Florida Panthers (15-15-7, 37 pts) at #14 Philadelphia Flyers (15-17-2, 32 pts)
Wachovia Center - 7:00 PM EST - Philadelphia, PA
TV: CSN Philly HD, FSN Florida
Radio: 610 WIP (internet stream)
This is the open game thread.
Behind Enemy Lines: Litter Box Cats
You remember the hit. The destruction of David Booth's face by the shoulder of Mike Richards. It was legal, but that doesn't mean the Panthers are going to let it go. Sure, there was no on-ice response during the game in which the hit happened, implying that Florida realized at the time that there wasn't much wrong with the hit. But after the post-game rhetoric hit them like a ton of bricks, they decided after the fact that, oh wait, it was a dirty hit, and tonight, it looks like we'll see some fireworks. Or maybe not, as these things usually turn out, but the recipe is certainly there.
Florida general manager Randy Sexton was pretty ticked off about the hit in his post game comments back in October, which forced Flyers GM Paul Holmgren to tell Sexton to "watch more hockey games." Apparently Sexton decided to watch the '70s hit Slap Shot in place of actual NHL hockey, because as reported by the Daily News, he's called up Ogie Ogilthorpe to suit up for the Panthers tonight.
Alright, so it's not actually the most feared goon in the Federal League and Syracuse's finest, Ogilthorpe, but instead it's Steve MacIntyre, who's played a grand total of 30 NHL games. The guy had 207 penalty minutes in just 27 games with AHL Hartford in the 2004-05 season, meaning he spent 12.7 percent of his Hartford career in the penalty box, and probably a lot less than that actually on the ice playing hockey.
Then there's Mike Duco, also called up today by Sexton and the Panthers, and while his resume isn't as impressive as MacIntyre's, he still has quite the rap sheet. In some sort of ironic twist, he played on the same Kitchener Rangers team that Richards captained in 2003-04.
There's no shying away from what these guys are here to do. Richards should keep his head on a swivel tonight. He can handle himself, but we'll see what happens.
As for Booth, he's in Philadelphia, traveling with his team on this three-game road trip for the first time, I believe, since the hit. He's a few weeks from returning to game action, though.
Back to the hockey thing, of course: the Panthers have quietly been decent in their last few games. They have at least a point in seven of their last ten, compared to the Flyers who have failed to pick up a point in seven of their last ten. It's ugly and we all know it.
After the jump, questions to answer, starting goaltenders, and our in-game open thread.
Questions To Answer
- Simple question: how long does it take a Panther to take a run at Mike Richards, and does it end in an all-out bloodbath?
- If that happens, can the Flyers use it as something to pump them up? Nothing else seems to work. If it doesn't happen, can they find any other motivation?
- Do the Flyers dress Cote to counter Florida's goon duo, and how much ice time do any of these goons get?
- We all know the other questions like they're a broken record by now. Scoring, power play, penalty kill, goaltending. What's the deal tonight?
Tonight's game will be broadcast locally on CSN Philly and 610 WIP. As always, join us here for the conversation, and LET'S GO FLYERS!