9. The Flyers
This is the kind of thing your mom warned you about when you were a kid, what years of youth sports and family board games were supposed to teach you: How to be a good loser.
In one respect, the Flyers have been exceptionally good losers, because they're not only down 3-0 in the series, but they've also been outscored 12-2 overall, and 3-2 by John Carlson. Meanwhile, Steve Mason is giving up absolute howlers on an increasingly regular basis.
But in the other, they've embarrassed themselves because the widdwe babies are wosing and they don't like it one widdwe bit.
Game 1: Ryan White and Jake Voracek get dinged with roughing minors at 20 minutes of the third period.
Game 3: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare boards Dmitry Orlov into oblivion, White starts throwing haymakers in the ensuing scrum, and Radko Gudas pulls someone out of the pile to absolutely whale on him for no reason other than he was mad his team was getting demolished at home.
(And by the way, Ron Hextall floating the idea that Orlov, who had only presented his numbers to Bellemare at the top of the circles, was somehow to blame for this is the biggest load of garbage since Ryan White's postgame comments. Fans should, however, take this as the beach-softening it is; while Bellemare should be gone for about 15 or 20, he was never getting any more than three games. One is an unsurprising joke of an eventuality, but an eventuality nonetheless.)
This is some embarrassing garbage from a franchise that has long seemed to specialize and even revel in it. Then the dirtbags in the stands started throwing bracelets on the ice — because giving out easily-throwable items in Philadelphia is a good move for sure, win or lose — and people act like, “Oh have some class! This is Philly, not other NHL cities.”
“Class” is a word that gets thrown around a lot in sports, and it's meaningless. It applies only insofar as you would like it to. Was it classy for Bellemare to try to end Orlov's career? One fan who floated through my timeline during the game said yes, because he apologized and went straight to the box, which is a pretty intense logic-stretch that is actually kind of admirable insofar as you rarely see that kind of adherence to team loyalties.
Know why people make fun of Philly fans throwing stuff on the ice/field/court when it happens? Because it happens a lot.
It happens a lot proportionally. You can find video of fans throwing beers at players or rats on the ice, or whatever else, but one imagines you'd be hard-pressed to find anywhere it happens as often as Philadelphia. And even if you could find the actual “Throwing crap on the ice” capital of North America, that wouldn't make the #NotAllFlyersFans nonsense seen yesterday reasonable. Unless Philly moms always say, “Two wrongs make a right.”
Like, look, all fanbases have bad fans and those fanbases have to swallow it. Bruins fans have the reputation of dropping racial slurs more often than other cities, and even if they don't, that's the reputation. And it's always going to crop up every time it happens again.
Another saying I don't know if I'm getting right: “Several dozen bad apples never spoil the bunch.”
Are stereotypes good? No. Do Philadelphia fans make it easier than seemingly everyone else in the league to affirm them? Yup.
Here's how you avoid getting made fun of for this when it inevitably happens: Don't say, “Actually a lot of Flyers fans are good.” And don't say, “Other cities do this too.” Just do what everyone else does: Say, “Yeah, [expletive] those idiots. They're the worst.”
And as for all the “Ed Snider would have been embarrassed by this stuff” talk, well, I guess that HBO documentary was called the “Broad Street Good Boys Who Are Only Nice Ever” for a reason.
8. Stepping on the logo
On the one hand teams are way too sensitive about it and no adult should ever yell at another adult for something this relatively inconsequential. But on the other, it's 2016 and everyone knows not to step on the logo. So don't step on the logo. Pretty simple.
7. Dan Girardi
You know it's a good thing for sure when your coach scratches you for a “Whole Body” injury.
We all know Girardi is bad. We all know he was totally at sea in Game 1. We all know that putting an AHL call-up on the third pairing and praying is better than giving him more minutes.
The buyout calculators say that he'd cost the Rangers $10 million in actual money, and I think that's a bet the Rangers are probably willing to make at this point. Whole body injuries simply do not exist unless you fall down a gorge and are also a cartoon character.
If this is the end of the line for Girardi in New York, you have to say he earned it.
6. A Wild comeback?
Early in the first period on Monday night, the Wild looked like they were just about finished.
Minnesota was putrid in Games 1 and 2, then found themselves down a pair just 4:10 into Game 3. Fold up the tents and pack your bags, it seemed time to let this formality play itself over what was surely the final 115 minutes or so of hockey left in this series.
But then Chris Porter scored inside a minute to go in the first to give Minnesota just a little bit of life. Then early in the second, Erik Haula pulled the teams even. Then with less than a minute to go in the period, Jason Pominville put the Wild up for good, and Mikko Koivu doubled the lead early in the third.
Let's not, dear friends, take this as any sort of sign that Minnesota is somehow going to claw its way back into the series. It absolutely is not going to do that. However, given the misery for which they seemed destined just a few days ago, any sort of spark is probably welcome right now.
They're not dead after all. Not yet anyway. Give it a week.
5. A flexible money situation
Hooray for the Columbus Blue Jackets, who have told fans this week that they will indeed have the cash on hand to re-sign one of the very few good young players on their roster.
Imagine what it must be like to be a fan of a freakin' budget team that just missed the postseason (again) and has so much money committed to (bad) veterans that you have to legitimately come out and reassure people, “Yeah, that stud 21-year-old defenseman we just traded a borderline franchise center for? We're pretty sure we'll be able to sign him.”
David Savard is pulling $4.25 million starting next year. Fedor Tyutin at $4.5 million. Brandon Dubinsky at $5.85 million. Nick Foligno at $5.5 million. Scott Hartnell at $4.75 million. David Clarkson at $5.25 million. Why? Who has any idea?
But boy would it ever be funny if for some dumbassed reason the Blue Jackets couldn't afford to meet Jones's price (and I mean, if Tyutin's pulling $4.5 million, what on earth is Jones worth? An even billion?), and they have to Dougie Hamilton him out of town.
Not for Columbus, of course. But for the rest of us it would be pretty damn funny.
The Panthers didn't sell out Game 1, and there were lots of empty seats on TV.
People in Canada and other “traditional hockey markets” didn't know whether to laugh or cry. So they did both and saved themselves the worry.
The next night, when there were huge bunches of empty seats along the glass in Washington, where it has become accepted that this is a Real Hockey Market. The sound you heard from north of the border is the Great Canadian Cricket, an insect with habitats ranging from Quebec to coastal British Columbia, and which prefers to sit in totally empty hockey arenas every spring.
But hey, it's not like the playoff ratings in Canada are in the toilet or anything. They love hockey up there. That's my understanding.
This was a series that didn't feel as though it would be particularly engaging. But it has been great. Maybe the second-best one we've had so far.
2. Kathryn Tappen
(“These” being an intermission panel with Mike Milbury and Keith Jones.)
Let's just make next season 82 games of these guys playing every night. This is hecka-entertaining hockey right now, and the fact that we probably only get another 12 periods or so of it sickens me to my very core!!!!
(Not ranked this week: The coach's challenge.
The NHL is known for overdoing things, but this is like what a Funny or Die parody of what The-NHL-Overdoing-Things looks like. I feel like two dudes reviewing whether a skate blade was an eighth of an inch off the ice on a TI-84 a full 23 seconds before a goal was scored is, perhaps, not in the spirit of the goal review rule. Maybe that's just me.)
(All statistics via War On Ice unless otherwise noted.)