April 18, 2014

steve laidlaw

2014-04-18

Happy Easter Weekend! I hope you fill it with much family and hockey, not necessarily in that order.

 

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The Rangers-Flyers opener was everything I expected it to be, which is to say, the Rangers dominated the play. Just not a good matchup for Philadelphia. The Rangers won't get sucked into Philadelphia's nonsense and take penalties the way a team like Pittsburgh will. And you absolutely cannot take penalties against this Flyers team.

 

Ray Emery did his best to keep the Flyers in it for much of the game but the Rangers were just relentless. It was like watching geology:


"Geology is the study of pressure and time. That's all it takes really. Pressure, and time."

 

The Flyers are counting on that quote to apply with their "dump it against Ryan McDonagh and his wonky shoulder" strategy (the name is a work in-progress). It worked for their opening goal and it may wear the top defenseman down but I don't think it's an advisable strategy – neither does Eric Tulsky. You simply aren't going to succeed dumping it in against a possession team like the Rangers. That's what they want.

 

After all that time and pressure, when the Flyers took a double-minor early in the third period the levies were ready to burst. Boom 3-1.

 

Flyers rookie Jason Akeson, the poor kid, took the penalty and gets goat status. I actually liked the flashes of offense he showed. Didn't think he'd have the size to compete at this level and that may prove to be correct yet. He did get smushed quite a few times.

 

It was Brad Richards, of all people, who scored the game winner and led the way with three points. Martin St. Louis added two assists of his own. Vincent Lecavalier, skating for the Flyers, couldn't complete the throwback. In fact, I'm not sure he can even compete any more.

 

There was one play where the Rangers defenseman turned it over at the offensive blueline and I figured this would be a sure break for the Flyers, especially because the defender on the other side was transitioning back so slowly.

 

Turns out he simply saw it was Lecavalier who had the puck and was unconcerned. Lecavalier moves like a stone. He couldn't start a break if you shot him out of a slingshot.

 

Kimmo Timonen looked pretty banged up. To be fair, I can't remember a time he wasn't nursing some kind of injury but he rarely missed time. A true gamer. I can understand why he plans on retiring but it's going to be sad to see him go when he does.

 

Scott Hartnell and Jakub Voracek died their beards black. Not sure why they couldn't just accept their team identity as the ginger beards.

 

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This Blues-Hawks series though, it's the one for me. Just great hockey. It's a real shame one of these teams will be done two weeks from now.

 

Both teams came into the series ragged with injuries but basically everyone was back save for TJ Oshie and Patrik Berglund for St. Louis. Even Vladimir Tarasenko got back, which was a huge surprise to me. I took him in a couple of playoff po