When you don't play your rival for 3 months, it's easy to forget how much you hate them. That's how I felt going into last week's Pens-Flyers matchup. It took about 0.2 seconds for me to remember the depth of my loathing for the Philadelphia Flyers. In my hate scale, the Flyers rank somewhere between ex-girlfriends and Glenn Beck.
It's a scary thing when a former drug addicted alcoholic high-school grad is one of the most powerful men in America. He'd probably say hockey is a tool of the Communists used to put Marxist thought into the minds of the impressionable masses.
Anyway, I digress.
The Flyers will likely be without defenseman Chris Pronger. But Pronger is overrated anyways, so who gives a crap. Side note: I once had a Flyers fan try to argue that Chris Pronger was as good a defenseman as Nicklas Lidstrom. No joke.
Rumors are abound that Crosby is close to making a return to practice. I'm not sure we even need him to be a contender. Though it definitely wouldn't hurt.
There was one thing that I wanted to address. The Marc-Andre Fleury for MVP talk.
I should preface this by saying that I absolutely love Fleury. There's no one else that I'd rather have manning the net for my beloved Pens. His puck handling and rebound control have improved by leaps and bounds this year. And anyone who says that he's not a clutch goalie must not watch Pens games. There is no doubt that he's the team MVP this year (which he was voted as by the team).
But should he win the Hart? Probably not.
First off, the last goalie to win the Hart was Jose Theodore in 01-02. Theodore lead the league in save percentage that year, and was fourth in goals against average. Fleury doesn't rank in the top 5 in either of those categories (8th and 11th, respectively). In the entire history of the award, it has only been won by a goaltender 7 times, and only three times since 1962. So in essence, in order to win the Hart as a goaltender, you have to be SIGNIFICANTLY better than any other netminder in the league. This year, one could easily make a legitimate case for Roberto Luongo, Tim Thomas, Pekka Rinne and Henrik Lundqvist (who has nearly four times as many shutouts as Fleury) for MVP as well.
Like I've said, I'm not discounting Fleury's importance to this team. Without him, we're probably struggling for a playoff spot. But if you take guys like Luongo and Lundqvist off their teams, they're in the same position as well. To me, this season has firmly entrenched Fleury as an elite NHL goaltender. But hopes of a Hart are probably unrealistic.
But I must say, if by some infinitesimal chance, Fleury does win; I will gladly eat my words.
He should at least get save of the year for this. Pretty much took whatever was left of Mike Green's manhood (riding a Vespa and having a flower tattoo eliminates 85% of his man cards) on this stop. Awesome stuff. Gotta love Green's reaction. It looks like he got shot.
Let's go Pens.