Subject: BGNR 193: Eagles lose... everything sucks
We are sad.
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:
WHAT WE TALKED ABOUT
- Well that game went exactly how we thought it would.
- For the Moms and Dads in the room, we pause 5 seconds so you can lower the volume as we go on large cursing rant
- The first half defensive gameplan was by far the worse decision of the entire game
- THE BLEEPING REFS
- Ryan Mathews doesn't deserve all of the blame, but he deserve all of the blame
- Carson Wentz went deep and it was wrong the decision but we don't hate trying to go for the win.
- Doug Pederson called a really good game, but it's very surprising that he didn't go to Ertz/Celek more than they did.
- Bradford got a lot of crap last year about dropped balls. And even with Wentz throwing them open it's still a huge issue. This offense needs a player maker.
- Zach Ertz, 3 seasons, 9 TDs
- Lane Johnson is shoving his chips in the middle. Per Howard Eskin it's going to be zero games or ten games
- Mychael Kendricks fall from grace
- Jason Peters looked a little long in the tooth
- The NFC East is still bad, this will come down to the Cowboys and the Eagles
- We hand out our silver linings
- Carson Wentz showed you that he handles adversity really well
- The defense did too
- Doug called a really good game
- No more Jim Schwartz HC rumors?
- A quick rant on the NFLPA
- Final Thoughts & more!
- Our next Bud Light Live event is at Jack Cassidy's Irish Pub in Pottstown! Tuesday night 7p-8p. Come drink beers and be our co-host.
HOW TO LISTEN
DOWNLOAD: Click here to download this episode.
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Subject: Wednesday Morning Fly By: Well, we've got ourselves a team.
Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...
*And if you're wondering how we got to this place, here's a handy explanation of the Flyers' big ol' numbers problem. [Courier-Post]
*Take a moment and consider the forward depth on this Flyers team this year. And then feel warm and fuzzy. [Sons of Penn]
*You've probably been thinking oh man the Flyers are going to be so much better with Ivan Provorov's defensive prowess and Travis Konecny's electric skills on offense. But you've been focusing on the wrong things, friend. You know what these kids bring? INTANGIBLES THAT'S WHAT. [Inquirer]
*Provy's insane offseason workout probably helped him get to the NHL this year. [CSN Philly]
*Sam Morin is ready to have a big year up in Allentown. [Highland Park Hockey]
*The kids have new numbers, please note this before placing your jersey orders. [BSH]
*Ron Hextall shared his thoughts on the Gudas suspension yesterday afternoon. [BSH]
*With opening night mere days away let's talk about all the things hockey fans will overreact to during the first game of the season. [Sportsnet]
*DGB also looks at the most exciting under-21s in the league right now. [Vice Sports]
*And finally, hey look the Flyers are on this list of can't-miss games! [Sportsnet]
Subject: Philadelphia Flyers 2016-17 Over/Under Game, Part 1: Individual Player Numbers
We’re back to bet on what we think the Flyers will do this coming season, looking today at some individual numbers.
Last year, before the season started, we here at Broad Street Hockey set up a series of over/under prop bets regarding the 2015-16 Flyers season (at the individual and team level), and we all took a guess on each one. We did very poorly at this guessing! But that’s not going to stop us from trying again this year.
Below are 10 prompts that yours truly came up with, trying to see where expectations are for this coming season. Today, we’ll run 10 questions that have to do with individual players on the Flyers and what may happen with them this season; tomorrow, we’ll do the same thing with 10 team-level questions. We’ll check back in on how we’re doing mid-season, and we’ll get the final scores at the end of the year.
Feel free to play along in the comments, as well!
Claude Giroux posted 67 points in 78 games last year. Let's hope he's got a nice season in him this year. Over/under on Giroux tallying 69.5 points this season?
Al: OVER. I don't really know what to say here other than it feels like Giroux is going to at least match what he did last year. 69.5 points is no joke, even for a first liner, but I wouldn't be surprised if Giroux gets close to a point per game.
Allison: Claude Giroux has read all of Charlie’s articles and now, bolstered by cautious optimism, is going to shit all over the National Hockey League. OVER.
Andrew: OVER. A rising tide lifts all boats. Giroux may be leaving his prime productions years but he will have a stronger supporting cast this season, particularly on the defensive side with the addition of Ivan Provorov. I expect the Flyers to spend more time with the puck and attacking in the offensive zone this season, and that suits Giroux just fine.
Brent: OVER. Voracek pots a few more goals and Giroux's health is better this year than last, and with a better blue line he's have more chances to get points, especially if his defensive role is lessened with the team. He'll get 74.
Charlie: OVER. We have to be optimistic here, right? I am a bit concerned that Giroux might be at the start of his decline phase, but I'm decently confident the power play will improve this season, so the Flyers' captain should be able to squeeze enough extra points out of that in order to break 70.
Joe: OVER. Coming off a down year where both top-2 offensive forces didnt put up nearly as many points won't happen again. Less time spent on the PK and more time in the offensive zone will help see Giroux's numbers bounce back.
Kelly: OVER. There was a lot of talk about the guys who played in the World Cup being more amped up for the season after playing in the tourney, and even though Mike Babcock is a big jerk who kept G in the press box as Canada won the whole thing, I still think the experience has Claude coming in hot. I think he gets off to a strong start and keeps a steady pace through the whole season.
Kurt: Hmmmm sure why not let’s go OVER, because I think the defense will be able to get him the puck a bit more often this year and a better year from Jake should help as well. Probably will be close, though.
Kyle: OVER. Giroux says he’s motivated to bounce back after playing through injury at the end of last year. He looks it, too.
Travis: A push would be nice, but let's go with OVER. Jake Voracek bouncing back to form will give Claude at least a few more assists (if not a lot more), and I'm hopeful that he'll stay healthy even though that's not something that can possibly be predicted.
Shayne Gostisbehere's extremely good rookie year saw him tally 46 points (in 64 games). How does he do with a full season of games? Over/under on Gostisbehere collecting 48.5 points.
Al: UNDER. I'm a bit conflicted here, but I have to take the under, if only because last year Gostisbehere's point totals were buoyed by a pretty improbable and historic streak. It's not that I think he's incapable of getting back there, I'm just tempering my expectations.
Allison: UNDER. Shayne Gostisbehere is a very smart young man who understands that it’s better to lull the competition into a false sense of security during your sophomore season. Let them think they’ve figured out all your nifty tricks. It will, of course, result in mass panic in the Delaware Valley, but we have to look past this. If he does worse, maybe we won’t have to pay him as much money when we re-sign him. Silver Linings Playbook!
Andrew: OVER. I don't see the Ghost Bear's electric offensive game slowing down at all this season, especially with a full season anchoring the power play.
Brent: OVER, but not by much. Ghost's shooting percentage will be high for a defenesemen in the long-term because he takes shots closer and is more aggressive in the offensive zone than an average defenseman, but not as high as last year's. The extra games take care of the regression. I'll put him at 50.
Charlie: UNDER. Gostisbehere should have a fine season, but I do expect his shooting percentage to regress. Plus, there's always the risk of injury, especially with opponents likely targeting him more often considering his eye-opening rookie season. I'll say he comes in right around last year's point totals, just below the line.
Joe: UNDER. Sophomore slumps happen to the best of them. Taking an expanded defensive role will see Ghost put up in the ballpark of his numbers from last year.
Kelly: UNDER. Don’t get me wrong, I expect Shayne to have another excellent and exciting year. However, he went on an insane tear at the end of last season and that kind of magic is hard to find twice. I think he...man, this one is tough. If he plays a full season he might go over but … yeah. Under. Had to talk this one out, folks.
Kurt: UNDER, just because I think the shooting percentage will regress a bit. Doubt he’ll miss by much, though.
Kyle: OVER. He’s too good on the power play… and there’s a little more offensive talent on this roster for him work off of.
Travis: OVER, just because he's going to play more games.
Sean Couturier missed 18 games last year but still tied a career-high with 39 points. That would've been a 50-point pace over 82 games, so let's start there: over/under Couturier reaching 49.5 points this season?
Al: OVER. Assuming he stays healthy, I don't see why Couturier can't get here. Sure, he's usually saddled with a heavy defensive load, but it looks like he'll be centering some play-driving linemates this season, which will undoubtedly help out his offensive production.
Allison: Have you ever seen Big? With Tom Hanks? If you haven’t, you should. Along with Liar Liar (and arguably Life Size), it’s part of the greatly informative “Childhood Wish Fulfillment” film genre. The premise of Big is that a 12 year old boy makes a wish and turns into a 30 year old man. It’s kind of weird and there’s some bad stuff with a woman hitting on this 30-but-actually-12 year old which is problematic at best. Regardless, Sean Couturier reminds me of that 12 year old, because he has a boyish spirit and now is perfectly capable of smashing through his career high. Plus, he’s probably going to be playing with Professional Pre-Wish Josh Baskin Lookalike Travis Konecny. I’m saying OVER.
Andrew: OVER. Can you tell I'm brimming with optimism about this season? Couturier showed flashes of dominance last season, and the pre-season combination of Coots, Voracek, and Konecny looks like a power house line in the making.
Brent: UNDER. He'll still have a fine season, I think he'll be just short of this mark. If the PP2 unit clicks he'll have a much better chance at it, but until then I can't say over to this. I have him penciled for 48 points.
Charlie: OVER. Yup, this is finally the year for Couturier. Before last season, he never had injury issues, so he should play around a full schedule. And now that Jakub Voracek isn't joined at the hip to Giroux and Travis Konecny has moved into the bottom-six and second power play unit? Couturier's going to rack up some points.
Joe: OVER. A full season of wingers like Konecny/Voracek and not Matt Read will surely see Coots’ offensive output increase.
Kelly: OVER. I kind of think we might see some magic from Couturier this season. It felt a little like last season was just the beginning of him getting his offensive groove together and if he’s healthy this year I’m going to peg him for 56 points. Not a lot of goals but a whole bunch of assists.
Kurt: OVER. because a) it seems like he’s going to have two legitimately strong offensive wingers with him for basically the entire season, and b) I have higher expectations for the second power play unit this year.
Kyle: OVER. This is his year to shine. He’s never had the talent to work with as he does now in Voracek and Konecny. Those guys will bring the best out of him.
Travis: He has even more talent around him this year -- hi, Travis Konecny! -- so I am hopeful that he will have a bit of an offensive breakout this season. OVER.
A scalding-hot second half of the season led Brayden Schenn to a career-high 59 points in 2015-16. Over/under 52.5 points for Schenn this year? (Remember, Schenn is suspended for the first three games in 2016-17.)
Al: UNDER. Schenn definitely exceeded expectations last year, but the underlying numbers prevent me from thinking he can do it again with certainty.
Allison: UNDER. I am usually very optimistic about Brayden Schenn because I look at his face and feel immediate lightness in my heart. After serving his three game suspension, however, I think he’ll find it hard to get going, resulting in a cold streak to open the season. Who knows, though. I’m an idiot.
Andrew: OVER. I don't know if he'll be able to match his career numbers but his established niche on the top unit power play should give him plenty of opportunities to grab points.
Brent: OVER. Spending time on the first power play unit will negate any possible regression, and he'll probably pick up some assists when Jake scores a bit more often on said power play. He'll end up with 57.
Charlie: OVER. I don't expect Schenn to repeat his 2015-16 point totals, but this line factors in the likely regression. Somewhere in the 52-55 point range feels right to me.
Joe: UNDER. Konecny gonna steal all his points and powers.
Kelly: UNDER. Like Ghost, I think it’ll be hard for Schenn to recreate the hot streak he went on at the end of the season. I think he’ll approach 50 but I think Coots has a better year than Schenn this year, by a tiny margin.
Kurt: UNDER. I think a lot went right for him in the season’s final few months and it’s tough to count on all of that happening again. I think he’ll at least reach 50, though, so it should be close.
Kyle: OVER. I think it falls somewhere between 55-60 points this season.
Travis: OVER. God, I'm just realizing how optimistic I am about this team this year. This will make me cry later.
Ivan Provorov is on the Flyers! By the time this season has ended, will Provorov have averaged over or under 21:00 of total ice time per game? For some context, last year two Flyers defensemen had an average greater than this: Michael Del Zotto, at 23:24 per game, and Mark Streit, at 21:52 per game.
Al: UNDER. I really only say this because he's a rookie. Presumably, growing pains will set in and Hakstol will be forced to rely on veterans to carry a heavy load. I hope I'm wrong, though.
Allison: OVER, I think. Management, scouts, and fans alike have all raved about how reliable, responsible, and stable Provorov is. With so many questions on the blueline (will Shayne Gostisbehere regress in his second season? Will Radko Gudas kill someone in cold blood? Will Michael Del Zotto reinjure his wrist by masturbating to instagram models?), coaches will probably relish his presence and reward him with an insane amount of ice time.
Andrew: OVER. Provorov appears more than capable of handling the physical workload and the coaching staff wasn't shy about loading him with minutes in the pre-season. With Michael Del Zotto missing a significant chunk season to start, Ivan has an opportunity to cement himself in a big minutes role over the likes of Nick Schultz, Andrew MacDonald, and Brandon Manning.
Brent: UNDER. Hakstol will want to ease him into the big leagues, which means a few nights in the low-to-mid teens minutes wise. Of course, if injuries keep piling up on the blue line they'll have no choice.
Charlie: UNDER. I have high hopes for Provorov's rookie season, but I suspect he'll end the season around 3rd or 4th in 5v5 ice time per game, and around the same range in penalty kill minutes. It won't be enough to bump him over 21 minutes per game (that comes in 2017-18).
Joe: OVER. Hopefully a strong start will propel Provorov into a top spot and a Calder Trophy nomination.
Kelly: OVER. I think Provy pops into Streit’s #2 ice time spot, without question. Hakstol leaned on Provorov a lot during the preseason, presumably to see what the kid could handle, and he handled every bit of it with no problem. So I think he continues to lean on him.
Kurt: OVER. He’s got a chance to take a big role right out the gate, and he’ll probably play a bit on both special teams units. I don’t think he’ll get huge minutes because I’m guessing the Flyers are wary of him hitting a wall, but steady top-4 minutes are a reasonable expectation if he impresses the coaches.
Kyle: OVER. With these injuries, he’s a lock to be first or second on this team in time on ice.
Travis: Woof, that's a hard one. I am going to say OVER based on his preseason usage and the fact that Radko Gudas is suspended (and could very well be suspended again later), and based on Del Zotto's injury to start the year. Provorov is going to get used a lot in the early in the year and, assuming he passes that test, Hakstol will likely feel comfortable continuing to use him a lot throughout the rest of the year.
Still talking about Ivan Provorov! Will Provorov's on-ice Corsi-For percentage this season be over or under 50 percent? (We'll measure this using corsica.hockey's numbers.)
Al: OVER. Everything about Provorov's preseason seems to point to him being a capable NHL defenseman. Assuming the Flyers as a whole aren't absolute garbage in terms of possession, I think Provorov easily eclipses this number.
Allison: Oh boy. OVER? I don’t know. I hope it’s over. Depends on who he’s playing with and what their deployment looks like and a bunch of other factors, but I am hoping my son plays well, so I am going to put positive energy into the atmosphere. He’s going to be Corsi positive. Amen.
Andrew: OVER, with a disclaimer that it depends on who sticks as his regular partner through 82 games. If he's forced to carry one of the Flyers notable fancy stat boat anchors in Schultz or Amac, he may struggle to break that 50 percent mark. However, if he's complemented with a capable partner and given the previously mentioned big minutes, I think he has the skills to exceed 50% easily.
Brent: UNDER, but it won't be his fault. He'll see significant time with Schultz and/or MacDonald, which will drag down his final number. If it wasn't for that I'd take the over.
Charlie: OVER. I believe the Flyers will end up somewhere in the 51-52% Corsi For percentage range this year, and I'd hope that Provorov won't be significantly negative relative to his teammates.
Joe: OVER. I don’t know how fancy stats work.
Kelly: OVER. Ivan Provorov is good at hockey and his numbers will reflect that.
Kurt: OVER, especially if he ends up getting more minutes with the top forwards the way Ghost kind of did last year.
Kyle: UNDER. Ever so slightly, though.
Travis: OVER. Kid’s a bad ass.
We all remember Andrew MacDonald's 2015-16 season -- in the minors, then suddenly an important piece of the Flyers' blue line down the stretch. Will Andrew MacDonald play over or under 41.5 NHL games with the Flyers this year? (Perhaps not coincidentally, that's how many games he'd need to play in order to fulfill the Flyers' obligation to expose a player with NHL experience in next summer's expansion draft.)
Al: UNDER. This is perhaps a bit of wishful thinking, especially given current and sure to come injuries, but a boy can dream.
Allison: We’re really stretching the definition of the word “important” here, aren’t we? [Ed. note: Yes.] I do think he’ll play OVER 41 games because God is always testing my patience.
Andrew: OVER. He'll carve out enough of a role on the penalty kill to be Teflon MacDonald when it comes time for the coaching staff to pick between their plethora if 6th/7th d-men.
Brent: OVER. Too much faith in his training camp, too many injuries, and too much overall optimism on his overall game.
Charlie: OVER. Would like to be wrong on this one, but all reports out of Flyers camp imply that the front office and coaching staff are very happy with MacDonald and will be trying to avoid a second demotion even when the defense is fully healthy. There's a decent chance he's better than Nick Schultz anyway, so as long as only one of them is playing once the blueline is set, the Flyers can survive AMac as the No. 6.
Joe: OVER. There is no way he isn’t left exposed for the expansion draft. Isn’t the worst bottom-pairing d-man. Looked solid in the playoffs too.
Kelly: OVER. I just want him exposed in the draft oh please hockey gods
Kurt: UNDER. Once everyone is healthy and active, a number of different guys will have stints on the third pair, in the press box, and in Allentown. Unless he’s visibly and undeniably good right out the gate, he’ll be part of that rotation by November, I think.
Kyle: OVER. Disregard fan opinion, the team likes what he brings on the ice between his versatility on special teams and professionalism. He’ll stick around.
Travis: He will be in Philadelphia for most of the season, if not all of it. OVER.
Will Steve Mason play in over or under 49.5 games this year? Note that this includes starts AND relief appearances. Last year, in the regular season, Mason played in 54 games.
Al: OVER. Neuvirth had a pretty damn good season last year, but I'm not entirely convinced he repeats that. With Mason the presumed 1A heading into the season coupled with the fact that he's put up good numbers over multiple seasons now, I don't see why he wouldn't get the bulk of play time.
Allison: I’m going to say UNDER because I believe Neuvirth is going to continue his play from last season and have a stand-out year, making it hard on coaching staff to give Mason the clear bulk of starts. That said, the tandem will be the biggest strength of the team, and Mason and Neuvirth will spend their free time baking brownies together and gabbing about How To Get Away With Murder the way best friends do.
Andrew: UNDER. Mason has deal with spats of injuries over the last few seasons and I think those issues may crop up again. Plus the Flyers have a unique opportunity to split the season workload a very, very good backup in Michael Neuvirth.
Brent: OVER. He's got a kid to impress now. He'll have a similar work load as last year.
Charlie: UNDER. I fully trust Mason as a goalie, but the combination of increased competition from Neuvirth and Mason's propensity to get banged up makes it tough to pick the over here. Under 50 games just seems safer.
Joe: UNDER. Neuvirth, barring injury (which is very possible), has a huge chance to steal the show this season.
Kelly: OVER. Big Daddy Mase is the man. Barring injury he’s going to carry this team.
Kurt: OVER. I know the net is being looked at as a time-share right now, but I think one goalie will end up with the majority of the starts, and I think Mason’s the better goalie of the two, so let’s guess that it’s him.
Kyle: OVER. Why? Dad strength.
Travis: UNDER. He gets hurt. Typing that makes me sad.
Wayne Simmonds is one of the NHL's best power-play scorers, averaging 13.2 power play goals per 82 games during his Flyers career. Over or under Wayne Simmonds tallying 13.5 power play goals this season?
Al: OVER. Because Wayne Simmonds rules.
Allison: OVER. He’s a fuckin’ monster.
Andrew: UNDER. But he makes up for it with an increase in assists and even strength production.
Brent: OVER. A full year with Ghost at the point, who will be a year older and (in theory) a year better, gets him over the number. Chalk him up for 15.
Charlie: UNDER. I'll guess that he comes up just short this year, as the Flyers place an emphasis upon getting Jakub Voracek back involved on the power play. Jake takes a few of Simmonds' goals, but the Wayne Train is still his usual dominant self in front of the net.
Joe: OVER. Wayne Train has been trending up statistically speaking. He is primed to score over 35 goals for the first time in his career.
Kelly: OVER. Big Sam recently wrote a piece for the Inquirer about how Simmonds has quietly become one of the league’s elite forwards. I think Wayne puts away at least 15 from his office this season.
Kurt: Hmmm. OVER. Sure, why not. PP1 should be fine this year and as long as it’s at least fine Wayne will get his.
Kyle: UNDER. There’s going to be some more help on the PP that should see the wealth spread around. Voracek and Streit should contribute more and that second unit should be able to produce more than they did a year ago with Konecny and Provorov possibly manning that group.
Travis: OVER. It's an above-average year for everybody on the power play this year.
The Flyers have a few young defensemen that we're still waiting to see make their NHL debut. Over or under on Travis Sanheim and Samuel Morin having played in 0.5 NHL games combined by January 1, 2017? (In other words, "over" if you think either of them will make their NHL debut before January 1, "under" if you do not.)
Al: OVER. Let's face it -- this defense is going to be dealing with some injuries sooner rather than later. Given indications from the coaching staff, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a few games from Morin and even Sanheim before the year is over.
Allison: If someone’s getting called up on the blueline, I believe it’ll be Morin. Management and coaching both seem pleased with him, so in the event that they need a d-man, he’ll be up. OVER.
Andrew: UNDER. Both Sanheim and Morin need more time to refine their games in the AHL.
Brent: OVER, and demonstratively so. Either they'll be another injury or performance reasons will earn one of these guys a crack at the bigs. Once they are there, they'll stick around. This team's gonna be fun in a few years, isn't it?
Charlie: UNDER. I don't believe Sanheim is going to get a Gostisbehere-esque call-up, so this question really comes down to Morin. The 21-year old prospect should get his shot this season, but I suspect Hextall will want to see multiple months of strong AHL play before granting him a shot with the Flyers, and the big club's injury luck is going to turn soon, right? Right?
Joe: OVER. Expecting to see Morin be one of the first called up in case of an injury.
Kelly: OVER. I expect one, not both, to make an appearance before the new year.
Kurt: UNDER. I know there’s talk of Morin being close-to-ready but I think they’ll let him get some AHL time this year. Sanheim seems like an option for an early call-up if he just blows the doors off of the AHL from the start, which I think he might, but it’s tough to count on.
Kyle: OVER. I think Morin will get called up if an injury strikes during the season. On his way out, the Flyers brass talked him up. I think he’ll be the first one called.
Travis: OVER. One of them might get a call up but I don't think both will.
Subject: Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov, and the relationship of two rising stars
The 19-year-olds have been linked together since draft night
VOORHEES, N.J. – It was an embrace two years in the making.
Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny watched their names come off the board at No. 7 and No. 24, respectively, in the 2015 NHL Draft. They also watched as both of their names were led in by the phrase, “The Philadelphia Flyers select…”.
They then did their next-day media interviews following draft day together. They entered their first rookie camp then training camp together. They even went back to their junior clubs on the same day.
The pair have been going through the process together, so it was only fitting when the two 19-year-olds found out at the same time that they had made the Flyers opening night roster.
Now, they get to embark on their first NHL season together.
“We’ve become good friends over the past two years,” Konecny said, “going through the same type of thing. We push each other and keep each other along the right line.”
“We’re doing everything together and making ourselves professionals as we go through this whole thing. It’s good to have him around.”
Konecny, more energetic then the calm Provorov, couldn’t stop talking about what had just happened the night before. The two were talking at their hotel and Konecny kept bringing up the fact that they made the Flyers as teenagers.
Provorov was quick to cut him off.
“I started talking about it again and he asked me to stop,” Konecny said with a laugh. “He told me I want to sleep tonight and I don’t want to get myself worked up again.”
The relationship between the two has only grown since draft night. The two kept in touch throughout the offseason with conversations here and there about what they’re up to and remaining focused on their ultimate goal.
“It’s always easier when you have someone your own age,” Provorov said. “We’ve both been through the same thing.”
“We knew we were going to be coming back here and hopefully as teammates at some point,” Konecny said. “It’s been a lot of fun. The relationship has been awesome. I’ve seen the way he’s changed as a player and what he’s become.”
Now back to that embrace.
It was on Sunday night when general manager Ron Hextall sent them both a text asking for a meeting. That was where the two were told of their achievements. When the youngsters walked out of the room, they were filled with excitement.
“We gave each other a big hug and realized just what had happened,” Konecny said. “We made the NHL.”
And they did it, of course, together.
Subject: Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov earns Number 1 Hockey Boy preseason recognition
The Number 1 Hockey Boy panel has named Ivan Provorov the Number 1 Hockey Boy for the week of October 12.
PHILADELPHIA (SB Nation Wire Service) — The #Number1HockeyBoy Panel on Wednesday released its latest rankings of the Number 1 Boy in Hockey. It’s the first installment of the highly-anticipated rankings during the 2016-17 season.
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov, known by the panel as “Sharp Provolone”, has been named the Number 1 Hockey Boy for October 12, 2016. Rounding out the Top 3 are forward Travis Konecny, a.k.a. “K-Nex”, and captain Claude Giroux, a.k.a. “[redacted for sponsorship purposes]”.
Here are the full rankings, as announced by the #N1HB Panel:
All hockey boys receiving votes are members of the Philadelphia Flyers organization.
The #N1HB Panel, which consists of Top Women And Men from the hockey analysis community, will continue to evaluate Hockey Boys and will meet weekly for remainder of the season to review game action. The panel is are expected to issue new rankings each week.
Subject: Thursday Morning Fly By: One. More. Day!
Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...
*Today is the last day that you will wake up in your cold empty bed on a day without Flyers hockey. GET PUMPED. Anyhoo let's talk about stuff, like how the Flyers' special teams will be super important if this team is going to be good. [Courier-Post]
*For some reason we're going to take a look back at Jakub Voracek's less-than-great season last year. [Inquirer]
*Since Ron Hextall took a hold of this team he's preached a consistent message of patience with regard to the kiddos. Well, it seems that these kids might force his hand a little. [Sons of Penn]
*Meltzer clarifies the differences we'll see between the Flyers' on-paper roster and what we'll see on the ice tomorrow night. [Hockeybuzz]
*Speaking of rosters, here are all thirty opening night rosters. [ProHockeyTalk]
*It's possible you don't know the story behind Kate Smith's God Bless America. Well now you will! [CSN Philly]
*Your pals here at Broad Street Hockey have made their over/under predictions for the season. Here's part one: individual numbers. [BSH]
*The season-long predictions are starting to roll out and guess what? Your boys are getting a little respect. [Puck Daddy]
*Our own Charlie O'Connor helped rank this here list of the best 50 players in the league right now. [Hockey Graphs]
*And finally, you know it's hockey season when the Number 1 Hockey Boy rankings begin! [BSH]
Subject: Philadelphia Flyers 2016-17 Over/Under Game, Part 2: Team Numbers
Let’s make some guesses on how (and what) the Flyers, as a team, will do in certain areas this coming season.
Yesterday, we posed 10 over/under questions to our writers about the Flyers’ upcoming season and asked them to pick a side. Today, we’ll do the same thing, focusing mostly on team-level numbers and front office moves. Enjoy, and feel free to give us your thoughts and answers in the comments.
Will the Flyers' score-adjusted Fenwick percentage this year be over or under 51 percent? We'll measure this using the numbers on corsica.hockey. Last year, Corsica had the Flyers as a 49.94% score-adjusted Fenwick team.
Al: OVER. The Flyers exceeded expectations last year, but by the end they sure as hell looked like a real deal hockey team. I have no doubt that they've gotten better this offseason, and that should show up here.
Allison: OVER. Started from the bottom now we’re almost passing.
Andrew: OVER. But just barely. Numbers in the 51-52% range put the Flyers in a competitive tier with teams like Washington, Dallas, & St. Louis. It's a feasible leap given how well this team played for stretches of last season and the young talent bubbling up to the NHL roster.
Brent: UNDER, but not by much. They still have some young talent that will be getting up to speed as the season goes along, so I could see this number increasing as the season wears on.
Charlie: OVER. My guess is that the Flyers aren't quite as good of an even strength play-driving team as they looked during the final two months of 2015-16, but they're definitely above a break-even team. If Provorov and Konecny both prove to be above-average NHL players from the start, that should be enough of a push to get them over 51%.
Kelly: OVER. Call me crazy folks but I think this year’s Flyers team is better than last year’s Flyers team.
Kurt: UNDER, but I think they’re north of 50%. Also, I think this can change quickly if the right guys are in place on the bottom-6 if/when everyone gets healthy/off suspension.
Travis: OVER. I think they are the team we saw in the latter half of the 2015-16 season, or at least closer to that than the team we saw in the first half.
Last season, the Flyers' penalty kill success rate was 80.5 percent, while the power play's was 18.9 percent. Together, the two added up to 99.4 percent. This season, will the Flyers' power play and penalty kill numbers add up to a number over or under 100.7 percent?
Al: OVER. It freaking better be.
Allison: OVER. I think the power play will stay at the same level, but I think the penalty kill will improve slightly.
Andrew: OVER. It's hard not to be optimistic about the potential Travis Konecny brings to the Flyers powerplay as the main distributor on the 2nd unit. And it looks like the coaching staff has committed to more aggressive penalty killing tactics at the other end of the ice. Both things bode well for special teams.
Brent: OVER. Both units were a bit unlucky last year, and if the PK is aggressive, they could be way over. Add in an improved second power play unit, and they could have elite special teams play this year.
Charlie: OVER. I'm expecting both the power play and (especially) the penalty kill to be much improved this season. The PP should get better just by Jakub Voracek getting some semblance of puck luck this year. As for the PK, the Flyers spent a large portion of the summer focusing on ways to fix their issues in this area, and more aggressive tactics were apparent in the preseason. They might not have the personnel to be elite, but they should be better than last year.
Joe: OVER. PK will be vastly improved, as will the PP with additions of TK and Provorov for the 2nd unit. No more Ryan White powerplay, woo!
Kelly: OVER. Not sure about the PK but I think the PP will tick up a couple of points this season. Looking at you, Konecny.
Kurt: Let’s say OVER. It seemed like almost everything went wrong for the Flyers’ PK last year; given that, a 1.3% rise doesn’t look like too much to ask for.
Kyle: OVER. Both units should improve, especially the PK.
Travis: OVER, because the penalty kill is going to be significantly better.
Do the Flyers' goalies this year (ANY goalie who suits up in orange and black, not just Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth) have an overall combined save percentage this year over or under .918? Last season, Mason and Neuvirth combined to post a .920 in net, and were the only two goalies to play at all for the Flyers last year.
Al: UNDER. The goaltending was simply too good last year to be repeated. After all, this is Philadelphia...
Allison: OVER. Oh my god. I’m being too positive. Like I said previously though, Flyers goaltending is our greatest strength. What a strange phrase.
Andrew: OVER. The Flyers has one of the best goaltending duos in the league last year and I see no reason for a significant drop off.
Brent: OVER. Mason and Neuvy are good goalies, and if they get hurt Stolarz should be an adequate fill-in. Assuming Schultz or AMac get displaced on the blue line they should be facing easier shots. I've got it at .921.
Charlie: OVER. The great thing about having two above-average goalies is that it gives your team a high floor at a volatile position. If one of Mason or Neuvirth falters, the other will begin grabbing all the starts. That should help team save percentage stay above 0.918.
Kelly: OVER. To pick under would assume a performance worse than last year, and I see no reason to think that either Mason or Neuvy will be worse this year than last.
Kurt: UNDER. Saying this solely because I guessed under on this question last year and was wrong about it then, so let’s hope lightning strikes twice.
Kyle: OVER. The .920-.925 range seems like a fair prediction. I think the goaltending will remain strong this year.
Travis: Nah, UNDER. Not by a lot, but under.
The Flyers got 41 goals from their defensemen last season. Will they match that this year? Over or under 40.5 goals from Flyers' defensemen this year.
Al: UNDER. Given that I think Gostisbehere's point production will drop off, I just don't see the rest of these schmohawks (yeah, I said it) on the defense to fill in the void.
Allison: I need to instill some kind of pessimism into my answers. UNDER. Life is hard. The world is cruel sometimes.
Brent: OVER. Ghost, Streit and Del Zotto could get this by themselves. Chip in some random goals from the other guys and they could be north of 50.
Charlie: UNDER. Gostisbehere's goal totals will most likely regress a bit, but the wild card here is Michael Del Zotto. If his scoring bounces back to 2014-15 levels (once he's healthy), the Flyers could roar past this one. But I'll go the conservative route here -- after all, the rest of the defense aside from Ghost probably isn't providing much in terms of goal scoring.
Joe: OVER. Full year of Ghost and MDZ with the addition of Provorov is going to help boost this number a good bit.
Kelly: UNDER. Since I don’t think Ghost scores as many as he did last year, I don’t see the D being as productive as they were last year.
Kurt: UNDER. Counting on Ghost to hit 18 goals again is tough, counting on Gudas to hit five goals again may even be a stretch, and at least one of Streit/AMac is going to lose PP time to Provorov, who’s a 19-year old rookie. (And then there are offensive dynamos Nick Schultz and Brandon Manning, and Michael Del Zotto, who was playing his best last year in a more defensive role.) This one may hinge on Provorov being a really strong scorer right out the gate, and I think that’ll take some time. Which is fine! But I’ll go under in the meantime.
Kyle: OVER. The addition of Provorov and the return of Del Zotto, when he gets healthy, should spark the blue line as should Streit if he can carry over his play from the preseason.
Travis: Ghost will score a little less (I could see him having more points than last year but fewer or the same amount of goals over 82 games), and I don't think Provorov is going to be a dominant scorer in his first year, and with MDZ out a month ... UNDER.
Pittsburgh and Washington are more or less unanimously agreed to be the two best teams in the Metropolitan Division. The Flyers will play each four times, with 16 possible points at stake. Over or under 8.5 standings points for the Flyers in the eight games they play against the Capitals and Penguins?
Al: OVER. I feel like the Flyers snap back into dominating the Penguins this year, winning 3 of four games. With that, a regulation win and overtime loss against the Capitals seems doable, putting them at 9 points.
Allison: You know what? I think the Capitals are gonna suck. You know why? Because I want it to happen. Because I have a feeling in my gut. And the Pens? Who cares. I’m not even going to discuss them. I’m going OVER based on feeling and raw emotion.
Andrew: UNDER. The Capitals are a beatable team and I could easily see a series split there. But the Pittsburgh Penguins seemed to utterly confound the Flyers (and really the entire league) after their coaching change last season. I'm not so confident that the PHI-PIT series ends favorably for the Flyers.
Brent: UNDER. Our time at the top is coming. Their time is now. The Flyers will dominate those guys later, but for this year they're still a cut above them.
Charlie: UNDER. The Flyers could skate with the Caps last year, but the Penguins ran them out of the building every time the two teams were both playing in a meaningful game. I say they split the series with Washington and take one game from Pittsburgh, coming up just short of nine points.
Joe: OVER. The team always comes out to play in these huge games. Expect them to drop all of their games against Columbus and Arizona, though.
Kelly: OVER. I think the Flyers win five of these eight games.
Kurt: OVER, and it will inevitably lead to us having high expectations come playoff time.
Kyle: UNDER. The Flyers are better, but I still think there’s a notable difference between them and the upper echelon.
Travis: It is a fact that the Flyers have never lost a hockey game to Pittsburgh or Washington. [Ed. note: This was Travis’ answer to this question, in its entirety, so I’m going to assume it’s an OVER.]
The shootout. You know and hate it. Over or under 6.5 shootout losses for the Flyers this season? For context, the Flyers lost eight shootout games last year, and lost 11, 8, and 7 in the three previous 82-game NHL seasons.
Al: OVER. Shootouts are bad. The Flyers make me mad during shootouts. We hold these truths to be self-evident.
Allison: OVER. For sure. Knowing the Flyers, they will Flyers whenever possible, and that means losing as many shootouts as possible. God bless this league, but I hate it and it’s trash.
Andrew: UNDER. See Travis Konecny.
Brent: OVER. Fewer games will get decided in OT, meaning more shootouts, which means more shootout losses.
Charlie: UNDER. Screw it, I'll be the optimist. Travis Konecny should bring more skill to the shootout lineup, and there are enough other forwards (Giroux, Cousins) who have shown flashes of shootout usefulness in recent years. Luck finally starts breaking the Flyers' way.
Joe: OVER. The shootout is the kryptonite to the Flyers. After losing Sam "One true legend" Gagner, there isn't many outside of Giroux that'll dangle your socks off. Also the Flyers have really won about 1 shootout ever, and that was in 2010.
Kelly: OVER. Losing shootouts is what the Flyers DO.
Kurt: UNDER. I feel like Charlie Brown going to kick the football here, but this is the year that the Flyers don’t totally blow at the shootout. This is the year. (Either that, or they’ll make efforts to go harder in 3-on-3 to end the game before the shootout.)
Kyle: OVER. Always and forever their Achilles’ heel.
Travis: UNDER. The Flyers are going to be a good shootout team this year. I don't know why I am saying this.
Ron Hextall made one in-season NHL trade last year, when he sent Luke Schenn and Vincent Lecavalier to L.A. Over/under 1.5 trades made by Hextall during the season this year?
Al: UNDER. This is kind of an admission that I think the Flyers will be playoff contenders this year. No one really sticks out as someone that could and should be moved outside of a deadline situation, so I doubt a trade happens at all this season.
Allison: UNDER. Ron Hextall is a known snake in the grass. This is typically thought of as a bad thing because it’s synonymous with treachery and deceit. These are good qualities in business, and Ron Hextall is the best at it. He’s gonna wait until his time comes and then he will strike with a vengeance known by no man. How many GMs have programmed a snake emoji after his name in their phones? Over/under set at 20.
Andrew: UNDER. The Flyers have numerous veterans on expiring contracts that make tempting trade bait, but if they are legitimately competing for playoff contention , they may see no good reason to sell mid-season. And Hextall is a reluctant buyer if it costs him picks or valuable building blocks.
Brent: OVER. There's a logjam or two on this roster. Look for Hextall to move a piece or two somewhat early in the season, then work a deadline deal.
Charlie: OVER. This is going to be a very interesting trade deadline, as not only will playoff teams be trying to improve and cellar dwellers looking to sell, but every team will be scrambling to prepare their rosters for the coming expansion draft. It's the perfect time for a shrewd GM like Hextall to swoop in and either add or dump some players. I think he'll be surprisingly active.
Joe: OVER. Expecting a quiet deadline again by Hextall. No imminent moves are needed.
Kelly: UNDER. I think Hextall holds to his patient approach to team building and keeps things quiet this season, particularly with the expansion draft looming.
Kurt: OVER. Theory time! Before MDZ’s injury, Hextall made it clear he didn’t want to use LTIR. Sure, having actual cap space is a good thing in general, but what if he really wanted to bank as much space as he could in order to get ready for the trade deadline and/or any other moves? Let’s go with it.
Kyle: UNDER. This will be a quiet season on the trade front.
Travis: I think Ron Hextall hates trades. But the Flyers will be clearly contending at the deadline, and therefore he'll make at least two trades. OVER.
The Flyers' goalie situation is an intriguing one, with two solid-to-great goalies fighting for time at the NHL level while both are looking for a new contract this offseason. Will one of them receive a contract extension during the season this year? Over or under on 0.5 new contracts given out to Steve Mason or Michal Neuvirth by the last day of the Flyers' season, (In other words: over if you think there WILL be an in-season extension for either one; under if you think there WILL NOT be an extension before the end of the year.)
Al: OVER. Come on -- you have two good goaltenders. You have to keep one on the books before the season is up, right?
Allison: OVER. The Flyers will reward at least one half of their tandem with an extension, even though I hope it’s both and that they are best friends forever and that they carry us to glory and the land of Eteranl Best Friends. It’ll probably be Mason, though. I’m sad.
Andrew: OVER. Neuvirth gets a contract.
Brent: UNDER, but one of them gets signed in the offseason. With Stolarz and Lyon in the system, one could get traded with the other one staying as the starter. Having too many good goalies is a good problem to have.
Charlie: OVER. Hextall strikes me as a GM who will not want to go into the offseason with the scenario of losing both of his goaltenders looming as a legitimate possibility. I suspect by February or March, we'll have a pretty good handle on which of Mason or Neuvirth has run away with the job, and Hextall will lock that guy up.
Joe: OVER. 50% chance of getting this one correct, right?
Kelly: OVER. I think Mason is extended before the end of the season.
Kurt: OVER. In yesterday’s section, I said that I guessed Mason would end up with the majority of the starts, so let’s guess that he gets a contract somewhere along the way to go with those starts.
Kyle: UNDER. I think they’ll let this situation play out the entire way. May the best man win!
Travis: Neither goalie will be extended until June. UNDER.
Last season the Flyers hosted 3 playoff games. Can they do one (or more) better this year? Over or under 3.5 home playoff games for the Flyers this year.
Al: OVER. This is purely the homer in me speaking, but something tells me the Flyers make it to the second round this year. I don't really know why, but it just feels right.
Allison: OVER. Think this is the year the Flyers break the first round and someone finally takes me to a playoff game.
Andrew: OVER. All board the hype train!!!!
Brent: OVER. What's an offseason without unbridled optimism about the upcoming season? They pull a first-round upset and at least put a scare in their next opponent too.
Charlie: UNDER. Basically, this is asking if you think the Flyers will win a playoff round. If they were in the Atlantic Division, I'd take the over without hesitation. But if they make the playoffs, they'll most likely face one of Washington or Pittsburgh in round one, and I question whether they have the horses to spring the upset against those two juggernauts.
Joe: OVER. The team is largely better then last season. A 2nd round series hopefully will be in the cards come April.
Kelly: OVER. We are going at least two rounds this season baby!
Kurt: UNDER. God, it pains me, but at this point in time I can’t see this team beating Pittsburgh, Washington, or Tampa Bay in a seven-game series, which is basically what this question requires.
Kyle: OVER. They’ll win a playoff series.
Finally, the standings. Currently, on Bovada, you can bet on the Flyers finishing with over or under 92.5 standings points. [Ed. note: this was true at the time these questions were sent out; since then, said line has jumped to 93.5 points. Flyers hockey! Catch the fever!] Since we're all homers, let's add a few more to that and guess it ourselves. Over or under 95.5 standings points for the Flyers? The Flyers had 96 points last year.
Al: OVER. Like I said before, I think that last year's performance is a floor expectation for the Flyers. I don't necessarily think they'll be the best team in the league, but I definitely think they improve.
Allison: OVER, motherfucker! Pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er.
Andrew: OVER. An improved roster combined and a dash of better luck in shootouts pushes the Flyers past the 96 point threshold.
Brent: OVER. There's no adjustment to Hakstol's system, Konecny, Provorov and Weise are all upgrades over the people they are replacing, Jake will have a better season this year. All these things offset regression elsewhere. They'll be 45-26-11, good for third in the division.
Charlie: OVER. Third in the Metro. A solid step forward for Hextall, Hakstol and company.
Joe: OVER. Presidents’ Trophy or bust.
Kelly: OVER. Overall, this is a better team than last year. And they’ll perform better. It’s going to be fun.
Kurt: OVER. Optimism. It’s a thing now.
Kyle: OVER. I think 96-98 points is quite possible as long as the special teams improves (it should) and the team gets off to a better start (it should in Hakstol’s second year).
Travis: OVER. In fact, I am going to Vegas to put money down on this, bye.
Subject: BSH Radio returns for 2016-17 with new hosts Bill Matz and Stephanie Driver
Our Philadelphia Flyers podcast is back!
We’ve been doing BSH Radio — our site’s Philadelphia Flyers podcast -- in some form for more than five years, dating back to the the first time myself, Ben Rothenberg and Geoff Detweiler vomited some words into your crappy iPhone 4 headphones.
But in recent years, we’ve downright sucked at putting out a podcast with any regularity. Look at our last two episodes as an example: Ep. 77 was a 2015-16 season preview, and Ep. 78 was titled “Can the Flyers upset the Capitals?” ... oops.
We’re going to make sure that Eps. 79-??? come through a bit more consistently, however. And we’re extremely excited to announce that Steph Driver and Bill Matz — who you may know from a variety of other podcasts, Twitter and/or other work covering the Flyers around the city — are joining our site as the hosts of our new/old podcast.
It won’t just be Bill and Steph. We expect Kelly Hinkle from our existing team to be a regular host as well, and our writers who are local to the Philly area will be appearing in studio often. (The rest of us might call in sometimes too!) The voice Steph and Bill bring when they’re on the air together is a great fit for our site and we can’t wait to get started this week. Expect a new episode before the Flyers season begins Friday night, and be sure to follow the show’s new Twitter account at @BSH_Radio!
I’m gonna let Bill make an introduction for the both of them. We’re thrilled to have them as part of our BSH family here.
— Travis Hughes
As the Philadelphia Flyers embark on their 50th anniversary season, my broadcast partner, Stephanie Driver (@StephaliciousD), and I, Bill Matz (@Billadelphia1), are proud to announce we are joining the Broad Street Hockey team.
You may know us from our show YELLING ABOUT SPORTS on Wildfire Radio, or from co-hosting The Orange Update and SOP Radio over the last year. Steph was also a regular on The Scoop Philly, a Wildfire Radio original. I have been appearing on the Big Daddy Graham program on 94 WIP as a hockey analyst since 2007, and now co-host the show with BDG weekly, while also writing for several sports sites in the city.
Steph and I, along with Kelly Hinkle, Charlie O’Connor and the rest of the BSH team, are looking forward to bringing a great hockey podcast to the city’s number one Flyers blog. We want to have fun talking hockey and having the conversations that you, the fans, want to hear. It’s our goal to entertain our listeners and bring a wide variety of opinions and perspectives to the show, so that Flyers fans get the high quality hockey talk unavailable through any of the city’s other outlets. Broad Street Hockey is known for its top-notch analysis, and we hope to extend that reputation from the screen of your favorite device straight to your ear buds.
With BSH Radio, we will be bringing you weekly breakdowns and analysis of the Flyers and the rest of the NHL, previewing the match-ups ahead, and debating all the news, rumors and stories swirling around the Bullies at 3601 S. Broad Street throughout the season.
We are excited to get started with BSH, and excited to kick off the season with our inaugural episode, previewing the 2016-17 season, which will be available starting Thursday night.
— Bill Matz
Subject: The Flyers 2016-17 season hype video is the best hype video you’ll ever see
For years, the Philadelphia Eagles have owned social media in this town with their ridiculous, goosebump-inducing hype videos. But I think the Flyers just put together the best version of those videos that the city has ever seen. (Maybe. I don’t know. Some of those Eagles ones are reaaaaalllly good.)
I can’t even count the number of cameos in this thing. Mayor Kenney, Sheena Parveen, Ukee Washington, Jay Wright, Connor Barwin, a bunch of other people who I’m too old and uncool to recognize, and of course a ton of typical, everyday Philadelphians. Baristas and construction workers and bartenders and dudes from hoagie shops.
If I watch this again or keep typing about it I am likely to punch a hole through my laptop out of excitement. Holy crap, is it Friday at 10:30 p.m. yet?
Subject: Setting realistic expectations for Travis Konecny’s rookie season
The 19-year old will begin his rookie season on Friday. What should we expect from him this year?
As you know, Travis Konecny has made the Flyers’ roster and will, barring something highly unforeseen, be with the team for the entire season. The news — which came alongside the news that fellow rookie Ivan Provorov has also made the NHL team — has invigorated the Flyers’ fanbase, which is surely very excited to see Hextall’s youth movement take a big step forward.
Often, great excitement can lead to great expectations. So with that, let’s check and see where exactly everyone’s expectations are when it comes to Travis Konecny this year, and where they maybe should be.
Last week, we put out a call asking for you, the reader, to guess what Travis Konecny will do this coming season if he makes the Flyers — whether or not he would make the team, as well as how many games he would play in and how many goals and assists he would tally if he does indeed make the team. If you filled out that survey, thank you for doing so, as we’ll rely on it a lot here. By the time we closed that poll last weekend, we had received 1,354 responses in total.
First and foremost: out of those 1,354 responses, a bit under 79 percent of them said that they expected Travis Konecny to make the Flyers this season. Congrats to the majority. I’m sure the other 21 percent are fine with being wrong here.
After taking some of those initial responses out due to various reasons (obvious joke answers, ranges instead of just a single number, people who didn’t read the instructions cough cough, etc.), we were left with 1,211 responses that gave a straightforward, one-number answer to the following three questions:
- How many games will Konecny play in?
- How many goals will Konecny score?
- How many assists will Konecny have?
And here were your answers — in other words, the average of every response we received — to these questions:
- How many games will Konecny play in? 71 games.
- How many goals will Konecny score? 18 goals.
- How many assists will Konecny have? 28 assists.
For you all keeping score at home, that’d be a total of 46 points, or 0.65 points per game.
Is that a realistic expectation for Konecny’s rookie year? Let’s try and answer that question. (For simplicity’s sake, we’ll solely focus on point-scoring rather than defense, possession or the entire two-way game the player brings throughout this piece.)
Being a 19-year old rookie is really hard
Konecny is currently two years removed from the season he played right before he was drafted, meaning this upcoming season is what some call his "draft +2" year. If we want to get a good feel for how he may perform this year, we can start by comparing him to other players who entered the NHL in their draft +2 years.
With some help from the outstanding Play Index at hockey-reference.com, I was able to find a list of 24 forwards who played their rookie season in 2010-11 or later, played their rookie season in their draft +2 year, and played at least 40 games in said rookie season.
That list is as follows. We’ve also included some base-level numbers for those players in their rookie years, and overall averages for the group as a whole.
|Jonathan Huberdeau (FLA)||2012-13||48||14||17||31||0.65||16.94|
|Brandon Saad (CHI)||2012-13||46||10||17||27||0.59||16.46|
|Dylan Larkin (DET)||2015-16||80||23||22||45||0.56||16.55|
|Nikolaj Ehlers (WPG)||2015-16||72||15||23||38||0.53||16.10|
|Sam Reinhart (BUF)||2015-16||79||23||19||42||0.53||16.84|
|Robby Fabbri (STL)||2015-16||72||18||19||37||0.51||13.32|
|Mika Zibanejad (OTT)||2012-13||42||7||13||20||0.48||13.57|
|Sam Bennett (CGY)||2015-16||77||18||18||36||0.47||15.14|
|Jonathan Drouin (TBL)||2014-15||70||4||28||32||0.46||13.24|
|Magnus Paajarvi (EDM)||2010-11||80||15||19||34||0.43||15.39|
|Andre Burakovsky (WSH)||2014-15||53||9||13||22||0.42||12.92|
|Marcus Johansson (WSH)||2010-11||69||13||14||27||0.39||14.72|
|Bo Horvat (VAN)||2014-15||68||13||12||25||0.37||12.26|
|Zemgus Girgensons (BUF)||2013-14||70||8||14||22||0.31||15.31|
|Ryan Johansen (CBJ)||2011-12||67||9||12||21||0.31||12.73|
|Alexander Wennberg (CBJ)||2014-15||68||4||16||20||0.29||15.62|
|Devante Smith-Pelly (ANA)||2011-12||49||7||6||13||0.27||12.04|
|Jared McCann (VAN)||2015-16||69||9||9||18||0.26||12.52|
|Jake Virtanen (VAN)||2015-16||55||7||6||13||0.24||11.56|
|Brett Connolly (TBL)||2011-12||68||4||11||15||0.22||11.47|
|Curtis Lazar (OTT)||2014-15||67||6||9||15||0.22||12.90|
|Kyle Clifford (LAK)||2010-11||76||7||7||14||0.18||9.50|
|Tom Wilson (WSH)||2013-14||82||3||7||10||0.12||7.94|
|Nino Niederreiter (NYI)||2011-12||55||1||0||1||0.02||10.11|
Right off the bat, you may notice that this is a list of guys with impressive draft pedigree — of the 24 players listed, 21 of them were first-round picks just like Konecny was, and many of them went higher in their respective drafts than Konecny did. And by and large, it’s a list that has a lot of talented players, the types of players who you can expect to be in their teams’ top-6 forward groups into the next decade. (It’s also a list that has Tom Wilson.)
Still, you’ll likely also notice that most of these players — guys who, just like Konecny, came into their rookie year with a lot of hype and were expected to make a difference immediately — didn’t exactly light the NHL on fire in most of their first seasons, at least not to the extent that we, as a fanbase, seem to think Travis Konecny will this year.
Of these 24 players, just one of them reached a mark of 0.65 points per game in his rookie year, and that was Jonathan Huberdeau, the third overall pick in 2011 and the Calder Trophy winner in 2013. Only five other players topped the half-point-per-game mark at all — and of those five, four of them were getting pretty heavy ice time (over 16 minutes per game). Things drop off steadily from there, all the way down to Nino Neiderreiter’s 55-game, one-point rookie year. (I think, if nothing else, we can be confident that Konecny will outpace that rookie season.)
As a whole, the group averaged 10 points and 14 assists in 66 games in their respective rookie seasons, for a mark of 0.37 points per game.
Now, it’s important to note: 0.37 points per game is not a bad rookie season! Especially for this list of players! Scoring in the NHL is really hard for just about everyone nowadays, let alone for guys who are 19 and 20 years old and who, in a lot of cases, weren’t playing for very good teams or getting steady ice time.
The find here is not controversial or revolutionary: there’s a learning curve in the NHL, and just about every non-transcendent prospect is subject to that curve. This is something that everyone knows, but at the same time we are all guilty of forgetting a) just how steep that learning curve is, and b) that the curve very much applies to our own young players, no matter how excited we are for them as their NHL careers begin. It’s rare for players to come right in and score like top-line forwards, and while Travis Konecny certainly could do that, it’s not something we should necessarily count on.
Reasons for optimism
With all of that said, let’s point to two reasons to think Konecny has a great chance to end up on the higher end of that rookie table than the lower end of it when all is said and done.
First of all, Konecny comes in with a better track record of scoring than a majority of the above list. Let’s compare Konecny to the other 18 guys from that list who played in Canadian major junior in their draft +1 year, showing how they scored in that year in the CHL next to how they scored in their rookie seasons. (Junior stats via hockeydb.)
|Name||Final Junior Year points/game||NHL Rookie Year points/game|
|Jonathan Drouin (TBL)||2.35||0.46|
|Sam Bennett (CGY)||2.18||0.47|
|Nikolaj Ehlers (WPG)||1.98||0.53|
|Jonathan Huberdeau (FLA)||1.95||0.65|
|Brandon Saad (CHI)||1.73||0.59|
|Robby Fabbri (STL)||1.70||0.51|
|Travis Konecny (PHI)||1.68||???|
|Andre Burakovsky (WSH)||1.53||0.42|
|Ryan Johansen (CBJ)||1.46||0.31|
|Jared McCann (VAN)||1.45||0.26|
|Sam Reinhart (BUF)||1.38||0.53|
|Bo Horvat (VAN)||1.37||0.37|
|Curtis Lazar (OTT)||1.31||0.22|
|Nino Niederreiter (NYI)||1.27||0.02|
|Brett Connolly (TBL)||1.24||0.22|
|Tom Wilson (WSH)||1.21||0.12|
|Jake Virtanen (VAN)||1.04||0.24|
|Devante Smith-Pelly (ANA)||0.99||0.27|
|Kyle Clifford (LAK)||0.98||0.18|
Konecny had quite the year last year between Ottawa and Sarnia when it came to lighting up the scoreboard, and you can see that guys who do that before making the jump to the NHL usually get off to a pretty solid start. Of the six players with more prolific draft +1 seasons than Konecny, all of them were at least close to a half-point per game in their rookie seasons, and four of them were ahead of that.
If nothing else, this makes intuitive sense; guys who scored a lot in juniors are probably going to score a lot in the NHL. We still haven’t quite seen a projection on Konecny that would have us near that 0.65 mark that the fans have predicted, but this has us moving in the right direction.
The other factor working in Konecny’s favor here is a bit more fluid, but it’s one that right now looks pretty promising: opportunity. Some things are more in the team’s control than others, but let’s look at just two things that a coach can do that will allow a player to score more points: give him time on the power play, and play him with good players at even strength.
Konecny received pretty regular power play time during the preseason, and it looks like he’s going to get a chance to play on the second power play unit this year. While the Flyers’ second power play unit has struggled a lot in recent years, you could argue it hasn’t had an explosive offensive talent such as Konecny on it in a while.
The Flyers’ second power play unit (which we’ll loosely define as "all of the time the Flyers spent on the power play without Claude Giroux on the ice") got just over two minutes of ice time per game last season. If Konecny sees about two minutes of power play time per contest, that will certainly lead to more opportunities to score — the kinds of opportunities that the top rookies on our chart from earlier had.
As for linemates, it’s tough to project that kind of thing right now with how much coaches tinker with their lineup. But it sure looks like Hakstol is planning on having Konecny work with some of the Flyers’ most talented forwards. Konecny will likely be skating tomorrow night in Los Angeles with Sean Couturier, one of the Flyers’ best possession forwards, and Jakub Voracek, who’s only a year removed from a point-per-game season.
Those linemates will inevitably change at some point, but even then there will be talent around Konecny. Even within the top-6, he’ll likely spend time with Claude Giroux, Brayden Schenn, and Wayne Simmonds, all guys who have shown that they can score in the NHL to varying degrees. Unless a prolonged Konecny slump drops him out of the top-6 and onto a line with the likes of Dale Weise or Nick Cousins, it’s easy to imagine him playing alongside the big guns for just about the entire year.
Aim high, just maybe not too high
So what should we expect from Travis Konecny this year? On the one hand, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that it’s pretty tough for 19-year olds who are only a year removed from their draft to come in and make an immediate impact on the scoresheet. The NHL isn’t the toughest league in the world for nothing, and to make that jump is something that not many guys can do successfully, at least not right away.
But there’s strong reason to believe Konecny will succeed. For one, even as rookies coming right into the league, guys with his track record of scoring in juniors usually score in the NHL at a pretty respectable rate. And the Flyers seem ready to set him up for success, as long as they’re giving him power play time and playing him with strong offensive players like it currently appears they will.
Basically, Konecny’s not your average rookie, and if his size doesn’t prove to be a disadvantage and he can roll with the physical punishment he’ll take in the NHL, there’s a lot of reason to believe he can have one of the more successful draft +2 rookie seasons that we’ve seen in recent years.
When I initially submitted my (admittedly unscientific) response to our Konecny survey last week, I said that I thought he’d tally 14 goals and 22 assists in 74 games. After looking through these numbers a bit, I’m actually going to bump that (still somewhat unscientific) projection up, to the tune of 16 goals and 24 assists in 74 games or a mark of 0.54 points per game. That’d be a damn fine rookie season, and one that could absolutely give Flyers fans confidence that Konecny can turn into something really special with a bit more time.
Still, as a community, our initial estimate of 0.65 points per game may be a bit optimistic. Reaching back a bit further, the only draft +2 rookies to reach or exceed that mark since the 2004-05 lockout were Huberdeau, Peter Mueller (0.67), and then some schmoes named Jonathan Toews (0.84), Nicklas Backstrom (0.84), Anze Kopitar (0.85), and Alex Ovechkin (1.31) far exceeded it. A lot would need to go right for Konecny to get to that mark in his first season, and if he does, we should get very, very excited.
But all in all, even if they should maybe expect a bit less than they currently do, Flyers fans aren’t wrong to expect a lot from their exciting rookie forward. Konecny having made the team is one of the biggest things fueling this fanbase’s glowing optimism towards this season, and it should to be really fun to watch the beginning of what’s hopefully a long and successful career.
Subject: How Boyd Gordon is here to help Claude Giroux offensively
Ron Hextall provides clarity on what he expects from Gordon.
This wasn’t one of those jaw-dropping summers for the Flyers, where the big-named free agent was reeled into Philadelphia, or a handful of exciting players decided to sign with the club. It was simply one that netted a few depth pieces: guys like Dale Weise, Roman Lyubimov and Boyd Gordon.
The latter may be the biggest unknown to Flyers fans, but he may prove to be the most important addition.
Let’s have Ron Hextall explain just exactly what they see in Gordon.
“If you look at Gordon, he’s a specialty player. He’s a faceoff guy, penalty killer, shot blocker. He’s a guy you want out in the last minute of a game.”
“Part of the thought process there is –- I told you at the time [of his signing] -– take a little bit of the load off of [Giroux] on the PK. G took a lot of faceoffs there in the right dot ... We want to take a little bit of that, the minutes, the effort, and that side of the game… what does that do? Hopefully give G a couple minutes of 5-on-5 more, which hopefully should lead to more production.”
In other words, the arrival of Gordon should coincide with an increase in Giroux’s production. That’s something I imagine the fan base can get behind.
Giroux admits he wasn’t able to do what he wanted to last season. Much of that was a result of playing through injury, but some of that could have to do with him taking on a larger role on the penalty kill. What Gordon brings to this lineup is a more than capable, somewhat automatic, faceoff expert.
Just take a look at last year’s leaders in the circle. There’s Jonathan Toews, Ryan Kesler, then Gordon, who is ahead of guys like Matt Duchene, Patrice Bergeron and, oh yeah, Giroux. Now it’s not the biggest separation between the newest Flyer and the captain – 0.2 to be exact – but having two near-automatic pivots is almost unheard of (no team had two top 10 guys last season). In comparison, Sean Couturier was 71st in faceoff percentage.
Now the Flyers have two top five centerman in that regard. Specifically looking at playing shorthanded, Giroux was an impressive 60.2% in those situations. Gordon was 54.1%. They both were in the top 12 when looking at playing a man down. No team had two players in that bracket besides Arizona – Gordon’s old team.
Getting back to what Hextall said on Tuesday, with Gordon being able to take away some of Giroux’s penalty killing time, he will essentially be transferring anywhere from one to three minutes a night in which Giroux played defensively to now using those minutes at 5-on-5 in an offensive mindset.
Last season, Giroux averaged 20:32 for time on ice – best among Flyers forwards. He also led the team with 181 faceoffs taken on the penalty kill and played just a tick over 115 minutes in that situation.
The season before he played just 61 minutes on the PK.
“You don’t want to overplay anybody,” Hextall said. “Whether it’s [Anze] Kopitar out in LA, or Toews in Chicago, or G, there’s always an optimal time for a player and coaches typically get a sense of time when a player drops off. I think one of our focuses this season is to get G at 5-on-5 a little bit more for the offensive side of the game and try to limit his PK minutes. You don’t want to go too much over 20 minutes consistently.”
To wrap up Gordon’s impact:
- More faceoff wins = more puck possession
- More puck possession = less time in defensive zone
- Less minutes for Giroux on the PK = more time for him at 5-on-5
Gordon may only put up no more than 15 points, but his impact should allow for other players to see an uptick in production. The Flyers are hoping the biggest beneficiary is Giroux.
Subject: The #Number1HockeyBoy rankings, explained
Learn all about the history and process of the most prestigious award in Flyers hockey
With the Flyers season fast approaching, fans have a lot to be excited about. The addition of two star rookies in Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny have justifiably lit a spark in the fanbase that hopes to see their team make a deep playoff run. And while the product on the ice alone is worth a lot of attention, there’s more than just that to look forward to.
I’m talking, of course, about the #Number1HockeyBoy rankings that are bound to sweep Twitter throughout the season.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of the #Number1HockeyBoy (#N1HB for short), it is a weekly committee-based ranking of Flyers that have achieved recent success, with players often given imaginative and descriptive nicknames. And just like last season, the committee has already begun crowning the #N1HB, giving the most recent honor to Ivan Provorov (nicknamed “Sharp Provolone”) for his successful pre-season that earned him a spot on the opening night roster.
So what exactly is the #N1HB all about? Why was it started? Who determines which player brings home the distinction and by what criteria is this determined? To answer these questions and gain an understanding of what makes the #N1HB tick, I reached out to some of the committee’s most distinguished members to get some answers.
Perhaps it’s best to start from the beginning. Committee founder and member Dr. Pizza (@dr_pizza_MD on Twitter) recounted that it all began due to the Flyers’ slow start last season:
It all began back in late October of last year. The Flyers had started off the season a bit slow, losing their first two games. And then even more bad news struck—Steve Mason would be out for an undisclosed amount of time with a “family issue.” Things looked dire for the Flyers to say the least.
(full disclosure: Dr. Pizza is currently treating me for a bout of elephantiasis with pepperoni therapy)
Following Michal Neuvirth’s better than expected play, the good doctor felt that a distinction was necessary to formally recognize the goaltender’s achievements. And thus the #Number1HockeyBoy rankings were born.
No. 1 Hockey Boy rankings as of Oct. 22— joe м (@dr_pizza_MD) October 22, 2015
1. Michael Neuvirth
For a short time, Dr. Pizza was the sole member of the #Number1HockeyBoy committee, determining the rankings and tweeting them out himself every Friday to little fanfare. As the hockey season progressed and the popularity of the rankings grew, it became evident that a more diverse group of opinions was necessary to ensure accuracy in bestowing the #N1HB honor. Twitter user and all around genius @FlyGoalScoredBy explained that while Dr. Pizza deserves credit for starting the rankings, a committee was founded “to ensure a totally unbiased, politically correct set of data.”
Today, that committee consists of “six, sometime seven” individuals, according to Dr. Pizza. While the names were provided to me, I’ve chosen to exclude them at the request of @FlyGoalScoredBy’s lawyers. Regardless, that committee convenes once a week throughout the season, with each member casting a ballot for who they believe to be the current #N1HB.
Aside from those basic facts, not much else is known about the inner workings of the #N1HB committee. I asked @FlyGoalScoredBy if he could divulge any additional information, and was given an answer as shrouded in mystery as the committee itself. However, he did note that “I can assure you that the voting system is rigid, the nicknames are voted on in a extremely democratic method and the guest judges are treated with the upmost [sic, I think] respect.”
While those I spoke with were reluctant to divulge the internal politics of the committee, they were much more open about what criteria determines the #N1HB crown. After all, this isn’t a typical ranking system based simply on stat sheets and on-ice performance -- that’s best left to the NHL’s official “three stars.”
@FlyGoalScoredBy explained that the committee employs “a sophisticated algorithm that generates our votes based on a number of factors.” Those factors include ”size of buttocks, amount of dog pictures posted to social media, amount of greasy goals, amount of greasy plays, overall greasiness, amount of teeth and desire to want to "be" the N1HB.”
Dr. Pizza provided more insight into the selection process, making clear that point production was “probably 3rd or 4th” most important factor when casting his vote. “The top factor, to me, is who was the most exciting player of the week,” the medical man explained. “Now, obviously that can include a high point total, but it also factors in game-winning goals, outstanding saves, a single slick pass, one standout play, a great postgame quote, a superb social media post, the birth of a child, the formalization of a new relationship, etc.”
And while I was told multiple times that each committee member determines his or her own votes, it is clear that a multi-faceted approach is taken by everyone who has the honor of casting a ballot.
As the #N1HB has survived the test of an entire regular season, the rankings have become more sophisticated. Dr. Pizza now provides nicknames for each Flyers player that makes the list (all of which undoubtedly bolster his brand), while @FlyGoalScoredBy employs his graphical skills in making impressive, sharable images that make their way across Twitter.
With that increased sophistication has come recognition from beyond the small sphere of Flyers Twitter. After the rankings caught the attention of Katie Nolan of FS1’s Garbage Time, she was asked to become an honorary member of the committee, thus increasing the #N1HB rankings success and influence. Dr. Pizza explains that “since April of last year, Katie has been the 7th member of the committee. Her involvement may be intermittent this year due to her being much more busy and famous and important than the rest of us will ever be.”
So what’s in store for the #N1HB rankings this season? If you ask Dr. Pizza and @FlyGoalScoredBy, the sky's the limit.
@FlyGoalScoredBy explained that “N1HB's will outlive us all. This is just the beginning.” He also hinted at an exclusive deal with Access Hollywood to “aggregate celebrities into the N1HB to give a dynamic, real time ranking of the hottest celebs in the news,” whatever the fuck that means.
Dr. Pizza was much more explicit in where he sees the #N1HB rankings going. He too mentioned incorporating celebrities and guest members into committee decisions, along with a newly created podcast and potential for video production. For him, the ultimate goal is to have “the #Number1HockeyBoy rankings reach the Flyers locker room, and act as the post-game award given out by the coaches and players to that game’s most outstanding achiever. We will continue to push for that goal throughout the year.”
Wherever the #Number1HockeyBoy rankings go, Broad Street Hockey will be there. This humble (and handsome, and smart) reporter is now the self-appointed #Number1HockeyBoy Insider. Throughout the season, I’ll be providing analysis of the rankings, along with insider reporting on the committee and it’s inner workings.
I just hope you’re as excited as we are.
In the spirit of disclosure, I feel compelled to note that our own Kurt R. is a member of the distinguished #Number1HockeyBoy committee. I asked Dr. Pizza why a person with such bad opinions would be given such an honor, and he provided the following statement:
At the #Number1HockeyBoy committee, we do not discriminate against anyone because of their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or quality of opinion. We accept all opinions, both good and the exceptionally bad such as Kurt’s, in our committee.
I feel a difference in opinion is always good for any committee as it creates interesting conversation as well as ammunition for mocking once that opinion has been proved absolutely wrong and bad.
Citing advice from his lawyer, @FlyGoalScoredBy declined to comment on Kurt’s status.
Subject: Thursday Night Football: Broncos at Chargers
Can the Chargers do anything right?
Thursday Night Football! Time for sports on a weekday. Love it.
The Broncos are probably a little displeased after losing to the Falcons in the prime time afternoon slot on Sunday. I can’t imagine they took the loss to kindly.
And the Chargers have had the worst luck of any football team, Cleveland Browns included. Injuries, turnovers, blown game-tying field goals — you name it. They are falling apart at the seams. Poor Philip Rivers.
I would recommend against watching this game. The Broncos are going to win. We’ve got playoff baseball, plus opening-game hockey between the Pens and Caps on NBCSN. HOWEVER, if you want to watch this game, here’s how:
How to watch
YOU CAN WATCH IT ON SBNATION.COM. How crazy is that? Love the internet so much. Watch tonight's Thursday Night Football live stream over at SB Nation. Click the link. Click it. DO IT.
Date: Thursday, October 13, 2016
Location: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
Game time: 8:30 p.m. EST
TV channel: CBS, NFLN
Online streaming: Twitter, NFL Game Pass (with subscription)
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson
Per Bovada, the Cardinals are favored to top the 49ers on the road.
Arizona Cardinals: -3.5 (-115)
San Francisco 49ers: +3.5 (-105)
Note: This is an open thread for the Sunday Night Football game. Feel free to discuss the game in the comment thread!
Subject: Eagles injury report: Leodis McKelvin still out, Cox limited
Jalen Mills season approaching again?
Fletcher Cox and Bryan Braman returned to practice as expected on Thursday, but cornerback Leodis McKelvin, who missed Wednesday’s practice and left the Eagles’ loss to the Lions with a hamstring injury, did not.
Cox (ankle) was a limited participant Thursday; Braman was a full participant.
McKelvin missed the Eagles’ second and third games of the season after leaving the team’s Week 1 win with a similar hamstring injury.
Doug Pederson said all three players would be healthy and available for Sunday’s game against Washington, but with McKelvin missing practice for a second straight day, it’s fair to question whether the veteran cornerback will be healthy in time for the Eagles’ first divisional matchup of the season.
It’s also interesting to take into account the Eagles’ roster move this morning. With Lane Johnson suspended for 10 games, and therefore not counting towards the team’s 53-man roster, the Eagles promoted cornerback C.J. Smith from the practice squad to the active roster.
Smith, along with Paul Turner, was long believed to be one of the team’s more likely practice squad promotions, so the move wasn’t much of a surprise. But it’s fair to wonder if Doug Pederson promoted Smith because the team thinks McKelvin might miss Sunday’s game.
We’ll see what the injury report says tomorrow, but right now, I would bet against McKelvin being able to go, which would mean more Jalen Mills as the team’s third corner.
Here’s the Eagles’ full injury report:
Meanwhile, in Washington, tight end Jordan Reed was absent from practice. It’s believed he’s undergoing treatment for a possible concussion.
No Jordan Reed in sight.— Mike Jones (@MikeJonesWaPo) October 13, 2016
Subject: NFL Week 6 TV Schedule and Times
Some good games after the Eagles play
We're on to Week 6 in the NFL.
|Denver at San Diego||8:25 PM||CBS|
|L.A. Rams at Detroit||1:00 PM||FOX|
|San Francisco at Buffalo||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Jacksonville at Chicago||1:00 PM||CBS|
|Cleveland at Tennessee||1:00 PM||CBS|
|Philadelphia at Washington||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Baltimore at N.Y. Giants||1:00 PM||CBS|
|Carolina at New Orleans||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Pittsburgh at Miami||1:00 PM||CBS|
|Cincinnati at New England||1:00 PM||CBS|
|Kansas City at Oakland||4:05 PM||CBS|
|Atlanta at Seattle||4:25 PM||FOX|
|Dallas at Green Bay||4:25 PM||FOX|
|Indianapolis at Houston||8:30 PM||NBC|
|N.Y. Jets at Arizona||8:30 PM||ESPN|
Game of the Week
Atlanta at Seattle. The Falcons dispatched the Broncos last week 23-16, and face another road game against a strong defense. Increasing the difficulty: Seattle is coming off the bye. Beating the Broncos and Seahawks back to back seems a stretch for the Falcons, but the Seahawks haven't found any consistency yet this season.
Eagles related items
The Cowboys head to Lambeau, where Aaron Rodgers is either playing better at home or is playing better in his last two games, which just happen to be home games. The Packers run defense has been nothing short of spectacular, ranking first in yards per attempt, yards per game and showing that it's no mirage of traditional stats, they are 2nd in run defense DVOA. Meanwhile the Cowboys have one of the best running games with Ezekiel Elliott spearheading the attack and Dak Prescott throwing in some value as a runner. This is one of the best matchups
The Giants host the Ravens in what should be a completely unwatchable game. The Ravens have a strong run defense, the Giants have a terrible run offense, and neither team has a good passing offense either. Don't expect much on the highlight reel.
Jared Goff Watch
Yup, still not playing.
Vikings 1st Round Pick Watch
Yup, still on track to be the 32nd pick.
Subject: The NFC East is facing an identity crisis
(Except the Giants, they still stink)
We are at a crossroads. It will soon be time for decisions with long term ramifications to be made. Lives will be changed, jobs will be affected, families will be divided. Long gone are the comforting days of yesteryear, replaced with the fear of the unknown. Things are going to be different, if they aren’t already.
I am of course talking about the NFC East.
For years we have looked to this once great division with deserved scorn, disdain and mockery. For a decade the division has seen a new champion each year because someone has to, and this year will be no different because let’s face it, the Redskins aren’t going to win it. But yet, it is very different, because the NFC East is having an identity crisis. No division in the NFL has as many wins as the NFC East, which seems unbelievable. And because of it, teams in the division are facing their own issues with their own short and long term impacts.
Dallas Cowboys (4-1)
Last week: Ran over the sleepwalking Bengals 28-14
This week: Visit the scattershot Packers
For years the Jason Garrett era has had three absolutes: Tony Romo wouldn’t make it through the season healthy, leading the Cowboys to finish 8-8, and Jason Garrett would clap a lot. But times, as Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan once said, they are a changing. (*pushes his own face onto an electric stove for referencing Bob Dylan*) Two years ago Romo was healthy and the Cowboys won 12 games, last year he wasn’t healthy and they won only 4, but this year is the best of both worlds: Tony Romo is on the shelf and the Cowboys are in first place. Jason Garrett is still clapping a lot, affirming that we have not been living in some alternative universe.
But Romo is nearing a return from injury, and soon the Cowboys, who are on their bye in two weeks, will face an internal dilemma. To stay a playoff contender, they must keep Tony Romo on the sideline, where he can do his team and his back, his collarbone, his ribs, his collarbone, his pinkie finger, his collarbone, and his back no harm. But this is the Cowboys we are talking about. Their nature is to rush Romo back, and it would take a massive internal realignment for them to stay riding the hot hand of Dak Prescott, who thinks he should be benched:
“This is Tony’s team,” Prescott said. “I knew that going into the situation. I think everybody knew that. I’m just trying to do the best I can to give my team a chance to win week in and week out.”
The Cowboys are nearing a crossroads with their quarterbacks. They can chose change and start Romo, or they can chose to stay the course and keep Prescott in the lineup. Or they can chose change and bench Romo, or they choose to stay the course and start Romo.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)
Last week: Got a cold wake up call against the Lions
This week: Visit the Redskins and their awful turf
The Eagles aren’t at a crossroads and don’t have problems with their identity. Rather, they have problems with identifying. And they’re severe. On Sunday, Doug Pederson seemingly forgot who Wendell Smallwood and Kenjon Barner are, as they spent virtually the entire game on the sidelines after weeks of getting regular playing time. And Jim Schwartz seemingly confused Nigel Bradham with Mychal Kendricks and Jordan Hicks with Stephen Tulloch. They claim that they were resting people, but they must have forgotten that they were on the bye the previous week, just like they must have forgotten that Vinny Curry exists. But those transgressions were nothing compared to what this week looks to hold.
Q: What has Cousins shown you on tape?— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) October 13, 2016
Schwartz: … Cousins …
Q: Kirk, um
Schwartz: OH! Kirk.https://t.co/A015ZmCbvk
Jim Schwartz didn’t know who Kurt Cousins is. That’s a pretty big problem for the Eagles. Did he forget there is a game on Sunday? Or that the Redskins will play as many as eleven (11) players at once in it against his defense? Focus Jim, focus.
Washington Redskins (3-2)
Last week: Defeated the Ravens 16-10 in a snoozefest
This week: Host the Eagles in a battle of QB mayo boys
The Redskins identity crisis is pretty straight forward. Kory Cousins is predictably not living up to his $20 million franchise tag, looking much more like the 2014 version of Cousins that was twice benched for Colt McCoy than the second half of 2015 version, who looked like Nick Foles. And yet, he’s probably their best option for 2016. This puts the Redskins at their own crossroads: do they stay true to themselves and give Cousins a long term deal he doesn’t deserve and can’t possibly live up to? Or do they change course and let him walk and bring in say, Jay Cutler? On the surface, it’s a small change, as whoever the Redskins start in 2017 will not be someone good enough to consistently carry a team to playoffs while the Eagles and Cowboys have found their QBs for the next decade. And since it won’t work out either way, Dan Snyder will fire everyone in a year or two and start all over. Again. So maybe they’re don’t really have any new problems.
New York Giants (2-3)
Last week: Lost to the Packers 23-16 after not scoring a touchdown for 57:04 of game time
This week: Host the Ravens, who just replaced their offensive coordinator so expect them to score 35 points
The Giants... well they actually are who we thought they were. Their defense is still awful, their offense is still one dimensional and their coaching is still lousy. Nothing to see here.
Subject: Josh Norman matchup will be critical for the Eagles in Washington
Philadelphia’s success Sunday could depend on Norman’s.
A loss is never a good thing, but it is valuable for a team with a rookie quarterback to learn what it takes to get back to a winning mentality after a one-point loss in the NFL. The season is still young, and there is plenty of time for the Eagles to get back on top of the NFC East.
But first, Washington.
As the landing spot for some of the most notable former Eagles, the division rivalry is strong with this one. While Washington of course no longer has Donovan McNabb at quarterback, they do still harbor deep threat specialist and noted shit-talker DeSean Jackson. Most of Jackson’s issues with the Eagles organization stemmed from Chip Kelly and his regime ostensibly painting him as a thug in order to justify trading one of the team’s most lethal offensive weapons. The wideout may not play with as much aggression now that Doug Pederson leads the squad, but he’s also not one to take it easy against his former team.
The real test this week for Philadelphia will be on the other side of the ball. Secondary player, yet second to none, is the very verbal corner Josh Norman, who is still trying to show people he deserved his insane 5-year, $75 million contract. Despite his price tag, the cornerback has shown a few signs of weakness this season, and one of them can definitely be exploited by the Eagles.
Sometimes size matters
Norman earned every penny of his new contract in the post-season last year in Carolina. Despite not staying with the Panthers, he showed that he can be one of the more formidable defenders in the league and his penchant for jawing with receivers just adds to his motivation.
One thing that smack talk and training can’t account for? Size.
Norman is only 6’0, 190 pounds — which made it rather difficult for the cornerback to cover Browns’ receiver Terrelle Pryor, who stands at 6’4, 230 pounds, in Week 4. Pryor took advantage of the size differential throughout the entire first half, reaching for passes that Norman couldn’t and being more physical than his smaller defender. It’s the kind of man-to-man coverage quarterbacks can take advantage of -- just lob the ball high and let the receiver jump for it.
This is gonna be one of those articles where I have 50 plays I want to gif but can only use 10 or so. pic.twitter.com/AwQ8fipWY5— Cian Fahey (@Cianaf) October 11, 2016
Washington has been criticized early on for running zone-coverage against some of the best wideouts in the league, letting their $75 million dollar man waste his talent. Knowing that this defensive scheme isn’t one the NFC East rival is looking to adjust, it’s definitely something Wentz and the Eagles can manipulate to their benefit.
As Carson Wentz gets more comfortable in the pocket, he will continue to spread the ball around to different targets. In Week 5, no receiver or tight end had double-digit looks, but they each had a handful. Facing off against Washington, Wentz would be wise to consider matchups more than distribution.
Good: Jordan Matthews vs Josh Norman
Matchups will be key on Sunday against Washington. Eagles’ receiver Jordan Matthews stands at 6’3, 203 pounds and more closely emulates the body type that most gave Norman issue so far this season. As a taller receiver, he provides an option for Wentz to heave the ball downfield and let Matthews work to get it if the slot wideout ever finds himself across from Norman.
The third year receiver saw 23 targets the first two games of the season combined, but saw only seven total targets the past two outings. This could be due to both inconsistencies and Wentz’ effort to get the ball to Agholor, Ertz, Green-Beckham and Huff as well. Matthews provides one of the best size advantage against Norman on Sunday, but will need to be more aggressive down field to come away with the ball.
Other good matchups: Zach Ertz (6’5, 249 pounds) and Dorial Green-Beckham (6’6, 225 pounds).
Bad: Nelson Agholor vs Josh Norman
On the other hand, if Norman matches up with second-year wideout Nelson Agholor, the Washington cornerback has a much greater chance of breaking up a pass or coming away with an interception. Agholor is much closer in size to Norman — both standing at 6’0 and Agholor five pounds lighter -- plus his inconsistency can play right into the veteran defender’s hands.
Coming off a Week 3 performance that didn’t include any drops by the receiver, Agholor’s Week 5 display was far more disappointing, catching two of seven targets for 27 yards. The young player will need to protect the ball Sunday, especially if he’s going up against Norman. We don’t want to add to Wentz’ remarkably low interception total.
Other bad matchups: Josh Huff (5’11, 203 pounds)
Norman may be one of the best secondary players in the league, but he isn’t bulletproof, and the start of the 2016 season has proven that. If the Eagles want to win on the road at Washington -- and get a leg up in the NFC East battle — they’ll need to adjust their passing scheme to account for size differentials.
Subject: Which Washington Redskin would you take on the Eagles?
So many to chose from, especially if you add the injured list
The Eagles need to give Carson Wentz all the help he can get, and the Redskins have choices. The popular pick here might be DeSean Jackson, who would give Carson Wentz and the Eagles a legitimate deep threat that they lack. For the skill position players, he's the choice for Sunday. But there's another player who might be an even easier choice: Trent Williams. With Lane Johnson suspended, Williams would fill the hole created with Johnson out. In the real world he wouldn't want to play right tackle, but we're not in the real world. The oft-injured Jordan Reed would improve a strength, but he is going through concussion protocol and may not be available.
What if we took more of a long view? Neither Williams, in his age 28 season, or Jackson, 30, are spring chickens. Of the younger players, the pick might be Jamison Crowder, who is only in his second year and is already a solid slot receiver. The Eagles can't be picky about adding talented young players on offense, and Crowder would immediately deserve playing time ahead of Nelson Agholor and Josh Huff. Josh Doctson has plenty of upside, but is out indefinitely with an Achilles injury. Brandon Scherff was the 5th overall pick in 2015, but was moved to guard after struggling at tackle, where the Eagles don't have much of a need.
The Eagles defense doesn't need much help, but there are some options available to them. Josh Norman is expensive and is 29, but against the Redskins WRs he would be a tremendous help to a secondary that once again may be missing Leodis McKelvin. For more of a long term view, rookie Su'a Cravens is the prototypical LB/S hybrid that is becoming more in demand. He's probably the front runner for Defensive Rookie of the Year. The appeal of adding a highly promising player and removing him from a division rival is quite appealing. However he missed last week's game with a concussion and may be out this week as well. Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy are fine players but don't bring anything to the table that the Eagles are lacking.
So the question is, as it has been for these pieces this season, do you want to give Carson Wentz help now, help down the road, or make a strong defense even better, which indirectly helps Wentz? There's really no bad choice this week.
Subject: The Eagles signed C.J. Smith to the 53-man roster
It finally happened!
In the wake of Lane Johnson’s suspension, the Eagles had a roster spot open on their 53-man roster. Doug Pederson said Wednesday the team would make a move before the end of the week. That move came Thursday morning.
They’ve signed cornerback C.J. Smith from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. They also signed former Houston Texans tight end Anthony Denham to the practice squad.
Smith, a former North Dakota State teammate of Carson Wentz’s who went undrafted this past spring, had a very good summer and training camp, and there were thoughts of him joining the roster straight-up when roster cuts came around. He didn’t make it at the time, but Smith was considered a likely promotion in case roster spots became available, in large part because the Eagles only kept four cornerbacks on the roster. Smith becomes the team’s fifth CB.
Back in early September, when the team traded Eric Rowe to the Patriots, Doug Pederson mentioned Smith and his development as one of numerous reasons they felt comfortable trading Rowe and carrying just four cornerbacks into the season:
Pederson: CJ Smith was one reason Rowe was expendable ... CJ not on 53 yet, though. Lot of competition at corner. Great opp for Rowe in NE.— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) September 7, 2016
He even earned some playing time with the Eagles’ first team in the third preseason game. If Leodis McKelvin can’t go this weekend, or gets hurt again in the future, Smith will be someone very much worth keeping an eye on.
Denham, meanwhile, went undrafted out of Utah two years ago and has never caught a pass in the NFL.
Subject: Five Questions for the Foes: Previewing Washington
A Hogs expert lets us know the dirt.
DIVISION GAME. We know all about Washington, but we haven’t seem them face the Eagles yet this year. So we asked Alex Rowsey of HogsHaven.com to tell us about this year’s squad. Here’s what we talked about!
1. Washington's run defense has been one of the team's weaknesses this season. Has there been a pinpointed reason for the yardage allowed on the ground?
The easiest and most correct answer is poor tackling. However, the problem is much more complex than that. For starters, the Redskins DC Joe Barry has been pretty bad. Our schemes frequently don't make sense and our defense lacks creativity. One area where Barry's improved recently is with halftime adjustments. The Redskins defense has been much better in the second half of games (especially recently) than in the first half of games.
Personnel is also an issue. The Redskins are very weak along the DL and their ILBs hadn't played well all season until last week (last week in Baltimore was the best performance for this Redskin defense by far). The Redskins are also seriously lacking at S and had both of their starters go down for the year. Even when healthy, that group has not been good. So really, right up the middle of the defense has been basically trash all year. The CBs are good in both pass coverage and run support, but all an opponent has to do is run it right up the middle and they'll typically meet very little resistance.
Still, overall, it's been tackling. Guys are missing tackles at an astronomical rate. No idea why.
2. What kind of pass rush is Washington generating? Carson Wentz operates well against the blitz, but obviously a clean pocket is better. What should we expect?
A very mediocre one. The Redskins have guys who are good pass rushers. Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Trent Murphy, Chris Baker. For whatever reason though, the pass rush has been kind of average, though. The Redskins blitz a decent amount, but they're rarely creative/exotic and sometimes they're down right stupid (dropping pass-rushing OLBs in coverage while you blitz your small ILBs). Kerrigan and Smith are both having very down years while Trent Murphy has been somewhat of a revelation as our best pass rusher with 4.5 sacks. He's done very well and is the brightest spot in our pass rush.
From your perspective, I'd expect an average amount of blitzing. I'd be shocked if Barry did something really creative and different to test the rookie QB. They'll probably get home a time or two and it'll be a typical day in the pocket for Wentz. They're good enough that it's not like he'll have some spotlessly clean pocket all game, but it's also not some hugely fearsome pass rush that the Eagles need to pay extra special attention to. I will be interested to see how things go with Lane Johnson out at RT. Theoretically, that should really help the 'Skins pass rush. We'll see.
3. How's the fan base feel about Kirk Cousins? There are reports about locker room unrest. What about fan couch unrest? Is he really the guy of your franchise's future?
Fans are all over the place, man. There are fans that love him and are sold that we should give him a solid-to-big deal and keep him and go with him for the future. There are guys that have never been sold on him and couldn't care any less if he's on the team next year. I'd say the majority realize that he's an average to slightly above average starter who's inconsistent and almost certainly better than any realistic alternative at this point. Most fans are very happy that the 'Skins GM Scot McCloughan didn't give him a huge deal in the off-season and played it smart with the tag to see what he does this year.
He can play so well and yet he consistently does something really dumb most games. You can count on him to throw a pick but you can also expect that most games he'll put up a pretty good stat line. The key really is to keep good balance, run the ball a lot, and take pressure off of Kirk. When he throws it 25-30 times (as opposed to 40+) it ALWAYS works out well for Washington. For some reason that I can't understand, our play-callers have a hard time understanding that and far too often insist on having Kirk throw it every snap and put it all on him. He's helped by a ton of great weapons and a solid OL.
The reports of the locker-room stuff (not Trump related) are overblown and really nothing. Folks were a little unruly after starting 0-2, but the team's won three straight and Kirk's been decent. The only guy people worry about now is DeSean Jackson (you know this) as he hasn't been heavily involved the past couple of weeks and Kirk's been missing him a lot. People always worry how DeSean will react if he's not getting his. Fans lose it when Kirk misses guys who are wide open, throws TERRIBLE picks, or simply overthrows guys (all of these things have happened a lot this year), but in the end, the team is 3-2 and Kirk's done enough. I don't know if he's the guy of the future or not. I don't think anyone does. Not sure what that means.
4. How's old friend of Philadelphia DeSean Jackson faring this season?
DeSean's been up and down, but it's mostly been due to QB play. He's incredible. He really is. A great weapon to have with nearly unmatched speed (still... at 29) who is probably the best in the league at tracking the deep ball. He has an unnatural ability to go up and get balls for a little guy like him. It's something to see (yes, I know you've seen it). He always has to be accounted for and he's had a couple huge games. Even when he doesn't have the stats, he gets deep PI calls, he makes a big catch here or there, or he just catches like two 40-yard passes and that's your drive. Fans love what he brings and he certainly forces defenses to pay attention to him. He's got 18 receptions for 278 yards and 1 TD on the season (contract year).
Something's been happening a lot lately though and that's been DeSean not being involved. He's been mostly invisible for the past couple of weeks and a lot of that has been on Kirk. Kirk's simply not seen him running free a couple of times and then overthrown him (nearly impossible to do) a few times, as well. It seems to be taking a little bit of a toll on DeSean, too. I'd expect big things from him this week. He's a guy who uses grudges and things to his advantage and you know he's not going to allow himself to disappear against the Eagles.
Also, I don't think Kirk is going to risk DeSean getting upset and I think they'll get him involved a lot and early, in a variety of ways. I'd look for a few screens and things like that just to get the ball in his hands and get him involved mentally. They're going to force some throws his way this week. That's just my two cents.
5. This is the Eagles' first NFC East matchup of the year. Can you believe the NFC East has the most wins of any division? What do you think of the division, as it stands today?
The NFL is crazy. Nobody can predict anything with this league. Divisions are up and down from year to year. I am very surprised that the NFCE is doing so well. The 'Skins and Giants are about where I thought they'd be, but the Cowboys and Eagles are both surpassing my expectations. I think it's an awesome division and almost always the most entertaining. I'd love to get back to when this division ran things and was consistently tops in the league.
It's weird because, as a fan of the Redskins, I have a distaste for the rivals in the division, but at the same time, I like having the division do well and have respect from the league. Weird, conflicted feeling. I think the Eagles and Cowboys will both level off some and the Giants will probably play better than they have. I expect the 'Skins to stay around 9-7 or 10-6. I'm shocked by how well Dak and Wentz are playing. I'm shocked the Eagles defense has been as good as it has. I'm surprised by the G-Men having fallen off so bad these past few weeks. It's good stuff. I love the teams that are in this division being in this division and I love watching these rivals battle. It's good football... even in down years for the division.
BONUS! Who wins + score prediction?
I think the Redskins will win. I think it'll be super close. I'm saying 24-22. Yes, 22. No, I don't know why or how. NFCE games are notoriously difficult to predict, but I like that the Redskins are at home and have won three straight. I don't think their offense has really hit the level they're capable of yet, but I think it's just a matter of time. The defense is pretty atrocious, but they played pretty well last week. That's encouraging. Their STs is dominant.
I expect the Eagles will be able to run the ball well. I expect that Wentz is going to come back to Earth at some point. I can't accept a rookie just coming in looking like John Elway and staying that way right from the jump. He's going to struggle at some point and there's good tape out there on him now after a few games. Also, losing Johnson along the OL will hurt. So I'm expecting just an OK day from Wentz. I think the Eagles defense, as good as they have been, is really going to struggle with the Redskins O. Their OL has looked very strong lately and the weapons are some of the tops in the league. It'll probably come down to Kirk. It usually does for the 'Skins...