..." -Kurtz.
October 17, 2007 1:31 PM ET | Delete
Yeah. Wars, idiotic references, conservatism, recession and bigitism all coincide with Repubicans very nicely. For sure, it is nice to see the Flyers off to a fine start. They became exciting to watch again last season, actually, sometime after the Forsberg trade. Yes, a team can still play exciting hockey and lose. Look at the LA Kings, for example. They have a lot of good young raw talent, but struggle to win games. It is soo much better, however, when exciting teams win. Keep up the good work, Flyboys! As for the Thrashers, I believe they should look to emulate what the Flyers did last year, and start their rebuilding process now -- especially if the Thrashers continue to fly South from Atlanta.
October 17, 2007 1:55 PM ET | Delete
Thanks for the political commentary Smack....lol. Loved it. Yeah they are a fun team to watch again and winning a few also helps keep the coach employed. Thanks for reading.Blue - you amaze me with your knowledge...almost Scoop-ian in fact. ;)Thanks for reading and commenting guys! SYF
October 17, 2007 2:15 PM ET | Delete
It does feel good. Nice work as always SYF.
October 17, 2007 2:44 PM ET | Delete
sure, no problem. It was actually a nice read. Well, the napalm references may be a little far reaching, but nicely written. It shows color, and character -- something I thought Republicans lacked. Speaking of which, I wouldnt have even made the political connection, had it not been so expressed. I'm considering Lou Dobbs's suggestion and registering as Independent -- there are losers in both parties, realistically.
October 17, 2007 3:08 PM ET | Delete
The only thing rubbing me the wrong way right now is Knuble, he seems to be losing the puck every shift, if he had his hands working he'd have about 3 more goals. I know he digs and does the hard work along the boards but it's driving me crazy. Great blog as usual.
October 17, 2007 3:34 PM ET | Delete
Back with a Vengence =)
October 17, 2007 7:07 PM ET | Delete
Knuble? Buts, Im lost there... I would have said Hartnell or Hatcher. But Im not ready to vote anyone off the island right now, things are going to well. Nice blog SYF! ATL really should rebuild but smacklby I dont think they could do what the flyboys did, some of the deals homer pulled off are amazing, absolutely amazing....like some of the best in our 40 year history (meyer for coburn- eventually, biron for a 2nd, forsberg for NAS future). I just dont think it could be done again, but stranger things have happened. I agree about the excitement of seeing secondary scoring but Im going to get nervous if after a few more games the #1PP and 1st line doesnt get it going again. I would love to see Hartnell, Timmonen, and the 1st line have a big game against NJ.
October 17, 2007 7:09 PM ET | Delete
Ohh the Biron trade was really a 3rd this year and a 3rd next year (after we traded for the 2nd during this years draft to pick up Marshall- who looks like he has a future in the NHL).
October 17, 2007 7:27 PM ET | Delete
After a hotly contested, scoreless first stanza in which Atlanta comanded the play, Mike Richards continued his torrid play with a smokin' wrister from 8ft out for his third goal to open the scoring 1:21 into the 2nd period.From what I saw it was a shot by Lupul that Richards caught threw to the ground and shoved in from about 3 inches from the post... I dunno wwhat game you were watching buddyThe Flyers, for the most part are not scoring beautiful goals as you are explaining them as. Actually the only nice goal in the game was the Jones goal, from the finishers perspective. This is the case with alot of the goals this season, they have come of of very hard work and grit.
October 17, 2007 7:42 PM ET | Delete
Hey Junkie, I love Knuble but he has not been playing well, the puck bounces off his stick all night, seriously watch for it, I swear he lost control of the puck causing a turnover 3 or 4 times last night.I know he does the little things but I swear he isn't 1st line material.
October 17, 2007 9:37 PM ET | Delete
Lupul would be interesting on the first line ...but he does not bring enough physical presence to his game - I love how he is hitting - but I don't see him as a banging on the boards behind the net kind of a player.
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