We'll have much more on this "game" in the morning, but right now isn't a time for putting serious thoughts down for all the world to potentially read.
Blow off steam in the comments, enjoy Laviolette's press conference, and most importantly, have a drink.
11:09 AM, The Day After: Leaving that ^ there to encapsulate forever how I felt last night. Now, let's move on to a deeper look at this one so we can try to learn from it... or something.
Last April, when Dan Carcillo decided to fight Max Talbot in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, many around the hockey world said it was the impetus for Pittsburgh coming back from a 3-0 lead and ending the Flyers season that day. Those people were wrong. If, today, those same people would say the Carcillo's uninhibited cross-check-then-knock-out of Matt Bradley were the game-changer against the Capitals, those people would be 100 percent correct.
Bradley cleanly hit Carcillo along the boards, but for whatever reason, Danny couldn't rein in his emotions. Shocker, right? It's good when you play with an edge, but more often then not, the guy can't seem to keep himself under control. We were evidenced to yet another one of those incidents last night. After the jump, take a look at the video, the boxscore as the ref's threw the book at Carcillo, and, of course, the ensuing nightmare of a hockey game.
And the penalties...
PHI – 14:33, D. Carcillo (cross check – 2 min)
PHI – 14:33, D. Carcillo (fighting – 5 min)
PHI – 14:33, D. Carcillo (misconduct – 10 min)
PHI – 14:33, D. Carcillo (instigator – 2 min)
PHI – 14:33, D. Carcillo (game misconduct – 10 min)
Hate to say it, but they're all there. The cross check is maybe a little weak, but he did cross check Bradley when he was down on the ice. The instigator, the fighting major, and the misconducts are also totally deserved. There's no debating that. Period. As Laviolette said after the game, "We got hit and should've skated away."
But Carcillo didn't. And nine minutes of power play time for the Capitals were the result. First, though, let's set the stage a little bit.
Prior to the "fight," the score was knotted up at one. The Flyers came out pretty lifeless from the start, and things weren't helped by the fact that Ray Emery gave up a goal less than a minute into the game. But they were able to keep the score at 1-0, and about 11 minutes later, it was Carcillo who (ironically) picked up the puck in the corner, fed it back to Oskars Bartulis for a shot from the point, allowing Mika Pyorala to bang home the rebound to tie the score at one.
If you listen to the highlights on NHL.com, you can hear the Washington broadcast crew talking about Carcillo before the goal, saying things like "he's been much better this year" and "he's not taking those dumb minor penalties." It's like they already knew what was about to happen a little over two minutes later and wanted to be funny about it or something.
So yeah, Carcillo beats down Bradley and the Caps get a nine minute-long power play. From the goal, the Flyers had looked better than they did at the start of the game. They spent time in the Washington end. They got pucks on Theodore. But with that number nine glaring down upon them from the Wachovia Center scoreboard, any life they had was completely sucked out of them. Should that be the case? No. Is it understandable? Of course.
Washington went on to score three goals on the power play. It didn't help that Emery looked absolutely rattled from the start. Most of all, it didn't help that the power play was nine minutes long.
When you get so behind so fast, it becomes really hard to analyze the game. The Flyers clearly didn't show enough heart in this one, but a game like this is such an anomaly that you have to take it with a grain of salt. Add to it that it was Peter Laviolette's first game as head coach and you really can't take much from it.
What we need to take from this game is how they respond to it. How Carcillo responds, how Pronger and Richards respond, how Emery responds, and most importantly, how Laviolette responds. If this team can't turn this game into rock bottom, into the defining point of the season, then we're in for the long haul here. Hopefully they turn it around starting today at practice and then Monday night in Montreal.
Questions With Answers
- How hard do the Flyers come out of the gate? There's no doubt they have a lot to prove tonight. It was ugly, as previously mentioned.
- Will they sustain the effort for the entire game? What effort?
- How does Ray Emery bounce back from several shaky outings? He looked as bad, if not worse than he has all season.
- Does Kimmo Timonen show any signs of his broken toe? Hard to tell in this game.
- On an individual level, how do Mike Richards and Chris Pronger, the leaders of this team should be feeling the most blame for Stevens' firing, play this evening? See number four.
- Can the power play get out of its slump? They only had one chance. It looked a little better, if that means anything.
- How long does the shutout streak continue before the Flyers finally score? 172:10