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Flyers’ Playoff Game 1: Watching from the sidelines is hard

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I’m going to deviate slightly from the hockey theme for a moment, but bear with me. I promise there’s a point.

During high school, I held the position of defensive specialist for our volleyball team. For the uninitiated, that means I played in the back row only, usually as a substitution for a front-row hitter whose defensive skills were subpar. The strict substitution rules which govern volleyball rotations dictated that I only played three out of every six rotations – or half the game. The other half, I sat on the bench and cheered my teammates on. 

Sitting on the bench, you notice a myriad of things. You observe the formation of plays, the habits of the opposition, and a host of other tiny details inherent in any sport. As a player, it was sometimes painful to see a play develop because you were helpless to effect change from the bench. All you could do was trust your team to succeed while you waited.

That same feeling came back to me last night during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers. Granted, I’m not remotely close to being a professional hockey player. Yet from my sofa, even I could see that Danny Briere dipsy-doodling at the Penguins blueline midway through the second period would not end well. And seconds later, the Pens obtained the 3-on-1 resulting in Tyler Kennedy’s first playoff goal.

The fans at the Wachovia Center on Sunday afternoon did their utmost to carry the Flyers. They chanted, applauded, cheered, jeered, stood on their feet, and made just about every other sound imaginable to bring energy into the building. It wasn’t enough because ultimately we just sit on the bench. It’s the players who decide how badly they want the Stanley Cup.

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced their intentions last night, loud and clear, before a host of white at the Igloo. It’s time for the Flyers to respond in kind. Their playoff lives depend on it.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Thursday, April 16, 2009 10:31 am

    I’m a Pens fan, so I liked how the game went last night. That said, this was a good post. Good luck to the Flyers in Game 2. I hope the game is close and both teams play to the best of their abilities. I also hope nobody gets hurt because the next one is gonna be physical!

    • Thursday, April 16, 2009 12:22 pm

      I suppose I can tolerate a Pens fan reading my blog ;)

      Despite the fact that the Flyers put on a particularly poor display of hockey last night, it was intense physically. I can only imagine the fireworks if both teams had played to their potential. Here’s hoping for that on Friday!

  2. John permalink
    Thursday, April 16, 2009 11:17 pm

    Wow, isn’t Jordan Leopold great? Turns it over at center ice, and then drives an opposing player into his own goalie allowing the puck to find the net in OT.. Thanks for taking him off our hands, F*gs!

  3. John permalink
    Monday, April 27, 2009 11:22 pm

    A moment of silence, please, for the end of the supposedly awesome Calgary Flaming F*gs 2009 Stanley Cup hopes. Might I say that I’m not surprised in the least. Quenneville and the Hawks move on..

  4. John permalink
    Tuesday, April 28, 2009 10:35 pm

    Well, that’s about as good a night as possible with your team now eliminated.. The Caps took down the Rangers and then Carolina beat Brodeur late again. Still, the NHL will probably go out of their way to make it look like Brodeur was God, losing only because of, uh, supernatural forces at work!

    Let’s go Hawks, and either one of the Southeast Division teams. Although I think I’d pick Washington over Carolina if I had to vote for one. Either way, I’m hoping for Chicago to win it all at this point. :-)

    • Wednesday, April 29, 2009 8:47 am

      Still in mourning over the Flyers. Pittsburgh was not unbeatable (though perhaps Fleury was), and the Flyers spent way too much time in second gear to win the series. Leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth, to say the least.

      Love the Caps, and hopefully they’ll take revenge on the Pens for me! And the Hawks are definitely my choice out west. We’ll see . . .

      • John permalink
        Wednesday, April 29, 2009 11:46 am

        Well the Playoffs have gone about as well as I could possibly expect them to. The Wings and F*cks got through, but that wasn’t exactly unexpected. Brodeur is back home throwing a hissy fit where he belongs, and the second half of my Stanley Cup Final prediction is still possible now that the Caps are into Round 2. The Hawks proved that the F*gs did absolutely nothing to help themselves at the trade deadline. The one thing that really disappointed me was the sweep of the Blues. I had hoped they could at least put up a decent fight against the Canucks, but now Vancouver is rested and ready for the second round.. Oh well.

  5. John permalink
    Monday, May 11, 2009 10:48 pm

    Hawks Win!

  6. John permalink
    Monday, May 11, 2009 10:50 pm

    21 total goals in tonight’s two games.. How the heck does a Western Conference Playoff game have 12 goals?! Either way, it was an exciting pair of games, and the teams I was rooting for both won. So who am I to complain. :-)

  7. Monday, May 25, 2009 1:25 am

    не уверена что это так) хотя спасиб

  8. John permalink
    Friday, June 26, 2009 10:43 pm

    Hey FF, we’ve got a /slight/ conflict of interest here.. Something along the lines of Philly trading away a small fortune to get one of my “Top 3 POS NHL Players”. Even if you argue that the trade was more fair than it seems, the fact remains that you guys now have Chris Pronger on your roster, which automatically qualifies the Flyers for my list of teams I can’t vote for. That makes three Atlantic teams now {All five if you count the fact that I almost never vote for New York teams}: Philly because of Pronger, Pittsburgh because of Crosby, and NJ because of Brodeur.

    As for the draft itself, like I’ve said in the past, I don’t know much about the draftees so I have no informed opinion to offer. However, I do know one thing, and that is the fact that I didn’t see a “D” as Duchene’s position. Center isn’t a terrible route to go or anything, but I’m still recovering from the Broncos botched draft and I’m hoping the Avs don’t follow that same blueprint and ignore their rather porous defense. Luckily there’s still a whole day of drafting left to get defensive prospects, so I don’t have to panic just yet.

    So, you still numb from watching the Crosby-Malkins win the Cup and fulfill Gary Bettman’s wildest, um, er, ‘fantasies’? That was an oddly sickening experience, knowing how thoroughly he enjoyed having the face of the NOOHL {National Offense-Only Hockey League} ‘captain’ his squad to victory. Side question(s): Am I the only one who was happy when Crosby got himself injured in Game 7? More importantly, does that make me as bad a person as Chris Pronger? Nah, not possible! :-)

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