Friday, June 07, 2013

It's Flattered, We Are

By this lil article from Scott Burnside at ESPN, which we'll take the liberty of excerpting:
BOSTON -- In the spring of 1997 the Philadelphia Flyers cruised through the first three rounds of the playoffs, winning each series in five games.

The Flyers arrived in the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in a decade with the expectation, at least externally, that they would cruise through a Detroit Red Wings team that had been remade before the season and featured five Russian players playing prominent roles.

They didn't.

In fact, after being crushed 6-1 in Game 3 of the finals, head coach Terry Murray referenced the team being in a "choking situation," a term that has become part of the lexicon of playoff hockey.
Whether that was accurate or not, the Flyers lost Game 4 and were swept out of the finals, and shortly thereafter Murray was fired as head coach.

History suggests, however, that despite the presence of Eric Lindros, Rod Brind'Amour, 50-goal scorer John LeClair and goalie Ron Hextall, the Flyers weren't necessarily chokers but rather the victims of a Detroit team that was deceivingly good.


We were reminded of that 1997 series as we watched the Pittsburgh Penguins drop a gut-wrenching third straight game to the Boston Bruins on the road Wednesday night.

So much of the attention coming into this series was on the star-studded Penguins. They had been buoyed by the addition of key veterans Jarome Iginla (who spurned the Bruins to join the Pens), Brenden Morrow, Douglas Murray and Jussi Jokinen. That made them, on paper at least, the kind of team that seemed well-positioned for another long playoff run after several seasons of postseason disappointments. 

And they appeared to be peaking at the right time, outscoring the Senators 22-11 in the second round and coming into the conference finals with the most potent power play in the postseason.

It wasn't quite the Penguins as Harlem Globetrotters and Bruins as Washington Generals, but the focus from many quarters as this series began was clearly skewed toward Pittsburgh.  (Ed: that would include those ass-kissing NBC SportsNetwork commentators.  Heh.)

But just as the '97 Red Wings were a very good team that just hadn't been recognized as such, this Boston team has not been given full credit for all of its success.
Yeah, what he said.  There's more and all of it is extremely good... RTWT.

We're about an hour away from puck-drop of Game Four, where the Broons have the opportunity to sweep the Flightless Birds.  We are SO hoping for that sort of result, as the Flightless Birds are Number One With a Bullet among those teams we love to hate actively dislike.

You GO, Boston.  Skate to the throat and DO NOT let 'em up.

Update, 2115 hrs:  HELL YES!  Tonight's game was the best 1-0 game I've seen in years.  Boston played a masterful defensive game... and series... holding the NHL's (arguably) most explosive offense to just two goals in four games.  It just don't get no better than that and I think I see another Cup in Boston's future.  Well done, Broons, VERY well done.


  1. "(Ed: that would include those ass-kissing NBC SportsNetwork commentators. Heh.)"
    Can't agree more on that statement.
    Games are not played on paper but inside your TV set!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. I really miss the old ESPN hockey broadcasts. And the CBC.


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