I don't care which team you cheer for or whose fault you think this was. This game was garbage. It was ugly.
For those of you who haven't seen what I am referring to, follow the link here if you want. I wouldn't recommend clicking on it, however. What lies on the other side isn't hockey. There aren't any hockey plays going on.
It's total rubbish.
The Lightning aren't known for a particularly explosive brand of hockey. They play a 1-3-1 defense that clogs up the neutral zone and makes it nearly impossible for skill players like Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr to pick up speed through the neutral zone.
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette doesn't like this gunky scheme. I'd venture to guess that the fans of 29 other hockey teams aren't big fans either. But what happened last night wasn't the right way to make a point.
Philly players gathered the puck in their own zone, and instead of pushing the play forward, they turtled with the puck and waited for Tampa's forechecker. According to the various reports, the Flyers did this seven times during the first period.
The result wasn't pretty. Tampa fans rightfully booed and whoever actually tuned in to the nationally televised game likely turned it off. How many fans did the game lose last night? Imagine if that was the first hockey game you'd ever seen.
Who was at fault for the awful game between the Flyers and Lightning?
Do you think you would have come back for more?
The Flyers came into this contest playing some excellent hockey. By installing this one game stand they managed only 15 shots on goal and lost the game in overtime. I suppose this is one way to handle the 1-3-1—killing the play and flow of the game entirely—but there are other ways to do so.
Whatever happened to a dump and chase? Or using your defense in an offensive manner to stretch out the scheme vertically?
Philadelphia isn't alone in their fault, however. It takes two to tango, and Tampa Bay plays a remarkably boring and soulless kind of hockey. At least the New Jersey Devils forechecked while they were trapping. They moved their feet.
What the Lightning are doing wins hockey games sometimes, sure. Yet in doing so they manage to make some of the best hockey players in the world look like idiots.
Perhaps this is something that will help put a spotlight on this awful kind of "hockey." I just wish I could have found out about the antics of the Flyers and Lightning on Twitter instead of watching in firsthand during a national broadcast.
I'm not quite sure what happens now, but I do know one thing: someone owes those in attendance of this game their money back, and someone owes an apology to those who hadn't ever seen a game before.