Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Laviolette's psychological warfare

The Flyers' coach tries to get in the goaltender's head.

Laviolette's psychological warfare

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette is trying to get into the head of Blackhawks goaltender Antti Niemi. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette is trying to get into the head of Blackhawks goaltender Antti Niemi. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

You have to love this time of year, and what it brings out in people -- first defenseman Chris Pronger and the business with antagonizing the Chicago Blackhawks by collecting the puck at the end of the games, and now coach Peter Laviolette pulling out all of the psychological stops with the Flyers trailing the Blackhawks by two games to none in the Stanley Cup Final.

Laviolette did everything he could to get inside of the head of Chicago goaltender Antti Niemi, who has won both third periods played so far and, therefore, won both games.

"We've got to put more pressure on their goaltender," Laviolette said on the off-day between Games 2 and 3. "He's a rookie goaltender playing in the Stanley Cup Finals. We have to get on the board here tomorrow night and put a little bit of doubt there.

"Our team is capable of scoring a lot of goals, put a lot of pressure on him. It's a tough position, goaltending. He's representing a city that hasn't won a Cup in 50 years. We have to give him a crack of doubt."

More coverage
More Flyers coverage from the Inquirer and Daily News
Broad Street Bull: Laviolette: 'Our guys are loose
Video: Flyers' massive Stanley Cup-cake

It's a tough position...

Hasn't won a Cup in 50 years...

Crack of doubt...

This is all about as subtle as a cross-check, and so be it. It is the Final, and you reach for any weapon, any tactic you can find.

Daily News Executive Sports Editor
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About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com Reach Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com.

Rich Hofmann Daily News Executive Sports Editor
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