Before the game began last night, news of Giroux's potential return from concussion had littered Twitterverse and hockey bulletins galore. Many believed this could possibly prove to be a negative thing, and our star player was rushing back.
A goal and three assists later......the naysayers were shut up.
Claude tallied four points against the Stars in the Flyers 4 - 1 win over Dallas, making him the scoring leader in the NHL, and aiding our beloved Bullies back on top of the Eastern Conference once again.
Last night's tilt did not seem to be all too interesting of a match up given the Stars and Fly Guys meet once a season. There's not much animosity between the two clubs, if at all. However the 60-minutes of hockey demonstrated that even the rarest of engagements can end in bad blood.
Dallas' agitating brute, Steve Ott, never expected any sort of obstacle while escorting his teammates to the locker room after a period. Meanwhile, Peter Laviolette never expected some asshole opposing player to personate a crossing-guard on HIS way to the visiting roost.
Two shattered expectations later, and you've got drama and hilarity in the immediate horizon --
A shoving match between one head coach and the contending alternate captain?
Absolutely incredible. As if I couldn't love our bench boss any more than I did.
I imagine the conversation going something like this;
Steve Ott: "Pardon me, Mr. Laviolette, but my fellow brethren in that of green, gold and black have first dibs to their travels onto the appropriate down-time quarters."
Peter "The Boss": "If that glove of yours doesn't come off me and exit my personal space, your colon will be wearing it as a kilt."
And from there they exchange arm extensions and "F" bombs.
Nevertheless, I think it goes without saying that I cannot WAIT to hear that all mic'd up in next week's episode of 24/7. After that awesomeness, I believe coach Laviolette should have his own Tastykake named after him.
As the competition grew on, so did the Flyers' lit lamps thanks to the stick blades of Claude Giroux, Jaromir Jagr, Wayne Simmonds and Andrej Meszaros (GWG).
Together the orange & black conquered an early deficit in the 1st period, and then battled onward through a regulation pervaded with gritty, chatty and surly counteraction. And I'm not just talking about the Stars.
With a little more than 5-minutes remaining in the 2nd period, Tom Sestito and Adam Burish were both handed 10-minute game misconducts for their incessant smack talk at the faceoff dot before the puck was dropped.
We've seen a lot of this lately. Zac Rinaldo's fallen victim to a similar occurrence twice before (if I recall correctly). Players are being sent to the box for an enormous amount of time because they......won't stop talking shit? WHAT?!?!?
I think every Flyers fan has been drooling for two years at the thought of some payback on Adam Burish for his comments made about Chris Pronger in a post-Stanley Cup win interview. Last season Burish couldn't face the Flyers in their one meeting in the schedule due to an illness (or some made-up bullshit to get out of seeing Pronger). Though Chris is out the rest of this league year, Burish was getting the start, so we were hoping to witness Adam get checked so hard his mother's uterus would feel the turbulence.
But, no. The zebras send Sestito and Burish packing with misconduct penalties before we ever got the chance to see the two drop mitts.
"This cannot be a penalty," I thought to myself. "It just CAN'T be!"
Table 9 of the NHL's Rulebook (page 132) proved otherwise. In a summary of misconduct penalties, I read these few which confirm an official has the right to call a player(s) for the infraction at hand;
- (ii) Continuing or attempting to continue a fight
- (vii) Inciting an opponent
- (viii) Instigating a fight
- (xiii) Use of profane or abusive language
Here's the thing -- It's the NHL. It's hockey. We're not out on a date with our best friend's sister. We're not in the front of our class presenting some half-ass science project. We're not directing the Pope to the nearest bathroom facility. We're not exchanging Christmas gifts with our mother. We're not sensitively taking our sweet, innocent girlfriend's virginity. We're not asking our boss for a raise in pay and showing him a powerpoint presentation why we deserve it.
We're playing hockey, here.
Is it in the rulebook? Sure. Yes. But when we see a STOP sign do we always come to a complete stop?
Point is, let the guys play. This "pussification" of the sport is growing more ridiculous by the season. They're cracking down on head hunts while slowly eliminating the legal, big hits and making them collateral damage. They're casually weaning out the fist-fight/enforcer from the game.
Basically we're seeing the league subtract our players' ability to police themselves.
Hockey is a very, very frustrating sport when a team is losing or playing badly. When these negative emotions build, the players need a way to vent. The big hits and the fights cater to that certainty, and so does all the trash talking!
You eliminate a player's source of stressful transmission then you're simply begging for an alternate mainspring to propagate.
In the words of Dr. Ian Malcolm, "No, I'm, I'm simply saying that life, uh... finds a way."