Philadelphia Flyers vs. New York Islanders: 10/30/2008
This image pretty well sums up the relationship between the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Islanders over the past few seasons. Each year the Flyers continue to find ways to motor forward, while the Islanders can’t seem to discover a firm footing. Even in that awful 2006-07 season, Paul Holmgren made moves to solidfy his team for the next several years by acquiring Martin Biron, Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent, and Braydon Coburn at the deadline. Garth Snow sacrificed a lot for Ryan Smyth, only to lose him on July 1.
That doesn’t mean tonight will be a glide through the park for the Flyers. Yes, they finally reached .500, and yes, Biron appeared to relocate his game against the New Jersey Devils. But let’s consider this fact: the Flyers still need 2 points to tie for eighth in the Eastern Conference with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Somewhat shocking, but true.
The Flyers had the home-ice practice this morning, so hopefully they will take the home-ice advantage tonight and win one for the fans. Almost all things about this move sound positive to me. It makes complete sense for the team to warm up on the actual surface and conditions they will face during the game. My only concern is how the shift might impact Simon Gagne, the only player to vote against the move. I understand that he’s a professional and he will cope, but he is the key offensive player for this team. It’s important that he is happy and running on all cylinders. I suppose we’ll see.
If you’re going to the game – like I am – make sure to wear your Halloween garb. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes. It should be quite a festive affair since the NHL’s two orange teams are competing.
As I said, I will be at the game, which means no in-game blog for the evening. I will
Update 5:58 PM – If you thought the stink bomb at Saturday’s Flyers game or the rain delay were bad, check out the latest from the KHL over at the NY Times Slap Shot.
So now that the major distraction otherwise known as the World Series Championship Phillies is out of the way, allow me to make a few comments on last night’s contest.
I will be blunt: the New York Islanders were ROBBED! They brought all the energy, hard work, and motivation into the game against a Philadelphia Flyers squad that barely registered a pulse. Kyle Okposo will be a star in this league one day. With a better goaltender and some more talent on this team, the Islanders would have left the Wachovia Center with two points.
On the Flyers’ end of the ice, Scott Hartnell and Martin Biron were the only two guys who came ready to play. Hartnell has been a man on a mission since the season began, and his intensity and passion make him a joy to watch. Biron turned his play up a notch and saved the game for his team.
I understand that facing the Islanders may be an emotional let-down from New Jersey and Atlanta. I understand that the Flyers can’t win every game. But when playing against the only division rival who actually lacks talent, you MUST win. The Flyers were very fortunate to emerge the victors.