Big big game. Right to it.
- This was a real reassuring game for a team with a whole lot of drama surrounding it. The drama won't necessarily end in these last fifteen or so hours before the deadline, but this game might take away some of the urgency Holmgren is probably feeling.
- I'm one to play favorites, but I really haven't had one Flyer stand out for me since Sami Kapanen left. I'm not looking for like a Carter or Richards who everyone knows is awesome, but somebody whose name isn't on a lot of jerseys. And damn, Scottie Upshall sure was that guy tonight. He's not big but absolutely leveled people out there, and he's not known for being a great goal scorer, but he had a real nice goal tonight, and if you remember he got a game-tying goal in Game 7 against Washington and the series winning goal vs Montreal in Game 5. He gets stuck on the third line mostly, but if he was on one of the top two lines he'd most certainly have ~25 goals a season.
- The NESN announcers made some reference to Scottie Upshall complaining that the media is obsessed with his good looks and should focus more on his hockey abilities. Did I miss his anointing as the Anna Kournikova of the NHL? Someone more informed on puck bunny culture needs to catch me up here.
- If they trade Scottie Upshall tomorrow after my above slurping, I won't be amused.
- Simon Gagne had a huge game too, with two goals. Overshadowed now by the younger guns, but Gagne is a real reliable veteran presence that will be huge come playoff time, guaranteed.
- Kimmo Timonen makes such a huge difference. It still makes me slam my head into walls thinking about how that Penguins series would have gone had he been healthy for all of it...
- Here's how it had gone the previous four games. Great Niittymaki game, great Biron game, bad Niittymaki game, bad Biron game. And now, on the eve of a trade deadline game, a great game from Niittymaki. It might just be luck of the draw for Niittymaki, sort of a "she loves me, she loves me not" situation where his name happened to come up on the last petal. Biron's name has been swirling around more than anybody's most recently, and he's awfully pricy to be a backup. Niitty getting the start tonight and capitalizing on it might be the straw that puts Biron on a plane tomorrow night.
- Randy Jones might have been the only player with a real bad game tonight. I haven't been as hard on him as a lot of people have, but this was bad. He has to be pretty distracted by the trade rumors, and his morale is probably low from seeing the results of the poll here (53% of the vote as of now...ouch).
- But right after I write that, I see that Jones was a team leading +3 on the night. I'm full of crap, clearly.
- Daniel Briere, the biggest name potentially on the trade block, had a pretty decent game given that it was only his second back. That Giroux-Briere-Upshall line is a thing of beauty, and should definitely see more time together.
Predicted 4-3, got 4-2. Not bad. The most Flyersy Western Conference team, the Calgary Flames, come to town on Thursday. Should be a good show.
Knuble, Richards, Timonen, and Stevens post-game reactions here for ya