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[#] Wed Apr 12 2017 18:33:38 EDT from rss

Subject: Blue Jackets narrowly beat

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Miss you, Bob.

We ran a poll on the site yesterday listing all of the playoff bandwagon options for Flyers fans in these 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and over 1,000 of you responded. Thanks for that! Very nice of you to do so.

We, of course, left the Washington Capitals, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins out of the poll because we are not godless. We filled those spots with “lol no”, “not a damn chance” and “absolutely the f*** not”, respectively.

So, who are we rooting for? Oddly enough, it’s a divisional team that came out ahead, with the Columbus Blue Jackets grabbing 15 percent of the vote. I guess we feel bad for all their misery over the years, or maybe we’re just rooting for them to beat Pittsburgh. Or maybe we really miss Sergei Bobrovsky and Scott Hartnell.

‘Absolutely the f*** not’ came in second, with 12 percent of the vote. The San Jose Sharks took the top spot among Western Conference teams with 10 percent of the overall vote, and the Toronto Maple Leafs and Minnesota Wild were close behind.

Full results!





[#] Wed Apr 12 2017 22:57:14 EDT from rss

Subject: The Lehigh Valley Phantoms have clinched a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs!

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The Phantoms reach the playoffs for the first time since 2008-09.

After beating the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins tonight, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms have made the Calder Cup Playoffs.

It was a long time coming; 2008-09 was the last time they made the playoffs. Since that season, an era of sub-0.500 play wreaked the the top farm team of the Philadelphia Flyers, with their best year being the 2011-12 season (they had a .513 winning percentage then).

This also marks the first time the Lehigh Valley will see playoff hockey in the Phantoms’ third season of playing in Allentown. Before then, they played five seasons in the Adirondacks (Glenn Falls, NY, to be exact). The last time they made the playoffs was also the last year they played in Philadelphia.

Basically, they’ve been very bad.

In a year without Flyers playoff hockey, this is a redeeming feeling. The future is coming, and it’s coming very quickly. The Scott Gordon-led team has already seen a 22-point improvement over last year, and that is at least partially due to players coming through the pipeline for the Flyers.

They currently sit in second place in the Atlantic Division, and unless any craziness happens between now and their final game on Saturday night, they will be playing the Providence Bruins in the first round of the playoffs.

It’s absolutely thrilling to see this team reach the playoffs this year. While the Reading Royals have also clinched the playoffs, the Phantoms have always been the Flyers’ team. For the fans that have fond memories of watching the Philadelphia Phantoms win two Calder Cups in a span of eight years, this is your chance to see the Flyers of the future compete for another Calder Cup. They have a great chance as well; they have 11 players who are in double digits in goals, are led by a beautiful defense consisting of Samuel Morin, T.J. Brennan, Travis Sanheim, and Robert Hagg (to name a few), and have a fantastic goaltending duo of Alex Lyon and Anthony Stolarz (who unfortunately left the ice unable to put any weight on his left leg due to an injury suffered during the game tonight).

Playoffs start next week. Let’s see if the Valley can have a Calder Cup to their name. Go Phantoms.





[#] Thu Apr 13 2017 07:00:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Thursday Morning Fly By: Playoffs with no emotions are extra fun.

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

*Claude Giroux looks back on the Flyers season and looks forward to what comes next for the captain and his team. [Flyers]

*Okay this season was a lot of things, most of them bad, but calling it a "collapse" is seriously ridiculous. [Inquirer]

*Wayne Simmonds used this season to become more of a leader and that's pretty awesome. [CSN Philly]

*Michal Neuvirth thinks he can be just as good as Tuukka Rask. In related news, I think I can be just as pretty as Scarlet Johanssen. [Inquirer]

*We are saying goodbye to Nick Schultz and Michael Del Zotto. *cue that Green Day song* [CSN Philly]

*Heeeeey did you participate in our early-season predictions contest? Maybe you won! [BSH]

*Ron Hextall is being super cool and taking  Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds with him to Team Canada. [TSN]

*If you missed any of the exit interview shade that was being thrown all over the place, Meltzer has everything for you. [Hockeybuzz]

*DGB previewed the East earlier this week and got to the West just in time for the first round to be kicked off. [Vice Sports]

*The Flyers have some names on the best-selling jersey list, which is pretty cool. [Puck Daddy]

*Now the the first round is underway, everybody has their picks in. We've got picks from the folks at Puck Daddy, the pros over at ProHockeyTalk, and even our pals at SB Nation.

*Friedman's latest 30 Thoughts focuses on all the coaching changes going on lately. [Sportsnet]

*And finally, our team might not be in but there is nothing better than the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so let's enjoy them, fam. [Pensburgh]





[#] Thu Apr 13 2017 13:30:16 EDT from rss

Subject: Joe Mullen out as Flyers assistant coach

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The Philadelphia power play will be under new management starting in the 2017-18 season.

After a disappointing season that ended with the Philadelphia Flyers missing the playoffs for the third time in five years, the possibility of a coaching shakeup loomed. General manager Ron Hextall’s decision (in his current role of GM of Team Canada) to appoint Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol as assistant at the World Championships erased any lingering questions that the top man was on the chopping block in Philadelphia, but the three assistant coaches remained.

Today, we learned that one coach would not be retained — Joe Mullen.

Per the beat writers on site in Voorhees for Ron Hextall’s final media availability of the season, Mullen’s contract will not be extended, ruling him out as a possible assistant coach for the team in the 2017-18 season. Fellow assistants Ian Laperriere and Gord Murphy will return.

Mullen, who has been an assistant coach with the team since 2007, was in charge of the Flyers’ power play. Formerly one of the top-rated efficiency units in the NHL, the power play has ranked 14th and 11th in the league during the past two seasons. Apparently, that was not enough for Mullen to keep his job.

By advanced metrics, the Flyers’ power play in 2016-17 was actually one of the best shot and chance creation units in hockey. They ranked second in the NHL with 101.70 shot attempts per 60 minutes at 5-on-4, first in unblocked shot attempts and shots on goal per 60, and third in Expected Goals For per 60.

However, almost all of that damage was done by the still-lethal top unit. The second unit, on the other hand, struggled all season long. Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov and Sean Couturier all ranked in the bottom-ten among all regular NHL power play contributors in on-ice shot attempts per 60. Considering the fact that all three were key pieces of the second unit all year long, it helps to show how toothless the PP2 was in 2016-17. The new assistant coach’s main task should be to get that second unit moving into at least the realm of general competency, which would go a long way towards improving the efficiency of the power play as a whole.

The big surprise of the day was the fact that Laperriere avoided being fired. The penalty kill, which Laperriere oversees, ranked 19th in the league this season, and has not been an above average goal prevention unit since 2013-14, his first year running it. There was general surprise that Laperriere survived the awful performance of his penalty kill against the Capitals in the playoffs last year, so the fact that he again held on despite another underwhelming season understandably raises eyebrows.

In Laperriere’s defense, however, the PK did improve dramatically from a shot and chance prevention standpoint this year, even if the goal-based numbers didn’t show it. They ranked eighth in shot attempts against per 60 in the NHL, and seventh in Expected Goals Against per 60, as compared to 16th and 13th in 2015-16. The move to a more aggressive Czech Press-style defensive zone tactic did help in that regard, as did the successful decision to try Wayne Simmonds out on the PK.

However, the insistence upon using Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Chris VandeVelde and Andrew MacDonald as key cogs on the unit despite underwhelming on-ice performance was confusing, especially with players like Sean Couturier (long a fantastic penalty killer) and Radko Gudas pushed to the second unit. Nevertheless, Laperriere will return next season, and will try to yet again push the PK back to its old heights.

All statistics courtesy of Corsica.Hockey.





[#] Thu Apr 13 2017 15:13:17 EDT from rss

Subject: NHL free agency: The Philadelphia Flyers will be goalie shopping this summer

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Who will it be?

Ron Hextall spoke at his season-ending press conference on Thursday, and one thing was very clear: he’s signing a goalie this offseason, and Anthony Stolarz will not be thrust full-time into an NHL role.

Barring his selection by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft, Michal Neuvirth is going to be here next season. Steve Mason is a free agent, and it sure doesn’t seem like either side is eager to put pen to paper again.

Hextall apparently doesn’t think Stolarz is ready, and if you look at his full season in the AHL, that’s not shocking. Despite playing on one of the league’s best teams, Stolarz still had just a .911 save percentage in his 29 games played at the AHL level. That’s good for 20th in the league among goaltenders with more than 1,440 minutes played this season, and it’s not even as good as teammate Alex Lyon, who had a .914 save percentage in 46 games played.

Stolarz is obviously ahead of Lyon on the depth chart, and he looked good in his limited NHL time this season. But throwing him onto the Flyers roster — particularly with Neuvirth, who was frankly one of the worst goalies in the NHL this year — is not an ideal situation. Can’t blame Hextall for looking outside here.

So who is going to be the second goalie, then?

As Charlie notes, this is really good news, and it probably rules out several options. Below is a list of every free agent goaltender this offseason, via CapFriendly.com. Let’s get into it.

Ben Bishop is probably the big name off the list. The 30 year old is likely going to command a long-term deal and the biggest money on the goalie market this summer. Jonathan Bernier is in that bucket as well.

Ryan Miller will probably get cash but not term since he’s 36 years old. Jonathan Bernier could get term as well. Ondrej Pavelec is bad. Brian Elliott is meh.

Names on the list that are interesting include Anders Nilsson, who put up a .923 while standing behind the friggin’ Buffalo Sabres. He only made $1 million last year, is 27, and will probably not cost too much more than that on a new deal. Scott Darling of the Chicago Blackhawks is there in the same boat as well. He made just $587,500 against the cap last season and is just 28 years old, the same as Mason. Keith Kinkaid of the Devils is perhaps a guy the Flyers take a swing at as well.

Of course, if the Flyers strike out on all of the above and Mason can’t find what he’s looking for elsewhere ... maybe they come back to an awkward reunion on July 10 or something. Crazier things have happened.





[#] Fri Apr 14 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Friday Morning Fly By: Oh you're working today? Sucks to be you.

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

*Big news to come out of Ron Hextall and Dave Hakstol's press conference was that the Flyers power play coach, Joe Mullen, has been let go. Curious. [BSH]

*Ron also says we're getting a new goalie. Maybe? Possibly. [BSH]

*Here's Ron at that conference, talking about his disappointment. [Flyers]

*Here's hoping that next year, with a young core of defensemen, this team will find some kind of identity. [Inquirer]

*Sean Couturier doesn't get enough respect around here. By here, I mean, like...anywhere. [Inquirer]

*The real question, that won't get answered until well into next season, is "are the Flyers good enough?" [Daily News]

*Former NHL players have an elevated rate of psychiatric disorders, which...is not great. And pretty sad, actually. [TSN]

*The Golden Knights have found themselves a head coach. Mazel. [NHL.com]

*Folks, it is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that the nerds are at it again. [FiveThirtyEight]

*Are you also hopping onto the super fun Maple Leafs bandwagon?? Here's some stuff you need to know. [Pension Plan Puppets]





[#] Fri Apr 14 2017 10:30:01 EDT from rss

Subject: BSH Over-Under Game 2016-17: Revisiting our (bad) preseason predictions

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Back before the season began, we here at BSH made some predictions about this season. They didn’t go very well!

Remember October? Back when we were all naive and thought that this Flyers season would be good rather than miserable? The good old days, as you may know them.

Well! Back then, right before the season began, we here at BSH took our chances at guessing over or under on 20 Flyers-related questions as they pertained to this season. The reasons for our answers at the time can be found here and here. Anywho, with the season over, it’s now time for us to go back and see just how we did.

You may be shocked to hear that, since we were all pretty optimistic about a season that did not go well, we didn’t do a great job on these! Still, follow along to see how we fared.

***

1. 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?

Who took the over: Everyone
Who took the under: No one
The outcome: Under. Giroux ended the year with 58 points in 82 games.

It's hard to deny that Claude Giroux just wasn't at the level this year that Flyers fans grew used to during the prime of his career, and his struggles scoring at even strength were particularly alarming. Giroux was excellent on the power play as he always is, but even with that bump, he missed this mark by double-digits despite playing in all 82 games. If you're an optimist, you can write some of that dip in production off to his recovering from offseason hip surgery, but in any case, it's tough to know what the Flyers can expect from their No. 1 center next year.

2. 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.

Who took the over: Andrew, Brent, Kyle, Travis
Who took the under: Al, Allison, Charlie, Joe, Kelly, Kurt
The outcome: Under. Gostisbehere finished the season with 39 points in 76 games.

A year after it seemed like everything he touched turned to gold, Shayne Gostisbehere found himself on the far opposite end of the spectrum this year when it came to luck on the ice. A late run made his overall numbers look decent, but early-season struggles of sorts put this one out of reach by around the halfway mark of the season. There was still a lot to like about Ghost's year, though, and there's reason to think things will go well for him next year.

3. 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?

Who took the over: Al, Allison, Andrew, Charlie, Joe, Kelly, Kurt, Kyle, Travis
Who took the under: Brent
The outcome: Under. Couturier finished with 34 points in 66 games, which would have been a 42-point pace in 82 games.

For the second straight year, the injury bug hit the Flyers' nominal second-line center, as a leg injury in November took Couturier out for a month and essentially pulled this one all the way out of reach for him. On top of that, Couturier's per-game scoring rates did take a bit of a hit this year — even playing a full season, he'd have fallen a few points short of that 50-point mark unless he'd picked up the pace a bit. The big culprit here (beyond injuries) was Couturier's relative uselessness on the power play; his 5-on-5 scoring numbers were downright respectable (good, even!), but his totally ineffectual performance with the man-advantage took this out of reach for him. With the reinforcements the Flyers have coming next year, you wonder if the team should just take him off of the power play entirely in order to save his minutes for even strength and the penalty kill, where he excels most.

4. 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.)

Who took the over: Andrew, Brent, Charlie, Kyle, Travis
Who took the under: Al, Allison, Joe, Kelly, Kurt
The outcome: Over. Schenn had 55 points this year, playing in every game after his suspension.

In a lot of ways, Schenn was more or less the same player this season that he had been in 2015-16. His overall 5-on-5 performance wasn't particularly inspiring (though it improved significantly as the year went on), but in the high slot on the to power play unit, Schenn was as effective as ever, scoring a league-leading — you read that correctly! — 17 power-play goals this year. Reasonable minds can quibble about what Schenn's role should be on the team and how impactful he is on the whole, but it's impossible to deny that the 25-year old has produced for the Flyers in recent years.

5. 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.

Who took the over: Allison, Andrew, Joe, Kelly, Kurt, Kyle, Travis
Who took the under: Al, Brent, Charlie
The outcome: Over. Provorov finished the year with 21:59 of ice time per game.

You can at least in part thank the down-year by Gostisbehere and the lack of game-changing talent elsewhere on defense for this one, but it became fairly clear by around Thanksgiving that Ivan Provorov was the most talented defenseman on the Flyers' roster, and Dave Hakstol played him as such. 19/20-year-old rookies rarely play as much as Provorov did this year, and you would think he'll be playing at least that much going forward even as the Flyers bolster their defense corps in the coming seasons. He's good at this whole hockey thing, is what I'm getting at here. Enjoy it.

6. 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.)

Who took the over: Al, Allison, Andrew, Charlie, Joe, Kelly, Kurt, Travis
Who took the under: Brent, Kyle
The outcome: Under. Provorov’s season-ending Corsi For % on corsica.hockey was 49.23 percent.

And yet, despite Ivan Provorov being good at this whole hockey thing, there's essentially one reason why the over didn't hit on this one, and it ... hold that thought.

7. 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.)

Who took the over: Allison, Andrew, Brent, Charlie, Joe, Kelly, Kyle, Travis
Who took the under: Al, Kurt
The outcome: Over. MacDonald played in 73 games this year.

That's the one! A year after being buried in the AHL for two-thirds of the season, Andrew MacDonald was one of Dave Hakstol's most trusted defenseman from mid-November on, only getting healthy-scratched a few times in October and November and otherwise being a lineup mainstay. It seems pretty clear that the Flyers saw something different in MacDonald this year than they had in 2014-15 and in early 2015-16, and the fact that they paired him with Provorov (again, the team's best defenseman) shows the belief they had in him. Now, whether or not the Flyers should have that kind of confidence in the Nova Scotia native ... well, we've got a whole summer to talk about that.

8. 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.

Who took the over: Al, Brent, Kelly, Kurt, Kyle
Who took the under: Allison, Andrew, Charlie, Joe, Travis
The outcome: Over. Mason played in 58 games this year, 54 of which were starts.

Despite his having a markedly worse season than he did last year (and in every other year he's played in a Flyers uniform), Mason ended the year having played more games than he did in 2015-16, clearing the 50-game bar that we set for him. Mason's season was a disappointment by any measure, and the fact that the team signed Michal Neuvirth and not him at the trade deadline (coupled with some of Mason's comments after the season ended) make it seem fairly likely that he won't be back with the Flyers next year. Yet, despite that, Hakstol wasn't afraid to lean on him this season. Makes you think, doesn't it?

9. 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?

Who took the over: Al, Allison, Brent, Joe, Kelly, Kurt, Travis
Who took the under: Andrew, Charlie, Kyle
The outcome: Over. Simmonds had 16 power play goals this season.

Not only did Simmonds beat his career average, he set a career-high in power play goals this season. And every one of them was as greasy as a cheesesteak at Steve's. Wayne Simmonds is truly the light in so many of our lives.

10. 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.)

Who took the over: Al, Allison, Brent, Joe, Kelly, Kyle, Travis
Who took the under: Andrew, Charlie, Kurt
The outcome: Under. Sanheim didn’t play at all with the Flyers this season, while Morin didn’t make it up until April 4.

Despite some preseason hype, as well as a lot of in-season noise for both of them, neither Morin nor Sanheim got an extended look with the big club this season, and neither one had a chance to make an impact early in the year. It seems likely that they'll both have a realistic chance of making the big club next year, but there will definitely be competition for the two spots on the team's blue line that figure to be up for grabs.

11. 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.

Who took the over: Al, Allison, Andrew, Charlie, Joe, Kelly, Travis
Who took the under: Brent, Kurt, Kyle
The outcome: Under. The Flyers’ season-ending score-adjusted Fenwick percentage was 50.97 percent, just missing the mark.

By the skin of their teeth (incredibly, this would have swung the other way if the Flyers had picked up two more shots and allowed two fewer), the Flyers managed to just miss out on the benchmark we set for them here, after spending a good part of the season above it. It seemed like later on in the season, the Flyers were trading shot quantity for shot quality, in a tactical change that was probably for the best even if it hurt this particular number. Personnel is obviously crucial to what you can do systemically, but it should be interesting to see what kind of a style the Flyers try to play in the offensive zone next year — and how they fare defensively with what should be new players.

12. 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?

Who took the over: Everyone
Who took the under: No one
The outcome: Under. The Flyers’ PP ended the year at 19.49% and the PK at 79.76%, for a combined percentage of 99.25% on the season.

The Flyers’ power play slightly improved from last season, while the penalty kill dropped off a bit. By most measures, though, it was an underwhelming season for the Flyers’ special teams, which matters on a team like this that can be lacking in 5-on-5 offense a bit. Some day we’ll have a second power play unit that’s capable of doing things. Some day...

13. 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.

Who took the over: Allison, Andrew, Brent, Charlie, Kelly, Kyle
Who took the under: Al, Joe, Kurt, Travis
The outcome: Under. The Flyers’ team-level save percentage this season was .905, which is not good (for reference, league-average save percentage this year was .913).

We should've just known it, right? That the moment we were confident and excited about our team's goaltending situation, the team's two NHL goalies would both turn in a clunker of a season? We're Flyers fans. This is what happens to us. Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth were both varying degrees of below-average for the vast majority of this season, and you could pretty reasonably argue that that's among the biggest reasons the Flyers are watching hockey right now instead of playing it.

14. 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.

Who took the over: Brent, Joe, Kyle
Who took the under: Al, Allison, Andrew, Charlie, Kelly, Kurt, Travis
The outcome: Under. Flyers defensemen finished the season with 35 goals.

They came reasonably close here, with five different defensemen picking up at least five goals. But Gostisbehere's cold streak and generally underwhelming performances by a number of other guys put the team just a bit short here. Given the talent coming up, though, it wouldn't be surprising to see this be the last year for a while in which the Flyers are under this mark.

15. 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?

Who took the over: Al, Allison, Joe, Kelly, Kurt, Travis
Who took the under: Andrew, Brent, Charlie, Kyle
The outcome: Under. Four points against the Pens, three against the Capitals. (That’s seven!)

See this one sucks because the Flyers actually played the Penguins really well this year! Even in their two losses — one at home in October, one in the Stadium Series game — the Flyers played a pretty strong all-around game and came home empty-handed largely because of a couple of untimely breakdowns, bad goaltending, and bad luck. And if one of those losses is a win, we're looking at a different outcome here. Blah. (Washington is really good, though. Flyers seemed pretty regularly outclassed by them.)

16. 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.

Who took the over: Al, Allison, Brent, Joe, Kelly, Kyle
Who took the under: Andrew, Charlie, Kurt, Travis
The outcome: Under. The Flyers had a record of 7-5 this year in shootouts.

In some ways, it makes complete sense that in a season where nearly everything that could go wrong did go wrong, the Flyers finally have a year in which they finish with a winning record in shootouts. In fact, the Flyers had the second-most shootout wins of any team in the league this year. The most interesting part here is that you can mostly thank the goalies for this turnaround — because they'd had brutal career shootout records before this year, only to perform well in the skills competition this season. This is probably not a big sign of things to come, given how random shootouts really are, but who the hell knows.

17. 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?

Who took the over: Brent, Charlie, Kurt, Travis
Who took the under: Al, Allison, Andrew, Joe, Kelly, Kyle
The outcome: Over. “But wait,” you say. “Didn’t the Flyers only have one trade this season?” WRONG! Ron Hextall traded Petr Straka to the Devils back in November. Backdoor cover!

I really should have just said "1.5 NHL trades", because I feel like the fact that the Straka trade put this over the top is a little unfair. Oh well, I don't make the rules. (This is a lie; I actually did make the rules for this competition, but I will stick to the exact wording of the question.) On a more serious level, should Hextall have made more than one meaningful trade this season? Should they have tried to sell another piece? Tried to make a big move for a possible core piece? In his time with the Flyers, Hextall has been pretty conservative in the trade market outside of his moves to sell off salary. We'll see if that changes as the Flyers (hopefully) get better and some of their good young players develop into exciting pieces.

18. 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.)

Who took the over: Al, Allison, Andrew, Charlie, Joe, Kelly, Kurt
Who took the under: Brent, Kyle, Travis
The outcome: Over. As you know, Michal Neuvirth signed a new contract on the day of the trade deadline.

No, I can't explain why Michal Neuvirth only started three games in the time between his contract extension and his season-ending injury against New Jersey. No, I can't explain how and why the Flyers are so willing to lean on Steve Mason as the season unfolds, only to show limited interest in bringing him back. Everything about this situation confuses me. I have a lot of questions. But yes, the Flyers did re-sign a goalie. The only question that remains is what exactly his role is expected to be next year. (And don't you dare tell me it's "to play for the Vegas Golden Knights".)

19. 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.

Who took the over: Al, Allison, Andrew, Brent, Joe, Kelly, Kyle, Travis
Who took the under: Charlie, Kurt
The outcome: Under. Did you hear? The Flyers missed the playoffs.

Remember when we were all optimistic about the Flyers and stuff?

20. 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.

Who took the over: Everyone
Who took the under: No one
The outcome: Under. The Flyers finished the season with 88 points.

Fuck this season, man.

***

With that, your winner is ...

... oh hey it’s me! Wow! Some other notes:

  • For the second straight year, every time our staff unanimously agreed on a question, we ended up being wrong.
  • We as a writing staff averaged 7.9 correct answers out of a possible 20. Thank you for reading and listening to our hockey opinions for some reason.

Thanks for reading. We’ll try and do better next year. You try and do the same, the Flyers.





[#] Fri Apr 14 2017 13:31:02 EDT from rss

Subject: 2017 AHL Playoffs: The Phantoms clinched but still have something to play for this weekend

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Home ice is on the line.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms clinched their first playoff berth since 2009 this week, but with two games left on the regular season calendar this weekend, there’s definitely still a lot to play for. Home ice. First round opponent. What will it be?

The Phantoms will close out their season with games Friday against Providence at home and Saturday on the road against Binghamton. Here’s what the standings look like entering the final weekend:

They can’t reach the Penguins, who have already clinched the top spot in the Atlantic Division. They also can’t drop below third place in the division, because they have clinched a better points percentage than the Hershey Bears, who currently sit in fourth.

But they are still playing for home ice advantage against any of three possible playoff opponents: Hershey, the Providence Bruins or the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Tonight’s game against Providence is the most-likely of playoff previews. The Phantoms are 3-2-0-0 against the Bruins this season, but it’s been a bit of a back-and-forth. Lehigh Valley beat them 7-1 on December 17, for example ... and then Providence returned the favor with a 9-1 win on January 21. The last meeting between the two teams came on March 5 when the B’s won 7-3.

Needless to say, this would be a drag out fight should these teams meet in the playoffs. Any series in these Atlantic Division playoffs will be, however.

The Phantoms went 7-4-1 in 12 games against the Hershey Bears, and that’s probably the most advantageous matchup for the team if we are basing it off of the regular season results. Against Bridgeport, Lehigh Valley went 3-4-0-0 on the season.

It’s important to note that in the case of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Providence and Hershey, all three teams could be depleted by their NHL clubs, which are still in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Bridgeport is the only other potential Atlantic Division opponent with reinforcements from the NHL giving them a boost — in their specific case, Josh Ho-Sang and a few others from the Islanders are in the mix for their playoff run, should the Sound Tigers clinch a spot this weekend.

The Phantoms just need a regulation win tonight or tomorrow to clinch home ice, and then we’ll see what happens from there. The playoffs will likely start either Wednesday or Friday.





[#] Fri Apr 14 2017 13:19:42 EDT from rss

Subject: Inside insight on what it's like to be in a scouting department leading up to the NFL Draft

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The newest edition of BGN Radio is here! (Episode #233). In this episode, we talk about the 2017 NFL Draft, Dalvin Cook, Leonard Fournette, and much more.





[#] Fri Apr 14 2017 12:30:47 EDT from rss

Subject: 2017 NFL schedule release is coming soon

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Get ready for meaningless record predictions!

The 2017 NFL schedule is expected to be announced next week on Thursday, April 20. Detroit Lions president Rod Wood revealed as much last night. If that date holds, this year’s schedule will be released exactly one week before the 2017 NFL Draft.

The NFL already announced the league’s preseason schedule earlier this week. Here’s a look at who the Eagles will play.

Week 1 - Away at Green Bay Packers

Week 2 - Home versus Buffalo Bills

Week 3 - Home versus Miami Dolphins

Week 4 - Away at New York Jets

We also already know which teams the Eagles will play this season. We just don’t know the order yet. Here’s a look at Philadelphia’s 2017 opponents.

HOME

Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, Chicago Bears

AWAY

Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Carolina Panthers

Bleeding Green Nation will have full coverage of the schedule release next week, including some all-important and yet entirely meaningless record predictions! (Spoiler alert: Eagles going 19-0.)





[#] Fri Apr 14 2017 12:08:51 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Free Agency Rumors: Eagles showed interest in Jared Odrick

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More DL help?

The Philadelphia Eagles are one of multiple teams who have shown interest in free agent defensive lineman Jared Odrick this offseason, according to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan.

It’s unclear if the Eagles are still interested in Odrick. One would think they wouldn’t be after swapping third round picks with the Baltimore Ravens in order to acquire Timmy Jernigan in a trade.

Then again, the Eagles could have a need for more defensive line depth after Beau Allen suffered a chest/pectoral injury last week. Allen reportedly had successful surgery this week and is expected to be out until September at least. It’s not guaranteed he’ll be back by Week 1.

ESPN reports Odrick, 29, could sign with the Giants as New York looks to replace Johnathan Hankins. The G-Men lost their young, talented starting defensive tackle when Hankins signed a lucrative deal with the Colts on Thursday.

Even if the Eagles don’t end up signing Odrick, this report is something to keep in mind for the future.





[#] Fri Apr 14 2017 11:36:03 EDT from rss

Subject: Dean Blandino, suspected Cowboys fan, resigns as NFL head of officiating

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Bad news (for Dallas).

The NFL announced some truly great news on Friday morning. NFL senior vice president of officiating, Dean Blandino, has resigned from his position with the league in order to take a television job.

Why is this news so great? Well, Blandino is suspected to be a Dallas Cowboys fan. He was once spotted partying on a Cowboys party bus. He also celebrated a Dez Bryant touchdown during last year’s first Eagles-Cowboys game.

Making matters even more concerning was that the NFL changed their replay system this offseason to give Blandino final say on every single review. No longer will officials at the game have that kind of power. But now Blandino is gone.

Cowboys thing aside, it’s not like Blandino was thought to be the best at his job anyway. One can only wonder if this “resignation” was more of a forced exit. In any case, hopefully the NFL makes a good hire to replace him.

Some might be disappointed that they’ll have to hear Blandino when watching football on TV now, but he seems a lot less harmless in that role than his previous one.





[#] Fri Apr 14 2017 11:21:06 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Draft Rankings 2017: Top 13 Linebackers

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The Eagles had two of the better linebackers in the league last season with Jordan Hicks manning the inside and Nigel Bradham having an outstanding season at outside linebacker. Their third guy, Mychal Kendricks has been an enigma his whole career and barely saw the field this season, rarely making an impact when he did. While the Eagles may be happy to stay in two linebacker sets most of the time anyway, they would be smart to address the position this draft. Hicks is going to be in Philadelphia a long time, but Kendricks is in a constant state of almost being traded and Bradham is on the last year of the deal. This linebacker class has some intriguing players from top to bottom, so the Eagles could find nice options on each day.

2016 Stats Provided CFB Stats

13. Alex Anzalone, Florida, 53 Tackles, 4 TFLs, 3 Sacks, 2 PBUs, 6 Hurries: Alex Anzalone would be much higher if he had been healthy during his time at Florida. His career was marred by injuries and he had issues developing into a complete linebacker. Anzalone is a great athlete and that flashes in coverage, blitzing and against the run, but he is also wildly inconsistent. Anzalone has a high ceiling, but injuries and inconsistency could keep him from it.

12. Blair Brown, Ohio, 128 Tackles, 15 TFLs, 4.5 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble: Blair Brown is one of the more underrated players in this class. He is a bit undersized, but he is an intelligent athlete who moves well in coverage and comes downhill against the run. He might have issues in the NFL as a consistent run defender due to his lack of length, but possibly as a weak side linebacker he could use his speed and smarts to make an impact for a defense.

11. Ryan Anderson, Alabama, 61 Tackles, 19 TFLs, 9 Sacks, 3 PBUs, 10 Hurries, 4 FFs, 1 Interception: Ryan Anderson was an effective edge rusher for the Crimson Tide but his role in the NFL is likely off ball. Anderson is not the best athlete, but he is a very savvy and physical player whose skill set would best be suited playing strong side linebacker.

10. Anthony Walker, Northwestern, 105 Tackles, 10 TFLs, 2 Sacks, 5 PBUs, 6 Hurries, 4 FFs, 1 Interception: Walker brings a lot to the table in terms of athletic ability and dependability as a coverage linebacker. He can get very aggressive attacking the run and, as a smaller linebacker, that can come with consequences. Walker absolutely has a chance to start in the NFL with his speed and coverage skills. It will just be a matter of becoming more consistent against the run.

9. Duke Riley, LSU, 93 Tackles, 9 TFLs, 1.5 Sacks, 1 PBU, 3 Hurries, 1 Interception: Duke Riley really took off in his senior season after a few quiet years in Baton Rouge. The athletic linebacker has really impressive moments, especially in coverage, but as a smaller backer, he tends to get completely washed away in the run game. He tries to use his speed to win downhill but often guessing wrong will take him out of position and then he will get totally blocked out of the play. He needs to play smarter in order to truly put his athletic ability to use.

8. Vince Biegel, Wisconsin, 44 Tackles, 6 TFLs, 4 Sacks, 1 PBU, 7 Hurries, 1 FF: Biegel flew under the radar this season due to playing with TJ Watt, but Biegel is very solid player in his own rite. Biegel rushed the passer a lot for Wisconsin, but he is best suited playing off the ball in the NFL. He is an athletic, smart linebacker with good size and physicality. He would be best playing strong side in the NFL where he could fight through trash to make plays and sometimes function as a pass rusher in some schemes.

7. Kendell Beckwith, LSU, 91 Tackles, 6 TFLs, 1 Sack, 4 PBUs, 1 Hurry: Kendell Beckwith is not a flashy, super athletic linebacker but he is very solid football player. Beckwith is not only well built with ideal arm length, he also is very strong and intelligent. Beckwith spent a lot of time during his career playing on the edge which helped improve his ability to fight through blocks to make a play. Beckwith is a very steady player who may never be a dynamic playmaker, but will never be a liability on a defense.

6. Tyus Bowser, Houston, 47 Tacles, 12 TFLs, 8.5 Sacks, 3 PBUs, 9 Hurries, 1 FF: Tyus Bowser is among the more exciting and intriguing players in this class. Bowser was a very apt pass rusher at Houston but also showed a diverse skill set that would suggest he would be most effective playing off ball in the NFL. Bowser moves smoothly in coverage and has no problem fighting through contact to stop the run. He still needs to find some overall consistency, but there is no doubt he could be a dynamic chess piece in the NFL and the talk seems to be about him potentially being a first round pick.

5. Jarrad Davis, Florida, 60 Tackles, 6 TFLs, 2 Sacks, 4 PBUs, 5 Hurries: For a while, Davis has been one of my favorite players in this class. Davis is an undersized linebacker, but he is a very athletic one who plays like his hair is on fire. His speed, tenacity and physicality can yield some truly beautiful plays in coverage, against the run and as a blitzer. His aggressiveness can get him into trouble a bit too often to have him ranked higher, but he is an exciting player with high potential.

4. Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State, 102 Tackles, 7 TFLs, 2 Sacks, 4 PBUs, 2 Hurries, 2 FFs: Raekwon McMillan might as well be called clockwork because of how dependable he is. As a run defender and coverage linebacker, McMillan is steady; using a blend of intelligence, , physicality and athleticism to impact plays. He is not a flashy player, but one who will have a long and productive career in the NFL.

3. Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt, 125 Tackles, 12.5 TFLs, 3 PBUs, 1 Hurry, 2 FFs: Zach Cunningham is probably the best, most consistent run defender in this class. Cunningham isn't the most well built or the most athletic, but he is incredibly intelligent and very physical, making him an excellent sideline to sideline run defender who can also punish backs in a phone booth. Cunningham is steady enough in coverage where he can be on the field for all three downs and he will bring a very solid presence to an NFL defense and provide a big boost in run defense.

2. Haason Reddick, Temple, 65 Tackles, 22.5 TFLs, 10.5 Sacks, 3 PBUs, 3 Hurries, 3 FFs: Haason Reddick has been a long time staple on Temple's defense as a pass rusher. Even though he is undersized, Reddick plays every snap like he's the Tasmanian Devil and just annihilates most blockers in his way. His size may put him at a greater disadvantage in the NFL which is why moving him off ball could maximize his athletic skill set a la Anthony Barr a few years ago. Reddick is a tremendously good athlete and also very physical. He showed in brief flashes and during the All-Star circuit that he is comfortable in his drops, showing a possibly smooth transition to a full time off ball player. Reddick will provide a chess piece on defense that can cover, come against the run, blitz and put his hand on the ground. In a relatively deep class, Reddick stands out not just because of the player he is now, but his immensely high ceiling.

1. Reuben Foster, Alabama, 115 Tackles, 5 TFLs, 2 PBUs, 8 Hurries: Foster would probably be the best player in this class if it were not for some guy named Myles Garrett. Foster was the staple on the Alabama defense and despite being a bit smaller, his size never was a problem for him. Foster is not only a special athlete at the linebacker position, but he plays with incredibly ferocity and high level instincts. His ability to play the run is devastating for offenses and he hits hard enough to send ball carriers into a mid-life crisis. Foster's speed also becomes an asset when he is blitzing and in coverage where he moves effortlessly. Foster is a truly complete defender who could play any linebacker position at a high level in the NFL. Off-ball linebackers rarely go top 10 in the draft, but Foster's talent certainly warrants a high selection.





[#] Fri Apr 14 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles News: Philadelphia gave Carson Wentz two instructions this offseason

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 4/14/17.

Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

Sophomore Spurt or Slump? - The MMQB
Goff played 393 snaps and threw 205 balls as a rookie. Lynch played 176 snaps and threw 83 passes. By comparison, Wentz played 1,127 snaps (second most among all NFL QBs in 2016) and threw 607 balls. The Eagles rookie started hot, had to deal with defensive coaches getting tape and building a book on him, leveled off, and then continued to grow. Naturally, we know more about Wentz. For obvious reasons, there’s more optimism on Wentz nationally than the other two. But that doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of work to be done. The Eagles sent him off in January with two directives, as I understand them. One, he needed to rest a worn out throwing elbow. Two, he was to drill his lower body mechanics, in an effort to play and throw with more balance.

ESPN suggests three players for the Eagles to target in the 2017 NFL Draft - BGN
Still, I like the idea of Jackson as a second round selection. He’s athletic and he has good ball skills. And even if he totally busts at corner, which hopefully isn’t the case, at least the Eagles will have a good returner. That’s an area of need, too, with Josh Huff gone and Darren Sproles set to retire after this season. Perhaps the Eagles could even give Jackson some offensive snaps if he busts on defense.

Upon Further Review: Episode 2 - Who Is Bill Bergey? - BGNRadio.com
Vince Quinn is back in Episode 2 of Upon Further Review to go over the career of Bill Bergery. What made him an Eagles icon? How did he wind up in Philly? Why was he so important for the Eagles in the 70s & the 1980 Super Bowl run? Vince answers all of these questions and more!

How many quarterbacks could be selected before the Eagles' pick at 14? - PhillyVoice
Eight of the 12 teams drafting ahead of the Eagles could reasonably take a quarterback in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In the NFL, you either have a quarterback, or you don't. If you don't you have no shot at contending for a Super Bowl unless you have some kind of historic defense like the 2000 Ravens or the 2002 Buccaneers. That's why you see so many teams (rightfully) reach for quarterbacks in the draft.

The Eagles Need to Trade Jordan Matthews on Draft Night - Philly Football Talk
We would see the best J Matt as the third option on this football team, but the problem with that, and the threat of him going off, is that the Eagles are going to have to pay the man after this season and I don’t want to live in a world where Matthews is getting $40 million to be a receiver on this team. And save me your Alshon Jeffery takes. That guy is here for the long term barring a career threatening injury. He signed here to grow WITH Wentz and help him develop into an MVP candidate, not leave the best QB situation he’s been in during his career. So yes, he’s only signed here for one year, but if he puts up a typical Alshon year, than you are looking at giving him around $60 million.

Lawlor's Favorite Draft Prospects: Defense - PE.com
We know the Eagles need help at cornerback. In an ideal world, they will get their guy in the first round. Things don't always work that way so it is a good thing that this corner group is very deep. It is possible Marlon Humphrey could still be on the board in the second round. His combination of size, speed, and toughness could make the Eagles love him. Adoree Jackson is a player who draws mixed reviews. Some teams love him, others don't. I could see Jim Schwartz liking him. Jackson is a gifted athlete, and he plays with a lot of confidence and emotion. He picked off five passes in 2016 and is a major threat when he has the ball in his hands.

Biggest draft bust ever for all 32 NFL teams - ESPN
OT Kevin Allen | No. 9 overall, 1985 - Former coach Buddy Ryan was quoted as saying the only way Allen could be useful is "if you want someone to stand around and kill the grass." Allen played just one rocky season in the pros. He tested positive for cocaine after reporting to training camp in 1986 and was released in October. Not long after, Allen was charged with rape and later pleaded guilty to sexual assault.

Eagles draft targets at No. 14: Ohio State CB Gareon Conley - CSN Philly
While Gareon Conley's stock is said to be rising as the 2017 NFL Draft approaches, the Eagles might not like what they see in one key area -- run support. A two-year starter for the Buckeyes, Conley backed up his quality tape and solid numbers with a strong performance at the combine, likely cementing himself as a first-round pick in the process. He has the size and speed to match up against and run with receivers on the perimeter, and allowed a meager 37-percent completion rate in college, according to Lance Zierlein for NFL.com. There's no mystery behind Conley's rise. It’s just draft experts catching up to what scouts and executives already saw.

Dream fantasy football fits for top 2017 NFL Draft RBs - NFL.com
If Cook's draft stock suffers from a subpar NFL Scouting Combine performance, a team like the Eagles (and by proxy, fantasy owners) could truly benefit. While Cook's athletic profile is worrisome, his tape and college production are highly encouraging. A dual-threat who is smooth in the open field, Cooks has drawn a wide range of pro comparisons, including Jamaal Charles. The Charles comp makes sense, as does pairing Cook to the Philadelphia Eagles where he could be the featured back in Doug Pederson's offense (Charles' former offensive coordinator). The Eagles backfield right now is led by the oft-injured Ryan Mathews, the soon-to-be 34-year-old Darren Sproles, and second-year Wendell Smallwood. Cook arriving in Philadelphia would hurt the fantasy stock of each member of that bunch, but with plugged-in beat reporters already theorizing Mathews could be a salary cap casualty, drafting Cook makes more sense. Cook's ability to handle a featured back workload would jell with Pederson's past running back usage, and Cook would give Carson Wentz a reliable ground game to take the pressure off his arm to carry the offense. Any way you cut it, this would be a great fantasy fit.

Eagles draft prospects: how good a fit is Christian McCaffrey? - Morning Call
He's such a superior athlete that he'll never need to be as strong as opponents who try to bring him down. This could be backed up by the nearly 7,000 all-purpose yards and 33 TDs he accumulated in just three seasons at Stanford. That's a staggering production measurable that has to have the mouths of Eagles coach Doug Pederson and executive VP of football operations Howie Roseman watering like Pavlov's Dog.

BREAKING: DT Johnathan Hankins to sign with Indianapolis Colts - Big Blue View
The Giants lose a starter from their dominant defense.

New York now looking to bring back NFL Draft, but Big Apple has plenty of competition - NY Daily News
The tradition of booing Roger Goodell at the draft started in 2011 at Radio City Music Hall during the NFL lockout and could return to New York as early as 2019. The booing went up a notch when the league took the draft on the road to Chicago the last two years and could reach new decibel levels and be off the charts in boo-happy Philadelphia in two weeks. The NFL has yet to announce where Goodell will be booed in 2018 – I mean the NFL has not yet announced where the 2018 draft will be held – but it won’t be back in New York.

Browns have a pair of 1st-round picks again and a chance to finally get it right - SB Nation
History reflects poorly on Cleveland’s selections when it has two Day 1 picks, but it’s not alone.

...

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[#] Thu Apr 13 2017 19:13:22 EDT from rss

Subject: Here are the 22 players attending the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia

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Here's a complete list of the 2017 NFL Draft attendees.

The 2017 NFL Draft is exactly two weeks away and now we know which players will (and won't) be attending this year's big event in Philadelphia. A total of 25 players are currently set to attend. Here's the full list:

S Jamal Adams, LSU
DT Jonathan Allen, Alabama
CB Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado
DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee
OT Garrett Bolles, Utah
CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State
WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan
RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
CB Adoree’ Jackson, USC
CB Kevin King, Washington
QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
DT Malik McDowell, Michigan State
LB Takkarist McKinley, UCLA
OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin
LB Haason Reddick, Temple
OT Cam Robinson, Alabama
WR John Ross, Washington
DE Solomon Thomas, Stanford
QB Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina
QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson
CB Tre’Davious White, LSU

Potential No. 1 pick Myles Garrett is notably absent. Also note that potential Eagles targets Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey aren’t on the list.

Of these 22 players, Adams, Conley, Davis, and Ross have reportedly met with the Eagles on official pre-draft visists in Philadelphia. For whatever that’s worth.

The Eagles drafted a player who attended the draft last year. His name is Carson Wentz. You may have heard of him.

Will the Eagles draft one of the attending players this year? There’s a decent chance. Philadelphia selects at No. 14 in the first round thanks to the Sam Bradford trade. And you can’t ever rule out a trade up (or down) with Howie Roseman around.

There are six corners on the list, so that’s always a possibility since it’s a huge need for Philadelphia. Defensive end has been rumored to be the direction the Eagles are going. Could it be Barnett? Does Thomas fall further than expected? Or how about one of the wide receivers going at No. 14?

Who do you think the Eagles will pick?





[#] Thu Apr 13 2017 18:48:20 EDT from rss

Subject: 2017 NFL Mock Draft: Tennessee Titans take JuJu Smith-Schuster

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With the No. 18 overall pick in the 2017 Bleeding Green Nation community mock draft, Tennessee Titans GM mchiodo selects ...

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC

[Ed. note: mchiodo was unable to submit his write-up due to something short notice that came up. Not enough time was given to find an alternate, so I'll do my best to briefly explain his pick.]

I know the idea of logo scouting doesn't make sense, but USC offensive skill players are typically really bad, man. Eagles fans need not look further than Nelson Agholor, who has scarred for me life.

With that said, the Titans, a team on the rise, could use some help at wide receiver. I'm always in favor of helping out young quarterbacks so why not get Marcus Mariota another weapon to work with.

Smith-Schuster put up some good production in college. The Trojan finished with 213 receptions for 3,092 yards and and 25 touchdowns.

2017 BGN Mock Draft Order

1) Browns (JALupowitz): Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
2) 49ers (sports00fan00): Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
3) Bears (gubby): Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
4) Jaguars (TheWhalwing): Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
5) Titans (drc242): Jamal Adams, S, LSU
6) Jets (boomorbust): Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
7) Chargers (NowWhat?): Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
8) Panthers (B-Potts): Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
9) Bengals (Kiko’s Delivery Service): Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
10) Bills (jimmyrustler): O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
11) Saints (NotSoSlick): Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
12) Browns (Straight Edge Sid): Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
13) Cardinals (Paulie97): Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
14) Eagles (ablesser88): Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
15) Colts (mconner96): Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
16) Ravens (The Man, The Myth, the Matthews!): Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
17) Washington (kbruneault): John Ross, WR, Washington
18) Titans (mchiodo): JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR USC
19) Buccaneers (ei78):
20) Broncos (NVEaglesShark):
21) Lions (Shark Fighter):
22) Dolphins (J. Wil):
23) Giants (BigWardy59):
24) Raiders (big DUB):
25) Texans (GotFunds):
26) Seahawks (Rogmcc23):
27) Chiefs (B1G Cat):
28) Cowboys (RegalEagle):
29) Packers (Wutang_):
30) Steelers (General_Lee12): 
31) Falcons (SirJon):
32) Saints (Huffs_cellmate):

Poll
Do you approve of this pick?

  287 votes | Results





[#] Fri Apr 14 2017 15:50:28 EDT from rss

Subject: This is what the Flyers would look like if they were an NFL team

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The football team, the Flyers

Graphic designer Jimmy Nutini has a beautiful new series where he made NFL uniforms in the style of every NHL team. They are absolutely incredible, and the attention to detail on his work is just fantastic.

Take, for example, his version of the Montreal Canadiens. The “CH” logo stands for “Canadiens” and “hockey”, respectively, and in his version, he’s changed the H to an F. You know, football.

 Jimmy Nutini
The Canadiens, if they were a football team.

If you look closely, he’s also made the “NHL” patch say “NFL,” and on the red version of his Canadiens look, he’s made it the French version, “LNF”.

The Flyers one is a disappointment to me though, honestly. I feel like it could use a little more black, or maybe a little less of the rounded shoulders. Or maybe, as FGSB points out, it’s because it makes us look like the goddamn Cleveland Browns.

 Jimmy Nutini

These are all slick as hell, though. Just amazing work here.





[#] Fri Apr 14 2017 23:15:55 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Mock Draft 2017: Jabrill Peppers picked by Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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With the No. 19 overall pick in the 2017 Bleeding Green Nation community mock draft, Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM ei78 selects ...

Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan

2016 Recap: The Buccaneers had a down then up season. They started the season 1-3 with a win then losses their next 3 games including a loss to the Rams at home and 2 blow outs. Things got better from their eventually winning 5 in a row in November-December and ended with a 9-7 record. They have the QB, now it is time to add talent to the roster.

Needs: RB, OT, S, WR, TE

Who it came down to and reason for passing:

-Dalvin Cook, RB FSU-Local product, Jamis Winston's former teammate has too many question marks after the combine and pro day.  The biggest being if he can hold up to the wear and tear of the NFL.  This reminds me of the Indianapolis Pacers dilemma in the 1987 NBA draft.  Fans wanted the team to draft local player, who lead IU to the national championship--Steve Alford, BUT the GM took a better option—Reggie Miller.  Let the GM, GM!

Ryan Ramczyk, OT Wisc.-Virtually the Carson Wentz of the NFL draft this year.  Started D-III and eventually transferred to Wisconsin.  Only played 1 year D-1 but he was dominant. In the end Ramczyk is too hard to spell and too inexperienced for me.

-Safety—THE PICK

-WR-Would have looked at Ross before Desean Jackson was signed.  BUT he was already drafted.  *Thanks to whoever picked Juju "NA" Schuster with the previous pick?  At least I will have a higher approval rating than someone

-David Njoku, TE Miami-He is also inexperienced, still splitting starts this past year.  He is an athletic freak but too raw for me to draft this early. Cameron Brate, and his 8 TD's in '16, has also established himself as one of Winston's security blanket along with Evans.

The Pick


ESPN College Football football college football michigan ncaa GIF
Jabrill Peppers, S Michigan

Positives- Peppers is a student of the game and has great awareness instincts. He only gave up 1 passing TD in his college career.  He has great closing speed and is a solid open field tackler. He plays with a mean streak, the way you want a safety to play.

He had 16 TFL last year. He is the most versatile player in the draft.  The NFL is all about matchups and Peppers will be able to match up with WR, TE, RB, in pass coverage and able to rush the passer or come up to stop the run.  Jim Harbaugh has said that Peppers is the defensive version of Andrew Luck.  I trust what Harbaugh says. (Conspiracy theory—Colts draft Peppers in the 1st round and make a strong push to hire Jim Harbaugh next offseason. They will have his 2 best former college players.)  He is Sproles good at special teams.  Yeah, I know what I just typed.

Negatives- He doesn't have a set position.  He has that "tweener" label and a lot of teams are not smart enough to put their players in a position to succeed, instead hammering a square peg in a round hole.  He also has a label as a ball hawk but only had 1 interception in his career at Michigan.  People compare Peppers to Woodson, no one in this draft is as good as Woodson.

Reason for the pick - Tampa Bay lost one of their starting safeties (Brad McDougald) to the Seahawks, signed JJ Wilcox from Dal (ouch), and has a 175lb CB (Ryan Smith) starting at safety on their depth chart. They need help at the safety position and a lot of it! Step in Jabrill Peppers. Jabrill choose the team instead of his NFL stock this year at Michigan.  LB was an area of weakness this year for Michigan and the coaching staff asked him to fill in.  That is the type of player I want on my team.  He will do whatever he can do to help his team at any position on the field.  He was a top recruit coming out of high school and did nothing to hurt his future in the NFL.  This kid is going to be a STAR in the NFL.  In 5 years when Mel Kiper redrafts the 2017 draft, Peppers will be in the top 5(where he was projected going into the year as a safety).

Sorry no spider graph at safety but he has great measurables.

Height 5'11"

Weight 213

Arm Length 30.75"

Hands 9 5/8"

40 yd. dash 4.46

Vertical 35.5

Broad Jump 128"

Bench 19 reps

2017 BGN Mock Draft Order

1) Browns (JALupowitz): Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
2) 49ers (sports00fan00): Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
3) Bears (gubby): Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
4) Jaguars (TheWhalwing): Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
5) Titans (drc242): Jamal Adams, S, LSU
6) Jets (boomorbust): Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
7) Chargers (NowWhat?): Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
8) Panthers (B-Potts): Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
9) Bengals (Kiko’s Delivery Service): Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
10) Bills (jimmyrustler): O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
11) Saints (NotSoSlick): Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
12) Browns (Straight Edge Sid): Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
13) Cardinals (Paulie97): Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
14) Eagles (ablesser88): Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
15) Colts (mconner96): Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
16) Ravens (The Man, The Myth, the Matthews!): Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
17) Washington (kbruneault): John Ross, WR, Washington
18) Titans (mchiodo): JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR USC
19) Buccaneers (ei78): Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
20) Broncos (NVEaglesShark):
21) Lions (Shark Fighter):
22) Dolphins (J. Wil):
23) Giants (BigWardy59):
24) Raiders (big DUB):
25) Texans (GotFunds):
26) Seahawks (Rogmcc23):
27) Chiefs (B1G Cat):
28) Cowboys (RegalEagle):
29) Packers (Wutang_):
30) Steelers (General_Lee12): 
31) Falcons (SirJon):
32) Saints (Huffs_cellmate):

Poll
Do you approve of this pick?

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[#] Fri Apr 14 2017 23:33:08 EDT from rss

Subject: Phantoms pull off late stunner of a comeback, beat Providence Bruins in OT

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The Phantoms scored 2 goals in the final 1:02 of play to send the game to OT before getting the winner 48 seconds in.

If you aren’t planning to watch the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the playoffs this season, you are going to miss out on some exciting hockey. They just came back from a 4-1 deficit to beat the Providence Bruins in overtime tonight.

Already having the playoffs clinched, the Phantoms were looking to clinch home-ice advantage in the first round of the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs, and to do that they would need a win at the PPL Center. And boy, did they need to work for it.

With 10:51 left in regulation, captain Colin McDonald sparked a sliver of life in the hearts of the Valley with a goal to make it 4-2.

When coach Scott Gordon decided to pull Martin Ouellette for the extra attacker in the dying minutes of the game, the Phantoms threw everything they could on Providence goaltender Zane McIntyre. Coming out of a power play without a goal, it looked as if the Phantoms would have to wait until the final day for a chance at home-ice advantage. However, with 1:02 remaining, Greg Carey scored to make it 4-3. All of a sudden, there was a game at hand.

Time started running again. The Phantoms began to pressure immensely. Nothing seemed to make its way through.

“I am score,” said Andy Miele as the puck went off his stick and in the back of the net. OK, maybe he didn’t say exactly that, but his goal with 31 seconds left tied the game up for the Phantoms.

You need to give a lot of credit to Colin McDonald there, because that was an absolutely incredible and underrated screen. That goal doesn’t happen if he is not in front of the net.

Going into OT, the Phantoms had the momentum. On a bang-bang play in front of the net, a Chris Conner pass found its way to the skate of Corban Knight and in the back of the net. A review would only prove to confirm the call on the ice, and the Phantoms won the hockey game in the oddest of fashions. This clinched them home-ice for the first round.

They will end up playing either the Bruins or Hershey Bears in the first round of the playoffs. Those teams play each other in their final game tomorrow night in Hershey, and the winner will play the Phantoms. It doesn’t matter if one wins in any specific situation, so for those of you who like to keep things simple (I know I do), there you go.

This Lehigh Valley Phantoms team is going to be an exciting one to watch next week in the playoffs.





[#] Sat Apr 15 2017 00:02:42 EDT from rss

Subject: 2017 NFL Mock Draft: Denver Broncos select Ryan Ramczyk

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With the No. 20 overall pick in the 2017 Bleeding Green Nation community mock draft, Denver Broncos GM NVEagleShark selects ...

Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin

Setting the Scene...

It's 2:41 AM in Denver. John Elway is fast asleep in his home. The only sound in the house is the ticking of the grandfather clock in the living room. He is wearing his custom fit orange nightgown and stocking cap as he snores softly. (Flash forward to his dream)... (Broadcast announcer)- "It's 3rd down and 16 for Siemian & the offense at their own 46. He takes the snap, drops back to pass, looks to his left... Oh! it's Justin Houston off the edge for the sack forcing the Broncos to punt. He's been living in the backfield tonight! ... night... night..." (voice trails away). Elway lurches awake, beads of sweat rolling down his forehead. "Tackle... we need a tackle" he whisper to himself as he gathers his breath.

The Reasoning:

The Broncos are in desperate need of O-line help. The Broncos offensive line was ranked 24th overall by Pro Football Focus for the 2016 season. The issues for Denver's line continues to pile up. The starting left tackle last year, Russell Okung, has left for greener pastures... well the Los Angeles Chargers so maybe not much greener. Right tackle duty last year was split up between Donald Stephenson and Ty Sambrailo. The two battled it out to see who was worse at their job. Coincidentally, Stephenson finished the 2016 season with the worst PFF rating of any offensive lineman in the league at 28.0. But don't worry Donald Stephenson fans, Sambrailo was mere percentage points better and this was due to having less opportunities to be scorched by some of the best DE's in the league. So what does this mean for Denver? It means they need to attack early if they want to improve their line in this weak OL draft class.

The Pick:

Ryan Ramczyk is the guy for the Broncos here at 20. He's the first offensive lineman taken in the 2017 BGN draft. Ryan was the starting left tackle for the Wisconsin Badgers in 2016. He earned his spot on the first team All-Big Ten and garnered the Associated Press All-American honors as well.

Spider Graph and Measurements:

Height: 6'6

Weight: 310 lbs

Hand Size: 10 7/8"

Arm Length: 33 ¾"

Strengths: He has elite athleticism for a player his size. His ability to drive through defenders on running plays makes him a special prospect. His quickness caught defensive ends off guard throughout his college career. His speed makes him especially tough to keep up if he gets to the next level on screens, rushes. He has exceptional coordination between his lower and upper body. This allows him to have tremendous balance and agility for a lineman. On passing plays, he slides his feet with precision, then shoot his hands into opponent's chest, pushing them wide of the QB. He's also very patient in his pass blocking positioning. He uses his speed to control the path of the defender and sets them up to make a mistake. Something that should be emphasized is Ryan's toughness. He battled a hip injury near the end of the 2016 season and he played in the team's bowl game even though he required surgery. That shows a willingness to put the team's goals ahead of his health. That toughness will help him on a week to week basis on an NFL roster.

Weaknesses: His biggest weakness would be inexperience. Something that is emphasized with Ryan is the jump that he made from the start of his college career to now. He first started playing football in his hometown at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, (also the hometown of Joe Pavelski, Go Sharks!) which is a Division III school. He was all-conference there for 2 years before transferring to Wisconsin. After taking his talents to South Beach... well...Madison in 2015, he spent the first year on the scout team. He impressed the coaches so much that they made him the starting left tackle when he became eligible. Still, making such a huge jump from DIII to FBS is about as big as it gets in the college game. He only has 1 year of experience playing against top-end DE talent. Another concern so may have about him is his arm length. He ranks near the bottom quarter in arm length in this draft class and as a tackle, having shorter arms is tough when forcing defensive ends inside or outside.

Evidence of his ability:

Game vs LSU (2016) -

Game vs Ohio State (2016) -

Comparisons and Bottom Line:

NFL Comparison- Joe Staley, Tackle Cleveland Browns & Nate Solder, Tackle New England Patriots. Being compared to two NFL starting tackles is some very high praise. Ramczyk was given these comparisons based on his elite agility, his poise, his pure athleticism as a tackle, and his intelligence to find a way to beat his opponent.

Ramczyk is battle tested. For playing only one season of Big Ten football, he faced 3 future NFL players in Taco Charlton, Arden Key, and Sam Hubbard. Ramczyk's ascent in popularity is very similar to that of our darling ginger trick shot champion extraordinaire Carson Wentz. They both went from being relatively unknown lower level competition players to first round NFL starter caliber prospects. Pro Football Focus ranked Ramczyk as the best run blocking tackle in the Nation for 2016. He also only allowed 12 quarterback pressures during the 2016 season. His athleticism. core strength, and his ability to control defenders make him arguably the best tackle in the draft. He has immediate right tackle starting capability and could possibly become the starting left tackle near the start of the season barring any setbacks from his hip rehabilitation. The Broncos desperately need a guy like him on their line to help get the offense back on track in 2017.

Side note - There has recently been rumors of Ramczyk's desire to play. Until he addresses it himself, I chose to give him the benefit of any doubt. The combine process is demanding for everyone and some people can ask random interview questions that can and will annoy anyone. Thank you for reading and hopefully you enjoyed my humor.

2017 BGN Mock Draft Order

1) Browns (JALupowitz): Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
2) 49ers (sports00fan00): Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
3) Bears (gubby): Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
4) Jaguars (TheWhalwing): Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
5) Titans (drc242): Jamal Adams, S, LSU
6) Jets (boomorbust): Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
7) Chargers (NowWhat?): Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
8) Panthers (B-Potts): Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
9) Bengals (Kiko’s Delivery Service): Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
10) Bills (jimmyrustler): O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
11) Saints (NotSoSlick): Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
12) Browns (Straight Edge Sid): Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
13) Cardinals (Paulie97): Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
14) Eagles (ablesser88): Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
15) Colts (mconner96): Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
16) Ravens (The Man, The Myth, the Matthews!): Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
17) Washington (kbruneault): John Ross, WR, Washington
18) Titans (mchiodo): JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR USC
19) Buccaneers (ei78): Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
20) Broncos (NVEagleShark): Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
21) Lions (Shark Fighter):
22) Dolphins (J. Wil):
23) Giants (BigWardy59):
24) Raiders (big DUB):
25) Texans (GotFunds):
26) Seahawks (Rogmcc23):
27) Chiefs (B1G Cat):
28) Cowboys (RegalEagle):
29) Packers (Wutang_):
30) Steelers (General_Lee12): 
31) Falcons (SirJon):
32) Saints (Huffs_cellmate):

Poll
Do you approve of this pick?

  16 votes | Results





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