Flyers Blog: Experience factor in Cup matchup is more even than it appears - pressofAtlanticCity.com: Sports

Flyers Blog: Experience factor in Cup matchup is more even than it appears - pressofAtlanticCity.com: Sports

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Flyers Blog: Experience factor in Cup matchup is more even than it appears

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Posted: Thursday, May 27, 2010 7:00 am

One of the areas where the Flyers would seem to have an advantage in their Stanley Cup finals matchup with the Blackhawks is experience.

The Flyers have seven players who are 35 or older, including 35-year-old star defensemen Chris Pronger and Kimmo Timonen, 32-year-old center Danny Briere and 30-year-old winger Simon Gagne.

Chicago, meanwhile, has just four players older than 28 in its regular lineup.

But that can be deceiving. While Pronger has won a Stanley Cup with Anaheim and reached another final with Edmonton, Timonen, Briere and Gagne each will play in the finals for the first time. So will 36-year-old Ian Laperriere.

The Blackhawks have Marian Hossa, 31, who has been a runner-up the past two seasons with Pittsburgh and then Detroit. They also have two-time Cup champion John Madden, 36.

But perhaps most significant is that the Blackhawks reached the conference finals last season, so almost their entire team has significant playoff experience.

"They're younger age-wise, but there's guys who've been through playoff wars," Laperriere said of the Blackhawks. "I think we're pretty even experience-wise. This time it's going to be the team who wants it more who's going to get it."

Besides, the position where experience often is most important is goalie, and both teams start guys between the pipes who had never been in a playoff game before this season, let alone the Cup finals. Who handles the pressure better between Chicago's Antti Niemi and Philadelphia's Michael Leighton might be the real experience factor to watch.

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