2010 Stanley Cup Finals: These aren't the Broad Street Bullies redux

With the Philadelphia Flyers back in the Stanley Cup finals, hoping
for their first win in nearly a quarter of he century, there is
inevitable going to be comparisons to the last great Flyers team,
otherwise known as the Broad Street Bullies. Known as much for their
relentless physicality, punishing attitudes and willingness to drop the
gloves at anytime possible as they were for their incredible overall
talent.

That team dominated the NHL and won two Stanley Cups.

Since
then, the Flyers have not been anywhere near as fortunate. Yet now,
after making it to the Cup finals following one heck of an improbable
postseason run, we’re looking at what comparisons, if any, can be made
to those Flyers of old.

Despite the Flyers leading the NHL in
penalty minutes this past season, and despite acquiring Chris Pronger in
the offseason, there’s really not much comparison. In fact, there’s
likely never going to be a comparison ever again, considering how much
the NHL has changed since then.

Still, that won’t stop the Flyers
from still being themselves. They’re a feisty bunch, for sure, but don’t
expect anything as crazy as what the Bullies got down to back in the
1970’s.

“You’re not really allowed to do any of that nowadays. That doesn’t
go over too well,” Flyers star Jeff Carter said. “We got guys who are
going to stand up there and not take anything from anybody as well.
We’re going to stand up for ourselves and if it comes to blows, it
does.”

The Bullies are proud of what they accomplished and for becoming more
memorable than perhaps any other Cup-winning team. Still, they aren’t
too keen on being thought of as just thugs.

“A lot of people look at it, particularly if they’re not a Flyers
fan, a little negative,” Dave Schultz said. “Sometimes, I’m almost tired
of
hearing some of these people cry. Like we were thugs? Yeah, right. I was
6-1, 195. I guess it was the scowl on my face.”

This doesn’t carry over exactly to this Flyers team, but you can
certainly bet that the Flyers have a bit more of an unsavory reputation
than the Blackhawks. This isn’t a team known for it’s ‘thuggery”, but
the Flyers do have the likes of Mike Richards, Dan Carcillo and Chris
Pronger — players that have the tendency to act out a bit emotional at
times. Certainly now along the lines of the Broad Street Bullies of old,
but they’re doing what they can to carry the torch, at least as best as
they can in the NHL of today.

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    Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

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    Hot take: the Pittsburgh Penguins probably won’t deal with a goalie controversy going into Game 7.

    (Ugh, that’s a failed hot take … you can’t use “probably” in those things, right?)

    Matt Murray was fantastic at times during Game 6, much like his counterpart in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s net in a 5-2 win. Granted, there were some tense moments during the Bolts’ late-game push:

    Much has been made about experience, especially from those calling for Marc-Andre Fleury earlier in this series. It’s telling that the praise Murray draws sure sounds like what you’d expect from a “veteran.”

    “He has a calming influence,” Sullivan said. “He doesn’t get rattled. If he lets a goal in, he just continues to compete. That’s usually an attribute that usually takes years to acquire that, and to have it at such a young age is impressive.”

    Thanks in part to Murray’s efforts in Game 6, he’ll get a chance to prove his resolve in something new: a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final.

    Once again, his teammates seem pretty confident in this elimination situation.

    Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

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    The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

    It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

    Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

    Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

    Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

    Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

    Read more about Game 6 here.

    Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

    22 Comments

    The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

    With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

    There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

    What if that offside goal counted?

    Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

    Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

    What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

    The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

    Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

    Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

    Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

    ***

    Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

    More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

    Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

    13 Comments

    With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

    Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

    The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.