Big Lead Sports Bar




For all of the alleged fireworks that were set to go off before this series started, the Philadelphia Flyers have, through two games, resembled only what Lee Flowers would call "Paper Champions".

Where's the offense? The Penguins feature goal-scorers like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marian Hossa, et al. They're even getting goals from Max Talbot. The Flyers feature Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Mike Richards, and...Mike Richards. $52 million Flyer Daniel Briere is officially on "missing" milk-carton status. Red-hot R.J. Umberger has been held to two assists.

And where's the fight? The big, bad Flyers have talked tough but have failed to deliver, unless you're inspired by your players getting beaten down by Tyler Kennedy.

The sad part is that the Flyers were kept in the game for the most part by a no-goal call against Sidney Crosby that would've sunk them into a 2-0 hole that they most likely would not have dug out of. Maybe it was just a reminder that this still is a garage league, to some extent. At the very least, they have some garage refs, that's for sure.

It wasn't the most exciting playoff game in Penguin history, but a win is a win is a win, especially when it's a win over the Flyers. Let's see if they can somehow regroup and at least make this series competitive on Tuesday night.

Game Notes:

--Besides the play on the ice, the story of the night had to be Beaver County teen John Challis, a Freedom HS athlete who is dealing with terminal cancer. He was the guest of honor in Mario Lemieux's star-studded box, meeting Ben Roethlisberger, Dan Rooney, and John Smoltz in the process.

And he also had one of the greatest quotes of all time:

As John Challis was standing between Mr. Lemieux and Mr. Rooney, he looked at them and said, "Wow. I never thought I'd be talking with two owners of sports teams in the city."

"There's only one missing," Mr. Lemieux said, referring to the Pirates.

John quickly replied, "Yeah, but at least the two winners are here."

Challis was interviewed between periods and has an unbelievably upbeat attitude. The world needs more people with an outlook as fresh as his. His story is sweeping the country, with a segment filmed for SportsCenter, an ESPN: the Magazine article in the works, and segments on Scott Van Pelt and Dan Patrick's radio programs. In the near future, he will be taking a cruise, visiting Fenway Park, and hanging out with the Florida Marlins in Philadelphia as the guest of Marlins pitcher Mark Hendrickson.

"Life ain't about how many breaths you take. It's what you do with those breaths," Challis said.

Good luck, John Challis. We're all rooting for you.

--Besides Smoltz, Braves pitcher Tom Glavine (a 1984 NHL draft pick, in the same draft that produced Mario Lemieux, Ed Olcyzk, Gary Roberts, Flyers Coach John Stevens, and Troy "Dad of Sidney" Crosby) was at the game and took home the night's Versus Interview That We Didn't Need During the Game Award. My brother noticed Chipper Jones yukking it up in the background during the Glavine interview, although I somehow missed that.

--I mentioned in my last recap how much I disliked the Versus broadcast team, and I'm telling you, they're getting worse. The call on Maxime Talbot's game-winning goal was as weak as ever: "Maxime Talbot brings the energy!!"

What? That's the best you could do?

--More on the GHL (Garage Hockey League) refs: a great take on the Biron/Ruutu penalty from Empty Netters:

Biron is given two for roughing and Ruutu is called for unsportsmanlike conduct because, again, getting punched, attacked, mugged, etc. isn't noble. Ruutu was basically penalized for being Ruutu.

Couldn't agree more. A ridiculous call.

--Mark Eaton will probably not be back for the playoffs.

ESPN Fast Facts:

--The last time the Penguins lost at home in regulation was Feb. 13, when they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Boston Bruins.

--The Pens are the eighth team in NHL history to start the postseason 10-1, but just the first since the Red Wings did so in '95. Five of the previous seven have gone on to win the Stanley Cup.

--Pittsburgh is 8-0 in the playoffs when it scores first.


--Molinari: Penguins lead series 2-0 against Flyers

--Starkey: Therrien, Talbot show magic touch

--Burnside: Penguins, Flyers going down very different paths

--Smizik: Fleury flowering at precisely the right time

--Rossi: Game 2: Talbot breaks Philly's heart (with Trib Photo Gallery)

--Junker: National media just catching up to Pens

A victory California Soul:


Unknown said...

I like that you picked that song. Every time I see that commercial I want to go out and buy dockers.

Robert Ullman said...

I cannot stand listening to Joe Benninnati call a hockey game (I could never be a Caps fan), and Game One provided a great example of why I find him so terrible. Besides the annoying voice, there's his irritating insistence on unneeded hyperbole. With about 10 minutes gone in the first period, and the score 1-1, Joe dramatically bellows that "the contest is deadlocked at one!". I'm sorry, but "deadlocked" is a word you use if it's 3-3 late in the third, not after the game has just barely started. He does this kid of crap all the time.

Worse still is his Caps telecast partner Craig Laughlin, who has inexplicably found work on NHL Network's fine "On The Fly" recap program. Aside from sounding like the toughest inmate of a prison for squirrels, he constantly embarrasses himself by referring to his co-hosts Gary Green and Dave Reid as "Greener" and "Reider". Mmmm, so folksy!

Unknown said...

YEAH BABY! go pens!

HotDog_Zanzabar said...

I was pretty close to fully endorsing Versus until the Conference Finals started. I don't know if it has to do with the whole Comcast/Philadelphia thing or if something else is at play, but they are teetering on being unwatchable.

Without a doubt, that was Chipper Jones. That .400 avg might come back down to earth a little bit based on how "non-sober" he looked.

Jim said...

What happened to Doc Emerick announcing games on Versus? I got to hear Doc a lot this season since I live in NY and he announces Devils games. Besides Mike Lange, there is nobody else I'd rather hear when I'm watching hockey. I hope VS gets their act together and brings Doc in for game 3.

Anonymous said...

robert ullman: you're right on with the beninati/laughlin stuff. I do a pretty mean Craig Laughlin impersonation, in fact.

The more I think about it, they are the perfect pair of announcers for a loser team like the Caps.