clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Carcillo fight was not a game changer

Much of the hockey-loving public seems to believe that Dan Carcillo's fight with Max Talbot in the early stages of Game 6 yesterday allowed the Penguins to get the boost which led to their five-goal comeback.

The turning point of the game, Flyers up 3-0, Maxime Talbot of the Penguins battles Daniel Carcillo of the Flyers and Penguins go to work from then on.

One of the examples of why fighting needs to stay in the game.  This fight had some meaning.

>> Kukla's Korner

It was a beat-down, for sure. But Daniel Carcillo's fight with Max Talbot while the Flyers were leading 3-0 is being widely credited for sparking the Penguins' rally. He was slammed for it on NBC, and rightfully so.

>> Greg Wyshynski, Puck Daddy

So, yes. The Flyers were up 3-0 on Danny Briere's power play goal. A few seconds later, Talbot challenged Carcillo to a duel and Carcillo obliged. Was that the smartest move in the world? No. In fact, it was quite dumb. If Carcillo loses, the crowd quiets down and the Pens get a ton of jump. That's the polar opposite of what happened, though. So was the decimation of Talbot's face by Carcillo's fist the reason Pittsburgh went on to score five unanswered goals and end the Flyers season? Hell no.

I'm not a Dan Carcillo fan. I was against his acquistion, I've been against him since he became a Flyer -- perhaps even unfairly -- and to be honest, I'm still bitter that Scottie Upshall is gone. So if I could use Carcillo as a scapegoat for the Flyers season ending loss yesterday, there's no doubt that I would jump on his back faster than anybody.

But it wasn't his fault. He went to town on Talbot's face, and afterwards, pumped up the crowd and his team. NBC commentator Darren Pang, in response to his colleague Eddie Olczyk's verbal attack of Carcillo's decision to fight, said that the Flyers bench had a ton of emotion following the fisticuffs.

How does a beatdown of an opposing player, a shot of adrenaline to a team with everything on the line, and a raucous crowd lead to defensive breakdowns in front of the net that allowed Pittsburgh to score?

It doesn't. But thanks to Olczyk irresponsibly making up his mind on this issue before the fight was even over, and the coincidental Pittsburgh goal shortly afterwards, the wide belief is that Carcillo engaging with Talbot allowed the Penguins to steal the momentum from the Flyers. And even when Pang, who was located at ice level and could feel the energy of the situation more than anybody, brought up a counterpoint to Olczyk's baseless blather, Eddie O decided to ignore it and continue on with his pointless point.

The Flyers lost because they took their foot off the gas and the Penguins capitalized. Pittsburgh, by coincidence, happened to score right after the fight when the Flyers still had the momentum. The goal is what stole it away from Philadelphia, not the fight.

Until that goal, the Flyers looked fine. They failed to clamp down when Pittsburgh had the puck in the crease and it found its way into the net. That's when the momentum shifted, and that's when the Penguins got going. Don't blame Carcillo.