People get their panties in a bunch about anything these days.
For some reason, when two of the most penalized teams in the NHL hook up for a game, and then, mindbogglingly... you know, take penalties, Ed Moran of the Daily News feels the need to write a story about how the excessive penalty calls are bad for the game.
Not bad for the Flyers. Bad for the game.
It was a special-teams festival. It would be one thing if this was just one game in a dozen, but this kind of nonsense is happening all the time - and not just to the Flyers, as those who watch them play every night suspect.
Granted, the Flyers-Blues game was over the top, but in the 12 games played Saturday night, there were a total of 139 penalties called.
But it was kind of a one-game thing. I don't think you looked around the boxscores from Saturday night before publishing your article.
The Flyers game had 27 penalties. There were also seven fights on the night, and we can get rid of those numbers for this argument since fighting majors aren't at the discretion of the refs. You figure 7 fights equals at least 14 penalties, plus the Flyers/Blues 27 and you've got that bad looking 139 number down to 98.
So after you do the math Mr. Moran decided not to take the five minutes to worry about, you see that in the other 11 games in the NHL, you've got an average of 8.9 penalties a game. Four to five penalties per team doesn't seem that excessive, does it?
This article in the Daily News was written on this misconception we Flyers fans have. Our team gets the short end of the stick. In the course of the game, we all feel it. Mike Richards and Kimmo Timonen sensed it following the game in Florida, too. But that's in the frustration of the game.
The facts are that we cannot blame the refs because our team is undisciplined. It's the fault of nobody else but the guys in that locker room. This is something John Stevens needs to focus on and get under control, and fast. As he said the other night after the Florida game, it's "taxing on the key guys" when you're killing penalties all game long.
But at the same time, say they can't get the penalty numbers down. Are they doomed? Not exactly. You know what comparison I've heard more than any other this season? "Hey, those Flyers remind me a lot of Anaheim the year they won it all." That's not too far off.
The 2006/07 Anaheim Ducks also led the league in penalty minutes per game. Those Ducks took more penalties than anybody else, but they knew how to kill them off with a PK rating of 85.1%. The Flyers are close behind with an 83.1% PK rate so far this season. And both teams score when they get the PP chances, which helps things substantially. The Ducks had a power-play percentage ranked third in the league at 22.4%. The Flyers PP this year is 2nd best in the NHL at 24.2%. Philadelphia averages about 28.8 shots per game and 32.6 shots against per game. The Cup-winning Ducks averaged 29.9 shots per game and 30.9 shots against.
The fact is that, yeah, some of these numbers look bad in the regular season. But the Flyers are winning games despite the penalties. This version of the Philadelphia Flyers looks like a team built for postseason hockey. Just like those Anaheim Ducks.