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[#] Fri Mar 24 2017 16:41:51 EDT from rss

Subject: So it looks like the Eagles won

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Booooo!

After it looked like there was hope of the Philadelphia Eagles bringing back the Kelly Green uniform as an jersey alternate, that’s sadly no longer the case. CSN Philly’s Dave Zangaro reports the Eagles withdrew their proposal for NFL teams to have an alternate colored helmet after hearing feedback from the league’s competition committee.

This sucks.

Kelly Green might not be everyone’s favorite, but it’s still pretty popular. 80% out of 8,700 fans polled on Bleeding Green Nation said they wanted to see Kelly Green be the Eagles’ alternate instead of the current all-black uniform. At least now the 20% minority is happy, I guess.

In addition to withdrawing the alternate helmet resolution proposal, the Eagles also reportedly withdrew the following three rule proposals:

1. By Philadelphia: Gives additional protections for long snappers on kick plays.

2. By Philadelphia: Expands the “crown of helmet” foul to include “hairline” part of helmet.

3. By Philadelphia: Amends the challenge system by granting a third challenge if a club is successful on at least one of its initial two challenges, and expands reviewable plays outside of two minutes of each half.

The only proposal remaining is the one about outlawing players from leaping over the line to block field goal attempts.

1. By Philadelphia: Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays.

Owners will vote on proposals next week at the league’s spring meetings.

Yawn. Just give us Kelly Green back, NFL.





[#] Fri Mar 24 2017 14:33:38 EDT from rss

Subject: Should the Eagles draft Christian McCaffrey or Dalvin Cook?

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The newest edition of BGN Radio is here! (Episode #230). In this episode, we talk about 2017 NFL Draft prospects, interview a cornerback prospect, and more.





[#] Fri Mar 24 2017 13:11:50 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles propose four new NFL rule changes

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Changes are coming.

In addition to proposing the reinstatement of alternate colored helmets (the return of Kelly Green?!), the Philadelphia Eagles submitted four new rule proposals to be voted on at the NFL owners meetings next week. Here’s a look at all four:

1. By Philadelphia: Gives additional protections for long snappers on kick plays.

2. By Philadelphia: Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays.

3. By Philadelphia: Expands the “crown of helmet” foul to include “hairline” part of helmet.

4. By Philadelphia: Amends the challenge system by granting a third challenge if a club is successful on at least one of its initial two challenges, and expands reviewable plays outside of two minutes of each half.

A few thoughts:

  • There are 15 rule proposals in total, so the Eagles’ proposals almost count for a third of this year’s list. Washington has two proposals and the Bills/Seahawks combined for one. The competition committee accounts for the rest. So the Eagles finally beat other teams at something!
  • The long snapper rule might be the Eagles’ response to Jon Dorenbos getting knocked out for the season by a dirty hit from a Washington player last year.
  • We already talked about the leaping thing earlier this week.
  • The current challenge system really penalizes teams for getting the first one wrong. Because if you do get it wrong on the first try, then you have to evaluate if throwing the flag the second time is even worth it given the situation. A bad call might be made and you know throwing the flag would overturn it but the reward might only be a few yards so you might be reluctant to burn it thinking you might need the challenge for something more significant later on. If the Eagles’ proposal passes, teams wouldn’t need to have reservations about throwing the challenge flag on the second try if they failed the first time.

Here’s the full list of rules, proposals, and bylaws.

Rule proposals

1. By Philadelphia: Gives additional protections for long snappers on kick plays.

2. By Philadelphia: Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays.

3. By Philadelphia: Expands the “crown of helmet” foul to include “hairline” part of helmet.

4. By Philadelphia: Amends the challenge system by granting a third challenge if a club is successful on at least one of its initial two challenges, and expands reviewable plays outside of two minutes of each half.

5. By Washington: Eliminates the limit of three total challenges per team per game and eliminates the requirement that a team be successful on each of its first two challenges in order to be awarded a third challenge.

6. By Washington: Moves the line of scrimmage to the 20-yard line for any touchback where the free kick travels through the uprights.

7. By Buffalo and Seattle: Permits a coach to challenge any officials’ decision except scoring plays and turnovers.

8. By Competition Committee: Makes permanent the rule that disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.

9. By Competition Committee: Changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line for one year only.

10. By Competition Committee: Reduces the length of preseason and regular season overtime periods to 10 minutes.

11. By Competition Committee: Gives a receiver running a pass route defenseless player protection.

12. By Competition Committee: Makes crackback blocks prohibited by a backfield player who is in motion, even if he is not more than two yards outside the tackle when the ball is snapped.

13. By Competition Committee: Replaces the sideline replay monitor with a hand-held device and authorizes designated members of the Officiating department to make the final decision on replay reviews.

14. By Competition Committee: Makes it Unsportsmanlike Conduct to commit multiple fouls during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock.

15. By Competition Committee: Makes actions to conserve time illegal after the two-minute warning of either half.

Bylaw proposals

1. By Washington: Amends Article XVII, Section 17.1 to eliminate the mandatory cutdown to 75 Active List players.

2. By Washington: Amends Article XVII, Section 17.14 to place a player who has suffered a concussion, and who has not been cleared to play, on the club’s Exempt List, and be replaced by a player on the club’s Practice Squad on a game-by-game basis until the player is cleared to play.

3. By Washington: Amends Article XIX, Sections 19.8(B) and 19.9(B) to permit clubs to opt out of the “color rush” jerseys created for Thursday Night Football.

4. By Competition Committee: Liberalizes rules for timing, testing, and administering physical examinations to draft-eligible players at a club’s facility for one year only.

5. By Competition Committee: Changes the procedures for returning a player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness to the Active List to be similar to those for returning a player that was Designated for Return.

6. By Competition Committee; The League office will transmit a Personnel Notice to clubs on Sundays during training camp and preseason.

Resolution proposals

1. By Philadelphia: Amends the NFL’s On-Field Policy to allow clubs to have an alternate helmet in a color to match their third uniform.

2. By Competition Committee: Permits a club to negotiate and reach an agreement with a head coach candidate during the postseason prior to the conclusion of the employer club’s season.

3. By Competition Committee: Permits a contract or non-contract non-football employee to interview with and be hired by another club during the playing season, provided the employer club has consented.


Some more thoughts on these proposals:

  • I actually kinda like Washington’s proposal about rewarding teams when the kickoff goes through the uprights. Having the team start at the 20 instead of the 25-yard line in those cases seems fair to me. The Ravens’ previous proposal of being awarded one-point for that feat was too extreme. Also it was clearly just about giving themselves an edge since Justin Tucker is amazing.
  • In years past, teams have proposed eliminating preseason overtime. Somehow it’s been voted down. Why?! Who wants to see preseason overtime. At least they’re trying to cut it down by five minutes now. I don’t think regular season overtimes should be only 10 minutes, though.
  • Sad to see the NFL trying to outlaw an old Buddy Ryan strategy (that Chip Kelly also successfully utilized last year). RIP Buddy.
  • I like the idea that’s being kicked around on Twitter regarding Color Rush jerseys. How about we ditch those and have throwback jerseys on Thursday Night Football? Another reason to pass the Eagles’ alternate helmet proposal!
  • The roster cut down to 75 players seems pointless considering teams need some of those players for the final preseason game, when mainly backup players play.

What’s your take on this year’s proposals?





[#] Fri Mar 24 2017 12:14:47 EDT from rss

Subject: Philadelphia Eagles player accepts invitation to Eagles fan

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Nice!

Would you like to have a Philadelphia Eagles player attend your wedding? Well, all you have to do ask! At least that’s what worked for one Eagles fan named Geoffrey Lane who wrote a letter to offensive guard Brandon Brooks earlier this year.

Man, that’s pretty cool of Brooks. I can’t think of many, if any, players (let alone many people) who would just accept an invite to a stranger’s wedding like this.

Brooks has turned out to be a very good signing for the Eagles. Not only is he a good starting guard but he’s also really embraced the city and engaged the fan base. He's a player Eagles fans can be proud to have on the team.

...

Previously in Brandon Brooks doing cool things for people: the Eagles offensive lineman bought a car for his dad.





[#] Fri Mar 24 2017 09:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL mock draft round up: mock drafters are dropping the ball

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What the hell are they doing

The 2017 NFL Draft is five weeks away, but about three weeks from now you’re going to see people complaining about the wait being too long. People will over-analyse, second guess themselves, or just get bored waiting. They’re wrong.

It’s already too long.

These mock drafts are proof of it. You know how you stare at something and you start to see it differently, start to lose focus? That’s what’s going on with these mock drafters. Their reasoning is dumb, their picks don’t make any sense, if they had any logic they’ve tossed it out the window as they wait for the slow crawl towards April 27th to get here. They’ve been staring at this for too long. Maybe we all have.

Chris Burke, Sports Illustrated - RB Leonard Fournette, LSU

(Mock trade with Tennessee. Titans get: No. 14, No. 43, No. 118. Eagles get: No. 5, No. 164.)

The Eagles have hosted both Fournette and Dalvin Cook on official visits in recent days. If they want the former LSU star as a focal point of their offense next season, they’ll have to go get him. This would drop the Titans nine spots in Round 1, but it would add a second-rounder (which they currently don’t have). Three picks in the top 43 would make for a nice weekend in Tennessee.

What the...

The Eagles might trade up. That’s a possibility you should prepare for in April.

But to 5th? For a running back?

No doubt the Eagles need a running back, and will draft one at some point. Maybe even in the first round. But there’s just no way they’re trading up to 5th to do it.

Will Brinson, CBS - RB Christian McCaffery, Stanford

Anyone who acts like McCaffrey can’t be a feature back is just being dumb when it comes to how the game works in 2017. Darren Sproles has been a game-changer for this team for the last few years in multiple phases; McCaffrey will be perfect addition to help Carson Wentz grow and replace Sproles.

What the...

Darren Sproles is not a feature back.

Again, the Eagles might go running back at 14. And Christian McCaffery might be the guy. So the pick here isn’t the problem, it’s the logic. The Eagles need a feature back (agreed), that McCaffery can be that (maybe, maybe not). No problems there. But then to compare McCaffery to Sproles and say that’s why they should use the 14th pick on him, that is “just being dumb”.

Walter Football - RB Dalvin Cook, FSU

The Eagles, or rather, the Vikings winning the coin toss was absolutely huge. Many of Philadelphia's top needs coincide with Indianapolis', so it could pay off for the Eagles that they get to pick right before the Colts in the opening round.

Running back is an example of this. Both teams desperately need one, and it just so happens that Dalvin Cook is the best player available. Cook posted poor numbers at the combine, but those figures don't factor in his excellent vision, and besides, Cook's high-level production at Florida State is just too great to ignore. Cook would fill a big void for the Eagles, who appear to be finished with Ryan Mathews.

One other thing worth noting is that Cook has some minor off-the-field issues. However, Doug Pederson has worked with Andy Reid for many years, and Reid has been one to give players second chances. Perhaps Pederson will do the same.

Yeah, I went there. You can’t do dumb mock drafts without including Walter Football. He’s got the Colts taking Marlon Humphrey at 15. Swapping those picks makes much more sense. And while yes, Cook would technically replace Ryan Mathews on the roster, they’re totally different players. Walter, you never disappoint.

Rob DiRe, FanRag - TE David Njoku, Miami

The Eagles came into the offseason trying to surround Carson with as many weapons as possible. Philadelphia has a strong offensive line when everyone is available, and the defense should be solid even with the loss of Bennie Logan. Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith give the Eagles a strong and well-rounded receiving group for 2017 even if there are no guarantees after that. However, Njoku would give Eagles coach Doug Pederson a super playmaker at tight end.

What the....

First of all, I just love how bad the name FanRag is. It’s kind of sad that baseball news breaker and unintentionally hilarious tweeter Jon Heyman wound up there.

Anyway... #GetWentzWeapons, sure, but in this mock Corey Davis, John Ross and Dalvin Cook, along with Derek Barnett and Marlon Humphrey were on the board. All those guys on the board and Njoku is the head and shoulders the best player available at 14 to the point where you wouldn’t take Davis, Ross or Cook?

*actives Doctor Strange time loop*

I’ll wait for an argument in favor of it.

No, hold on... I don’t want to. Neither do these people. Let’s just get the draft going next week. It’s already dragging.

Let’s end with a good one.

My Facebook memory was of a photo I took of the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial. But that mock draft is the most beautiful work of art I’ve seen today.





[#] Sat Mar 25 2017 13:00:04 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers at Blue Jackets: Preview, lineups, TV/broadcast info, and discussion

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Who needs a Jacket when you’ve got beautiful weather like this am I right people???

This afternoon’s game can be seen on CSN Philly and CSNPhilly.com for Philadelphians, Fox Sports Ohio for Ohioans, SN1 for Canadians, and NHL Network everyone else (which means no Center Ice or NHL.tv for those who rely on those methods). On radio, you can also listen in on 97.5 The Fanatic.

No word on lineup changes as of yet, so for now we will assume that the Flyers will be rolling out the same somewhat questionable lineup from Thursday that includes Travis Konecny on the fourth line and Brandon Manning in for Michael Del Zotto. We’ll also guess that Steve Mason will start against his old team, marking his eighth consecutive game in net.

Old friend Sergei Bobrovsky will start for the Blue Jackets.

Flyers lineup

Forwards

  1. Meat Read - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek
  2. Jordan Weal - Valtteri Filppula - Wayne Simmonds
  3. Brayden Schenn - Sean Couturier - Dale Weise
  4. Chris VandeVelde - P-E Bellemare - Travis Konecny lmao how is this still a thing

Defensemen

  1. Ivan Provorov - Andrew MacDonald lmao how is this still a thing
  2. Brandon Manning - Radko Gudas
  3. Nick Schultz - Shayne Gostisbehere

Goaltenders

  1. Steven Mason
  2. Michal Neuvirth

Columbus lineup

Forwards

  1. Boone Jenner - Brandon Dubinsky - Josh Anderson
  2. Brandon Saad - Sam Gagner - Cam Atkinson
  3. Nick Foligno - Alexander Wennberg - Oliver Bjorkstrand
  4. Lukas Sedlak - William Karlsson - Matt Calvert

Defensemen

  1. Zach Werenski - Seth Jones
  2. Jack Johnson - David Savard
  3. Kyle Quincey - Scott Harrington

Goaltenders

  1. Sergei Bobrovsky
  2. Joonas Korpisalo




[#] Sat Mar 25 2017 18:33:47 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers vs Blue Jackets recap: Flyers lose while outplaying the opponent, again

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It’s warm outside and the Flyers are still bad.

Ahh, spring. Warm weather and the Flyers tumbling and falling down the stretch. The playoffs are all but a pipe dream at this point and being eliminated from the race is imminent. But hey, at least the Bruins have found a way to choke themselves all the way out of a playoff spot, so at least some things in the world are good.

However, the Flyers game today was not good. That is from a score standpoint, as they lost 1-0 in Columbus. This has been a common theme for the Flyers while playing in Columbus, as they have not won in Nationwide Arena since December 13, 2005.

This game took on the same story line that so many others have this season, with the Flyers playing very well — like the better team — but coming out with the loss.

Scott Hartnell started out the game asserting his presence as the ultimate player in a game of “should of kept” also featuring Sam Gagner and Sergei Bobrovsky. Scott ran over Brandon Manning, giving him war flashbacks to the Connor McDavid incident. Soon after, the Flyers were granted a power play, an area where the Flyers have not scored since former Rangers goalie Gump Worsley retired in 1974. They did exactly what they’ve done on the power play the last few weeks and ... didn’t score! The first period ended scoreless, as nothing much happened. Nick Schultz took a phantom tripping penalty just to remind everyone that he is still playing for a team, known as the Flyers. The Flyers out shot Columbus 11-5, tightly following the prevailing narrative of this season.

Did we mention Matt Read has woken up from hibernation? Read was tied for the league lead in goals to start the season and has been asleep ever since. Matt has had a resurgence over the last two games playing alongside Claude Giroux. This would be all nice and fuzzy to hear if Travis Konecny was not playing on the 4th line getting 12:17 minutes of ice time, with the bulk of that coming in the third period.

The second period yielded much of the same results the first did, that is until Wayne Simmonds broke his stick, Andrew MacDonald passed a puck directly to Kyle Quincey. Alexander Wennberg would then score on the ensuing turnover, as Neuvirth didn’t even see the puck go in and was still in the standing position as the puck crossed the line. It was bad. Seriously watch this.

Radko Gudas also had a fight which was nice. It last approximately 0.6 seconds with him and Boone Jenner wrestling each other to the ground.

The Flyers ended the second period still following the script, outshooting Columbus 24-13 but still losing 1-0. Nothing fun went on during the third period as the game just dragged out. The Flyers clearly looked defeated, and Columbus was on their way to a win.

Well folks, we’ve got eight games left in the season. Only eight more games of top defensemen Andrew MacDonald and 4th liner Travis Konecny. So if you need a positive there is one for you. The Flyers are back in action tomorrow against everyone's favorite team ... the Pittsburgh Penguins. This will be the final game of the season against the Penguins, and will take place in Wells Fargo Center West or ‘The House Bobrovsky Built’. Maybe the Flyers can channel some 2012 magic for that one, but until then ... the Flyers are bad. Goodbye.





[#] Sun Mar 26 2017 19:52:04 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers at Penguins: Lineups, how to watch, and discussion thread

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The Flyers will face off with their cross-state rivals for the final time this season.

Tonight’s game is on NBC Sports Network across the country, and you can also watch via NBC Sports’ online stream (with a cable subscription). NHL.com also says that the game can be watched via NHL.TV, a claim that I am skeptical of since it’s a national game and those are generally not on NHL.tv due to blackout rules. So we’ll see. Also, you can stream via radio on 97.5 The Fanatic.

Steve Mason will be in net tonight, while Michael Del Zotto will also be back in Nick Schultz’s place after a one-game absence (because of “speed”, as opposed to “being better at hockey”, I suppose). Not sure yet if Del Zotto will slot into Schultz’s spot next to Shayne Gostisbehere or if he’ll move next to frequent partner Radko Gudas, pushing Manning to Gostisbehere’s pairing, nor do we have word on any other potential lineup changes as of now.

For the Penguins, Evgeni Malkin is out, as is Kris Letang, and so is Jake Guentzel, and Carl Hagelin, and Ron Hainsey, Trevor Daley, Olli Maatta ... do they have anyone who is healthy? Cripes, Mark Streit might be the second-best defenseman the Pens are dressing tonight, and he wasn’t even that on the Flyers. It would admittedly be disappointing to lose this one tonight, which means that it will almost certainly happen because being a Flyers fan is nothing if not disappointment.

Matt Murray will be in net for the Pens.

Go Flyers.

Flyers lineup

Forwards

  1. Meat Read - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek
  2. Jordan Weal - Valtteri Filppula - Wayne Simmonds
  3. Brayden Schenn - Sean Couturier - Dale Weise
  4. Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Travis Konecny

Defensemen

  1. Ivan Provorov - Andrew MacDonald
  2. Brandon Manning - Radko Gudas
  3. Nick Schultz - Shayne Gostisbehere

Goaltenders

  1. Steven Mason
  2. Michal Neuvirth

Pittsburgh lineup (via)

Forwards

  1. Conor Sheary - Sidney Crosby - Brian Rust
  2. Chris Kunitz - Nick Bonino - Patric Hornqvist
  3. Matt Cullen - Carter Rowney - Phil Kessel
  4. Tom Kuhnhackl - Oskar Sundqvist - Scott Wilson

Defensemen

  1. Brian Dumoulin - Justin Schultz
  2. Ian Cole - David Warsofsky
  3. Cameron Gaunce - Mark Streit

Goaltenders

  1. Matt Murray
  2. Marc-Andre Fleury




[#] Sun Mar 26 2017 23:15:41 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers at Penguins recap: Flyers roll over shorthanded Pens in rout

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Against a Pens team missing a lot of firepower, the Flyers totally controlled this one nearly from start to finish.

The Flyers finished their weekend back-to-back tonight with a 6-2 thumping of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Let’s talk about it!

SO THE FLYERS ACTUALLY PLAYED WELL, HUH?

They did! By basically any measure — goals, shots, good ol’ watching the game — the Flyers thoroughly controlled this game basically from the moment Matt Cullen opened the scoring just 4:31 into the contest. It took them a while to actually get on the scoreboard, but from there they’d proceed to take the lead in the second period and pour it on in the third.

And they weren’t just holding the puck at the blue line, either! The Flyers routed the Pens in scoring chances and high-danger chances (via), and Matt Murray had to make several nice saves in this one. 13 Flyers picked up at least one point on the night, from the likeliest suspects to the less-likely ones (Dale Weise! Brandon Manning! Radko Gudas!).

All in all, there wasn’t much to dislike, and while it’s true that the Penguins are almost laughably shorthanded due to injuries (and lost another key player, forward Conor Sheary, in this game), this was still an outstanding effort top to bottom by the guys in orange.

YOU’RE TELLING ME THAT THEY COULDN’T HAVE SAVED ONE OF THOSE FOR YESTERDAY WHEN THEY LOST 1-0???

No one said hockey was fair.

SO WHO SCORED THE GOALS?

First, Jordan Weal collected his fifth of the season in the final minute of the first period, wiring a shot past (through?) Murray on the rush.

Then, in the second period, Valtteri Filppula got his second in a Flyers uniform on a scramble in front of the net, one which would stand up after Penguins coach and former Sacred Heart Hospital janitor Mike Sullivan unsuccessfully challenged for goaltender interference.

Then—

HANG ON, WAIT, YOU’RE SAYING THE FLYERS GOT THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT ON A BORDERLINE GOALIE INTERFERENCE CALL? HAS THAT EVER HAPPENED BEFORE?

Fairly positive that is has not, no.

NEAT. IS TRAVIS KONECNY STILL PLAYING ON THE FOURTH LINE?

Yep. And not only that, he played a team-low 8:02 in ice time. Seems like the opposite of what you would want to do with a talented young player in the final weeks of a lost season, but what do I know?

WOULDN’T IT BE COOL IF HE JUST HAD A SHIFT OR TWO WITH GUYS WHO MAYBE ARE POSSIBLY CAPABLE OF SCORING AT THE NHL LEVEL? WHAT DO YOU THINK WOULD HAPPEN?

I mean, yeah, it would be cool, especially since this is what he can do given a shift with Dale Weise.

(Great pass from Couturier there, too. He now has 11 points in his last 12 games.)

DID ANY OTHER TALENTED, DYNAMIC YOUNG FLYER WHO HAS HAD A SOMEWHAT TURBULENT SEASON DO SOME GOOD THINGS TONIGHT?

Shayne Gostisbehere had two points, and his best play of the night may have been on a sequence where he didn’t even get a point: his pass to Jakub Voracek that sprung the Flyers on a break that eventually ended in their fourth goal of the game.

SO, SINCE THESE ARE THE FLYERS, SOMETHING BAD HAPPENED, RIGHT?

I mean, duh. Wayne Simmonds messed up in the third period, getting an elbow up high on Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin while trying to pursue the puck.

A charitable view here is that Simmer lunged for the puck (as it was in the air) and inadvertently hit Dumoulin; a non-charitable view would be that Simmonds was blatantly headhunting him. I lean closer to the former, but you could certainly argue that it was a bit reckless by Wayne even if that is the case. We’ll see if the NHL would like to have a word with him about it tomorrow. (Should’ve just speared him in the junk, Wayne; I hear they’re fine with that in Pittsburgh.)

ANY OTHER THOUGHTS?

Yeah, those Pens jerseys that they wore in the outdoor game (that they wore again tonight) are bad. Here’s to them never being worn again, let’s hope.

IS ANYTHING ELSE THAT HAPPENS IN THE FINAL TWO WEEKS OF THE SEASON GOING TO BE AS SATISFYING AS THIS WAS?

Almost certainly not, no. Seven more games. Cherish them while you still can.

Back home on Tuesday to face Ottawa. Go Flyers.





[#] Mon Mar 27 2017 07:00:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Monday Morning Fly By: Heading back home for the home stretch

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

* Well, if you’re going to mess with the tank in a lost season, no better way to do it than by routing your biggest rival. Here’s your recap from last night’s win ...

* ... and here’s the recap from Saturday’s snoozer of a 1-0 loss in Columbus, in which the Flyers nearly doubled up the Jackets in shots but still lost because that’s a thing they do.

* Travis Konecny talks a bit about the season he’s had, as does Dave Hakstol: [Philly.com]

* Elsewhere in hockeyland, the Frozen Four is set, featuring Merrick Madsen’s Harvard Crimson as well as Minnesota-Duluth, Notre Dame, and Denver: [SBNation]

* Union forward Mike Vecchione, former teammate of one Shayne Gostisbehere and past attendee of Flyers development camp, saw his college career end this past weekend. He’ll be signing somewhere soon. Could it be with the Flyers? [Philly.com]

* Could the US men’s hockey team boycott this year’s World Championships in solidarity with the women’s team? Sounds like a possibility: [SBNation]

* Talking draft! Here’s a brief look at some defensemen that should be on the board around the time the Flyers pick this June: [Raw Charge]

* Just how much do the top teams in the Metro get screwed by this playoff format, anyways? [The Hockey News]

* Some jokes about the NHL’s Olympics-related grandstanding, among other things: [VICE]

* Finally, a long look at Nolan Patrick, the guy who’ll most likely go first overall in this year’s draft: [Sportsnet]





[#] Mon Mar 27 2017 10:39:19 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers 6, Penguins 2: 10 things we learned from a satisfying blowout

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The season may be essentially over, but it remains fun regardless when the Flyers dominate the Penguins.

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

#1: Flyers got better of head-to-head Pens rivalry this year

The Pittsburgh Penguins have undeniably had a better season this year than the Philadelphia Flyers — not only have the Pens already clinched a playoff berth, they are probably one of the three favorites (along with the Capitals and Sharks) to win the Stanley Cup in June. But in terms of the head-to-head battle between the cross-state rivals, the Flyers more than held their own. The teams split the season series 2-2, but by the numbers, Philadelphia got the better of play on the whole. In a little over 194 minutes at 5v5, the Flyers had the edge in both score-adjusted Corsi (55.45%) and in scoring chance differential (98-72). They also won the all-situations xG battle in all four contests.

Of course, this doesn’t change the fact that the Flyers’ season will almost surely be remembered as a major disappointment, and rightfully so. But don’t forget that last season, the Flyers could barely move the puck up ice against the Mike Sullivan-coached Penguins. They were completely flummoxed by the constant pressure style of their rival, and it took a game where Pittsburgh had absolutely nothing at stake for the Flyers to even squeeze out one win over them. This year, Philadelphia dealt with their rivals much better, and in my opinion, that does bode well for matchups in the future.

#2: Shot quality not an issue last night

The Flyers have certainly had their issues this season when it comes to generating quality chances, particularly at even strength. While they rank as a respectable squad in terms of shot attempt differential at 5v5 (15th in the NHL), they don’t fare nearly as well after those shots are adjusted for location and quality, as shown by their 22nd rank in the xG statistic. In the Flyers’ defense, I do believe there has been a conscious effort to change this over the past few months (they rank 11th in score-adjusted xG in 2017 at 50.74%) but they do still have a tendency to fall back on the “point shots and pray” strategy when in tough situations.

But in the final game against their biggest rival, Philadelphia absolutely dominated the shot quality battle. The team’s 61.34% score-adjusted Corsi yesterday was impressive, but that paled in comparison to the eye-popping 74.87% in the 5v5 Expected Goals stat. The Flyers racked up 2.61 xG and allowed just 0.87 per Corsica, and the scoring chance numbers from Natural Stat Trick back that up as well. Philadelphia led in regular chances at 5v5 29-11, and in high-danger chances 12-2. In fact, this was the Flyers’ best xG game at even strength this season, and it came against a formidable opponent.

NHL.com Report & Highlights | Corsica.Hockey Game Recap Page | HockeyStats.ca Recap | NaturalStatTrick Recap | HockeyViz.com | BSH Recap | Meltzer’s Musings

#3: Fair to note that Pens were shorthanded

This was a road victory (on the second night of a back-to-back, no less) that the Flyers should take a great deal of pride in, against a high-end foe. But the lineup that Pittsburgh dressed last night is nowhere near the one that head coach Mike Sullivan hopes to use in Game 1 of their first round playoff series. The Pens are dealing with a number of injuries to key players, including Evgeni Malkin, Carl Hagelin, Jake Guentzel, Kris Letang, Trevor Daley, Olli Maatta and Ron Hainsey all out. That’s not to say the Penguins don’t still have talent — Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel and Patrick Hornqvist are all great up front, and Brian Dumoulin and Justin Schultz drive play well on the back end. But this wasn’t the deep, fearsome Pittsburgh squad that the Capitals fear to face in the postseason. That doesn’t make the Flyers’ win meaningless, but it does provide some perspective to help understand how a flawed Philadelphia squad could so thoroughly beat down the powerhouse Penguins.

#4: Time to view Weal as a play-driver?

For all of the team’s flaws, the Flyers do have a number of players — Michael Raffl, Matt Read, Sean Couturier — who essentially serve as “Corsi inflators” to whatever line they are placed on. Once these types of players are identified, line construction becomes a little bit easier. These role players clearly have the ability to get the puck into the offensive zone and keep it there, so the task of the coach becomes surrounding them with those who can take that puck possession and create tangible goal production out of it. It’s still early in the NHL career of Jordan Weal, but so far, he’s showing the ability to drive play in the right direction, regardless of linemates.

Placed on the Filppula line this week, Weal’s presence has turned a unit that had become a Corsi liability into one that either holds its own or actually controls the territorial battle. Last night, they were probably the Flyers’ most effective line, scoring twice and and posting score-adjusted Corsi rates over 66%. Considering Filppula entered this game with a 5v5 Corsi relative to his teammates of -3.18% and Weal was at +9.18%, it’s easy to infer that Weal’s presence on the line is a big reason why play is moving in the right direction with Filppula on the ice right now.

#5: Pittsburgh ate Flyers’ PK alive

Philadelphia may have dominated this game at even strength, but the Penguins were able to close some of that gap due to their potent power play. While the Pens managed just two high-danger chances at 5v5, they racked up six of them in a little less than four minutes of PP time, and scored one goal. That’s partially because the Pittsburgh power play is very good — after all, any unit with Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel and Patrick Hornqvist is going to be frightening — but that doesn’t absolve the Flyers’ penalty kill entirely. The forwards were far too slow in executing their Czech Press up top, giving the Pens players on the perimeter far too much time to move the puck around. And per usual, the defense was especially physical in front, allowing for Pittsburgh to easily crash the net on rebounds.

Moving forward, fixing the forward problem is easier because the right personnel is already on the roster — Couturier and Simmonds should have their roles expanded — but the defense is a tougher nut to crack. It’s fair to assume that Provorov will improve as a penalty killer as he matures, but aside from that, the team’s biggest hope is that the rookies on their way come fully formed as PKers. Samuel Morin sure looks like he should be good in that role, but he still needs to prove that his instincts in the NHL match his mammoth size. Guys like Robert Hagg, Travis Sanheim and Philippe Myers are even bigger question marks. All you can do is hope that at least one of them flashes plus skill in the role and can make it his own.

#6: What exactly is the point of this fourth line?

Yet again, Travis Konecny spent the bulk of the game alongside Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Chris VandeVelde at 5v5. And yet again, it seemed like a total waste of his talents. In 7:24 minutes of 5v5 ice time, Konecny finished just barely over 50% in score-adjusted Corsi, -17.93% relative to his teammates, and that was a step up from the even-worse performance of VandeVelde and Bellemare. On one of the few occasions that Konecny did leave the fourth line (right after a power play, which explained why he replaced Schenn with Couturier and Weise), he earned a primary assist with a beautiful catch-and-pass setup in front. Dale Weise and Sean Couturier are far from offensive zone dynamos, but they’re light years ahead of Bellemare and VandeVelde, and Konecny made that obvious immediately.

Putting Konecny on the fourth line doesn’t help the Flyers win games, that’s a simple fact. He remains one of the Flyers’ most dangerous weapons, and might be the fastest skater on the team period, and he’s not being used to his full potential playing with two of the worst 5v5 offensive players in hockey. However, Philadelphia is out of realistic playoff contention, so there is the possibility that Hakstol is playing some sort of long, development-related game by placing Konecny with his PK specialists. The rookie’s primary weakness this year has been defensive play, so maybe Hakstol believes that functioning in a unit with two players who he views as plus defensively is the best thing for Konecny right now. I would disagree with that (for example, Couturier and Weise are both strong defensively as well, but they bring the added dynamic of being able to score goals once in a while too), but at least I could understand the thought process. But in terms of trying to win games, this experiment is not helping.

#7: Amazing how Ghost looks better away from Schultz

There has been a lot of recent talk about Shayne Gostisbehere looking “healthy” again. Some of that has to do with the fact that finally, the Flyers are scoring a little bit with him on the ice, helping his previously-stagnant point totals just a bit, but Ghost has undeniably looked more dynamic over the past few weeks from a skating standpoint as well. He’s unleashed a few of his patented spin-o-ramas, and he’s flashing his plus lateral mobility far more often now than in the season’s first half. However, Gostisbehere’s play-driving statistics have been nothing special in March, as he held a 49.3% Corsi For percentage on the month heading into last night’s game.

Against the Penguins, however, Ghost found a way to both pass the eye test, the goal test, and the stat test. Gostisbehere was all over the ice, especially in the offensive zone, leading the team with five shots on goal and finishing with two points on the night (one goal, one assist). He deserved another assist on Jake Voracek’s goal, as he jump started the rush with a stellar controlled exit from the defensive zone, and only lost the point due to Matt Read’s minimal nick of Claude Giroux’s shot. The advanced metrics just provide more support for the “Ghost was awesome” theory, as he posted a 72.76% score-adjusted Corsi and 82.11% xG.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this performance occurred just as Nick Schultz was removed from both the lineup and from Gostisbehere’s pairing. When a defenseman passes the eye test yet the numbers don’t match up, the first thing I check is who is on the other side of the pair. For Ghost in March, that’s been Schultz and Brandon Manning. Last night was the first time all month he was able to play alongside an above-average NHL defenseman in Michael Del Zotto, and the results were obvious. MDZ-Ghost isn’t a perfect pairing, especially in the defensive zone, but Hakstol is sheltering Gostisbehere anyway. Why not give him a partner with legitimate offensive skill if you plan to use Ghost in that role? It sure worked out versus Pittsburgh.

#8: Not sure Weise is really doing anything different

Dale Weise continued his “hot” finish to the season by scoring a goal in the third period courtesy of a perfect Travis Konecny pass (and poor rebound control on the part of Matt Murray). The Flyers forward now has five points in his last seven games, and finally reached double digits in points as a Flyer (after 57 games). However, aside from some puck luck, he doesn’t look much different than the guy who struggled so much to light the lamp in the first three-quarters of the season. Weise is still sound defensively, still drives play when he is on the ice, and still looks completely lost offensively on most shifts. When you look at the current top-nine, there’s one player who is a no-brainer to be swapped with Travis Konecny, and it’s Weise.

I know it might hurt the front office to do so (considering the long-term commitment they made to Weise last July) but his skillset just screams “fourth liner” to me. And that’s not to say he couldn’t be a great fourth liner for the Flyers. The coaching staff could use a player down there who is plus defensively but also doesn’t get buried in shot differential like Bellemare and VandeVelde do. But even during this hot streak, Weise hasn’t looked especially special to me.

#9: Giroux line bit the bullet and dealt with Crosby

Considering the lack of forward depth for the Penguins in this game (due to the mass injuries), the key for the Flyers was going to be their attempts to contain Sidney Crosby. Of course, that’s always the goal when playing Pittsburgh, and it’s obviously easier said than done. But with Malkin out, Philadelphia really only had one line to fear, and Hakstol predictably tried to get the top unit of Giroux, Voracek and Read out there as much as possible against the best player in the world. The two centers matched up for about eight-and-a-half minutes, with Crosby coming out on top territorially, but unable to create much in the way of scoring chances. Giroux was held to a 28.57% Corsi versus Crosby, but in regular on-ice chances, the two captains tied (3-3), and Crosby could not manage one high-danger chance versus Giroux. Not a perfect effort, but that yeoman’s work by the captain and his mates helped the Filppula line in particular avoid Pittsburgh’s top players, and pulverize the rest of the Penguins’ lineup.

#10: End-of-season going pretty well, to be honest

By now, it’s obvious that it would take a true miracle for the Flyers to make the postseason in 2016-17. But that doesn’t mean that fans can’t take some positives out of the final few weeks of the year. The team has posted its share of clunkers recently, to be sure. For the most part, however, the Flyers have been competitive even in losses, and have proven capable of some impressive wins, such as the victories in Minnesota and Pittsburgh.

In addition, a number of players seem to be finding their games. Claude Giroux now has 10 points in his last 11 games and is finishing the year strong after apparently battling through the aftereffects of offseason surgery through most of the year. Sean Couturier is also back to 100% following his midseason knee injury, and he’s posted eight points in his last eight games. Jordan Weal is killing it, Dale Weise is finally scoring a bit, and even Michael Del Zotto is making it not totally insane to think that the team might be wise to give him a short-term extension in the offseason. All of these are positive signs for next season, which really should be the only focus at this point for fans. This year may have been a bust, but the 2017-18 season doesn’t have to follow the same script.





[#] Mon Mar 27 2017 12:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Mic

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A backstory on SB Nation’s new photographer Kate Frese

Well now you have a bit of an idea of what it’s like for me while shooting a pro hockey game. But wait, who am I? Who is Kate Frese? Does she even go here?

So I sort of slipped in to Broad Street Hockey under the radar. I started working with SB Nation in January and if you’re a regular reader of the site, you may have noticed my name in photo credit lines or seen one of my featured galleries. So I guess this will act as my formal introduction. How you doin’? I am not new to photographing hockey, though. This is my fifth season photographing the Flyers.

It was all a dream. I used to read The Hockey News magazine. I’ve been a Flyers fan since a young age. I was most definitely a creative child as well. Little did I know that close to 20 years later these things would combine.

Flash forward many years to my junior year in my undergrad at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design sitting in my junior review critique in front of the photo department chair and two other professors. As my critique was coming to an end, the photo chair asked me what I want to do with my degree when I graduate. I had no idea, so my professors started throwing out suggestions. The one threw me for a complete loop and changed my life forever. He pointed out how much I love sports. He suggested I give sports photography a try. Why didn’t I think of this before?! The photo chair didn’t seem too thrilled, as she pictured me in more of an academic role. But I know when it comes down to it, she is thrilled I’m having such a great time and am actually working in the photography field.

Before I got into sports photography, the photography I was creating outside of my school assignments was band photography. There was something exciting about capturing live action. I became well-known for my work within the hardcore punk community. I am an internationally published music photographer. Through my photography work, I had met someone who ran a media company that covered concerts in Philly as well as sports. I had made a Facebook post about thinking about trying sports photography. He then reached out to me and offered me an internship saying he’d be excited to see what I would do with sports photography considering he loved my band photography so much. My story is different than most. I started out shooting pro sports. I didn’t have to work my way up like most did.

This was taken during my second season covering the Flyers.

Since that internship, I have been with Flyerdelphia. Wanting to expand my brand, I reached out to Travis Hughes about working with SB Nation at the end of last year. Well, here I am. Y’all are stuck with me. It’s been an absolute pleasure and amazing experience working with SB Nation, especially the Broad Street Hockey people. I can’t believe they were dumb, I mean kind, enough to give me my own section of the site and everything. All of my photo galleries can be found under Flyers Frese Frame.

When people find out what I do, I normally get bombarded with a ton of questions. Below is a fake interview with myself.

Random person: What is a typical game day like for you?

Me: I normally get to games two hours before puck drop. I get to the arena and enter through a special entrance that takes you below the arena. There is a media room that I set up my laptop and check my gear. I sit down and make a folder on my desktop for the game. I then go around and say hi to some of my media and NHL official friends. After that, I grab a cup of coffee and go sit in the empty stands for about ten minutes. I don’t look at my phone or anything. I guess you could say I am gathering my thoughts and meditating on what I’m about to do. Getting myself in the zone. After that I have a photographer’s meeting in the press box and get my shooting assignments for the game. Each game is different. I’m almost always ice level for at least one period, which is where I feel I get the best shots. I make a list of start players to make sure to get photos of. After that, it’s go go go. I shoot a period, run down to my laptop and edit and upload and then repeat for the next two periods. Sometimes after the game I go into the locker room to take photos. Once that is all said and done, I go home and work for 1-2 hours on the featured galleries that you see on this site.

Random person: Do you actually like hockey? How do you stay sane being a fan?

Me: I’m a HUGE hockey fan. My apartment is covered in Flyers stuff. I’ve watched most games for the past 20+ years. When I was first asked to shoot a Flyers game during my internship, it was one of the best days ever. I was excited and then I quickly realized... I’m crazy. How am I going to remain professional?! I put my big girl pants on and did it. Sometimes I’ll let out a cheer or call the ref out under my breath, though. When I’m shooting, I’m so hyper focused and it’s a completely different experience than attending a game as a fan. To let the fan in me out, I attend preseason games as a fan and also do one away game a year. In addition to that, I go to AHL, ECHL, and NCAA hockey games just to hang out, drink a cold one, and watch some hockey.

 Amy Irvin
Always super focused (lol photo pun)

Random person: What’s it like being a female in a male-dominated field?

Me: This has not been easy at all. I’ve dealt with harassment from fans and peers. People have called me a puck bunny. People have accused me of sleeping my way into a press pass. People have mistaken me for an ice girl. People have told me I should shake pom-poms instead of hold a camera. I have never let any of this crap stop me. If anything, it has driven me to create better work. I don’t want to be identified as a female sports photographer. I am just a sports photographer. I don’t need any special treatment or attention for being a female in this profession. Ok, time for one last question.

Random person: What are some of your favorite moments as a hockey photographer?

Me: Getting to photograph the Legion of Doom at this year’s alumni game was a bunch of hard work paying off. The biggest day of most women’s life is the day they get married. Mine was getting to photograph my favorite player, Eric Lindros, and getting to watch the Legion of Doom play together again. Quite honestly, this whole experience has been amazing. I am truly blessed. I know many people go about their life not knowing what their purpose in life is. Mine is to photograph professional hockey.





[#] Mon Mar 27 2017 13:23:26 EDT from rss

Subject: Dave Hakstol deserves praise for his public support of the US women

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So far, he’s the most powerful man in hockey to publicly declare his support for the US women’s national team

The ongoing battle between the US Women’s National Team and USA Hockey, the national governing body for the sport, has been fought largely on social media.

It started back on March 15, when players coordinated the shocking announcement that they would boycott the upcoming World Championships unless USA Hockey committed to fair wages for players and equitable support for the women’s game across the nation. They’re asking for two things:

  1. Enough money to survive as players who commit a significant amount of time to maintaining their status as world-class athletes — even in non-Olympic years, when they don’t even earn the few-thousand dollars they earn in Olympic years;
  2. for USA Hockey to fulfill its legal obligation to support the women’s game equal to their support of the men’s game. (They currently do not.)

Things have only escalated since, with no apparent end in sight. USA Hockey released a misleading statement that exaggerated what they actual do to support USWNT players. Meanwhile, as they were publicly claiming a desire to sit at the negotiating table with the team in an attempt to hash out a deal, word slowly leaked that they were contacting less-experienced players in an effort to ice a replacement team. Player reps for the USWNT say that USA Hockey’s efforts in sit-down negotiations have basically gone nowhere.

Over the last 12 days, the situation has come to a head as younger, less-experienced players have announced on social media they they will not cross the picket line despite the unbelievable opportunity presented to them to represent their country on home ice in Michigan. It’s gotten so desperate that USA Hockey has reportedly reached out to under-16 players (!!) in an attempt to get around the national team boycott.

But the players are united, and it’s resulting in a complete disaster for USA Hockey, which has mishandled this situation in just about every way possible.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get much worse for USA Hockey ... well, it did late last week. Up until this point, most of the vocal support for the USWNT had come from fans and fellow women players, be it in hockey or soccer or basketball. But towards the end of last week, more men started adding to the chorus of support of the team, helping to increase pressure on USA Hockey leadership.

The MLBPA, NBPA and NFLPA all released statements showing their support for the USWNT’s position, and on Friday evening the NHLPA joined the chorus as well. A day later, news came out that the US men’s national team might boycott their World Championships as well in solidarity with the women’s team. That, of course, would be a critical blow for USA Hockey.

Of all these displays of support, one in particular stands out. It’s that of Philadelphia Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol, who tweeted this on Saturday morning:

This is important for several reasons. The statements released by the the various player unions and the possible action being taken by the men’s national team are vital, but those are group efforts. How many individual men’s players have come out in support, without being shrouded behind the protection of their union? Aside from 1980 Olympic hero Mike Eruzione, who is no longer in the game and has nothing to lose, Hakstol is easily the most powerful man in the hockey world to step up and declare his support.

He’s the only active NHL head coach I’ve seen who has proactively announced his individual support for the team, and that’s something that should be recognized and commended. It’s a personal undertaking, and with that Hakstol bears the full burden of whatever backlash might come with it. Not an organization like a players union, not the Flyers organization. Just him.

It is not far-fetched to assume Hakstol hears about this, either. Hockey in the United States is a small community. Hakstol is a dual US and Canadian citizen who has coached top-level college hockey in this country -- which, aside from the national teams, is the highest level of the game that USA Hockey touches. By doing this, Hakstol is likely speaking out against people who he knows, and likely those he considers friends.

(It’s worth noting here that Flyers president Paul Holmgren is well-connected within USA Hockey, and he most recently served as an assistant GM for the 2016 World Cup team. We don’t have any clue what Holmgren’s stance is on this particular issue, but his connection to USA Hockey and his position north of Hakstol on the Flyers’ org chart is worth noting in the context of Hakstol’s public stance here.)

USA Hockey is an old boys’ club, and that’s largely why they’re in this position in the first place. It might look like we’re just praising the guy for doing the easy, right thing in speaking out against it.

But it’s harder than it looks for somebody in Hakstol’s position as an NHL head coach to speak out publicly against a well-connected organization responsible for pulling the strings of the sport all across this country. He’s showing himself as a true ally to the women’s national team in doing so. He doesn’t have to say anything. The fact that he did anyway says something about his character that we should appreciate.

***

For more on the ongoing fight between the US women’s national team and USA Hockey, check in with SB Nation’s women’s hockey site, The Ice Garden.





[#] Tue Mar 28 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Tuesday Morning Fly By: Where we

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

* 10 observations from Sunday’s resounding victory over the Western Pennsylvania Flightless Birds: [BSH]

* On that note, our friends over at Pensburgh are doing a retrospective on the past decade of Penguins playoff series. Yesterday they talked about 2012. Enjoy! [Pensburgh]

* Dave Hakstol is a big fan of this arrangement that has Travis Konecny on the fourth line, because ... structure? [CSN Philly]

* Speaking of Hakstol, he spoke out about the ongoing USWNT conflict, which was good of him to do: [BSH]

* Some Senators (actual U.S. senators, not the Senators the Flyers will be facing tonight) (see what I did there? lol) also chimed in on the side of the players: [SBNation]

* Checking in on Sam Morin in his second season with the Phantoms: [Flyers.com]

* And rounding up the playoff performances (so far) of some Flyers prospects: [CSN Philly]

* Elsewhere, there’s an obvious top four in the NHL right now, but who’s the league’s fifth-best team? [Sportsnet]

* The Red Wings’ playoff streak is done. How do they get back on track? Cripes, does their situation remind me of the one the Flyers were in not that long ago towards the end of the Holmgren era. [Winging It In Motown]

* The NHL is expected to announce preseason games in China in the near future: [TSN]

* Of the past decade’s two saddest-sack Canadian franchises, who’s closer to their next Cup, the Leafs or the Oilers? [Puck Daddy]

* Five guys who have had breakout seasons: [THN]

* Never too early to be eyeing the offseason, here are Sportsnet’s top 20 unrestricted free agents this summer. Featuring one Flyers defenseman! [Sportsnet]

* Lastly, our excellent photographer Kate talks a bit about her tale of becoming a hockey photographer: [BSH]





[#] Tue Mar 28 2017 11:00:05 EDT from rss

Subject: BSH Radio #104: Yep, blowing out Pittsburgh is still fun

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The gang is short one this week, but the Flyers beat the Penguins and that’s all that matters.

Only a handful of games remain in the disappointing 2016-17 Flyers season, but the weekend brought a rare occasion of pure happiness -- a 6-2 blow out of the rival Pittsburgh Penguins. Bill, Steph, and Charlie discuss the win, and whether it was still fun despite the Flyers' place in the standings. The gang tries to make sense of Travis Konecny's current place on the fourth line and if it's just another example of "Dave Hakstol, what are you doing?" or if there could be legitimate justification for the move. Jake Voracek's up-and-down season is also evaluated, before the crew turns to the many Flyers who are finishing the season strong after months of underwhelming play.

You can listen below or on your mobile device thanks to iTunes, Google Play, and Soundcloud.

Follow us on twitter @BSH_Radio so you don’t miss any fun!





[#] Tue Mar 28 2017 12:30:57 EDT from rss

Subject: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare is the Flyers

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The Masterton is awarded annually to the NHL player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey.”

And now, in the least surprising news of the 2016-17 hockey season: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare has been named a Masterton Trophy nominee by the Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

The Masterton is awarded annually to the NHL player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey.” One player from each team is nominated by the respective PHWA chapter in each city.

There’s no doubt it’s been a big season for Bellemare, the Flyers’ fourth-line mainstay.

He was named to Team Europe in last fall’s World Cup of Hockey, where he played a key role for a team that surprised everybody by advancing to the championship game against Canada. He has been on Dave Hakstol’s good side all season, one of just six players to play in all 75 of the team’s games this year. He was named an ‘A’ after the trade of Mark Streit at the trade deadline, and he was given a big contract extension that day as well.

There are legitimate disagreements on whether or not Bellemare should have that contract extension, or the ‘A’, or whether he should be one of Hakstol’s favorite sons. But there is no disagreement that his rise in the NHL has been impressive. To do all of this as a French-born player who just two years ago was in the Swedish league as a 27 year old is very impressive. It’s hard not to root for Bellemare and his story, and it certainly shows a level of perseverance that qualifies him for this nomination.

That said, it’s unlikely he will win the Masterton. It’s a competitive award each year, and the list of candidates this season is strong. Ottawa’s Craig Anderson probably has it locked up after returning to play following his wife’s cancer diagnosis.

The last Flyer to win the award was Ian Laperriere, who earned the Masterton despite not playing during the 2010-11 season. Shayne Gostisbehere was the team’s nominee last year.





[#] Tue Mar 28 2017 18:29:42 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers vs. Senators: Lineups, starting goalies, TV & live stream info, and discussion thread

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The Senators are in town. No, not the unpopular ones. The Ottawa ones.

Tonight’s game is on Comcast Network and 93.3 WMMR locally. It’s also streaming on CSNPhilly.com and on the NBC Sports app. NHL.tv has it as the Free Game of the Night this evening. In Canada, you can watch on TSN 5.

Flyers lineup

Forwards

  1. Meat Read - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek
  2. Jordan Weal - Valterri Filppula - Wayne Simmonds
  3. Dale Weise - Sean Couturier - Brayden Schenn
  4. Chris VandeVelde - P-E Bellemare - Travis Konecny

Defensemen

  1. Ivan Provorov - Andrew MacDonald
  2. Michael Del Zotto - Shayne Gostisbehere
  3. Brandon Manning - Radko Gudas

Goalies

  1. Steve Mason
  2. Michal Neuvirth

Ottawa lineup

Forwards

  1. Zack Smith - Kyle Turris - Cherry Hill Native Bobby Ryan
  2. Alex Burrows - Derick Brassard - Mark Stone
  3. Mike Hoffman - J-G Pageau - Tommy Pyatt
  4. Future Flyer Tommy Wingels - Chris Kelly - Ryan Dzingel

Defensemen

  1. Fredrik Claesson - Erik Karlsson
  2. Dion Phaneuf - Cody Ceci
  3. Chris Wideman - Mark Borowiecki

Goalies

  1. Craig Anderson
  2. Mike Condon





[#] Tue Mar 28 2017 23:49:17 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers vs. Senators recap: Weal, Ghost power Flyers to shootout win

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The Flyers picked up their second straight win as two guys who have played great hockey lately helped get them there.

Tonight’s Flyers game, which ended in a 3-2 shootout win over the Ottawa Senators, had a strange sort of dynamic to it.

On the one hand, it seemed like this game was largely ... uneventful. I posited in our BSH staff chat room during the second period that I “[felt] like this game has been very fast-moving and also nothing at all has happened,” to the general agreement of anyone who was around to hear me say it. I’m still not totally sure what I meant by it, but it sort of felt like there were times where minutes would go by without much of note happening on either end of the ice, even beyond the teams’ general failures to light the lamp for the most part.

Maybe this kind of goes with the territory of where the Flyers are now. Contrary to whatever players and the diehardiest fans may still say they believe, this team is not making the playoffs. They stopped playing important games standings-wise in the middle of March, and while there are meaningful storylines to be following in the season’s final few weeks (we’ll get to that), playing out the string can be a bit tiring. And when games go for minutes on end without much of note happening, it can get tough to watch.

But in those moments where things did pick up — particularly in the third, where both teams made a lot happen before scoring late-period goals — there was actually a lot to enjoy, and the guys who were pushing the Flyers to victory tonight are guys who really might just be crucial to this team’s long-term success.

Both the game-tying goal and the game-winning shootout goal came off the stick of one Jordan Weal, who was probably the best Flyer on the ice as he’s been in a number of games since his recall last February. On the goal, Weal made an incredibly heads-up play to get himself in front of Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson at just the last second, intercept his clearing attempt up-ice, and slam the puck into the open net before Anderson could recover.

And then he sniped the only goal scored in the shootout a few minutes later. In a season where not much has gone right and a number of long-term questions have opened up regarding players currently on this roster, it’s been nice to have an actual pleasant surprise pop up in the form of Weal over the past few weeks, and while he’s possibly riding a too-hot-to-believe streak right now, it’d be great to see him continue his strong play across these final six games.

The Flyers’ other best player tonight was another guy who’s had a lot of questioning fingers pointed at him this year, but has seen those fingers start to drop lately with his play down the stretch here. Shayne Gostisbehere was always due to rebound — anyone could tell you that at least some of his struggles from the beginning of the season were just rotten luck, and that some points would be coming his way eventually, which they are now. But even if you ignore his shot from the point that Brayden Schenn artfully tipped past Anderson to tie the game up in the first period ...

... Gostisbehere was a man possessed tonight, regularly darting around the offensive zone with ease and setting up chances left and right in ways that would’ve made you think it was November 2015 up in here. There was a clear difference in the team between when he was on the ice and when he wasn’t, and that’s the Shayne Gostisbehere we came to love last year and that we’ve been looking for at times this year. And by giving Ghost a team-high 23:03 in ice time, Dave Hakstol seemed to have recognized it as well. The idea that the first of the Flyers’ shiny new toys on defense is not actually broken is surely something that puts the minds of fans (and of the team itself?) at ease a bit.

There were other things to like (Michael Del Zotto also continued what’s been a good run of play for him lately, with one exception...), and some to not like (...Michael Del Zotto slide tackled Brandon Manning, taking both of them out of the play, about two seconds before Ottawa would proceed to take the lead in the third period). Some frustrating trends of late were also bucked a bit (the power play was outstanding tonight after a brutal couple of weeks, and Travis Konecny actually got moved up to the top line in the third period!), while some good things that have been happening lately were somewhat absent (Ivan Provorov had an iffy game, I thought, and Claude Giroux was pretty quiet outside of the power play after some much-improved 5-on-5 play lately).

But the good outweighed the bad in this one, both on the scoreboard and in terms of What Really Matters. At this point in the season, can’t ask for much more than that.

(Also, the Flyers won another shootout. They’re 7-4 in the skills competition this season, which a) is incredible, and also b) it’s incredible that that’s incredible.)

(Also also, thank you for winning the shootout, the Flyers. Look, I’m not here to tell anyone what to root for in meaningless games down the stretch. You want to lose games to get better draft position, you do you. You think tanking is amoral and any true fan should want to win every game, power to you. But there is nothing less satisfying than getting one point out of a game that you still lose when you have nothing at all to gain from getting that one point. Either lose in regulation or win the damn game. Thank you for doing one of those things, the Flyers.)

Islanders on Thursday. Go Flyers.





[#] Wed Mar 29 2017 07:00:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Wednesday Morning Fly By: Reinventing the Weal

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

* (/looks at headline in shame) Sorry. I’m sorry. I’m trying to remove it.

* Anywho, the Flyers won. Do you like winning? I like winning. RECAP!

* Earlier in the day yesterday, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was announced as the Flyers’ Masterton nominee: [BSH]

* Here’s a list of every team’s (announced) Masterton nominee, on that note: [Reddit]

* Ron Hextall is a leading candidate to be Team Canada’s general manager for this year’s World Championships: [CPSJ]

* Elsewhere, the US women’s team and USA Hockey reached an agreement last night that will end the team’s boycott: [SBNation]

* 30 Thoughts from Friedman is sadly devoid of Flyers news, but still good as always: [Sportsnet]

* Four guesses on what Vegas’ final roster might look like, post-expansion and post-cuts. Only one of which actually has a Flyer on it! [ESPN]

* Speaking of, Golden Knights owned Bill Foley talked about some things: [Puck Daddy]

* On two teams, the Sharks and Rangers, who have relied on their aging superstars just a bit too much this season: [Fear the Fin]

* Trying to lump every possible playoff opponent into one of 12 groups: [Sportsnet]

* It’s been a given for months now, but the Detroit Red Wings’ playoff streak is officially over after Tuesday night’s results: [Winging It In Motown]

* Finally, NEW BSH RADIO: [BSH]





[#] Wed Mar 29 2017 09:30:01 EDT from rss

Subject: The best photos from the Flyers shootout win against the Senators

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March 28, 2017: Philadelphia Flyers vs. Ottawa Senators featured photo gallery

Scroll through Kate Frese’s best photos from the Philadelphia Flyers’ shootout win against the Ottawa Senators last night. To see the rest of the photos CLICK HERE.





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