#13 New York Islanders (23-23-8, 54 pts) at #7 Philadelphia Flyers (26-23-3, 55 pts)
Wachovia Center - 1:00 PM ET - Philadelphia, PA
TV: CSN Philly HD, MSG Plus HD
Radio: 610 WIP, XM 206
This is the open game thread.
Get New York reaction at Lighthouse Hockey
I actually began this preview with a reflection on fighting's nebulous place in the NHL -- then wisely (I think) chucked that into a separate post below after it veered off into its own dissertation. If you find fighting in the NHL to be as entangled in myth and vague intentions as I do (and I don't know how you wouldn't, if you're honest), you might check it out. I don't expect agreement, but the ill-defined topic is worthy of discussion.
Anyway, that topic naturally came up because today, for the first time since Oct. 17 (Joel Rechlicz's fifth and last NHL game of this season), the Islanders are employing a pure enforcer.
Yes, the Islanders are one of at least four teams by my count to call up tough guys just prior to taking on the Flyers. Of course, those of us who watch this Flyers team know that, sure, they play a rather physical brand of hockey and yes, they'll always answer the bell when called upon.
But you could count on your hands how many meaningless fights the Flyers have been in since the Peter Laviolette era began, thanks to his effective reeling in of Dan Carcillo and Riley Cote's never-ending press box stay. In fact, the only Flyer among the top ten NHL fight leaders is Ian Laperriere, and we all know that many of his bouts are of the rile 'em up, wake up a sleeping team mentality.
The Flyers may have physical players on the roster and they may like to mix it up a little bit more than the average club, but it's comical that the perception around the league is that these guys are a bunch of goons. But I digress, because ultimately, when it comes to the point that your general manager finds it necessary to call up a tough guy just because you're coming in to see the Flyers, you know the players have that in the back of their mind as well.
That's the kind of stuff that can take a team off of their game, especially a team that's pretty soft like the Islanders, and that gives the Flyers a serious psychological advantage.
Still, that advantage means nothing if the Flyers can't play a full 60 minutes of hockey. Today is a gigantic game with serious implications on the standings, and while the Isles have been a down-and-out hockey team for several seasons, they're a threat today on the Wachovia Center ice. If the boys in orange and black can't come out in full force after that third period implosion against Atlanta in a game that was just as important on Thursday night... well, then I just don't know anymore.
After the jump, line combinations, starting goaltenders, questions with answers, and our in-game discussion.
Flyers Line Combinations - Hartnell/Powe swap
Powe - Carter - Briere
Gagne - Richards - Hartnell
JVR - Giroux - Asham
Carcillo - Betts - Laperriere
Carle - Pronger
Coburn - Timonen
Tollefsen - Bartulis
NYI Line Combinations
no clue where to find them, honestly. Newsday's Isles blog probably has them, but they make you pay. They've been real successful with that business model, by the way.
Note: Roloson isn't 100 percent confirmed, but considering Martin Biron's lack of success against the Flyers this season and the way the goalie rotation has gone in NY, it seems that Roloson will go today.
Questions To Answer
- Does Trevor Gillies, New York's called-up tough guy, try any nonsense today?
- Can Mike Richards score his 100th goal yet? We've been waiting a week, Mike.
- Can anybody on the top two lines do.. um, anything?!
- Does the Powe/Hartnell swap last, and does it create anything?
CSN Philly, 610 WIP. Join us here for the discussion, and LET'S GO FLYERS!