Sunday, October 12, 2008

Flyers Drop Opener

The Flyers, playing in their first regular season game of the year, dropped a strange game to the New York Rangers by a score of 4 - 3.

The Rangers, already playing their 4th game of the season, came out and blitzed the Flyers to the tune of 4 goals in the first period. Two of them were absolutely stoppable by goaltender Martin Biron, who was ultimately pulled from the game in favor of Antero Niittymaki.

Ultimately, however, the Rangers dominance had more to do with the Flyers looking as if they were still playing in the preseason. A couple of Flyers attempted to wake up the team; specifically, Riley Cote, who took on Colton Orr, and Mike Richards, who traded fives with Brandon Dubinsky.

Ultimately, however, it took until the 2nd period for the Flyers to wake up and get on the board. Scott Hartnell converted a Glen Metropolit face off win for a shorthanded goal early in the 2nd period by shooting high over Stephen Valiquette's glove hand. The period also featured Mike Richards flying around the ice; he drew two penalties in the period and seemed determined to dig the Flyers out of the hole they dug for themselves.

The Flyers struck again towards the end of the 2nd period when Simon Gagne batted in a Danny Briere rebound to chalk up his first goal in forever. For the game, I thought Gagne looked like a guy who hadn't played in awhile, but more importantly, he didn't look timid, which was a good sign for a guy coming off of post-concussive syndrome.

The third period was all Flyers, but they could only dent the Ranger net once on a Mike Richards goal from a sweet cross-ice feed from Danny Briere. The Flyers certainly had their opportunities in the 3rd period; they had a 2 man advantage with a little under 10 minutes left in the game, but they were turned away.


- It's hard to understate how poorly the Flyers looked in the 1st peroid; the only consolation you can take from this game is that when they got their skating legs, they dominated the Rangers.

- Danny Briere....2 assists.

- Lasse Kukkonen was a -2 in the game and was the guy that got beat wide when Sjostrom scored.

- Luca Sbisa wasn't bad in his debut. He was a -1, but the whole team was so bad early, it was difficult to tell. By the end of the game, Sbisa was carrying the puck up ice confidently and even pursued on the forecheck at one point.

- Nice work from Glen Metropolit last night. One of the few Flyers that showed energy early on in the game and he got some increased ice time during the game.

- Stephen Valiquette? Again? Really? You gotta be kidding me.

- In case you missed it, I wrote a preview of the 2008-2009 Flyers season for

- Sarah Palin dropping the puck got alot of press after the game. I don't care about the home crowd booing her; what angers me is that she was there to drop the puck in the first place. I'm not angry about her presence at the game because of her politics; I'm angry that Owner Ed Snider would use his hockey team as a bully pulpit for his political views.

Many of us go to the hockey games to forget about politics and the real world for awhile. While I have no problem with highlighting the contributions of the armed services during the game (as the Flyers are wont to do), I am appalled that Snider, a known McCain donor, would push his choice for President under the disingenuous guise of inviting a well-known "Hockey Mom" to drop the puck. I don't care for it when Rock Stars prosthelize their political beliefs during a concert I pay to attend and I don't like it when rich hockey owners do the same.

Photo: by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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