Friday, March 6, 2009

Who Wants to Dance?

Apparently, Penn State does and the Flyers don't.

What a rollercoaster of a night. I was extremely amped up to watch the Flyers in their first game since the questionable deadline deals that rid them of Scottie Upshall and returned a couple of question marks. And then, you know, the game happened. What a fucking disaster that was.

The Flyers did start out with about three good shifts, but those were pretty much the only good shifts of the entire first period. The Flames, who sit firmly in third place in the West, completely owned the Flyers in the opening 20 minutes. They outshot Philadelphia 19-10, and before you know it, the score was 4-0 Calgary. Not good.

It was the Flames' newly formed top line that did most of the damage. Olli Jokinen, a notorious Flyer killer during his days in Florida, was up to his old tricks. It looked as though he and Jarome Iginla had played together for years, not, uh, never. Those two were incredible, especially Jokinen, who scored back-to-back goals in his debut as a Flame.

The Flyers had no answer for Calgary, and even more unnerving, they had no answer for anything. Routinely, they couldn't get the puck out of their own zone, and the turnovers were simply atrocious. Not a single Flyer looked like he gave a damn, with the exception of Antero Niitymaki, but that didn't even last long. Niitty was bombarded with 19 shots, and he made some really great saves, but he also let in two weak goals—the first and the last. The final one, where he was stumbling around to try and stand up in the net, was atrocious.

I honestly have no faith in Niittymaki whatsoever. I know Biron's been inconsistent as hell, but every time in his career when it looks like Niitty is in position to become the man, he starts to fucking blow. Last night, he didn't get any help in front of him, and he did make some nice saves, but Biron came in and simply outplayed Niittymaki. And with his performance in last year's playoffs, I think Biron is definitely the way to go in net. That's just me.

It was an absolutely awful game. The Flyers did pick it up a little bit in the second and third, but it was too little too late. You aren't coming back from a 4-0 hole against Miikka Kiprusoff, and in all honesty, the Flames looked damn good. Jokinen was unreal, and Calgary swarmed to the puck and gave the Flyers no room to work. It was like watching 6th graders dominate 5th graders at recess.

The thing that really pissed me off about last night, more than even getting killed, was how the Flyers responded. After that early, pathetic attempt at a fight between Riley Cote and Andre Roy, there was no rough stuff at all. Daniel Carcillo, known mainly for throwing fists, decided to completely ignore my advice, even after falling behind by not two, not three, but four goals in the first period.

Now, I will say that it looked as though Carcillo tried to get any Flame he could to go on one particular first-period shift, focusing his attention on Curtis Glencross, but no Flame took the bait. And after that, there wasn't even a hint of any desire to fight for any Flyer, even though the score called for it. That's pretty piss-poor if you ask me, especially when getting trounced in your own building. I was supremely disappointed in that. It was the perfect situation for Carcillo to showcase his fisticuffs to the Philadelphia crowd and try to jump-start a dormant Flyers team. But no, he and the rest of the Flyers decided to sit back and take it like a bunch of pansies. Pathetic.

And to top things off, Daniel Briere left the game with a groin injury and given his history, particularly this season, this could be bad. Very bad. Like, out for a while bad. We're not sure about any of that yet, but would you be surprised? At least the Flyers still have Scottie Upshall to pick up the slack Jared Ross to call up. Oh, and on a side note, on a night in which Mike Richards played perhaps his worst game of the season and the Flyers desperately needed someone to give them a spark, the guy who used to do that regularly scored a goal and was named top star of the game as his new team beat the top-seeded Bruins. So, yeah, Upshall played the Bruins twice in three days, scored the first goal for his team each time, and saw his team defeat the best team in the Eastern Conference. Yeah, sounds like a guy I'd like to get rid of. Fuck you, Holmgren. And fuck you, too, Briere. Pussy.

Thankfully, the night wasn't a wash, and the joy came from a surprising place—a Penn State basketball game. Remember when Penn State and Illinois played the worst game in the history of college basketball? Yeah, well, the rematch last night in Happy Valley was the complete opposite of that. Don't believe me? Watch this:

Yeah, Talor Battle was shooting the ball and there was nothing anyone was going to do about it. Make him go through all five Illinois defenders? No problem. He'll just toss it up on the glass and rattle it on it. Wow! I mean, wow! That was pretty awesome.

In prime time, on ESPN, in front of the nation, the Nittany Lions, playing in front of a rare packed Bryce Jordan Center crowd, notched their 21st win of the season and 10th in the Big Ten in dramatic fashion. Now the Lions really can have dreams of dancing.

It was Battle who made the big bucket, but it was Stanley Pringle who allowed Penn State to get there. The masturbating madman was phenomenal, scoring a game-high 20 points on 8-11 from the field and a perfect 4-4 from beyond the arc.

He was in complete control and with Lions down 6 late in the game, it was Pringle who brought them back. And then Battle, who had an awful game prior to that final shot, stepped up when his team needed him. After getting to the rim with ease but failing to finish, then dribbling into an Illini defender and turning it over with just seconds left, Battle took the ball coast-to-coast, weaving through 5 Illinois defenders and hit the shot that may have secured Penn State a spot in the big dance.

Penn State has historically been a laughingstock in the world of college hoops, but as the young man from Albany said after Penn State's huge upset win at Michigan State earlier this year: "I guess we made history, huh?" Battle said. "Coach mentioned that we hadn't won here. But I wasn't on those other Penn State teams. This is the '08-09 team. …"

And this 2008-09 team is getting its dancing shoes ready.

BallHype: hype it up!


  1. Disney's the recess, what a freakin great show that was. Mikey is just such a nice big teady bear. And spinelli, that's one bad biotch you don't wanna mess wit! that's all

  2. Recess was an awesome show..
    Briere is on my fucking nerves. His contract is exhorbitant and he rarely plays regular season hockey. He has a full no-trade clause in his contract so we are stuck with him til the 2015 season!

  3. At least he's friends with Biron. Am I right people?

  4. Recess was the shit and so was the Penn State game. Also you coulda thrown a quick mention that 'Nova won and clinched a double-bye in the Big East Tourney. Then again I guess I coulda just wrote about it myself...

  5. Yeah man, some people work for a living. I gots shit to do. Plus, I wrote a rather lengthy piece myself. The Nova game was a blowout. I only watched like 2 minutes of it because I kept waiting for someone on the Flyers to fight but no one ever did. It was gay.

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