Seen This Before
Hate to say it in such a personal way, but through too many years of too many lost playoff series and ill-fated visits to Pittsburgh's "Igloo" Arena ... I've just seen too many of these types of games by the Flyers.
This playoff opening loss? Terrible. Lack of mental preparation by too many players, including usually reliable forwards Mike Richards and Mike Knuble, among so many others.
Foremost in the folly, however, was Scotty Hartnell. A player who plays with so much emotion and energy, works so hard, finds different ways to score effectively for a player with somewhat limited talents ... Hartnell nevertheless too often slips into one of the most careless penalty takers I've ever seen.
And I'm old enough to have seen Terry Carkner in his Philly heyday. Hartnell far outshines him and everyone else.
John Stevens tonight said Hartnell has a way to rebound from games like these -- when he takes dumb penalties to hand teams like the Penguins power play goals, then goes out in a blaze of misconduct glory. Maybe he will, but only after a sit down scheduled with Stevens on Thursday.
Meanwhile, even if Hartnell was on his best behavior, the Flyers would have gone down in inglorious style on this night. They were awful, and precious little blame could be laid at goalie Marty Biron's feet. Like so many games at the Igloo for the Flyers dating to the 1990s, they opened this series playing too cautiously -- afraid, if you will -- because of the Penguins' offensive firepower.
Friday night, large measures of controlled aggression have to rule the Flyers' play, or they'll play themselves right out of the playoffs way too early.