For those of you just tuning in, the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final to take a 2-0 series lead heading to Philly.
In the spirit of the Molson Cup Three Stars, here’s three noteworthy things I noticed while watching the game on Canada’s CBC network:
1. The CBC needs to use some sort of graphic to notify viewers of when the teams are at 4-on-4 strength. Every network has something to identify when a team is on the powerplay, and the same should be done when offsetting minors put the teams each a man down. This was the case following the shove/dive between Jarkko Ruutu of the Pens and Flyers goalie Martin Biron in the third period of tonight’s game. Having just switched back over from the Spurs/Hornets NBA game and wiithout anything on the screen to tell me that it was 4 on 4, I first just assumed that the Flyers might be on the power-play and Derian “Worst Skater in the NHL” Hatcher was somewhere out of range of the cameras while trying unsucessfully to keep pace with everyone else on the ice.
2. Speaking of Derian Hatcher, he was absolutely abysmal tonight (which will come as no surprise to Illegal Curve’s Neil Rockman, who predicted as much earlier this week). If I didn’t know better, I’d assume March of the Penguins was a film about Pittsburgh skaters dancing around Hatcher in the Flyers zone. Not only could Hatcher not hold his own in one-on-one confrontations with the Pens forwards, he also made numerous inexcusably weak clearing attempts from his own zone, the most notable of which led to Maxime Talbot’s third period goal. For those of you who watched on CBC, the footage of Hatcher mouthing an expletive-deletive on the bench following that gaffe pretty much summed up his night. He simply couldn’t carry the load following the departure of defenseman Braydon Coburn in the first period…not to mention the already-present void represented by the absence of Kimmo Timonen.
3. CBC colour commentator Greg Millen should be commended for his anecdote about why Sidney Crosby plays with a straight bladed stick. Millen shared the story about how Crosby’s dad made him play with such a stick growing up in order to develop his passing skills, a sweeping shooting motion, as well as a powerful backhand. This was a great piece of reporting and was delivered at the perfect time — right after Crosby, after taking a nice pass from Jordan Staal, fired an absolutely sick backhand shot off the crossbar in the third period.
That’s all for now — more to follow in Illegal Curve’s coverage of tomorrow’s newspapers.