Between school and work and my novel and just blatant laziness, I've neglected my blog. But alas, I'm back. I figured coinciding my return with Michael Leighton's impending return would be a good PR move.
Which means some things:
--No more will you have to deal with sub-par hockey blogging.
--I'm back. and I'm going to stay back.
--and... probably most importantly... my Collaborator is back. (with trench coat and bowler hat in tow.)
Now, first things first...
Leights is back... Kind of.
I've been waiting for this for QUITE some time. I'm all for this move. So much so that I may have been vocally ecstatic upon hearing the news. My other blog has already been FLOODED with Leights pictures.
As much as I am on the Leights bandwagon (I've been on so long that I'm driving it.), there are people in the world of Flyers fandom that aren't necessarily on board. For various reasons; namely, his back.. and how well we've done with the Bouchrovsky combo.
But, here's why I like this move:
--Paul Holmgren can do NO wrong. (except getting rid of Gags, but I digress. Mainly because I blogged about it already.
--He's Michael Leighton. With Emery and Boucher hurt, this man played for us during the Winter Classic.. on the National stage in front of a brutal Bruins crowd at Fenway park and was the sole reason we didn't get blown out of that game.
--He's Michael LEIGHTON. See: Second round of 2010 playoffs.
--He's MICHAEL LEIGHTON. See: 2010 Eastern Conference Finals.
--Bouchrovsky have done SPLENDID, but I feel (and I know Homer and Lavy agree) that they could use either some rest or some pressure. Or both. Having a Stanley Cup goalie on the roster would certainly provide both of them with a sense of "oh [expletive], we can be replaced."
This could in fact backfire though. He could come up and we all discover that his back is in fact no longer able to play at the NHL level. He could come up and let soft Ben Eager/Patrick Kane goals in on the way to a first round exit. He could get picked up by the Rangers.
But, at the end of the day, we're in first place and need something to shake things up. It's worth a shot.
During last offseason... as the record will show, an offseason when I was concerned with keeping Simon Gagne and bringing back Antero Niittymaki... the Collaborator texted me the following:
"You can do what you want. I want us to go after Kris Versteeg."
I admit, I laughed. And I still stand FIRMLY behind my stance that we could have afforded both Niitty and Gagne for the money which we are paying Steeger and Bobs. But, I digress. The Collaborator was right. Steeg's been nothing but solid since we picked him up before the deadline. He's one of the few bright spots on a team that can't seem to hold a lead. Which brings me to this:
I remember when it started.
I remember getting a call from the collaborator about Leino being a goal away from a hat trick.
And then I interrupted game night to turn on the TV.
I watched helplessly as we dropped a 3-0 lead down to 4-1... and then 4-4.
And then 5-4... A MINUTE INTO OVERTIME.
Ever since then, it's been the same story... our defense can't hold leads... our goalies can't perform at a playoff level... whatever else people are saying.
I say this: we got into the playoffs last year on a shootout. Behind Brian Boucher... and made it to the finals behind Michael Leighton. This team is built for the playoffs.
During the Finals run of last year (which was MAGICAL) we had a few weaknesses. Very few. Goaltending was not one of them. Defense, however was.. Lukas Krajicek and Oskars Bartilus may have been the ONLY hole on that team. So what did Holmgren do? He upgraded our third defensive pairing exponentially with Andrej Meszaros and Sean O'Donnell (both have finals experience.)
Other than that.. (and replacing Gags with Steeger) this is basically the same team.
A team that Homer didn't build for the regular season. A team he built it for April and May.
Our goalie of the future played 55 games this year. And his GAA was 2.56. (Sits back, takes drink.) This pleases me. It pleases me immensely.
We know that hockey is where we live, where we can best meet and overcome pain and wrong and death.. Life is just a place where we spend time between games.