Are you seeing what I’m seeing? Off in the distance…something is eerily descending from the heavens…is that Falcon Heene? Oh no, never mind, it’s actually the sky falling.
Six games into the 2009-2010 Philadelphia Flyers season, doom and gloom has reared its ugly head again. Like the vexatious Republican uncle (every family has one), sentiments from outside the Flyers camp are rather bleak at this juncture in season. Yes, I’m referring to the fans. Me. You. Angel…
The echoes are apparitions of seasons past. Playing a full sixty-minute game. Holding third period leads. Defensive zone brain freezes. Hell, the Flyers might as well sign Bill Murray and adorn him with a number two jersey. That’s how “Brian Bridges” this situation is. Cranking up the tube on game day has become equivalent to that pesky box of chocolates; you just don’t know what you are going to get.
Yup, I just quoted a retard. But hey, that is better than quoting John Stevens, right?
“I thought we did a lot of good things…”
Really, John? How many times are we going to hear the SAME phrase after a game in which the Flyers committed mistakes uncharacteristic of any championship caliber team?
Ok, ok, I realize that my dramatics are on par with high school quarterbacks singing and dancing on FOX, but sometimes it’s fun. From a realist’s standpoint, it is only six games into the season. And, in this version of the NHL, the Flyers have a winning record (3-2-1). And while we are on this whole realist trip, I LOVED Forest Gump. But moving on. The season started in near flawless fashion. Two power-pl ay goals and a Ray Emery shutout closed the door on the Eastern Conference semi-finalist Carolina Hurricanes in the opener. The following night, Devil fans played the part of the heartbroken North Carolinians, as they left their arena reeling from a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Flyers.
Two nights, two victories. Dominating victories at that. All is good in the kingdom of Orange and Black.
Then Obama’s favorite Russian, Alexander Ovechkin, came into town and we saw an early season candidate for Game of the Year. There was so much up-and-down action that even an inebriated prom queen would be impressed. Probably a classless joke for a hockey blog, but who am I kidding, no one is going to read this.
In the end, Danny Briere scored the overtime winner whilst celebrating his 32nd birthday. Still undefeated!
However, the game against Washington contained what has become common foreshadowing for a John Stevens coached team.
Let’s go down the list:
1) Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde hockey– a scoreless first to a 7-goal second.
2) Defensive lapses that the 2009 Tennessee Titans would be proud of.
3) Untimely turnovers (noticeably following atrocious line changes).
4) A third period lead that vanished faster than Titan fans at Gillette Stadium last Sunday.
Ok, my apologies to Jeff Fisher, but that was way too easy.
Although the team showed a tremendous amount of heart tying the game late and winning it in the extra session, it was the beginning of a week of “Uh oh.”
Next on the docket, a 2006-2007esque performance against a division rival and hated foe. The Pittsburgh Penguins. How could this team not show up to a game of this value? I mean come on. What were they doing the night before? Taking jello shots and playing Deer Hunter at Scott Hartnell’s apartment? Or perhaps they were doing their nails and discussing which aspects of Scottie Upshall they missed the most…
I mean, the performance against Pittsburgh was putrid. Disgusting. That one “now famous internet video” disgusting.
This sums up the game:
The fourth line of Riley Cote (replacing the injured Blair Betts, which I haven’t even touched on), Ian Laperriere, and Arron Asham were responsible for an inexcusable turn over at the Penguin blueline. Ryan Parent and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen went off for a change, assuming that the forwards were dumping the puck deep. The result? Bill Guerin embarrassing Sugar Ray on a breakaway. “I just wanna fly…”
Sorry Ray, no one is putting their arms around you, baby.
The most defining moment of the game, however, came when Braydon Coburn did his best Bryan McCabe/Niklas Backstrom impression and threw a puck into his own cage. Ok, he didn’t THROW it in ala Marc Bergevin (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3J8ZFKwE5c
), but he legitimately shot it into his own net.
This is probably close to how the critical moment went for some fans:
Fan getting a snack in the kitchen. Hears, “COBURN SCORES!” Fan excitedly sprints to the living room preparing his or her Sidney Crosby slander. Divesby, good one. Alas, the end of the commentators gargle leaves the full sentence at:
“COBURN SCORES! IN HIS OWN NET!”
Snack ejected from nearest window.
What a pitiful game for Braydon. He was tentative with the puck, and was making questionable decisions all night long. The Penguins forecheck was causing him to do “hot potato” like things with his passes. It would have been one of those games you could just omit from your memory, but I forgot to add something earlier, he played like vomit against the Capitals, too!
Now putting the 5-4 loss solely on his shoulders would be giving him too much credit. Timonen was awful as well. In fact, the pairing has been shaky, at best, so far this young season.
What else stood out from the Penguin game? Emery looked bad. Gagne looked bad. Cob…oh wait, the whole Bill Murray thing, my fault. Tollefsen looked bad. Richards looked mortal. You get the point.
Since this blog has had more female doging than a Dawson’s Creek message board, I’m going to shorten up the description of the next two games.
Anaheim – third period collapse, looked like children in the gimmick..erm…shootout. What a surprise!
Honestly, let’s just give the muckers and grinders a shot, they couldn’t do any worse.
Florida – third period collapse, looked like children again in the shootout…
Wait, what’s that? The game didn’t go to OT? The Flyers didn’t even get a point? They were playing the Panthers though, right?
One fun fact. The Orange and Black gave up their SECOND shorthanded goal of the year against Florida. Radek Dvorak promptly made Pronger look like Derian Hatcher, and tucked the puck past Emery on a partial breakaway.
That’s two shortie’s allowed in six games. Count ‘em. The Flyers gave up one shorthanded goal ALL of last season.
Since this is getting a little bit lengthy, I’ll spare you, and close on a positive note. I doubt you are reading at this point anyways, so I could just say ridiculous things without worry of scrutiny. Coburn for Norris! I watch GLEE!
After all the rambling, the season is six games old. Now, Flyer fans have been sitting on the Anaheim and Florida losses for, get ready, ELEVEN days. That is enough off time to make even the sanest fans lose it.
“I blame John Stevens! He made the schedule!”
But really, let’s take a look at some of the good.
Mike Richards has 6 goals already, and is very much looking fully recovered from his offseason surgery. Jeff Carter is Jesus. And he is tied for the team lead in points (8). Feverous start for the two young stars.
And how about Matt Carle? I mean, Jeff H. Carter! He is blossoming into the talent that scouts originally thought he could be. His 3.5 million dollar cap hit is starting to look more acceptable. It’s easy to see that the savvy veteran Pronger has had an immediate impact.
James van Riemsdyk is looking like he belongs. He’s not tearing up the league, but nobody expected that from the twenty-year-old. He just looks like an NHLer, and that is promising.
The fourth line has looked like a real pain in the Crosby to play against. Lots of puck control, and cycling. Very fun to watch.
AND Emery has been an upgrade over Mary Biron. But I mean let’s face it, Darren Pang would have been an upgrade over Marty Biron.
That is all for now. It has been a fun first blog. If you enjoyed, let me know. If you hated it. Well, then I guess you’ll be seeing me at a podium in the near future.
“I did a lot of good things…”