The Daily Rant
Rant archives
XML feed for Daily RantRSS feed for The Daily Rant
About me
Home Turf
Pave the grass
My news clips
Contact me
Pa. gambles
Pa. pay raise
Pa. papers
Pa. poliblogs
Pa. columnists
Pa. AP news
N.J. papers
N.J. AP news
Good reporting
White House
GAO news
For Men
News feed
Warp Stock
Site map

as seen on phillyBurbs.com

Do or die
An entire season of pain, of joy, of change hinges on tonight's Flyers game.

It all comes down to this.

An entire season of pain, of joy, of change hinges on the outcome of a single game.

For at least some of the Flyers, it could be their last wearing the orange and black. Some might retire. Others could be traded in the months to come.

To prevent that from happening, they all need to play as if tonight were their last game.

They need to show the heart and soul of champions by beating the Ottawa Senators just to force a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

In short, they can't play the way they did Saturday.

The Flyers simply did not show up for Game 5. Gone was the fire that fueled them through three overtime games against Toronto. They couldn't clear the puck. They gave up a short-handed goal. Roman Cechmanek flopped around in the net like a wet dishrag. They only capitalized on one power play. High-priced shooters found more pipe than net thoroughout the game.

In the end, bruised, bloodied and embarrassed Fly Boys piled into the penalty box just to prove that they still had some fight left in them.

They need to harness that anger. Focus it. Channel it.

They need to throw as many shots at Sens goalie Patrick Lalime as they did Ed Belfour in the four overtime game against Toronto.

They need to finish their hits, using their bodies as weapons to beat down the enemy and capture the puck.

They need to support Cechmanek by preventing Marian Hossa, Todd White, Radek Bonk and the like from penetrating into their zone. Then, they need to keep challenging them, even on the penalty kill.

They need to take advantage of every opportunity, every power play, every lead.

And finally, in the moments when they do find themselves in trouble, they need to depend on each other and force the puck into the other team's zone.

It's a tall order for an extremely tired team. 

A year has past since the Flyers bowed out disgracefully in the first round to Ottawa after scoring only two goals. The face of this team has changed much since then. It is now bearded, stitched, stone in its determination.

A win tonight would prove it's not the face of failure.

I will be watching and so will the New Jersey Devils.

Dave Ralis' Pave The Grass column appears on Mondays. You can send him an e-mail at . To read his previous columns, click here.

May 5, 2003