Category Archives: Blog

Late Night Piano Jam #1

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It has come to my attention that I have never really recorded anything that I have ever played or written on piano. Ever. Not that it matters or makes a difference, but I wanted to record something and throw it on my website, because.. well, why not?

This is something that I started writing a week or two ago. For the most part, it’s me just messing around. It’s not formulated like a song. It’s not finished and I mess up about a billion times, but the beauty of piano, is that it all sounds wonderful anyway.

Except at the end, because you can hear my phone. If you have an iPhone, you’re going to be checking it at the end of the video. Yes, you will check it even after I warned you, because that’s what we do. We hear that text message sound and we check our phones. Even if we don’t have our phones on us, we look for them.

Anyway, I’m sorry for that, but blame Kyle Lemma. He texted me in the middle of playing.

Enjoy! Let me know what you think.

A Novel Update

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For those of you who have read some of my blogs in the past, you might know that I started my first novel around March. I started it with the intent of just wanting to be productive. I just wanted to do something with the time that I was wasting every day. I mean, why spend that extra hour on Facebook? Or a hockey or video game forum? Or playing video games? Or just staring at the computer screen, hoping that something might happen?

When I asked myself those questions, I couldn’t come up with a single logical answer and for good reason.

There isn’t one.

Am I saying that you shouldn’t do those things? Not at all. People work differently. Some people need that time to just vegetate and coast. Some people enjoy that part of their day more than anything else and some people find solace there. There’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone has their vice.

Personally, I felt like I was just in this rut that I couldn’t get out of and I wanted to do something about it. So, I vowed to spend a little bit of time writing every night. The goal initially was to write 1,000 words a night. For the most part, I stuck to that. There were a few nights where I skipped out a little bit early. There were a few nights when I didn’t write at all, but I felt guilty on those nights and the next night or two, I spent twice as long writing and I made up for it. Did I have to? No. It’s not like anyone would know. It’s not like it would matter, but that’s not the point. The point is, I made a promise of sorts to myself that I would be productive and I wanted to hold to that promise.

And I did.

Last night, I finished the first draft of my first novel. It is a YA Novel that is tentatively titled, “I Remember…” and is approximately 100,000 words. It’s not finished. Not even close. I have story arcs to tie together. I have characters that I need to develop more and most importantly, I have to fix about eight billion spelling/grammar/extra/missing word errors (Thanks, Erica!)

When I get through the novel again and finish editing the first draft, I would like a couple of people to read it over, do some informal editing and just give me their overall opinions. If you would like to be one of these people, please let me know.

Again, it probably won’t be for at least a month, but I’d like to start seeing where the interest lies now. If you say that you’re interested, please know that I am asking for a semi-serious commitment. I am only going to send it to a few people and I want those people to realize that it will be time consuming. I’m going to need people that are going to be able to get through it in a two week-ish period. So, if you’re interested. Again. Send me a message on Facebook or an email to jah713@gmail.com!

Thanks!

2012 NHL Stanley Cup Finals: #6 New Jersey Devils vs. #8 Los Angeles Kings

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#6 New Jersey Devils vs. #8 Los Angeles Kings

There isn’t much for me to say that hasn’t been said before about these teams. Yes, I underestimated the Devils in the series against the Flyers, but I knew what they were capable of. I just expected more out of the Flyers in that series, but they did exactly what I expected them to do to a tired New York Rangers. They tore right through them. Sure, the games were close, but the Devils had them where they wanted them the entire series. It’s kind of sad that the team that gave the Devils the biggest trouble was Florida.

As for LA, I knew that they would beat Phoenix, but that didn’t mean that I wanted them to. The first two games were all LA, all of the time. The Coyotes came out flat and they weren’t prepared to play such a fast or physical game. To be honest, the officiating in that series was horrendous all around, but most of it was against Phoenix. I’m not going to call conspiracy and say that they did it because they didn’t want them in the Finals. That’s silly, but the referees did miss a lot of calls at big moments in each game, so it was kind of disappointing in that respect. Do I think that Phoenix would have won if the officiating had been a bit better? Probably not. They were still getting outplayed, but I think that they might have had a chance to squeak by in 7.

For this series, it’s going to be about stars. It’s going to be about depth. It’s going to be about goalies and it’s going to be about defense.

Yes, I realize that I just named every player on both teams, but that’s what it is about for these clubs. That is what got both of these teams as far as they have come.

Kovalchuk and Parise will be important players in this series for the Devils, just as Brown and Kopitar will be for the Kings. It shall be interesting to see if Jeff Carter decides to show up (yeah, I know he had a hat trick. Two 5-on-3 goals and a puck that hit him before it went in the net), but the Kings could use him. Also, it’s amazing that Penner has kept up his level of play. For the Devils, Zajac, Henrique and Clarkson have been wonderful and I can’t even imagine how scary the Devils will be if Ellias gets into it a little bit more.

As far as goaltending, Quick looked mortal in the round against Phoenix. He didn’t pull the same quick saves that he pulled against the Blues and the Canucks. He let in some soft ones (including one from the red line), so it will be interesting to see which Quick we get (not that both of them aren’t beyond incredible, because they are) and Brodeur has played stellar. He has silenced most critics (including me) with his play and it has been consistent. I am impressed by how well he has been playing throughout the playoffs.

In the end, this series is going to be tight. Everyone knows that, but everyone is also doing the same thing that I did in the Flyers series. They are underestimating the Devils and because of that, I’m going to have to say that New Jersey pulls it out in 7. Why? Because these teams are both strong and they are playing with the will to win as a team. I think that they will split the games until they get back to New Jersey, where NJ takes the series and the cup.

Conn Smythe to Kovalchuk (and Brown if the Kings win).

Prediction: Devils in 7

 

Jason and the Adornauts

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What is Jason and the Adornauts?

Jason and the Adornauts is a long-distance musical project featuring Matt Adorno and myself.

It’s not a serious project. We don’t expect to record songs and find a bajillion fans across the interweb. We don’t expect to tour or get a record label. We don’t expect anything out of it. We’re merely recording for the sake of recording. We’re playing music, because we can and because doing something like this makes playing fun again. There is no pressure to get anywhere. There is no pressure to make anything happen. It’s just a chance for a couple of dudes to play music, even if we do live 2400 miles apart.

That said, we’re going to try to record a song or two each month and post them on the Internet, so if you’re into that. Awesome. Feel free to check it out. Share it with other people. Do whatever feels right, because there’s no pressure.

Not on us. Not on listeners. Not on anyone.

For now, we’re going to do a couple of cover songs. I suspect that we will probably do an original song here and there, but I think that for the most part, we will stick to cover songs. We’ll see how that goes in the coming months. For now, go check out our Facebook page: Jason and the Adornauts, and if you’re into it and want to hear what we do in the future, like the page. If not, (and you continue to read this blog or my Facebook), you’ll probably hear about it anyway.

So. Sorry.

Anyway, you can check out our first song at the Facebook page, or below. It’s a Saves the Day song called, “Anywhere With You.” It’s from their cringeworthy album, In Reverie.

2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils

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#1 New York Rangers vs. #6 New Jersey Devils

While I was 2 for 2 in the Western Conference in the second round of the playoffs, I was 0 for 2 in the Eastern Conference.

If you watched the Capitals vs. Rangers series, I wasn’t too far off. I knew that the series would be long and I knew that it would be close. In my opinion, the Capitals outplayed the Rangers more than the Rangers outplayed the Capitals, but that doesn’t matter at the end of the series. The only thing that matters is who comes out victorious four times and that was the Rangers. They took advantage of bad plays by the Capitals (Hello, Joel Ward) and they had their star players play like star players.

Henrik Lundqvist played like a king. He stole games and he kept his team reeling in the series. Their defenders, Girardi, McDonagh and Staal played their roles perfectly, shutting down Ovechkin, Semin and Backstrom, while also contributing offensively. Then they even got a little bit of offensive help from other defenders like Anton Stralman, but that’s not the story for me. Yes, the defense is filling the void that most of their offense has neglected, you know, goal scoring, but there are still two key forwards that are very much awake and alive.

To me, those forwards are Brad Richards and Chris Kreider. I will be the first to admit that I wasn’t sure how much Brad Richards had left in the tank, especially after that concussion scare at the end of last year. I mean, you just never known in hockey and when players are out for months at a time, it never looks good. When I saw Richards sign for an astronomical figure in the offseason, I couldn’t help but see flashes of Ranger’s past (mostly Chris Drury and Scott Gomez), because let’s face it, the Rangers like to spend money. And sometimes, I don’t think that they understand the fact that just because you have a boat load of money, doesn’t mean that you should unload it onto every “superstar” free agent that looks at your franchise.

Well, I will give it to the Rangers this time, because that was money well spent, at least this year, because Richards has had an answer for every thing this post season. He is scoring big goals, blocking big shots and making big passes. He is everything that this team needed and with Chris Kreider stepping in the way that he has, the Rangers are showing some signs of life, because with Dubinsky out (not that he was a factor this year, at all), Gaborik’s sporadic Houdini act and the only other real goal scorer showing up being Anisimov, it’s something that they need desperately.

The Devils on the other hand are firing on all cylinders. I mean, there is a similar story in New Jersey. Their star players are playing like star players. Parise is playing like a complete beast. Zajac is doing everything right down the center and contributing offensively. Henrique and Clarkson are waking up. Brodeur is playing above average and the defense is EVERYWHERE.

The part that I am enjoying the most about this Devils run is that people are starting to give Kovalchuk the credit that he deserves. I love Kovy. I think that he is a great player that is completely underrated. I know, how can a player that has a $100 million contract be underrated, but he is. I’ve heard countless people and analysts alike criticize both the Devils and him as a player for signing that contract, saying that he’s a good player, but is he worth it? Is he a playoff player? Can he do more than score goals? If you have watched these playoffs at all, I think that you can see that the answer to that question is an overwhelming, yes.

At the end of the Panther‘s series and at the beginning of the Flyer’s series, Kovy looked a little bit out of sorts. He looked like he was struggling with his reach and his shots were a little bit off target. Everyone asked if he was injured and in true playoff hockey fashion, he denied it. He said that he wasn’t hurt, but after another rough game, he took a game against Philly off. The Devils won without him and then he returned the following game, looking like a new player. I don’t know what happened in those few days that he was off, but whatever it was, it was big and beating the Flyers in five games was undoubtedly huge, because that just meant that he had time for his injuries to heal. And in my opinion, that’s bad news for New York.

During the regular season, the Rangers “won” the series going 3-2-1 again the Devils, but again, this is the playoffs. The Rangers struggled through Ottawa and then struggled through a heavy hitting series in Washington. The Devils didn’t exactly have a walk in the park with Florida, but they survived and then strutted right on through Philadelphia, outplaying them in every facet of the game. I think that the break that the Devils had might slow them down in game one, but I think that after that, they are going to remain as hot as they have been this post season. Their penalty killing has been relatively decent and that’s all you need against a team like New York, whose power play has looked rather mediocre thus far (not Kings/Coyotes mediocre, but mediocre nonetheless).

I think that this is another close series. The Devils play a similar system to Ottawa and Washington, a system that has been causing all sorts of fits for Torts and the Rangers, but the Devils do it better than the Sens or the Caps and I think that makes all of the difference in this series. I think that New York will play well. Better than their mediocre performance thus far, because of what’s at stake and because they have a great coach, but I’m not sure that they can put the Devils off edge. I think that unless the Rangers can get their power play going at a significantly higher rate, that the Devils are going to eat them up.

I’m expecting an episode of “star wars” in this series. For me, the focus is on Kovy/Parise vs. Gabby/Richards. Yes, there will be focus on the Hank/Brodeur battle, but to me, the superstar duo that outperforms the other, will be the ones that are competing for the cup.

Prediction: Devils in 6

 

 

2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Phoenix Coyotes vs. Los Angeles Kings

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#3 Phoenix Coyotes vs. #8 Los Angeles Kings

If you asked a thousand people at the start of the playoffs who they thought would be in the Western Conference Finals, I can guarantee that not many would have chosen this match up. In fact, I would argue that I would be able to count those Nostradami (clearly, the pluralization of Nostradamus) on one hand, because let’s face it, no one saw this coming. Sure, some people picked Phoenix to get through the Blackhawks. It was a long shot, but there are upsets in every round of the playoffs, right? Right. So, why not.

Then they were matched up against for many, the Western Conference favorites, the Nashville Predators. There wasn’t an analyst out there that even put Phoenix in contention for this series. Everyone said that Nashville was the better team. They said that the Preds played a similar game to the Coyotes, but Nashville had better offensive talent, a bigger defense and their goaltending was just as good, if not better. Everyone said it would be over quick. Well, they were partially right. The Coyotes took the Predators by storm and closed the series out in five games. They played the same game that they played against the Hawks, but they tightened things up. They were better on the forecheck and they continued to capitalize when it mattered.

Phoenix is a confident team. I can’t state that enough and that’s a dangerous thing for the opposition. I’m not saying that LA isn’t, I’ll get to that, but Phoenix is playing with a level of confidence that is rarely seen in hockey. What do I mean by that? I mean, that every single player is contributing every single night. Sure, no one has their best game every night (besides Mike Smith), but the weight is divided among the forwards and the defenders. If Shane Doan isn’t going to get it done one night, Boedker will. If Boedker won’t, Brule will, etc. You get the point. The team’s depth shows up every single night. There was a lot of worry in game five that they might falter without their trusty defensemen Rusty Klesla, but David Schlemko picked up the minutes and fulfilled his role pretty well.

I guess what I am saying is that this team knows that everyone is pulling their weight. They know that that everyone is giving 110% every shift, every game and they know that everyone is in this for the long run. That’s where it gets scary, because they are playing like champions. You know, when I first moved out here and we started watching the Coyotes, we joked around a lot. We kept saying that it was going to be a Phoenix Coyotes vs. Philadelphia Flyers Stanley Cup. It was a nice thought, but let’s face it, it was unlikely. I remember thinking that yeah, it was probable that we would see the Flyers in there, but not the Coyotes.

Not yet.

Not with the ownership situation. Not with the possibility of being in another city next year. Not with so much uncertainty there. I mean, it has to affect them mentally. I think that we saw that a lot last year when they played the Red Wings, but this year is different. Very different. They’re confident and they know that they can do this. I know that I keep saying that., that they’re playing with confidence, but there’s not another word that I have to describe it. Watch them play and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.

Despite the fact that the Coyotes are the number three seed and have taken out the Chicago Blackhawks and the Nashville Predators, they are once again being acknowledged as the underdogs, and to be honest, I can see why. The Los Angeles Kings are firing on ALL cylinders. Yes, it’s so serious that I capitalized all. They took down the Canucks with relative ease and then they swept the St. Louis Blues. I have to say that I didn’t see that coming. I had the Kings taking the Blues down, but not in four games. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me, but no team should be swept. Not at this stage in the game, but the Kings had an answer for everything that the Blues had up their sleeves. Personally, I think that the absence of Halak made all of the difference in the world. Again, I think that a lot of Elliot’s struggles were mental. He played a great series, but I think that he would have put up those surreal numbers that he put up in the regular season if the mental pressure wasn’t there.

That’s hockey though, especially playoff hockey. It is about pressure and how you react to it and this Kings team is pushing all of the right buttons. They are getting some scoring help from their bottom 6, but really, this team is all about their big players being the big players. Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards and even Dustin Penner are playing incredible hockey.  I know,  I didn’t believe that Mr. Pancake himself had it in him, but it’s true. This team is playing like the team that everyone predicted that they would be. If they can keep that tempo going and if Jeff Carter can put the puck in the back of the net, then this team is going to be very scary and very difficult to beat.

Especially with the physical presence of Mike Richards and Dustin Brown. Both players are playing perfect two-way hockey and every chance that they get, they are making someone feel it. They are landing big, clean hits and pulling all of the momentum in their favor. In my opinion, these are the two players that the Coyotes are going to have to watch out for. Sure, you have to look out for Kopitar. You have to look out for Stoll and Williams. You even have to look out for Carter and Penner, but Richards and Brown are the game changers. They are the guys that are going to go out there and make something happen. If the Coyotes want to take this series, they are going to have to hit just as hard and they are going to have to keep the momentum in check.

The regular season was split 3-3. There was a lot of physicality and for the most part the games were tight. I feel like this series will be split right down the middle. I feel like we are going to see some of the most defensive, stubborn hockey that we’ve seen yet in the playoffs and while that doesn’t sound exciting, it means that the goals that do go in are going to be big.

Real big.

I know that on paper the LA Kings match up better. They have better top end talent. They have a solid defensive core and Jonathon Quick is playing just as well, if not better than Mike Smith, but I still can’t count the Coyotes out. Sure, I’d like them to win because I have tickets to the Stanley Cup Finals if they make it, but this isn’t just about hometown allegiance. This is having faith in a team that I’ve seen play their hearts out. This is having faith in a team that I’ve seen play with confidence and that trusts every single player on the ice at all times. This is about having faith in a team that wants to win.

Either way, the one thing that I can guarantee is that this series will be long. It’s going to be all about bounces, about actions and reactions and in the end, one team is going to pull through and make life very, very difficult for the New York Rangers or the New Jersey Devils.

Prediction: Coyotes in 7

The Last Mediocre Job Rant (for this week)

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Over the past few months I have found myself applying to more jobs that I can possibly count. If forced to put a number on it, I would say that it is probably somewhere around 200. Maybe that isn’t a lot to you. Maybe that’s something normal for most people. I don’t know. What I do know is that is a lot of time wasted, especially considering that I have only heard back from maybe 3-5% of those jobs.

The sad part is, most of those responses were the same automated messages. I received the same exact email from a multitude of companies. If you have been applying for jobs within the past decade, you probably know exactly what one I’m talking about. You know, the one that says, “Dear so and so, We appreciate you taking the time out to apply for the (blank) position. However, after reviewing your application, we have decided to go with a more qualified candidate for the position. Do not fret. Please feel free to continue applying for jobs at our company, so we can send you this e-mail fifty six more times. Thank you, So-and-so.”

You mean to tell me that there are actual qualifications to be a Security Dispatcher at a University (besides being physically able to lift up a telephone and speak into it)? And that there are necessary qualifications to push around mail carts? etc.

You get the point.

I know that both of my degrees are next to useless alone. I know that without a Master’s degree or without a Teaching Certificate that they are about as useful as a degree in any of the three P’s (Psychology, Philosophy, Puppetry), but at least it shows that I went to school full time. At least it shows that I committed myself to something and it isn’t like I sat around twiddling my thumbs when I wasn’t in class. I was working. I lived a somewhat active lifestyle for someone that is relatively sedentary and isn’t that what college is all about? Isn’t it about proving that you are capable of applying yourself?  Because let’s face it, unless you’re a doctor or an engineer or something that requires an actual understanding of the content, you’re degree means the same thing as mine.

It means that you survived college.

It doesn’t matter if your degree is in Public Relations, or Advertising, or Business, or English, or History, because at the end of the day, they are all the same thing. We live in a world where the actual education part of your background means little to nothing. Sure, it can hurt you. It hurts to not have gone to college, but at this point in the game, it is just expected. It’s like when you’re 14 and you apply for a job at McDonalds. The only real qualification is that you’re 14 or older. If you want to be a cashier or something instead of flipping burgers, you might have to have cash handling experience, but really they’re just looking for you to meet that minimum qualification and that’s how jobs are now. It’s like the requirement of a bachelor’s degree is just the assurance that you’re 14 years or older.

The sad part is, I have working experience and an education and it still feels like it’s next to impossible to find something. These past few weeks I have found a few things that seem like they might be promising, but I can’t tell you how many times I applied to Rowan when I was in New Jersey or to ASU when I moved out here. I can’t tell you how many times I looked at a position and thought, man, that’s way below me, but applied anyway, because that’s where I wanted to work. For the record, I am not being narcissistic when I say that the position is below me. I’m not saying it like I am too good for the position, I am just saying that after spending the past seven years in college, after working with computers and technology over the past twelve years and after running an ice rink over the past eight years that I might be capable of pushing a mail cart around or answering a telephone.

I don’t know.

If I have learned anything through this entire process, it is that career sites like Careerbuilder and Monster are jokes. I have applied to random positions on those websites for months and the response rate is abysmal. I have modified my Cover Letters and Resumes to pick up minute details in each of their postings and still nothing. Lately, I have been watching Craigslist like a hawk, applying to nearly every position that gets posted and at least there, I am getting some hits. I’d say that I get responses from at least 50-75% of the posters, which is pretty nice. It’s nice to know that people are actually on the other end, reading your resume, especially after taking so much time scouring the internet trying to find something.

I have been fortunate enough to be in a position where I could wait until a suitable opportunity presented itself (at least I was in that position…), but the clock is ticking and it’s only a matter of time before this metaphor explodes. The good news is, I had a bunch of interviews this week, including a second interview today and I have another scheduled on Tuesday. So, there is still hope, but if those don’t work out, I might have to go downtown and walk from giant building to giant building, asking every office if they need their windows washed or their cacti watered.

For now, here’s a picture of Alexandra Breckenridge from American Horror Story.

P.S. You’re welcome.

The WPM Challenge

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I had an interview in Tempe the other day for an Administrative Assistant position. As soon as I walked into the room, the interviewer asked me to take a typing test. It made sense. I mean, I was applying for a job where I would be working primarily with a computer, so I obliged. The typing test was really simple. It was just one of those websites that makes you type out a paragraph and when you’re done, it tells you your words per minute (WPM) and the amount of errors that you typed within that span or whatever.

Before I continue, let me back track a little bit. A few months ago, I wrote my sister’s resume and in the Skills section, I wrote that she could type 90+ WPM. At the time, I didn’t really see anything wrong with that. I didn’t know how many words she could type per minute, but I figured that she probably wasn’t far off from 90 or so WPM. I really had no idea. I knew that she had worked with computers for roughly the same amount of time that I had. Sure, not in the same capacity. I mean, I played MMO’s for a couple years and I did an extensive amount of writing in college, you know, being a Writing major, but I don’t know. I didn’t think that she would be all that far off.

Then again, what did I know about what other people typed at?

Nothing, apparently.

Sorry for the aside, now back to the interview. Normally, I type somewhere around 110 to 120 WPM. To me, that doesn’t seem like all that much. I mean, I know that I type fast, but it just seems normal because I have typed that fast for close to forever. So, when I finished the test, the interviewer came back into the room and took a couple glances at the screen.

“113?” He asked.

“Yeah,” I said. “I’m not used to the keyboard, so I made a few more errors than I normally would have, but that’s about right.”

He then told me that the fastest typer that he had seen prior to that clocked in at about 52 WPM. I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy, but that just seemed a little bit absurd to me, like I know that I type relatively quickly, but isn’t it a requirement for administrative personnel to type somewhere in the ballpark of 40-60 WPM? I guess I could be wrong, but I thought that was a pretty important part of the job. I’m not saying that he’s lying, as he has no reason to, but I’m not going to lie, it got me a little bit curious.

It made me wonder what most of you type at. Let me clarify that I am not posting this to boast how I am the world’s greatest typer. I am not trying to make this a competition. It’s just… apparently, I have no idea how fast people type and I kind of want to know.

So, if you get a chance. Check out this website, http://www.careerstep.com/free-typing-test, take the typing test and then reply in the comments or on Facebook or wherever with the score that you receive. I pasted mine below.

Thanks!

120  Gross Words per minute
116  Net Words per minute
114 correct words
4 extra words
21 missing words

Score: 116

2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Philadelphia Flyers vs. New Jersey Devils

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#5 Philadelphia Flyers vs. #6 New Jersey Devils

The Philadelphia Flyers dominated the Pittsburgh Penguins in every single sense of the word. They rode into the Consol Energy Center and took it to them. They didn’t give them an inch to breathe and they capitalized on every opportunity. The best thing about that series was the fact that every rookie on the squad answered the question that every hockey critic was posing, can the rookies perform under pressure? The answer was an astounding yes. Schenn played a very physical game and dominated the Penguins on both sides of the puck. Couturier played out of this world defense, stopping Evgeni Malkin at every twist and turn and Read scored big goals at the right time and that doesn’t even touch on Wellwood’s excellent play. The Flyers outworked and outscored the Penguins. They exposed the weak defensive core and took advantage of a goalie that lacked confidence in those around him.

You can’t talk about the things that the Flyers did right without talking about Claude Giroux. Giroux had 14 points in 6 games. In the last game of the series, he approached Laviolette and told him that he wanted the first shift in game 6. What did he do with it? He scored less than a minute into the game and laid out Sidney Crosby. There are a dozen articles out there that say that Giroux has earned the captaincy of the Flyers despite the lack of a C on his jersey. He has come out and been vocally supportive of their inconsistent goaltending. He has been a role player for the team and he has been the go to guy when they need some offense.

I could go on for hours talking about all of the things that this Flyers team is doing right, but it’s nothing you haven’t heard before. The offense that we are seeing here in the playoffs is the same offense that made them number three in the NHL. Unfortunately, we’re also seeing the inconsistent goaltending and the poor defense that we saw all season. Bryzgalov has been less than stellar. He is making big saves when he needs to and that’s important, but he’s letting in far too many soft goals. The only thing that he has going for him is the fact that the offense has been putting up so many goals. I guess if he can keep the other team from getting more than four goals, the Flyers still have a chance, but that’s not how things should work.

The defense hasn’t really done there part either. Sure, they played the highest goal scoring team in the NHL that has two of the best players in the NHL, but that’s no excuse for the amount of goals and odd man rushes they have let up thus far. The defense needs to tighten up. They need to pull a page out of Timmo’s book.

New Jersey on the other hand had a very tough series against the Florida Panthers. Did I think that the Panthers would just lie down and take it? No, but I also didn’t think that they would have made a series out of it. They are a young team that has a big upside, but I didn’t think that they would take it to seven games. Brodeur had a pretty good series. He showed that he is still capable of making big saves at the right time, but he is also showing his age. He is showing that he can’t get to the same places that he used to be able to and that his reflexes aren’t quite as quick. On that same note, the defense of the Devils has shown some pretty large holes that Florida exposed, particularly around the crease.

The Devils need to keep the Flyers from in front of the net. They need to clear them out and keep them to the outside. I know that sounds like a very general statement, but it’s what they need to do. They can’t afford to allow Hartnell and Simmonds to camp out in front of the net. They can’t allow Briere to sneak in and well, be Briere. They need Volchenkov and Green and Larsson and Zidlicky to get in there and clear them out. They’re going to need to play solid defense to even have a chance in this series, because their forwards are going to be outmatched and outworked. Sure, the Devils have a great first two lines. I would even say that they have a solid top 9, but each of those lines are completely outmatched by the Flyers forwards. You could make the argument that Parise/Zajac/Kovy is a better first line than Hartnell/Giroux/Jagr, but I don’t know. I think skill wise the Devils hold the advantage as Parise and Kovy are two of the best wingers in the NHL, but the chemistry that the Flyers have is what keeps them going.

If the Devils are going to make this a series they need to tighten up their defensive core and they need to play a strong special teams game. They need to score on their power plays and they need strong kills. They can’t afford to give up the short handed goals that the Penguins gave. They need to play better and harder than that.

In the regular season the series was split 3-3. The Flyers have scored 18 goals and the Devils have scored 15, so the Devils have shown that they can take the Flyers down. They have shown that they can score big goals, but can they do it in the playoffs? Can they knock out a team that is playing as strong as the Flyers have been? I don’t think so. This has nothing to do with my allegiance to the city. I’m not alone in this observation and after finding out the Kovalchuk is now out for Game 2, the Devils are going to have to overcome even more adversity. I’m just not sure that they can take down a team that is as hot or as deep as the Flyers.

Prediction: Flyers in 5