Remind a Philadelphia Flyer he’s two losses from the golf course and you may hear him respond casually, “Yeah, and we’re four WINS away from it, too.”
No matter their 0-2 deficit to the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final, the Flyers seem at peace with their play and stance in the series. They’ve been down before, picked themselves back up and marched through the Eastern Conference and into the finals. Now on hockey’s biggest stage, the Flyers don’t seem to mind the curtain could be drawn in 120 short minutes.
Are the Flyers simply playing opossum, hiding frustration and disappointment waiting to pounce tonight in Game 3? Or is it fact Philadelphia is immune to such situations?
Peter Laviolette and the Flyers have displayed the laid-back approach before, acting relaxed in the face of playoff adversity. Maybe it’s all about image. But with the amount of smirking, joking and shrugging done publicly, any hockey mind merits the right to wonder when Philadelphia’s sense of urgency kicks in.
If it’s all an act, Chris Pronger plays the role of First Star Jackass to perfection. He’s cross-checked and jabbered his way through the first two games of the finals and trashed every question from the media with a smug answer. Pronger’s latest spat with Ben Eager on the surface seems childish. Who takes a puck hoping the other team will be upset?
Maybe Pronger continues to bury his frustrations with small-minded antics in hopes of baiting the Blackhawks into stupid hockey. Or, maybe the guy is just trying to have a little fun and take the pressure off his teammates by deterring the media attention from them.
Whatever the case, the Flyers seem to be eating it up and following his lead. Laviolette acts ignorant to each question asked, and Mike Richards did so much smiling at yesterday’s press conference you’d think he was at a photo shoot. And I’m sure if Dan Carcillo had a soul, he’d muster a toothless smile as well.
The Flyers seem to hold hope of lulling the Blackhawks into their relaxed state of mind and getting the ‘Hawks to sit and bask in a 2-0 series lead heading into a raucous Philadelphia crowd. Rather, the Flyers may be attempting to confuse the ‘Hawks into wondering how a team facing such a deficit isn’t showing more desperation.
The Blackhawks don’t seem fazed, nor do the Flyers seem to be tipping their hand anytime soon. The starring contest continues in Game 3 tonight at 7 p.m. CST at the Wachovia Center.
Let’s see who flinches first.