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[#] Thu May 11 2017 17:23:28 EDT from rss

Subject: Now it

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STOP FIGHTING EACH OTHER

We saw last week when, at the World Championships in Europe, Claude Giroux and Radko Gudas got into it. Gudas punched Giroux in the face, and then in the postgame, Giroux showed us that things were still cool between the two by giving a loving little shove to Gudas in the locker room tunnel.

Giroux’s out there mixing it up again today against France -- who have played the Canadians tougher than you’d expect — with another Flyers teammate. This time it’s everybody’s favorite Frenchman, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.

Later, Giroux tied the game with a power play goal that looks pretty familiar:





[#] Fri May 12 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Friday Morning Fly By: Gonna be some awkward locker-room conversations come training camp!

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

* Flyers keep punching one another in world championships! They should stop doing this! [BSH]

* Some words on the Flyers’ quest to find their next franchise goalie, as change will come for the team at the position next season: [Sons of Penn]

* Elsewhere, the big story around the NHL yesterday was the Capitals’ collapse. This keeps happening. How unlikely is it for the Capitals to have never once reached the conference finals in the Ovechkin era? [Japers’ Rink]

* And what do the Caps do now? They’ve got a lot of options, all of which are kind of varying degrees of bad: [Sportsnet]

* As for their opponents, the Penguins, there are some holes in their lineup as they prepare to face Ottawa, even if they are the favorites in the series: [SBNation]

* But, lineup-wise, they may have a unique advantage in how they can match up with Erik Karlsson: [TSN]

* In Buffalo, Jason Botterill (of the Penguins’ front office) was named GM of the Sabres yesterday: [Die by the Blade]

* The AHL moved Charlotte into the Phantoms’ division yesterday: [Highland Park Hockey]

* Because nothing could possibly go right for the Colorado Avalanche this season, Tyson Barrie was injured at World Championships ... while wrestling in his hotel. Anyone want to guess whether or not any Flyers were involved here? [Yahoo]

* Oilers fans reflect on their first playoff season in a decade, which came to an end on Wednesday night: [Copper ‘n’ Blue]

* Finally, with the conference finals starting tonight, tell us: who do you want to win the Stanley Cup? [BSH]





[#] Fri May 12 2017 14:28:34 EDT from rss

Subject: Charles Barkley says that Ron Hextall was his favorite hockey player

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The former 76er learned his love for hockey right here in Philadelphia.

Ron Hextall is the favorite hockey player of quote a few of us, but what about Charles Barkley? The Philadelphia 76ers legend, now one of the most entertaining folks in sports media, Barkley made hockey news this week by saying that the NHL playoffs are blowing the NBA playoffs out of the water in the excitement department.

We’ll agree, of course. After those comments, Barkley was invited to talk on NHL Network, and he made a fun revelation in that interview: Hextall is also his favorite player, and he found his love of hockey while he played in Philadelphia during the mid-late 1980s and 1990s.

I started following hockey in ‘84 when I ... I had never been to a hockey game, and Eric Lindros and Ron Hextall. Ron Hextall’s my favorite hockey player, so I’ve been a hockey fan since 1984 or ‘85 when I got to Philadelphia. And I’m not just saying this because I’m on the show, but the Stanley Cup Playoffs — they are the best thing in sports.

I like guys who will fight. I don’t like players who are passive. When I played, I used to get mad at guys who don’t get mad. And when I was in Philadelphia for eight years, I went to a lot of Flyers games and Ron Hextall — you know he wanted to win, and that’s all I can ask out of any of my players. The fans know that guy wants to win. That’s why he’s my favorite hockey player.

You can catch the full interview below. It’s pretty solid.





[#] Sat May 13 2017 15:33:06 EDT from rss

Subject: Answering your Flyers questions: Bill Matz talks salary cap, the No. 2 pick, beer and more

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The latest in our series of Saturday morning Q&A sessions on Facebook.

Posted by Broad Street Hockey: For Philadelphia Flyers Fans on Saturday, 13 May 2017

We’re turning this into a little Saturday morning tradition. Bill Matz made some coffee and sat in his living room (?) in South Jersey this morning, talking to you about the Philadelphia Flyers. Thanks to all of you who asked questions over on Facebook and Twitter and joined the conversation.

Here’s a rundown of Bill’s chat this morning:

  • 2:30: What Bill’s house smells like.
  • 3:00: The expansion draft and the salary cap outlook.
  • 6:18: Shayne Gostisbehere’s fresh, upcoming new contract.
  • 14:30: The Flyers goalie situation, and Neuvirth going to Vegas.
  • 18:28: “If Vegas takes Andrew MacDonald, that solves like four problems for the Flyers.”
  • 20:00: More on the goalies, and getting an older guy in as a mentor for Stolarz or whoever the hell else.
  • 24:02: Free agent moves?
  • 29:00: “The Capitals should trade Alex Ovechkin.” Oh, Bill.
  • 34:52: “I’m pretty seasonal with beers. I drink only Landshark from May to August.” IPAs ..... don’t read this.
  • 37:19: Did Everett’s system inflate Carter Hart’s numbers?
  • 47:04: They’re a borderline wild card team, and the goaltending is what makes the difference.
  • 52:04: Somebody actually asked if the Flyers should trade Ivan Provorov.
  • 56:10: Power play talk. Lots of power play talk.
  • 59:15: Goal song talk. Bill sung his recommendation. Bill was singing. Just skip to here.
  • 1:03:20: Sean Couturier’s production and what we should ideally expect for him.
  • 1:06:00: What is Oskar Lindblom’s ceiling?
  • 1:09:18: The potential of Ron Hextall making moves to make room for kids.
  • 1:12:41: Center depth vs. winger depth, and how that impacts the draft lottery.
  • 1:14:21: Who will be the next Flyer who gets his number retired? (Hint: 88.)

Previous Saturday Flyers Q&A sessions

Sat, May 6 with Kelly Hinkle

Опубліковано Broad Street Hockey: For Philadelphia Flyers Fans 6 травня 2017 р.

Sat, April 29 with Charlie O’Connor


Sat, April 22 with Steph Driver

Live Q&A with Stephanie Driver!

Posted by Broad Street Hockey: For Philadelphia Flyers Fans on Saturday, 22 April 2017




[#] Mon May 15 2017 07:00:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Monday Morning Fly By: Having fun yet?

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

*You know what is fun? The Flyers moved up from the 13th overall pick in the draft to the #2 overall pick. What's extra fun is it's going to be way, way better than the last time they picked at #2. [CSN Philly]

*So speaking of... Craig Button is one of those hockey dudes who really seems to have a great handle on what is going on in the league, and after the lottery he switched his draft board from having Nolan at #1 to having Nico at #1. So he might know something. [TSN]

*So turns out Sam Morin was pretty well injured as the Phantoms made a playoff run; he had to have surgery on BOTH wrists. [Highland Park Hockey]

*Some professional sports writers have evaluated Dave Hakstol's second season but I'm here to tell you that it was, on the whole, bad and not good. [CSN Philly]

*Claude Giroux continues to crush at Worlds. [Sons of Penn]

*Speaking of our captain, seems like he and Scott Hartnell are still bros. [TSN]

*Bobby Ryan beat the Pens in overtime Saturday night, bet you guys liked that. Did you know that Bobby Ryan hails from nearby Cherry Hill, NJ? [Silver Seven Sens]

*So yeah you hate the Pens but you probably still love Phil, right? [The Players' Tribune]

*Charles Barkley loves Ron Hextall, like most people with sense. [BSH]

*Summer is boring so let's have fun with the 5 worst trades the Flyers ever made. [Philly Is Flyer]

*And finally, if you haven't noticed, your BSH Radio pals have started doing some offseason Q&A sessions over on the ol'Facebook. Here's the latest one, with Bill, if you missed it! [BSH]





[#] Mon May 15 2017 11:29:02 EDT from rss

Subject: The IIHF is quietly trolling the NHL on social media about its Olympic participation

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The IIHF wants players to go to the Olympics, and they are quietly poking the NHL on social media about it

The IIHF released this pretty cool interview with Wayne Simmonds and Mark Scheifele using a 360-degree camera in the Canadian locker room. The actual meat of the interview isn’t really that interesting, aside from one little thing that you have to look closely to notice:

The IIHF is trolling the hell out of the NHL here.

First, the backstory: as you may have heard, the NHL is not sending its players to the Olympics in 2018, although there’s still a bit debate about whether or not that’s official yet. The IIHF — or International Ice Hockey Federation — is the international governing body for the sport, and they have a very real interest in NHL players going to the Games. Its president, Rene Fasel, has not been shy about expressing that fact.

So now we’re here at the 2017 World Championships, an event with NHL players up and down every roster. The IIHF runs the event, and the NHL has no real input or control over what happens. The IIHF has unlimited access to NHL players like Simmonds and Scheifele, and what narrative have they decided to push?

That NHL players want to go to the Olympics.

Here’s how they sold the above interview on Twitter:

Here’s how they sold it on YouTube:

Published on May 15, 2017
Olga asks a very important question at the end of this interview with Team Canada's Mark Scheifele and Wayne Simmonds.

Thank you for watching, stay tuned for even more action from the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, or check out our videos page to catch even more highlights.

Sometimes it’s the little troll jobs that are the best.





[#] Mon May 15 2017 16:42:34 EDT from rss

Subject: NHL mock draft 2017: Top two still remains toss-up between Nico Hischier, Nolan Patrick

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We’re going to be having this conversation until late June, aren’t we?

With the Flyers winning the NHL Draft Lottery this year and jumping all the way up from No. 13 to No. 2 — man, typing that truly does not get old — we’re going to be paying quite a bit more attention this spring to the cottage industry that are NHL mock drafts.

We’ll start doing that today, 39 days before this year’s NHL Draft in Chicago. How are the mock drafts shaping up with the top two picks?

We’ve found nine recent mocks, and nobody has gone off the board just yet. All nine have either Nico Hischier or Nolan Patrick going one-two, with four picking Hischier first and five picking Patrick.

Things change drastically after the top two. Miro Heiskanen, Gabriel Vilardi and Casey Mittelstadt are all mocked to the Dallas Stars at No. 3, while Michael Rasmussen, Owen Tippett and Cody Glass all find their way into the top five in these mocks.

We’ll keep updating you on NHL mock drafts each week until the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago, and of course we at SB Nation will be doing our annual network-wide mock draft in the coming month as well.

Here at BSH, we have a decent history of things in that mock. Maybe we’ll get it right again.

Nolan Patrick 2017 scouting report | SB Nation NHL Draft Match

OK, Flyers fans: ❤️ or on Nolan Patrick?

Posted by Broad Street Hockey: For Philadelphia Flyers Fans on Monday, May 15, 2017




[#] Mon May 15 2017 18:11:01 EDT from rss

Subject: South Philadelphia street to be named after Ed Snider

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It’s right next to the Wells Fargo Center and it will be named “Ed Snider Way”.

Late Flyers owner Ed Snider will be honored with a street in his name.

The City of Philadelphia is set to rename a portion of 11th Street in South Philadelphia after Snider. It will be called Ed Snider Way, and it will carry that name on the portion of 11th Street between Pattison Avenue and “Terminal Avenue”, which is the technical name of the creepy part of 11th that runs under I-95.

Here’s how this will look on a map:

It’s the portion of 11th Street right in between the Wells Fargo Center and Lincoln Financial Field. The dedication ceremony will reportedly take place Thursday.





[#] Tue May 16 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Tuesday Morning Fly By: Summer is boring, let's talk about draft picks.

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

*So the question of which of the top two prospects will remain when the Flyers pick second still doesn't have a clear answer. Which means we get to keep talking about it! [BSH]

*Sadly, another original member of the Flyers organization has passed. Marcel Pelletier was 89. [CSN Philly]

*So if it were up to you, whose jersey number would the Flyers retire? If anyone? [Inquirer]

*This look at the different styles teams play makes for some interesting offseason reading. [Hockey Graphs]

*Ron Hextall, please read this before considering signing a goalie who will cost too much this offseason: why you don't need a #1 goaltender to make a run at the Stanley Cup. [Daily News]

*Despite a very hilarious and satisfying early exit from this year's playoffs, the Chicago Blackawks fans still think their team is a contender. [Second City Hockey]

*The IIHF is trolling the NHL about the Olympics and it's pretty dang funny. [BSH]

*And finally, it's BSH Radio day!!! Check out this week's awesome episode before it officially drops this morning. There are perks to coming to the Fly By, folks.





[#] Tue May 16 2017 11:00:08 EDT from rss

Subject: It

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The gang kicks off episode #111 with a rousing discussion about luck and nerds.

On this episode of Broad Street Hockey Radio we discussed concussions, luck and nerds, and Ryan Kesler. The possible solutions to the goalie predicament were also discussed as Ben Bishop is now off the market, and we predicted what Ghost's next contract will look like. The group tried to make a halfway there decision on Nolan vs. Hischier and Steph decided the time until the draft was going to kill her. Finally, the end of the Caps season was dissected and Bill decides it's time to trade Ovechkin.

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

Follow us on twitter @BSH_Radio and let us know how we’re doing!





[#] Tue May 16 2017 13:00:25 EDT from rss

Subject: 2016-17 Flyers season review: Travis Konecny

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He may have came in under Flyers’ fans sky-high expectations, but Konecny performed well enough to be optimistic about his future.

In May of 2016, the future of Travis Konecny’s hockey career was undeniably bright, but also uncertain.

He had just concluded an extremely successful season in the OHL, shaking off a relatively disappointing draft year to score 101 points in 60 games for the Ottawa ‘67s and Sarnia Sting. Already Philadelphia’s top forward prospect, Konecny vaulted himself into realistic contention for a roster spot with the big club in 2016-17, but much work still needed to be done, especially in terms of convincing the notoriously-patient Ron Hextall that he was truly ready for the NHL.

One standout training camp later, Konecny had left no doubts in the mind of his general manager. After consistently looking like one of the most dangerous forwards in almost every preseason game, the Flyers chose to keep Konecny rather than return him to juniors, allowing the precocious forward to begin his professional career at age 19.

Fans were understandably ecstatic to see him. Not only did Konecny qualify as a “shiny new toy,” he also brought a skillset to the table that was in short supply on the Flyers’ roster the previous season: gamebreaking speed and offensive ability.

The youngster certainly showcased flashes of brilliance. Konecny stormed out of the gate, scoring seven points in his first eight games while on a line with Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek. But like most teenagers getting their first tastes of NHL action, Konecny dealt with some bumps in the road over the course of a long season, and did not finish the year on an especially high note.

Still, Konecny showed more than enough promise to establish himself as a key piece of the Flyers’ retooling process for years to come.

Konecny vs. his comparables

Just after it became official that Travis Konecny would indeed be earning a spot on the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening night roster, our very own Kurt R. penned a series evaluating realistic expectations for his rookie season. Initially, the fans came through with a projection of 46 points in 71 games, good for a strong 0.65 Point Per Game ratio. Kurt tried to temper those expectations, but even he ended up with an optimistic projection of 40 points in 74 games.

By those guesses, Konecny’s actual scoring totals (11 goals and 17 assists in 70 games) appear legitimately disappointing. From a raw point production standpoint, his rookie year ended far more like Marcus Johansson’s than the Dylan Larkin or Robby Fabbri-esque years that fans seemed to be expecting from Konecny.

However, there were extenuating circumstances that can’t be ignored, first and foremost being the completely ineptitude of the second power play unit. Had PP2 been remotely competent, Konecny probably finishes comfortably above 30 points this season. Instead, Konecny averaged almost as many on-ice shot attempts per 60 at 5v5 (60.88) as he did while on the ice at 5v4 (62.51) — embarrassingly similar rates. He was on the ice for just five power play goals this season, and either scored or assisted on each one of them.

Of course, Konecny cannot be absolved entirely for his part in PP2’s disastrous results. But as we’ll see later, his offensive metrics at 5v5 make me less inclined to believe that Travis Konecny is a bad power play forward. I’m more apt to view the second power play unit’s failures as mostly due to strategy and the players around Konecny, rather than Konecny himself.

As a result, I’m more interested in how Konecny performed at 5v5 in his rookie year. Back in October, Kurt evaluated the performance of each forward since 2010-11 who jumped into the NHL in his draft+2 season, coming up with 24 players. This past season, seven players (including Konecny) also made their debuts as draft+2s, and played in at least 40 games. This allows us to evaluate how Konecny performed relative to 30 age-related peers, both in 5v5 scoring (Points/60) and in play-driving relative to his teammates (CF% RelTM).

From a scoring standpoint, Konecny grades out quite well. He’s not in the territory of the true elite, like Brandon Saad, Mitch Marner, Dylan Larkin or Jonathan Drouin, but he’s clearly a step above the lower tier as well. Per this list, it appears that 1.40 Points/60 is around the cutoff point for when it’s fair to worry about a forward’s scoring upside due to his rookie season, and Konecny comfortably clears that bar.

There are of course some exceptions — Alexander Wennberg and Nino Niederreiter both have become fine players — but it seems preferable to be surrounded by Sam Reinhart, Jonathan Huberdeau and Nikolaj Ehlers than Kyle Clifford, Curtis Lazar and Tom Wilson.

In addition, Konecny outperformed all but Marner and Anthony Beauvillier in terms of 5v5 scoring efficiency among 2016-17 Draft+2 rookie forwards. Sebastian Aho and Mikko Rantanen may have scored more raw points than Konecny, but that was due to either superior PP production (Aho) or more raw ice time (Rantanen). At even strength, Konecny had perfectly respectable production considering his age.

In terms of play-driving, Konecny’s performance was less impressive. He checks in at -0.9%, meaning that his linemates (on average) finished with Corsi For rates about one percentage point higher away from Konecny than when they skated alongside him. But while that’s not ideal, it’s not such a damaging impact as to dramatically decrease his value as a player. It simply means that if Konecny were never to improve in this area, he would fit best alongside play-drivers who can get him into the offensive zone to work his magic.

It’s also legitimately possible that Konecny improves in this area, as it’s not like his metrics are totally underwater. Huberdeau and Brett Connolly, two of Konecny’s closest comparables, have finished with positive CF% RelTM rates in each of the past three seasons. Neither have become elite play-drivers, but they’ve improved enough to keep their heads comfortably above water.

Travis Konecny essentially performed like a middle-of-the-pack 5v5 forward in terms of his age-related comparables — a little above-average as a scorer and a bit below-average by shot differentials. There’s nothing here that screams “future superstar” but also little to suggest Konecny will follow the career path of Tom Wilson, Kyle Clifford or Curtis Lazar. At this point, I’m comfortable in stating that “useful middle-six forward” is probably Travis Konecny’s floor at 5v5, with the upside far higher.

Konecny’s strengths and weaknesses

We know have an idea of where Konecny’s rookie season stands among his peers. But that type of high-level analysis gives us little insight into the player that Konecny is, which is when a deeper dive into the numbers becomes beneficial.

The 20-year old’s biggest strengths clearly reside on offense. When playing with Konecny, his teammates averaged 2.50 more shot attempts per 60 at 5v5 versus when they were away from him, implying that Konecny was coaxing more raw volume out of his teammates. In addition, the Flyers generated 0.24 more Expected Goals per 60 with Konecny on the ice versus when he was on the bench, ranking third among Philadelphia forwards in that regard (behind Jordan Weal and Sean Couturier). The numbers are clear — when Travis Konecny was on the ice, the Flyers created more offense than when he sat.

Statistics imply that Konecny actively drove that increase in offensive production. He averaged 24.28 Primary Shot Contributions (unblocked shots and primary passes that directly led to unblocked shots) per 60 in the 68 games tracked by Corey Sznajder this year, placing him fourth on the Flyers behind only Nick Cousins, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. In addition, his 59.30% controlled entry rate (4th among PHI forwards) and 23.03 Entries/60 total (also 4th) show that Konecny was consistently driving positive offensive outcomes in the neutral zone. In fact, with Konecny on the ice, the Flyers gained entry to the offensive zone with control a strong 54.47% of the time, far higher than their team average of 48.46%.

Konecny clearly facilitated a more rush-oriented game when he hit the ice, which unsurprisingly resulted in more tangible offense being created.

However, Konecny’s defense needs work. Just as he drove positive shot creation outcomes when he was on the ice in his rookie year, the Flyers also allowed more shots when he played as well. In fact, only Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds had more negative impacts on their teammates’ shot suppression than Konecny. Flyers teammates allowed an average of 4.43 more attempts per 60 when playing alongside the rookie. The same could be said about his impact on the weighted shot metrics, as the Flyers allowed 2.72 Expected Goals per 60 with Konecny on the ice and 2.28 with him on the bench.

He also struggled with turnovers at times, particularly in the defensive zone. His 21.89% failed zone exit rate was second-worst among Flyers’ forwards, higher only than that of Valtteri Filppula. Most concerning is that that he struggled in this area more as the season progressed. In the first 30 games of the year, Konecny posted a 18.11% Failed Exit rate, but it surged to 26.42% over the season’s final 38 games, by far the worst on the team.

This helps to explain why I was far more accepting of head coach Dave Hakstol’s treatment of Konecny during his rookie season than I was of the Shayne Gostisbehere situation. When it came to the electric young defenseman, it seemed to me that the problem was less that Ghost’s game was fundamentally flawed, and more that bad luck was causing the Flyers to fall back on a convenient narrative all too often placed upon puck-moving defensemen, even though the numbers did not support that conclusion.

With Konecny, on the other hand, his defensive play was a legitimate issue which detracted from his overall value as a player, and the numbers proved it.

New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

In addition, as a 19-going-on-20 year old, Konecny’s development curve is far less concrete than for the 24-year old Gostisbehere. Trying to break bad habits in a teenager’s rookie season seems to be a far more justifiable reason for a scratch than doing so with a 23-year old sophomore who just finished second in voting for the Calder Trophy and was dealing with terrible puck luck. The Flyers were undeniably a better team with Konecny on the ice, and the three healthy scratches that he saw this season did nothing to help the team’s playoff chances, but I’m open to the possibility that there was a developmental benefit to Konecny sitting.

At least in this situation, the coaching staff appears to have accurately evaluated the issues with Konecny’s game — defensive zone turnovers and play without the puck. The offensive skill is obvious, but Konecny’s issues on defense could keep him from reaching his ceiling of a top liner unless he progresses in that area over the next few seasons.

Making sense of Konecny’s poor finish

After comparing Travis Konecny’s rookie season to similar forwards who made the jump into the NHL at age-19, the young Flyer’s year grades out as perfectly solid, if unspectacular. But it’s fair to note that had Konecny’s season ended after his 51st game, when he suffered ankle and knee sprains, the rate statistics would spin an entirely different narrative.

Over those first 51 games, Konecny was a low-end first line scorer at 5v5 and mildly positive relative to his teammates in terms of play-driving, posting metrics more comparable to Robby Fabbri’s strong rookie year rate stats than those in the muddled middle. It was Konecny’s performance following his return from the injury in March that really dragged down his end-of-season statistics.

The discrepancies are staggering. Konecny basically went from Fabbri territory to the realm of Kyle Clifford and Devante Smith-Pelly over the season’s final month-and-a-half. The late season sag turned what would have been an auspicious rookie season statistically into a “just-okay” one.

There’s an obvious explanation for the dropoff, of course. Sprained knees and ankles are no walk in the park, and even though Konecny returned from the injury, it’s certainly possible that he wasn’t close to 100% for the stretch run.

But that’s not the only plausible reason for Konecny’s struggles in March and April. Considering the fact that it was his rookie season in the NHL and he was a teenager for most of the year, maybe Konecny just was worn down. Scouts have long worried about Konecny’s propensity to play an aggressive style not befitting of his relatively small frame, and whether he would be able to keep it up with playing in the NHL. It’s a big reason why he slipped all the way to No. 24 on draft day, giving the Flyers the opportunity to scoop him up. If that issue was going to rear its head, you’d think it might happen late in Konecny’s 19-year-old season.

The Dave Hakstol critics may propose another theory — that the coach’s treatment of Konecny during the season served to “screw up” the talented young forward. After all, Hakstol did scratch him three times, including twice right before Konecny suffered the injury in early February, and was at times critical of Konecny’s two-way game. Fans were often critical of Hakstol’s unwillingness to use his rookie forward during 3v3 overtime, and his propensity to sit Konecny late in games while the team tried to protect a lead. As for the end of the season, the decision to give Konecny extended minutes on the fourth line alongside Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Chris VandeVelde was also a major point of contention among the Flyers’ fanbase.

However, I’m not convinced that Konecny’s late season swoon can be primarily attributed to the influence of Hakstol. Yes, the decision to put Konecny with Bellemare and VandeVelde was never going to succeed in extracting maximum value out of the young forward, and it predictably was a disaster in terms of results. Konecny posted a 41.84% score-adjusted Corsi and a 40% xG percentage when playing alongside Bellemare during that period, and it’s absolutely an experiment that should not be repeated next season.

While it surely felt like an eternity to Flyers fans, Konecny only spent about 57 minutes at 5v5 with Bellemare, about five or six games. It didn’t help his numbers, to be sure. But Konecny was even worse during that 19-game stretch when paired with Jakub Voracek, who he played alongside for 103.47 minutes at 5v5 in March and April. Amazingly, the duo posted a horrific 43.64% Corsi and an even-worse 33.46% xG during the period.

Armed with the knowledge that Konecny dragged down Voracek to that degree (after working quite well with him to start the year), it seems likely that Konecny was actually playing poor hockey and wasn’t just seeing his metrics tank due to a few games with Bellemare.

This doesn’t rule out the “confidence” argument, which essentially holds that because Hakstol was trying to change Konecny’s game, his overall results cratered as the young forward tried to please his coach. It’s obviously impossible to prove or disprove that theory without direct daily access to both parties, but it’s important to note that even when Konecny’s play-driving metrics were decent over his first 51 games, his shot suppression rates were still poor. I’m sympathetic towards Hakstol’s apparent goal of making Konecny a better two-way forward, because I do believe that Konecny will not reach his full potential unless he develops (at least) moderately decent play-driving ability, since he simply doesn’t have the scoring ability of a Mitch Marner, who can excel even when posting underwhelming shot differentials. If Hakstol chose the end of a lost season as the time to push Konecny out of his comfort zone a bit, I’m totally fine with that, as long as the poor metrics from March and April don’t carry over into 2017-18.

If I had to guess, it would be that the injury was the primary reason for Konecny’s poor close to the year. It took Sean Couturier over a month to start producing tangible offense following his return from a knee sprain, and his game isn’t even based around speed. I would wager that next season, Travis Konecny will perform far more like the player from his first 51 games than the one from the final 19 in his sophomore season.

What lies ahead for Konecny

Now that the long-awaited rookie year is out of the way, Travis Konecny enters his first summer as an NHL player with a solid understanding of the demands of the highest level of hockey. His strong start showed that Konecny is fully capable of producing offensively at this level, but the rocky conclusion to the year surely confirmed to the 20-year old that he still has much work to do in order to excel in the NHL.

Konecny’s full-season metrics at 5v5 were not elite relative to his peers, but sit solidly in the middle of the pack, near valuable players like Jonathan Huberdeau, Nikolaj Ehlers and Marcus Johansson. A lack of power play production kept his raw scoring metrics unimpressive, but Travis Konecny absolutely proved that he is a cut above the age-19 rookie busts like Lazar and Wilson. Considering his comparables, there’s no reason to think that Konecny is anything other than a future top-nine forward at the NHL level.

Of course, the Flyers are hoping for more from him, and so are the fans. Luckily for them, Konecny’s performance over his first 51 games was that of a bonafide second line winger before ankle and knee injuries put him on the shelf for a month, and that’s at age-19. When he returned, unfortunately, Konecny was not the same player from a performance standpoint. However, so long as that dropoff was related to the injury and not due to some deeper issues with his game, the late-season decline is not especially concerning.

Still, Konecny’s game is far from perfect at this point. He did struggle with turnovers in the defensive zone, at times trying to be too fancy rather than allowing for his teammates to find soft spots in the neutral zone before hitting them with an exit pass. In addition, his on-ice shot suppression metrics were below-average all season long, implying that his play without the puck needs work as well.

I doubt that Konecny will ever become a defensive stalwart, but considering his tenacity and skating ability, there’s no good reason why he can’t at least become adequate in terms of defensive results. And as he gets physically stronger with time, the offensive game (which is already above-average) could develop further as well.

At this point, Konecny has proved himself a useful middle-six forward at a very young age, which is a valuable asset for the Philadelphia Flyers even if he’s already reached his peak, which seems unlikely. The goal now for both Konecny and the coaching staff is to use that foundation as a jumping off point to his true ceiling, which hopefully is that of a high-end scoring forward in the NHL.

All stats courtesy of Corsica.Hockey, Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com, or the manual tracking work of Corey Sznajder at The Energy Line. On-Ice data derived from Corey’s manually-tracked metrics courtesy of Muneeb Alam.





[#] Tue May 16 2017 15:49:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Philadelphia deserves to host another NHL All-Star Game soon

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The NHL owes us, anyway.

It’s looking like the 2018 NHL All-Star Game will be headed to Tampa, with the Lightning hosting the 63rd edition of the game next winter.

An official All-Star Game announcement for 2018 would be the final nail in the coffin for the NHL’s participation in the Olympics, which is probably the bigger story here, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

I’m here to say that it’s time Philadelphia gets an All-Star Game of our own.

The All-Star Game has been held in Philly twice. The first came in 1976, as part of the nation’s bicentennial events in Philadelphia, when the Wales Conference defeated the Campbell Conference, 7-5. It then returned 16 years later in 1992, when Brett Hull led the Campbell Conference to a 10-6 win.

It’s been 25 years since that last game at the Spectrum. In those 25 years, Philadelphia has had the opportunity to host basically every major hockey event:

  • 1996 World Cup of Hockey
  • 1997 and 2010 Stanley Cup Final
  • 1999 AHL All-Star Classic
  • 1996 and 2005 Calder Cup Finals
  • 2012 Winter Classic
  • 2014 NCAA Frozen Four
  • 2014 NHL Draft

The Wells Fargo Center is one of the busiest and best buildings in North America for major events, and in addition to all of these major hockey things, it’s proven it can host a lot of big stuff: two political conventions, the Women’s Final Four, an NBA All-Star Game, portions of five NCAA men’s basketball tournaments, the X Games, a billion UFC and WWE events, and most importantly, American Idol auditions in 2007.

The one glaring omission from the list is the NHL All-Star Game. The Corestates Center First Union Center Wachovia Center Wells Fargo Center is the third-oldest building in the league not to host the game yet, with United Center in Chicago and Scottrade Center in St. Louis the only ones older. (Verizon Center in Washington is a year younger, and KeyBank Center in Buffalo is the same age.)

There are plenty of other cities that have never hosted the event, and it’s expected that Las Vegas will get this event in one of their first few seasons as an NHL team. There are reportedly several others cities interested in hosting as well: Anaheim has never hosted an All-Star Game, Toronto did in 2000, and Detroit last did in 1980. The Red Wings’ new building opening this coming season could be what gets them a game sooner than later.

But screw all of those other towns. The Flyers should be on this list too.

For starters, they’ve already asked. Back in 2010, the team pitched the league as a host for both the Draft and the All-Star Game. We got the Draft in 2014, but the All-Star Game remains. There’s no real reason for the NHL to say no. Los Angeles, Minnesota, Raleigh, Ottawa, Columbus, Nashville, Montreal, and Toronto have all hosted both the Draft and All-Star events since 2000, so it’s not like this is a one-or-the-other situation.

It’s also true that the NHL kind of owes us one: four NHL teams celebrated their 50th anniversary season in 2016-17, and the other three of them were given the opportunity to host a major NHL event. The Blues got the Winter Classic, the Kings got the All-Star Game, and the Penguins got the Stadium Series game. We got the right to ... go to Pittsburgh for that outdoor game and eat their crappy sandwiches. Cool?

We’re due an event here. It obviously won’t be 2018, and I’m guessing they won’t go Eastern Conference two years in a row, so it probably won’t be 2019. But hey ... lockout pending, how’s 2020 sound?





[#] Tue May 16 2017 15:03:14 EDT from rss

Subject: Brandon Graham denies holding out for a new Eagles contract

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BG has spoken.

Earlier on Tuesday, Brandon Graham posted a video of himself at the Philadelphia Eagles’ NovaCare Complex, signaling the end of his “holdout” for a new contract. Now Graham is denying a holdout ever even took place via his official Twitter account.

Shortly after news of Graham’s “holdout” was reported last week, multiple conflicting reports emerged. It turns out those reports were right.

So was all of this a fabricated story? I don’t know if I’d go that far. I wouldn’t doubt that Graham’s agent Joel Segal, may have said something to the Eagles about his client’s contract. Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman certainly didn’t deny that that happened. And it’s easy to see why Graham and/or his agent would say something. Vinny Curry, who played 40% of the team’s defensive snaps last season and only had 2.5 sacks, is making more than Graham.

But Graham claims he doesn’t have an issue with contract so everything’s good for now. He’s back at practice and that’s good news for the Eagles.





[#] Tue May 16 2017 12:07:21 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles got three of the biggest steals in the 2017 NFL Draft, according to evaluators

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The term “steal of the draft” gets thrown around way too much. Upon doing a quick Twitter search I can easily find a ton of different people who think a ton of different players qualify as this year’s “steal of the draft.”

But who cares what some random Twitter people. Let’s take a look at what actual NFL talent evaluators are saying about this year’s draft class. In a piece for ESPN In$ider, Mike Sando had evaluators identify the biggest steals in each round. No Eagles players were listed as “the steal of the round,” but three Eagles received voted for the honor.

4th round — RB Donnel Pumphrey

5th round — WR Shelton Gibson

6th round — DT Elijah Qualls

Not bad.

The Eagles traded up for Pumphrey. He doesn’t project as a lead back but instead gives the Eagles another weapon in the backfield. Gibson is incredibly fast and figures to be a big play threat. Qualls is pretty athletic given his weight and has a chance to contribute right away as a rotational player.

I think you can argue the Eagles got pretty good “value” in this year’s draft all around. It wasn’t a sure thing that Derek Barnett was going to be on the board at No. 14. Many thought he’d go in the top 10. Sidney Jones would have been a first round pick for injury. Rasul Douglas was projected to be a third round selection and he got picked very late on Day 3. One NFL draft analyst called Mack Hollins “the steal of the fourth round.” Nathan Gerry is probably the only selection that wouldn’t be considered a strong value pick.

Value is all relative, though. Allow me to be Captain Obvious and say it doesn’t matter much where the Eagles got certain players if they aren’t any good.

The reality is that all of these potential “steals” won’t pan out the way people hope. But if the Eagles can hit on at least one of these late round picks, that would be pretty nice.





[#] Tue May 16 2017 09:28:40 EDT from rss

Subject: So much for that holdout? Brandon Graham posts video of himself at Eagles facility

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He’s back.

Brandon Graham posted a video of himself arriving at the Philadelphia Eagles’ team facility, the NovaCare Complex, on Tuesday morning. Below is a screenshot from the video posted on his official Instagram account.

It was reported last week that Graham was skipping voluntary workouts in an effort to hold out for a new contract. Shortly after that report, however, conflicting reports emerged that Graham was NOT holding out.

Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said Graham has given him no indication he’s unhappy with his contract. Roseman would not say if Graham’s agent has expressed discontent, however.

In any case, it appears Graham has rejoined the team after spending some time away from the facility. That’s good news because Graham is expected to be one of the team’s leaders on defense now, especially with Connor Barwin gone.

It never seemed like Graham was bound to miss serious time away from the Eagles’ facility. Graham would have been fined for skipping any mandatory practices.

UPDATE: Graham released a statement upon his return to Philly. [Click here for more info.]





[#] Tue May 16 2017 08:42:38 EDT from rss

Subject: Philadelphia Eagles Depth Chart: Post-NFL Draft Defense Edition

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A look at the Eagles’ projected depth chart now that the 2017 NFL Draft is over.

The Philadelphia Eagles acquired a total of eight new players from the 2017 NFL Draft. The team also signed 11 undrafted rookie free agents. Now let's take a look at what the team's 2017 projected depth chart looks like with respect to these draft additions. Yesterday we looked at the offense. Today we’ll examine the defense and tomorrow will be special teams day. (Look at how different the roster looks compared to last year at this time.)

Defensive Tackle

1 - Fletcher Cox

2 - Timmy Jernigan

3 - Beau Allen

4 - Destiny Vaeao

5 - Elijah Qualls

6 - Charles Walker

7 - Winston Craig

8 - Justin Hamilton

Cox did not have a bad season last year by any means but he wasn’t as dominant as some would have expected. Hopefully the Eagles will be able to get a bigger performance from him this year. The addition of Jernigan could really help Cox. The two players could combine to form a fearsome set of disruptive interior pass rushers who can also play the run. The depth behind the starters is unsettled. Allen suffered an offseason injury and might not be ready by Week 1. Vaeao made the roster as an UDFA last year but he’ll need another strong summer to stick around. Qualls is big and could stick on the team after being selected in the sixth round. Walker is an intriguing undrafted rookie free agent signing who could end up on the practice squad.

Defensive End

1 - Brandon Graham

2 - Derek Barnett

3 - Vinny Curry

4 - Chris Long

5 - Marcus Smith

6 - Steven Means

7 - Alex McCalister

Graham’s “holdout” probably won’t involve him missing any mandatory practices. He figures to be a key part of the Eagles’ defensive line after leading the NFL in total pressures last season. Barnett, Philadelphia first round pick, has a decent chance to start right away as a rookie. But even if he does, he’ll be splitting playing time with veteran Long and Curry. It would be ideal if Curry could push for more playing time after getting on the field for less than 50% of the Eagles’ snaps in 2016, but we’ll see if that happens. The fifth defensive end spot is likely up for grabs. Smith has a leg up since he’s a special teams contributor. Means and McCalister will have to step up and show they belong this summer. It’ll be interesting to see if McCalister bulked up at all.

Linebacker

1 - Jordan Hicks

2 - Nigel Bradham

3 - Mychal Kendricks

4 - Najee Goode

5 - Joe Walker

6 - Kamu Grugier-Hill

7 - Nathan Gerry

8 - Steven Daniels

9 - Don Cherry

Hicks is one of the most underrated players in the NFL. It’s obviously early in his career, but he’s literally on pace to post Hall of Fame level stats. It’s crazy to me how he doesn’t get more respect from a national perspective. Bradham returns to the Eagles after having a strong season in 2016. There are still some unsettled off field matters with him. Worth noting he’s playing on the last year of his contract, too. Kendricks is bound to be traded at some point, right? If not, it’s hard to imagine he’ll play much this season after only logging 26.8% of Philadelphia’s 2016 defensive snaps. Goode is a key special teams contributor and gives the Eagles some depth at each spot. Walker showed good promise before getting hurt last year. He could potentially take Goode’s spot if he shows he’s healthy. Grugier-Hill has some special teams ability, but can he show anything on defense? Gerry is converting from safety to linebacker. Like Grugier-Hill, he’s a guy competing for WILL while also trying to make an impact on special teams. Daniels could figure to be Jim Schwartz’s new version of Tulloch: a physical thumper in the middle who can defend the run but shouldn’t be on the field in passing situations. Cherry spent the 2016 season on the practice squad.

Cornerback

1 - Jalen Mills

2 - Patrick Robinson

3 - Ron Brooks

4 - Rasul Douglas

5 - Dwayne Gratz

6 - C.J. Smith

7 - Aaron Grymes

8 - Mitchell White

9 - Randall Goforth

10 - Jomal Wiltz

11 - Sidney Jones

Yikes. This cornerback group still isn’t very pretty. Mills projects to be the team’s best player right now and he really wasn’t all that great as a rookie. The team is high on him, though, and thinks he can make a jump in Year 2. Robinson gets the nod due to his veteran experience, as does Brooks assuming he’s healthy after recovering from an ACL injury. Douglas will easily have the opportunity to push for playing time but a starting job won’t just be handed to him. Gratz is another veteran presence who might be the dark horse surprise of the group. Smith and Grymes had good summers for the Eagles last year. They could push for roster spots once again. White, Goforth, and Wiltz are probably camp bodies and/or practice squad types. Jones is listed at the bottom of this cornerback depth chart due to his injury. He projects to be the team’s No. 1 cornerback in the future if he can fully recover.

Safety

1 - Malcolm Jenkins

2 - Rodney McLeod

3 - Chris Maragos

4 - Jaylen Watkins

5 - Terrence Brooks

6 - Tre Sullivan

Jenkins and McLeod combine to form one of the NFL’s best starting safety duos. Maragos isn’t a defensive contributor but is still a special teams ace. The big question here is who will be the third safety behind the starters. Watkins held that role last year but Brooks could beat him out. Undrafted rookie free agent Sullivan is a long shot in the mix.





[#] Tue May 16 2017 07:48:52 EDT from rss

Subject: Alshon Jeffery says Kelly Green is his favorite Philadelphia Eagles jersey

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Make the change, Jeffrey Lurie.

Not all athletes show an understanding that they "get" Philadelphia. In the case of Alshon Jeffery, he totally gets it.

Excellent work, Alshon. Paying homage to Randall Cunningham and Kelly Green is a great way to score extra points with the fan base.

Yes, I realize not everyone loves Kelly Green. But the truth is it's more popular than not. Check out these poll results with over 9,300 votes cast.

The good news for Alshon is that he soon might be able to wear the Kelly Green himself. Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie admitted earlier this offseason the team is trying to bring the jersey back as an alternate. He also didn't rule out Kelly Green becoming the Eagles' full time primary jersey one day in the future.

Jeffery's contract is going to be up at the end of this year. Here's hoping he has a big season and then stipulates that he'll only stay if the Eagles switch back to their best uniforms.





[#] Tue May 16 2017 07:23:38 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles News: Philadelphia created a competition system where players get prizes

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 5/16/17.

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

Turning Workouts Into Games For Big Prizes - PE.com
Competition winners? Huh? What’s that mean? Well, it means a lot to the Eagles' players and coaching staff. Created collectively by Pederson, Howie Roseman, and the Eagles’ performance team prior to the start of the team’s voluntary offseason workout program, a weekly series of competitive "games" was started to, as Pederson says, “create some friendly competition and build camaraderie. We wanted to allow the guys to have some fun with some off-beat competition.” Whether it’s a tug-of-war battle between the offensive line and defensive line, a series of agility tests on the field, or a competition in the weight room, the Eagles' players are loving it, attacking it, and very hungrily going after the grand prizes each week.

Football Outsiders projects Eagles to have toughest 2017 NFL schedule - BGN
Yikes.

The Eagles May Have Found A Gem In DT Charles Walker - BGNRadio.com
Charles Walker is a fascinating prospect. At 6'2”, 310 the Oklahoma product has noticeable talent on the field. He's surprisingly agile for his size. He's shown flashes of impressive power. Walker even had the awareness to deflect four passes in the four games played of his junior season. Those are fun, exciting qualities in a modern defensive tackle. I'm really excited to see what he'll do in training camp.

Jim Schwartz has a history of playing rookie cornerbacks early - PhillyVoice
Of the 20 players listed above, 18 played in at least one game in their rookie seasons. 12 started at least one game. Seven started at least four games. In other words, rookies play under Jim Schwartz, so Douglas has a good chance to contribute if he shows anything.

Reflecting on the Draft - Iggles Blitz
I liked the Eagles draft. I didn’t love it. The big hang-up for me is taking RB Donnel Pumphrey and not getting a workhorse type of RB. Beyond that, I really like what the Eagles did. As I’ve written about, this draft was all about the passing game. On offense, that meant getting weapons for Carson Wentz. On defense, that meant finding pass rushers and cover guys. The Eagles did a good job on both fronts.

Eagles rookie Derek Barnett could start right away at defensive end - ESPN
The first-round pick out of Tennessee will have to fend off Vinny Curry and Chris Long for the starting job. We'll say he does.

Greg Ward Jr., a quarterback in college, is hoping to catch on as a receiver for Eagles - Daily News
On the surface, Greg Ward Jr.'s journey to a roster spot would seem to be considerably steeper than that of the other 10 Eagles undrafted rookies. He not only wasn't drafted, but also is making the switch to a new - or at least semi-new - position. Ward began his career at the University of Houston as a wide receiver, but spent the last two years as a dual-threat quarterback. He finished with the fourth most passing yards (8,705) and fifth most passing touchdowns (52) in school history. His 39 career rushing touchdowns tied the school record.

Corey Clement disappointed by not being drafted, but glad to be with Eagles - CSN Philly
The expectations may not be quite that high for Glassboro, N.J. native Corey Clement, but the Eagles thought enough of the Wisconsin product to sign him to a deal. "Being able to play home," Clement said when asked what was appealing about the Eagles. "Growing up near Philadelphia and being able to represent my family and friends in the right manner. There was no hesitation where I wanted to go."

5 potential Eagles position battles between a rookie and a vet - PennLive
1) Derek Barnett vs. Vinny Curry or Chris Long: The Eagles drafted Barnett, a defensive end out of Tennessee, with the 14th overall pick last month in an attempt to bolster their pass rush. But Vinny Curry has four years left on a lucrative contract, while the 32-year-old Long signed with Philly this offseason in hopes of earning a more expanded role than he played last season in New England.

Philadelphia Eagles Sign Victor Salako - Cowboys Ride For Free
I was surprised not to see Salako’s name called in the draft, but am not surprised to see him land with an NFL team. The Eagles’ line needs work, and since Philly didn’t draft an offensive lineman, Salako should have a good chance to stick with the team long-term.

Report: Saints expected to sign Clay Harbor, Khalif Barnes - Canal Street Chronicles
Former Eagle alert.

Colin Kaepernick to the Seahawks makes too much sense to not happen - SB Nation
Kaepernick is a perfect fit for Seattle in more ways than one.

BLG answers your Eagles questions - Facebook
Watch the video below or (click here) if you don’t see it.

Eagles Q&A with BLG! (BTW Don't forget to like on our podcast page: BGN Radio)

Опубліковано Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans 14 травня 2017 р.

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[#] Mon May 15 2017 16:47:02 EDT from rss

Subject: 13 notes from Eagles rookie minicamp 2017

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Some quick updates.

The Philadelphia Eagles held their rookie minicamp over the weekend. Picks from the 2017 NFL Draft, undrafted free signings, and tryout players all participated. Here are some notes from the minicamp. Shoutout to BGN Radio’s John Barchard for shooting the videos embedded below.

Derek Barnett’s contract isn’t an issue

Barnett is the only Eagles draft pick who hasn’t signed his rookie contract yet. Thanks to the new CBA, however, that probably won’t be an issue. Barnett himself said he expects a deal to happen soon.

Check out video of Barnett via the Bleeding Green Nation Facebook page.

1st RD Pick Derek Barnett!

Posted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Friday, 12 May 2017

Sidney Jones gives a status update

Doug Pederson said the Eagles don’t have a timeline for Jones, but Jones himself revealed the next mini-step in his recovery: his walking boot will be removed on May 21. Jones also denied a report that indicated he’d be back on the field by October.

Jones had the best quote of minicamp.

Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones: The next Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown?

Eagles rookie Shelton Gibson had the following to say about Douglas, his old West Virginia teammate. Via NJ.com:

"We had a lot of fights on the field," Gibson said, when asked about the competitive nature of practicing against Douglas on a daily basis. "We had to stop a couple of practices on the field. We competed at a very high level every single practice, and we went against each other every practice."

Check out video of Douglas via the Bleeding Green Nation Facebook page.

3rd RD Pick Rasul Douglas talking about his technique

Posted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Friday, 12 May 2017

Mack Hollins is catching attention

In case you missed it, anonymous sources are already “raving” about the Eagles’ fourth round wide receiver. In addition to Hollins’ on-field performance, he also draws attention for his eccentric off field behavior.

Check out video of Hollins via the Bleeding Green Nation Facebook page.

WR Mack Hollins talking about his offseason workout with Carson Wentz

Posted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Friday, May 12, 2017

Donnel Pumphrey needs to add weight

The diminutive Pumphrey currently weighs in at 176 pounds, but he told reporters the team wants him up to 180-185.

Check out video of Pumphrey via the Bleeding Green Nation Facebook page.

RB Donnel Pumphery on who he talked to coming into Rookie Camp

Posted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Friday, May 12, 2017

Shelton Gibson earns a strong review

In addition to Gibson giving a scouting report on Douglas, Douglas returned the favor. Via NJ.com:

His speed," Douglas said of Gibson's greatest attribute. "It's like ... You know he's fast, but when you're running with him; 'damn, he's fast.' It's like 'how fast is fast with Shelton?' You can run with him, but once the ball is in the air, you see the separation.

"When you cover him, you'll see the ball in the air and next thing you know, Shelton is already blowing past you. Anytime, he can just throw on that 4.2 gear."

Nathan Gerry talks about his transition

The Eagles are moving Gerry from linebacker. The change doesn’t surprise him.

“Not very surprised. I talked to quite a bit of teams through the [draft] process. Just my versatility. I was able to play a lot of positions. I think that’s one of the things that benefited me most going into the whole process was that I could play into multiple spots. I think right now I just need to add a couple pounds on. Otherwise, throughout Day 1, I felt pretty comfortable.”

Elijah Qualls might be a ninja

I didn’t see any mention of Qualls from rookie minicamp. No tweets. No interviews posted anywhere. Maybe he’s the stealthiest 6-1, 321 pound man in the world.

Corey Clement needs to lose weight

The Eagles want Pumphrey to beef up and they want Clement to beef down (or put the beef down). Via Philly.com:

Clement said that he weighed in at 225 pounds on Thursday. While Staley wants him to get down to 217, he's almost 50 pounds heavier than Pumphrey, who said he tipped the scales at 176, 17 pounds heavier than Smallwood's listed weight and 35 pounds heavier than Sproles.

"I think I can be utilized in short yardage situations," Clement said, "but at the same time I can always hit the hole and run if need be."

Clement is easily the biggest running back the Eagles have (excluding Ryan Mathews). He’ll have a chance to earn a spot on the team with a strong summer.

Check out video of Clement via the Bleeding Green Nation Facebook page.

UDFA RB Corey Clement on his first practice

Опубліковано Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans 12 травня 2017 р.

Weston Steelhammer is more than just a great name

Steelhammer was the most notable tryout player at Philadelphia’s rookie minicamp. He has connections to Doug Pederson. The Eagles head coach revealed Steelhammer played football with his son when Pederson was coaching at the high school level.

Steelhammer also has an interesting story in the sense that he thought he’d be able to join the NFL right away after playing college football at Air Force. But very late in the process the Air Force decided the players hoping to enter the NFL would need to serve at least two years after finishing school. So, Steelhammer may have just auditioned for a shot with the Eagles in two years.

The Eagles’ new coaching addition was on display

The Eagles fired Greg Lewis and hired former Rams wide receiver coach Mike Groh to the same position in Philadelphia. We got our first look at Groh on Friday. He already has the Eagles doing a drill that I’d never seen them do before at practice.

Yes, that’s Gibson who drops a pass in this video. Let’s hope to see less of that.

Eagles made a new locker room addition

The Eagles found a way to fill some empty space in the back of their locker room. The offensive line and linebackers will have the closest access to this new game machine.

Watch Eagles rookie minicamp practice

Watch more than 30 minutes of video from Eagles minicamp below. Or click here if the video doesn’t appear.

LIVE Eagles Rookie Camp

Опубліковано Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans 12 травня 2017 р.




[#] Mon May 15 2017 14:16:33 EDT from rss

Subject: Football Outsiders projects Eagles to have hardest 2017 NFL schedule

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Fun!

Football Outsiders is back with some 2017 NFL win projections. Prior to this year’s NFL Draft, the FO folks had the Eagles finishing third in the NFC East with an 8-8 record. Their latest statistical prediction model, however, has the Eagles dropping down to another fourth place finish. Via ESPN In$ider:

Dallas Cowboys: 10-6 (9.7 mean wins, SOS: 2)

New York Giants: 8-8 (7.8 mean wins, SOS: 4)

Washington Redskins: 8-8 (7.5 mean wins, SOS: 3)

Philadelphia Eagles: 7-9 (7.3 mean wins, SOS: 1)

Last year, all four NFC East teams finished in the DVOA top 10, and this again looks like the strongest division in the NFL. Our projections are a little lower for Washington and Philadelphia in 2017, but the entire division still comes out as above-average in mean projected DVOA. The problem isn't just these teams beating up on each other for six games -- the NFC East also draws the two West divisions, which means facing many of the league's top defenses. Right now in the NFC East, it isn't good enough to be good. You need to be great. With an easier schedule, an NFC South or West team doesn't have to play as well as an NFC East team to make the postseason as a wild card.

We still have Dallas repeating as the most likely scenario, although our projections may underrate the importance of their defensive losses because there may be a compound effect from losing so many players at the same position (defensive back). The Giants should be better on offense but may face regression on defense (where they went from 30th in 2015 to second in 2016). Philadelphia was better than its record in 2016 but has dropped slightly since our April forecast, while Washington has moved up a little bit. However, we still have Washington lower than last season, as the Redskins must adapt to a new offensive coordinator and overcome the loss of their top two wide receivers.

As you can see, Football Outsiders projects Philadelphia to have the league’s most difficult strength of schedule (SOS) this year. Not great, Bob.

A quick look at the Eagles’ schedule shows that it’s sure not a cake-walk. Along with playing six NFC East games, the Eagles also have to face the AFC West and the Seahawks in Seattle. Three of Philadelphia’s first four games in 2017 are all on the road. In addition to making two separate trips out of the West Coast, the Birds have to play three straight road games in December.

Now, it’s not as if the Eagles’ schedule is without advantages. Philadelphia doesn’t play a single team coming off a bye. The Eagles will have extra rest in several key matchups against division opponents.

Hopefully the Eagles can take advantage of that extra rest and fare better against their NFC East rivals this season than they did last year. Philadelphia went 2-4 in 2016 division games and one of those wins came against the Cowboys’ backups.

Though the division projects to be highly competitive again, I don’t think the Eagles should be shaking in their boots when it comes to playing their rivals. They played better than the Cowboys did in Dallas last year. They deserved to win that game but they let it get away from them. The Eagles also had late shots to beat the Giants and Washington but blew those opportunities. It’s not like they were getting blown out by their rivals.

I’m not expecting the Eagles to suddenly dominate their division, but I don’t think we should just assume they’ll be last again. Carson Wentz is in Year 2 and finally has some legitimate weapons to work with. Philadelphia boosted their pass rush and added some young talent at cornerback. I realize the Eagles’ NFC East rivals haven’t been inactive in addressing their needs as well. Again, the division will still be tough. I just don’t think the Eagles should be completely counted out ... hardest schedule in the NFL or not.





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