Author: NBC Sports

Once again, the ice is an issue in Chicago

1 Comment

If these games were being played in California, Florida or Texas then
I could see how the ice conditions could become a major story. Yet the
Stanley Cup finals will be in Chicago and Philadelphia, not exactly two
cities you think of being hot and having issues keeping the ice is good

Yet that’s exactly what some of the talk was about today. It’s June,
and unless the Stanley Cup finals were being played in the Yukon there’s
a good chance we’d be having the issues no matter what arena the games
are played in. Still, the players weren’t too happy with the ice
conditions during the game last night. From an AP report:

“It’s so hot outside, I don’t know if you could do
anything about it,” Blackhawks left winger Kris

He said the ice was fine for about the first
10 minutes of each period.

“The last 10, it heats up a bit,”
Versteeg said. “There’s nothing they can do about it. They’re not going
to change the temperature or anything like that. They’re not going to
tell the people to stop screaming and opening doors.”

Watching the game, I didn’t notice anything particularly out of the
ordinary when it comes to the puck bouncing, but the players certainly
take notice. Chris Pronger suggested that they could certainly ensure
the ice was hard enough for everyone’s liking, but the fans wouldn’t
enjoy sitting around with the temperature set at about 4 degrees.

“It’s getting hot out, humid out. While it is the Windy City, we
can’t open up the doors, as we talked about yesterday, and let all that
cold wind in. I don’t think it’s any worse than it was in Anaheim or
Carolina or whatever. As you’ve progress further in the Playoffs, the
ice usually gets a little softer. It’s tough to keep it that cold.”

2010 Stanley Cup Finals: Michael Leighton to start in Game 2


Leighton3.jpgAfter Peter Laviolette decided to pull Michael Leighton in last
night’s game, despite the Flyers being down just a goal in the 2nd
period in a game that was obviously not a ‘normal’ Stanley Cup game, you
knew that most of the news today would center around whether Leighton
or Brian Boucher would start today.

Then Laviolette refused to tell the media today who would be
starting, and it seemed that neither Leighton nor Boucher knew who was
starting either.

After word started to leak that Leighton would in fact get the start,
the Flyers have officially announced the Michael Leighton will indeed
be in net tomorrow night in Game 2.

Earlier today, Chris Pronger was asked about the goaltender situation
and if Laviolette decided to go with Boucher that would be sending the
wrong message to the team. Pronger wasn’t biting.

“That’s the coach’s decision,” Pronger said. “We play the same way
whether Bouch is in the net or Leights is in the net. It doesn’t matter,
it shouldn’t matter to us in front of him. We need to play better in
front of him whoever is in the net. That’s the bottom line for us. It
doesn’t matter.”

This is why sticking with Leighton is the right choice. The
goaltending wasn’t the reason the Flyers allowed five goals on 20 shots
in the first and second period; he was far from perfect, but the Flyers
played extremely poor in front of him as well. Pronger feels if the
Flyers are able to clear up their approach, then they’ll be in much
better shape moving forward.

“[I’m] more concerned with how the goals were scored, just through
defensive lapses, really,” Pronger said. “It wasn’t like they created a
whole lot. It was more on our mistakes. And I guess that could be
disheartening and a positive thing. We can clean that up and we won’t
be allowing as much.”

Pronger: Flyers need to be more physical

1 Comment

Pronger2.jpgChris Pronger met with the media today after the Flyers practice, and as always he attracted the biggest media throng of all the players on the team.

He covered a number of topics, but what was most interesting to me was what he had to say about Dustin Byfuglien. The matchup between Byfuglien and Pronger was one of the most anticipated of the finals, especially considering how well Byfuglien had played around the crease in the previous series.

With Pronger patrolling the crease, however, Byfuglien and the top line of the Blackhawks had their worst game of the postseason. By far. Byfuglien was completely ineffective, and considering how poorly that line played it’s amazing that the Blackhawks were able to win.

Pronger is the veteran, he’s been here before and he knows how to handle players like Byfuglien. According to Pronger, perhaps the talk was a bit too much leading up to the game.

“There was a lot of talk. You guys had a lot to say about him,” Pronger said. “So I guess we needed to calm that down real quick. I have played in the West for 14 years. I played against him a lot. So it’s not like I’ve been out East for my whole career and never played against the guy. That may have been blown out of proportion, I think.

“I just tried to deny him easy access to the front of the net. As I said, the first couple of days I think teams allowed him to just to go stand there. You have to force a guy like that to work. He’s a big guy. But he’s got to exert some energy and work to get into position. That tires guys out that aren’t used to it. You have to pay a price, whatever that may be.”

Pronger hints that perhaps Byfuglien was given too easy an access to the front of the net before, and he just needed to be able to work out to be rendered ineffective. That Pronger was able to negate Byfuglien’s attack without taking a penalty in the game is amazing in itself.

Speaking of penalties, Pronger was asked if perhaps the Flyers needed to play a bit more aggressive. After all, not taking penalties isn’t exactly what the Flyers are all about. He got into a bit of a back and forth with the media over the question, until admitting that perhaps the Flyers didn’t play the game they’re successful with.

“Can we play more physically? Absolutely. I don’t think we need to take more penalties in doing so. I think we got off track by not getting the puck in deep and being physical in that respect.

“You know, if we take a couple of penalties, so be it. I don’t think we’re worried about taking penalties. I think we just got off track and started to play a little bit their game, a little bit of run and gun, and that fed into their hand a little bit.”

The fact that the Flyers took no penalties in the game caught everyone off guard, especially considering how close they played the Blackhawks without getting overtly physical. After finally getting down to it, Pronger is dead right; the Flyers don’t need to be undisciplined, but to be successful they can’t fall prey to the run and gun game that the Blackhawks are so good at.

Update: Pronger also had a bit of a feisty session with the media. Here’s video of his time at the podium.


Laviolette not revealing plans for goaltenders in Game 2

Earlier today I gave my guess as to what Peter Laviolette would do
with his goaltender situation heading into Game 2. Turns out, we’re
going to have to wait a day to find out ourselves.

After the
Flyers’ practice today, Laviolette was not giving any hints as to what
direction he might be going.

“We will keep everything internally
with regards to lineups, lineup
changes, lines, goaltenders, anything that’s internal we’ll probably
keep it internal,” Laviolette said.

I can respect Laviolette not
revealing any of his plans for tomorrow night; after all, this is the
Stanley Cup finals. Coaches don’t reveal anything at all when it comes
to their lineups or their players.

What is interesting is that it
appears he hasn’t let Leighton or Boucher know either. At least, they
didn’t know when they talked to the media after practice.

kind of up in the air, I haven’t talked to the coach yet,” said
Leighton. “But if I am, I’ll just approach it like I did last
game, just keep doing what I’ve been doing and try not to think about
what happened last night.”

Obviously, Leighton says that he’ll be disappointed if he’s not starting in Game 2. Still, he’s not willing to start any sort of controversy and is just wanting to do whatever it takes for his team to win.

“Obviously, I would be disappointed,” Leighton said. “We’re in the Stanley Cup Final.
That’s not the time to be mad at someone if I’m not starting. If
Boucher goes in, he did a great job going in the other night. If he gets
the start, then I have to support him. I’m not going to sit there and
pout on the bench, because we’re in the Stanley Cup Final.”

Neither player was told before or during
practice, but it appears the coaches will let them know before they go
back to the hotel from practice. Both goaltenders said that they were
worked the same during practice, trying to keep both goalies fresh,
although Leighton did receive extra attention from the goaltenders

With Laviolette not coming out and steadfastly sticking
with Boucher after pulling Leighton last night, it feels as if the
Flyers will have Leighton in net tomorrow night.

2010 NHL Stanley Cup Finals: How loud was it in Chicago?

1 Comment

Forget the fact that just three or four years ago, the United Center was nearly abandoned by Chicago Blackhawks fans. Now that ownership has changed and has actually worked to bring fans back to the arena, Chicago has become one hell of an example of just how crazed hockey fans can be.

The United Center has become one of the loudest arenas not just in hockey, but in all of sports. Just how loud? was determined to find out. From the NHL website:

We have a decibel meter packed alongside all the laptops, notebooks, cameras and pens, so we will provide some level of the noise and excitement inside the building at key parts of Game 1. Pre-game and 1st period will be taken from the press box. 2nd period will be taken from the 200 level. 3rd period will be taken from the 300 level.

The story lists how the sound level changed throughout the game, ranging from 91dB during the pregame festivities all the way up to 121dB during the national anthem.

That’s right, the arena was at it’s loudest during the anthem.

For comparison purposes, those levels are the noise equivalent from anything from truck traffic and a power saw from 3 feet away to a loud rock concert and sandblasting. It’s also recommended that a person should wear hearing protection at anything over 90dB.

Here’s video of the crowd last night:

The NHL will also be taking the decibel meter to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4.