boy, has this ever been a depressing weekend for hockey... the pilots lost a game on the road in a shootout - a game they should have won. i was happy they got a point, though. how sad is that? the flyers also lost a game on the road friday night - a game they definitely should have won. they gave up two separate two-goal leads and ended up losing 8-6 to carolina. i blame two men for this disappointing flyers performance: derian hatcher and mike rathje, the two 'big additions' to the flyers' defense this season. both of these guys scored goals friday night, but it seems as if they abandoned their roles as defensive players to do so, and at least two carolina goals were a direct result of bonehead defensive plays by hatcher and rathje. i've said it many times, and i'll say it again - i am not impressed. a couple of completely bogus penalties called against the flyers didn't help matters, either. bill mccreary, a veteran NHL referee, called tripping on donald brashear upon seeing erik cole go sprawling. the thing is, brashear wasn't even touching cole when he went down, and neither was his stick. this call was replayed repeatedly, and even the pro-carolina commentators agreed that the call was bogus. the real kicker is that this power play opportunity resulted in a goal for carolina (their first of the game) and turned the momentum in their favor. i can't blame the whole thing on bad referees, though. the flyer penalty kill leaves much to be desired (only atlanta is worse in this department), though their power play is improving (they've improved from 24th in the league to 12th over the past week). if the flyers don't improve their defensive play (i mean the team as a whole here), there is no way in hell they can beat damn ottawa later today.
...and then there was the ice pilots game last night. i was quite excited to discover that *jacquo* had returned to pensacola upon walking into the civic center, and he played pretty well. it made me remember why i like him so much in the first place. he was hitting people like crazy (even though a few of the hits weren't quite as successful as he planned), skating with a lot of energy, and trying to make things happen out there. but even with some roster changes, the pilots still couldn't manage to pull out a win. the new guy, brendan cook, actually takes some shots, which is more than i can say for a lot of our other guys. the team looked really good in the first period, and i totally got my hopes up. we went into the second period with a two goal lead - the worst lead in hockey according to the always-entertaining barry melrose. so, long story short - we lost 3-2 in regulation. it sucked, man. i really thought they could win this one. they actually outshot the lynx after being outshot by greenville 61 to 20-something friday night. i guess that's something to be happy about.
i'm beginning to get the same feeling about the pilots this season that i had when i worked for the mobile wizards, the short-lived arena football franchise. at the beginning of the season, the wizards sucked. every game was a total blow-out, and i went to every game early on knowing they were going to lose. then, the team made lots of changes - on the roster and in the coaching staff. there was a vast improvement in the level of play after that, but they still could not win. the difference was, i really thought they had a chance in those last few games. they were so close. it almost hurt more at the end when they were playing decent football than when they sucked ass. anyway, the wizards went the whole season without winning a single game. they went 0-16 on the season. pathetic. so, after the ice pilots got blown out by greenville, i knew they sucked, so i sort of expected the blow-out the next night against gwinnett. but last night, they played so well in the first period that i really thought they could take augusta. good players were added to the roster, and the whole team appeared to be playing better - but they still couldn't win. that loss hurt way more than the blow-outs of last weekend. but maybe this a step in the right direction. we were playing with only three defensemen, forcing turek to play with the blue line boys, so maybe when sutton returns and we get a couple more defensemen assigned, the pilots will start winning. keeping my fingers crossed.
7 hours ago