Flyers hoping overeager Hawks ripe for the picking

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STANLEY CUP FINAL

Somehow, for the Philadelphia Flyers, it all has to converge at Wachovia Centre Wednesday night team, town, tenacity, truculence, together and if it does, they believe, it will be too much for the Chicago Blackhawks to handle.

And the sun will come up tomorrow, and there will be a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.

Sounds good, in theory.

But just in case, here is one other theory they figure it can't hurt to throw into the pot: the Cup is in the building for Game 6. And the team that can close it out Wednesday night with a victory Chicago knows it. Knows how close it is, can almost taste it . . . but knows also, if only subconsciously, that it doesn't really, absolutely, have to be Wednesday night.

The Philadelphia Flyers' Chris Pronger stretches during practice Tuesday. Pronger was a career worst -5 in a 7-4 Game 5 loss Sunday and will need to be much better if the Flyers hope to avoid a Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup celebration during Game 6 ton

Philadelphia -

Somehow, for the Philadelphia Flyers, it all has to converge at Wachovia Centre Wednesday night team, town, tenacity, truculence, together and if it does, they believe, it will be too much for the Chicago Blackhawks to handle.

And the sun will come up tomorrow, and there will be a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.

Sounds good, in theory.

But just in case, here is one other theory they figure it can't hurt to throw into the pot: the Cup is in the building for Game 6. And the team that can close it out Wednesday night with a victory Chicago knows it. Knows how close it is, can almost taste it . . . but knows also, if only subconsciously, that it doesn't really, absolutely, have to be Wednesday night.

Even the prospect of an end to a 49-year Stanley Cup drought is no match for human nature.

The gulf between desperate and merely eager is a mile wide. Or that's what head coach Peter Lavi-olette will be telling his Flyers, using personal experience from Carolina's Cup-winning 2006 season. The Hurricanes had three chances to close it out, and squandered the first two. They went into Edmonton, leading the final series 3-2, and were blown out 4-0. It could happen to Chicago. Hint, hint. "It was nauseating. I went back to the hotel room in Edmonton and I almost threw up," Laviolette said Tuesday. "To be close, to have an opportunity . . . Game 5 wasn't much better. We were winning, they tied it up late. We went on the power play in overtime and they scored a short-handed goal in our building with the Cup being polished out back."

Chris Pronger saw that Carolina failure to close the deal in Edmonton from the other side.

"Yeah, I think it's a motivating factor," said the big Flyers rearguard. "You're on home ice. They have a chance to clinch. You don't

want to see that in your building, and you want to get to a Game 7. You want to have an opportunity to win it. That's the biggest thing. "At the end of the day, we're here to win a Stanley Cup.

We need to get two wins to do it. But you have to get one before you get two."

Reminders are all around them. Ville Leino, the 26-year-old Flyer forward, lived the crushing letdown last year with Detroit, when the Wings blew 2-0 and 3-2 series leads and surrendered the Cup on home ice to Pittsburgh. He remembers how the Cup was close enough to taste, and he believes the Hawks can taste it now.

"Last year was a tough time," Leino said. "You just want it to be over with. You want to be winning and raising that Cup. It's something you try to block out, but it's still there. It's not very easy to shut it out. It's going to be there. Hopefully it's going to be a little bit of an advantage to us."

Laviolette, whom his players describe as an impressive speech-maker and motivator, said he has no Knute Rockne-style, tub-thumper planned for Wednesday night, but you can bet he will remind the Flyers how the home team refused to let the Cup be presented to the bad guys in 2006.

He has already pointed out that the Penguins wrote the blueprint the Flyers now must follow, if they're to win the Cup.

"I do look for those type of things. Historical precedents," Laviolette said. "I think part of your job as coach is trying to motivate and get your team to believe in things - and there's no question we've talked about that situation. I mentioned the Carolina situation in the past. We've talked about what our team has been through. You talk about winning championships. You see them happen year after year.

"But our championship that we're pursuing is special. Maybe more so than others, if you look at how we had to get here and what we had to do to get our hands on that thing.

"I mean, you keep fighting for it. One thing this team really has proven is that they're capable of fighting. We'll be ready to do that (Wednesday night)."

If it's any comfort to Chicago fans, the Blackhawks are aware of the dangers of over-eagerness.

"I'm just going to prepare the same way I prepare for every other game, and maybe pay a little bit more attention to the details," said Tomas Kopecky, another of the victimized Wings of a year ago.

"You can't look ahead way too much in front of you. Just focus on the little things and the little battles. That's when the big things are going to come."

One big, shiny thing in particular, they hope.

Organizations: Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers Wachovia Centre Penguins

Geographic location: Chicago, Edmonton, Philadelphia Detroit Pittsburgh

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  • hockeyfan9087
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Do I hear a na na na na na na na na hey hey goodbye for the flyers tonight? I think I hear the fat lady tuning up those vocal chords... GO HAWKS

  • hockeyfan9087
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    Do I hear a na na na na na na na na hey hey goodbye for the flyers tonight? I think I hear the fat lady tuning up those vocal chords... GO HAWKS