Richards and Pronger return to Flyers golden

BY CHRIS DiFRANCESCO, Columnist

It was one of, if not, the greatest hockey game ever played. The ultimate rematch between the ultimate hockey power Canada and the cinderella story United States of America.

The game was what every hockey fan could ever dream about.

Overtime to decide the Gold Medal. Sudden death to decide which country takes control of the hockey realm for four years. Team Canada edged the desperate USA squad 3-2 in OT with, of all players, Sidney Crosby’s game winning goal, 7:40 into the extra period.

The game was everything hockey fans wanted, the suspense of the game lived up to the hype. Team USA had their natives screaming for GOLD when Zach Parise scored the game-tying goal with just over 24 seconds left in regulation. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t meant to be for the Americans who proved many doubters wrong.

As for Crosby, who now has more silverware to prove his dominance, he has the country of Canada in the palm of his hand for the rest of his life. Oh yeah, he’s only 22-years-old.

“Our team worked so unbelievably hard. Today was really tough, especially when they got a goal late in regulation. But we came back and got it in overtime,” said Crosby.

Whether Flyers fans like it or not, the ‘kid’ is great. Without a shadow of a doubt Crosby showed up when the entire country of Canada expected him to. He answered the bell.

The bell of the 20,000 ballistic fans in red that were on their feet for the entire game and for over 34 million Canadians who poured their admiration for their Olympic hero. For Philadelphia, I’m sure this will give them even more ammunition to ‘hate’ him. However, at some point the guy will have to get his due respects for what he’s accomplished at, once again, just 22.

The toughest part of this game, if you were rooting for the Americans, was to see the face of superstar, Olympic MVP goaltender, Ryan Miller’s face after the game. Miller, once again kept USA in it until the very end. He stopped 34 shots and many of those were big saves that easily could have been goals.

Miller deserved better. Because he was the better netminder. He should be given a congratulatory gold medal for the performance he put forth. The 29-year-old Buffalo Sabre goalie put it all out on the line and afterwards he wore his emotions on his sleeve.

At any point of this game USA or Canada would’ve put this game away, however, great goaltending and defensive play kept this game exciting through and through.

Onto what this means for the Philadelphia Flyers.

For those whose watched every Canada game, they’d see that their captain Mike Richards was stellar at every role he was put in by head coach Mike Babcock. Richards, finished the Olympics with five points (2G, 3A) and was plus five. Chris Pronger, who had a rough start to the tournament finished with five assists and was a plus three with over 124 minutes worth of ice time.

Richards and Pronger coming home with the gold medal could really motivate these two for the home stretch. They could easily ride this emotional high into a locker room that’s been distant for a better part of two weeks. Adrenaline could really help a Flyers club who went into the break on a four-game winning streak. 

The only issue that can arise out of these Olympics, a big issue, could be the long-term health of both Richards Pronger as the Flyers get deeper into the season and hopefully a good run into the playoffs.

Trade talk:

With the trade deadline coming this Wednesday, the Flyers are looking to land another scoring forward. According to Delco Times Flyers beat writer Anthony SanFilippo, the Flyers have expressed interest in Columbus Blue Jackets’ forward Raffi Torres. The Columbus sniper is having a pretty good season so far netting 19 goals and 30 points for the disappointing Jackets squad.

There’s only one problem with that.

The Flyers’ cap situation. Torres has a cap hit of $2.75 million. That means the Flyers have some work to do. They may have begun the movement today when they announced that Danny Syvret was placed on waivers.

I’ll have more on this as Wednesday’s deadline approaches. Follow me on Twitter during the whole brigade that is the NHL trade deadline. @NHLChrisDiFran

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