Monday, October 15, 2012 -
If you're anything like me, it kind of pains you to hear news about our Orange & Black stars in their Euro leagues. A part of you is glad they're playing, another part of you is terrified that they'll get hurt (goddamn it), and a big part of you is just so sick of the NHL lockout that it's virtually depleted your attention to hockey across the pond.
But, inevitably, my love for ice hockey pulls me from my hermit shell like a grazing cow to a UFO.
Over the weekend, Danny Briere lit three lamps and assisted on another for the Eisbären Berlin (Berlin Polar Bears), inking his first hattrick performance for the Germanic Club. Claude Giroux --who took flight to Germany with Briere as a teammate-- assisted on three goals himself. These two skaters are some of the game's best in the world. If they're stars in the NHL, I cannot imagine how their performances continue in a league based out of Deutschland.
Back on October 8th, Wayne Simmonds decided to drop the mitts in his snazzy ETC Crimmitschau (Crimmitschau Ice Pirates) sweater. The unlucky bastard on the other end of Simmonds' reach is 19yr old Swedish bred Ralf Rinke, a 6'0", 180 lbs forward who for some reason believed going toe-to-toe with Wayne Train was a smart idea (fight begins at the 2:00 mark) --
I'll give Ralf credit, the young lad has a brass set of stones. And who knows? Maybe this bout will win over the attentions of some sweet German female ass? After all, it's not like Simmonds split open his handsome face or anyth....
Nevertheless, Wayne hasn't potted the puck just yet for his Germanic hockey Club, but he has scored four points in three games thus far for the Ice Pirates.
Let's bring it back to the States where GM Paul Holmgren has assigned a handful of young Flyers to the AHL and ECHL.
In Saturday's match while on a Phantoms PK, Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn lit the highlight reel with a shorthanded, dirty goal. Cooter gained possession of the puck in Adirondack's zone and broke it out to Schenn who began bolting down the boards. Portland's only defender happened to be David Rundblad, who just as quickly got undressed outside his slot by an evil Schenner-deke --
Brayden wasted no time showing off his crease-crashing skills, and nose for the net. Pirates goalie Chad Johnson never stood a chance against the executing backhand of Schenn. We're all glad to see our future doing so well.
And speaking of "future", we're not entirely positive how the situation in the Flyers goal is going to turn out. Ilya Bryzgalov --who signed with the KHL's CSKA Moscow-- spoke of some Russian players flirting with the idea of staying in the Motherland if/when the NHL gets their act together.
Now, whether Bryz is hinting he's one of those players or not, no one can be certain of the affects this labor dispute's fallout is going to spawn down the long road.
Since a question-mark between Philadelphia's pipes is almost our pastime, it's only natural to see how our other netminders are doing. Although he's only had one start in the Trenton Titans' two games, Niko Hovinen posted a win with a 0.969 SV%, stopping 31 of 32-shots for our ECHL affiliate.
The Titans currently stand undefeated, 2 - 0, and welcome the Reading Royals to Trenton this Wednesday evening. Considering they're the closest in proximity to me, I know I'll be attending a handful of their tilts this season.
I'm not entirely sure how many of these updates I'll be posting throughout the lockout. The inner politics of this labor dispute interest me more than these second-rate leagues across the Atlantic, or the farm systems who cater to Philadelphia's deepest roster needs. I'm just being honest.
But I'll admit, writing about hockey plays is refreshing. Shook some of the cobwebs off of me. I'm hoping it hasn't given the monster within me a taste, and I start to go HULK all over again over this lockout.
Labor meetings are supposed to continue this Tuesday between the NHLPA and NHL. I haven't read which topics will be discussed, so no one's sure if the core economic issues will be grazed or not. At this point, one's got to wonder if it even matters. We've heard the term "gulf" to describe the distance lying between these two parties' relativity, and this gulf has only gotten wider over time, right before our eyes. There's absolutely nothing to support the fans' hope any longer.
I expect a two hour meeting (if we're lucky), followed by either Donald Fehr or Bill Daly telling the media how disappointed they are of the other. More rhetoric, more finger pointing, less hope for an answer.
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