Friday, May 14, 2010
Flyers Make History: Thirty Five Years is all it took
Who says History can't be made? It would be easy to give the Flyers all the kudos for a remarkable comeback that kinda makes up for 2004. But hey. Who are we kidding? So, without further due:
Congratulations Boston Bruins on making the wrong kind of headlines. Claude Julien. You and your Jacques Lemaire-esque system are indeed HISTORY.
Why do dinosaurs like CJ, JL and Ken Hitchcock still exist? I've echoed it many times. But in today's New NHL, no lead is ever safe. The playoffs are a different animal. Credit Philly for never giving up thanks to a good coach in Peter Laviolette who plays more aggressively. The best thing that ever happened to them was firing John Stevens. Then of course Simon Gagne playing the hero, with a Game 4 sudden death winner in his first game back from a broken bone in his right foot. Then scoring three more times, including the dramatic power play series clincher- cashing in on a Boston bench minor for too many men. You GOTTA BE KIDDING.
No Jeff Carter. No Ian Laperriere. Brian Boucher goes down. Michael Leighton returns and gives up the first three after permitting only one goal on his first 45. No problem. Laviolette calls a timeout and the Flyers regroup thanks to 21 year-old Jersey native James Van Riemsdyk, who scored the biggest goal before the end of the first that gave them life. Incredible poise shown by the rookie who hadn't done much. He saved his team. Then Scott Hartnell, Daniel Briere and Gagne did the rest. Four goals in four games for Simon, who's never played better. And Briere scoring money goals finally earning that paycheck with Carter out and Claude Giroux disappearing. An awful lot of H-E-A-R-T was shown by the guys in white, orange and black. They never gave up. If only a couple of other teams here had remembered that.
Outstanding work Philadelphia. And of course ditto for their eighth seeded opponent the Canadiens, who've slayed the Caps and Pens in seven. Btw...the Flyers' miraculous victory from three down and three back improved road teams to a perfect 4-0 in Game 7's this postseason. Remarkable. Hasan's said it plenty. Home ice just ain't the same. If you get a chance to put a team away, you better stomp on them. Boston just couldn't and were never the same after David Krejci's injury. Zero excuses. The Flyers were banged up and still got it done, making history.
1942 Toronto Maple Leafs
1975 New York Islanders
2010 Philadelphia Flyers
A seven versus eight for the chance to play for Lord Stanley in what was believed to be a four-horse race. Somebody forgot to tell the Flyers and Canadiens, who just slipped into the playoffs the final weekend. Postseason is all about determination. Who wants it? Somewhere, the frontrunners lost their focus. This has been an extraordinary Spring. Now, we get a Conference Final nobody had unless you lived in Philly and Montreal. One will advance to meet the winner of a more traditional 1/2 between San Jose and Chicago. Great theatre.
Finally, we feel for Bruin fans. Kudos to them for continuing to support their team even when Gagne scored the fourth unanswered. They did their part, trying to rally their team. Unfortunately, the fans at TD Garden suffered the same cruel fate those at the old Stadium did six years ago to a Boston team. Irony. The fans have to be incredibly disappointed. Hey. At least ya still got the Celtics!