Very few Western Conference teams evoke such strong reactions from Flyers players as do the Chicago Blackhawks.
Simply mention the Blackhawks to any of the seven current Flyers who were a part of the team for the 2009-10 season, and thoughts immediately turn to Patrick Kane’s game-winning overtime goal and subsequent celebration at center ice at the Wells Fargo Center two Junes ago.
Sarah Baicker, CSNPhilly.com
The key part that stands out to me in that sentence is “seven current Flyers who were a part of the team for the 2009-10 season”. The loss in the 2010 Finals might sting the fans, and those few players, but it’s not much of a motivating factor for the other 13 guys that will dress tonight. Why the hell should they care one bit about something they weren’t a part of? We don’t need 7 guys ready to play tonight, we need everyone.
So forget the motivation and the revenge factors. Winning a regular season game isn’t going to replace a loss in the finals. I’m not going to post a clip of the goal that sealed our fate. What’s the point of going back to that now? Of course we’ll feel really good if we get a win tonight, but it won’t be payback. The only payback would have been to beat them in the Finals last season. Now we’ve gone through way too many roster moves. If we both make it to the Finals this year, and we come away with the Cup, it will be different because so many of the key faces from that run 2 years ago are gone.
So the main storyline tonight is about trying to beat a really good team that you don’t play very often. It’s another chance to see how we match up against a deep team that is pretty good in all facets of the game. Marian Hossa is getting on the scoresheet a lot. Jonathan Toews is right up there with Claude Giroux in MVP discussions. Patrick Sharp is still scoring goals. Patrick Kane is still 10,000 times better than JVR. Duncan Keith is rebounding from kind of a downer season offensively last year, while maintaining solid defensive play. And while these star players all all on a roll, the other guys must be doing something right because Chicago sits 1 point behind Vancouver for top spot in the West, with two games in hand.
Of course I want to beat them badly. It would be sweet to ice a good team and get our own squad back on track. The 24/7 camera’s are no longer a distraction. The players can get back to their normal routine. Matt Read will start as a fill-in for Jaromir Jagr on the top line. I don’t know who is in net tonight, but I’ll bet it will be Bryz who needs to start proving himself. I want to see the Danny Briere that we saw in the Classic, not the one we’ve seen most of the year so far. And can our entire offense click against a good team, or will we get stifled? I can’t wait to see it all happen tonight.
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Topics: 2010 Playoffs, Chicago Blackhawks, Claude Giroux, Danny Briere, Duncan Keith, Flyers Rangers 24/7, Ilya Bryzgalov, Jaromir Jagr, Jonathan Toews, JVR, Matt Read, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Philadelphia Flyers, Stanley Cup Finals, Vancouver Canucks