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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    PHT’s second-round playoff predictions, featuring the red-hot Random Thing Picker

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    It was a tough first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for many of the so-called experts of the world.

    Upsets included the Predators over the Blackhawks and the Blues over the Wild. The Rangers over the Canadiens was a quasi-upset, too.

    Here at PHT, it was a mixed bag. Mike Halford and Cam Tucker each went an impressive 6-2. And so too did the Random Thing Picker, which as its name suggests, picks random things. (And picks them rather well, apparently.)

    Of note, the Random Thing Picker and James O’Brien were the only ones to pick the Preds over the ‘Hawks. So congratulations to both robotic lifeforms on that bit of soothsaying.

    Rounding out the rest of the first-round results, Adam Gretz and Joey Alfieri went 4-4, while at 3-5, O’Brien and yours truly couldn’t even crack .500. (Stupid Jake Allen.)

    On to the second round!

    Washington versus Pittsburgh (Stream Capitals-Penguins)

    Brough: Capitals in 7
    Halford: Penguins in 6
    O’Brien: Capitals in 7
    Gretz: Capitals in 7
    Tucker: Capitals in 6
    Alfieri: Capitals in 7
    Random Thing Picker: Capitals

    New York versus Ottawa (Stream Rangers-Senators)

    Brough: Senators in 6
    Halford: Senators in 7
    O’Brien: Rangers in 7
    Gretz: Rangers in 6
    Tucker: Rangers in 6
    Alfieri: Senators in 6
    Random Thing Picker: Senators

    St. Louis versus Nashville (Stream Blues-Predators)

    Brough: Predators in 6
    Halford: Blues in 7
    O’Brien: Predators in 6
    Gretz: Predators in 6
    Tucker: Predators in 7
    Alfieri: Predators in 6
    Random Thing Picker: Blues

    Anaheim versus Edmonton (Stream Ducks-Oilers)

    Brough: Ducks in 7
    Halford: Ducks in 6
    O’Brien: Ducks in 6
    Gretz: Oilers in 7
    Tucker: Oilers in 6
    Alfieri: Ducks in 6
    Random Thing Picker: Ducks

    Feel free to add your picks below…

    Auston Matthews to skip Worlds

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    Auston Matthews is going to take some time off.

    As such, the 19-year-old star forward won’t be heading overseas to represent the United States in the upcoming World Championship.

    You can hardly blame him. Matthews just finished his rookie season in the NHL, playing all 82 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs, plus six more in the playoffs.

    Oh, and he also played in the World Cup for Team North America.

    Matthews did participate in last year’s Worlds. He had six goals and three assists in 10 games on the way to a fourth-place finish.

    Related: Gaudreau, Eichel commit to USA Worlds roster

    Blackhawks fire their AHL head coach

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    Yesterday, the Chicago Blackhawks fired longtime assistant coach Mike Kitchen.

    Today, it was longtime AHL coach Ted Dent who got the ax.

    Dent has been the head coach of the Rockford IceHogs the past six seasons, and he was an assistant coach for Chicago’s AHL affiliate the previous five seasons.

    “The Chicago Blackhawks thank Ted for all of his contributions throughout his tenure with the organization,” GM Stan Bowman said. “He played a major role in helping a number of players reach the NHL level with the Chicago Blackhawks, many of whom became Stanley Cup champions. We wish Ted and his family the best.”

    The IceHogs missed the playoffs this season, finishing last in the AHL’s Central Division with a record of 25-39-12.

    Related: A furious Bowman addressed the Blackhawks’ postseason failure

    Report: Canucks close to naming Travis Green head coach

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    The Vancouver Canucks are reportedly set to announce Travis Green as their next head coach.

    According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the announcement will be made in the next couple of days.

    Green, who played over 1,000 games in the NHL including the playoffs, has been the head coach of the Canucks’ AHL affiliate in Utica the past four seasons. Under his watch, the Comets have played mostly winning hockey in spite of some rather depleted lineups.

    Ever since Willie Desjardins was fired at the end of the season, Green has been the leading candidate to take over in Vancouver. The only question, really, was whether he’d be a candidate for another NHL head-coaching vacancy, perhaps with the Florida Panthers.

    Assuming no last-minute hiccups, Green will take over a transitioning Canucks team that has finished 28th and 29th overall in its last two seasons, respectively.

    “We’re going to be young,” president of hockey ops Trevor Linden said. “Young players make mistakes. There’s going to be some growing pains. We need a coach that understands exactly where we are.”

    Related: In farewell to Vancouver, Desjardins defends his approach to young players