[AUTHOR’S NOTE: This was written for The Broad Street Bully, a blog and podcast my friend Drew and I started based off of our mutual interest in the Philadelphia Flyers. See it on http://broadstreetbully.net.]
It’s finally here, Flyers fans! It’s opening night. I’m going to run a “live” commentary as I watch the opening game, since my opinions on things are basically considered fact in most underdeveloped nations. I only put “live” in quotations because the earliest you’ll be reading is this Friday. So, whatever, man. Semantics.
Below, you can read my coverage from the first puck drop the final whistle. Enjoy.
7:41pm: Puck drops. And we’re off. Nothing’s happened a minute in. Fire Hakstol.
7:44pm: Luke Schenn pushing and shoving J.T. Brown as Mason covers. Come on, Luke. Have we learned nothing from George Zimmerman? And in Florida!
7:49pm: It was a pretty weak call on Couturier but it gives Bellemare and VandeVelde a chance to showcase their penalty killing. And it looks good.
7:52pm: In the middle of the first commercial break, I can’t tell if it’s the hype for the new season, or the system, but the team looks much better in terms of breaking up passing lanes and being in the right spot. Defense is floundering a bit but who didn’t expect that?
7:55pm: Voracek showing his strength by his ability to beat off other men. (Phrasing?)
8:00pm: Flyers first power play. That spaceman guy in Tampa is stupid. Don’t belittle NASA like that.
8:03pm: For a power play that looked so good in the preseason, it looked like mud in a bucket that first go. The fourth line after the power play had better pressure.
8:05pm: Slap my man tits! A penalty shot! And a good setup by Manning. Maybe he’s not so terrible. Let’s see how the penalty shot shakes out. And Giroux missed. Of course he did. Bonus points to Chris Therien for saying “He got it right in the middle of Giroux’s shaft”.
8:08pm: Putting Umberger on a line with Scott Laughton and Brayden Schenn is like putting a battleship out of water on a line with two hockey players.
8:09pm: Steve Mason needs to catch things better. El Christe de Jesus.
8:13pm: For the announcers claiming the Flyers have more momentum in the period, I feel like there’s been a couple times already this period that the Flyers have been stuck in their zone.
8:15pm: One period in the books. Flyers outshoot the Lighting 13-10 but have nothing to show for it. Props to Steve Mason for keeping the game level.
8:19pm: If you can get a steak dinner for $12.99 then that entire meal is probably gross. Sorry, Longhorn Steakhouse. I just don’t want to get the splatters before I even finish the meal.
8:34pm: Start of the second period. Ian Laperriere wears his microphone the dumbest way possible. I’m actually kind of angry the wire is draped across the front of him.
8:35pm: And a goal for Tampa through a screen. That’s a “Bryzgalov goal” for Mason. What were the defensemen doing on that play? If you were guessing “letting Tampa Bay skate in and do whatever” then you’d be correct.
8:37pm: Jesus, Umberger. Go to the locker room. Then retire. Then rent a car. Then drive it into the Gulf of Mexico. You better buy Mason dinner for bailing you out.
8:40pm: Umberger trying to chase down Tyler Johnson is like a battleship out of water trying to chase down a hockey player.
8:42pm: All that cohesion and team play lasted a period. This is kind of the team I was expecting. Tampa Bay is now basically determining what the Flyers can and can’t do. And in that scramble, the Flyers take a penalty! Let’s hope they get their confidence back soon after that fluke goal.
8:47pm: The penalty kill was good. It could’ve been a lot worse if Stamkos hadn’t gone offside when the Flyers were scrambling to get players sticks that weren’t broken.
8:49pm: You’d like to see Voracek shoot on that rush instead of trying to force a pass to Giroux. Then it leads to that turnover and good job on Mason for making a solid save and smothering the rebound.
8:51pm: Flyers goal! That whole entire passing play that led to Matt Read’s goal was very nifty. Good looks by Scott Laughton setting up a goal. [Post game, 10:28pm: Bill Clement called Scott Laughton’s passing nifty as well. Great minds think alike.]
8:52pm: Steve Mason is a goddamn magician. But he seriously needs to just stay in the net instead of jamming up defenseman and creating huge turnovers in front of the net.
8:55pm: That’s a questionable penalty on Stralman but at least the Flyers powerplay gets another look with a chance to take the lead.
8:56pm: Flyers goal! I was yelling at my television as to why Medvedev wasn’t shooting. Then he took a shot. And the rebound sat there. And Umberger did his best “battleship out of water” impression to allow Schenn to punch home the rebound.
9:06pm: Tampa Bay has slowed down a bit. And all their fans have died, I think. It’s not out of the realm of possibility in Florida.
9:07pm: And right as the crowd is out of it, Medvedev takes a penalty. You can’t just grab a stick. There’s no communism here. We don’t share things in America.
9:10pm: What another unlucky goal for Steve Mason. How does that puck get through? Unrelated, but not really, I don’t get good vibes from Callahan as a player. It says a lot when a team trades their captain in the middle of a season. And Callahan was in a captain for captain swap so that doesn’t look good for the Rangers or the Lightning, either.
9:12pm: Mason recovered well from that goal, at least. Good saves.
9:13pm: Flyers power play. The top line is out there. And they still don’t look good. Like they’re forcing it. I’m unimpressed. It speaks volumes when RJ Umberger is doing a better job on the second PP unit.
9:15pm: Second period over. Flyers outshot something stupid like 13-3 but still lucky to get out with the score being only 2-2. Fresh sheet of ice and some time left in the power play to make something happen when the third starts.
9:33pm: Start of the third period. Flyers first power play unit still needs some work on not looking terrible.
9:37pm: I think this is the first icing in the whole game? Did I miss one before?
9:38pm: Couturier is generating offense. No one can finish, though. Then RJ Umberger back checks and makes a play? I don’t believe it.
9:46pm: There’s been a lot of up and down the ice action but nothing particularly dangerous in a while. Flyers and Lightning opening night energy wearing off?
9:47pm: Coburn beat Simmonds to the puck. It’s like he swooped in on the puck. Like a hawk. Which makes sense. Because of his beak.
9:48pm: Luke Schenn showing a little feistiness with Tyler Johnson. The gloves don’t smell yet, Luke. No use in face washing anyone.
9:50pm: I get the feeling that the Giroux line is really trying to force plays. You see them trying to squeeze passes between the defenseman. I don’t know. Simplify it, man.
9:51pm: Brian Boyle looks like he is always dressed as Herman Munster to cosplay Halloween everyday.
9:56pm: Del Zotto and Manning haven’t been that bad of a pairing for the Flyers so far.
10:02pm: Both teams have been playing cautious, like they’re waiting for overtime. It’s the first game, man. Go big or go home.
10:03pm: Bellemare winning a good wall battle. He immediately lost it afterwards but that shouldn’t negate winning the wall battle.
10:06pm: History has been made. First official NHL 3 on 3 overtime.
10:10pm: Mason really needs to get on the same page with these guys and what they’re going to do when Mason wants to play the puck. However, he recovered incredibly well so no harm no foul, I guess.
10:11pm: 3 on 3 is incredible. Another penalty shot! Scott Laughton this time. Get out of here! And Steve Mason! I don’t even know. I’m sold on 3 on 3 already.
10:12pm: Can the Flyers just turn down any sort of unimpeded breakaways? They are god-awful. If you didn’t see it, Laughton missed.
10:14pm: Garrison scores on the breakaway to give Tampa the 3-2 win. I have a lot of questions right now. Like “Position wise, what was Voracek doing?” And then “Why did Voracek just quit on the back check?” Garrison is a defenseman. He can’t be that fast.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS:
- At least the Flyers got a point. And didn’t get played out of the building by Tampa Bay. This is important for the players and Hakstol. If you’re trying to see if you can hang in the NHL, like Hakstol is, then Tampa Bay to open up the season is a good start.
- If the Giroux line stops trying to be so fancy then they’ll probably find their scoring touch. I can’t really say it’s a cohesion thing, though, because Giroux, Voracek, and Raffl all played together last year.
- The other lines looked pretty good, as well. There was even secondary scoring. And Hakstol rolled all of them so he’s not afraid to give them ice time.
- As much as I gave it to Umberger the whole game, it looks like that repaired hip is doing wonders for his game. He looked fairly decent tonight.
- Steve Mason played superb and it’s really a shame it came down to that OT breakaway for him to take a loss.
- The defense didn’t look as bad as I was expecting. This is a plus. Let’s see if it holds up.
- Score on a penalty shot. The Flyers got two of them and wasted both. Actually, score on any unimpeded breakaways. Stop being terrible at them.