NHL Finally Gets What It Wants

April 6, 2008

The NHL really wanted tight playoff races. It wanted every game to count. But it couldn’t have dreamed of a scenario like the one it had this year, with races for a number of playoff spots not decided until the last week of the season, and in the case of the Southeast Division, the last game of the season. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rooting for a Merciful End

March 17, 2008

Looking at this it’s becoming more and more likely the freefalling Philadelphia Flyers will be spending April on vacation, not in the playoffs. And I have to admit, I’d rather not spend good money to see this ragtag mess get dominated in the first round.

Of course, my feelings about the play of the team aren’t being assuaged by the actions of the front office. Awaiting me in the mailbox yesterday was the season ticket brochure for 2008-09. I guess now we know why they announced the price increase so early. They want a down payment on next year by April 15. This isn’t exactly good timing. They might have better luck waiting until the bad taste is out of season ticket holders’ mouths from this disastrous second half before they ask for a deposit on next year.

Let’s see.

Bad collapse at end of season. Check.

Moving long-time season ticket holders, some charter season ticket holders, out of the first row to cash in. Check.

Asking season ticket holders to put a deposit on seats before the playoff refunds can be processed. Check.

What a way to celebrate spring.


No 3 Pointer!

March 9, 2008

No, this is not a post about basketball (wait a couple of weeks for that). With the Philadelphia Flyers in eighth place in the NHL Eastern Conference, just one point behind the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers, the last thing a Flyers fan wants is a 3-point game at Madison Square Garden today. So here we are, with 5:50 left in the third period, and what do we have? A 0-0 game. It doesn’t matter which team scores, just please, one of you (and only one of you) score before regulation ends!


Versus the Ads

February 26, 2008

Is this the beginning of the end of really bad Versus ads?

Ovechkin

Finally an ad that tries to sell the actual game. Now if only they could spring for color.


3.7 Seconds

February 24, 2008

What a night. To get so far in a game, having 1 goal hold up. Seeing Mike Richards go down with an injury and having the building go so quiet you’d have thought the pope had died. Not long after to have little Scottie Upshall shout “Give me those Richards minutes” with a crushing body check. And then, in the last minute, with the crowd going absolutely wild supporting the effort and finally ending this damned losing….but oh no Flyers fans. You must suffer more deeply. Hockey sucks.


Holy Schneikes Batman! This is ridiculous.

February 22, 2008

Two weeks ago, the Philadelphia Flyers were just 3 points shy of first place in the Eastern Conference, in first place in the Atlantic Division. Today, they are in tenth place in the conference, last in the division, and sinking fast in the hearts of Comcast Countrymen.

Why? Some excuses for injuries, of course. It kills to be missing Gagne, although actually it helps to know for sure he isn’t coming back this season. Lupul is a bigger loss, because he’s been in the lineup and very productive more often than Gags has this year, and the team really misses his high energy and physical presence on top of the skill.

As much of a focus of fan dissatisfaction as he’s been, Hatcher had been a key penalty killer on this team. And both extended absences for him have resulted in Flyers slumps. 

But even the injury-depleted crew has been able to come up with wins here and there earlier in the season. And did some of that without Gagne and without Lupul.

Still, it’s becoming more and more difficult to watch the clear signs of a team in distress.

  • Where once they shot lasers on net from pretty much anywhere on the ice, now they try to guide shots, without pace, that never get through or shoot hard well wide of the target.
  • When they were winning, they passed crisply to briskly moving team mates. Now, guys are standing around waiting for passes that are tentatively dinked around.
  • The passes that used to go forward into the offensive zone or were dumped deep have turned into dangerous, oddly timed cross ice passes to no one.
  • Biron, started the year contained, composed, and in position, with the puck finding him and sticking, is now trying to do too much, ranging far afield from the safety of the crease, and looking scrambly and discombobulated.
  • They used to have a good number of players who hit consistently throughout the game. Now it seems there’s a switch some evil mastermind is turning on and off.
  • During the winning streak they were winning battles for the puck. I’m not sure they can find a battle that doesn’t involve a pointless goon padding his penalty minutes.
  • There have been nights with enough muffs on passes and shots that there was cause to wonder if someone had sawed off the sticks as a practical joke. But I guess this is what happens when they’re said to be squeezing the sticks–their arms get short.

It’s becoming more and more difficult to watch, easily as frustrating for the fans, who are starting to pick scapegoats and savage them in the arena with the taunting boos of discontent. It’s always seemed counterproductive to me. Do you remember any player getting better because he was being booed?

The Flyers desperately need to come out Saturday with guns blazing and play like they can, not like they have been. Or suddenly, this will become another long discouraging season.


Hockey Day in Philadelphia

February 9, 2008

Today is Hockey Day in Canada, which is my favorite holiday. I love watching (thank you, NHL Center Ice) the Hockey Night in Canada crew bringing the game, and all its faces–young, old, pro, amateur, boys, and girls–to show how wonderfully rich the game makes Canada (and those of us who are hockey mad, if not Canadian).

My hockey day started with a special event courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers. As a season ticket holder, I put my name in the hat to be a so-called “Benchwarmer.” About 10 days ago I got a call from the Flyers that I’d won the lottery and would be allowed to sit on the Flyers bench during warmups for today’s Flyers game. When I mentioned I had only one seat, but would like to bring arena neighbors, they were kind enough to let me bring two.

 So today I was joined by my friend Mickey Melchiondo of Ween (site warning! occasionally inappropriate for youth) and his friend George for our adventure in benchwarming. After tromping down into the bowels of the Wachovia Center, we walked down the tunnel to the bench. We were warned to stay seated on the bench, in order to avoid being high sticked by passing players.

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