We were at a fight last night, and a hockey game broke out…
It all started about 6 seconds into this game 2 between Philadelphia and Chicago when the first face off resulted in a stand off. Cross-checking, big hits, shoving and take downs were the norm in this game and set the tone for a very physical series on both sides. The animosity level has grown exponentially in this series and the refs are allowing it, letting the play continue despite some pretty questionable hits. And both sides seem to be taking full advantage.
The first game was an offensive blowout with both goaltenders looking more than a little bit vulnerable in the end. The defensive play was stop and go and lots of bad turnovers resulted in good opportunities for the opposition. This game, however, was a total reversal: stingy with the goals, tighter on the defense, more plays on the body and so much cycling around in the zones that you thought you were watching the Tour de France if it suddenly turned into a contact sport.
If it wasn’t for so many offsides calls, the chances and the goals would have racked up much like in the first game. But you have to give the defense more credit for being consistent and for the goaltenders settling down. While they were both far from spectacular, they did come up with some key saves and looked a lot more comfortable in their nets. Leighton had no chance on the Hossa goal, as there should have been some serious crowd control when that play occurred. Niemi came up big when he had to late in the game and managed to keep the Flyers at 1. And that’s really all that the team expected from him.
This wasn’t beautiful hockey. The constant back and forth and traffic filled with flying bodies actually made the game more hilarious than anything else. Neither team is really known for their finesse or grace; nevertheless, their game could use a bit more structure. Both teams are guilty of being a little disorganized on the ice, more than just a little undisciplined and the offense seemed to perk up closer to the end of the game. Despite the close 2-1 score, this game wasn’t exactly close. Chicago clearly outplayed Philadelphia in the second period and got some good chances with aggressive, opportunistic play and good old fashioned net charging. Chicago is clearly starting to set the pace and if they can keep it up, Philadelphia’s as good as done.
Everybody hates Chris
Chris Pronger is not exactly number one on the personable list in the NHL and Chicago has been given just cause to chant the classic Pronger sucks song. This is a man who’s highly competitive and likes to throw his weight around, even resorting to the odd dirty trick here and there. No matter how decorated this man gets, most people will remember him for his dirty legacy rather than his trophy case.
This man does not disappoint in this category. Not only does he deliver the big dirty hits and cheap tricks, he also delivers it with sass and pride befitting your average entitled tween. Talk to the glove, a classic tween move, is all the more charming when it’s appropriated by a grown professional man in a public arena.
It also appears that Pronger’s disappeared twice so far in this series with the game puck. A clear sign of disrespect for the winning team who is playing on home ice. The Madhouse has plenty to be mad about, as this should be left for them to parade around town. It’s not the Cup- not yet- but it’s still a valuable piece of memorabilia going down the road. Is Pronger taking it home to stare at and contemplate their losses? Or is he going to stare at it and practice hating it?
How fitting from a man who plays for the city of brotherly love.
The return to the city of brotherly love is going to be anything but amicable. Philadelphia is staring at a 2 game hole in this series and their crazed orange fan base is going to be out for blood. But Philadelphia’s going to have to play smarter than that if they want to win a game. There’s nothing wrong with having an aggressive game plan, but they need to capitalize on smarter play.
They’ve figured out Niemi’s weak spots, so they have to get better at exploiting it when the crunch is on. They have to jump on the offensive early on and make Chicago play from behind. And they have to help Leighton build confidence and minimize the traffic around him before it gets to the paint.
I wouldn’t count out the Flyers anytime soon, given their home record, their injury-riddled season and their historic comeback victory over the Bruins. But Chicago is looking better and better as this series rolls on and their big names are starting to make some noise. Expect Toews to be on the board sooner rather than later and we’ll see if Mullet power comes into effect soon.
Mullet Power outage
But gathering from the frustrated play of Kane, I’m starting to think that it’s time to chop. He’s gotten eerily sentimentally attached to that thing and is somehow oblivious to its general ugliness. The shock value’s over and he hasn’t scored a goal. Scissors, please. You are not Samson and Philadelphia is not Delilah.
About the Author
Written by Mika Oehling
Office worker and sports nerd. Cannot play a professional sport to save my life, but love to write. Prone to rants, raves, snarky humour and caustic commentary. My team's the Ottawa Senators. Author of Armchair Hockey, a work of humourous fiction released this year and available for sale online at Chapters and Amazon.