Saturday, March 06, 2004

Friday Night, Fight Night in Philly!

The score flattered the Sens, 5-3 really a closer result than the actual game provided. The Sens were outplayed on the ice, but as Conn Smythe once said, "they weren't beat in the alleys". A new league record of 419 penalty minutes was set in Philly Friday night. The third period degenerating into a brawl fest, which featured five separate brawls in two minutes, including a slugfest involving the two goaltenders.

Patrick Lalime let out some of his frustrations, by taking his anger management skills out on Robert Esche. And for goaltenders they certainly got into the swing of things, flailing away at each other for about five minutes. Esche proclaiming that "we're not afraid of Ottawa and not intimidated by their talent". Possibly the first time anyone has complimented the Sens, on possibly being an intimidating squad. The game itself was a throwback to the days of the Broad Street Bullies era, and to their credit the Sens did not back down from one scrap. Even Jason Spezza was mixing it up, qualifying as his first ever NHL fight. The festivities got underway when Rob Ray and Donald Brashear bumped up in front of the Flyers net, Brashear got in a couple of sucker punches and everybody was off.

By the time all was said and done, the Flyers had seven players left on the bench, the Sens six. The Flyers claimed two valuable points with the win, but failed to chase the Sens out of the building. The rematch comes up on April 2nd, it will remain to be seen if the bad blood between the two teams continues then. The Flyers animosity towards the Sens, stems from a stick incident between Martin Havlat and Mark Recchi, an incident the Flyers paint as a dirty play and one they vowed revenge for. Havlat escaped last night's dance card unscathed. Though still vilified by the Flyers.

By the end of the night, Flyer coach Ken Hitchcock was whining about the Sens behaviour and GM Bob Clarke was seen trying to get into the Sens dressing room. Clarke was finally shooed away by Flyer personnel, tossing dirty looks at Sens GM John Muckler, led away before he could cause himself any more embarrassment.

Perhaps he wanted to share thoughts with Rob Ray, who declared in a post game interview that the brawls were "Good for Hockey". It will be interesting to see if Colin Campbell shares the same sentiments later Saturday when he reviews his tape collection.

No comments: