I thought that this would be a good time to run through a few things that have disappointed me personally this season. Hope you enjoy!
5) Simon Gagne's injury
Simon Gagne, the long time Flyer, was dealt to Tampa Bay to round out their top 6. His two-way hockey and veteran presence added even more balance to a great offensive core. However, Gagne has played only a handful of games. As a Flyers fan and a Gagne fan, I wanted Gagne to succeed in Tampa. He gave the Flyers community so much and it is a shame he cannot be more of an impact for Tampa. If it wasn't for the game winner last night, Gagne would be lower on the list. But glad he did!
4) NHL Scheduling
No one likes to see days where there is only one NHL tilt to be played. Especially when the next day is chock full of matches. At least twice the NHL has scheduled one game on one night(November 8th and November 23rd) and 7 or more on the next night. Also, I have seen many teams play two games in 24 hours. A more balanced schedule would mean more games for us fans to enjoy. I know it is hard to schedule 30 teams in an 82 game season, but they have done better in the past. Hopefully next year is more balanced.
3) Over Calling of Blind Side Hits
I was never much a fan of people getting their heads taken off from behind or out of their sight line. But when the rule was brought in, I cringed. Not because I wanted people to be hurt by these hits, but because I knew what this would lead to. It has led to many legal hitters to be fined, suspended and penalized for legal hits. The league is trying to scare people away from blind side hits by calling anything close to it, hoping players start backing off. It's a shame. Hopefully they will be over their infatuation soon.
2) The Winter Classic Hoop-la
The Pittsburgh Penguins found their way into the Winter Classic again. Surprise, surprise. With their opponent being the Washington Capitals, what once was a game about going back to the grass-roots of outdoor hockey has become a marketing machine by the NHL. Before the Winter Classic, the two teams will participate in an HBO special about the road leading up to the match. What a crock! The novelty is quickly wearing off as Gary Bettman and company look to squeeze as much revenue from the event as they can. I doubt I even tune in on January 1st to see what happens. If you want to see a true outdoor hockey feature look for Pond Hockey. It is a wonderfully done documentary on the outdoor game. It is in its entirety on Hulu.com and I am sure you can find a copy to keep on Amazon or such places.
1) Antti Niemi
Where to start? Niemi, I pulled for you all off-season. I wanted the Flyers to sign you after your arbitration decision. I thought you would only blossom from your impressive rookie year. I argued that you were not reliant on the great D in front of you in Chicago. But what have you shown me this year in San Jose? Nothing. You have been in 9 games, but only have 3 wins. You have a .877 save percentage and a 3.93 goals against. Sophomore slump? Maybe, but I expect bigger things in your future if you want to keep me on your side. There is time to turn things around, I am just disappointed you made me look like a fool.