Thanks to Wally McDonough for this one.
Last night was possibly the first time two Princeton University hockey alumni have scored goals in the NHL on the same night. Darroll Powe scored for the Flyers (his second) and George Parros picked one up for the Ducks (unassisted, his first of the year) on a slick breakaway off of a blocked shot. (NHL video link)
It’s also something of a banner year with five former Tigers in the league. In addition to Powe and Parros, Jeff Halpern (2 G 1 A) is skating for the Canadiens, blueliner Mike Moore just played his first game with the San Jose Sharks, and Kevin Westgarth has skated seven games for the LA Kings.
Hip, hip, tiger, tiger, biscuit, basket, boom, boom, bah, then cue Muse’s Uprising.
Once again Princeton University graduate Darroll Powe put one past Marty, and that’s what it took to unravel a pair of winning streaks. Powe scored on opening night as well, seemingly deflating the Devils out of the gate. Tonight’s goal wasn’t the turning point (it was Van Riemsdyk’s goal that Marty didn’t see in the 3rd), but it definitely showed which was the ice was tilting.
The problem with streaks is that after a while, people pay more attention to the statistics than to the end goals (playoffs, player development, fan attraction, financial management). Better to pick up points consistently than to be streaking one way or the other – averaging 1.25 points per game (or about a 63% points efficiency) is usually enough for a good playoff seeding. I’m not upset the streak of away wins or consecutive wins ended, as the Devils were close to 90% point efficient. You’re going to lose games, although I wish they weren’t to the Flyers.
Much more concerning to me: Darroll Powe basically walked onto the Flyers. Here was a kid playing less than an hour’s drive from the Rock, and the Devils didn’t chase him? He looked like he had the Devils defense scrambling for half of the last three minutes of the game tonight, simply forechecking strongly enough to keep Brodeur in the net. Madden and Rafalski were the oft-discussed “undrafted” players; the Devils draft has produced some huge winners (Parise, Bergfors) but their ability to spot talent outside of the fresh-faced set should be just as good, and it hasn’t produced in the past five or six years.
Even more concerning: schedule compression. Devils lost in their third game in four nights, and fourth in six nights. That’s incredibly tight game timing, and it’s a result of taking a few weeks off for the Olympics. I’m betting it’s one reason there have been a rash of serious injuries to marquee players, and it should be a sign of caution for the banged-up bodies (Niedermeyer, Pandolfo, Martin, Oduya, Elias to a lesser extent, Langenbrunner to a bit) to focus on strong, rather than fast, returns.
I broke down and ordered the NHL Center Ice package tonight. It was actually a Facebook conversation with a co-worker that convinced me it was worth the $172 for the next six months, or as he put it, less than the cost of going to two games. My interest started with a sincere interest in seeing Mike Cammalleri, Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez take on the Bruins tonight. What I got was a lingering taste of the seven-plus years Mrs. Snowman and I spent in the Boston suburbs, channeling NESN on a 17-inch TV. It’s still NESN carrying the Bruins home game, but it’s in HD — a little bit of old school Boston sports mixed with geographic diversity. Given that all of the out of market games are redirections of local coverage, I’m looking forward to getting to know the broadcast voices of the Lightning, Canadiens, Ducks, Hawks and perhaps the Flyers, as I follow some brand name as well as lesser-known but fun to watch players (Halpern, Powe and Parros, along with Madden, Toews, Gomez, Cammalleri and Gionta).