Last year, Sidney Crosby and the Penguins owned the Flyers. Dennis Lemieux didn't even have to ask Joe McGrath to see that. The Pens won all 8 meetings and Crosby scored almost at will.
Well, this season, the story has been different. The Flyers have won the first two meetings, and Crosby has not scored a goal. Crosby has been largely frustrated, especially in the last meeting, just over a month ago. In the Flyers 5-2 win, Crosby took a slash across his wrist from Flyers captain Jason Smith and had a nice, long jawing session with Mike Richards.
Even ESPN noted the the spat, calling the Crosby-Richards "rivalry" one of the top ten in hockey. Richards is sure to get a ton of shifts against Crosby this evening, and neither of these excellent young players is going to be intimidated.
The two teams couldn't be more different as far as play of late. The Pens are red hot and starting to click. The Flyers have been doing a Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde routine of late, having a great effort and controlling one game, then coming out flat the next. They have alternated wins and losses over the past 8 games.
The good news is, in their last game, a 2-1 loss in Colorado, the Flyers had good jump and worked hard. Martin Biron also seemed to rebound from a somewhat rough stretch with a strong outing.
I expect the teams to come out flying tonight. Not only is it a divisional game, but these teams are building up a healthy dose of hate for one another.
-Flyers fans, get cracking on voting for Richards for the All Star Game. He is currently 18th overall and 2nd among write in candidates, behind Alex Kovalev of Montreal.
-Good luck to Jussi Timonen in Dallas. I hope he makes the NHL line-up in short order.
-There have been rumblings of a Marty Turco for Martin St Louis swap. This trade makes too much sense to actually happen.
-Why does Versus continuously subject us to Joe "Joe Benihana" Beninati doing play by play? The guy is as boring as reading the CBA and he spends more time talking about his day than actually doing play by play. There are PLENTY of better PxP guys available.
-Kudos to the Predators for locking up David Legwand long term. He's an excellent two way player and seems to be getting even better offensively. Good job by David Poile.
-How long do Caps fans have to suffer George McPhee?
-While hanging Christmas lights this weekend, in shorts and a tee shirt, I seem to remember when New Jersey used to get snow in December.
-I made it through a blog without calling Colin Campbell inconsistent and bad at his job...D'OH!!!
-Interesting to see Mark Recchi end up in Atlanta. I think I'd try him at center, rather than the wing.
-I despise the trend of guys fighting just to fight. When two guys line up and ask each other if they wanna go at a face-off it makes the fight a sideshow. If you are going to drop the gloves do it defending one of your teammates, so fighting advocates like me can use the argument of "players policing the game" when we decry the instigator penalty.
-The instigator penalty sucks and the NHL needs to allow the players to police the game, and not rely so heavily on the refs, who are inconsistent at best.
-I have a suggestion to the 3 point game that folks seem to find annoying. My suggestion is 2 points for a regulation or OT win, 1 point for a shootout win and NOTHING for a loss. You shouldn't get a reward for losing in OT or the shootout and you should not get as much credit for winning the skills competition as you do for winning a hockey game.
-I have come to really despise the NFL. I hope the Patriots run up the score the rest of the year.
-I like Brian Burke and think he's a brilliant GM and has assembled a fantastic staff. However, signing Bertuzzi and Schneider for all that money has really bit him in the ass a bit. I mean even if you let Dustin Penner walk, you could have had Bobby Ryan in the line-up, getting valuable experience at the NHL level. Giving Schneider so much money makes trading him(which seems likely) difficult, even though there's about 18 teams that could use him. They lost Ilya Bryzgalov for nothing and it looks as if they'll trade Schneider for pennies on the dollar to make room for Scott Niedermayer and possibly Teemu Selanne to return.
-The Simpsons Movie will be out on DVD December 18th. I will happily accept copies for Christmas if anyone feels the need for karma.
-I miss stand-up goalies.
Well, that is all for today, folks. Go Flyers!!