Poll results: Slightly more PHT readers think Flyers should retire Kate Smith video

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Honestly, I was expecting to publish these poll results as the Boston Bruins visited the Flyers in Philadelphia in a Game 5 match. Obviously, that won’t happen, as the Bruins did an impressive job of sweeping the Flyers out of the playoffs while Philly must answer some tough questions.

As it turned out, the first Kate Smith/Lauren Hart “God Bless America” rendition after news broke about Osama bin Laden’s death turned out to be the last one until next season.

The question we posed was: should the Flyers retire their traditional mash-up of Hart’s live vocals and video footage of Smith’s rendition or should the team maintain the status singing quo? Before we get to the poll results, here are a couple comments from PHT readers. (Note: these comments haven’t been edited.)

cptman” voiced disapproval regarding a change:

I am no flag waving patriotic citizen, however, whenever I hear Kate Smith sing God Bless America, I always get a tear in my eye. While Lauren Hart does a good job, sometimes new and improved is not better than the original. To drop Kate Smith would be unAmerican.

Meanwhile, “snoboarder92201” thinks it might be time to move on.

I agree, it is an awesome sight. but it is a different era. Let Kate Smith go. This team does not need to be looking up at here and have the weight of the 1970′s teams on their shoulders because Kate Smith is singing. I am a huge Flyers fan but it is time to let it go.

(You can read more comments in the original post.)

OK, now that we have some responses, let’s take a look at the results.

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So, readers think the Flyers should go with a Hart-only “God Bless America” rendition by a very slim margin (less than five percent more). It’s doubtful that the very independent Flyers franchise would allow a poll like this to influence their tradition anyway, but this isn’t an emphatic movement to do away with the old setup.

It is interesting to see that more people believe that the team should make a change, especially since such a move could be controversial in some circles. The “God Bless America” tradition already makes the Flyers’ pre-game ceremonies special, but some think that it’s time to let Hart handle it on her own.

Comparing PHT editor and reader predictions to first round results

It’s not easy to make forecasts for many things in life. When it comes to predicting the weather, meteorologists receive all kinds of vitriol if they guess incorrectly. If you want an amusing example of this phenomenon, just watch Nicholas Cage in “The Weather Man.”

Predicting the outcomes of sporting events can be pretty random too, but we typically don’t have to worry about getting fried chicken thrown at us if we’re wrong. (At least in my experience.)

Either way, part of the fun of predicting the outcomes of games comes when we find out if our wild guesses picks are accurate. Let’s take a look at how the first round’s results compare to the PHT editors’ picks (Joe Yerdon, James O’Brien and Matt Reitz) as well as the top choices of PHT readers.

Eastern Conference quarterfinals

1. Washington Capitals vs. 8. New York Rangers

Actual result: Capitals win series 4-1.
PHT readers pick: Capitals win series 4-1. (33.5 percent)
Joe’s pick: Capitals win series 4-2.
James’ pick: Capitals win series 4-2.
Matt’s pick: Capitals win series 4-1.

2. Philadelphia Flyers vs. 7. Buffalo Sabres

Actual result: Flyers win series 4-3.
PHT readers pick: Sabres win series 4-2. (35.1 percent)
Joe’s pick: Flyers win series 4-3.
James’ pick: Flyers win series 4-3.
Matt’s pick:  Sabres win series 4-2.

3. Boston Bruins vs. 6. Montreal Canadiens

Actual result: Bruins win series 4-3.
PHT readers pick: Bruins win series 4-2. (35.65 percent)
Joe’s pick: Bruins win series 4-2.
James’ pick: Bruins win series 4-1.
Matt’s pick: Bruins win series 4-3.

4. Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 5. Tampa Bay Lightning

Actual result: Lightning win series 4-3.
PHT readers pick: Penguins win series 4-2. (41.69 percent)
Joe’s pick: Penguins win series 4-3.
James’ pick: Lightning win series 4-2.
Matt’s pick: Penguins win series 4-1.

Western Conference quarterfinals

1. Vancouver Canucks vs. 8. Chicago Blackhawks

Actual result: Canucks win series 4-3.
PHT readers pick: Blackhawks win series 4-3. (31.03 percent)
Joe’s pick: Canucks win series 4-1.
James’ pick: Canucks win series 4-1.
Matt’s pick: Canucks win series 4-2.

2. San Jose Sharks vs. 7. Los Angeles Kings

Actual result: Sharks win series 4-2.
PHT readers pick: Sharks win series 4-1. (44.01 percent)
Joe’s pick: Sharks win series 4-2.
James’ pick: Sharks win series 4-1.
Matt’s pick: Sharks win series 4-1.

3. Detroit Red Wings vs. 6. Phoenix Coyotes

Actual result: Red Wings win series 4-0.
PHT readers pick: Red Wings win series 4-1. (36.71 percent)
Joe’s pick: Red Wings win series 4-2.
James’ pick: Red Wings win series 4-2.
Matt’s pick: Red Wings win series 4-2.

4. Anaheim Ducks vs. 5. Nashville Predators

Actual result: Predators win series 4-2.
PHT readers pick: Predators win series 4-2. (39.51 percent)
Joe’s pick: Ducks win series 4-3.
James’ pick: Predators win series 4-2.
Matt’s pick: Predators win series 4-2.

Overall records:

PHT readers: 5-3 (with two exactly correct)
Joe: 6-2 (with three exactly correct)
James: 8-0 (with two exactly correct)
Matt: 6-2 (with three exactly correct)

Poll: Which team will win the 2011 Stanley Cup?

Before the first round of the 2011 playoffs, we polled readers for their Stanley Cup champion choices. You can check out the results for all 16 first round teams here, but here’s how the top five choices ended up looking.

1. Detroit Red Wings: 1,818 votes
2. Vancouver Canucks: 1,560 votes
3. Philadelphia Flyers: 1,423 votes
4. Washington Capitals: 1,197 votes
5. Pittsburgh Penguins: 1,169 votes

And just for fun:
16. Los Angeles Kings: 74 votes
Total reader votes: 11,304

(Sorry Kings fans.)

Four of the five teams who received the most votes remain, but with another round in the books, we couldn’t help but wonder how your opinions have changed.

Did the Red Wings’ sweep make you even more confident about their Cup chances? Are you on board after the Capitals showed they could actually play defense? Will the Canucks and Flyers’ reputations sag a bit after they needed seven games to advance? Do you feel differently about the Sharks, Bruins, Predators or Lightning?

Feel free to peruse the 2011 semifinals matchups if you must and then let us know who you think will win it all after gathering one extra round of evidence. We won’t judge you if you change your vote, either.

Raffi Torres won’t face fine or suspension for Brent Seabrook hit


Wherever you stand on the issue, the NHL made its decision regarding Vancouver Canucks forward Raffi Torres’ hit on Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook. TSN’s Bob McKenzie passes along a report from Darren Dreger that the league will not provide supplementary discipline for the hit.

In other words, Torres will not face a fine or a suspension for the incident, meaning he will be on the same sheet of ice as Seabrook for at least one more game.

When discussing the hit, I thought the league should suspend him for five games while Joe said he wouldn’t be surprised if nothing ended up happening. He rightly points out that the area behind the red line is given more leeway than other parts of the ice surface and I’ll admit that it wasn’t an especially egregious hit.

That being said, the league handed out a four-game suspension (including two playoff games) when Torres landed a nearly-identical hit on Jordan Eberle that occurred just a stride or two away from the red line itself. My problem isn’t with the overall decision, but rather the lack of much (if any) consistency or clarity in the league’s policies. Would the league have given Torres a pass if he hit Eberle a few feet lower in the Edmonton Oilers’ zone? Was this an example of a blindside hit or not?

This decision making process is about as clear and coherent as the plot of a David Lynch movie at this point. We polled PHT readers regarding what the league should do about the situation; here are the results:

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Ultimately, it’s best to break down the factions into “pro-suspension” (about 65 percent) and “anti-suspension” (approximately 35 percent) groups. As you can see, it seems like the greatest numbers were in the extremes. Readers either wanted nothing to be done (almost 30 percent) or they wanted a significant suspension for Torres (a bit more than 36 percent).

There will probably be some Blackhawks fans who are downright angry over the ruling, but I think most feel the same way I do: bewildered. Hopefully the NHL will do a better job of providing some clarity regarding the decision making process next season. If not, the “Wheel of Justice” jokes will continue to spin unabated.

If you want to watch the video clip one more time, here it is.

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Ilya Bryzgalov’s diving stop earns him the Save of the Week (April 4-10)

Every week, Pro Hockey Talk will ask our readers to choose the best goal and save of that seven-day period. Sometimes there might not be seven nominees, whether that be because there weren’t enough great clips or one person received multiple awards. Either way, readers ultimately get to choose each week’s lucky winners.

Like we discussed with Nathan Gerbe’s Goal of the Week win, sometimes these voting results are a bit perplexing. One goal or save seems like one of the best clips of the season, but it doesn’t even win the weekly award. Meanwhile, a relatively normal feat ends up running away with the results.

Thankfully, the right goalie won Save of the Week for the final week of the 2010-11 season. Ilya Bryzgalov made the kind of save that could get some consideration for the best of the entire campaign, but he barely beat Tuukka Rask for April 4-10. To be fair, Rask’s save was pretty amazing in its own right, but the appropriate winner is Bryzgalov. Check out the results in the poll below.

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Watch video of Bryzgalov’s Save of the Week below.