Wednesday, May 03, 2006

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy

I must admit, I took great pleasure in seeing the Philadelphia Flyers get bitch slapped on home ice last night as they were eliminated from the playoffs.

Anytime Bob Clarke gets exposed as a know-nothing, I'm overjoyed.

What's great is that all the things people like me, who just talk about hockey for fun, said would happen did: the Flyers were overmatched by the Sabres speed and their defence was too slow to be a factor. I'd pat myself on the back for my insight, but it's not as if it was difficult to see coming to fruition. The only ones who didn't, I guess, were the Flyers braintrust. Oops. Not the first time that's happened though, and I doubt it will be the last.

Robert Esche's situation reminds me a lot of Patrick Lalime in Ottawa last season. There are some differences, of course. Esche struggled with consistency throughout the series, bouncing from great games to outright awful ones, while Lalime, from game one to six, was pretty solid. Esche also doesn't have those Joe Nieuwendyk goals to haunt him.

Esche, like Lalime the year before, took the Flyers pretty deep into the playoffs the year before and I suspect that success blinded Ken Hitchcock the way it did Jacques Martin. The warning signs have been there all season that Esche was not the guy to go with. Unlike Ottawa though, Philly had a great go-to-guy in the wings in Antero Niittymaki.

The one thing I do think Lalime and Esche will have in common is that they'll be with new teams. I can't see how Esche could stick around in Philadelphia.


At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Anshu said...

I don't think Martin was blinded by Lalime's occassional success. He just never pulled a Tortorella, at least not until he joined the Panthers. In one of those early interviews, he made a statement to the effect that "it'll be nice to have an elite goaltender for a change" referring to Luongo.

I think in Ottawa Martin was stuck playing the cards he was dealt. Given Lalime's total lack of success in St. Louis, one might even conclude that Martin was able to get Lalime to play well beyond his natural talent level.

At 4:35 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

Jacques was too loyal, and it's what brought him down. We saw it with Radek Bonk, who he refused to sit when even Stevie Wonder could see he wasn't trying out there. And we saw it with Lalime.

At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe, just maybe Bonk wasn't gonna try no matter what you did with him. Bonk has proven over his career that he does some things, like backcheck, very well and others things, like try hard, horribly. He wasn't going to change because Martin sat him out a few games. You don't change people, especially elite athletes who've gotten good by improving and depending on certain skillsets.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

So then why continue to give Bonk top line minutes?

At 1:31 PM, Anonymous Dennis Prouse said...

Bobby Clarke will burn in hell for the comments he made about Roger Neilson. Remember, "We didn't tell Roger to go out and get cancer and go all goofy on us"? Not that his half-assed apology would mean anything, but I have never heard him actually say he was sorry.

At 2:02 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

Or when he fired Craig Ramsey on Christmas.


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