i'm getting really tired of the attitudes of all hockey commentators. specifically i'm sick of hearing how the flyers can't score without peter forsberg. granted, he's the best player in hockey, which i don't think anyone will refute, but he is not the heart and soul and key to scoring for the flyers. it isn't like they've lost every game that peter the great has missed (and he hasn't recorded points in every game they've played - and won). captain keith has been their heart and soul for the past few years, but thank goodness they can actually win without him this season (two years ago, primeau missed 30 days, and the flyers did not win a single game the whole time he was out). i honestly think that some of the "philadelphia can't score without forsberg" talk played a role in their atrocious performance against tampa bay. i was scared to death that i'd see a repeat last night against the rangers, and if it weren't for my boy joni pitkanen, i might have.
pitkanen has been my favorite flyers' skater all season (though i haven't devoted as much blogging time to him as i have, say, antero niittymaki or ben eager), and earlier this season when chad asked who my favorite flyer was, i said pitkanen. i was impressed with him his rookie season two years ago, and he's greatly improved since then. pitkanen has become philadelphia's top scoring defenseman (an honor previously bestowed upon kim johnsson), but he makes smart defensive plays too - obviously, a must for a defenseman. he also has a knack for bailing his team out when they're sinking, as we all saw last night against the rangers (did you watch that one, nessa? they actually won on OLN!). it was a repeat of his performance in boston the night brian eklund (the eks man) made his NHL debut. the team is down a couple of goals in the 3rd, pitkanen scores to put his team back in the game, richards scores to tie it up, then pitkanen buries the game-winner in OT. how can you not love this guy? he can score, he can skate, and he plays pretty good D. he missed a good chunk of time (about 6 weeks or so) after abdominal surgery to correct a sports hernia, and he didn't look so good his first couple of games back, but he is certainly in top form now and showing the NHL what he's got. i hope bobby clarke hangs on to pitkanen for a long time.
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