The Worst Hockey Game EverTyler Cowen calls it "the best and deepest game of hockey ever. Seriously." and I have insufficient data to disagree with him (is this ever not the case?). I probably would not have enjoyed watching the game, but Mike Sielski's account of it is fascinating:
On Nov. 9, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay Did Literally Nothing for Long Stretches; 'Horrible'
Twenty-seven seconds after the puck was dropped, as the Flyers took possession in their own end, things got weird. Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds passed the puck backward to defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who slid it over to fellow defender Braydon Coburn in the right faceoff circle. There Coburn just leaned on his stick, with the puck at rest behind the blade.
The aim of this tactic, Laviolette said in an interview later, was to force Tampa to drop the defensive style it had used to such great effect before. By having Coburn stand still, Laviolette hoped to draw the Tampa forward at the top of the 1-3-1 alignment out to challenge the puck-carrier—thereby taking Tampa's defense out of the trap.
What Laviolette didn't anticipate is that the Lightning's forward, Martin St. Louis, would never go anywhere near Coburn. Instead, he stayed in the circle in the middle of the ice in his proper spot.
After watching Coburn do nothing for close to 30 seconds, referees Rob Martell and Chris Rooney blew their whistles to stop play, then told Laviolette that his players have to keep the puck in motion. The crowd began to boo.The article and the Lightning fans blame the Flyers for the slow pace of play, but that seems unfair to me. The Flyers brought an unorthodox game plan in an effort to dismantle a defensive strategy that had given them trouble in the past. Whether their game was strictly "hockey" or not is up for debate, but they evidently played by the rules. On the other side of the puck, the Lightning stubbornly refused to break out of the defensive set that so stumped the Flyers in the past. Both teams stuck to their guns; neither wanted to bend or compromise merely to get the game moving.
Why not blame both teams equally? Would the game have been reported differently if it were played in Philly? Would the booing have still happened, and if so could it have been attributed to the defensive strategy rather than the home-team offense?