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Live Blog: Winter Classic – Rangers At Flyers

January 2, 2012
Citizens Bank Park, the home of the NHL’s 2012 Winter Classic.

At one point during 2011, I promised to do a hockey live blog and alas, here we are. I’m ready for three hours of hockey awkwardness. Let’s do this thing.

PREGAME

2:45 – The original start time on this bad boy was supposed to be 1pm. However, due to a fear of the sun playing tricks with the ice and causing a slushing effect, the NHL decided to move the game to 3.

2:46 – On the drive in, I heard one of the sports talk heads of Philadelphia, proclaim the city as “Hockeytown U.S.A.” This proclamation made me want to rip out my car radio. Is Philadelphia a good hockey town? Absolutely. The best in the U.S.? No.

In fact, here is a list of  priorities for Philadelphia sports fans:

1. Eagles

2. Phillies

3. Flyers

4. Dallas Cowboys

5. Sixers

Yes, you read correctly. The Dallas Cowboys are at four. It’s kind of like those people who repeatedly stalk their exes on Facebook or Twitter. It’s just something that has to be done for their own sanity. As long as the Cowboys are doing worse than the Eagles, life is good in Philadelphia, sort of.

2:51 – Considering it’s my virginal voyage with hockey blogging, let’s break the ice with a video of my all-time favorite hockey player…

2:54 – One of the big storylines entering this game revolves around Philadelphia’s crazy goaltender, Ilya Bryzgalov. During the offseason, Bryzgalov signed a nine-year, $51 million contract. Today, he will be watching from the bench due to recent struggles. Instead, the Flyers send out Sergei Bobrovsky, known as “Bob”, to start.

3:01 – Bob Costas is on my TV screen…IN PHILLY. Love it.

3:04 – To the unaware, there is a term in hockey called scratches. That means they will not play. Philly scratches:

3:05 – Not listed is Flyers captain and defensemen Chris Pronger. He is concussed and may never play again. Ouch.

3:06 – No Costas. Pizza break.

3:11 – Loud music. Blaring. Something that sounds like rap as the Flyers hit the ice.

3:12 – One of the great parts of doing this? I get to listen to one of the best sports play by play announcers of all-time, Michael “Doc” Emerick. He is hockey.

3:19 – Melanie Fiona does O Canada. Patti LaBelle has your National Anthem. Party time people.

FIRST PERIOD

3:23 – Best scoring chance in the first 90 seconds comes on initial flurry after the draw when New York’s Ryan Callahan rings one of the post…

3:26 – John Tortorella is not happy. I’m guessing he used the f-bomb about 20 times already.

3:27 – Early star of today is Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvuist. He stopped Philly’s top gun Claude Giroux on a rush after a sweet dish Scott Hartnell, who has probably the worst hair in hockey.

3:31 – TV timeout alert! Neither team has dented the scoreboard yet. I’m waiting for Roy Halladay to get on the ice and demand to practice.

3:37 – Mucking and grinding alert…lots of mucking and grinding in the corners.

3:39 – Braydon Coburn launches a drive from near the blue line but Lundqvist is equal to the task. He’s been a rock so far. Bob has been good but not faced the same level of scoring chances.

3:40 – Lavy alert. He’s my favorite Flyer coach ever. He is passionate and a smart hockey guy. That’s not saying much because I wasn’t around for the Freddy Shero era and was too young for Mike Keenan. I liked Terry Murray until the ’97 Finals. By the way, if you don’t believe me about Lavy’s passion, just ask Dallas Star Steve Ott.

3:45 – More heat on Lundqvist from the Flyers but they can’t crack him. A somewhat one-sided first period…

3:50 – The game finally begins to open up as the Rangers muster a few scoring chances on Bob. Then, Jaromir Jagr breaks free and tries to deke Lundqvist but can’t beat him…still scoreless.

3:51 – Finally, the day’s first penalty. Slash on Philly’s Matt Carle.

3:54 – New York’s Brad Richards is called for tripping G (Giroux). So, the Flyers will get a shortened power play. Is it a PECO Power Play even though they are at the Bank today?

3:57 – Meanwhile, Jagr, who started playing in the NHL BEFORE Brett Favre was an NFL starter, heads off due to an undisclosed ailment.

3:58 – Intermission arrives with much unsettled. The Flyers and Rangers both have decent scoring chances but nothing across through the first. Lundqvist saved New York’s bacon in that first period several times.

END OF FIRST PERIOD: FLYERS 0, RANGERS 0

4:00 – Who didn’t see this one coming? From a disgruntled Flyers fan on Facebook:

Patti LeBelle=EPIC FAIL…………….hop in DeLorean, travel back to the point when these brain surgeons picked Patti Lebelle, and paint-brushed the snot out of these mental midgets and screamed thusly…
“KATE SMITH/LAUREN HART SINGS THIS SONG FOR THE FLYERS…NOT PATTI LEBELLE!!!! I dont give a rats arse if Patti is from Philly or not…its KATE SMITH/LAUREN HART!!! GET IT RIGHT!!!!”

God forbid the Flyers think out of the box for once. Sir, this is not game #13 of the regular season. You’re on a national stage. Deal with it.

4:09 – Another Broad Street Bullies celebration. Being from the area, I get how much they mean to the city…but I mean, it was 36 years ago.

4:10 – Captain McAngry can pipe down now. Lauren Hart and the late Kate Smith are singing God Bless America now. Go take a nap sir.

4:14 – Alright, I’m getting annoyed. Time for another video.

Note: I met Ron Hextall after this during an elementary school assembly soon after he was suspended by the league over the Chelios hit. Good on you Ron. He drove me crazy but was a fun player to watch.

SECOND PERIOD

4:20 – Second period begins with Jagr back on the bench.

4:23 – Rangers fan throws in two cents on Kate Smith.

Woah dude.

4:29 – Lundqvist is the best player on the ice so far…

4:32 – If you’re wondering about references to New York’s forwards, no need for much that. Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan have generated some offense while Brad Richards has done little other than getting called for a penalty.

4:36 – Someone needs to start a fight to wake this crowd up.

4:39 – I believe someone just said “play the f—ing game” at ice level. Agreed.

4:40 – Off the draw…SCCOOOOOOOOOREEEEEE! Philly’s Brayden Schenn snaps the crowd out of a coma with a goal off of a rebound from a Matt Carle shot. Schenn will be crowned King of Philadelphia tomorrow if this holds.

FLYERS 1, RANGERS 0

4:43 – TWO ON ONE….SCCCCOOOOOOREE! The odd man rush of doom leads to a goal by G off the dish by Max Talbot.

FLYERS 2, RANGERS 0

4:45 – Here comes the pain….Rangers answer back quickly with a goal by Mike Rupp, who blows it by Bob. It’s raining goals! Did Rupp just taunt the Flyers with the Jagr salute? Based off of recent Ranger celebrations, probably so.

FLYERS 2, RANGERS 1

4:46 – Most hockey nicknames tend to end with “er” or “y”. I assume Rupp is “Rupper”. Only makes sense.

4:53 – An NBC montage depicts how the game has changed from the first to second period. Open ice rushes and prolonged offensive attacks in the second, I vote yes!

4:56 – The second period ends with a flurry of activity in front of Lundqvist. The Flyers are clearly outplaying the Rangers but only lead by a goal.

END OF SECOND PERIOD: FLYERS 2, RANGERS 1

5:12 – Before I forget, here is my favorite goal of all-time…

THIRD PERIOD

5:20 – The Roots performed during intermission, which brought about this poignant tweet.

5:22 – MIKE RUPP! What?!?!? It’s tied. This coming moments after Darren Pang revealed that Philly’s Scott Hartnell was upset at him over the Jagr diss. No salute this time. He just ties the game.

FLYERS 2, RANGERS 2

5:24 – As a point of reference, Rupp had one goal this season, which places him 462nd in goals scored. Today, he has two.

5:29 – We haven’t gotten into this yet on a grand level but the Flyers have goalie issues. Brad Richards bangs one home to give the Rangers their first lead of the day.

RANGERS 3, FLYERS 2

5:38 – Social media angst update during this ice delay…

The Flyers announce via Facebook that today’s attendance is 46,967.

The two latest comments read: “‎46,967 over paid” and “46,967 are pissed.”

5:46 – The Rangers are on fire…no goals though.

5:47 – Time is running out for the Flyers…just 5:12 left. A penalty coming on the Rangers. Power play time for the Flyers.

5:51 – Ooooh. Loose puck on the power play during the scrum. Whistled dead though! Awful officiating. Lundqvist had no idea where the puck was located. Philly fans are not pleased. Yelling something about somebody sucking.

5:56 – Flyers still stonewalled…Under two left.

5:57 – Weird call with roughly a minute left. Minors on both the Rangers and Flyers. 4 on 4 hockey for the remainder of the game.

5:59 – Flyers get a great chance but Lundqvist stops it. The Rangers cover up the puck though near the crease…LEADING TO A PENALTY SHOT FOR THE FLYERS!!

6:01 – Danny Briere meets the wall of Lundqvist and is stopped. Not much movement from Briere. Looked like he tried to go five-hole. A stop that appeared too easy for Lundqvist.

6:04 – Another flurry by the Flyers with just seconds left but it’s not enough. It’s all over. Flyers lose.

RANGERS 3, FLYERS 2

SUMMARY: The Rangers are the top team in the Eastern Conference and seemingly realized that after falling behind 2-0. This has to be a disappointing loss for the Flyers. Losing during a tight division race and the Winter Classic at home has to make this a tough pill to swallow…especially for the fans, some of whom spent hundreds of dollars on tickets for this event.

Anyhow, our first live game blog of hockey is complete. If you liked anything you read, I credit reading Katie Baker.

If you didn’t like it, I don’t know what you expected. I’m a football guy.

It’s time for The Roots to close this thing out. Happy New Year!!

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