Tag:Philadelphia Flyers
Posted on: January 5, 2012 8:37 am
Edited on: January 5, 2012 9:46 am
 

Flyers fans attack Rangers fans after Classic

By Brian Stubits

Fan-on-fan violence has hit hockey again and unfortunately for the good fans of the Philadelphia Flyers, it will further sully their overall bad reputation.

The Winter Classic was great. It was a fun event, turned out to be a really entertaining game and sure seemed to be a hit in Philadelphia to me. Despite the large numbers of New York Rangers fans I saw in attendance, there was nothing more than a few boos for the Blueshirt fans walking around the stadium before the game.

It was after the game that things got rough.

When you want a quick meal in South Philly, where do you go? Geno's Steaks, of course, one of the most renowned Philly cheesesteaks in the world. Naturally, there were fans of both the Rangers and Flyers waiting in line when a fight broke out. I'm not even sure if fight is the right word, more like an assault.

Here is video of the incident and Philadelphia Fox 29's story. (NSFW warning: there is some cursing.)

Apparently proud of their efforts, you can hear one of the attackers telling the Rangers fan that was just knocked cold to "go to [expletive deleted] sleep."

What was the cause of the disturbance, was it some postgame trash talk that heated everybody up? According to the Fox report, it was a situation where the Flyers fans bribed a local window washer to come and squirt the Rangers fans with water. That led to the hostilities boiling over and the above being the result.

One of the two Rangers fans that was assaulted is reportedly a police officer who was off duty. He was taken to a hospital in North New Jersey near his home, in the Woodbridge township. From the Star-Ledger:

"He took a severe beating," township spokesman John Hagerty said, adding that the officer was taken to a hospital, where he required stitches to close wounds. Hagerty refused to release the name of the officer, though News 12 New Jersey identified him as Neil Auricchio Jr., an Iraq war veteran.

Thanks to Facebook and SB Nation's Broad Street Hockey -- and one person's intelligence -- the Philadelphia police have a pretty good lead. Check out the information that Broad Street Hockey's Travis Hughes dug up and turned over to the police.

The dispute might not have been related to the game, I don't know, but what I can deduce is that these Rangers fans were picked partly because they were wearing blue instead of orange. It's stories like this that will continue to dissuade fans to wear opposing team colors to games, a sad development if I may say so.

This is the second fan violence incident in hockey in a little more than a week. You'll recall the story in San Jose of a 16-year-old girl being hit over the head and concussed at a Sharks game because she was wearing a Canucks jersey. In that case it was one hit and the accused attacker said it was an accident. There is no using that excuse in this melee.

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Posted on: January 4, 2012 8:16 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2012 9:16 pm
 

John Tortorella fined $30,000

By: Adam Gretz

Rangers coach John Tortorella apologized on Wednesday for, in his words, tainting the Winter Classic with his mouth by suggesting that on-ice referees may have been trying to get the game to go into overtime for television drama by calling a penalty shot with less than 20 seconds to play in the third period of New York's 3-2 win.

That apology (which you can read here) did not stop the NHL from handing out a harsh fine on Wednesday evening. According to TSN's Daren Dreger, the league has fined Tortorella a whopping $30,000 for his remarks.

This is what Tortorella said (sarcastically, according to him) after Monday's game on the referees decision to award a penalty shot to the Flyers with just 19.6 secods to play in a one-goal game: "I'm not sure if NBC got together with the refs or what to turn this into an overtime game. It started with the non-call on Gabby's [Marian Gaborik] walk, he gets pitch-forked in the stomach and then everything starts going against us. For two good referees, I thought the game was reffed horribly. I'm not sure what happened there. Maybe they did want to get it to an overtime. I'm not sure if they have meetings about that or what. They're good guys, I just thought tonight, in that third period, it was disgusting."

Questioning the integrity of the game, whether it's in a joking manner or not, is obviously something the NHL (or any league, for that matter) is going to frown upon. And that's something that Tortorella paid a pretty heavy price to find out.

In a statement released by the league on Wednesday evening, Colin Campbell, the NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operations, said "There is no acceptable explanation or excuse for commentary challenging the integrity of the League, its officials or its broadcast partners. People can disagree with calls by officials on the ice, but even in instances of the utmost frustration there is no justification for speaking as inappropriately and irresponsibly as Mr. Tortorella did."

More 2012 Winter Classic Coverage

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Posted on: January 4, 2012 1:19 pm
 

Tortorella: I tainted the Classic with my mouth

By Brian Stubits

You knew it was only a matter of time before John Tortorella would apologize for his remarks regarding the officiating in the Winter Classic. Either that or face a fine (or both, which is still entirely possible).

Following the Rangers' 3-2 win at Citizen's Bank Park, Tortorella was asked about the officiating at the end of the game. He went on to joke -- at least that was my impression there -- that NBC and the NHL were conspiring to take the game into overtime. He went on to call the officiating disgusting. Of course that perked some ears in the NHL offices.

Well on Wednesday Tortorella began the backtracking, explaining in his apology that he said his comments re: NBC were tongue-in-cheek but understands they might not have come across that way. Here is his apology from the Rangers' website.

"They were sarcastic comments by me at the wrong time, and it was frustration on my part, as far as the referees on my part and what was done at the end of the game," Tortorella explained. "Not for a second in no way, time, shape, or form did I think anything like that [fixing the game so that it goes to overtime] goes on within our league, or ever will."

Tortorella added that his comments regarding the referees meeting with NBC to conspire at having the Winter Classic go to overtime were completely "tongue-in-cheek." "For me to question the integrity of the league, the integrity of NBC, the integrity of [referees] Denny [LaRue] and Ian [Walsh], the Flyers, the Rangers, go right on through all the people here -- there's not a chance I am thinking that way," Tortorella continued. "It was wrong with my sarcasm and my frustration and I apologize to everyone involved.

"I tainted the Classic with my mouth," Tortorella said.

In his apology, Tortorella explained that he went so far as to call everybody he could think of to apologize to, including Flyers GM Paul Holmgren. Tortorella has apologized to just about everybody, except the referees who he did call good referees before criticizing them on Monday. He's saving those apologies for in-person.

I don't know Tortorella very well in the coach-reporter sense, but I've had the chance to be around him and see him in the locker room after a few recent games. He has a gruff exterior to be sure, but he has a sincerity to him. I respect the fact that he's taking his apology as far as he is, including apologizing to the officials in person.

With that said, you can't criticize league officials, jokingly or not. Behind every joke lies some truth, so they say. The over-the-top part about the conspiracy was obviously the joke, but his criticism of the officials still had some seriousness to it.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: January 3, 2012 3:39 pm
 

Leafs coach Wilson echoes Tortorella's remarks

By Brian Stubits

Even after his New York Rangers won the Winter Classic on Monday in Philadelphia, coach John Tortorella still had reason to complain. Let's just say he wasn't fond of the officiating that included a penalty shot being awarded to the Flyers with 19.6 seconds to go.

Asked after the game what his thoughts were about the calls at the end of the game, Torts didn't hold back. You can see it beginning at the 8:45 mark in the video below.

For the audio impaired, here's a refresher on what he said.

"I'm not sure if NBC got together with the refs or what to turn this into an overtime game," Tortorella said afterward. "It started with the non-call on Gabby's [Marian Gaborik] walk, he gets pitch-forked in the stomach and then everything starts going against us.

"For two good referees, I thought the game was reffed horribly. I'm not sure what happened there. Maybe they did want to get it to an overtime. I'm not sure if they have meetings about that or what. They're good guys, I just thought tonight, in that third period, it was disgusting."

Gary Bettman was on that same podium just a few minutes earlier. You know that caught the attention of the league offices and Torts could end up paying for what he said -- literally. That in spite of the fact that a lot of people would agree with Tortorella's view of the officiating. Including Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson.

"I kind of agreed with Torts at the end and his postgame comments," Wilson said on Tuesday. "I was wondering what the heck was going on."

Presumably, Wilson is just a neutral third party watching the game as an experienced hockey man making that observation. Of course, when you are a head coach, the expectations are different. If Tortorella is fined for his remarks, you might expect that Wilson will at least get a talking to that he shouldn't make such comments.

However they're only saying what a lot of people were thinking.

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Posted on: January 3, 2012 2:33 pm
 

Flyers-Rangers give Winter Classic worst ratings

By Brian Stubits

The 2012 edition of the Winter Classic might have arguably been the best game, but it was the worst in another category: ratings.

The overnight rating for the game Monday between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers drew a 2.4 on NBC, down from last year's 2.8 and below the high in 2009 of 2.9 in the game between the Red Wings and Blackhawks at Wrigley Field.

Looking at the overnight ratings (from Sports Business Journal) in the two participating cities -- Philadelphia and New York -- Philly had a very solid 11.9 while New York produced just a 4.3. Steve Lepore of Puck the Media points out that's well below what the Knicks drew for their Christmas game against the Celtics, a 7.2.

Time for the question that everybody is thinking ... is this a sign that the novelty is wearing off? Too soon to tell, honestly. This game had some differences from years past, the primary one is the fact that it was played on Jan. 2 instead of New Year's Day. Blame the NFL for that one.

Another factor that some are citing is the fact that the start of the game was delayed two hours, beginning at 3 ET instead of 1 p.m. I don't buy that as a good explanation. Last year's game between the Penguins and Capitals was pushed back until 7 p.m. ET and it drew a 2.8. A later start presumably means that you have a chance for more viewers on the West Coast, no? But to be fair, 3 p.m. isn't prime time like last year was.

But to keep things in perspective, it wasn't a massive drop. A 2.4 rating is still going to beat any other hockey broadcast during the regular season. In that sense it's still a very good number of viewers. But as an NHL fan, I'm greedy. I want to see these numbers continue to climb. At the very least, I hope that it causes the rest of the national broadcasts to see jumps in their numbers in the windfall of a very good Winter Classic.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: January 2, 2012 8:43 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 8:49 pm
 

Classic ends in penalty shot; Torts rips refs

By Brian Stubits

PHILADELPHIA -- For the first 35 or so minutes, the fifth edition of the Winter Classic was on its way to being the most forgettable. By the end, it was one of the most memorable. And it was a Henrik Lundqvist save away from being the most controversial.

With 19.6 seconds left and a mad scramble in front of the Rangers net, the play was blown dead. What came next was a penalty shot from Danny Briere, the Flyers trailing 3-2, the result of Ryan McDonagh covering the puck in the crease according to the officials.

It was the most dramatic moment in a Winter Classic to date.

"It was just a big scramble in the end they started to get pucks in front," Lundqvist said. "I didn't really see the puck I just stretched out my right leg and tried to stay on the post there and then I hear the whistle and then I hear the ref 'penalty shot.' I couldn't believe it."

Not surprisingly, neither could Rangers coach John Tortorella. "The penalty shot, I still don't understand."

The fans came to their feet when Briere circled in his own of the ice, getting ready for the chance to tie the game. Briere got the call instead of Claude Giroux, tied for the NHL's league lead in points after his beautiful backhand goal earlier in the game.

"We had a choice between the guys that were on the ice," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "It comes down to really between Danny and Claude, they're both regulars in the shootout. I think Danny, being a natural goal scorer, thrives in that area a little bit more. It was my decision."

So Briere came down deliberately, eventually firing the shot at Lundqvist's five hole. Denied.

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"I just tried to be patient and do my thing," Lundqvist said. "He's a tricky guy. If I make the first move he's going to score. Obviously there's a lot of pressure on me there. I couldn't believe when he called it a penalty shot but it was exciting. The whole game was exciting. The end was pretty intense but it was great."

It was definitely intense. The Rangers had to find every bit of strength to hold off a massive Flyers push to close the game that was aided by some penalties, ones that Tortorella wondered about after the game. For as forthright as Lundqvist was admitting to his surprise, Tortorella was as subtle as an elephant walking across down the street.

"I'm not sure if NBC got together with the refs or what to turn this into an overtime game," Tortorella said afterward. "It started with the non-call on Gabby's [Marian Gaborik] walk, he gets pitch-forked in the stomach and then everything starts going against us.

"For two good referees, I thought the game was reffed horribly. I'm not sure what happened there. Maybe they did want to get it to an overtime. I'm not sure if they have meetings about that or what. They're good guys, I just thought tonight, in that third period, it was disgusting."

One of those calls that didn't go their way was against Rangers captain Ryan Callahan. He was advancing up the left wing with about a minute to go, hunting an empty-net goal to end the suspense. He was taken down by Kimmo Timonen. Instead of a goal for the Rangers, Callahan was called for holding the stick to match Timonen's interference.

"Apparently I was holding his stick," a bewildered Callahan said after the game. "The stick was up by my chin. It was a tough one."

As a result Callahan, one of the Rangers' best shot-blockers, was left to watch that dramatic sequence from the penalty box.

"I was in the box but from what I saw it looked like Richards was pushing the puck out of the crease," Callahan said. "Hankie then comes up with a huge save to win it for us."

It was a huge save that likely saved the Winter Classic conspiracy talk from being at a fever pitch. What Tortorella said was a bit tongue in cheek -- I think -- but there would have been a lot more of the same cries coming from outside.

It certainly made for one memorable finish, that much can't be disputed.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: January 2, 2012 8:21 pm
 

Bobrovsky, Flyers can't hold off Rangers



By: Adam Gretz

PHILADELPHIA -- You can't blame Flyers coach Peter Laviolette for starting Sergei Bobrovsky in net for the 2012 Winter Classic.

The team's regular starter -- and highest paid player -- Ilya Bryzgalov is currently fighting through a brutal slump and sits near the bottom of the NHL in most goaltending categories, while Bobrovsky has played extremely well in recent games, including the Flyers' past two wins on the road in Dallas and Pittsburgh. Laviolette was basically playing the hot hand, and at the moment, his best goalie.

Still, the decision was one of the biggest talking points heading into Monday afternoon's game, and for the first two periods it was looking as if his decision was a wise one. Not only because Bobrovsky was once again playing well, but also because it didn't really matter which goalie the Flyers had in net as the Rangers struggled to generate any sustained offensive zone pressure or scoring chances.

Through 40 minutes of play many of the Rangers' shots were simply weak wrist shots from out near the blue line that were easily turned aside or gloved out of the air. Even the Rangers' first goal, the first one of the day that went to forward Mike Rupp, wasn't entirely Bobrovsky's fault as the puck was deflected between the circles off the stick of Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros.

And then early in the third period everything started to shift in the Rangers' direction, and it all began with Rupp's second goal, a bad angle shot that somehow found a way to sneak in behind Bobrovsky. It was a bad goal, and in the end, it proved to be a costly one.

"It was tough," said Flyers coach Peter Laviolette. "I thought he played a strong game, and certainly he'd probably like to have another crack at that one. He seems to be confident in there. I think it did set us back for a little bit there, and the third one to go ahead on the backdoor rebound. It was tough for our team for a five-minute stretch there, and then we seemed to get back going there at the end of the game but it was hard to get through, with the ice the way it was and they were just dumping it behind us and playing defense in front of us, and it was tough to get back through the neutral zone and get back to generating the offense we did in the first two periods."
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Along with jumping out to a 2-0 lead midway through the second period, thanks to goals from Brayden Schenn and Claude Giroux, a breakthrough on the scoreboard that seemed to validate their early dominatino of the puck possession game, the Flyers held a commanding 26-16 edge in the shots department heading into the third period. But that advantage was quickly erased over the final 20 minutes as the Rangers started to pour it on offensively while also preventing the Flyers from entering their zone and creating the type of chances they were getting with regularity over the first two periods.

"It seemed after they got up a goal, maybe five, six, seven minutes into the third period they got pucks redirected down into our end and we found ourselves breaking out a lot and I thought maybe we got a little bit spread out and couldn't generate anything. It didn't seem like we could get the puck in, I don't know about the forecheck but it seemed like we had trouble getting through the neutral zone based on the way they were putting the puck behind us."

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 2, 2012 7:17 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 10:11 pm
 

Jagr talks injury, Rupp salute

By: Adam Gretz

PHILADELPHIA -- Jaromir Jagr played just seven minutes during the Flyers' 3-2 loss to New York in the Winter Classic on Monday evening, leaving the game with a left leg injury.

He was seen leaving the ice late in the first period to head to the locker room with what was originally described as an equipment issue. But when he left the game for good after just two shifts in the second period it was obvious that it was something related to an injury.

When asked after the game if it was an old injury Jagr simply said, "I got speared last game and there was swelling in that muscle. Maybe because it was too cold and we couldn't heat it."
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He would only say that the injury was to his left leg and would not specify where, exactly, the injury was bothering him. He also said that he knew immediately after his second shift in the second period that he wouldn't be able to return to the game, and even though he never took another shift, he remained on the bench the remainder of the game and even hinted that he might have had an opportunity to play in the third period if the Flyers would have had a two-man advantage.

"I like my teammates and wanted to part of that," said Jagr of his decision to return to the bench. "I knew it wasn't going to get any worse if I sit on the bench, and I want to be part of that. I'm part of the team and to sit here I would watch it on TV anyway. That way I was close, and you never know, maybe there would be a power play or a 5-on-3 and coach would put me back in there."

Jagr said he didn't think the injury was serious and that he "should be back soon."

Even though he never returned to the game, or factored into the goal scoring during his limited time on the ice, his presence was still felt in some small way as Rangers forward Mike Rupp celebrated the first of his two goals by saluting the crowd at Citizens Bank Park, a celebration that Jagr has been doing after every goal he scores throughout his NHL career (including in his first return to Pittsburgh as a member of the Flyers last week).



"I don't really pay attention to that stuff," said Jagr when asked about his reaction to Rupp's celebration. "He decided to do it, and he scored, and it was a good goal, too.

He then paused for a moment and smiled, "We still got to play them three more times and I think I'm going to score and salute him back."

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com