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[#] Wed Sep 28 2016 13:16:45 EDT from Kyle Phillippi

Subject: Flyers vs. Devils: Travis Konecny eager for chance to work with Schenn, Raffl on top line

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Konecny admits he’s more relaxed this year than he was in 2015 and is focused on controlling what he can

VOORHEES – Travis Konecny lit the junior hockey world on fire last season with 124 points in 91 games.

He admits, though, that it wasn’t all that natural for him at the start of his season, specifically his first Flyers training camp.

“Last year I came in excited,” Konecny said. “I had my feet going and my energy, but I was kind of all over the place.”

The jumpy play wasn’t all that noticeable as he picked up one goal and one assist in two preseason games last season before being sent back to Ottawa on September 25. This time around, he’s playing more focused and more importantly, more relaxed.

He’ll get his biggest opportunity to date in Wednesday’s exhibition game against New Jersey at the PPL Center in Allentown. Konecny will work on the top line with Brayden Schenn and Michael Raffl.

“It always helps playing with good players,” Konecny said. “They see the ice real well. I just have to move my feet and get in good areas and I’m sure they’re going to find the spots.”

The 2015 first round pick says he’ll control the little things and let the rest come to him. Getting the puck out of the zone, not forcing pucks into traffic and simply playing relaxed hockey are the three things Konecny says he’ll be zeroing in on.

It’s no coincidence that Konecny will be playing alongside two staples in the Flyers lineup, either. Head coach Dave Hakstol – realizing Wednesday’s lineup is on the younger side – says inserting the team’s top offensive prospect in that position is a beneficial move.

“We’re getting into our fourth exhibition game here now, so it’s an opportunity for Travis to go out and play the way he plays,” Hakstol said. “He has an opportunity to do that with two veteran players.”

One veteran who won’t be suiting up after putting forth a two-goal effort in a 4-0 win over the New York Islanders who has been impressed by the blue-chip prospect is Wayne Simmonds.

The first thing the 30-goal scorer mentioned in regards to Konecny was that “he’s a good kid first and foremost.” Simmonds has enjoyed watching the “tremendous skill” that Konecny possesses, as well.

“His work ethic is as high as his skill level and that’s going to lead to good things,” Simmonds said. “Taking a look at him out there, he’s a good little player. He fits in wherever they put him and he doesn’t look out of place.”

Circling back to Konecny’s self-admittance of trying to do too much last camp, the 19-year-old has matured quite a bit since then. That’s why he’s committed to improving himself this time around.

“I think this year I’m trying to approach it and play the game the right way,” Konecny said. “I’m trying to follow the system and play the right way this year.”

[#] Wed Sep 28 2016 14:48:15 EDT from Ari Yanover

Subject: WATCH: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare mic’d up at the World Cup

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He has a lot to say! And sometimes, yell.

Team Europe has turned into the plucky little underdogs that, it turns out, could.

Maybe not against Canada - at least not so far, as they’re in a do-or-die situation tomorrow for the best of three finals - but against everyone else, they got it.

Case in point: their sudden death semifinal win over Team Sweden. A game that, as it turns out, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was mic’d up for!

There are a fair share of conversations with officials at faceoffs, the usual strategizing with teammates on the ice and giving encouragement from the bench, and even a big of indignation - but probably the best of them all is his cheering when his team scores.

Especially, you know, at the end, when the Euro collection won in overtime.

Bellemare has a lot to say (and sometimes yell) - and all of it is pretty great.

[#] Wed Sep 28 2016 17:05:30 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Wayne Simmonds is wearing a visor this preseason because Ron Hextall asked him to

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We’ll see if he wears it in the regular season

Wayne Simmonds is wearing a visor this preseason

Wayne Simmonds looked a little different last night. And ... well, he scored two goals, so maybe this will be a permanent change!

Broad Street Hockey: For Philadelphia Flyers Fans 貼上了 2016年9月28日

Wayne Simmonds did something last night that, as far as we can tell, he’s never done in an NHL game: wear a visor. He’s doing so here in the preseason at the behest of general manager Ron Hextall, who apparently wants to make sure Simmonds stays safe in those high traffic areas of the ice he often frequents.

Here’s Wayne’s back-and-forth with the media after Tuesday’s preseason game in Philadelphia on the topic of his new face protection:

Wayne, does the shield seem to affect your shooting much?

“No, it was all right. It was the first time I’ve worn one of those in five or six years so it took a little bit of adjusting. All in all, it was a good performance tonight by the team.”

I expect your mom and your girlfriend were ones to appreciate it?

“Everyone is all over me about it. It’s way more than just two people.

Is it experimental or do you think you’ll stick with it?

“I don’t know. We’ll see what happens. It wasn’t too bad tonight. I think the only thing for me tonight was trying to track pucks in the sky when you’re getting the glare from the lights, so it’s a little bit of an adjustment.”

What was the last thing that pushed you to start wearing it?

“Ron Hextall.”

So, it wasn’t mom?

“No, not a chance. Ron Hextall gave me a call.”

A lot of that has to do with the kind of game you play though.

“Yeah, I think so, being that front guy and then doing a little work on the PK tonight and getting your sticks in lanes and stuff like that. The game was really fast tonight. There were a lot of pucks that got deflected and sometimes you don’t know where they’re going and you can’t react to them. The shield is good for that.”


What’s the game plan if something happens out there and the gloves drop?

“Everyone else wears a shield, right? So every time I fight someone, they’ve got a shield on so I guess I’m at a disadvantage. It evens it up then.”

[#] Wed Sep 28 2016 17:20:45 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Flyers vs. Devils: Preview, lineups, game time, TV coverage and discussion thread

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The Flyers are in Allentown, hosting the Devils.

Get full coverage from the New Jersey perspective at All About The Jersey.


  • Tonight’s Flyers home game will be played at PPL Center in Allentown, Pa.
  • MSG+ coverage in the North Jersey/New York market will be a simulcast of the Flyers broadcast with Jim Jackson, Keith Jones and Chris Therien.
  • We’re not sure of the New Jersey lineup but will update if we find out what it looks like before game time.
  • The Flyers didn’t run a typical morning skate, according to our Kyle Phillippi, but the lineup below is what we think the roster will look like in Allentown without lines.

Philadelphia lineup (tentative)


Travis Konecny, Brayden Schenn, Michael Raffl, Colin McDonald, Boyd Gordon, Tyrell Goulbourne, Chris VandeVelde, Chris Conner, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Radel Fazleev, Greg Carey, Taylor Leier


Brandon Manning, Andrew MacDonald, Samuel Morin, Mark Alt, Robert Hagg, Will O’Neill


Anthony Stolarz, Alex Lyon

New Jersey lineup







[#] Wed Sep 28 2016 19:37:59 EDT from Charlie O'Connor

Subject: Nick Schultz out for 4-7 days with lower-body injury

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A player expected to be on the opening night roster is a bit banged up, as defenseman Nick Schultz will miss up to a week with a lower-body injury.

Prospects like Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny and Travis Sanheim are using the preseason and training camp as a way to state their cases for being ready for the rigors of an NHL season. But for the veterans, these three weeks are considered successful if they are able to reacclimate themselves into hockey mode following the offseason, and if they can avoid injury.

Unfortunately for Nick Schultz, he was tripped up by the latter pothole last night.

Prior to tonight's game in Allentown between the Flyers and New Jersey Devils, general manager Ron Hextall announced to the assembled media that Schultz would miss 4-7 days with a lower-body injury.

As Isaac noted, Schultz suffered the injury sliding into the boards after getting his legs tangled with an Islanders player.

Luckily for Schultz, the injury doesn't appear to be that serious, as he's expected to miss a week at most. Still, you never like to see a player get hurt, even if he'll only be out for meaningless preseason contests.

The general sentiment surrounding Schultz's roster status is that he is basically a lock to make the opening night roster, though his spot on the defense surely isn't quite as secure as those of Shayne Gostisbehere, Michael Del Zotto, Radko Gudas, and Mark Streit. This brief absence could give one of the youngsters a chance to make a chance to usurp Schultz on the roster, but the most likely scenario is that Schultz will be there on October 14th regardless.

Hopefully Schultz returns sooner rather than later to justify keeping that spot.

[#] Thu Sep 29 2016 06:37:37 EDT from Kelly Hinkle

Subject: Thursday Morning Fly By: Hellooooo Travis Konecny.

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*TRAVIS KONECNY MY WORD. This kid is going to be fun.

*Nick Schultz is hurt. [BSH]

*Getting to the real real good stuff on the 25 Under 25 list. Travis Konency comes in at numero quattro. [BSH]

*The Flyers' defensive prospects continue to be super fun to watch. [Sons of Penn]

*No, really, all these kids are living up to their hype so far. [Inquirer]

*Forward Russian Lyubimov has also been impressive during training camp. [CSN Philly]

*Phillipe Myers seems to be getting a long look from the team, which is kind of cool. [Pattison Ave]

*Charlie's ten things are back and they are the best! So read them. [BSH]

*More cuts have been made to the training camp roster as seven guys are being sent up to Allentown for Phantoms camp. [BSH]

*It's looking more and more likely as time goes on that the NHL will not be sending its players to the next Olympics. [The Hockey News]

*Which is a bummer because, well...the World Cup was kind of a dud. [ProHockeyTalk]

*You know what was NOT a dud though? PEBs trash talking game. It is strong. [BSH]

[#] Thu Sep 29 2016 09:41:37 EDT from Charlie O'Connor

Subject: Flyers 2, Devils 0: 10 things we learned from the Travis Konecny show

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On Tuesday night, Ivan Provorov, Philippe Myers and Travis Sanheim had their chance to show their skills in front of Flyers fans. Last night, it was Travis Konecny's turn, and he did not disappoint.

Morning Observations is a feature where we break down the previous night's game with an analytical eye.

#1: Konecny was the best player on the ice, by far

Prior to the start of last night's game against the New Jersey Devils, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall spoke with the media and explained that he viewed the performance of Travis Konecny in his first preseason game as "average." That's not the type of word you want to hear if you're Konecny, if you have legitimate designs on making the big club out of camp. His response was to go out last night and blow the doors off everyone.

No player on either team matched Konecny's level of impact on the game. His first period was solid enough, but Konecny really took control in the middle stanza. Every aspect of his skillset was on display -- speed, aggressiveness, passing ability, hand/eye coordination and even chippiness. Konecny opened the scoring with a perfect deflection of an Andrew MacDonald point shot, a deflection that he made while being knocked to the ice by a defender. Soon after, he barely missed on his second goal of the game, sending a backhand wrister off the crossbar. He quickly redeemed himself with a beautiful pass up the middle of the offensive zone to a streaking Michael Raffl, who easily beat Keith Kinkaid to extend the lead to 2-0.

There was little to nitpick from Konecny's performance. In fact, with the amount of scoring chances he set up on the night, Konecny could have easily finished with five or six points. If Monday's supposedly "average" game put him behind the proverbial eight-ball, his play last night was a well-executed trick shot serving notice that he will not meekly return to the OHL with his tail between his legs. More outings like this, and Konecny is going to make Ron Hextall's decision regarding the future of his young forward prospect a very difficult one.

#2: Morin was quietly strong as well

When Philippe Myers was given the start on Tuesday night in Philadelphia, Hakstol hinted that the 19-year old had to jump a few spots to earn the nod. It was easy to read between the lines that Samuel Morin was one of the defensemen that got jumped. He's had his moments at camp so far, but wasn't especially standing out. And after Myers looked so surprisingly polished on Tuesday, it seemed possible that Morin could be falling behind his younger teammate on the organizational depth chart.

Last night, however, Morin halted any talks of a slide. The usual strengths were all there -- winning puck battles in the corners, using his reach to disrupt cycles, being a bear for opposing power plays to avoid -- but the real eye-opener was the clear improvement in Morin's passing ability. His short defensive zone passes were almost always on point, he engineered quite a few controlled zone exits, and actually sprung a teammate for an offensive zone entry via a long stretch pass. Even his "turnovers" seemed more the fault of forwards mishandling well-placed feeds than anything that Morin did wrong.

Considering Morin's undeniable physical prowess, he just needs to be adequate at moving the puck to carve out a place for himself in the NHL. Last night was the first time over a full game that I've seen him surpass that threshold.

#3: MacDonald was undeniably impressive

I've made the point during the offseason that if Ivan Provorov does make the Philadelphia Flyers out of camp, Andrew MacDonald might be the one sent to the AHL. That's not because the front office necessarily would rank him eighth on the depth chart in that scenario; it's because there is next-to-no chance any team would claim MacDonald's massive contract on waivers, while fellow bottom-pair talents Nick Schultz and Brandon Manning would actually have a chance to be scooped up considering they come with far smaller financial commitments.

However, if MacDonald posts a few more games like last night, Hextall may take the risk of sending a Schultz or Manning through waivers anyway. The 30-year old veteran was calm and poised all night long, picking up a primary assist on Konecny's tally and consistently contributing in the offensive zone with shots on goal and slick passes. He even was more aggressive in the neutral zone than usual. I'm far from a fan of MacDonald's game, but I have to say that if there's something of an "open competition" between him, Schultz and Manning for third-pair minutes, the $30 million man has looked the most impressive of the three during preseason games.

#4: Hagg was passive

Other than Konecny and Morin, Robert Hagg was probably the third-biggest "name" prospect playing in this game, with all due respect to Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Anthony Stolarz. Hagg was once viewed by some as the safest defenseman prospect in the system, if not the best all-around one. But a disappointing 2015-16 season in Lehigh Valley pushed him to the back of the line. Unfortunately, Hagg didn't do much last night to open eyes. He did have one great outlet pass in the first period to spring Raffl and Konecny for a rush opportunity, but aside from that play, he was mostly ineffective.

It's not that Hagg made lots of big mistakes, and more that his small mistakes regularly resulted in play moving in the wrong direction. His passes were often hesitant and/or off target, and his coverage in the neutral zone was surprising passive. Against a fairly weak Devils squad, I was hoping to see Hagg pressure puck carriers more, like Provorov did in Philadelphia, but Hagg instead allowed a number of controlled entries against. I'm certainly not burying Hagg for one underwhelming game, but I was hoping to see a bit more from him, especially considering his strong preseason play last year.

#5: Mark Alt got into a fight, got injured

At age 24, Mark Alt's status with the Flyers organization is a legitimate question mark. He's clearly a useful AHL defenseman, but with so many young, talented blueliners nearly ready for their NHL shots, it's tough to see where Alt fits. Last night was an opportunity for him to earn the attention of Hakstol and Hextall, which may have been Alt's thought process behind engaging Paul Thompson in a fight during the second period.

However, it proved to be a foolish decision, as Alt was injured during the brawl and did not return. His performance to that point in the game had been decent, but considering the fact that he likely didn't have much time left at Flyers training camp anyway, this injury could spell the end of his chance to impress the higher-ups in the organization during the preseason.

#6: Goaltending again solid, Stolarz had the tougher assignment

Following Steve Mason's shutout performance in Philadelphia on Tuesday, the Flyers sent prospects Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon out to face the Devils on Wednesday. The two combined for an 18-save shutout, so it's hard to criticize either goaltender's performance. It is fair to note, however, that Stolarz faced the tougher workload.

The Flyers came out flat in the early stages of the game, and last year's top goalie in Lehigh Valley was forced to protect his home goal repeatedly in order to keep things scoreless. Lyon, on the other hand, took over at the midpoint of the second period, after Konecny's stellar play had helped the Flyers turn the direction of play. It's a big season for Stolarz and Lyon, as both goalies are only under contract through the end of the year and will be battling for starts. My money is on Stolarz being the one to shine brightest, considering his size, athleticism, pedigree, and years of tutelage under Philadelphia goalie coaches. But the great part about hockey is that the players control their fates via their performance, and that's what Stolarz and Lyon will both try to do in 2016-17 with the Phantoms here at the PPL Center.

#7: Leier was feisty, quick, and active

I'm not quite sure where Taylor Leier stands with the Flyers' organization right now. He took a step forward in terms of production last season in the AHL and even received a cup of coffee in Philadelphia, but there doesn't appear to be a clear path to NHL playing time right now considering the team's depth in the bottom-six.

Regardless of whether Leier has any chance at all of making the Flyers out of camp, he certainly played like a guy who wants a shot. Leier is more quick than fast, but he has good instincts for where the puck will end up and isn't afraid to arrive there in ill humor despite his small-ish size. He took three shots in the game, and was active all night long.

#8: Raffl still finding his footing

For veterans, training camp and preseason is mostly used as a tune-up process. The hope is that they can shake off the cobwebs and get into a rhythm while avoiding injury in meaningless games. That's why it's not particularly concerning that Michael Raffl looked out of sorts so often last night.

It was especially obvious due to the fact that he played on a line with Travis Konecny, who seemed to create a scoring chance per shift. A number of those passes went to Raffl, who regularly flubbed either the pass or the ensuing shot attempt. His most glaring error came in the first period, when Raffl could not hit Konecny in stride for a breakaway despite being under little pressure from the Devils. The Austrian forward did eventually score a goal (again due to Konecny's efforts) but the mistakes outweighed the positives. Again, this is preseason, and Raffl certainly doesn't need to be at his best yet. But it's fair to note that he still needs to find his footing.

#9: Konecny looked comfortable in Giroux's spot on the PP

Obviously, even if Travis Konecny is able to make the Flyers out of camp, Claude Giroux is not relinquishing his spot on the left side of the team's top power play unit's formation. But with Giroux not playing last night due to the World Cup of Hockey, Konecny took over that spot, and was just as effective in creating scoring chances on the PP as he was at even strength. On multiple occasions, he set up Brayden Schenn with slick passes into the slot area, and was even able to send successful cross-ice feeds to the right side player (usually Jakub Voracek, in this case it was often Andrew MacDonald).

If Konecny does end up a Flyer for the 2016-17 season, it would make sense to use him in that spot on the second power play unit. He appears to have the skillset necessary to quarterback a power play, and it would give the Flyers an immediate replacement on PP1 if Giroux were to ever be injured during the season. Philadelphia has been trying to build a passable second power play unit for years, and Travis Konecny could go a long way towards solving that problem.

#10: Who survives cuts?

Hextall also told the media prior to the game that another round of cuts would occur today, bringing the roster size down to around 35 players left at camp. It was this round of cuts last year that saw Provorov and Konecny returned to their junior teams, earlier than many expected. So what happens this time around? I imagine those two have proved enough to Hextall this week to justify at least a few more preseason games and practices, but the more intriguing questions are deeper down the roster.

Does Philippe Myers stick around for now? He's still an extreme long-shot to make the club, but don't forget that Sam Morin lasted until five days before season start during his age-19 training camp, so Hextall has shown a past willingness to keep impressive junior players around if they've earned it through strong play. And speaking of Morin, my guess is that he'll hang around as well, especially after his solid performance last night. Prospects like Hagg, Leier, Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Radel Fazleev may not be so lucky, however.

[#] Thu Sep 29 2016 14:46:38 EDT from Charlie O'Connor

Subject: Philadelphia Flyers Top 25 Under 25: Ivan Provorov closing in on the NHL

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Ivan Provorov proved last season that he's mastered the junior hockey league level. The only question that remains is when he'll earn a spot with the Flyers.

There was a significant amount of talk among national hockey insiders last summer that Ivan Provorov might legitimately be NHL-ready just months after being drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers. As a result, Provorov entered Flyers camp in 2015 with a great deal of hype and was positioned by many as the "savior of the defense" for the team.

Ron Hextall had other ideas. After Provorov failed to blow the doors off his competition in the early portion of camp and preseason, the Flyers' general manager quickly sent his prized defense prospect back to the WHL for another season with the Brandon Wheat Kings. The directive from Hextall to Provorov may have been implicit, but it was simple -- clean up the minor issues in your game, work on consistency and conditioning, and make the decision much tougher for us next season.

It's hard to argue that Ivan Provorov didn't check all of those boxes in 2015-16.

No. 3: Ivan Provorov

Position: D
Age: 19 (1/13/1997)
2015-16 League/Team/Statistics: Brandon (WHL) - 21 G, 52 A in 73 GP
Nationality: Russian (Yaroslavl)
Acquired Via: 2015 NHL Draft -- Round 1, Pick 7

Provorov was already one of the best defensemen in the WHL during his draft year, but last season he scratched "one of" out of that description. He was as complete of a defenseman as you'll see in junior hockey -- played in all three situations, created offense, won puck battles, and locked down opposing forwards. Plus/minus is obviously a terrible stat, but when you receive as many minutes as Provorov did and you finish a +64, you're probably doing a lot of things right.

Unlike in his draft year, Provorov's stellar play continued through the postseason, as Hextall himself noted in July.

[In 2014-15, the Wheat Kings] were in the playoffs and [Provorov] hit a wall. Typical young kid. He’s 17 years old, and they had a long season, went deep in the playoffs, and he hit a wall.

He didn’t hit a wall this year. Played very well start to finish, and then he played in that [Memorial] Cup.

Provorov did appear to slow down just a bit during the Memorial Cup itself, but that was after 90 games (62 regular season, 21 playoffs, seven in the World Junior Championships) of hockey and while facing the best junior teams in Canada. What is clear is that Provorov stayed great far longer in 2015-16 than he did in 2014-15, while taking an even larger role for his team.

He was rewarded with the CHL Defenseman of the Year award, given to the best blueliner out of all three Canadian junior hockey leagues (OHL, QMJHL, WHL). Winning this award does not guarantee NHL success, considering that players like Danny Syvret and Jonathon Blum are past recipients. But the recent list also includes impact defensemen like Dougie Hamilton and Ryan Ellis, in addition to older winners like Keith Yandle and Dan Hamhuis. And then, of course, there's the great Chris Pronger, who won the trophy way back in 1993.

After being voted the best defenseman in junior hockey, what could possibly be next for Provorov? If you talk to him, it's clear that his primary focus is leaving the WHL behind entirely and breaking camp with the Philadelphia Flyers. That's understandable on the part of the 19-year old -- in his mind, he's ready for the next challenge after lighting up his age-appropriate level last season. But Ron Hextall will be the one making the final decision on Provorov's status, and he's a hard man to please.

As Hextall repeated during the summer, he doesn't buy the line of thinking that a prospect's development will stall by staying at a lower level too long.

I think any player can be the best player in junior hockey if they go back, right? Any of those guys. We want all of our players to be better than they were last year.

Is there more for [Provorov] to do if in fact he goes back to juniors? Of course there is. He could be the best player in junior hockey hopefully, or the Western League. There’s always something.

In the end, the decision on Provorov will be made based upon his performance in training camp and preseason, in tandem with his ability to prove superior to one or more options on the current Philadelphia blueline. On Monday, I opined why that shouldn't be a particularly difficult task.

The hard truth is that the bar isn’t particularly high. As noted previously, Andrew MacDonald and Nick Schultz rank in the bottom-fifth of the NHL in terms of 5v5 on-ice performance over the past three years. These aren’t solid third pair defensemen; they are low-end NHL players when it comes to driving positive results. And if you buy Expected Goals as a better way to evaluate Brandon Manning than Corsi, then he’s right there with them.

It would be one thing if all seven of the Flyers’ defensemen were stationed in the 50th percentile or above in most of the on-ice categories. Then, Provorov would need to prove to the coaching staff and front office that he is already an above-average NHL defenseman. Instead, he really just has to prove that he’s better than one of MacDonald, Schultz, or Manning — a much less difficult task.

Of course, being better on paper is one thing. Provorov will need to go out there and prove his superiority over the competition to Hextall, Dave Hakstol, and the rest of the Flyers braintrust in every game, practice and scrimmage. So far, the initial impressions have been positive, but it's impossible to read the mind of Hextall. He could have a totally different evaluation of Provorov's play so far.

The 19-year old Provorov has received a ridiculous amount of hype over the last few weeks, but for once, the hype is warranted. So far in his career, he has looked the part of a possible top-pair, two-way NHL defenseman, totally worthy of his lofty draft selection and of the glowing reports from scouts. That's no guarantee that Provorov will reach that ceiling -- after all, few prospects do. But Provorov's odds of getting there are higher than any Flyers prospect not yet in the NHL, which makes his push towards making the roster over the coming weeks especially exciting.


How we voted for Ivan Provorov :

Kelly Travis Charlie Allison Kurt Brent Collin Kevin Al Community
4 3 3 3 3 3 2 3 3 3

How we voted at No. 3 :

Kelly Travis Charlie Allison Kurt Brent Collin Kevin Al Community
Travis Konecny Ivan Provorov Ivan Provorov Ivan Provorov Ivan Provorov Ivan Provorov Shayne Gostisbehere Ivan Provorov Ivan Provorov Ivan Provorov


Previously in Philadelphia Flyers Top 25 Under 25, Summer 2016:

[#] Thu Sep 29 2016 15:17:07 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Flyers make third round of cuts, sending 10 to Phantoms

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Several big name prospects remain in Flyers camp, however

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms kick off their training camp on Friday, and since they need players to be able to do that, the Flyers have sent 10 down from NHL camp to the AHL squad.

Here’s that list of players, who join another seven that were sent to the Phantoms on Wednesday:

  • (RW) Nicolas Aube-Kubel
  • (C) Radel Fazleev
  • (LW) Tyrell Goulbourne
  • (D) Robert Hagg
  • (C) Corban Knight
  • (G) Alex Lyon
  • (LW) Danick Martel
  • (G) Anthony Stolarz
  • (D) Reece Willcox
  • (RW) Mark Zengerle

Hagg is the first of the notable prospects on defense to be sent down to the AHL. Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim and Phillippe Myers all remain in the big camp with the Flyers. Sanheim is the only one of those three eligible to play in the AHL this season.

At forward, Travis Konecny remains in Philadelphia. He’ll either be a Flyer or he’ll be sent back to junior in Sarnia, and like the other notable prospects still in Flyers camp, he probably has at least one more preseason game in him before that decision is made.

The Flyers are in preseason action again on Saturday vs. Boston and on Monday vs. New Jersey.

[#] Fri Sep 30 2016 06:20:14 EDT from Kelly Hinkle

Subject: Friday Morning Fly By: HOCKEY TOMORROW

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*It's Friday. Let's talk more about Travis Konecny's performance the other night. [Sons of Penn]

*Charlie brings you ten things from that win over the Devils. [BSH]

*Michael Raffl hopes to bounce back this season. Bounce back from...a perfectly fine season? Guess Raffl's going to score 50 this year get ready. [Inquirer]

*Radko Gudas has been cleared to shoot. [CSN Philly]

*Watching Ivan Provorov play you'd probably never know he's a dang teenager. [Daily News]

*Speaking of Provy, he's next up on our 25 Under 25. [BSH]

*The Flyers have made another round of cuts. [BSH]

*Taylor Leier is hoping this is the year he finds a more permanent spot in the NHL. [Highland Park Hockey]

*So what's up with the league's unsigned RFAs? [Puck Daddy]

*And finally, the World Cup has come to a close with a pretty uneventful Team Canada victory over Team Europe. Perhaps the best thing to come out of this tournament is Brett Hull's absolute take down of USA Hockey. [Puck Daddy]

[#] Fri Sep 30 2016 11:10:00 EDT from Kurt R.

Subject: Philadelphia Flyers Top 25 Under 25: How can Shayne Gostisbehere follow up his incredible rookie season?

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Shayne Gostisbehere's going to be a really good Flyer for a long time, and we should be really excited to get to watch him.

In some ways, it's tougher to write about Shayne Gostisbehere's upcoming season than you would think it is, partly because everything centers around one question that has no easy answer: what can Gostisbehere even do to follow up the season we just saw him put together?

Because the season Shayne Gostisbehere just had was unlike any we've seen in a long time here in Philadelphia. The way he'd take over games for the Flyers and electrify the crowds at the Wells Fargo Center, the way he had the highest per-game scoring rates of any rookie defenseman in the NHL since 1993, the way his arrival to the Flyers' blue line in November essentially turned around the Flyers' season and sent them on a run that culminated in a playoff spot ... there's so much to talk about here. Not that you needed any reminding of it, but Gostisbehere's Calder-Trophy-runner-up rookie season was truly one for the ages.

Of course, now we're left hoping that rookie season is just the beginning of a long and prosperous career in Philadelphia for Ghost. So what should we hope (and expect) to see from him moving forward?

No. 2: Shayne Gostisbehere

Position: D
Age: 23 (4/20/1993)
2015-16 League/Team/Statistics: Philadelphia (NHL) - 17 G, 29 A in 64 GP
Nationality: American (Pembroke Pines, FL)
Acquired Via: 2012 NHL Draft -- Round 3, Pick 78 (Pick acquired from Florida along with a second-round pick in 2012 for Kris Versteeg)

For all that he was able to do last year, and acknowledging the reality that he was the Flyers' best defenseman for the season, one is allowed to question whether or not Shayne Gostisbehere's ceiling is that of a true number-one defenseman in the NHL -- the kind of guy you play 25, 26-plus minutes per night and even more in the playoffs. Even in today's game, which is based so much on having defensemen who can move the puck and play in all three zones, Gostisbehere is still a work in progress in some ways. His play in terms of coverage in the defensive zone could use some improvement, and so far in his career he's been just-OK in terms of driving possession (though, there's a reasonable explanation for why that was the case last year).

And even in terms of the things he's good at, there are reasons to temper expectations a bit for next season. Gostisbehere probably isn't going to be shooting 11.2 percent every season for the rest of his career, given that even the very best of offensive defensemen peak around 7 to 8 percent there. Which is to say we shouldn't all freak out if Ghost isn't putting pucks in the net quite as frequently this coming year as he was in his rookie season.

But even with those caveats acknowledged, it's tough to envision a scenario in which Gostisbehere isn't a very productive NHLer for a long time, because he's so good at so much of what makes defensemen successful in today's NHL.

For one, even if the offense falls back a little bit simply due to the percentages, he's going to produce offense from the blue line in a way that not many guys can. His even-strength scoring rates last year were among the best in the league for defensemen, we all saw what he can do with his shooting and passing on the power play, and we all saw him basically win three or four games at 3-on-3 last year by himself. We can feel confident in his ability to light up the scoreboard as he enters his prime.

And even in terms of defense, there are reasons for optimism. Two huge parts of playing defense nowadays are attacking the other team's puck-carriers in the neutral zone and being able to get the puck up-ice from your own zone, and as our own Charlie O'Connor has found (see here and here), Gostisbehere excels in both of those areas. Does that completely outweigh any shortcomings he may have in terms of actual defense in his own end? Maybe, maybe not. But it's a good sign for him moving forward, and it's very hard to imagine that he'll ever be so poor defensively that it'll outweigh the massive benefit he brings in the neutral and offensive zones.

Gostisbehere's aggressive nature will inevitably burn him here and there. Like so many talented offensively-oriented defensemen before him, he may see those occasional missteps used against him in attempts to paint him as a one-dimensional player whose struggles defensively are a serious concern, the way you saw that kind of argument used against the likes of Erik Karlsson or Mike Green.

But falling into that trap has its problems. First of all, it allows you to forget about plays like this.

How many defensemen in the NHL can make a coast-to-coast play like that? And it's one that starts entirely thanks to Gostisbehere's anticipation and aggressiveness -- in the defensive zone, even.

But let's not focus too much on a single highlight to try and prove our point here. The fact is that worrying too much about what Shayne Gostisbehere's shortcomings may be allows you to forget about all of the things that make Shayne Gostisbehere great. And if you forget about the things that make him great, you're going to miss out on enjoying a player who's already one of the best defensemen that the Flyers have drafted in the history of the franchise. (Not that that's a particularly high bar to clear.)

Fortunately, Flyers fans seem to know what they have here in Gostisbehere, and in a perfect world he'll be remembered as the guy whose historic rookie season ushered in a new era of successful defensemen for the Flyers. I don't know how he's going to follow up that rookie season, because following up the rookie season he just had seems damn near impossible. But I do know that not only is Shayne Gostisbehere going to be a really good player for a really long time, he's going to continue to be one of the most fun players to watch that we've had here in Philadelphia for a long, long time.


How we voted for Shayne Gostisbehere :

Kelly Travis Charlie Allison Kurt Brent Collin Kevin Al Community
1 2 2 2 2 2 3 2 2 2

How we voted at No. 2 :

Kelly Travis Charlie Allison Kurt Brent Collin Kevin Al Community
Sean Couturier Shayne Gostisbehere Shayne Gostisbehere Shayne Gostisbehere Shayne Gostisbehere Shayne Gostisbehere Ivan Provorov Shayne Gostisbehere Shayne Gostisbehere Shayne Gostisbehere


Previously in Philadelphia Flyers Top 25 Under 25, Summer 2016:

[#] Sat Oct 01 2016 09:52:20 EDT from Charlie O'Connor

Subject: Philadelphia Flyers Top 25 Under 25: Sean Couturier stays at the top

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The best season of Sean Couturier's NHL career keeps him at No. 1 in this round of the BSH Top 25 Under 25 series.

Over the past few seasons, the Philadelphia Flyers under Ron Hextall have given fans good reason to be excited about all of the young, up-and-coming talent in the pipeline. Last year, the emergence of Shayne Gostisbehere was the big story, in addition to Scott Laughton and Nick Cousins earning close-to full-time roles in the lineup.

This year, Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny are the talk of the town, as both are in the process of strong pushes to make the roster as 19-year olds. Prospects like Philippe Myers, Samuel Morin, Travis Sanheim and Anthony Stolarz have also stood out during camp and the preseason. It's gotten to the point where every day, it feels like there is a new young gun emerging to stoke the fanbase.

But as fans admire Provorov and Konecny's possible NHL-readiness at age-19, it's easy to forget that back in 2011, Sean Couturier made the Flyers mere months after being drafted, rather than waiting a full year. They also can forget that as impressive as Gostisbehere's dynamic rookie season was, he enters the 2016-17 season the same age as Couturier, even though the center will be starting his sixth(!) NHL season.

The intention here is not to marginalize players like Gostisbehere, Provorov and Konecny, all of whom could be legitimately great hockey players over the long-term. Instead, it's to point out that Sean Couturier is special -- the rare player who can call himself a grizzled NHL vet before even entering the heart of his statistical prime. And in the wake of his best professional season, the sky is seemingly the limit for Sean Couturier.

No. 1: Sean Couturier

Position: C
Age: 23 (12/7/1992)
2015-16 League/Team/Statistics: Philadelphia (NHL) - 11 G, 28 A in 62 GP
Nationality: Canadian (Born in Phoenix, AZ)
Acquired Via: 2011 NHL Draft -- Round 1, Pick 8 (Pick acquired via Columbus along with Pick No. 68 in 2011 and Jakub Voracek for Jeff Carter)

It was obvious after just a few weeks of watching Couturier with the Flyers back in 2011 that he would be able to hold his own at the NHL level. Starting out as a fourth liner and penalty kill specialist, Couturier slowly worked his way up the lineup over the next few seasons, to the third line as the shutdown center, and finally up to the 2C spot right behind Claude Giroux.

No one has questioned his competence, especially on the defensive side. The big question surrounding Couturier has always been his eventual scoring upside. For a player drafted eighth overall, the argument goes, he should be more than a middle-six center who kills penalties. And after another season that saw Couturier fail to surpass the 40-point threshold yet again, the skeptics of Couturier now have even more fuel, right?

Not exactly. While Couturier's raw point totals in 2015-16 merely look decent, his season was anything but.

Let's start with those points. While Couturier only matched his previous career-high of 39 points last season, he did so in just 63 games. Over an 82-game schedule, that point-per-game pace would have placed Couturier not just over the 40-point mark, but over the 50-point mark as well. And for a player who missed just seven games in his first four NHL seasons, it's reasonable to conclude that he's probably not injury-prone and that last season's 19 games missed was something of a fluke.

His performance looks even better when we dive into the advanced metrics. After averaging 1.49 Points/60 during 5-on-5 play in his first four NHL seasons, Couturier surged to a 2.07 mark last year. Not only was that a career-best, it led the entire Flyers team in 2015-16, making Couturier the most efficient even strength scorer on the roster.

Couturier's results in terms of driving play also improved. He hovered around the break-even point in Corsi relative to his teammates over his first four years in the league, but last season, the Flyers performed almost four percentage points better (+3.96%) with Couturier on the ice versus when he sat on the bench. Only Michael Raffl topped Couturier in that measurement among Flyers forwards.

Some of this jump can be attributed to better linemates. While Couturier's most common linemate over the first four years of his career was partner-in-crime Matt Read, he also spent significant minutes alongside such luminaries as Max Talbot (581:41 minutes at 5-on-5), Zac Rinaldo (541:04), Steve Downie (437:01) and R.J. Umberger (423:51).

Compare that to 2015-16, when his most common linemates were (in order): Michael Raffl, Wayne Simmonds, Read, Jakub Voracek and Sam Gagner. No Rinaldos or Umbergers to be found here -- this list ranges from useful top-nine forwards to borderline superstars. Finally, Sean Couturier was not tasked with dragging inferior talent to respectability, and the results were spectacular.

But better linemates don't explain the jump in performance entirely. Couturier just flat out played better hockey than ever. particularly in the offensive zone. His 6-foot-3 frame always hinted at a player that would be able to impose his will physically once he filled out, but last year it finally happened. Couturier was a demon on the forecheck and in the cycle game, nearly impossible to knock off the puck down low. The result was extended shifts in the offensive zone for Couturier and his linemates, and with them came even more chances to score.

Assorted injuries (a concussion, a foot injury and an AC joint separation) were the only thing that could slow Couturier last year. In fact, it may not be an overstatement to say that the Flyers lost their playoff series against the Capitals the minute that Couturier skated off the ice holding his shoulder in Game 1, considering their subsequent struggles on the penalty kill and in dealing with Washington's aggressive forecheck, two areas where Couturier excels. Had the 23-year old center played in all 82 games like he did in the two preceding seasons, he very well may have been in the race for the Selke Trophy -- that's how impressive his season was trending.

Entering 2016-17, there is no longer any question regarding Couturier's place in the lineup. He's solidified his spot as the team's second-line center, and he certainly won't be lacking for strong linemates there. The real question is where Couturier goes from here. Just a repeat of last year's production but extended over 82 games would be enough to make him one of the best 2Cs in hockey, as 50-point centers who drive play and suppress shots at an elite level don't grow on trees.

But is it greedy to dream of even more from Couturier? Earlier this summer, we discussed the possibility that Claude Giroux may be in the midst of his age-related decline. While Giroux still could easily bounce back to past levels of production and render that talk mute, it remains a plausible explanation for Giroux's recent statistical decline. However, that decline becomes a lot easier to swallow if Giroux can slide into something of a David Krejci role -- a strong 60-70 point scorer supported by an elite two-way center on the other main line. Suddenly, Giroux doesn't need to be an elite 1C for the Flyers to contend, because they essentially have a 1A and 1B situation.

It's certainly not a guarantee that Couturier ever reaches Patrice Bergeron-esque levels of performance. In truth, it's an unlikely scenario, simply because players that dominant only come along a few times per generation. But Couturier at least has a chance. All apologies to German Rubtsov, but Sean Couturier remains the best hope in the organization for a possible 1C to supplant Giroux in the coming years.

That's why Couturier remains tops on this list. His floor is a regression back to the performance of his first four NHL seasons, which would still make him an above-average third line NHL center and a very useful player. But last year, we received a glimpse of Sean Couturier's ceiling, and fans can only hope that he continues to trend upwards as he settles into his prime years.


How we voted for Sean Couturier :

Kelly Travis Charlie Allison Kurt Brent Collin Kevin Al Community
2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

How we voted at No. 1 :

Kelly Travis Charlie Allison Kurt Brent Collin Kevin Al Community
Shayne Gostisbehere Sean Couturier Sean Couturier Sean Couturier Sean Couturier Sean Couturier Sean Couturier Sean Couturier Sean Couturier Sean Couturier


Previously in Philadelphia Flyers Top 25 Under 25, Summer 2016:

[#] Sat Oct 01 2016 11:09:03 EDT from Ari Yanover

Subject: Did Claude Giroux run off with the World Cup trophy?

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He... might have?

On Sept. 29, Team Canada unsurprisingly won the World Cup of Hockey.

Claude Giroux made the team, but ended up sitting out as a healthy scratch. You can view this as a bad thing, or you can view it as a way for him to have gotten in high-level practices without the likelihood of getting hurt, and with the likelihood of him having a lot of energy left over.

Enough energy to... take off with the World Cup trophy once all was said and done, perhaps? (This wouldn’t be the first time this tournament Giroux has just taken stuff.)

I’m not going to say Giroux is a thief, but I am going to point out that this happened.

It was 5 a.m. Did you know here your Giroux was? Apparently running around Toronto with a weird giant vase. Probably intoxicated.

This was the most Giroux thing possible to come out of the entire tournament. I’m so proud of him.

[#] Sat Oct 01 2016 12:42:40 EDT from Kyle Phillippi

Subject: Flyers vs. Bruins: Konecny, Couturier and Voracek will be a full go

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Junior-eligible players highlight the Flyers’ latest lineup

VOORHEES -- Excitement surrounding a preseason game may never reach the level it will tonight after the unveiling of lines during the Flyers morning skate.

From top to bottom, the lineup against the Boston Bruins for a 7 p.m. affair at the Wells Fargo Center is littered with talented prospects and the majority of key veterans.


The Lineup:

Konecny - Couturier - Voracek

Schenn - Cousins - Simmonds

Laughton - Weal - Weise

VandeVelde - Gordon - Lyubimov

Gostisbehere - Del Zotto

MacDonald - Sanheim

Provorov - Myers




The trio that will draw the most attention is the Couturier-centered line. If Konecny makes the Flyers' opening night roster, this could very well be the spot he's plugged into. He’ll have the same approach going into tonight’s contest as he did when he was paired with Brayden Schenn and Michael Raffl.

“They have the skill,” Konecny said. “For me it’s just getting the puck and making sure I’m in the good areas, playing a smart game.”

Alongside Voracek and Couturier, Konecny has two of the most skilled forwards on the team to work with and a golden chance to continue to build his skyrocketing stock after his two-point performance last time out. Moreover, this is a lineup that really suits Couturier as he gets to work with quite possibly the two most talented wingers he's ever had the chance with.

Konecny is also eager to get out in front of the Flyers faithful.

“I had a little bit of a taste playing at the Wells Fargo,” Konecny said. “I’m looking forward to it tonight.”

Konecny won’t be the only junior-eligible player suiting up, either. Provorov and Myers will both be on the blue line … at the same time. This goes against head coach Dave Hakstol’s typical approach of pairing one veteran with one rookie.

“Those two young guys have played a little bit together on the power play and they’ve paired up well in practice,” Hakstol said. “I think they’ll handle things well. They have some pretty good chemistry between the two of them. I’m sure there will be some challenges but they’ll be fine together.”

On Tuesday, Myers got some time with Travis Sanheim – who will work with Andrew MacDonald tonight – and the young pair played really well in the limited time together. Myers and Provorov have been the two most talked about players alongside Konecny this camp, so getting a chance to see them work together against NHL competition will be a peek into the future (the near future?).

Four of the World Cup of Hockey players will suit up for the first time this preseason: Neuvirth, Gostisbehere, Couturier and Voracek.

“Since the last game, it’s been nine days,” Voracek said in reference to his final game for Team Russia. “I’m happy to get back to it. I don’t like the long breaks.”


Philadelphia Flyers vs. Boston Bruins:

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa.
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
How To Follow Along: 97.5 The Fanatic (no television broadcast)

[#] Sat Oct 01 2016 14:44:40 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: 5 Flyers players clear waivers, are sent to Phantoms camp

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Camp’s now down to 34 players

The Flyers sent five more players down to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Saturday afternoon, hours after the group cleared waivers.

Defenseman T.J. Brennan and forwards Greg Carey, Chris Conner, Andy Miele and Petr Straka are all bound for Allentown, joining a larger group that was sent north earlier in the week.

Flyers camp is now down to 34 players.

The Phantoms will continue training camp this week before a pair of preseason games at home against the Charlotte Checkers next weekend. Their season opener is Saturday, October 15 against the Springfield Thunderbirds.

[#] Sun Oct 02 2016 02:45:44 EDT from Ben Natan

Subject: NFL Draft Game of the Week: Louisville vs. Clemson

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On the first day of October, the college football Gods may have blessed us with an explosive match up between the two best quarterbacks and two of the best teams in the nation.

Deshaun Watson, who is draft eligible, and Lamar Jackson, who is not, will face off in what we should hope is an epic showdown of college's greatest players (8 PM on ABC). Since the beginning of the 2015 Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson have combined for nearly eleven THOUSAND yards for from scrimmage and NINETY FIVE touchdowns.

That number is even more absurd when you consider that Jackson was not even starting for a good part of last year and this year he already has 25 (TWENTY FIVE) total touchdowns in four games, some of which he did not play entire halves.

On the Clemson side of things, Deshaun Watson was a Heisman finalist last year after being the first player in college football history to throw for four thousand yards and rush for a thousand more. He led the Tigers to the national championship where he put up video game numbers against Alabama's near NFL level talented defense in a losing effort. Watson has suffered from a bit of a slow start this year, but there is still more than enough tape to suggest he has a bright NFL future.

While Lamar Jackson has time at the college level to continue getting better, Watson may be a bit more pressed to show he can get to top form before the NFL comes calling. The prospects do not stop at Watson, however, as both teams have a bevy of talented NFL prospects worth keeping an eye on.


Deshaun Watson, QB: The obvious first choice. Watson is one of the best passers in the nation, possessing a strong arm, great mobility and a very good ability to read defenses and work within Clemson's offense. Watson has been iffy under pressure this year and is not the best deep passer, while also not being a consistently aggressive passer, but he has all the tools and brains to be a star NFL passer. He has looked improved in the most recent weeks, so hopefully it is a sign of things to come. Louisville's defense is no joke, so Watson will need to bring his A-Game like he brought against alabama to give Clemson their best shot.

Mike WIlliams, WR: Mike Williams has made a miraculous recovery from a scary neck injury he suffered back in 2015, looking as strong and explosive as he did back in the 2014 season. The 6-3 receiver has a great blend of size, speed and savvy at the position that allows him to dominate the game in multiple ways. Clemson will need the big play threat against a talented Louisville Secondary.

Wayne Gallman, RB: With Deshaun Watson's emergence last year, Clemson's top running back enjoyed a very nice season as well. The six foot, 200 pound back does not have any excellent physical traits, but has a combination of vision, quickness and tough running ability that allows him to be productive. Like Watson, his numbers are not as flashy this year, so there is a question if he can carry a team if the quarterback is not cooking. He might get a chance to prove that tonight.

Carlos Watkins, DL: Two years in a row, Clemson has had a first round pick come from their defensive line. This season, the guy on their line is Carlos Watkins, the 6-3, 300 pound defensive tackle. Watkins is a solid athlete with great technique and an awesome motor. He keys the action up front for the Tigers and the need for him to disrupt against Louisville's offense. This is likely the biggest test of Watkins' career where his ability in the run game and passing game could decide the outcome.

Cordrea Tankersley, CB: The best player on Clemson's defense and one of the most underrated players in the country is Clemson's star defensive back, Cordrea Tankersley. Tankersley has the perfect blend of size and speed for the cornerback position and flashes excellent ball skills. He has his lapses, but his upside is immense and he can impact immediately. On top of their massively powerful running game, Louisville has an explosive passing game that can threaten downfield. Tankersley will need to shut down one of Lousiville's many options in the passing game to at least slow Lamar Jackson down.


Brandon Radcliffe, RB: Even though Lamar Jackson is not draft eligible, his partner in the backfield is a very talented 5-9, 210 pound running back, Brandon Radcliffe. While Lamar Jackson is the lightning option in the backfield, Radcliffe is more of a powerful back who can offer a change up and bruise on defenses. Radcliffe has great pad level, balance and vision. He is not a great athlete, but he is the type of back who can keep a defense honest. It should be exciting to see him run into the teeth of Brent Venables' defense.

Shaq Wiggins, CB: Louisville has an excellent defense Wiggins is an underrated playmaker on the unit. The 5-10, former Georgia Bulldog has awesome quickness, tenacity and ball sills. He is a bit diminutive, so it will be interesting to see how he matches up with Clemson's top receivers, especially if he is covering Mike Williams.

Josh Harvey Clemons, S: Another Georgia transfer, the 6-5, 230 pound safety looks more like a defensive end than a safety from far away, but his athletic ability allows him to move around and cover the back end of a defense. Most affective when he is closer to the line of scrimmage, Harvey Clemons is still very inconsistent for all of his talent. In what figures to be his last season in college football, it will be interesting to see how he plays against top competition.

Devonte Fields, EDGE: It feels like Devonte Fields has been in college forever. In fact, he basically has. When Fields won Big 12 Freshman of the year, I was a junior in high school. A lot has changed since then, as both Fields and I moved to different parts of the country. I moved to go to college, but Fields was kicked off of TCU after multiple violations of team rules, run ins with the law and injuries. Fields ended up at Louisville where he has had a very productive career. The 6-4, 250 pounder is incredibly quick of the line and has excellent flexibility around the edge. He does not have a great motor and is not particularly strong, but is a very adept speed rusher. The biggest concern with him, besides off the field questions, is how he is a much older, and thus, much more physically advanced prospect. Is he actually a great athlete or is his relative age giving him an obvious physical edge over younger, less developed talent. In order to answer those questions, Fields needs to absolutely dominate his competition to show he is more than just a good athlete, but also a good football player as well. He will be massively important to keeping the pressure on Deshaun Watson and will be a big factor in this game.

DeAngelo Brown, DT: Last year, Louisville had a defensive tackle, Sheldon Rankins, go in the first round of the NFL draft. This year, DeAngelo Brown will assume his role on the defensive line. The 6-1, 310 pounder has good strength and excellent quickness for his size. He does a good job of getting upfield and making an impact in the run and passing game. Brown looks better suited shooting gaps whereas Louisville has him two gapping a lot, so it will be interesting to see him continue to show his versatility for the next level, much like Rankins did in his final season as a Cardinal.

Other players to watch...

Amba Etta Tawo, WR, Syracuse: You may be perplexed as to who this is, probably due to Syracuse having not been relevant in a few years. Well, Tawo is a 6-2, 210 pound senior receiver who currently leads the country in receiving yards, and set the school's single-game record for receiving yards last week. The Orange's deep threat has been outstanding this year and faces a nice test this week against a talented Notre Dame secondary (12 PM on ESPN).

Josh Malone, WR, Tennessee: The Volunteers have bee somewhat of an enigma, getting dragged, kicking and screaming to an undefeated record this season. However, despite the lack of conviction behind their record, they are still a very talented football team. The spark on their offense is 6-3 receiver, Josh Malone. Malone has the size and speed to make an impact in the passing game and he will be needed against a Georgia secondary (3:30 on CBS) looking to make up for a poor showing last week.

Ryan Switzer, WR, UNC: Another one of the many gifted receivers in college football, Switzer had a huge game in a winning effort against Pitt last week. This week, the savvy pass catcher will be asked to go over the middle against a tough Florida State defense (3:30 on ESPN). Switzer is a do it all player with home run ability, so the Tar Heels will be depending on him to keep them in the game.

Jabrill Peppers, LB, Michigan: Jabrill Peppers has been killing it as a do it all player for the Wolverines during his career and looks to have finally found his home playing linebacker. The defensive playmaker will be a massive difference maker against an incredibly tough Wisconsin team (3:30 on ABC), so it will be interesting to see how he, a smaller linebacker, does against their power running game.

[#] Sun Oct 02 2016 02:45:44 EDT from Dave Mangels

Subject: College Football Week 5 schedule and TV listings

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Two big, very big, tremendous games. You're going to love them.

September wasn't even over and we had our first firing of the college football season when LSU canned Les Miles after he lost to Auburn, who might have fired Gus Malzahn if he lost. There's more coming. To the games...

Matchup Time (ET) TV / Online
Alcorn State at (20) Arkansas Noon SECN Alt. / WatchESPN
(13) Baylor at Iowa State Noon FS1 / FSGo
(23) Florida at Vanderbilt Noon SECN / WatchESPN
Georgia State at Appalachian State Noon ASN / ESPN3
(14) Miami, FL at Georgia Tech Noon ESPN2 / WatchESPN
Northwestern at Iowa Noon ESPNU / WatchESPN
Notre Dame vs. Syracuse (at E. Rutherford, NJ) Noon ESPN / WatchESPN
Rutgers at (2) Ohio State Noon BTN / BTN2Go
SMU at Temple Noon ESPNews / WatchESPN
(22) Texas at Oklahoma State Noon ABC / WatchESPN
UCF at East Carolina Noon CBSSN
Virginia at Duke 12:30 PM ACCN / ACCNExtra
Buffalo at Boston College 1:00 PM ACCNExtra
Ohio at Miami, OH 2:30 PM BCSN/TWCS / ESPN3
Oregon State at Colorado 2:30 PM Pac-12N / Stream
Eastern Michigan at Bowling Green 3:00 PM ESPN3
Akron at Kent State 3:30 PM ESPN3
Illinois at (15) Nebraska 3:30 PM ESPN2 / WatchESPN
Kansas State at West Virginia 3:30 PM ESPNU / WatchESPN
Minnesota at Penn State 3:30 PM BTN / BTN2Go
Navy at Air Force 3:30 PM CBSSN
North Carolina at (12) Florida State 3:30 PM ESPN / WatchESPN
Northern Illinois at Ball State 3:30 PM ASN / ESPN3
Purdue at Maryland 3:30 PM BTN / BTN2Go
(11) Tennessee at (25) Georgia 3:30 PM CBS
Tulane at UMass 3:30 PM ASN/NESN / ESPN3
ULM at Auburn 3:30 PM SECN Alt. / WatchESPN
Wake Forest at NC State 3:30 PM RSN / ACCNExtra
(8) Wisconsin at (4) Michigan 3:30 PM ABC / WatchESPN
San Jose State at New Mexico 4:00 PM ROOT SPORTS / MWN
(9) Texas A&M at South Carolina 4:00 PM SECN / WatchESPN
Oklahoma at (21) TCU 5:00 PM FOX / FSGo
Troy at Idaho 5:00 PM ESPN3
Old Dominion at Charlotte 6:00 PM CUSA.TV
(18) Utah at California 6:00 PM Pac-12N / Stream
Florida Atlantic at FIU 7:00 PM beIN Sports
Houston Baptist at WKU 7:00 PM CS Live
Incarnate Word at Texas State 7:00 PM TSSP/KEYE-TV / ESPN3
Kentucky at (1) Alabama 7:00 PM ESPN / WatchESPN
Memphis at (16) Ole Miss 7:00 PM SECN Alt. or ESPN2
Middle Tennessee at North Texas 7:00 PM No TV
Rice at Southern Miss 7:00 PM No TV
USF at Cincinnati 7:00 PM ESPNU / WatchESPN
UTEP at Louisiana Tech 7:00 PM ASN
Western Michigan at Central Michigan 7:00 PM CBSSN
Marshall at Pittsburgh 7:30 PM RSN / ACCNExtra
Missouri at LSU 7:30 PM SECN / WatchESPN
(3) Louisville at (5) Clemson 8:00 PM ABC / WatchESPN
(17) Michigan State at Indiana 8:00 PM BTN / BTN2Go
(19) San Diego State at South Alabama 8:00 PM ESPNews / WatchESPN
UL Lafayette at New Mexico State 8:00 PM ESPN3
Arizona State at USC 8:30 PM FOX / FS Go
Oregon at Washington State 9:30 PM Pac-12N / Stream
Utah State at (24) Boise State 10:15 PM ESPN2 / WatchESPN
Wyoming at Colorado State 10:15 PM ESPNU / WatchESPN
Arizona at UCLA 10:30 PM ESPN / WatchESPN
Fresno State at UNLV 10:30 PM CBSSN
Nevada at Hawaii 11:59 PM Oceanic PPV

There are a couple of huge games this week.

#8 Wisconsin at #4 Michigan. Wisconsin goes for a sweep of Michigan teams after beating Michigan State last week 30-6. The Wolverines should be a tougher foe, but they haven't beaten anyone while the Badgers have already beaten both ranked-at-the-time teams so far.

#3 Louisville at #5 Clemson. These teams can't play each other in the ACC Championship, so this is basically the ACC Championship.

Other games of note

Mark Richt returns to Georgia but not Athens as #14 Miami visits Georgia Tech, #22 Texas is at Oklahoma State, North Carolina travels to #12 Florida State, #11 Tennessee is at #25 Georgia, and Navy visits Air Force.

[#] Sun Oct 02 2016 02:45:44 EDT from Dave Mangels

Subject: Eagles News: Can the Eagles hot start hold up?

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Eagles news and notes for 10/1

To the news....

Why The Eagles’ Surprising Start Might — And Might Not — Hold Up - Five Thirty Eight

What does this mean for the Eagles this season? Three teams with rookie QBs are not much of a historical sample from which to draw conclusions, but we can turn to the sidelines and see how 3-0 teams with rookie coaches fared. From 1990 to 2015, 14 rookie head coaches began a season 3-0. On average, those teams played .500 ball the rest of the way and made the playoffs only 57 percent of the time. Compare those numbers with the rates for 3-0 teams without rookie head coaches — a .605 winning percentage and a 78 percent playoff rate — and it’s clear that rookie head coaches are less likely to keep their teams playing well than their veteran counterparts.

Vermeil says Wentz gives Eagles shot at greatness - Inquirer

The kid couldn't be this good this fast, so Vermeil started digging through record books and statistics to compare Wentz's first three games with the Eagles with the debuts of the NFL's greatest quarterbacks. Joe Montana? No. Troy Aikman. Hell no, not with that 1-15 Cowboys team. Dan Marino? No, not even him. None of them had played this well this early, and perhaps the closest comparison to Wentz was one from Vermeil's own experience: Kurt Warner and the 1999 St. Louis Rams.

"Where Wentz and Kurt Warner are alike is their personality profile, their temperaments," Vermeil, who turns 80 on Oct. 30, said in a phone interview Friday. "Nothing at all, at any time, flustered Kurt Warner. From the very first step he took on the field in the league opener in 1999, [offensive coordinator] Mike Martz coached him as if Kurt had been playing in the league for 10 years."

When do you KNOW a QB will be good? Solving the Wentz and Prescott question - ESPN

Nobody can argue that Prescott and Wentz have been disappointing. Quite the opposite, actually: Draftniks and fans who believed in the two quarterbacks before this year's draft have been patting themselves on the back for backing the right horses. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has garnered credit for trading a pile of draft value to grab Wentz, while the hapless 0-3 Browns are already being dragged through the ringer after trading away the opportunity to draft him with the second overall pick even with all the draft picks now in hand.

History also tells us, though, that there are examples of touted quarterbacks who lived up to the hype before fading, some fast.

11 Things I Think About The Philadelphia Eagles - Philly Mag

Wentz is off to an incredible start. The 23-year-rookie has been sensational while leading the Eagles to a 3-0 record. Wentz is breaking records with each passing game. He’s been named NFC Offensive Player of the Week and NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month.

Despite all of this, Wentz is actually facing some criticism. Some have suggested he “dinks and dunks” too much. Others claim he hasn’t been as impressive as Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott.

Simply put, this criticism is ridiculous and way off-base. That’s not to say Wentz has been perfect. He hasn’t. There’s definitely room for improvement. His accuracy could afford to improve at times, for example. Wentz still has an issue with sailing some passes high over his targets. But to suggest he’s been less than stellar is misguided.

Despite what some stats might suggest, Wentz isn’t some Checkdown Charlie. Reporters who watched him in training camp could see he easily took the most deep shots of any Eagles quarterback. His downfield aggression has been apparent in the real games, too.

Ultimately, what a few select critics choose to believe doesn’t dictate reality. The truth is that Wentz has been impressive. He’s shown the makings of a franchise quarterback and the Eagles are very excited to have him leading their team moving forward.

[#] Sun Oct 02 2016 02:45:45 EDT from AdamHermann

Subject: Carson Wentz named NFL Rookie of the Week, again

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Might be easier to talk about the awards Wentz hasn't won.

Carson Wentz, man. What more can you say?

The Eagles' rookie quarterback was named the NFL Rookie of the Week for his Week 3 performance in the Eagles' 34-3 win over the Steelers.

Wentz completed 23 of 31 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns in the Birds' surprise win over the powerhouse Steelers at the Linc.

Wentz dominated the voting, earning more than 50 percent of the vote.

Wentz's teammate, Wendell Smallwood, was also up for the award, as was Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot, and Browns cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun.

Wentz also won the award in Week 1, when he led the Eagles to a 29-10 win over the Browns in the first game of his NFL career.

Browns wide receiver Corey Coleman won the award in Week 2.

Wentz has yet to throw an interception through three games, while throwing five touchdowns and completing 66 of his first 102 passes as a pro.

I'll be really impressed if he wins it for Week 4.

[#] Sun Oct 02 2016 02:45:45 EDT from John Barchard

Subject: BGNR 191: The Early Bye Week Stinks!

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This sucks, we want football.

Welcome to the newest edition of BGN Radio! BGN Radio is Bleeding Green Nation's regularly scheduled podcast. Each week some combination of Brandon Lee Gowton, Dave Mangels, Adam Hermann, James Seltzer, Patrick Wall, Matt Dering, Ben Natan, and host John Barchard will be here to talk about the Philadelphia Eagles. This episode is brought to you by:

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* Byes in Week 4 of the NFL season are an abomination to man and should be wiped clean from the earth.

* The Lane Johnson suspension is coming, and it's likely going to be for the full 10 games.

* The offensive line will likely be negatively affected by losing a Pro Bowl caliber offensive lineman. Who knew?

* Allen Barbre will move into Johnson's spot, and Stephen Wisniewski will take his spot.

*Continuity on the offensive line is so important, but at least Johnson will be back for the playoff push!

*The delay in announcing Johnson's suspension has made this all really weird.

*Is Carson Wentz the most impressive rookie in recent memory? How does he compare to Andrew Luck and Robert Giffin III's rookie seasons.

*Based on the first three games, it's hard to say Wentz isn't the most impressive rookie QB in NFL history.

*Looking around the NFC East, there is more bad news for the Dallas Cowboys.

*Dez Bryant has a fractured knee, with Dr. Matt Dering says is "bad."

*Are the Eagles the favorites to win the division now? It sure seems like they are.

*What is the Eagles record going to be at the end of the season? Undefeated, probably.

*Seriously though, both Matt and John think the Eagles' floor for 2016 is 12-4 right now.

*Matt Derin interviews Kabir Akhtar, Emmy-winning editor for Matt's favorite show "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend."

*He's also a crazy Eagles fan, like you and me.

*Matt talks about the first season of the show and the awesome Lisa Bloom.

*Kabir says the Eagles won't go undefeated because after the Eagles clinch homefield early, they'll just rest all the starters the last few weeks.

*Matt and John give their picks for Week 4.



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