Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Kiss the Ring

So I'm on the el this morning, on my way to work, when suddenly my phone vibrates at 8:34. I take it from my pocket and there's a text message from Arkansas Fred waiting for me. I found this odd. I mean, why on earth would Arkansas Fred be contacting me so early? Well, reading the message, it all made sense:

Does anyone want to go to the Phillies game today? Anyone? I got an extra ticket. Hello?

Turns out he and his dad had tickets, but his dad called him and told him he couldn't go. How could I turn down such an opportunity? Simple, I couldn't. I got off the el at 15th Street, called up Fred and told him I was in. Then I walked to the eastbound side of the el, headed back home, got some McDonald's breakfast, called out of work, and here I am waiting for Arkansas Fred to get here so we can head on down to Citizens Bank Park. Needless to say, the day's off to a great start, and I couldn't be more excited. For the first time in my 25 years on earth, I will witness the Phillies receive their World Fucking Champion rings.

To top it all off, Pat Burrell will be there to accept his ring. Let's hope the Phils can make it a perfect day and get their first win of the season as well. I have a feeling they will. After all, the last time I saw Joe Blanton pitch in person, things went pretty well.

If he hits another home run, I swear to God the Phillies should pay me to go to every Joe Blanton start.

It should be a great time. The game starts at 3:05. Of course, we will be there much, much earlier than that, so as to witness every single minute of the ring ceremony. I cannot wait.

As for last night, it was another clunker for Philadelphia as a whole. Jamie Moyer gave up a home run on the first pitch of the game, and once again, the Phillies bats were silent. One run in two games ... not good. Today, they better the offense going, or you may just hear a couple boos from the Reverend.

The Sixers also lost. To the Bobcats. Not the best way to follow up the most embarrassing loss of the year. This team needs Thaddeus Young in a bad way. Nothing like going into the playoffs with some horrible losses in the last two weeks.

However, the Flyers did provide one things to cheer for last night. With the 2-1 win against Florida, the Flyers clinched a playoff spot and maintained their hold on the 4th spot in the East. But last night's game was far from impressive.

For what seems like the 10th straight game, the Flyers came out flat, were outworked early by a hungry Florida team, and fell behind 1-0. This is a trend that absolutely must stop. If it wasn't for a great game by Marty Biron, the Flyers could have found themselves down by more.

Luckily for the Flyers, they stepped it up big time midway through the 2nd period and took over the game. Joffrey Lupul tied things up on a very nice play by Matt Carle, and Jeff Carter got the game-winner, his 45th goal of the year, in the third. Where would this team be without Carter, and really, the rest of his line, this year? Great move by the Flyers to lock him up and let Umberger walk.

Now, there are couple things I'd like to point out. First, the play of Mike Richards of late. Without question, Mike Richards is a tremendous player. He's the captain, the top penalty killer, the best defensive forward on the team and an incredibly talented player. He's had a great year and very good career thus far. But over past three games or so, Mike Richards has not played very well. And last night, he continued that trend through two periods.

In the first two periods, he was fumbling the puck, missing badly on passes, trying to force pucks through defenders, basically having an all-around tough game. He kept working and skating, and honestly, his line didn't play bad because Gagne and Knuble were all over the place, but Richards, as the captain, needs to step his game back up. It's almost playoff time, and the team is fighting tooth and nail for home ice advantage. I have all the confidence in the world that Richards will right himself. In fact, he did in the third period last night. Now he has to sustain that the rest of the way.

My next point, the play off the fourth line. Without question, the Carcillo-Powe-Nodl line was the most consistent, hardest-working line for the Flyers last night. Daniel Carcillo, fresh off his first boneheaded move as a Flyer, had by far his best game in the Orange and Black, at least in my opinion, last night. In fact, by the end of the game, he was getting shifts with Giroux and Briere as a reward. He was hitting everything that moved in a disciplined matter, firing shots, winning battles along the boards, forechecking hard and making things happen. So were his linemates. Darroll Powe has simply been a very nice surprise for the Flyers, giving them energy, speed and grit. Every shift, he seems to make things happen, and his hustle is second to none. And now that Riley Cote is done for the year following finger surgery, Andreas Nodl is back up and looking like he did early in the year. He caused many turnovers for the Panthers last night and is working well with Powe and Carcillo.

If the rest of the lines played as hard every shift as these guys, the Flyers would be nearly impossible to beat.

Oh, and a note, Ryan Parent suffered a groin injury and is listed as day to day. Not the best timing for that.

BallHype: hype it up!

No comments:

Post a Comment