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[#] Sun Oct 01 2017 23:04:52 EDT from rss

Subject: Nolan Patrick, Robert Hagg, Taylor Leier make Flyers; Oskar Lindblom sent to Lehigh Valley

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We won’t have full closure until we know more about Shayne Gostisbehere’s injury status, but we are very close to having our opening-night roster in place.

The expectation coming into this Sunday evening had been that the Flyers would announce their final roster cuts following the game. A third-period injury to defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere may have thrown a wrench into those plans, as the team’s final cut on defense has not come yet.

However, the Flyers did make some roster announcements, and the team’s forward group appears to be pretty set.

As had been expected following his absence from the lineup in three of the Flyers’ final four preseason games, Oskar Lindblom was the last cut up front, and he’ll be heading to Lehigh Valley for some indeterminate amount of time.

At this time a week ago, it would’ve been pretty hard to imagine Lindblom not making the Flyers. He’d put up two points in four preseason games, he was on the top power play, and he certainly looked the part of an NHLer. But he was out of the lineup last Monday in a loss to the Rangers, and despite scoring a power-play goal the next night, Lindblom wasn’t heard from again in the preseason. The sight of him skating on Saturday with the “scratch line” of Jori Lehtera and Matt Read seemed to suggest his fate was sealed.

BSH Radio co-host Charlie O’Connor asked GM Ron Hextall about Lindblom’s odd preseason trajectory after Sunday’s announcement, and it seems like the team just wanted to see a bit more out of him in these games.

It’ll be interesting to see how long Lindblom is in Lehigh Valley. In his only other stint with the Phantoms — an eight-game run at the end of the 2015-16 season — Lindblom was one of the best players on the team, tallying two goals and five assists in eight games. If he heads up to Allentown and has another run like that, one has to think that he won’t be long for the AHL, but we’ll see.

Lindblom’s trip to Lehigh Valley did, however, signal good news for Nolan Patrick, who was officially told he has made the Flyers tonight.

While Patrick didn’t light up the scoreboard night in and night out during the preseason, it seems clear he showed enough in every area of the ice to make this team. His Flyers career will begin on Wednesday, and it’s still mind-boggling that he’s in this organization to begin with. Let’s enjoy it.

Taylor Leier, who would have been subject to waivers had he not made the team, has also made the team, and he figures to start the season on the fourth line alongside Scott Laughton and Michael Raffl.

The waters are still a bit muddied when it comes to the defense, but we do know that any sort of decision left to be made won’t involve Robert Hagg, who was confirmed to have made the team tonight as well.

(That’s him.)

After a year in the SHL and three years with the Phantoms, it seemed like this was finally Hagg’s time to break camp with this roster. Still, it’s been quite a hike back up for the Swedish blueliner in the past year, after a nightmarish 2015-16 season that seemed to drop him to the bottom of the defensive prospect pecking order, and he earned his spot here with a preseason in which he was steady and reliable almost every night.

With Hagg on the roster and with no evidence that the team is likely to try and force either of Brandon Manning or Andrew MacDonald through waivers, the likelihood here is that the team planned to send one of Samuel Morin and Travis Sanheim — both of whom were scratches tonight — to the Phantoms following tonight’s game. But the team didn’t plan on Shayne Gostisbehere getting injured in the final period of the preseason, and as such it looks like both of those guys have earned a stay for the time being.

If this is the case, then considering the 23-man roster limit, all three defensemen going to California could end in one of three ways:

  1. Ghost begins the season on injured reserve, opening up an extra roster spot for the Flyers for at least seven days (meaning Ghost would miss the team’s first four games of the season, or the entire road trip).
  2. The Flyers start the season with eight defensemen and 13 forwards, which would mean another forward would be waived tomorrow or Tuesday.
  3. Ghost makes the trip and ends up being healthy to play, and the Flyers send one of the defensemen back to Pennsylvania on Tuesday when the rosters have to be in place. (Get those frequent flyer miles, baby.)

Even if Ghost isn’t able to start the opener, and the team brings both Morin and Sanheim to California, the team will probably have to put its cards on the table pretty quickly, as someone’s going to have to sit in the opener and it’s likely that whoever’s sitting in that game is the one who will be the odd man out once Gostisbehere is healthy.

The preseason’s over. Meaningful hockey is almost here. Our roster is almost finalized. Let’s go.

[#] Sun Oct 01 2017 23:39:34 EDT from rss

Subject: Philadelphia Eagles players celebrate win over Los Angeles Chargers

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Victory tweets!

The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday thanks to a big game from the offensive line and the running game! Eagles players took to Twitter to celebrate after their big win.

Only thing that matter is that ROCK. Felt good to be back in battle with my brothers #onlywayisup #birdgang #eatup

A post shared by Rodney Mcleod (@rodmcleod4) on

[#] Mon Oct 02 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Monday Morning Fly By: It's time to talk about Ron

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

*Well, the preseason is over and the roster has been set. And we might need to have a talk about Ron and his thought processes. Because they're...confusing.

*The Flyers played their final preseason game of the season, in what was called a "dress rehearsal" by the coaching staff, and it was a big giant turd fart. So woohoo get psyched for regular season hockey baby! RECAP!

*Anyhoo let's look back to last week's preseason tilt with the Bruins and see what we learned. [BSH]

*Kate got some pretty cool shots from that game, that's always cool. [BSH]

*It's kind of cool that Taylor Leier seems to have won a spot on the roster. It'll be nice to see what the kid can actually do. [Inquirer]

*So. If these uh....curious roster decisions lead to a bad start by this team, what kind of leash do you think Dave Hakstol will get? [Inquirer]

*Anyhoo the Blues have a ton of injuries and we have their pick next season, so if they're trash that'll be good for us. Sorry Brayden. [Inquirer]

*Our own Steph Driver was on hand in NYC to preview the NHL season for SB Nation. [SB Nation]

*Should the NHL have done more to make its centennial season a little more special? [Toronto Star]

*And finally, just when it seemed like the role of the enforcer had died, fighting in the NHL seems to be making a low-key comeback. [Toronto Sun]

[#] Mon Oct 02 2017 08:12:15 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles News: Philadelphia has a new three-headed monster

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 10/2/17.

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

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Chargers game - PhillyVoice
For the second straight week, the Eagles' rushing attack went off. Last week against the Giants, Eagles running backs ran 33 times for 171 yards and 2 scores. Against the Chargers, they ran 36 times for 200 yards. The stats alone don't tell the story. Blount had a few outstanding tackle-breaking runs, Clement picked up a couple very key first downs on third down, and Smallwood had a clutch TD run from 3 yards out to get the Eagles to 26 points, in addition to contributions in the passing game. The Eagles' have a new three-headed monster in Blount, Smallwood, and Clement.

Eagles offensive line steps up big in win over Chargers - BGN
The newest edition of BGN Radio is here! (Episode #265). In this episode, we recap the Eagles vs. Chargers game in Week 4, celebrate the greatness of LeGarrette Blount, talk about how the Birds are in FIRST PLACE of the NFC East, and much more.

Monday Morning Notebook - Iggles Blitz
The Eagles did something pretty special on Sunday. I’m not talking about winning on the west coast or rushing for more than 200 yards. I’m referring to them running a screen pass that actually worked. There was a time when the Eagles were the best screen team in the NFL. This year the screen game has been a mess. It was very encouraging to see Carson Wentz fake one way and then dump the ball to Wendell Smallwood, who got behind a convoy and went up the field for 24 yards. Good design, good execution. Big gain.

Eagles control NFC East at quarter pole thanks to road win over Chargers - ESPN
The Eagles, meanwhile, improved to 3-1 despite playing three of four away from Lincoln Financial Field to start the season. With victories over the Washington Redskins and Giants, the Eagles opened the week with a 49 percent chance to win the division -- 20 percentage points higher than the next-closest team, the Cowboys, according to ESPN's FPI. Those numbers are only going up after this week's results.

Bruising Ground Game Leads Eagles -
CARSON, Calif. – Two weeks earlier running back LeGarrette Blount stood in the visitor’s locker room at Arrowhead Stadium answering questions about his lack of activity in the offense in a loss to Kansas City. Blount touched the ball once, as a receiver, and the questions came fast and furious ...

The day after: Jason Peters' message helps Eagles finish off the Chargers - The Athletic
Jason Peters put on a black t-shirt at his locker following the Eagles' 26-24 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday afternoon. It had his number “71” on the back. But instead of Peters' last name, it read, “The Bodyguard.” Peters, 35, is universally respected by his peers — teammates and opponents alike. So when the big man had something to say before the Eagles' final drive Sunday, everyone listened. “He said, ‘Let’s do what we do best. Let’s execute in the run game and get the short yardage. Refuse to be denied.'” said running back Corey Clement. “That was our motto. Everybody just didn’t want to leave without being 3-1 today.” Zach Ertz described Peters' tone as “motivational.”

Rasul Douglas' quick education helps Eagles hang on vs. Chargers - Inquirer
The education of Rasul Douglas wasn’t always pleasant on Sunday for the 22-year-old from West Virginia taken in the third round of the draft. But it was necessary. “I learned how to stick through it and grind it out,” Douglas said. “Plays are going to happen, but you have to come back and make some plays of your own. Believe me, I’m going to critique myself the hardest.”

After another close win, Eagles 'turning the corner' in tight games - CSN Philly
Let's be honest. If it was last year? They would have lost to the Giants, and they would have lost to the Chargers, and we'd all be sitting here wondering why they were 1-3 instead of 3-1. Something has changed in this Eagles locker room, and in the span of eight days, this football team has won more close games than it did all last year.

Jason Peters: Chargers are basically playing 16 road games - PFT
“I mean, it’s almost like the Chargers got 16 away games,” Eagles tackle Jason Peters told reporters after Sunday’s Philadelphia win in L.A., via USA Today. “It’s going to be tough sledding for those guys.’’ The game was a sellout, but the Eagles had plenty of fans present. On offense, they never had to use a silent count.

Eagles defense asked for crowd noise and got it at the Chargers stadium - SB Nation
The Los Angeles Chargers aren’t having an easy time putting people in seats. They’re playing in the NFL’s smallest stadium, the StubHub Center, until the new Los Angeles stadium is built. Even when they do fill the seats, usually it’s been fans of the other team. Sunday was the ultimate proof of it, as linebacker Jordan Hicks was pumping up the crowd before a 3rd-and-10 in the fourth quarter.

Cigar Thoughts, Game 4: Seahawks de-hoof Colts, ride their raw bloody leg-ends into the ground - Field Gulls
Their next drive went 75 yards in six plays, ending in seven points after JD McKissic took the handoff on a draw and teleported 30 yards into the endzone. On the very next play from scrimmage, Marcus Smith Jr, who is apparently a person that plays football for the Seahawks, knocked the ball out of Brissett’s hand on a would-be pass attempt. The loose ball, magnetically attracted to Bobby Wagner’s easy charm and overpowering pheromones, scurried into the linebacker’s waiting hands before being safely escorted into the endzone for Seattle’s second defensive TD of the decade game.


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[#] Mon Oct 02 2017 07:46:46 EDT from rss

Subject: Crossing Broadcast: Chargers Game

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Kyle, Adam and Russ discuss the Chargers game.   We recommend subscribing in Overcast, the best iOS podcast player, and using the Voice Boost and Smart Speed functions, which improve sound quality (for all shows) and speed up small gaps in the conversation. Download Overcast and just search “Crossing Broadcast” to subscribe. If you just…

[#] Mon Oct 02 2017 08:38:58 EDT from rss

Subject: Your Monday Morning Roundup

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The Birds flew across the country and took home the win yesterday against the Los Angeles Chargers. It certainly was not the prettiest of wins. Re-live the nail-biter with Chris’s Game Thread. As you look at some of that content in the thread and videos online today, you’ll think it was an Eagles home game,…

[#] Mon Oct 02 2017 08:25:20 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers Roster Predictions: Offense

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Last week, I gave you my prediction on defense. Here now, is the prediction for the final forward spots, which is a lot harder of a read (no pun intendend) if you ask me:   Forwards  To me, this is the more intriguing battle. I mean, we know with the defensemen that ultimately all three…

[#] Mon Oct 02 2017 09:00:18 EDT from rss

Subject: Pound it! Ten Takeaways from Eagles 26, Chargers 24

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Sometime during the second quarter of the Eagles’ 26-24 Sunday win, a FOX producer took us to commercial break with audio of Old Dirty Bastard’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya.” Oooo baby I like it raw. Yea baby I like it raaawwww! It was an accurate foreshadowing, as the Birds raw-dogged the Chargers with a 13-play, six-minute…

[#] Mon Oct 02 2017 10:48:48 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles-Chargers Final Score: 14 things we learned from Philadelphia

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Big takeaways from the Birds game.

The Philadelphia Eagles are now 3-1 in the 2017 NFL regular season after defeating the Los Angeles Chargers by a final score of 26 to 24 (recap here). Two wins a row! Here’s a look at 14 things we learned from this game.

1 - Eagles fans are the best fans in the NFL

As if there was any doubt.

Seriously, though, it’s amazing how a sea of midnight green took over StubHub Center on Sunday.

This really was like an extra home game for the Eagles. Jordan Hicks and the defense were pumping up the crowd. Carson Wentz was signaling for fans to be quiet while the Birds were on offense. Fans chanted “BULLSHIT” when the refs called a penalty that went against the Eagles. Fans cheered when the refs made calls that helped the Eagles.

It’s one thing when the Eagles have a big presence like they did in Washington (Landover, Maryland) in Week 1. That’s not too far way from Philly. But this was Carson, California. This is a 39-hour drive away from Philly. A total distance of 2,725 miles separates the two cities.

There’s no question Eagles fans factored into this win. Kudos to everyone who showed up. Now let’s do it again when the Eagles play the Rams in Los Angeles in Week 14!

2 - The Eagles are still first in the NFC East

Isn’t it great?

A look at the standings:

1st - Philadelphia Eagles - 3-1 overall (2-0 in division and conference games)
2nd - Washington Redskins - 2-1 overall (0-1 in division, 1-1 in conference)
3rd - Dallas Cowboys - 2-2 overall (1-0 in division, 2-1 in conference)
4th - New York Giants - 0-4 overall (0-2 in division, 0-4 in conference)

Note that Washington will fall to third place if they lose to the Chiefs in Kansas on Monday night. If they win (or tie), they’ll remain in second.

The Eagles are in a pretty good spot after the first four games of the season. They played three out of four games on the road but still managed to go 3-1. Now the Birds will play four out of their next five games at Lincoln Financial Field. Philadelphia was 6-2 at the Linc last year. Hopefully the home field advantage holds up.

3 - The Eagles have a pretty good run game!

As I said all along, the Eagles run game would be fine.

OK, so I didn’t say that.

But there was real reason to be concerned about the Eagles’ rushing attack after the first two games. Philadelphia only managed to gain 165 rushing yards on 41 attempts (4.0 average) in that span. And 61 of those yards were gained on eight carries by Wentz. So the non-QB rushing figure was 104 yards on 33 carries (3.15 average).

The last two games have been a completely different story for the Eagles. Against the Giants, the Birds were able to gain two touchdowns and 193 yards on 39 attempts (4.9 average). The Eagles rushed for one touchdown and 214 yards on 42 carries against the Chargers (5.2 average).

That’s 407 total rushing yards in just two weeks!

There’s a lot of credit to be doled out for the success of the run game. After being criticized for abandoning it, now it’s time to credit Doug Pederson for sticking with it. Wentz has seemingly done a good job making calls at the line of scrimmage and directing the run. Then there’s the execution element. The offensive line is mashing up front and creating big holes. Jason Kelce is playing at a high level. Then the running games are taking advantage of the space that’s given to them. LeGarrette Blount is proving to be dangerous when he gets past that first level and is able to shed one-on-one tackles. Wendell Smallwood looks like he might be a capable Darren Sproles replacement when it comes to outside runs and being a factor in the receiving game. The Eagles showed a lot of faith in Corey Clement by keeping him in for those two 3rd-and-1 conversion attempts late in the game. Clement rewarded their confidence in him by moving the chains.

It appears the Eagles have a new three-headed monster. I’ve been pretty skeptical/critical of the Eagles’ running-back-by-committee approach but it sure is working right now.

The only thing I’d caution here is that the Giants and Chargers had very bad run defenses prior to the Eagles playing them. New York ranked 28th in rushing yards allowed per game before Week 3. Los Angeles ranked 31st. Credit to the Eagles for taking advantage of these bad units. We still have to see if they can run the ball effectively against a less terrible defense.

4 - The Eagles shut down an elite pass rushing duo

The Eagles’ offensive line wasn’t just great at run blocking. Their pass protection was stellar as well. Wentz was only sacked once.

Big props to Lane and JP. If the Chargers were going to win, it was going to be because their pass rush got to Wentz. It didn’t. The Eagles won instead.

5 - Carson Wentz played his best game of the year

The numbers aren’t super flashy: Wentz completed 54.8% of his passes for 242 yards, one touchdown, and a 91.1 passer rating. But make no mistake: Wentz looked pretty good in this one. His accuracy was the best it’s been all season. The way he floated some of those deep passes down the field ... beautiful stuff. Those throws were right on the money.

It was apparent how Wentz was really in control of this game. He was constantly making calls at the line of scrimmage and getting the team organized. One of his checks was especially impressive. It was the play where he hit Alshon Jeffery over the middle for a tough third down conversion. Speaking of, Wentz is so clutch when it comes to those tough third down situations.

Wentz’s brain was a big reason why the Eagles were so sold on him. It doesn’t always show up in the stats, but it’s clear he’s a big contributing factor to why the team won.

6 - The left guard rotation seems to be working

I still think the whole left guard thing is weird. Isaac Seumalo goes from undisputed starter all summer to a healthy scratch by Week 4. Chance Warmack goes from a healthy scratch to being part of a guard rotation with Stefen Wisniewski. I just don’t love the idea of rotating offensive linemen in and out of the game, especially when Wis seems to be the better option.

But I guess Warmack wasn’t too terrible in this game. And if it’s working, I can’t blame them for sticking with it. I just hope they’re willing to commit to Wis full time at some point if Warmack isn’t playing well.

7 - Torrey Smith is struggling

Smith only finished with one reception for nine yards against the Chargers. He had the potential to have a much bigger game but drops haunted him once again. Smith has four of the Eagles’ seven drops this season. He’s looking like a 2016 Eagles receiver out there.

It’s not time to abandon Torrey completely, though I’m sure some might wish they’d do that. He’s still very much capable of getting open deep. He just needs to catch the ball. Credit to him for being honest about his struggles.

While I’m not in favoring of benching Smith completely, it’s probably time to give Mack Hollins some more of his snaps. The rookie wide receiver has been productive whenever his number has been called.

8 - Jake Elliott is still very much the man

This little dude is awesome.

Elliott went made all four of his field goal attempts: 40, 45, 47, and 53. Plenty of leg on them and right down the middle. He made all of his extra points. He also kicked a touchback on all seven of his kickoffs.

If Elliott keeps this up, there’s no need to activate Caleb Sturgis from injured reserve. Just keep him there all season, re-sign him to a minimum offer this offseason (he’s set to be a free agent), and then have him compete with Elliott in training camp. Trade the loser of the kicking competition to another team for a seventh-round pick.

9 - Fourth quarter defense is an issue

The Eagles are allowing way too many points late in the game. Philadelphia has allowed 52 points in the fourth quarter this season. That’s an average of 13 per game so far, which ranks second worst in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Eagles have only allowed 33 points in the first three quarters combined of their first four games this year.

Injuries certainly aren’t helping the Eagles. Last week Philly was missing a number of key players by the end of their game against the Giants. This week the Eagles had to play without Fletcher Cox. Still, the Eagles shouldn’t be this bad in that area. They’re supposed to be a team that can defend a lead due to their pass rush. The problem is that the Eagles are still weak in the secondary and that issue is showing up on a weekly basis.

10 - It’s really Zach Ertz’s year

Ertz has led the Eagles in every game this season except last week when Alshon Jeffery had one more yard than he did. Ertz finished with five receptions for 81 yards against the Chargers. He continues to be great at helping the Eagles offense move the chains.

Through four games, Ertz is on pace for 104 receptions, 1,304 yards, and four touchdowns. It’d be nice if that TD number was higher, but overall, can’t complain!

11 - Nelson Agholor is proving to be a solid slot option

Agholor had three for 58 on Sunday. He’s up to 12 for 173 and two touchdowns on the season. That’s not elite production or anything, but for his standards, it’s pretty good. The Eagles don’t need Agholor to be a star -- it’s not realistic anyway. Just being a solid contributor works. And that’s what he’s doing.

12 - Beau Allen stepped up in the absence of Fletcher Cox

The Eagles really do need their Cox back. But at least Allen isn’t a terrible backup option. Honey Beau Beau finished with two tackles for loss, one sack, and one quarterback hit.

13 - Dick Stockton and Mark Schlereth were awful

Good god. The call on yesterday’s game was just downright brutal. Stockton can’t get anyone’s name right. He referred to Wendell Smallwood as “LenDale Smallwood.” He did it with other players as well, as he has in the past (“Aante Asamuels”). Apparently he thought the Eagles should go for a touchdown at the end instead of just kneeling for the win. Schlereth kept saying San Diego instead of L.A. (in fairness, I’d probably do the same, but I’m not a professional broadcaster). I feel like I’m really not one to complain about broadcasters most of the time but this was just so awful.

14 - Doug Pederson was not awful

On Saturday, John Barchard and I talked about Doug Pederson during our BGN Radio show on SportsRadio 94WIP. Our point was that Pederson doesn’t get any credit.

After the Eagles beat the Giants last week, I saw some people in the BGN comments suggest that Pederson is “holding the team back.”

That notion is ridiculous and needs to stop. The reality is that the Eagles are 3-1 and Pederson deserves credit for that.

The Eagles’ offense ranks top 10 in a number of key categories.

A great stat pointed out by Howard Eskin: only two teams have more 20-plus point games than the Eagles since the start of last season ... the Falcons and the Patriots.

It’s time to give Pederson his due.

I’m not saying he’s the best coach ever. I’m not saying he’s above criticism by any means. But Pederson is doing good things. People need to stop acting like he’s the worst coach in the NFL. Or that he’s “the least qualified coach in the last 30 years.”

Oh, and another thing about Pederson. Remember how he got hammered for going for it on 4th-and-8 last week? (Lol, like anyone forgot.) Well, he just so happened to punt late in the first half in this Eagles-Chargers game in order to pin Los Angeles back deep. But then the Chargers drove down the field and scored three points anyway. Huh, it’s almost like punting isn’t the automatic solution it’s made out to be and there’s some merit for trying to get a first down to prevent the other team from even getting the ball.

But I digress. This was a good game from Pederson. The Eagles will need more from him as the team enters this stretch of home games. It’s time for the Eagles to put their foot on the gas and not surrender their first place lead.

[#] Mon Oct 02 2017 10:30:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers preseason finale observations

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Your final preseason observations

The Corsi Report

Allow me to introduce what “The Corsi Report” is going to include before diving in. I will be analyzing each of the Flyers four lines and three defense pairs on their games from a corsi perspective. Also, an evaluation of the team as a whole will be done and seeing where things went wrong/well. Without further adieu, let’s get fancy!

1st line: Giroux/Couturier/Voracek

Giroux: 16 CF/0 CA

Couturier: 14 CF/0 CA

Voracek: 15 CF/0 CA

You did in fact read that right, when these three were on the ice at 5v5, they allowed no chances from the Islanders. The first line, which was much maligned when originally put together, just put on an advanced stats show for the ages. If this line stays together — and learns how to finish — we may be looking at a line that never gets broken up throughout the course of the season. Sean Couturier may just be the perfect player to center the Flyers highest paid players.

2nd line: Weal/Patrick/Simmonds

Weal: 8 CF/6 CA

Patrick: 15 CF/5 CA

Simmonds: 14 CF/6 CA

The cycle game this line put on was extremely impressive. Nolan Patrick and Wayne Simmonds were excellent in board battles and Weal was constantly creating space for either himself or his two linemates. I’d be surprised if this isn’t another line difficult to break up during the regular season.

3rd line: Weise/Filppula/Konecny

Weise: 10 CF/6 CA

Filppula: 11 CF/7 CA

Konecny: 9 CF/7 CA

Poor Travis Konecny. His speed and high potential offensive skills are definitely dragged down by this line despite all three having a solid game. Konecny with a few bad turnovers at the blue line, but otherwise a decent game for an oddly assembled line.

4th line: Leier/Laughton/Raffl

Leier: 10 CF/6 CA

Laughton: 10 CF/ 10 CA

Raffl: 10 CF/7 CA

Scott Laughton may not be a play driving wizard, but man is he imposing on the forecheck. Whenever there was a loose puck and Laughts was on the ice, he was immediately on his horse to retrieve it. This might end up being another line that stays together for the regular season, and if it does, it could end up being one of the best 4th lines in all of hockey.

Now for the defense pairs:

1st pair: Provorov/MacDonald

Provy: 9 CF/2 CA

Mac: 14 CF/4 CA

Can’t tell if Ivan Provorov is so good that he’s somehow inflated MacDonald’s corsi numbers, or A-Mac just didn’t play all that poorly?

2nd pair: Gostisbehere/Hagg

Ghost: 16 CF/12 CA

Hagg: 19 CF/12 CA

Another solid game for Robert Hagg that earned him a spot on the Flyers opening night roster. Shayne Gostisbehere suffered a 3rd period upper body injury which will throw a wrench in the opening night lineups.

3rd pair: Manning/Gudas

Manning: 18 CF/4 CA

Gudas: 17 CF/6 CA

Despite a solid game from this pairing, it would probably be a good idea to not have them see any regular season time together.

Now onto the team performance.

This is one of those games that people who don’t believe in or like to use advanced stats point to as an example of their invalidity. The Flyers dominated the Isles in chances 47-20 and in High Danger Chances 5-2. The problem however, was that the Isles capitalized twice at 5v5 while the Flyers were only able to once. So while the Flyers dominated play for the majority of the game, they failed to take advantage of that dominance.

Five Takeaways:

1. Scott Laughton: actually good?

Laughton has been putting on a show seemingly each time he has stepped on the ice this preseason, and he continued that show setting up Michael Raffl on a beautiful 2v1 goal.

Last season one of the biggest issues of the Flyers, was the play of the fourth line featuring the likes of Pierre Edouard Bellemare and Chris Vandevelde. This season, the fourth line has a real chance to not only not be a liability, it has a chance to be one of the better fourth lines in hockey especially if Michael Raffl finds his way on Laughton’s wing as he has throughout the preseason.

2. Travis Sanheim can’t be worse than Andrew MacDonald


No matter how you spin it, MacDonald on the opening night roster instead of Travis Sanheim — I can confidently say — makes the Philadelphia Flyers a worse hockey team. The front office can cite veteran leadership all they want, but until we get a way to measure that there is no viable reason to keep Mac over a Sanehim/Hagg/Morin.

Yes, Sanheim is going to make mistakes that make you wonder if he’s ready for the NHL. He’s also going to make plays that makes you stand on your feet and wonder how he wasn’t up here sooner. These mistakes would be something to talk about if the guy he could be replacing wasn’t making these mistakes just as, if not more, often than him.

3. The top line might be here to stay

So aside from all the corsi jazz I mentioned earlier, holy butts this line looked absolutely dominant. Couturier seemed to get to every loose puck and get it back to Voracek and Giroux who simply controlled play at a crazy rate. Although the line did not crack the score sheet, they at the very least made life horrible for the Islanders sent out to face them. Giroux seems to have regained the explosiveness that made him so dangerous in his prime and Voracek (minus a few annoying turnovers) looks to be in that 2014/15 mode where as soon as he got the puck, he wasn’t letting go.

No chances against how crazy is that?

4. Too many point shots

Less of this, please

I feel like Patrick Star here, we need to take that red spot, and PUSH IT somewhere else (preferably to the slot area or in front of the net)!

This was a theme with the Flyers last season, out chancing a team but too many of their chances coming from non-optimal shooting areas. Although the cycle game was extremely strong in this game, many of those cycles resulted in a point shot which 90% of the time, don’t have a good probability of reaching the back of the net.

5. Elliott struggles in finale:

BAMF Brian Elliott has been solid the entire preseason, so he was bound to have a least that’s what I’ll keep telling myself.

Elliott started out the game shaky when Dennis Seidenberg blasted a one time knuckler by him without a screen or deflection. It’s not exactly the easiest shot to stop, but one you’d like your goalie to make. The second goal you can attribute mostly to the defense (or lack thereof) of MacDonald, and the third...let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.

I wouldn’t take this too seriously, as Elliott is coming off a game where he was very solid against the New York Rangers. Also, this is just preseason after all.

All stats courtsey of Natural Stat Trick

[#] Mon Oct 02 2017 09:46:49 EDT from rss

Subject: PFF Hilariously Grades Carson Wentz About The Same as Deshone Kizer

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This is hard to swallow. 🤷‍♂️ — Patrick (@PatrickMCausey) October 2, 2017 While sites like Pro Football Focus can often siphon out bias and distill accurate observations of SPORT, it’s takes like this one that render almost everything they do useless. Even when you go beyond the surface take of “Wait, Carson and the…

[#] Mon Oct 02 2017 12:08:11 EDT from rss

Subject: Eric Rowe trade draft pick tracker: Week 4 edition

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A weekly update on the Eagles’ 2018 draft picks.

Before the 2016 season started, the Philadelphia Eagles traded cornerback Eric Rowe to the New England Patriots in exchange for a conditional pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. This means the Eagles can receive one of two picks.

1 — Eagles receive New England’s third-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft if Eric Rowe plays at least 50% of the Patriots’ defensive snaps.


2 — Eagles receive New England’s fourth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft if Eric Rowe plays less than 50% of the Patriots’ defensive snaps.

Where this pick ultimately lands is significant for the Eagles. Philadelphia currently doesn’t own any Day 2 picks due to both the Carson Wentz trade and the Ronald Darby trade.

Since this is an important pick, I’ll be doing a weekly update on Rowe’s playing time to see if the Eagles will get the third-round selection or not.


WEEK 1: Eric Rowe plays 37 out of New England’s 69 defensive snaps. That’s good for 54%. If the season ended today, the Eagles would get the pick! It would also be the first overall pick in the third round since the Patriots have the worst record in the NFL right now. ;)

Week 2: Eric Rowe plays 34 out of New England’s 65 defensive snaps. That’s good for 52%. Rowe actually started over Malcolm Butler in the Patriots’ win over the Saints but Butler ended up playing more snaps due to Rowe suffering a groin injury. So far, Rowe has played 71 out of 134 snaps this season, which is 53%. It’s a close margin, but the Eagles are currently projected to get the third-round pick.

Week 3: Eric Rowe plays 0 out of New England’s 71 defensive snaps. That’s good for 0% (duh). Rowe was inactive due to the groin injury he suffered in Week 2. The good news (?) is that Rowe was listed “questionable” after being limited in practice all of last week. Maybe he’ll be able to return this week. The Eagles better hope Rowe gets healthy because now he’s only played 71 of 205 snaps this season, which is 34.6%. One thing to keep in mind regarding the Rowe tracker is that Malcolm Butler still appears to be on the trade block. If Butler gets moved, Rowe’s playing time should receive a boost. The NFL trade deadline is set for 4:00 PM ET on October 31.

Week 4: Eric Rowe plays 19 out of New England’s 63 defensive snaps. That’s good for only 30%. Rowe left the Patriots’ game against the Panthers due to a groin injury, which is what caused him to be out in Week 3. It seems like this might be a nagging thing for Rowe. Not good for the Eagles’ chances of getting the third-round pick. Rowe has now only played 90 of 268 snaps through the first quarter of the season, which is 33.6%. The Patriots don’t have their bye until Nov. 5 so Rowe might continue to miss some games due to injury. The Eagles’ best hope still is that Rowe gets healthy and the Patriots trade one of their cornerbacks (Butler) to open up playing time for him. If it’s any consolation, the Patriots are now 2-2. It’s looking like they might not be picking at the very last spot of the fourth round.


Current projected Eagles 2018 Draft Picks



4th - (from the Minnesota Vikings)

4th - (from the New England Patriots; can elevate to a 3rd)


5th - (from the Seattle Seahawks)


[#] Mon Oct 02 2017 11:13:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Three and Out: RPOs, Blount

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Another week, another scrappy win by an Eagles team found yet another way to prevail in a close game. In front of our eyes, they are slowly becoming a resilient bunch. It wasn’t pretty for the defense (Keenan Allen is still running), but the offense was sharp and picked up the slack. Good teams are…

[#] Mon Oct 02 2017 12:43:18 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers prospect report: Felix Sandstr

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Sandström, Strome, Ratcliffe and Laberge all with great weeks as seasons get underway around the globe.

Notable Canadian junior performers this week:

Connor Bunnaman (C/LW), Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
2016 4th Round Pick, 109th overall

  • 9/28 - 3 shots, 6 for 7 FOW
  • 9/29 - DNP
  • 9/30 - DNP

Bunnaman didn’t see much action this week, missing both Friday and Saturday’s games with the flu.

Anthony Salinitri (C), Sarnia Sting (OHL)
2016 6th Round Pick, 172nd overall

  • 9/30 - 2 assists, 3 shots, 2 PIM, 2 for 3 FOW
  • 10/1 - 3 assists, 1 shot, 2 for 3 FOW

Talk about a monster weekend for Salinitri, who has quickly jumped out to 6 points (1 G, 5 A) in his first 4 games.

Morgan Frost (C), Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
2017 1st Round Pick, 27th overall

  • 9/28 - 2 shots, 11 for 20 FOW
  • 9/29 - 2 shots, 6 PIM, 7 for 16 FOW
  • 10/1 - 2 assists, 4 shots, 2 PIM, 12 for 18 FOW

Despite being held pointless in two games this week, Frost still has 1 goal and 4 assists in his first 5 games.

Isaac Ratcliffe (LW), Guelph Storm (OHL)
2017 2nd Round Pick, 35th overall

  • 9/29 - 1 goal, 1 assist, 5 shots
  • 9/30 - 1 goal, 5 shots, 4 PIM, 1 for 3 FOW

The hulking 6’6” winger collects his first 2 goals of the season this week. His first was via this excellent wrist shot.

Matthew Strome (LW), Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)
2017 4th Round Pick, 106th overall

  • 9/29 - 1 goal, 1 shot, 0 for 1 FOW
  • 9/30 - 1 goal, 5 shots, 2 for 2 FOW
  • 10/1 - 1 assist, 2 shots, 2 PIM, 1 for 2 FOW

The hopes are high for Strome after he came off of a 34 goal season in his draft year. Two goals in his first four games is certainly a great start. You can check out one of those goals here.

Maksim Sushko (RW), Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
2017 4th Round Pick, 107th overall

  • 9/29 - 1 assist, 5 shots, 2 PIM
  • 9/30 - 1 goal, 2 shots, 0 for 1 FOW

The first two points of the season for the 18-year-old from Belarus.

Carter Hart (G), Everett Silvertips (WHL)
2016 2nd Round Pick, 48th overall

  • 9/29 - 3 GA, 35 saves
  • 9/30 - 3 GA, 22 saves

Carter Hart makes his season debut and was named 1st Star of the Game on Friday. While his numbers on Saturday don’t look promising, he did enter that game midway through after the back-up goalie, Dorrin Luding, gave up 2 goals on 10 shots.

Pascal Laberge (C), Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL)
2016 2nd Round Pick, 36th overall

  • 9/29 - 1 goal, 5 shots, 2 PIM, 5 for 11 FOW
  • 9/30 - 1 goal, 1 shot, 4 PIM, 7 for 14 FOW

This is exactly the week you want to see from Laberge, who many had hesitations on entering the 2017-18 season. This is his goal from Saturday night.

Notable European performers this week

Linus Högberg (D), Växjö Lakers HC (SHL)
2016 5th Round Pick, 139th overall

  • 9/28 - 7:51 TOI
  • 9/30 - 8:59 TOI

Högberg still getting 3rd pairing minutes for Växjö.

David Bernhardt (D), Djurgårdens IF (SHL)
2016 7th Round Pick, 199th overall

  • 9/28 - 1 shot, 15:00 TOI
  • 9/30 - 9:31 TOI

Positives: Bernhardt got 15 minutes of actual icetime on Thursday! Negatives: Apparently he was benched for the 3rd period of Saturday night’s matchup.

David Kaše (C/W), Mora IK (SHL)
2015 5th Round Pick, 128th overall

  • 9/30 - 1 goal, 1 assist, 3 shots, 19:18 TOI
  • 10/1 - 1 shot, 15:43 TOI

What a start of the season for Kaše, who has 4 points (2 G, 2 A) in his first 5 games in the SHL.

Olle Lycksell (RW/C), Linköping HC J20 (SuperElit)
2017 6th Round Pick, 168th overall

  • 9/30 - no shots
  • 10/1 - 1 goal

Kudos to Alex Appleyard for the updates on Lycksell as they’re a bit hard to come by. Here is a highlight of Lycksell’s first goal of the season on Sunday.

Felix Sandström (G), Brynäs IF (SHL)
2015 3rd Round Pick, 70th overall

  • 9/28 - 3 GA, 35 saves
  • 9/30 - 1 GA, 25 saves

This week is a prime example of what Sandström what he is capable of and what he must do from here on out. Competition with incumbent starter David Rautio will remain tight, but if he is able to pull off these types of wins, you will begin to see starts going in the favor of Sandström more often.

Ivan Fedotov (G), Toros Neftekamsk (VHL)
2015 7th Round Pick, 188th overall

  • 9/28 - DNP
  • 9/30 - 5 GA, 27 saves

A tough loss for Fedotov this week and rough start to the season overall. The 20 year old netminder has a .891 SV% and 2.63 GAA through 6 games.

Kirill Ustimenko (G), MHK Dynamo St. Petersburg (MHL)
2017 3rd Round Pick, 80th overall

The young Belarusian goalie struggles continued and saw his SV% drop to .894 in 7 games on the season.

[#] Mon Oct 02 2017 13:44:25 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles vs. Chargers snap count analysis: LeGarrette Blount makes the most of limited playing time

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Here’s how often everyone played.

Here’s a breakdown of the snap counts from the Philadelphia Eagles' 26-24 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.


The starting offensive line played the entire game, which the exception of the left guard spot. Stefen Wisniewski took a majority of the snaps while rotating with Chance Warmack. It seemed like the Eagles were giving them two drives each before rotating them. Still weird, but hey, it was working.

Nelson Agholor played more snaps than Torrey Smith for the first time this season. It’s not like Smith played a lot less; this was more about an increase for Agholor. He played well on Sunday.

Wendell Smallwood led all Eagles running backs in snaps played with 44%. He’s clearly benefiting from the absence of Darren Sproles. Corey Clement also saw a career-high 19 snaps. LeGarrette Blount only played 26 snaps but was very productive in them.

Here’s a look at how all of the running backs performed.

Smallwood — 10 carries, 34 yards, 3.4 average, 1 TD, long of 11 (4 recs for 45 yards)

Blount — 16 carries, 136 yards, 8.5 average, 0 TD, long of 68 (1 rec for 20 yards)

Clement — 10 carries, 30 yards, 3.0 average, 0 TD, long of 10

With Torrey Smith struggling, the Eagles should look to give Mack Hollins some more snaps.

Trey Burton’s offensive role has really gone down.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai continues to serve as an extra blocker.


Rodney McLeod played 100% of the snaps after sitting out in Week 3 due to a hamstring injury. He didn’t have a great game, though. I’m guessing the injury could be hampering him even though he’s playing.

Beau Allen saw a lot more playing time with Fletcher Cox out. Same thing for Elijah Qualls and Justin Hamilton.

Mychal Kendricks played 42% of the snaps, which is down from the 70% he played last week when Jordan Hicks left the Eagles-Giants game early. It’s still more than the 27% he averaged per game in 2016, however.

Steven Means played his first snaps of the season. The Eagles took away from Chris Long’s snaps in order to get him on the field.

After exclusively playing on special teams, backup slot corner Dexter McDougle played a couple defensive snaps in Week 4 for the first time this year.


Chris Maragos went back to playing special teams only after injuries forced him to start last week. That’s good.

Kenjon Barner was the primary kick and punt returner. He returned three punts for a total of 15 yards. The Eagles didn’t return a kickoff in this game. (Neither did the Chargers.)


The following players were ruled inactive prior to the game: Fletcher Cox, Corey Graham, Jaylen Watkins, Ronald Darby, Destiny Vaeao, Shelton Gibson, Isaac Seumalo. Gibson is the only player on the Eagles’ 53-man roster who hasn’t been active all season. Barring multiple injuries, that’ll likely be the case all season.

The following player(s) were active but did not play: Nick Foles.

[#] Mon Oct 02 2017 13:41:54 EDT from rss

Subject: Matt Read placed on waivers, Flyers

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With Shayne Gostisbehere’s injury, the Flyers will carry eight defensemen to start the season, and Read was the casualty in the meantime.

Sunday night’s roster cuts brought the Flyers down to 24 players, just one above where they’ll need to be by Tuesday afternoon. The original plan seemed to be to send one of Travis Sanheim or Samuel Morin up to Allentown, but a third-period injury suffered by defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere suddenly necessitated that the team carry an additional extra defenseman in the event of an injury on its season-opening four-game road trip.

Ron Hextall indicated last night that the Flyers would likely bring all three of Morin, Sanheim, and Robert Hagg to California with them, which meant that either Gostisbehere would be heading to injured reserve or that a forward would be waived. Today, we’ve learned that they’ve chosen the latter path, and that the casualty of that move is Matt Read.

First, the good news: The fact that Gostisbehere is likely not going to be on injured reserve suggests that this injury is likely not a serious one. That’s a good sign for a team that needs Gostisbehere to be in his top form this season after a rough 2016-17 campaign.

With the decision to carry eight defensemen for as long as Ghost is hurt, however, the Flyers’ forward ranks will have to be cut to 13, and it’s not too surprising that Read was the one who was left out. He — alongside Oskar Lindblom, who was sent to Lehigh Valley last night, and Jori Lehtera, who figures to be a healthy scratch in the season opener — was on the “scratch line” for the final preseason game, and his spot on the roster has felt a bit tenuous throughout this entire camp. We called him “one of the most expendable players currently on the roster” back in September, and the team’s decision to waive him essentially confirms his spot at the bottom of the priority list when it comes to the team’s forwards.

For Read, whose waiving comes after six years with the Flyers, the question now is what happens next. First, there’s the remote possibility that he gets claimed on waivers tomorrow. However, given his large cap hit (Read makes $3.625 million against the cap this year) and declining skills (he’s a solid fourth-line player at this point, but not much more), that seems unlikely.

What does seem most likely here, assuming he clears, is that Read will be back with the Flyers before too long. If Ghost ends up being healthy, the Flyers could even decide not to send Read to Lehigh Valley, since they have that option if he clears waivers. But the odds are that if he clears he’ll be sent to the Phantoms until the team knows that Gostisbehere is healthy, at which point they’ll likely bring him back up and send a defenseman to the Phantoms.

It’s theoretically possible that the team carries eight defensemen for a while even once Ghost is available, which would mean that Read would stay with the Phantoms for a while, but unless they’re willing to put all of Morin, Sanheim, and Hagg in the lineup — something they seem hesitant to do — they’ll probably send one of Morin or Sanheim to the Phantoms, where they can get consistent ice time.

We’ll have to see how things shake out once Gostisbehere is healthy and once we learn of Read’s waiver fate on Tuesday. But for now, there’s your 23-man opening-night roster.

[#] Mon Oct 02 2017 12:42:18 EDT from rss

Subject: Finding Balance Within Balance

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It’s one thing to find balance between the pass and run, but Doug Pederson got it right at both the macro and micro level on Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles. Not only did the Eagles finish 51/49 in a pass/run split, but they were also very balanced in just the running game itself, utilizing all…

[#] Mon Oct 02 2017 14:37:13 EDT from rss

Subject: Sponsored: Krasno, Krasno and Onwudinjo

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You may have noticed the Krasno, Krasno and Onwudinjo ad at the top of this site for the past few months. Those good folks have been kind enough to be our premium sponsor. You’ve likely heard of them before, as they are heavily involved in sponsoring many local media and sports-related properties, but I wanted…

[#] Mon Oct 02 2017 15:48:36 EDT from rss

Subject: Are The Eagles Contenders?

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This post is brought to you with limited advertising and no surveys by Michael Parisano. Are you looking to buy or sell your home? Are you a first time buyer looking to buy your first home? If the answer to one of those questions is “yes,” please consider contacting Michael Parisano of Coldwell Banker Preferred.…

[#] Mon Oct 02 2017 16:12:05 EDT from rss

Subject: Sixers Notes: Markelle

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Joel Embiid rode a stationary bike while his teammates did five-on-five scrimmaging Monday afternoon. The Sixers center is still limited to half-court 5v5 drills, now 48 hours from the preseason opener against Memphis. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is at the same point as Embiid right now, also limited to 5v5 half-court work. But the big story on…

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