As part of my season ticket holder benefits the Flyers invited me to a 10 year reunion of a handful of the 2010 players on a Zoom type system where we could see and hear all the players but they could not hear or see us (see screenshot at end of recap). It was hosted by Steve Coates and radio announcer Tim Saunders. In attendance were JVR, Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux, Simon Gagne, Danny Briere, Ian laperriere, Kimmo Timonen, and Brian Boucher. The event lasted an hour and they discussed some of the behind the scenes stuff from the 2010 playoff run.
Firstly they discussed how they had been picked to go far at the beginning of the season and how they laid an egg early on which got Stevens fired. Coatsey and Saunders asked if the hiring of Lavvy made a huge difference and they tried to be diplomatic about it but said yes implicitly. Hartnell said that Stevens was all defense and that nobody likes to play defense and they all felt freed by Lavvy's offensive system to do their thing. As you can imagine they also highlighted that Stevens was very soft spoken and that Lavvy was very fiery which really inspired them. They also said the leadership of Pronger was huge. Harts said just the name gave them more confidence but also his big body and the leadership as well.
Then they went into a discussion about how the season was ending where they were losing 8 out of 11 down the stretch including one to the Rangers in game 81 of the season. The most interesting thing we learned about the last game of the season was that Lavvy anticipated that the Rags would play them tight and may even play for a shootout as they had Lundqvist in net and figured if they could get it to a shootout they would beat the Flyers in it (I myself certainly thought so when it got to the SO). Lavvy wanted them to be prepared for this so at practice he called Gagne, Giroux, Briere, JVR, Richards and Carter over to him and said he wanted them to study film of Lundqvist in the SO and pick a move that they planned to move and practice that move. They did so and Briere went out and executed is perfectly. Giroux on the other hand changed his mind in the middle of his attempt and then had nothing to shoot at so he just went 5 hole and was lucky that it went in. Boucher mentioned that he was so nervous before the game and really felt the pressure that afternoon. He also note that he couldnt stand Lundqvist's celebration at the end of Ranger wins where he taps his posts and then does a huge fist pump. Bouch witnessed it from the bench in the previous game and wanted to do it back to him if the Flyers won and when he made that last save his celebration was an attempt to emulate and mock it. Booch said he actually tripped up when trying to do it as he got up awkwardly from the save but that was the story behind his famous celebration.
They didn't talk much about the Devils series except that they had to focus on Elias and Brodeur and that they felt they could beat them. They lost the first game and Giroux was slamming stuff around the locker room in anger while Pronger was loose and kind of chucking at him for his tirade. This looseness helped to loosen Giroux up as he didn't feel too panicked after that and Flyers went on to win the series. They also talked about Lappy blocking the shot with his face and he joked that he did it because he didn't trust Boosh which brought out laughs all around.
Naturally they discussed the Bruins series in detail and mentioned how they felt that they had a lot of bad breaks and bounces in the first 3 games. One key thing that they mentioned that happened in the first 3 games was Richards' huge hit on Krejci (who was playing extremely well for the Bruins up until that point) which knocked him out for the rest of the series. At the same time Gagne was due back in game 4 and those 2 events combined were some huge factors that swung the series ,according to the players. For pride they didn't want to get swept so worked hard to win game 4 (in OT) and said they felt that if they could just somehow win game 5 in Boston that they could still win the series as the pressure would all be back on Bruins. They shut out Boston in game 5 (4-0) but lost Boucher in the process when Ryan Parent pushed Miro Satan onto him while he was down making a save. The weight of it caused Boosh to sprain both MCLs. Boosh said at the time he was sure they were both torn. Kimmo came over and asked Boosh if he was OK and Boosh yelled "No! Its all over" then Mcrossin came over and Boosh was yelling "I'm done, I'm done! Leighton hadn't played in 2 months but stepped in and completed the shutout. They had no doubt they would win game 6 at home which they did 2-1 and were feeling good about game 7 until they got down 3-0. Then Lavvy called time out and read them the riot act (Hartnell said that he yelled at them a lot). The first thing he said was to Leighton which was "Stop the *#&%#*ing puck!" Then he basically told them to get their rears in gear and that they just needed one to get back in the game. JVR (called VanReimsdork by Harnell BTW) scored before the end of the first and knew they was hope but still were not super confident as the locker room was very quiet and subdued. They tied it in the 2nd period though on goals by Harts and Briere. Both of them heavily complimented Leino (who they had hoped could join the call) as being very slick with the puck. They both said that they loved playing on a line with him as he would dangle with the puck until they get into a good scoring area and he routinely fed them the puck there resulting in goals. At 2nd intermission the locker room was buzzing and they said they knew they were going to win and it was a matter of time. Gagne finally got the GWG on the PP after a too many men on the ice penalty for the Bruins. Gags said that Richards tried a shot/pass (which was a strategy by the team during that season) which was a wrister meant primarily as shot but had a little power taken off it so it could double as a pass (if needed) for a deflection or even to be received and controlled. In this case the shot/pass was partially blocked by the Bruins. Gagne was able to find it however and pounce on it for a quick shot which would be the game and series winning goal. The team of course was pumped up and was brimming with confidence although it was hard to fathom that after all that they were only 1/2 way to their ultimate goal as it felt like a lot of work to that point
Surprisingly they were not worried at all about Montreal who took out Washington and the Pens for them (the latter which had given them fits the last few years). In fact they shared that during the Bruins game they were actually scoreboard watching and were all excited when seeing the Canadiens "absolutely pasting" the Penguins. They were telling each other that if they could just beat the Bruins that they would be in the finals! Hartnell said that they considered the Habs a "tap in" because they matched up against them well and had beaten up on them all year. Interestingly Gagne's and Lappy's friends (who were French Canadian and Habs fans) were all telling them they had no chance vs the Habs after what they did to the Caps and Pens, but the Flyers were not fazed and won the series going away including 3 Leighton shut outs in the series.
They of course were elated going to Chicago for the final. Lappy was telling everyone, especially JVR and G to enjoy it and appreciate it and really go for it as that was his 17th year and only trip to the finals (he knew it would be his last season too). Lappy said he certainly enjoyed the 3 mins a game Lavvy would use him in the series. JVR and G said they are glad they listened to him as they have not been back since. They said the United Center was loud and got them pumped up, sadly though they couldn't really explain what happened though in Game 1 which was a track meet where they kept blowing leads and then game 2 which was tight checking where they couldn't do anything. They felt the series was really lost there as they couldn't steal a game (I have said for years game 1 was the one that got away, Saunders agreed and said if they win 1 there they we would all be having a very different conversation). Of course the won game 3 on an OT deflection goal by Giroux off a planned shot/pass by Carle to G. (I re-watched it and noted how Carle did a gentle wrister rather than a hard shot!) They again couldn't explain what happened in game 5 (a brutal 7-4 loss) and all agreed they just had a bad game, in fact their worst of the playoffs. Boosh also mentioned how he had to replace Leighton in 2 of the losses and how the Flyers scored enough in those games for the loss to be pinned on him (they called it a "Boosh special").
Then the conversation turned to game 6. They touched on how Carter could/should have won it earlier and how he put it right into the only place Neimi was covering (sigh). Naturally the discussion turned to "the goal". Coatsey asked if anyone saw it go in. Everyone looked sad and glum. Finally Kimmo spoke up and said that when he saw Kane put his arms up he looked in the net and saw the puck trapped in the padding at the bottom and knew immediately it was over. Kimmo said he has replayed the play over and over again in his head for years trying to determine what he would have done differently. He said unfortunately Kane had a slight step on him which caused him to be beaten on the play. Lappy also said from the bench he knew it had gone in as players like Kane know when they score and would not have celebrated otherwise. Then they asked Boosh as a member of the "goalie union" if he would speak on Leighton's behalf. Boosh said when a player like Kane is there with the puck a a bad angle you have to worry about him shooting as well as making a pass out in front. If he shoots you want to go down and block it and if you are playing for the pass you push off the post to slide over. Boosh thinks what happened is that Leighton couldn't decide what to do so he left the post to cover the pass and then decided to cover the shot, unfortunately being off the post the puck had a place to sneak in and that was that.
The hour was winding down but before we left Kimmo wanted to tell 1 final story. He started with "when I was traded to the Blackhawks" and Harnell interrupted to sarcastically say "yeah yeah you won a cup, we are all so happy for you". Kimmo said that he was old and was like Lappy playing 3 minutes a game at that point and while it was great winning it would have been much more better to win in 2010 . He then got back to his story of when he was traded the Hawks. His story was that the first time he walked into the players areas of the Blackhawks' facility he was met by a gigantic display featuring Kane with his arms in the air scoring the series winning goal on Leighton. Also featured in the display was a giant Kimmo getting beaten by Kane. Timonen said that it added insult to injury and wasn't the welcome to Chicago that he was hoping for.
With that Coatsey read a spot for Coors light which apparently sponsored the event and they all signed off. Although it celebrated a losing effort it was a nice thing they did for us and I really enjoyed the hour reliving a magical ride that came up just a little short (story of my life as a Flyers fan born 1 year after the cups). Anyway hope you enjoy this recap that you are all safe and well and that we eventually get back to the rink for some games.
Lets go Flyers