Heading into a series as an underdog, it’s usually considered a good result to split the first two games. Of course, that mentality completely changes if you pull off the upset in Game 1. Now that the Flyershave the series lead, they have to push even harder to extend it.Of course it takes a team effort, good goaltending, and all those other common cliches, blah blah blah. Realistically, there’s only one thing that will make a difference, and that’s the play of the captain, Mike Richards. Reporters have questioned his leadership most of the season, while the team has publicly denied any locker room issues. I think the stories are overblown, and I’m siding with the players. Here’s how I see it though: the older guys already come to play, and it’s the young guys that seem to have motivational issues.
When Richards shows up, the team plays a lot better. He’s not the most talented, he’s not the fastest, he’s not the best player on the team. But when he shows up, everyone shows up. That’s why he must be the captain of this club. Players do respond to him, and this is what management noticed a few seasons ago. Look back at the season, and you know it’s true. He’s not completely to blame for the teams shortcomings, but he’s more important than people realize. When he was hot, the team played well. His best scoring stretch coincided with the teams hot streak in January. After he went cold for most of the rest of the season, the team was up and down. In the last game, the most critical games of the season, he played his heart out. And the team followed suit, and managed to pull out a great victory.
In Game 1, he assisted on the first goal, and scored the game-winner on a wicked slap shot. I’m not saying we must rely completely on him to score, but the team needs to feed on his energy. This is an offense with plenty of scoring punch, when they decide to play. It’s not the best of situations when guys need to be motivated like this, but it’s too late to change things up now. And so this postseason, the Flyers will live and die based on the play of Mike Richards.
- All seven Game 1′s so far have been decided by 1 goal. I’ve watched as much as I could of a few other games, and it’s some great hockey. These close, intense games are what make the playoffs so awesome.
- Why do Chicago and Nashville fans have to wait an extra day to see their teams start the playoffs. They’re the only team that hasn’t opened up their series yet. Unless there’s an overtime, the Flyers/Devils and Sens/Pens will have finished Game 2 before the ‘Hawks/Preds Game 1 ends.
- LA surprised me a bit, but Vancouver looks like they’re on another level. I won’t be too surprised if they come out of the West. It’s a shame that here on the East Coast we don’t get to see the Sedin’s on a regular basis.
- I know Crosby is the face of the league, but there’s more to watch than him. I’d like to see the Nashville/Chicago game on Versus tonight.
- This has nothing to do with the playoffs, but the league must go back to ‘home whites’. I don’t know why it bothers me, but it does. In Phoenix, the fans were doing a white out, but because Detroit wears the white jersey, the fans look like they’re supporting the road team. It’s stupid!. Go back to the way it was! We didn’t need this change!
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