Philadelphia Penalty Parade
After the lengthy playoff run last season all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, Flyers fans hoped to see a parade this season. They’ve already seen a few. Although, instead of a glorious parade down Broad Street, the fans have seen downtrodden parades to the penalty box. Such was the case Saturday evening, when the Flyers dropped a 5-1 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Penalty, after penalty, after penalty. Frustration doesn’t begin to describe it.
I would love to believe that this is simply a wake-up call for the team and they’ll show their resolve on beginning on Thursday when their home stand continues. But there really is no faculty in my imagination that allows for such hope. As talented as this year’s roster is on paper, it’s completely thrown out the window when someone in orange takes up permanent residence in the box. It’s become almost comical, and the defeat to the Penguins only highlighted the lack of discipline.
Anytime an NHL team takes more penalties than the opposition, they put themselves at serious risk. The parity that exists in the league doesn’t allow teams to take nights off. When you play a team like Pittsburgh, whose power play unit can boast two of the best players in the world, you REALLY can’t afford to take too many penalties. The Flyers were pretty disciplined in the season opener against Pittsburgh, and what do you know? They won. Saturday, they were so undisciplined that the word doesn’t even do it a justice. The Penguins cashed in on their opportunities to no one’s surprise. And by the time the Flyers had to put together some type of effort to crawl back in the game, they had no energy. Obviously, having no energy is a direct consequent to trying to kill penalties all night.
After the disappointing loss, Mike Richards had some interesting words to say to reporters in the locker room. Richards is not the most vocal leader, and as I’ve highlighted before, it can be maddening to someone who looks for insight in post game comments. His answers are usually as vanilla as French bean, so when he spouts off it’s rather eye-opening. Here is his press availability:
(Video Credit: BroadStreetHockey)
Honestly, my jaw dropped to the floor when I saw the video. I look at this two ways: A. Richie is really irritated with what happened in the game on Saturday. Hopefully that frustration will be guided towards the team’s mistake instead of officials. B. Whatever it is that irritated Richie so much, it can only be a good thing. Richards has been up and down in the beginning of this season, and he plays much better when he has a chip on his shoulder. I would expect him to come out ready to roll on Thursday in a big way.
As for his comments, I don’t really care about the officials. The Flyers took their fair share of blatant, dumb penalties, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s human nature to lose benefit of a doubt on calls moving forward. I strongly dislike what Richie said, but I do love to hear some type of outspokenness from him. We’ll see what impact, if any, that Saturday’s game has on him and the rest of the team.
I don’t want to venture to guess if the Flyers will come out a much more disciplined team on Thursday. I know they’ll have some time to stew over the 5-1 drubbing they took to their Atlantic Division rivals, and that should be a good thing. I won’t be surprised if they play disciplined hockey.
I’ll be even less surprised if they don’t.