Sunday, April 15, 2012

You Can't Beat Us

That's the chant that the Penguins heard as the 3rd period came to an end. And as they skated off the ice, the Penguins had to be wondering if that was true. For the third game in a row, they had taken an early lead. And for the third game in a row, they had been completely blown off the ice. Another beatdown by the Flyers, and this time Fleury was forced from the ice. 8-4 was the final score. This playoff series has shown the best and worst of NHL playoff hockey. Lets take a look.

The Best
1. Young Talent
The Flyers are putting on an offensive clinic. And much of there scoring has come from young players. Most notable was a hat trick from rookie Sean Coturier. But the Flyers have had other young players getting in on the action. Wayne Simmonds has made contributions. Even though he isn't a rookie, rising young star Claude Giroux has been a dominating force this postseason. He has a hat trick in game 2, and a Gordie Howe hat trick in game 3. The Flyers are using young talent to take it to the Penguins.

2. The Fans
I'm not normally one to complement another city's fans. But the Pittsburgh fans showed a lot of spirit, especially after hearing Bryzgalov's comment about being more afraid of a bear in the woods than of the Pittsburgh Penguins. And what can be said about Flyer's fans that hasn't already been said? That building was rocking today, and the fans came out in force and in orange. The crowd looked great on TV, and had to be getting into the Penguins heads. The NHL cannot ask for more from the fans of either city. Great enthusiasm in both cities, and there have been no stories about fan violence. Everyone enjoys a good hockey game, even if it doesn't go the way of the home team.

The Worst
1. The Violence
This series was predicted to be a rough one. And I'm not one to shy away from rough hockey. But the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs has been unusually rough, and the Flyers vs. Penguins series has been no exception. But the surprise today was who was perpetrating the violence. Yes, 4th liners were mixing it up, everyone expected that. But this game had someone else involved in the fighting that no one expected to see.

That's right. NHL darling Sidney Crosby has officially started to throw temper tantrums. His team is losing. And in the worst way possible. So what is the answer from the Penguins and Sidney Crosby? Cheap shots and violence. Sidney Crosby flipped away the glove of a Flyer to try to get a rise out of the Flyers. Then he fought Claude Giroux. And all the while, you couldn't help but watch and think, what the hell are you doing Crosby?

I'm no Crosby fan, I won't make any false positions about my own views. But he always seemed to be a player who tried to emulate Gretzky. Score lots of goals, get lots of calls to go his way, but stay out hte rough stuff. That's the job for his 4th liners. But today Crosby was a weasel. No other word for it. A weasel. He instigated fights behind the refs backs, then backed out of the way and let his goons take over. He whined. He was exactly the kind of player everyone loves to hate. And he did it out of frustration.

Which is exactly the opposite of what a true great like Gretzky would have done. Sometimes you just need to take your lumps, and move on with life. Not whine because a team is playing far better than yours. Instead of pulling hair or starting fights, inspire your team. Play good hockey, do your part, and try to bring your team back. I don't want the Penguins to win, but if they keep playing this way, both teams are going to lose. The Penguins will lose, simply because they are losers. The Flyers will lose because the Penguins have become head hunters, and seem to be out for blood.

So there you have it. A great series so far to watch. Goals galore. Fans any team would be proud. And one whiny little b***h who can't seem to get over the fact that the Flyers aren't rolling over and losing to him, simply because he wears 87.

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