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Penguins Win Stanley Cup, Crosby Elevates To Legendary Status

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They weren’t unanimously picked to reach the Stanley Cup Finals this season, nor were they heavily favored to win it, yet the Pittsburgh Penguins did just that. Pittsburgh clinched their first Stanley Cup since 2009 with a 3-1 series-clinching victory in Game 6 over the San Jose Sharks.

Maybe there was a collective sigh of relief from the organization who, like many, may have expected many more Stanley Cup ceremonies in the 7-year period between their last win in 2009 and now.

“It’s so hard to win it year after year,” said Mario Lemieux, who won back-to-back titles for Pittsburgh. “For them to be able to come through this year and win their second Cup is big. Hopefully there’s a few more for them.”

“I was just thinking about how hard it was to get to this point, just trying to enjoy every second of it,” Penguins’ Sidney Crosby said. “It’s not easy to get here. Having won seven years ago at a young age, you probably take it for granted a little bit. You don’t think you do at the time, but it’s not easy to get to this point.”

“In the playoffs, suddenly we thought we could beat any team,” Evgeni Malkin said. “We tried to play the same game we played in 2009.”

The Penguins didn’t always have the “championship” look this season, especially under head coach Mike Johnston. But in December things took a major turn when coach Mike Sullivan took over and the team took on a whole new personality.

Crosby took the changes as an opportunity to really step up, in a much bigger way and display even more leadership.

“I think his leadership, for me, especially when we called a lot of young guys up,” said assistant coach Rick Tocchet. “I think he really took that to heart. He really wanted to lead these guys. He had them over to the house for dinner.

“Any time it got a little hairy in games, he was talking to them. I guess the cherry on top, he was incredible tonight. He was such an animal on the ice. I think that was the cherry for him, the process that he went through this year. I’m really proud of the way he played today, he wanted it tonight.”

It hasn’t been easy for Crosby, or the Pens, to get back to the promised land after 2009. Injuries, concussions, shake-ups and changes altered their course, making their journey to the Stanley Cup that much more clouded.

“Yeah, when you have so much turnover the last couple of years like we had, it’s not easy just to throw a bunch of guys together and develop that chemistry, that trust,” Crosby said. “It doesn’t happen overnight. But you look at the group and how many new players [we] brought in, it’s pretty special what we were able to do.”

But just as the team and organization evolved, so did Crosby’s game, which he brought to the next level.

“Early in his career, he went out and got points and did everything, but that didn’t make him satisfied,” Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz said. “He had to go out and lead through example, and became a better player. Offense, defense, he goes out with nine seconds left, takes a faceoff for our team. He’s the all-encompassing guy, one of the greatest players to ever play the game because of how he can adapt to the game and how hard he works at everything.”

Crosby’s resume just took another step up now with two Stanley Cups, two Olympic gold medals, two scoring titles and two Hart Trophies. The Hall of Fame is no longer a debate, but a foregone conclusion.

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Penguins And Capitals Series Turning Ugly Fast

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It all started in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoff series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals when Tom Wilson made a questionable leg-on-leg hit on Conor Sheary, the hit resulted in a fine. But since then a series that many thought would be a classic has turned into a sloppy and dirty series that is a far cry from what many analysts predicted this matchup could be.

And the hits just keep on coming.

In Game 2, Capitals’ defenseman Brooks Orpik leveled Olli Maatta with a high, late hit which was followed by a three-game suspension and in Game 3 Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang’s high hit on Marcus Johansson puts Letang at risk of a potential suspension.

The loss of Letang could be a series shifter.

“I didn’t see him coming, he came from the blind side,” Johansson said after Game 3. “I just looked at it; he obviously leaves his feet, and hits me in the head. It’s the kind of play you want out of the league. Doesn’t look good.”

When asked if he expected the same thing to happen to Letang, Johannsson responded by saying; “Yeah, I’d say so”.

Maata’s return to the series remains unknown, Johansson returned to the ice on Monday night.

“I went through all the concussion tests and stuff like that. Just some issues with my neck right now,” Johansson said. “I just got hit right in the head and a little whiplash I think. It is what it is.”

Letang also spoke to the media;

“I mean, I didn’t see it,” Letang said of his hit on Johansson. “Things happened fast. I know he was down after the hit. He was OK, he returned to the game. He was pretty physical on me afterward. I was happy he wasn’t injured.

“I saw him coming full-speed. I tried to step up in the middle. Things happen fast, I can tell you that.” Letang made it clear that there was no intention to injure: “It was just a step up to hit him. There was no intention,” he said.

Washington’s lockerroom is hoping that the NHL treats the star players just like everyone else when handing out any forthcoming disciplinary measures:

“It will be interesting how they handle it,” said Washington goalie Braden Holtby. “If it’s fair, he won’t be in next game. But that’s out of our control.”

“It’s one of those ones that hopefully they treat everyone the same. That’s all I can say.”

While there were plenty of borderline plays not only in Game 3 but throughout the series, Holby believes that the team that can compose itself will come out on top.

“Yeah, that’s extremely key in playoffs,” Holtby said. “Your emotions, you have to keep them in check, you have to keep them level, where you can have your ultimate focus. We’ve been told by the refs and the league, retaliation is going to get called. And it should. It’s about mental toughness in that area, and we’re getting better and better as the playoffs go on.”

Brooks Orpik accepted his three-game suspension and said:

“It was a bad hit,” Orpik told the media. “It was intended to be a hard hit, definitely not at his head but I don’t think there is anything that you can argue that it was definitely late. I think that was pretty black and white. I said that during my hearing yesterday. So, I’m just disappointed. It’s a split-second decision you make and I just gotta live with it.”

“He’s a pretty good friend so it made the situation a little tougher,” said Orpik.

Orpik went the unusual route of accepting the suspension, calling the suspension “fair”.

“There wasn’t much arguing,” Orpik said. “I told them it was a late hit and I knew that’s why I was having a hearing. I don’t know about an argument. There wasn’t much arguing. I obviously told them there was no intent there and there was no denying it was late. That’s pretty much all there was to it. That was the end result. I didn’t really know what to expect out of how many games; whatever they gave me was something I was just going to have to accept. That’s what we’re going to do moving forward here and hopefully across the league they start punishing everything else the same way.”

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The Philadelphia Flyers Are Eliminated By The Washington Capitals & IT’S SAD!

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You have all the symptoms; sadness, irritability, lack of appetite, malaise, boredom and a lack of certainty about your future and maybe life in general.  The condition bringing on this bevy of happenings?  As of April 24, the Philadelphia Flyers 2015-2016 season is over.

You may have even stopped crying now, but probably not.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare has complex feelings.

 

 

The Flyers were not able to sneak anything past Braden Holtby to tie the game or extend the series or the season, the extremely final score was 0-1.  The only puck to venture into a net for the entire game was put there in at 8:59 into the second period by Capital Nicklas Backstrom.

“Good pass, unbelievable shot,” Neuvirth said of what would be the game winning goal, “I don’t think I could have stopped it.”

Philadelphia fans gave their orange and black aggregation a standing ovation to felicitate the regular and post season efforts.  The Washington Capitals won the series 4-2 and will go on to the next play off round to face the Pittsburg Penguins and no, they both cannot lose every game or have a pox on both their houses.

The Crimson Puck Bandit Braden Holtby doing his pre save mohawk ritual.

 

 

The Flyers have done much more with their season than expected.  Firstly, it is a rebuilding year.  Secondly, their season started dismally and only really gathered any momentum after defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere made sparks after being brought up from the Phantoms.  The Flyers reaching the playoffs was not planned (although previous playoff runs were made in season’s with similar starts), although their hockey savior Ghost Bear was breaking out the jam and their starting goal tender Steve Mason making the big saves during their playoff push got them into the playoffs.  Back up goalie Michal Neuvirth returned to the line up for games four, five and six to keep them in the series for as long as possible.

The orange spangled man with the plan Michal Neuvirth, who made 28 saves during game 6

 

 

It was a precarious push with little room for negotiation, crossed fingers and a flame thrower needed to light 2,987 candles to the hockey gods, but the end result was delightful due to it’s unpredictability.  There were the big emotions that changed from despair to hope, hope to anxiety, back to hope, then to elation, back to depression and anxiety again, then back to hope and happiness and then sadness.  In that order.  Getting to the playoffs and finally get some wins in the series exceeded expectations and gave them an honorable end to the season everyone could be proud of.  With new talent in development, the Philadelphia Flyers have a lot in the way of fabulousness to look forward to and so do we.

Watch below to watch the hopes and dreams of many to be dashed away.

Video from the Official NHL Channel on YouTube

David Boreanaz@David_Boreanaz Thank you for a great season. The future is bright. In Hextall we Believe as we carry the torch for Ed Snider Always.

Chris Therien@ctherien6 Great series effort by . Future looking bright!! Thx to all the great fans for your continued support to hockey

Lauren Hart@LaurenHartMusic Until next season……. I will miss you much. Thanks for all the love. You’re the best! Good Night, Good Hockey

¥OU55EF  @YOU55EF_- great season Flyers Lauren Hart can’t wait to hear your beautiful voice next season

Michelle Honick@mishybell215 Flyers proved so many wrong, lots of positive things out of this season. Got a bright future also, Love you guys

Little Miss Jen@FlyersFanLMJ No one even expected the Flyers to make the playoffs so this was a huge bonus. Imagine what they’ll do with solid D and offensive depth.

Jakub Voracek@jachobe Thanks to all the flyers fans for amazing support throughout the year!!it always pleasure to play in front of you guys!!

Claude Giroux’s post game snack is a warrior spirited grilled cheese sandwich of offseason-ness because that’s what warrior spirited off season captains eat.

 

 

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The Philadelphia Flyers Only Needed 11 Shots To Beat The Washington Capitals 2-0!

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The Philadelphia Flyers entered the Verizon Center for game five after their first victory in the post season two days earlier.  They have avoided a sweep and now desperately fight to stay in the series and the post season.  The open and the close of the game left fans both elated and exhausted.

Just 10 seconds into the first period, Philadelphia Flyer Brayden Schenn and Washington Capital T.J. Oshie partook in the fisticuffs and Schenn was enthusiastically and gloriously impinging his clenched manus upon Oshie’s face in rapid repetition.  As jazzed as the Flyers were and as a-flutter the hearts of fans elsewhere were, it did not provide the jump start to the team and Philadelphia was dominated by Washington throughout the first period, being outshot 6 to 14, although neither team scored.

 

The Flyers had many power play chances that failed to amount to a goal in the first period and most of the periods they have played before and definitely all the ones that came after.  They should really make a new name for power plays when they apply to the Flyers so it becomes a more accurate.  Some suggestions to mull over; the having more people playing than their opponent does play, the opportunity to create awesomeness but they probably won’t play, or the hey one of the other teams guys went away for a while play.  Any of these would be an applicable replacement for the Flyer’s mislabeled power play.  Although to be fair, it would be harder for Lou Nolan to announce “The Flyers are going on the Pecoooo having 20% more non goal tending players than the other guys play.”  Or, the Flyers could help Lou out by making their power plays powerful if all else fails.

Little Miss Jen@FlyersFanLMJ – Please get a power play goal, Flyers! Pretty please. With grilled cheese on top!

 

The second period was spruced up nicely with Ryan White putting the Flyers on the board first at 7:52 in the period assisted by Sam Gagner and Mark Streit.  The Flyers were prevailed again by the Capitals in shots on goal, having only 2 shots against the Capitals 16, which is impressive in its own way as 50% of the Flyers shots on goal were successful, where as Washington failed to get on the board.  Not impressive in a “The Flyers made many shots and spent a lot of time NOT in their own zone” kind of way, but a “The Capitals dominated the ice but couldn’t land any of their 16 shots and The Flyers got it done with 2” kind of way.

 

 

Since it was a one goal game and the Capitals furiously and desperately trying to even the score or win, most of the third period and especially the last 3-4 minutes were making Flyers fans heart’s into a mosh pit on trampline.  They didn’t speak, blink or breathe.  The last minutes of a playoff game with the series and season on the line are kind of like Narnia, it feels like ages pass while you’re there but return to the real world to find out virtually no time has passed.

Little Miss Jen@FlyersFanLMJ Flyers are gonna be the death of me. Hopefully I die happy.

Allison Snyder@wolfhead9 – give your goalie a break! the

vincent russo  @vrusso3250123 – He is like a brick wall tonight. Unbelievable goaltending

The Flyers only had 3 shots on goal for the third period, including the empty net goal scored by Philadelphia’s Chris VandeVelde, with  Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on the assist with just 31 seconds left in play, giving them a 33% success rate on their shots on goal.  The combined number of shots on goal from the Flyers in the periods they scored during can be counted on one hand by people who have all their digits.  Their shots on goal for the whole game can be counted on both hands and a single toe, they are super potent shots.

“I’ll take it this way, I’d rather have five shots and win the game than have *%#@$^ 40 shots and lose,” Jakub Voracek said.

The Flyers were desperately clinging to their lead with goalie Michal Neuvirth doing ice yoga, going into star fish mode and becoming a full on ice ninja just like “Sub-Zero” from the Mortal Kombat games.  He blocked every one of the 14 shots on goal from the Capitals and kept them in the game, letting all of his team mates hop on his back so he could carry them to victory.  I hope there is a thank you card made for that very situation.  Michal Neuvirth played like he was made of magic, high quality, gluten free, name brand magic with a total of 44 saves and a shut out.  The Flyers won 2-0.

Watch the Spiderman level saves and the pugilism below in the highlights; it will warm your heart and soul.

Video from the NHL’s Official Channel on YouTube

Neuvirth remarked of his evening; “I was just focused on myself. Just tried to go save by save. Like I said, I was feeling good the whole night.”

Michal Neuvirth’s team mates had a multitude of fabulous things to say about him.

Wayne Simmonds said of Neuvirth; “He played unbelievable, he was great. He’s the reason we won that game. He saves our butt sometimes and we save his butt sometimes. He definitely saved ours today. Neuvy stole one for us, that’s for sure. We know that. We’re going to have to play a lot better at home on Sunday and we will. We’ve just got to get to the win. That’s all.”

His Captain Claude Giroux shared his impression of his goalie’s game; “It was pretty impressive. The way he worked, it was pretty amazing. We did the best we could in front of them trying to eliminate the high-quality chances, and they were shooting pucks from everywhere. He did a good job of controlling the rebounds. It was pretty impressive.”

Goal scorer Ryan White expected nothing less than amazing from their puck blocking ice ninja; “We’re used to that from him He’s had a couple of games this year where he’s just stood on his head. He’s been such a competitor for us. He competes every day like that in practice, so we’re not really surprised. It’s nice that the team did a good job in front of him and battled hard for him and tried to keep most of the scoring chances to a minimum. He obviously made a few big saves that kept us in the game.”

 

The Washington Capitals have three wins and the Philadelphia Flyers have two wins in their playoff series.

Ryan White, Chris VandeVelde and Brayden Schenn get a gold star right on their forehead and Michal Neuvirth gets 4,689 wherever he wants them.

Claude Giroux’s post game snack was an extended grilled cheese sandwiches because that’s what series and season extending winners eat.

 

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The Philadelphia Flyers Beat the Washington Capitals 2-1; The Season Continues!

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Photograph by Justin Nolan

Nicole@Flyergirl88 one win. One game. One step. you can do it.

Wednesday’s game challenged belief strucures, physics and probability.  The Flyers scored on the power play, killed penalties and avoided being swept by the Washington Capitals.  The game showed a distinct change in play by the Flyers as noted adroitly by their prodigal goalie Michal Neuvirth; “That was one of the reasons that we won the game, that was our goal. And we didn’t take any stupid penalties. Just a great team effort for 60 minutes. That’s the way we’ve got to play.”

The Flyers knew the severity of a loss; their season and playoff run would be over and needed to set the tone and build some confidence.

Little Miss Jen@FlyersFanLMJ If you are ever going to score on the power play again, do it now Flyers.

Michelle Honick@mishybell215 a power play goal would be great… but could be too much to ask for

Enter: the Ghost Bear.  At 5:51 into the first period NHL rookie Shayne Gostisbehere gave himself a fabulous 23rd birthday present by opening scoring for the Flyers.  On the power play.  Seriously, that really happened on the power play.  He was assisted by Captain Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds.

“It was a relief, we’ve got a lot of bounces and they weren’t really going our way. So it was good to get on the board early, especially. I think it set the tone,” said Gostisbehere of his first period happiness maker.  “It was huge, It’s like taking a monkey off your back,” he said “We battle so hard in front of Holtby to get power-play goals and goals in general. Just to see that one go in really early was nice.”

Gostisbehere’s assistant in scoring Wayne Simmonds expressed his relief over getting on the board first; “So it was nice to be able to come out tonight. We were actually really focused on that unit and it was nice to get us kick started.”

The first period had fear intermingled with their hope when Flyer Scott Laughton was taken from the Wells Fargo Center by stretcher to the hospital as a precaution after a push into the boards from Capital John Carslon at what appeared to be a very awkward angle of impact.  Players of all team affiliation came to check on a very still Laughton.  He spoke with medical personnel and did not seem concussed, neck and spinal injuries were the main concern.  The crown gave him a standing  ovation for the injured player.  He stayed over night as a further precaution and all tests came back negative.

“You never want to see that happen. It’s just one of those plays that you feel like you do a lot in the game, and it never ends up like that. I feel for him. I hope he’s fine. But I don’t know. I’m not going to let him walk to the net,” John Carlson said of the play gone awry and the player who was injured by it.

Allison Snyder@wolfhead9 –  This is scary please be ok

Little Miss Jen@FlyersFanLMJ This is really scary. I hope this is just precautionary. Be Ok, Laughts!

Shayne Gostisbehere dedicated their efforts and win to the injured Laughton; “This W is for him.”

 The second period had it’s share of magical happenings as at 3:51 Andrew MacDonald pulled off his own feat of might and mystery by scoring his own goal for Philadelphia, which also really happened.  Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn had the assists.  Again, the Flyers set the tone early on and it paid off in the end.

Little Miss Jen@FlyersFanLMJ Wait, not only do the Flyers have 2 goals in this game but MacDonald scored one? It’s a miracle!

In the start of the third period, the Capitals got on the board early at 2:38 in an attempt to break the Flyers momentum and mount a comeback with the goal scored by T.J. Oshie.  However, Philadelphia was able to maintain their one goal lead and extended their season.

Little Miss Jen@FlyersFanLMJ I can breathe now!

Allison Snyder@wolfhead9 Yay! thank you

Michelle Honick@mishybell215 FLYERS WIN!!!! Force a game 5!!

Little Miss Jen@FlyersFanLMJ YES!!!!! THERE WILL BE MORE FLYERS HOCKEY!!!!

After some tough and somewhat embarrassing losses with goalie Steve Mason in net, Michal Neuvirth returned to the net for the Orange and Black, making 32 saves.

“I felt a little rusty early during the game,” Neuvirth said of his extremely effective and morale building return. “The guys did such a good job in front of me. I was just finding my rhythm. I think from the second period I was feeling really good. Just really happy with the effort tonight.”

Watch the highlights below to see and believe the wild happenings that took place during the game.

Video from YouTubes Official NHL Channel

This game is just one more chapter added to the unlikely fairy tale story that is this season; the slow start, the rookie prince saving the day for both the team and the loyal fans watching, the play offs and now letting the season go on for one more game.  It would on the same level of filling the pacific ocean chocolate pudding awesome if this season’s story ended with finding the holy grail we call the Stanley Cup.

Shayne Gostisbehere, Andrew MacDonald, Michal Neuvirth and Scott Laughton all get a gold star right in the middle of their forehead, except for Laughton, who may put his some place not bruised and painful.

Claude Giroux’s post game snack was an extended grilled cheese sandwich of victory, because that is what series and season extending winners eat.

 

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Blackhawks’ Andrew Shaw Appears To Use Gay Slur, Gay Rights Group Contacts NHL

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Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw appeared to use a gay slur during a 4-3 loss in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, and a prominent gay rights group affiliated with the NHL, ‘You Can Play Project’, said it planned to reach out to the league regarding Shaw’s actions.

While in penalty box, Shaw pounded on the glass with his stick and yelled what looked like a slur towards another player.

When asked about the incident, Shaw had this to say:

“Being like I just said — I’ll repeat myself for you — emotions are high,” Shaw said. “I don’t know what was said. Obviously, I was upset with the call. I wasn’t happy with the call.”

‘The You Can Play Project’ tweeted about the incident indicating that they planned to reach out the NHL.

According to multiple reports, the NHL is investigating the incident

 

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Mr. Ed Snider was Remembered and the Philadelphia Flyers were Walloped by Washington Capitals

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Photograph by John Clark

This article covers and uses tweets from games one, two and three of the Philadelphia Flyers/Washington Capitals series in the playoffs for the Stanley Cup.  You have been warned, read with caution.

The 1st game of the post season ended in a 2-0 shut out loss to the Capitals, which saw the Flyers failing to turn numerous power plays into scoring and a series ending upper body injury for Sean Couturier.  Reckless play lead to reckless penalties that in the end hurt their game; Flyers defenseman Mark Streit said; “We have to be a little bit more disciplined, I thought we took too many penalties. I think that gave them a lot of momentum. The danger is on their PP and for the most part we did a pretty good job.”

Little Miss Jen@FlyersFanLMJ – Flyers need to rework their power play. Their inability to score with the man advantage hurt them tonight. Can’t let this happen again.

The game left the heart feeling like it was put in a waffle maker and then the waffle maker was thrown while plugged into a bath tub that the soul was using.

“Claude Giroux’s post game snack was whatever got thrown at him because only winners get grilled cheese sandwiches of victory”- this post game snack would later haunt players, fans alike and you unintentionally foreshadowing author.

Game one scuffles and highlights lie below.

Video from YouTube’s Official NHL Channel

During the second game, shots on goal increased dramatically from 19 to 42 in game one for Philadelphia, which paid off at 9:37 into the second period by Jakub Voracek, getting the Flyers on the board for the first time in the series.  There were fewer power plays for the Flyers compared to the first game, but they still could not capitalize on the opportunity, a common theme forming in the series.  Another common them is Philadelphia goalie Steve Mason’s inconsistency, which cost the Flyers a goal deflected from the neutral zone by Jason Chimera at 2:26 into the second period.  Mason spoke thusly on moving on from the weak goal; “You just have to have a short memory, it sucked. It’s a crappy feeling. I just completely messed up on it. It should have been a simple play for me. I messed up.”  The final score was 4-1, with the Capitals securing their second win the series.

Little Miss Jen@FlyersFanLMJ Mason making saves like that makes that weak goal so frustrating.

Claude Giroux’s post game snack is the left over salad dressing from the containers after the salads were eaten from because only winners get grilled cheese sandwiches of victory.

See below for Jakub Voracek scoring the first Philadelphia Flyers first goal in the series, the goal that broke 10,000 hearts and other game two highlights below.

Video from YouTube’s Official NHL Channel

Game three had a beautiful start and lovely sentiment; honoring the memory of the recently passed Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider.  His initials were painted into the ice and fans were given bracelets that created a beautiful fan driven pre game sparkle in the Wells Fargo Center that dazzled many.  A moving video tribute to Mr. Snider, his love for his team and many accomplishments left many in tears, players in both line ups included.  Flyers anthem singer Lauren Hart wore a tribute jersey with “Snider” on the back an sang the traditional “God Bless America” duet with Kate Smith on the big screen as they do before any important game.  The atmosphere was beautiful and positive.

The emotion carried over into the first period with the Flyers Michael Raffl scoring less than a minute into the game, leaving players inspired and fans ecstatic, “It was crazy, it was so much fun and emotional the first 10 minutes. People were going wild. It was absolutely amazing.” he said of the Wells Fargo Center and everyone in it.

See the lovely and touching tribute and Lauren Hart and Kate Smith sing “God Bless America” below.  If you have seen it, watch it again because it is gorgeous.

Video from ThatGuyInPhilly on YouTube.com

However, this was only a delay in the Philadelphia Flyers downward trend, the slow descent into unpleasantness hit a tipping point in game three. With five goals being scored by the Capitals on the power play.  The Capitals answered Raffl’s goal minutes later at 4:43 into the first period with Marcus Johansson finding the back of the net while on the power play.  In the second period at 8:50 in, Alexander Ovechkin extended Washington’s lead to 2-1, the only goal not scored on the power play that night by Washington.

The Capitals started the scoring early in third period with Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring at 1:58 in with their next goal coming at 7:37 by John Carlson.  The goal by Carlson was a rebound after Mason dropped the initial shot on goal from Justin Williams.  From here, the third period dissolved into a horrible down sucking swamp of embarrassment and sadness.  The Flyers were not able to develop any kind of momentum, the game was over, the end horn just didn’t sound for another twelve 1/2 minutes.   Flyers coach Dave Hakstol confirmed what every one else already knew; “The third goal-against, the way it happened, the first time it’s happened to us in a while, it took the wind out of our sails.”  The game would have been remembered more fondly if it had ended right there.  Then would have been a good time to pull goalie Steve Mason and put in Michael Neuvirth.  It would have given him an opportunity to get some play off experience and ready him for a potential start on Wednesday for game 4, but coach Dave Hakstol kept Mason in until the nitty gritty end.

Rachel Pai@paiphotographySo many bad words are coming out of my mouth right now, the neighbors might start to wonder if I’m beating somebody up over here….

Flyer Pierre Eduoard Bellemare hit Capital Dmitry Orlov from behind that resulted in pandemonium both on and off the ice.  At 12:17 Pierre Eduoard Bellemare, Radko Gudas and Ryan White received respective checking from behind and game misconduct, misconduct and more misconduct penalties after they and Capitals players began entwined in what could be a described as a Flyers insighted tangly wangly mess of flesh and anger.  In frustration some terribly behaved “fans” (which was later determined to be les than .5% of those in attendance) turned something beautiful into something very, very ugly; they began throwing their light up bracelets given to fans to include them in the pre game ceremony honoring the life of Ed Snider.  Announcer Lou Nolan admonished and warned fans; “This is Philly, this is not somewhere else in the NHL, have some class.” and told them “Okay, those fans that were classless enough to throw these … next one that’s out there is going to cause us a minor penalty.”  When the bad behavior did not end, the crowd received a “Way to go” from Lou Nolan and the Flyers received a penalty.  The ice was not the only target of the crowd; recently hit Dmitry Orlov was also hit with the once sentimental souvenirs.  In an effort to redeem the crowd and their own sense of honor, Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds joined Capitals Captain Alexander Ovechkin of the ice and appealed to fans to stop the disrespectful display.  Simmonds said the behavior was “Embarrassing” and said after wards “I know they’re upset in that situation, but that can’t happen.”

The penalties essentially rendered the Capitals on the power play for the remainder of the game.  Alexander Ovechkin tallied his second goal of the evening at 14:48 and Jay Beagle scored Washington’s sixth goal for the evening with 2:40 left in the game.  The final scored was 6-1 with the Capitals scoring five of those goals on the power play, leaving a gaggle of broken hearted Flyers fans who felt like their happy place was trampled by a herd of angry and flaming moose.  There were giant antlers and hooves everywhere.  This raises the question; is having game four at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday really a home ice advantage?

Claude Giroux’s post game snack is the refuse that was thrown at him, because grilled cheese sandwiches of victory are for winners only.

See the beauty of the beginning as well as the melee and meltdown of game three below.

Video from YouTube’s Official NHL Channel

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Brian Elliot’s Unknown Success and Lack of Respect

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St. Louis Blue Goaltender Brian Elliot has been one of the best and most consistent goaltenders in the NHL over the last five seasons. (Courtesy of foxsports.com)

The 2015 season had ended. The St. Louis Blues had just been eliminated by Minnesota in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Another year, another first round exit for a team that was expected to make a run as champions of the Central Division. However, it was another year of playoff disappointment and questions as to, what this team did wrong. Also as to what they need to do, in order to win a playoff series for the first time since 2012. One of the main questions was the decision by Head Coach Ken Hitchcock to start rookie goaltender Jake Allen who had no playoff experience over veteran Brian Elliot.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Brian Elliot will by key for success in the 2016 playoffs. (Courtesy of covers.com)

While Allen had the slightly better record and numbers over Elliot, playoff hockey is completely different from the regular season. It was the second year in a row where despite a solid regular season it seemed as though the Blues did not trust Elliot heading into the playoffs. During the 2013-2014 season Elliot had sparkling numbers in only 31 games played. He went 18-6-2 with a 1.96 goals against average and .922 save percentage. Right before the trade deadlines the team made a trade for then Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller who had been successful in the playoffs before and was one of the top goalies in the league. Miller became the starter but struggled in the team’s six game first round loss to Chicago. Miller went 2-4 with a 2.70 goal against and a .897 save percentage far from what the blues expected. Miller left after that year and Elliot was joined by Jake Allen in the St. Louis crease.

Throughout the 2015-2016, the Blues constantly had important members of their team on the injured list. Only forward Troy Brouwer played in all 82 games. However the Blues still finished with a record of 49-24-9 with 107 points for second in the division and conference and third in the league. One of the major factors to that success was goaltender Brian Elliot.

Going into the season Brian Elliot and Jake Allen were expected to split the goaltending duties.  While Allen played very well and posted good numbers while starting more games, Elliot took his opportunities and ran with them. Allen was injured twice throughout the season, one of which was over the final few games of the season. Allen also suffered from inconsistent play at times, as well giving Elliot more starts. In those starts and all season Elliot, played the best hockey of his career. He finished the season 23-6-6, with a .930 save percentage and a 2.07 goals against average. His save percentage was first in the league while his goals against was tied for second only .01 points behind Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop.

Brian Elliot signed with St. Louis during the 2011 off-season and has been nothing short of great ever since. In his now five years with St. Louis he is 104-46-16 with a 2.01 goals against average and a .930 save percentage. The consistent he has had in St. Louis has been remarkable. May he have been a little at fault for some goals in the past playoffs yes but throughout his tenure with St. Louis he has been one of the teams best players. Going into game one against Chicago, with Allen being questionable, Elliot was going to get the call. The Blues knew before the season started that this years playoffs was extremely important. The fans and management have been getting a little restless over the disappointments of the last few season. Finally with a completely healthy lineup for game one, they knew they could do damage.

However, playing the defending Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks is not an easy task. However, the Blues came out ready to go, no one more than Brian Elliot. Elliot held Chicago’s lethal offense off the board for the entirety of game one. He pitched a 35 save shutout, making a number of key saves when called upon. A goal by David Backes that deflected off Chicago defenseman Trevor Van Riemsdyk 9:04 into overtime gave St. Louis a 2-1 series lead. Despite getting out shot 35-18 the Blues had a 1-0 series lead once for the third time in four years. Brian Elliot was the best player on the ice all game long out dueling Chicago goalie Corey Crawford. If the Blues had any doubts about their goaltending, Elliot certainly put those to rest in game 1. Elliot has been consistently the best goalie for the blues over the past five season and if he can keep this level of play all playoff they will have a great chance to get out of the first round and go even further. Brian Elliot has been a great goalie for St. Louis, it’s time they start to truly realize how solid he is and how they would not be where they are without him.

 

 

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Philadelphia Flyers Owner and Paragon Ed Snider Has Passed Away- Updated

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Michael Alan Goldberg

Photograph by Michael Alan Goldberg

Sadly, the founder and owner of the Philadelphia Flyers, Ed Snider, has passed away at the age of 83 after battling cancer.  It is hard to find the right words to define and describe a man who was a paragon in so many ways to so many people.  He was a dedicated family man who was a father of 6 children and a father figure those around him, a business man who built teams and the buildings they played in, a philanthropist who gave much financially and of himself to help and provide opportunities to others, and someone who never stopped believing in the great things that he and others could accomplish with passion, persistence and perseverance.

He founded the Philadelphia Flyers in 1966 and in 1967-1968 they played their inaugural season and in the 1973- 1974 season they became the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup.  The feat was repeated in the next season.

Mr. Snider was know for his charitable endeavors, one of his greatest was founding the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, founded in 2005, which helped bring hockey and life skills development to under privileged youth.

The players, coaches and staff’s New Years Eve visit to Mr. Snider’s Montecito, California home was a turning point this season (2015-2016), giving them the fire and confidence to come back from the season’s slow start, which has thus far culminated in a successful run for the playoffs.  This year Mr. Snider was not able to be a part of the Philadelphia Flyers team picture, a first in his 47 years as the team’s owner, though his presence was deeply felt.

Mr. Snider was the inspiration and motivation behind the playoff clinching Flyers victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, April 9th and his passing came after the end of the regular season on Sunday April, 10th.  The Flyers anthem singer Lauren Hart had Mr. Snider on FaceTime while she sang “God Bless America” with Kate Smith on the jumbotron saying “If Ed Snider couldn’t be in the building, I’m bringing the building to him!!”  The team will wear commemorative patches on their jerseys during the playoffs and the run will be played in honor of and for him.

Mr. Snider stands out from his peers in many ways for what he has done for others, but what his greatest gift was he made people feel.  He has been an inspiration to others through his passion for the game of hockey and unwavering support those who played it and those around him.

Rest in awesome Ed.

Do you have a little Ed Snider in you?  Put it to good use and see how you can help the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, click the link below.

Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation

From others for Mr. Snider:

Claude GirouxVerified account @28CGiroux I feel privileged to have known such a great leader. Rest in peace Mr. Snider, you will be missed.

Jakub Voracek@jachobe It’s been a honor and privilege to be part of the amazing organization you built. We will never forget the impact you made Mr. Snider! RIP

Wayne Simmonds@Simmonds17 First off I want to send my condolences to the Snider family. It’s been a pleasure being able to put on the flyers uniform and play for A man as great as mr Snider. You will always be remembered may you RIP

Michael Del Zotto@MichaelDelZotto Rest in peace Mr. Snider. The best owner in all of sports. Truly amazing person….

Brandon ManningVerified account @mandog1990 it was a privilege to play for the best owner in sports! your passion for hockey was contagious, RIP Mr. Snider

Pierre-E Bellemare@bellsy78 Didn’t take long to realize what an impact a great man can have for his City! It was an honour to have played for you! RIP Mr SNIDER

Sam GagnerVerified account @89SGagner Rest in peace Mr. Snider. It was an honor to get to know you. The legacy you have created here in Philadelphia will live on forever.

Shayne Gostisbehere@s_ghost14 – Extending my thoughts & prayers to Mr. Sniders family and friends, you will be greatly missed by the city of Philadelphia.

Brayden Schenn@Bschenn_10 Rest in peace Mr. Snider. It’s been a honor to play for the best owner in sports. You will be missed.

Brandon Manning@mandog1990 it was a privilege to play for the best owner in sports! your passion for hockey was contagious, RIP Mr. Snider

Scott Hartnell@Hartsy43 Rest in Peace Mr. Snider. Sad day for Philly and the hockey world. You will be missed!

Chris Therien@ctherien6  – Not only did Ed Snider bring the , he left a legacy and blueprint on our sports culture that will reverberate forever in Philly

James van Riemsdyk@JVReemer21 RIP mr snider, was a privilege to play for you

jody shelley@shelleyhawk45 It was an honor to play for Mr. Snider. Sad to hear of his passing. The hockey world will not be the same. Rest In Peace Mr.Snider.

Zac Rinaldo@RinaldoZac Honored to of played for a man so dedicated to his city and to his sport teams. Hero’s get remembered but legends never die. RIP MR.SNIDER

Danny BriereVerified account @DannyBriere48 It was an honor playing for you Mr Snider. Your players all love you and you will be missed greatly around the WFC.

Rick Tocchet@RealRocket22 R.I.P Mr. Snider – you were a great influence in my career and the best owner I ever had . ?Sad day in Flyer Nation

Lappy@dooda1414 Sad news this morning! R.I.P Mr. Snider !

Hal Gill@Skillsy75 RIP Mr Snider. A great man. He gave so much to hockey and Philly. He will certainly be missed.

David Boreanaz@David_Boreanaz My heart hurts today for a friend who gave Philly a gift that will always be on and off the ice for a better tomorrow. R.I.P. Ed

 

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The Philadelphia Flyers Beat the Pittsburgh Penguins & Will See You In the Post Season!

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Photograph by Christina Davis

Saturday, April 9th was a big day for the Philadelphia Flyers, as it revealed whether or not they would see the post season.  To their benefit, the Boston Bruins lost to the Ottawa Senators, allowing the Flyers the opportunity to clinch a wild card spot in the playoffs.  They took full advantage of that opportunity and the result is playoff berth and a feeling that is luscious and mystical, like a tea party for unicorns.  It is that special.

The Wells Fargo Center was an ocean of orange and contributing to the fabulous atmosphere was a beautiful and very thoughtful action by the Flyers anthem singer Lauren Hart.  As she sang “God Bless America” with Kate Smith on jumbotron, Lauren Hart was FaceTiming Flyers owner Ed Snider while she sang , as Ed Snider was in California fighting his cancer, giving him the chance to be there for his team.  Lauren Hart said of her intent; “If Ed Snider couldn’t be in the building, I’m bringing the building to him!!” An amazing deed from an amazing woman.  Even though he was not in the building, he still motivated his team as they were determined to win for him.   Flyers goalie Steve Mason said of his owner and of Lauren Hart’s gift to him; “That’s awesome, he’s the face of this franchise. Even though he hasn’t been around, he hasn’t been forgotten, that’s for sure. We just want to make him proud as we go on here. We know he’s watching, so that’s all the motivation we need.”

The Flyers began the game a little unsure of themselves and playing more cautiously than decisively, which Pittsburgh capitalized on.  Pittsburgh’s Nick Bonino opened scoring at 11:57 into the first period giving the Penguins a brief advantage, but this was negated when Wayne Simmonds tied the game at 1-1 with 1:03 left in the period, assisted by Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux.  Flyers goal scorer Wayne Simmonds said of their slow start; “I think our hands were a little too shaky, like everyone had two cups of coffee too much. But we settled down, we figured it out, and we kept going and we stuck with our structure and we kept going and going. … We stuck to our systems. No matter if we were having a good game, bad game, we stuck with it and we just keep trying to improve on our systems. It worked.”

The second period saw a more confident Flyers team but still went scoreless until 16:58 into the period, when Wayne Simmonds, assisted by Shayne Gostisbehere and Mark Streit, gained a one goal lead to close out the second period at 2-1.  Philadelphia Flyer Jakub Voracek commented on the change in his team’s demeanor and playoff aspirations; “We knew what was the score in the other games today, but we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I think we were a little bit nervous in the first 10 minutes and we just knew we had to stick with our game plan. That’s what got us in.”

The third period also went with out scoring until Pierre-Edouard Bellemare landed and empty net goal with just 8 seconds left in the game, giving the Flyers a 3-1 win and a spot in the playoffs.  Wayne Simmonds conveyed his joy with some happiness fueled board assault and later stated; “I started slashing the boards, I think that’s probably my new celebration when we win. It felt unbelievable.”  Flyers goalie Steve Mason, who made 18 saves in his 12th consecutive start, felt a sense of relief saying; “All the weight came off your shoulders, the guys fought hard all game, all season long to get to this point. To have that seal the deal there, was definitely a nice feeling to ride out the last 50 seconds.”

See game highlights below, it will feel so pretty.

Video from YouTube’s official NHL Channel

Wasn’t that satisfying?   If joy were a gaggle of butterflies, they would block out the sun for five years.  If happiness was chocolate pudding, it would fill and Olympic sized swimming pool, that’s how good it feels.

After the win, the Flyers had FaceTime with owner Ed Snider in the locker room to share the accomplishment with their ailing owner.  Wayne Simmonds commented “It’s unfortunate Mr.Snider couldn’t be here…Obviously this organization owes everything to Mr. Snider. If it wasn’t for Mr. Snider, not one person in this dressing room would be here, so we played our hearts out.”.

The playoff position was hard fought given their rough start to the season with only 5 wins out of the first 16 games.  What they have achieved is nothing short of amazing, especially since this is technically a rebuilding year, but first year Flyers coach Dave Hakstol was not surprised and said “From Day One we believed in the group, we believed in the character and the work ethic of the group. From there, it’s all the players in terms of those guys digging in, sticking together, pushing each other to be better, and in terms of the regular season, it culminates with a good win that puts us into the playoffs.”

Steve Mason and Pierre-Eduoard Bellemare get a gold star right on their foreheads and Wayne Simmonds get 2 and may puts them any where he wants to.

Claude Giroux’s post game snack was a playoff bound grilled cheese sandwich of victory, because that’s what wild card winners eat.

In the land of Twitter:

Michelle Honick@mishybell215Win and you’re in boys… Let’s Go Flyers!!!

Little Miss Jen@FlyersFanLMJ Flyers are going to the playoffs! !!!!

Allison Snyder@wolfhead9 That was beautiful!

Michelle Honick@mishybell215 Always believed in the would make the playoffs this season, never counted them out, so happy they clinched!

Little Miss Jen@FlyersFanLMJ It wasn’t easy and it didn’t look good at times but am I excited for this playoff run!

Michelle Honick@mishybell215 Now that the flyers clinch, will the people who pick rookie of the year take into consideration how much ghost had a impact on this team…

¥OU55EF  @YOU55EFFLYERS BABY WOOOO ?????

 

That sums it up pretty well, FLYERS WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Stay happy, healthy, safe to the best of your abilities and don’t be afraid to shine!

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