Hi everyone! I’m Dylan Coyle, and I’m new to BSH. I’m extremely excited to start working with everyone here. A little bit about myself: Ever since 4th grade, I have wanted to be a broadcaster. Over the years, I’ve made many connections (including Jim Jackson) and gotten a lot of experience. I announce with the Reading Royals from time-to-time and was recently in the booth with Jim Jackson. I also run the website Good Night, Good Hockey (GNGHockey.com) and run the Takeover in the Flyers sub on Reddit. Here is a link to my demo reel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRKR_-4i-5Y.
That’s a little about me! Now to the recap...
So the Flyers were set to play hockey tonight, and because they won the last 2 games of the season, they decided to drag us along just a bit longer before their inevitable elimination from playoff contention and ensuing Michael Jordan crying faces. However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it is absolutely exciting to watch the team try to pull off a miracle in hopes of making the playoffs. I know that it might help the team in the long run to get a better draft position, but I’d rather watch a team play with heart and determination. At the very least, it makes the games exciting.
And my, oh my, did they ever come out with firepower tonight.
The New York Islanders came into Philadelphia for tonight’s game, and it was a decently big one for what it’s worth in the standings. The Islanders came into the night with two more points than the Flyers and a game in hand on both the Flyers and the Bruins. The Bruins actually were only four points ahead of the Islanders, so this was a big game for the Islanders to do well in.
See, does anyone truly hate the Islanders? I feel like we all think they are the younger brothers of the Flyers’ main divisional rivalries. Other than the 1980 Stanley Cup Final where he-who-must-not-be-named missed the most blatant offsides ever, I don’t think there is much to hate about them. Actually, wait; they are not the Flyers. Hate away everyone.
Just a couple of minutes into this game, Flyers superstar Dale Weise continued his hot streak in the Month of March after a cross-crease pass from Sean Couturier for Wesie took a swing off of his stick and past Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss. Give a lot of credit to Weise here, because his drive to the net give him the opportunity to put the puck in the net. Why couldn’t Weise do this earlier in the year is the question...
Just a minute later, Coots found himself with the puck on his stick and a wide-open net to shoot out. I’m talking wide-open. Like, more wide-open than the gap in his teeth (if that’s even possible). He scored. That was pretty cool. A lot of credit needs to go to him in the last few weeks, and one can only hope that his offensive numbers from the CHL continue throughout the rest of his season and beyond.
By the way, did anyone know that a lot of goals equals some fun hockey? Because Radko Gudas decided to take a shot reminiscent of Russ’ knuckle puck from The Mighty Ducks (I just found out that was Keenan Thompson, and I feel bad) in terms of its curving nature, and it found the back of the net. This sent Greiss back onto the bench in favor of recent NHL call-up Jaroslav Halak.
Travis Hamonic was able to get his invitation accepted by Dale Weise for a fight, and they connected less than the how-to guide that Jim Jackson and Bill Clement gave us on how to watch CSN live. This gave Dutch Gretzky a Gordie Howe hat trick in just under 9 minutes of play, the fastest in NHL history according to the booth. There’s a reason he goes by Gretzky.
Jordan Weal then scored a minute later. By that time, I was struggling to keep up. But the goals are extremely welcoming! The most the Flyers ever scored this season was six goals, and they were two away from that amount halfway through the 1st period.
May I remind you that this was still all happening in the first 10 minutes of the game?
Michael Neuvirth decided he was going to sabotage Steve Mason by unstrapping his equipment so he could play. That plan (trust me, that was his plan) didn’t come to fruition, as Steve Mason bought a power-up and came back onto the ice before Neuvirth was able to skate to the crease.
Claude Giroux was found in a heap in the corner-boards as Josh Ho-Sang swung his stick up into the face of the captain. Giroux was bleeding, and this led to a four-minute double minor on Ho-Sang. It was extremely close to his eye, and that is something Philly fans don’t want to be reminded of. On the power play, they were able to get one goal when a shot went off of Wayne Simmonds, Islander, and in. 5-0. Five goals in the 1st period. It actually makes me not want to cry when I see the commercials during a break (“DAD’S COMING IN!”).
When the seconds were winding down in the 1st period, Anders Lee challenged the wrong guy to a fight, Mr. Train (Wayne). Simmonds proceeded to throw some punches and win. Both he and Weise obtained Gordie Howe hat-tricks in only one period, and I’m not sure that has ever been done before.
Yeah. That was the 1st period.
4 minutes in the second period, the Flyers became the Flyers that we are used to when Cal Clutterbuck scored his 100th NHL goal on a shot that got by Mason. Immediately after that, Josh Bailey had an opportunity in close that was stopped by Mase, and the Flyers needed to tighten up after that. The one worry many teams have about leads is that one goal by the opposing team can unravel everything you worked for. Flyers fans should know that all too well (or not, since they haven’t had the lead that often).
Following a Johnny Boychuk shot that went into the shins of Weal, Boychuk threw his forearm directly into the head of Weal. Weal got up slow and had to go through the concussion protocol. In my opinion, I don’t think Boychuk meant to catch Weal in the head, but you need to be more careful about where you throw your body. No penalty was called on the play.
At the 10-minute mark of the 2nd, the shot counts for the period indicated that this hockey was not fun hockey. The Islanders led 10-2 in that category at that point and everything that was going well for the Flyers in the first was just seeming to fall apart quicker than the Penguins will after Crosby retires. Mason was standing very tall in net, however, and his saves were able to bail out the Flyers multiple times throughout the 2nd. By the end of the period, Mason had saved 31 of 32 shots that went his way. Whatever Neuvy tried to do to him backfired. Good for the Flyers, I must say.
The issue for the Flyers in seemingly every game that they have a lead this season is that they cannot play a complete game. It feels as though there will always be at least one period where they cannot play to their fullest. Besides their inconsistency, I think that is the facet that separates them from being a great team.
Jason Chimera scored a goal in the first minute of the 3rd period to remind the Flyers that the game wasn’t over yet. With the score 5-2, the most exciting start to a game all year had turned into a boring game of defensive turtling on the Flyers’ end.
Brandon Manning and Jason Chimera traded fists in the 3rd fight of the game, and Manning caught a helmetless-Chimera squarely on his head. The refs had to stop this one, but it was a good bout from two players who know how to throw them.
When Pierre-Edouard Bellemere got caught for high-sticking, the Islanders tested the Mased God when a puck came into the blue paint, but he was able to fall on the puck and hold it for a whistle (as it was coming out of his gear, but shhh). Throughout the entire game, he was able to stop shots in every which way, deflected or otherwise.
When Mase is on, he is really on.
But Lady Luck doesn’t care about how good someone is. With four minutes left in regulation, an innocent shot from the Islanders hit Radko Gudas and rolled over Mason’s back for a goal. I mean, there aren’t many luckier ways to get a goal on the board, and with a 5-goal lead turning into a 2-goal lead, the Islanders had the slightest bit of life late in the 3rd. However, Filp, Filp, Filpadelphia was alive, as Valtteri Filppula was able to get the empty-netter to put the Flyers up 6-3 and to cap off a very schizophrenic game for the Flyers.
Also, note to Casey Cizikas: don’t run into Radko Gudas. You won’t like the result.
All-in-all, you have to be happy with how the Flyers came out firing in the 1st period. Their 2nd and 3rd period play, however, leaves a lot to be desired, and playing extreme defensive hockey when getting a lead has been a major criticism of the team. The two huge positives in the late-season so far has to be Dale Weise and Sean Couturier. Weise has returned to the form that he had with Montreal and the form we expected from him when he came to the Flyers on a four-year contract. Couturier is an interesting case, as the question of whether or not age or experience is the biggest factor in determining a young player’s worth. Defensively, he is one of the best forwards in the league. His offense has never been fantastic, but his stretch as of late has been extremely encouraging.
Of course, Weal is an absolute beauty as well. Mason also continues to play extremely well in the 2nd half of the season, saving 38 of 41 shots tonight.
Coming up next for the Flyers will be the boring team from New Jersey that are truly (and literally) the Devils. So far this season, the Flyers are 0-3 against them, and nothing has looked pretty for the boys in orange and black (and sometimes gold) in those games. The smallest goal difference was a 4-1 loss back in January.
So, please beat them just once this year, Flyers. Please. Our collective minds will explode if not. At least don’t lose by 10 goals. Thank you.
Oh, and thanks for making this (regular) season end on an exciting note.