Yeah, I'm just getting around to writing about it.
I was wondering when we'd see the first fight at one of these games, and we finally got one. This was probably the only year it was remotely likely, as the temperature was just too low in past years.
That said, Bob Costas and the rest of the NBC crew REALLY needed to stfu about the whole rivalry between Boston and Philadelphia. Such a thing does not exist, and has not existed since the 70's. The last time Boston played Philadelphia in the playoffs was in 1977, winning in a four-game sweep. There is no playoff rivalry, the two teams play in different divisions, and the only bad blood in recent memory stems from the Randy Jones cheap shot that injured Patrice Bergeron. And that was in October 2007, and Jones no longer plays for the Flyers.
In fact, most of NBC's coverage was shallow and uninformative. It's something they definitely need to work on.
Had to say I was rooting for the Bruins to win this one. It's like the Super Bowl: you have to pick a side, even if you hate both teams (like I do, in this case).
Trouble with the Flyers: somehow in the past couple years, they got confused about the difference between "Tough" and "Dirty." These Flyers definitely fall into the latter category. Hits from behind, loose sticks and elbows do not qualify as hard-hitting hockey. They qualify as justification for a beating.
Bergeron's game-winning play was magnificent. THAT is what tough hockey is. Philly players should take note.
Bride of Kovalev was watching, and commented that next year's matchup should be obvious (and will therefore never even be considered by Herr Bettman): Washington Capitals versus New York Rangers in Yankee Stadium. A day later Glenn Healey agreed.
You get the league's most exciting (read: marketable) player, in one of the league's biggest markets, in an iconic venue. If there's a bowl game there, then hell, play it at Shea, or whatever they call it now.
It makes perfect sense from a marketing standpoint, and puts the game in a reasonable setting for outdoor hockey. The only caveat is that the NHL seems to like putting up-and-coming teams in these matchups, and the Rangers are treading water.
The NHL is in an interesting position with this game. They can keep the momentum, or fuck it up. With Gary Bettman at the wheel, odds are he'll pick option number 2. New York may not make sense from a competitive standpoint, but they do from a weather and marketing one. The non-negotiable part is the Capitals. They MUST put Ovechkin in next year's game, and if they don't they are shooting themselves in the foot.
God help us if they put this game in Dallas or LA or some shitty place like that. Imagine: outdoor hockey in Phoenix! Blarghcgh.