Big Lead Sports Bar




After tanking the first three games of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Philadelphia Flyers showed up to extend the series and the inevitable. Much like the Pens/Rangers series, after a few days rest, Game Five will be Sunday afternoon at the Igloo (on NBC).

There's been a lot of buzz around the Burgh that Versus is skewed toward the Flyers. I'm sure everyone feels that way today. Well, not me. The Flyers gave any broadcast crew plenty to talk about in Game Four. Look, if any team gets a lot of talk from the national announcers, it's the Penguins. Just because you're all used to the homer FSN announcers, doesn't mean the national guys are biased. Are they less entertaining to listen to? Yeah, definitely. Am I tired of Joe Beninati confusing #37 with #87? Absolutely! But please, stop with the conspiracy talk – you sound like Rangers fans.

So what went wrong in Game Four? The Pens missed a great opportunity to choke the life out of the old F.U. Center after the Richards breakaway miss when the puck turned right around to Hossa. Alas, it wasn't meant to be and not long after that, a slapper deflected off Hal Gill's stick initiated the orange scoring binge. Helping along the way were several undisciplined roughing penalties, no defensive clearing in front of the net and the absence of clutch Penguin setup man Steve Downie.

After a three-goal lead, the self-proclaimed “Most Intimidating Crowd in the NHL” finally mustered the energy to boo Crosby and Malkin. Yawn.

The game could have easily been out of hand if not for more than a few acrobatic saves by Fleury, including the most flamboyant one pictured below.

The bright spot was Jordan Staal's two goals in the third period and the gratuitous closeups of the most nervous “most intimidating” fans I've ever seen (and they still had the lead!). Jordan's been a steady force all playoffs and it was nice to see his energy especially in the wake of his grandfather's funeral (no pun intended... sheesh).

Anyway... get your cowbells ready for Game Five. I'm not sure whether cult hero Gary Roberts will be over pneumonia, so expect most of the faces to stay the same. On second thought, I expect Evgeni Malkin to return to the lineup after taking the last three games off.

Before I sign off, something is bugging me. Am I the only one wondering about the blue Edge Shave Gel?

We know the orange one unleashes an aloe and moisturizer foam party on your face, and the green one uncorks a rave of rocket-women in your nose, but why don't we ever hear about the blue? According to their website the blue one is called “Vault” and it has a “crisp woodsy scent.”

Sounds like the perfect gift if you know any Flyers fans. They'll need it Monday morning.


HotDog_Zanzabar said...

With all due respect Koz, I think you're slightly full of crap on this one. Since when did objective announcers wear ties that were the home team's colors?

I think we're all a little tired of hearing how the Flyers "lost" to the Penguins the first three games, and defeated them in the fourth. The Penguins "defeated" a team as soundly as I've seen on Tuesday, but God Timmonen and Jesus Coburn didn't play and that's why they lost, but the Flyers fought REALLLLLY hard, and that's all that matters.

Richards slashes Crosby's injured ankle repeatedly and it's described as "the beatufiul union of fans and players coming together" instead of being characterized as the dirty play that it was.

Tell me it's balanced when Donnie Iris has equal air time as Dave Mustaine. Maybe it will be balanced when they show ONE crowd shot outside of the arena, instead of the chromosome shortened Philadelphia bars.

Bucs May Never Lose Again said...

In regards to the commentary, I guess I am lucky: since I live in Michigan, I get CBC, which vastly supercedes any hockey coverage on the face of the Earth. Not only do I get somewhat pro-Pittsburgh commentary, I also get to see the man, the myth, the legend Don Cherry on every Coach's Corner. Probably the only positive of living in the Detroit area as a Pittsburgh fan is watching practically every Pens game on Hockey Night in Canada or other CBC/TSN coverage (PS: I'm already taking crap from Wings fans about a Wings sweep against the Pens). But, here is what I came to vent/ talk about:

WHEN IS THERRIEN GOING TO GIVE LARAQUE THE SIGNAL TO POUND DARIAN HATCHER? I'm absolutely sick and tired of seeing Hatcher's garage league antics and cheapshots. It's not like Laraque is doing anything else that merits praise: his offense is non-existent, his puckhandling is pretty bad, and he's not hitting like I know he can. If Laraque wants to really make a statement these playoffs, it would be to drop the gloves and embarrass Hatcher at the Igloo in front of a national TV crowd.

mondesishouse said...

Here's a good question: why was Crosby out there in the last 30 seconds anyway? I realize his greatness, but I'm not so sure even Sid could score 2 goals that fast.

Koz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Koz said...

Raul, good call about Sid being out there. That was definitely stupid.

Also, I think 'Bucs May Never Lose Again' is secretly Mark Madden with his Laraque talk. It's true though. Why do we have him if not for those situations? He's got to get out there and mix it up. Unfortunately it seems like all of Laraque's fights at this point of his career are pre-arranged. I don't know if that's his doing, or opponents not willing to face him... but I feel like he could goad a few more people into fighting.

As for the Versus crew and their ties, I honestly don't think everyone on that panel is a Flyers fan. Could the honchos at Versus be smart enough to be doing that to stoke the fires of controversy to get people talking about the series? I don't know if they are that smart either. I chalk it up to coincidence or a network trying to keep some interest in an otherwise lopsided series.

Sunday might just be the cure for what ails "yinz" since the game is being broadcast on the "Nothing But Crosby" network (according to many Pens bashers).

Unknown said...

Good god...where is Malkin?

C Gally said...

Dude, the Flyer fans booed Tyler Kennedy. Are you serious? Tyler freaking Kennedy?

Paul Rupp said...

Wait, there were actually people doing commentary on the game last night?

I thought I was listening to a tape of Danny Briere's dad talking at his midget hockey league banquet.

Anonymous said...

Koz, do some research.
Comcast owns both the Flyers and VS. Do the math--they are very biased towards the Cryers!!

Anonymous said...

Look - you know what you're gonna get from Keith Jones. It's no different than Bradshaw, Bettis, or Hoge talking about the Steelers during NFL season.

Aside from that, I see no tangible anti-Pens bias from Versus. That non-sense in the Philly bar last week was an ill-fated promotion with Southwest Airlines. Plus, Versus did a great job of showing the crowds outside the arena earlier in the playoffs.

As for Bill Patrick's ties last night, well, I don't care if it's black & gold - that's the ugliest damn necktie that I've even seen not tied around the neck of Michael Irvin.

One thing Versus does better than any other network is capture the vibe of the fans. Those "intimidating" Philly fans were crying in their beers after Game 3 and chomping their finger nails last night during the final minutes.

Hopefully their cameras grab a shot of TC waving his cap in celebration of a Game 5 win this Sunday.

AJ said...

Personally, there is so much driving me nuts about the VS coverage, I think my blood pressure actually rises during the game.

Granted, the announcing stinks and seems a little biased, but at least it isn't Cris Collinsworth covering a Steeler game biased.

The in-game interviews during play are the worst idea ever. Yeah... let's spend 10 minutes talking to a guy who plays for the Braves. At least Sid Bream wasn't at the game.

And I know that the network is struggling for ad revenue, but get some new commercials please! Edge shaving gel, Dockers, Verizon, Mikes Hard Lemonade (which does not use soy), the Jack Links Sasquatch, and the Bud Light Dude can all go to hell.

Koz said...

Mr. Jones,

It has not escaped me that Versus is owned by Comcast, which also owns the Flyers.

Did ESPN root for the Mighty Ducks?

I'm just saying, it sounds lame and whiny and Rangery to accuse them of rooting for the Flyers. Beninati is the Capitals announcer. I would be more apt to accept the argument if he was drooling over Ovechkin. Also, what's been said here comparing Keith Jones to Bettis, et al. is definitely appropriate and accurate.

Then again, maybe this is all just a cover-up on my part. Didn't any of you notice my email address???


Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

Being "Rangery" would be accusing Comcast of paying the NHL to let the Flyers win. THAT would be a conspiracy.

This announcing does seem just a bit biased, and I'm usually the one that tells people to shut up when they complain about the announcers not liking Pittsburgh.

I know they have in the past, and they will in the future, but I really don't hear them saying anything good about the Penguins during this series. Fishy that it's the Flyers, and Vs is owned by Comcast, like was already mentioned. That's what makes it even more annoying to me, that they seem to be doing it for just this series!

And ESPN didn't root for the Mighty Ducks because, well, they're ESPN and this is effin Vs for God sake!

George said...

As a philly fan, I think you guys are nuts. Aside from Keith Jones, I don't see it. and I think you should know what you're getting from him. he's an ex-flyer who works for the flyers and lives in philly. Fortunately I didn't listen to the audio last night, but in the first three games, aside from them being...I don't know...apologetic about the flyers missing their best two defensemen. I think they've been fair.

With that said, they're awful. They're talking about everything but the game and miss whenever something interesting happens. or realize it about 30 seconds after it happens. I may have missed some pro-flyers talk from them, it's because they're so awful I mostly ignore them.

With both teams at full strength, the penguins are a slightly better team. Without Timmonen and Coburn, the talent level wasn't close. Hopefully they'll both be ready in game five.

koz- love the comment on Downie. and yes, I was nervous when the lead was cut to 3-2.

Vince said...

This is unrelated but i'd just like to throw this out there. I love the flyers "Crosby Sucks" chant... I mean they could get away with "Crosby is a pussy" or "Crosby dives" but i think he has done enough in the last 3 years in the league to show he doesn't "suck"

Jay said...

Some pretty hard evidence that there is indeed some bias in the boadcasting:

where is the footage of Penguins fans watching the games in Pittsburgh, for instance?

Anonymous said...