Stanley Cup Finals - Chicago Blackhawks v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Four

Lauren Hart discusses what should be an emotional rendition of ‘God Bless America’

2 Comments

Some people view the singing of the national anthem as a typical ceremony, but there are times when that moment holds greater meaning. Sometimes it’s because the singer flubs the lyrics, but other times the anthem comes shortly after a momentous occurrence in history.

As you’ve undoubtedly discussed today (we’ve been discussing it, too), the news that Osama bin Laden was killed reverberates through almost every sect of American society and the hockey world is no different.

The Philadelphia Flyers will host the Boston Bruins in Game 2 at the Wells Fargo Center tonight, the first NHL playoff game that will take place since the news arrived. (The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Washington Capitals in overtime before the world was aware of what happened.) Philadelphia is a fitting place for such an event to happen, even beyond its deep ties to some of the most notable moments in American history.

Ever since the team cited Kate Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America” as a good luck charm, the Flyers’ pre-game ceremonies* always seem like a bigger event. The team currently combines video of Smith’s performance of the song along with live vocals from Lauren Hart.

Hart said that she relishes the opportunity to sing the song on what could be a very emotional night. She also recalls singing “God Bless America” before a New York Rangers-Flyers exhibition game that was ultimately cut short for President George W. Bush’s speech on September 21, 2011.

“Just under normal circumstances, it’s so incredibly exciting and loud down there, but this is different; it made me think (Monday morning) when I was thinking about singing,” Hart told NHL.com. “I remember singing “God Bless America” almost 10 years ago during the (preseason) game that was halted for the speech given by President Bush after it all happened.”

(snip)

“Not until (Monday) morning while listening to the radio and hearing the people talk about ‘God Bless America’ tonight did it dawn on me that this would be important to people and it would be a special moment for everybody in that building tonight.

“I feel so fortunate to do what I do,” she continued. “I really see the people and I really do look at faces and I see how they react. I know there’s going to be a lot of tears. I see it on a regular basis, but (Monday), I know it’ll turn into something even greater.”

If you’re not lucky enough to be in the building during that emotional Game 2, you can watch the game on Versus at 7:30 p.m. ET tonight.

* – The Flyers decided to change from “The Star Spangled Banner” to “God Bless America” during the 1973-74 season because tension regarding the Vietnam War was high. They’ve stuck with that practice ever since.

Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty

Leave a comment

Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.

They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.

Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.

Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.

You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:

Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.

Read about that blowout here.

Blues bombard Stars, go up 2-1 in series

Leave a comment

Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.

Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”

It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.

The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.

This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.

Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.

On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.

We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.

Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

1 Comment

After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
AP
1 Comment

It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.