Friday, January 11, 2008

Flyers Beat Rangers; NHL All-Stars announced; Football Schadenfreude

The Flyers went up to MSG, spotted the Rangers 2 goals, and still proceeded to smoke the home team by a score of 6 - 2. After the 10 minute mark of the first period, it was really never that close. There was plenty of credit to go around last night:
  • Scott Hartnell, flat-out snake bitten earlier this year, potted a natural hat-trick to bring his goal total to 10 for the year.

  • Mike Richards had 3 assists, while Danny Briere and Steve Downie each had 2 helpers.

  • Antero Niitymaki stopped 39 of 41 shots for his 3rd straight win

  • Simon Gagne scored in his first game back from a 26 game hiatus due to post-concussive syndrome.

The win gave the Flyers 5 wins from their 6 game road trip; good enough to keep them in 3rd place in the Atlantic Division still with 2 games in hand. The Flyers need to get their mojo going at home, as they'll be hosting significant Atlantic Division games at the end of the month (1/22 vs. NJ, 1/24 vs. Pitt., 1/31 vs. NYR).

As for the slumping Rangers (3-5-2 in their last 10 games), they look to me like a team looking to get their coach fired. They played hard the first 10 minutes, but they did not get great offensive pressure from their big 4 (Jagr, Drury, Shanahan, and Gomez) and the loss dropped them to the 8th position in the Eastern Conference playoff positioning. Keep an eye on this situation as Tom Renney, to me, looks like he might be on the hot seat shortly if he's not already.

Richards, Timonen All-Stars

According to (via, Mike Richards and Kimmo Timonen will represent the Eastern Conference in the 2008 NHL All-star game to be held in Atlanta (where hockey lives!).

Richards is currently enjoying quite a season as he is scoring with regularity (47 points in 41 games) and scored a huge contract extension (12 years, $69 million). There was little doubt as to his inclusion in this game as Richards plays in all phases of the game and has basically relegated Danny Briere to a 2nd line center role.

Timonen was a bit of a surprise, but if you think it through, there is probably not that many better defensemen in the Eastern Conference than the quiet Finn. Timonen has 20 points to date, but is a -2 rating, which isn't as bad as you think considering that he does get put out on the ice against other teams big lines. He has been everything that was advertised when he came to the Flyers and his presence was missed when he was out with back spasms earlier in the year.

Football Schadenfreude

This sentiment is probably cliche at this point, but this weekend is one of the greatest football watching weekends you can ever have. The 8 best teams in the NFL play this weekend.....4 games in 2 days and it's all on network television. It's also one of the last real football bacchanals of the year. After all, Championship weekend is only 2 games, which leaves you wanting more and the Super Bowl is two weeks after that, is only one game, and almost never lives up to the hype unless it was your team that won (a feeling, as an Eagle fan, I know nothing about).

So, with the football extravaganza to be had this weekend, the following is my feeling on the games in one sentence assessments.

NY Giants at Dallas: Rooting for numerous injuries and a 2 -2 tie game going into overtime.

San Diego at Indy: Norv Turner and Phil Rivers are involved, so the Chargers will go home.

Jacksonville at New England: Brady and Co. will win, but injuries will be incurred such that this pyhrric victory may cost them next week's game and immortality.

Seattle at Green Bay: Brett Favre will win and John Madden nods approvingly.

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