PHILADELPHIA -- There was a stretch of time last season that the Flyers simply could not keep themselves out of the penalty box. Eventually, this problem turned out to be a major contributor in a long dry spell that eventually ended the tenure coach John Stevens.
Tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins, these same issues reared their ugly head as the Flyers fell to their cross-state rivals by a score of 5-1. Captain Mike Richards, usually a pretty dull quote, blasted the Penguins in his post-game meeting with the media. In particular, he had some choice words for Matt Cooke. You can see that video after the jump.
While the team wasn't necessarily happy with many of the penalties, Chris Pronger, Peter Laviolette, Danny Briere and Richards all acknowledged that they aren't necessarily the fault of the officials. It's a lot of frustration and a lot of just, frankly, stupid play.
When you take four penalties in just over six minutes of hockey, you're going to lose. You also don't take that many penalties without being at least a bit at fault. The Flyers were tonight and as a result, they gift wrapped and hand delivered a hockey game to their biggest rivals.
After the jump, post-game video, a few assorted thoughts, questions with answers and the comment of the night.
- Jody Shelley got in his first fight as a Flyer tonight. He beat up on Mike Rupp. He didn't do much of anything else. Seven minutes in penalties, just under four minutes on the ice.
- 14:03 of shorthanded play for the Flyes tonight. I mean, really guys.
- Pittsburgh is averaging six power plays a game. /conspiracy theory
- Richards is right: Matt Cooke is chicken shit. That's one penalty the Flyers did not deserve. Late in the second, Richards dumps the puck down the other end. Cooke runs him, Richards does nothing. Cooke hits him again and Richards gives a slight shove back. Both go for roughing.
- The defense left Sergei Bobrovsky out to dry for most of the night. His five-hole is definitely a weakness, but it's not
- Dan Carcillo was a healthy scratch. Andreas Nodl played most of the game on the top line. I asked Peter Laviolette about what he saw from Nodl -- coach shot me down. Video below.
- Tough to find positives, but the power play did look better. More shots through to the net,
- Brent Johnson is pretty good. Understandable why the Pens went with him on back-to-back nights.
- Everybody who spoke with the media alluded to being overworked on the penalty kill. Another downside of taking a million penalties.
- There were a ton of Pens fans in the building tonight. At two different times in the game, they were chanting "Go home, Flyers." We're in Philadelphia.
- The ice looked terrible tonight. Chris Pronger danced around a question about it and smirked at me.
Post-Game Video: Mike Richards
Post-Game Video: Chris Pronger
Post-Game Video: Danny Briere
Post-Game Video: Sergei Bobrovsky
Post-Game Video: Peter Laviolette
Questions with Answers
- How much of the crowd retreats to the TV-filled concourse around 8 PM when the Phils game starts? The start of the third period and the crappy way it played out combined to create a mass exodus.
- The power play. It sucks. Does that stop? It was better, as detailed above.
- Sergei Bobrovsky obviously had success against these Pens in the season opener. Does he go back for seconds? Not really. He wasn't terrible, but he wasn't anywhere near good either.
- Word is that Peter Laviolette was mixing up the wing on the Carter-Richards line in practice on Friday. Any evidence of that? Yup. Nodl played most of the 5-on-5 with those guys.
Jody Shelley ice time watch. Over/under now down at 4 minutes TOI. 3:58.
- The Pens played less than 24 hours ago. So did their goalie, Brent Johnson. Does fatigue show, and can the Flyers take advantage? Not one bit. Johnson was great.
Comment of the Night
To everyone who is somehow trying to draw conclusions based off the first five games of the season:
The Maple Leafs are 4-0.
>> The DTrain