Flyers won't be pushovers for Hawks

First off...let me apologize for my absence the last few days.  Early Saturday morning, after 23 hours of labor (with a Hawks radio broadcast in the background of course), my beautiful daughter Adelyn Grace was born.  Needless to say, hockey has taken a back seat for a few days, but we're back, and jacked to be in the Stanley Cup Finals.

With that said, a lot of "experts" are chiming in, saying the Hawks won the Cup when they defeated to Sharks.  It's easy to see WHY they would say that, but the Flyers, despite their semi impressive playoff run (who'd they beat really?), are the ONE kind of team that can give the Hawks fits.

Let me take you back to May 16th.  The playoffs were just starting, and the Hawks and their fans were expecting an easy romp over the Nashville Predators in the first round.  What they got was anything but easy.  Nashville proved to be the Hawks' toughest opponent in these playoffs so far. 

Their tight checking, team oriented style kept them in game against a MUCH more talented Blackhawks team.

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Michael Leighton makes a save on Jonathan Toews

 

The Flyers are a much better team than Nashville, so it won't be identical, but they know the Hawks are BY FAR the best team they've faced in the playoffs.  To have a fighting chance, they will HAVE to commit to team defense, and try to pound the Hawks into submission, and rest assured, they will try.  

With that said, I'm taking the Hawks in 5.  A lot will be made of the Flyers hot players, and hot goalie, and hot everything else.  The same way a lot was made about the unstoppable Roberto Luongo and Sedin Twins.  The same way a lot was made about the killer top line of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Dany Heatley.  The same way a lot was made about the unstoppable Joel Pavelski. 

The Hawks have a way of making these stars magically disappear.  Expect the same against the Flyers.  However, if the Hawks start this series like they did the Nashville series, they will find themselves in a hole.  That's not a position any team wants to be in with the Cup on the line.  

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  • That Nashville series was long ago, Hawks needed a wake up call and they got it in the first round. Even if something would go wrong and we lose one of the first 2 games , there is no way that all of a sudden we are going to lose all 3 games in Philly after winning 7 playoff games in a row on the road. I am serious , for the Flyers to win this series they must win both games in Chicago.

  • Congratulations on Adelyn Grace! It would be fitting if you could have her baptized in the Stanley Cup when (not if) the Blackhawks bring it back to Chicago within the next two weeks. You know that's just the kind of thing John McDonough would make happen.

  • Oh, and on the hockey side, Nashville gave the Hawks trouble because of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter: young, tough, active D-men who can play both ends of the ice. The Flyers don't have ONE defenseman who's of that caliber, much less two. I EXPECT a sweep, and will be surprised if this goes more than five. Philadelphia just doesn't have the horses.

  • In reply to ThatGuy:

    "Expect" a sweep? Wow. I can see hoping for one but to expect one is kinda a-hole. I sure hope the team doesnt think they have this one in the bag like you and most Hawk fans. If so, things could go very very wrong in a hurry. Sometimes the better team can lose the big games, especially when your kind of attitude finds its way into the locker room. Its cool to have confidence but try not to get that confused with reasonable expectations.

    Lastly, the Flyers have a different caliber of D-men and they are sound players in their own rite. Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Matt Carle and former Norris winner Chris Pronger, who won a Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007 are no slouches. Its said that they wont do well with the speedier counterparts on the Hawks but we wont know until the games begin. Pronger is a force of nature and could quite possibly shut down Buff. (he has done so against better) I dont know of one "shut down" D men on the Chicago blueline. If you view that opinion without rose colored glasses, you may find that to be more true than you would like to think. Hawks in 6

  • In reply to matto:

    Reading comprehension is your friend. I never said the Blackhawks had shut down D-men. I said that Philadelphia had no one to match Nashville's blueliners. Pronger may have been a force of nature three or four years ago, but he's long in the tooth now. Shut down Byfuglein? O.K, so the best defenseman the Flyers have will shut down the second-best winger on the Hawks' second line? Even if he could, who cares? Byfuglein has had his opportunities principally because the top forwards take attention away from him. If the Flyers' big strategy is to shut Byfuglein down, they are in for an epic ass kicking.

    As for my attitude, I'm a fan and knowledgeable observer. Having seen the Flyers struggle to beat far lesser teams, it is reasonable to believe that the Blackhawks will dispose of them handily. The only wild card will be whether Laviolette will outfox Q. Possible, but I don't think it'll happen. Quenneville has handled this team in these playoffs better than he's ever handled any team he's coached.

  • In reply to matto:

    No sweep for you.

    Ps- "Reading comprehension is your friend. I never said the Blackhawks had shut down D-men"

    Likewise on the reading- I never said you did. It was my point to you. Short of Kanes big play tonight and Hossa pickin up some garbage around the net the other day, the Philly D-men have held off the Hawks top line scorers. Of course the same could probably be said for Chicago over Philly's front line but I guess you already "EXPECTED" that...

    Good luck Friday.

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