Going down fighting

Dec. 12, 2007

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The Flyers get hat tricks from two players and claim a fight-filled 8-2 win against the Penguins.

PREGAME

-Mike Emrick and Ed Olczyk are doing the game for Versus. You can't get much better in the broadcast booth.

-A highlight with Michel Ouellet in it? The Penguins are going to lose this game.

-Bill Patrick says Sidney Crosby has killed the Flyers in his career. That's a pretty accurate assessment. Before this game, he has 32 points in 18 career games against Philadelphia.

-You just know Emrick has had this game circled in his day planner just so he could bust out a Les Binkley reference.

-Dany Sabourin gets the start in net.

-Adam Hall and Brooks Orpik return to the lineup.

-The Penguins scratches are Maxime Talbot, Darryl Sydor and Marc-Andre Fleury.

-The Flyers scratches are Derian Hatcher, Riley Cote and Jim Dowd.

FIRST PERIOD

19:40: Almost immediately Jason Smith and Ryan Malone go at it. Malone crashes into Smith in the corner and the two drop gloves. This is surely something left over from the Nov. 10 match-up when they danced. Malone controls the fight for the most part landing several shots. Smith pretty much just hangs on until he can wrestle Malone to the ice.

18:49: R.J. Umberger drives to the right corner with the puck and sends a fantastic pass to the slot where Joffrey Lupul bangs it in easily. Evgeni Malkin should've had Lupul. Bro Hymn by Pennywise is played (Which the Flyers stole from the Ducks.) Flyers 1-0.

18:25: There are spots of orange light right down the middle of the ice. The Flyers were doing stuff like that during the game on Nov. 10 when they had an orange spotlight on the puck .

16:16: Joffrey Lupul ate his Wheaties this morning. He picks up a loose puck at the top of the slot and blasts a slapper by Dany Sabourin. Flyers 2-0.

13:59: We can't get Versus in West Mifflin, but they can get it in Kosovo? What the heck? (We used this joke earlier this season, but Versus jokes never get old in our book.)

13:16: Replays show Sidney Crosby getting away with a bit of a slash on Martin Biron.

12:38: Olczyk talks about things oozing out of Mike Richards.

10:28: Scott Upshall grabs a loose puck in the slot and fires a slapper. Sabourin gloves it low.

9:14: Chris Simpson interviews either Paul Holmgren, the Flyers GM or Marv from "Sin City." We're not quite sure.

7:21: On a power play, Crosby snaps a pass across the crease to Ryan Whitney. From the left faceoff circle, Whitney fires a wrister top shelf past Biron. Flyers 2-1.

6:14: As Jeff Carter goes to the penalty box for interference, we see a shot of Colby Armstrong on the bench with a towel over a very bloody nose.

5:32: Crosby sweeps the puck behind the net and backhands a pass to Malkin who then bangs a pass across the crease to Sykora. He sneaks the puck up high on Biron to even things up. Flyers 2, Penguins 2.

4:58: As an official has the Flyers trainer clean his contact lense for him, Olczyk actually brags about being Dennis Bonvie's coach at one time.

3:41: Sabourin handles a puck behind his net and turns it over to Mike Richards. The Flyers forward tries to jam it into the empty net, but Kris Letang makes a wonderful play on the backcheck and knocks the puck away.

1:21: Lupul has a chance at the hat trick, but Mark Eaton makes a wonderful play by diving and poking the puck away from the Flyers forward.

0:35: Eaton springs Jordan Staal on a shorthanded breakaway. He bears down on Biron and snaps a wrister that the goaltender knocks away with his blocker.

0:00: End of period. Flyers 2, Penguins 2.

FIRST INTERMISSION

-The Penguins own a 12-11 advantage in shots.

-While Brian Emblom is talking about teams with certain styles of play, a video of Red Wings general manager Ken Holland is shown and he looks drunk. Oh wait, that's just how he looks.

-Enblom talks about the trap as if no one plays it anymore. We guess he thinks the "new" NHL is actually new.

-The Flyers will 1:09 of power-play time on fresh ice.

SECOND PERIOD

17:58: After Smith checks Malkin, Gary Roberts and Georges Laraque have words with the Flyers captain.

17:36: Roberts hits Mike Knuble and accidently clips Hartnell in the face with his stick. Two minutes.

17:06: Lupul fires a shot on net that hits a body and tickles into the crease. Hartnell has a chance to punch it in, but Eaton is Johnny-on-the-sport and pokes it away. Eaton is playing a fantastic game.

16:27: Sergei Gonchar is called for roughing. Five-on-three.

14:27: Gonchar's penalty expires and the Penguins dodge a big bullet.

11:50: Another loose puck, another Flyers goal. Umberger grabs a deflected puck and fires a wrister off Richards' hip that beats Sabourin high. Flyers 3, Penguins 2.

9:50: Umberber strikes exactly two minutes later. He fakes Rob Scuderi out of his shorts with a nifty move and fires a bad angle shot through Sabourin's pads. Flyers 4, Penguins 2.

5:50: Lasse Kukkonen wrestles Erik Christensen to the ice. Christensen punches Kukkonen in the back of the head. Both players are sent off the ice. Stupid penalty by Christensen.

3:48: At the end of a four-on-three power play, Malkin feeds a pass from behind the back of the net to Letang who is alone in the crease. His wrister is kicked out by Biron.

0:57: Letang is checked into the boards by Upshall. He gives Upshall a jab to the back of the head in retaliation. He gets two minutes for the punch and another for unsportsmanlike conduct.

0:09: Kimmo Timonen fires a slap shot on net. It hits a few bodies and caroms right to Knuble who is able to snap it by Sabourin's glove hand. Flyers 5-2.

0:00: End of period. Flyers 5, Penguins 2.

SECOND INTERMISSION

-The Flyers are up 25-20 in shots.

-Ty Conklin makes his debut in a Penguins uniform as he replaces Sabourin.

THIRD PERIOD

16:58: The Flyers strike again. Ben Eager, who has all of nine goals in 109 career games, tries to check Laraque along the boards and sticks his elbow into Laraque's face. Laraque takes his gloves off and punches Eager in the head a few times. Eager "turtles" and ducks the barage. Laraque gets sent to the box and somehow Eager isn't penalized whatsoever. Roberts decides to administer his own justice and challenges Eager to a fight. The two engage and after a little wrestling Roberts (6-foot-2, 215 pounds, 41-years-old) gets his left hand free and begins to pummel the bigger and younger Eager (6-foot-3, 225 pounds, 23-years-old). Roberts wiggles out of his jersey and continues to pepper Eager with blows. They fall to the ice and Roberts socks him in the head for good measure. Roberts leaves the ice. Laraque gets a double minor and Eager is given five for fighting. The Flyers get a huge break thanks to the officials.

15:53: On the power play, Daniel Briere fires a wrister through traffic. Conklin makes the original save but gives up a rebound. Lupul jabs at it and gets it by Conklin. Hats rain down for Lupul's hat trick. Flyers/Bill McCreary, Chris Rooney, Don Henderson, Dan Shachte, 6-2.

13:51: Still on a power play, Umberger slides a pass across the crease to Braydon Coburn who pounds a one-timer by Conklin. Roberts returns to the ice and goes to the penalty box. Flyers 7, Penguins 2.

12:39: Armstrong and Richards engage in a shoving match. Gloves, helmets and sticks are dropped. No one actually fights, but something's brewing. The officials are totally to blame for this game turning into a circus. Had they penalized Eager for taking a shot at Laraque's head, both teams would be in check. Instead both teams feel they have the liberty to take cheap shots at each other. Armstrong gets two for roughing.

10:43: Replays show Crosby and Richards having a pretty animated conversation during a television stoppage.

10:10: Laraque gets two minutes for cross-checking Upshall. He breaks his stick across Upshall's back. Ryan Whitney and Richards are separated by the officials.

8:25: Crosby chases a puck behind the net and clips Biron who flops to the ice like a fish and challenges Crosby to a fight. Crosby is held back by the officials who have failed miserably tonight.

7:40: The march continues. Brooks Orpik gets two minutes for slashing. Coming back from commercial, Therrien can be seen jawing at the Flyers bench.

6:11: As Conklin gloves a loose puck, Whitney pushes Carter in the head and a scrum ensues. Carter and Whitney drop the gloves. Carter "bravely" fights with visor on. They exchange blows and Carter pushes Whitney into the boards knocking him down. Carter has a slight cut on his nose. Armstrong and Hartnell then go at it. They pretty much wrestle each other to the ice. Hartnell also shows a lot of guts by leaving his visor on. Carter and Whitney can be seen jawing at each other in the penalty box. Flyers fans chant "We Want Crosby." It's a pathetic display that could have been avoided had the officials penalized Eager.

4:23: Laraque "falls" and slides into Biron. Timmonen and Coburn go after Laraque. Letang and Dennis Tolpeko can be seen giving each other face washes. Laraque gets booted. We'd like to congratulate Bill McCreary, Chris Rooney, Don Henderson and Dan Shachte for creating this disgusting display.

2:12: Umberger skates the puck into the zone, keys it up at the top of the slot, winds up and blasts a slapper through traffic that beats Conklin. It's Umberger's first career hat trick. Flyers 8-2.

1:00: Somehow Jarkko Ruutu has pretty much avoided this train wreck up until this point. He pins Ryan Potulny against the boards, gives him a reverse face wash and is given the boot.

0:00: End of game. Flyers 8, Penguins 2.

POSTGAME

-The officials absolutely failed in their responsiblities. If Eager even gets two minutes for going after Laraque's head, you don't have the game turn into a joke.

-Even if he didn't connect, Eager deserves some sort of punishment. He went after another player's head. Plain and simple. The NHL has said players with histories such as Eager's are going to be penalized for headhunting. If that's true, Eager deserves punishment.

-For anyone who thought Gary Roberts may have lost his fire this season, you had to be encouraged by his willingness to fight Eager. Players like Roberts, Talbot or Armstrong, who will fight, but aren't untalented goons, aren't expected to take on players like Eager who are outright thugs. The fact that Roberts was willing to "protect" Laraque and drop the gloves with someone as useless as Eager should rest any talk of Roberts' not being motivated this season.

-If Gary Bettman's serious about penalizing this organization for the antics of its players, he should start with this game. Eager attempted to strike a blow to Laraque's head. It doesn't matter if he connected with Laraque's head or not. The intent was there.

-Speaking of intent, the NHL could probably look at Laraque's slide into Biron. Short of it being psycho Ray Emery with a knife maybe, you don't go after a goaltender under any circumstances.

-Remember the "new" NHL? We don't either.

-We're not blaming the officials for the Penguins getting pasted. The Penguins gave up five goals before the absurdity in the third period began. They got their butts kicked on the scoreboard on their own.

-We are blaming the officials for allowing the game to turn into "Slapshot."

-Additionally, we had no problem with the Flyers putting their top power-unit out there late in the third period. The Penguins were willingly taking the penalties. The Flyers should've made them pay for it on the scoreboard.

-Eager showed a lot of guts blindsiding Laraque and then talking smack on him from the safety of the penalty box. Why again is someone this untalented and gutless collecting a paycheck from the NHL? Oh yeah, we forgot, the Flyers employ thugs.

-Following the game, Eager called Michel Therrien "a joke" in person. Therrien responded with some French.

-The idea of Ben Eager calling anyone a joke, let alone a Jack Adam Award candidate, is akin to Paris Hilton saying Mother Theresa should've done something more constructive with her life.

-You do have to give Flyers coach John Steven credit for keeping Eager on the bench following his fight with Roberts. He could've thrown Eager into the fray and contributed to the madness on the ice, but refrained. Either that or he was afraid Eager might be forced to deal with Laraque face-to-face.

-We choked on the irony of Stevens calling someone else's team "undisciplined." Last we checked it was Flyers 52, Penguins 0 in terms of man games lost to suspensions.

-Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer accused Sidney Crosby of hiding on the bench during the melee. Because watching the best player in the world potentially getting injured during a fight would really benefit the entire league.

- Bill McCreary, Chris Rooney, Don Henderson and Dan Shachte should get a call from Stephen Walkom, the NHL's director of officials.

-Somehow Sidney Crosby, with two assists, was named the third star of the game ahead of Umberger who had a five-point night. Reports indicated Crosby was selected basically to allow the Philadelphia fans to taunt him.

-When did Martin Biron get tough? He sure didn't look tough when Ray Emery whipped his butt last season:

-The Penguins had 23 penalties for 98 minutes while the Flyers had 11 for 58. Combined the teams had 156 penalty minutes.

-In case you were wondering, this didn't even approach any sort of single-game records for the Penguins in regards to penalty minutes. The single-game record for penalty minutes for the Penguins is 158 in a 9-2 loss to the Rangers Oct. 30, 1988. That same game they set the Penguins' record for most penalty minutes by both teams with 292.

-As crazy as this sounds, this totally makes sense: Sidney Crosby-14:38 of ice time. Adam Hall-20:01.

-The last Flyers player to have six points in a game was Eric Lindros in March of 1997.

-The last pair of Flyers to get hat tricks in the same game was Tim Kerr and Dave Poulin in Dec. of 1986.

-Ty Conklin is the first guy to wear No. 35 for the Penguins since Tom Barrasso. Say what you will about Barrasso's personality, no one, let alone Ty Conklin, should be wearing his number.

-Glass is half-full: The Penguins got six points out of a possible eight on this road trip.

-Glass is half-empty: The Penguins are 3-8-1 against the Atlantic Division this season.

-Sabourin did not play strong. And you really can't judge Conklin by his 20 minutes of mop-up time.

-Dave Molinari's recap.

-Game Summary.

-Event Summary.

-Highlights:

(Amazing how the NHL doesn't include any of the brawling in any of the highlights it offers through YouTube.)

EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS

Penguins

-Darryl Sydor was the odd man out last night on the blue line.

-Sportsnet had a pretty good piece on Penguins prospect Angelo Esposito.

-Throwback jerseys are popular.

-Don't plan on busting that Jaromir Jagr jersey out anytime soon.

-Atlantic Division

-The Flyers will induct Ron Hextall into the team's hall of fame.

Northeast Division

-Senators goaltender Ray Emery has a new mask. This one has Muhammad Ali on it.

-The Canadiens are dinged up.

Southeast Division

-A shootout goal by Brad Richards gave the Lightning a 3-2 win in Montreal.

-Former Penguins goaltender Tom Barrasso was promoted to full-time goaltending coach with the Carolina Hurricanes.

-The Hurricanes assigned forward Andrew Ladd to Albany for a conditioning assignment.

Northwest Division

-The Flames got a shootout goal from Kristian Huselius and beat his former team in Florida, 2-1.

-Shawn Horcoff's shootout goal lifted the Oilers to a 5-4 win in St. Louis.

-The consecutive games played streak of Canucks center Brendan Morrison may come to an end. His streak of 542, is the longest active streak in the NHL, may come to an end.

Pacific Division

-Steve Bernier's two goals helped the Sharks beat the Wild, 4-1.

-The Sharks put forwards Jonathan Cheechoo and Jeremy Roenick on injured reserve.

-Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, a former Penguins defenseman, is complaining that the officials are picking on the Ducks. His team leads the NHL with 654 penalty minutes. Sure it's the officials. It has nothing to do with having thugs like Chris Pronger, Todd Bertuzzi, Brad May or George Parros on your roster.

-The Penguins and Sabres won't be the only thing the NHL will put on display New Year's Day. The Stanley Cup will be in the Rose Parade in Pasadena to celebrate the Ducks' championship last season.



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