Fear the lightsaber stick. (Courtesy: fantasyknuckleheads.com)

May The Fourth Be With You, Flyers

That’s right kids, it’s Star Wars Day. Tonight, the rebel Flyers try to put a dent into on of the Original Six Empires, the Bruins.

A New Hope

Maybe the Flyers just need a change of scenery to get them going. They avoid the pressures of the hometown crowd, yelling random things at them. The fact that this team came back against Boston last year only matters in one place: their minds.  They know it can be done, and that it simply takes hard work. They’ve played well in the past and lost games. They know they simply have to keep doing what they did in Game 2, and things will work out. A win tonight, and things will be looking up quickly.

Empire Strikes Back

Boston too has learned from their past mistakes. They know how to attack us as well. They know that sitting back won’t get them anywhere against us, because we’re bound to break through.  They can’t let us build confidence throughout the game. They’ll try taking the body, pushing on offense more, and attacking our weaknesses as much as possible.  It’s up to the Flyers to prevent that, and keep pressure on the other end of the ice.

Return of the Jedi

We have a ridiculously potent offense, when everyone is on their game. It’s up to defense to run the transition, it’s up to forwards to dig pucks out of corners, and it’s up to everyone to put shots on net.  It will take a total team effort to come back and win this series.  I still think we are deeper, but as an entire team, Boston is very strong. Tim Thomoas is more than a wall, he’s a forcefield.  But everyone has their weak points. He’s sound positionally, but no matter what, he’s still a small guy. We have to aim higher, much higher than we did in the last game. It doesn’t matter if you take 10, 52, or 100 shots at a goalie if they are all low. Mix it up, make him work even harder than he did. That’s how you break through, thats how you beat him.

For all of the above to work, we must use The Force. FGSB beat me to it a bit, but I’ve been meaning to talk about our physicality as pretty much this whole year. Forget the first few games when we were basically a .500 team. During the stretch when we were destroying everything in our path, it was pretty much thanks to timely goals. Mainly, we jumped ahead and never looked back. And in those types of games, there’s not much room for the rough stuff. Then, when we began to slump, it was mostly due to nobody giving a shit. So once again, if we didn’t care about the games, we didn’t care much to fight often anyway.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIIt3c1dguY

Now I look, and this team isn’t very tough at all. And that’s a really, really bad thing. Sure, we had the occasional motivational fight, or a great hit here and there. But those are for the highlights. That’s not enough to develop a personality. What happened to knocking the snot out of anyone who even look at our goalies, let alone stopped near the crease after a whistle. Look back at last year, and every time that happened, somebody got shoved or facewashed. Now, guys give Boucher a snow shower, say a couple “s’cuse me’s”, and get ready for the faceoff. I want more toughness. I want heads rolling. I want anyone without a Flyers logo getting a physical pounding for every second they are on the ice. I want them completely intimidated, and their will to win completely destroyed.

You think I’m bullshitting? Prior to one of the games against Buffalo, there was an on ice interview with one of the Sabres players. I’m paraphrasing, but he said something like, “We’re not afraid of their physical play. They’re a skill team, not a team that intimidates you.” I can’t even be upset with him for saying that because he’s 100% accurate. We shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath as the Broad Street Bullies. That’s not at all our identity. But it should be. I don’t mean to goon things up. But plenty of other teams can play within the rules, yet still be tough as nails. It’s something that you don’t need to study tape for to add to your game. It’s simply about building some anger, and expressing it, repeatedly, but in control. For years, players have said that the best way to get into a game is to get hit or throw a hit. Well then EVERYONE needs to get into the game, and stay in the game from start to finish. Beat them up while beating them.

If we can send this series back home, let’s give Boston a case of the Philadelphia flu.

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Tags: A New Hope Boston Bruins Brian Boucher Buffalo Sabres Danny Briere Eastern Conference Semifinals Empire Strikes Back Flyers Goal Scored By Game 3 Mike Richards Philadelphia Flu Philadelphia Flyers Playoffs Return Of The Jedi Star Wars Tim Thomas Toughness

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