What do you do when you move and you’re waiting on cable and internet to be installed (oh the the horror!) Well, I came across the DVD set of the Penguins greatest games and checked in on the Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia Flyers game from December 13, 2006.
Here’s the box score if you’d like to check it out.
Below are my notes and thoughts as the game went along. What could be better in the summer than a live blog of a game that’s almost 12 years old, huh?
-It’s....not in HD
-Offensive faceoff 1 minute in...Therrien puts Moore-Staal-Ouellet out there. Malkin hasn’t touched the ice yet
-6 left handed defensemen in the lineup for the Pens tonight. 6 left handed defensemen for the Flyers too.
-Marc-Andre Fleury and those classic yellow pads make their first appearance
-4 minutes in it’s clear just how much faster the game is now. Other than Max Talbot and Crosby everyone looks slow. Plodding type of game back then.
-Jarkko Ruutu makes a nice drop pass for Chris Thorburn and Ruutu screens the goalie as he drives to the net Thorburn has time and space and rifles a shot the goalie never sees. 1-0 good guys early.
-Whoa, quickly 2-0 Pens. Crosby makes his patented cut move behind the net and totally left RJ Umberger in the dust (go Plum). Sid cuts out and tosses a puck to the net, Malone is in front but the puck hits a Philly defenseman and trickles in so it’s #87’s goal.
-Now it’s 2-1 just 30 seconds later. A Flyer centers a pass from the corner that gets through Fleury but hits Brooks Orpik and bounces in. Tough bounce there. game is less than 6 minutes old! Shots are 2-1, score is 2-1!
-Malone takes the game’s first penalty
-Bob Errey relays a Therrien-ism about Talbot “I’d rather a small guy play big, than a big guy play small”. Therrien really, really loved Max Talbot you guys. Not that I blame him, Max is whirling around like a maniac out there. Hustle/60 off the charts.
-Ryan Whitney stung on his foot by blocking a shot on the PK. Can’t believe Therrien is playing him there. Punishment?
-After the PP ends the Flyers make it 2-2. Fleury kicks out a rebound to tough guy Todd Fedoruk and he smacks the loose puck in before Gonchar can tie up his stick. Wearing the old college face mask too to protect a face injury. Don’t see any Fedoruk’s in the game these days.
-Mike Richards and Jeff Carter are out hurt tonight. Shocker so is Peter Forsberg who unfortunately was seemingly never quite healthy in later days of his career.
-Bob Errey says injuries aren’t an excuse and the teams are the same age tonight and “the Penguins are winning”. The score is currently 2-2.
-The Geico quote of the day is Therrien “encouraging” Malkin to score more points. (Eyeroll)
-Pens get a power play and score a PPG. Crosby takes a hit to make a play, that being a pass to Gonchar. Gonch launches that rocket of a slapper that hits a Flyer and goes in. 3-2 Pens.
-With 2 points already, Errey notes Crosby is 1 point behind Jaromir Jagr for 1st place in the scoring race (!!!). Steiggy quickly mentions the Rangers have played a lot more games and by points/game Sid is actually leading the league...ok
-Dummy Fedoruk takes a double minor at the end of the period, and Whitney gets a matching one but this broadcast doesn’t show it.
-A graphic shows Malkin with less than 5 minutes of ice time in the first. How’s he gonna score points for you Michel when you’re not playing him?!!
-Uh oh, they say an equipment problem for Fleury and he leaves the ice before the puck drops. Jocelyn Thibault has to start the 2nd.
-Pens on a 5v4 PP to start the period. Malkin not on the first PP again, they don’t score.
-Malkin though isn’t really the Malkin we know. Crazy how much he would improve and so quickly. Granted this is month 2 on the tighter ice, he’s young, doesn’t know the language.
-Oof Fedoruk nails Malkin late and into the boards. Geno OK but awful hit. Penalty called.
-Malone makes them pay. Gonchar passes to Sid who is near the blue line, he blasts it on net. Malone finds the rebound at the side of the net, rolls his hands smooth as butter to control it, flips it past the down goalie. 4-2 Pens.
-Gonchar and Sid on the PP are so much fun to watch. So in control, they basically play a 2man game until one shoots it and it goes on or a vulture like Ouellet/Malone can be there.
-As I type that, Sid and Sarge strike again! Sid steals the puck in the NZ, races past the defense and darts around the net, you can tell he’s feeling it and has those rockets on his skaters for his 3 point (about to be 4) night. He finds Gonchar at the top of the slot all alone, patiently feeds him and Gonch rips a wrister between goalie’s arm and body. 5-2.
-Flyers change goalies, Errey immediately recognizes since they have their starter on the crowded Mellon Arena bench (backups have to stand in the door of the rink in the crowd, remember), so this could be a quick wake up call and another switch coming.
-Sure enough, next whistle Flyers change goalies back to the initial starter Antero Niitimakyi (there’s a blast from the past, huh?)
-Ohhh! Refs don’t let the change happen and send Niitimyaki off the ice because Philly had iced the puck. Hahahaha and the Pens score again! Crosby passes to (who else) Gonchar, who shoots, puck hits the cold Flyers backup goalie’s glove and pops loose, right to hall of famer Mark Recchi. And you don’t make the HOF by not cashing in on gifts like that. 6-2 Pens, game is half over!
-Flyers take yet another penalty.
-Crosby bursts through the 4 Philly PKers going against them all and almost makes it. Miss those days of bold, young Sid exploding up the ice.
-Malkin gets clocked again, this time at the blue line carrying the puck with a clean hit. You can just tell at this point he hasn’t just figured this league out. It’s really incredible how far he would go once he does. Don’t mean to keep harping on it but it’s very evident 11+ years later.
-Fellow rookie Jordan Staal, on the other hand, looks like an old pro. Hasn’t showed much tonight but just his skating, positioning, defending, supporting passes he looks more like a 10 year vet than an 18 year old early in his first NHL season.
-Orpik just drilled Umberger with an open ice hip check.
-Ben Eager tries to fight Orpik. He declines. Refs intervene. Pens get another power play. The Flyers just can’ help themselves.
-Crosby gets held, 5v3 upcoming. Knuble gets an extra 2 for presumably mf’ing the refs who he never stopped yelling at.
-No more scoring 6-2 after 2.
-For seemingly first time all night, Malkin with the Crosby/Gonchar power play as the Pens start on the 5v3 again...they don’t get a shot on goal.
-Cycles back to a 5v4, and the Flyers score! Umberger bulls down the ice, dishes to Kyle Calder who makes a backhand move on Fleury. Flower tried to pokecheck, missed and Calder had a completely open net. Pens had 4 forwards and Ryan Whitney out there on their second PP unit, full aggressive up 4 goals but now it’s just 3 at 6-3.
-Still on a power play, Pens quickly get it back, Crosby’s 6th point of the game on an assist for a pass to Malone who finds Ouellet in front of the net. 7-3 is the score.
-One of the best chants in sports, a “go home Flyers” rally comes from the Mellon Arena faithful.
-Welp 7-4 now Ryan Potulny makes a great pass from behind the net to Knuble who one times it past Fleury who had little chance on that one. Still 15 minutes left.
-Broadcast points out how Crosby is now 3 points up on Jagr. Sid would never lose the points lead again this season on his way to a 120 point season.
-Crosby up to 29 points in 13 games in his career against Philly. And they think he sucks!
-Errey jokes Team Canada might be able to find use for Crosby in the upcoming WJC’s. Crazy to think Sid was still young enough to be eligible.
-Pens get a power play. Don’t do much, all 5 Pens drift to the wrong side of the ice staring at the puck (uh oh) and Knuble gets a chance on MAF from point blank. Huge save by Fleury there. Randy Robitaille runs Fleury and it’s his turn to go to the box.
-Game slows a bit until Scuderi takes a penalty and Philly gets just their second PP with 5 and chance left.
-Pens kill it, then Crosby and Malone on a 2 on 1, Sid feeds him but Malone shoots high.
-Pittsburgh takes a penalty.
-Errey mentions best wishes to a young man named Phil Kessel who just had surgery for cancer.
-6.9 seconds left Staal scores. In 1v1 against Lars Jonsson, Staal dekes right through him, scores. 8-4. Big time!
I mean look at this baby!
-Rob Scuderi skated well, made some passes with zip on it. Liked him better than any Pens defenseman besides Gonchar and Whitney there tonight.
-Wish Crosby and Talbot were young and had that jump in their legs forever.
-Even then, Sid’s 100 miles an hour all game. His vision and passing is great (5 game assist so duh) but now he’s more controlled, deliberate, experienced. Probably a bit older and wiser in some ways.
-It was crazy how much Malkin got hit in this game. Sure it had to be part of the Flyers game plan to always chip the talented rookie but he couldn’t avoid it. A theme of this but one of the biggest things that blew me away about this game was how far Malkin would go
-Also wild was to watch knowing how long the careers of bland players like Dominic Moore and Chris Thorburn would last, especially vs guys like Malone, Armstrong and Erik Christensen.
-Good or bad, RJ was involved on so many goals for both teams. He was a heck of a player at this point, and other than Knuble probably the best Flyer on the night.
-Dumb Flyers play was peak here. Fedoruk was doing idiotic stuff all over the place.
-I get why for safety as to why they have no touch icing...And it’s easy to say as a fan with my body not on the line...But man I miss no touch icing.
-Probably 70% of this game, no visors. Fast forward a bit more than decade and with the new rules, what, 85%+ wear visors these days? Not a compliant just saying, my how the times have changed.
-Staal as mentioned looked calm and collected but didn’t stand out in this game until the end, using his reach to embarrass a defensemen and score a goal.
-2 goals and 3 assists for Gonchar in this game. What a game. What a player.