Ya Better Czech Yo'Self, Rangers Fall 5 - 3
If you're looking for washed up, old men then you won't have any luck searching the Philadelphia Flyers locker room.
Need I remind you that Jaromir Jagr is a 39 year old man? In the everyday world, a person that age is still relatively young, full of employment potential and nowhere near thinking about retirement. In the NHL, 39 candles on the birthday cake usually spells the end of a player's career.
Jagr's two power-play goals and assist on Coburn's GWG were the biggest reasons for the Flyers downing the visiting New York Rangers, 5 - 3. Tonight's performance bests his one goal, one assist from Friday night's victory over the Detroit Red Wings. In six periods of NHL hockey, #68 has three goals and a total of five points.
Instead of getting another look at the JVR - Schenn - Jagr line, Jaromir was paired with Voracek and centered by Claude Giroux against the Blue Shirts. Together the three created nothing short of sorcery in the offensive zone and headaches for Rangers head coach, John Tortorella.
Speaking of headaches....
What you just witnessed was New York's Dale Weise and tough guy, Zac Rinaldo, square off after Andreas Thuresson put the Rangers up on the Flyers, 1 - 0, early in the 1st.
As the two drew closer to each other, something in Rinaldo snapped (naturally). Weise decided to hold on for dear life as Zac rained haymakers on the poor soul's skull. Rinaldo never quit. He made the Energizer Bunny look as lazy as Jabba the Hut.
Though the gasoline that courses through Rinaldo's veins put him in the penalty box, he would not be alone for long.
Minutes later, Tom Sestito decided to add his name to Brendan Shanahan's To-Suspend list...
As New York forward, Andre Deveaux, handled the puck along the corner boards, Sestito came skating in like a bat out of hell and put Dev's face into the glass harder than a teenage Asian studies for a calculus test.
It was like a page out of the "How To Play Hockey, by Jody Shelley" handbook.
In a split second Andre's teammate, Stu Bickel, grabbed the shoulders of a trying-to-stand-up Sestito, and lowered a couple of boom punches of his own before the officials could come in and break it up.
As usual, players from each club grouped around and began tearing, punching and cursing at one another. Two players to highlight are Sean Avery and Wayne Simmonds, who barked obscenities at each other as the scrum dried up.
The best was the close up on Simmonds; As "Maybelline" Avery made his way to the Ranger bench, the camera guy closed up on Wayne's face as he belted, "You fucking pussy!" in Sean's direction. Our new #17 didn't stop there. He then yelled out the derogatory term for a homosexual male.
I'll give you a hint; it starts with the letter F, and rhymes with "Zagat." I only find this interesting because the whole hockey planet made a huge splash about the racist incident involving Simmonds up in London, Ontario, but a hateful, homophobic remark is fine?
I'm not complaining. I just find the irony funny. Simmonds is kickass and I'd be honored if he decked me in the face at the Flyers Wive's Carnival coming later in the season.
Anyways, Jagr wasn't the only Flyer to cap the evening with a three points performance. Danny Briere and Claude Giroux both winded up assisting three times each tonight. They even collaborated in the same Jagr power-play goal that put the Flyers ahead 2 - 1 in the 2nd.
Matt Read continues to show brilliance at his young age as he potted a tie breaking puck in the 2nd, and later assisted on Wayne Simmonds' empty netter. If Read hasn't secured a spot on this roster yet, I don't know what will.
Bryzgalov has yet to show signs of his genius in net as he allowed three goals in twenty shots, ending the night with a .850 SV%. Two of those three shots were re-directions which would have made Neo from "The Matrix" pucker his rectum and miss. So I'm not ready to jump on the Bryzgalov Hatewagon yet.
In fact, I'm not even close.
And don't take that as me trying to back myself up from all the hype I built for Bryz in the off-season. If this move turns out to be a major, major bust, I'll be the first to break Ilya's balls so hard he'd feel like he just tried to hump a mule's kicking hoof.
Overall, the pre-season game had all the intensity and rivalry as a regular season tilt, and was an absolutely perfect game to follow the NHL's official Winter Classic announcement.