'One-goal' losses too much

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:44 AM ET

Sitting around the house recovering from an accident gives a man time to do some thinking.

So, in no particular order...

— It’s about the Philadelphia Flyers and their assertion that hanging in there with the Chicago Blackhawks in Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Final somehow gives them hope.

The Flyers were claiming all kinds of moral victories after a couple of one-goal losses in Chicago, suggesting they could easily be the ones leading the series, 2-0, or at least be tied at a game apiece.

Which is true.

But here’s the rub: this Blackhawks team plays far better on the road than at home, and the numbers drive that point home like a Dustin Byfuglien body check.

After dropping an initial first-round game in Nashville, the Hawks have won seven straight away from the United Center — two in Nashville, three in Vancouver and two in San Jose.

They’ve outscored teams 32-17 on the road, while at home their record is just 7-3 and their goals for/against is dead-even, at 29-29.

Chicago’s power play is lousy at home, scoring just four goals in the playoffs and clicking at a 12.1% rate.

But on the road it’s red-hot, with 10 goals and a 31.2% success rate.

The only thing the Hawks have done better at home is kill penalties, but not by much.

So if anybody thinks the Flyers succeeded by staying close in Chicago and they’ll automatically gain an edge in Philly, they’ve got another thing coming.

It says here Chris Pronger and Co. had to get at least a split in Chicago to have a chance in the series.

They didn’t, and now they’re going to see the real Blackhawks, the team that doesn’t try anything fancy and simply works its collective tail off.

Sorry, but from where I sit, Pronger will be picking up his pucks and going home, soon. This thing’s over.

— It’s time to congratulate Mark Chipman, the man who runs True North Sports and Entertainment and who’s one failed franchise away from bringing an NHL team back to the ’Peg.

Over the last several years Chipman has quietly and professionally endeared himself to the NHL, thereby putting Winnipeg at the top of commissioner Gary Bettman’s list for relocating franchises.

How this guy continues to operate under hockey’s mad rumour radar is beyond me.

His latest trick, quietly flying to New York the third week of May to make a formal offer to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes, takes the cake.

In contrast to some other would-be NHL owners out there, Chipman does things the Winnipeg way: nothing flashy, just a consistent, dependable effort. Eventually, the right people notice.

Sure, it helps to have a billionaire like David Thomson on board. But that alone isn’t enough, as Jim Balsillie found out.

Now we’re closer to rejoining the bigs than ever before.

Nicely done, Mr. Moose.

— Skeptics out there may worry the NHL is simply blowing smoke up Portage and Main, teasing us for another letdown.

But there’s no such false hope being sent Hartford’s way.

Deputy commish Bill Daly said Tuesday he couldn’t “foresee a situation where there will be another Hartford Whalers in Hartford,” pointing to the lack of a suitable arena in that city.

So it’s not like the league simply pumps up the tires of any city kicking around for a franchise.

— Couldn’t help but notice the Saskatchewan Roughriders sold out their Labour Day game in 16 minutes, flat, when individual game tickets went on sale Tuesday morning.

Again, no such word from the Blue Bomber office regarding the following week’s Banjo Bowl.

Are the returns of former Bomber bosses Doug Berry, Jim Daly and Brendan Taman, not to mention players like Barrin Simpson, Dan Goodspeed and Ryan Dinwiddie, not enough?

Seems this rivalry just gets juicier every year.

paul.friesen@sunmedia.ca


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