Subject: Prospect report: Maksim Sushko channels his inner Jiri Dopita, scores four goals in one game
The prospects are scoring lots of goals, folks.
Phantoms update: The Martel, Vecchione and Aube-Kubel line is pretty good
The Phantoms improved to 3-1-0-1 after taking 2 for 3 this weekend. They are doing it without their captain, Colin McDonald, and local-beat idol Cole Bardreau. Here’s how the top prospects in Lehigh Valley fared:
Philippe Myers (D): 3 GP, 1 goal, 7 shots, 4 PIM
Undrafted Free Agent
So it begins! Myers scores his first AHL goal. He muffled a defensive zone exit before it got to the blue-line and was fed in the slot for a well-deserved goal. That brings Myers to 2 points (1 G, 1 A) in 5 AHL games.
Mark Friedman (D): 2 GP, 3 shots, 4 PIM
2014 3rd Round Pick, 86th overall
Another quiet weekend that only saw the “rookie” defenseman play in 2 of the 3 games (he missed Saturday’s game). Friedman still sits pointless through 4 games.
Samuel Morin (D): 3 GP, 1 assist, 1 shot, 4 PIM
2013 1st Round Pick, 11th overall
Morin is back with the Phantoms after being benched through the the beginning of the West Coast road-trip for the big club. I know we’re all disappointed as there are Flyers defensemen that aren’t worthy of being given NHL minutes. Morin will be back in the NHL before the season is over.
Mike Vecchione (C): 3 GP, 1 goal, 1 assist, 3 shots
Undrafted Free Agent
Another first professional goal this weekend. Vecchione took this nasty wrister to beat the goalie top-shelf, stick-side.
Nicolas Aubé-Kubel (RW): 3 GP, 1 goal, 4 shots, 2 PIM
2014 2nd Round Pick, 48th overall
“NAK” is already 7 goals away from tying his high (9) from last season. This is a great start for the 21-year old winger (2 G, 1 A in 5 games)
Danick Martel (RW): 3 GP, 1 goal, 2 assists, 9 shots, 2 PIM
Undrafted Free Agent
Martel’s 7 points (5 G, 2 A) in 5 games are good for 3rd best in the AHL. This could be a deciding season for Martel’s chances at seeing the NHL.
Oskar Lindblom (LW): 3 GP, 8 shots
2014 5th Round Pick, 138th overall
All’s quiet on the Swedish front. The prospect darling Lindblom is pointless in his first 5 games.
Mikhail Vorobyov (C): 3 GP, 1 assist, 3 shots
2015 4th Round Pick, 104th overall
The assist in Sunday’s game gives Vorobyov two on the season. No goals just yet for the young Russian.
Alex Lyon (G): 3 GP, 9 GA, 72 saves
Undrafted Free Agent
Don’t let the 9 goals allowed fool you; Lyon was pretty good overall this weekend. Friday’s game saw Lyon give up four goals on 15 shots and got pulled from the game. He was excellent on Saturday/Sunday and was perfect in the shootout in Sunday’s win to boot. His season stats sit at .919 SV% and 2.53 GAA.
Notable Canadian junior performers this week:
Connor Bunnaman (C/LW), Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
2016 4th Round Pick, 109th overall
- 10/9 - 2 shots, 9 for 20 FOW
- 10/13 - 1 goal, 1 assist, 5 shots, 6 for 14 FOW
- 10/14 - 2 goals, 3 shots, 3 for 5 FOW
- 10/15 - 2 goals, 1 assist, 5 shots, 0 for 1 FOW
After going goal-less in his first 6 games, Bunnaman made up for lost time. This was his first goal of the season. The Kitchener captain has nine points (five goals, four assists) on the season, which is good for second on his team.
Anthony Salinitri (C), Sarnia Sting (OHL)
2016 6th Round Pick, 172nd overall
- 10/9 - 1 goal, 5 shots, 7 for 12 FOW
- 10/13 - 1 goal, 1 assist, 3 shots, 4 for 5 FOW
- 10/14 - 1 assist, 4 shots, 2 PIM, 3 for 5 FOW
- 10/15 - 1 goal, 1 assist, 4 shots, 4 for 14 FOW
In only two games out of his first 10 this season has Salinitri been held point-less. Here is a goal from Sunday’s game. His 13 points (4 G, 9 A) are tied for 11th-most in the OHL.
Morgan Frost (C), Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
2017 1st Round Pick, 27th overall
- 10/11 - 1 goal, 2 assists, 2 shots, 9 for 24 FOW
- 10/13 - 1 goal, 1 shot, 4 PIM, 15 for 20 FOW
- 10/15 - 1 assist, 1 shot, 2 PIM, 10 for 18 FOW
Another prospect with a kick-start of a weekend. Frost’s five points last week gives him 10 (3 G, 7 A) this season. For those worried that the kid doesn’t have the “hands” or “speed”, check out this breakaway goal.
Isaac Ratcliffe (LW), Guelph Storm (OHL)
2017 2nd Round Pick, 35th overall
- 10/11 - 1 shot, 4 PIM
- 10/13 - 3 shots
- 10/14 - 5 shots
It might be worth noting that Guelph isn’t very good this year (3-5-0-1) and have only scored 23 goals as a team through 9 games. Ratcliffe sits at 5 points (2 G, 3 A) with 37 shots on goal.
Maksim Sushko (RW), Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
2017 4th Round Pick, 107th overall
- 10/9 - DNP
- 10/11 - 1 shot, 1 for 1 FOW
- 10/14 - 4 goals, 7 shots, 2 PIM, 2 for 4 FOW
- 10/15 - 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 PIM
Matthew Strome (LW), Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)
2017 4th Round Pick, 106th overall
- 10/9 - DNP
- 10/13 - 2 shots, 1 for 1 FOW
- 10/14 - 1 assist, 1 for 6 FOW
- 10/15 - 1 goal, 3 shots, 6 for 7 FOW
After missing a couple games with a shoulder injury, Strome returned to the lineup. He was named the game’s 1st star on Friday after scoring the shootout winning goal. His goal on Sunday was his 3rd of the season and first since 9/30.
Carsen Twarynski (LW), Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
2016 3rd Round Pick, 82nd overall
- 10/13 - 1 shot, 7 for 11 FOW
- 10/14 - 2 goals, 6 shots, 2 PIM, 0 for 1 FOW
- 10/15 - 2 shots, 4 PIM, 0 for 1 FOW
Though not really highly skilled, Twarynski is off to a decent offensive start to the season. After spending some time in Phantoms camp, Twarynski has 8 points (3 G, 5 A) in 6 games.
Pascal Laberge (C), Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL)
2016 2nd Round Pick, 36th overall
- 10/12 - 1 goal, 1 assist, 4 shots, 4 for 11 FOW
- 10/13 - 5 PIM, 5 for 8 FOW
- 10/14 - DNP
Pascal Laberge isn’t one to shy away from contact or aggressive play. He received a game-misconduct on Friday and served a 1-game suspension on Saturday. With someone that has had head injuries such as his, I do wish he would not fight. His goal and assist on Thursday were both his 4th of the season.
German Rubtsov (C), Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL)
2016 1st Round Pick, 22nd overall
- 10/10 - 2 shots, 5 for 10 FOW
- 10/13 - 3 shots, 6 for 12 FOW
- 10/14 - 3 assists, 5 shots, 4 for 8 FOW
After a 3-game pointless stretch, Rubtsov gets back on the board. He has 6 assists on the season, but no goals in 5 games.
Notable European performers this week
Linus Högberg (D), Växjö Lakers HC (SHL)
2016 5th Round Pick, 139th overall
- 10/13 - 13:27 TOI
- 10/14 - 11:59 TOI
More 3rd-pairing minutes for the 19 year old.
David Bernhardt (D), Djurgårdens IF (SHL)
2016 7th Round Pick, 199th overall
- 10/12 - 14:59 TOI
- 10/14 - 16:25 TOI
The young Swedish defensemen have a tough hill to climb to start pulling in even 2nd-pairing minutes and responsibilities.
David Kaše (C/W), Mora IK (SHL)
2015 5th Round Pick, 128th overall
- 10/12 - 2 shots, 15:43 TOI
- 10/14 - 3 shots, 2 PIM, 14:49 TOI
After a point-less week, Kase sits at 6 points (2 G, 4 A) in 9 SHL games.
Olle Lycksell (RW/C), Linköping HC J20 (SuperElit)
2017 6th Round Pick, 168th overall
An encouraging start for Lycksell, who has 8 points (3 G, 5 A) in 11 games for Linköping. Here is his goal from Sunday.
Felix Sandström (G), Brynäs IF (SHL)
2015 3rd Round Pick, 70th overall
- 10/12 - 3 GA, 6 saves
- 10/14 - 1 GA, 32 saves
Both Sandström and co-starter David Rautio were demolished in an 8-2 loss on Thursday. Sandström bounced back for an excellent effort in a 2-1 victory. His .921 SV% is 11th best in the SHL.
Ivan Fedotov (G), Toros Neftekamsk (VHL)
2015 7th Round Pick, 188th overall
- 10/9 - 1 GA, 13 saves
- 10/11 - DNP
Ivan Fedotov is back with Toros after a brief stint backing up Ben Scrivens in the KHL. Fedotov carries an ugly .894 SV% in 7 games in the VHL.
Kirill Ustimenko (G), MHK Dynamo St. Petersburg (MHL)
2017 3rd Round Pick, 80th overall
- 10/10 - 0 GA, 17 saves
- 10/11 - 1 GA, 20 saves
- 10/13 - 1 GA, 21 saves
- 10/15 - 1 GA, 17 saves
Once again, all updates from Alex Appleyard and Flyers Prospect (give a friendly follow if you Twitter). Ustimenko has been absolutely scorching this month and holds a .927 SV% and 1.53 GAA in 13 MHL games this season.
Notable NCAA and USHL performers this week:
Wade Allison (RW), Western Michigan University
2016 2nd Round Pick, 52nd overall
- 10/10 - 1 assist, 1 shot, 2 PIM
- 10/13 - 1 assist
- 10/14 - 2 assists, 3 shots
Points, points, points! The skilled sophomore winger has 7 points (2 G, 5 A), which is 2nd most on the Broncos.
Tanner Laczynski (RW/C), Ohio State University
2016 6th Round Pick, 169th overall
- 10/13 - 4 shots
- 10/14 - 3 shots, 2 PIM
Point-less through his first 4 games, Laczysnki will need to begin to channel that 2016-17 effort to right the ship.
David Drake (D), University of Connecticut
2013 7th Round Pick, 192nd overall
- 10/13 - 3 shots
- 10/14 - 0 shots
UCONN split the weekend roadtrip, beating American International, but losing to Sacred Heart. Next weekend they square off against Boston University.
Wyatt Kalynuk (D), University of Wisconsin
2017 7th Round Pick, 196th overall
- 10/13 - 3 shots
- 10/14 - 3 shots, 4 PIM
Still no points for Kalynuk through 5 games.
Terrance Amorosa (D), Clarkson University
2013 5th Round Pick, 132nd overall
- 10/13 - 1 assist, 1 shot, 2 PIM
- 10/14 - 1 goal, 1 shot
Amorosa is on quite the pace to start the season for a college defenseman. The senior has 6 points (2 G, 4 A) in his first 4 games.
Noah Cates (LW), Omaha Lancers (USHL)
2017 5th Round Pick, 137th overall
- 10/13 - 1 goal, 2 shots
- 10/14 - 3 shots
- 10/15 - 1 shot
Cates’ first goal of the season! Combined with his assist in his first game, he has 2 points in 4 USHL games.
NCAA/USHL Notes: University of Michigan hockey took a break this week, so no updates for Cooper Marody and Brendan Warren. Goalie Matej Tomek was the back-up and did not play in any of Waterloo’s (USHL) games this past week.
Subject: Remember How Horny You Were for Marcus Mariota? That Was Awesome
Subject: The Flyers are off to a strong start!
The gang gets positive this week, which feels a little weird.
It’s almost a full hour of positivity on BSH Radio this week as the gang breaks down the 3-2-0 start. The Ginger Line is killing it, Ghost and Hagg are becoming a legitimate pairing and the Flyers have the 2nd most goals per game in the league. There's a line called The Honey Bees. But then, there’s the Travis Sanheim situation, which we can’t really figure out. But we try!
Subject: Carson Wentz is the favorite to win NFL MVP after the first six weeks of the season
Just like everyone thought.
Sorry, that’s not entirely accurate.
The Philadelphia Eagles are 5-1 and Carson Wentz is the MVP favorite.
Just check the latest Most Valuable Player odds from Bovada:
Now’s the time where everyone points out that it’s only been six weeks, still early in the season, etc. And that’s all obviously true.
But it’s incredible to think Wentz is already getting this kind of buzz despite the fact he’s only in his second year.
Through six starts this season, Wentz has completed 60.9% of his passes for 1,584 yards, 13 touchdowns, three interceptions, and a 99.6 passer rating. (He has also rushed for 133 yards.) If Wentz keeps on this pace, he’ll finish the season with 4,224 yards, 35 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.
Prior to this season, Bovada listed Wentz’s MVP odds at 100/1. 28 players had better odds. And Wentz was tied with eight others for 29th.
Wentz is far from a finished product; there are still aspects of his game that can afford to improve. But there’s no denying the progress No. 11 has made is very impressive.
The Eagles will hope Wentz can continue to stay hot as the team looks to clich their first playoff berth since the 2013 season.
Subject: Joel Embiid Pranks Fans with The Help of Draft Kings
Subject: Carson Wentz nominated for weekly award you can vote on (for the second week in a row)
Vote for Carson, again.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback (and MVP favorite) Carson Wentz has been nominated for one of the NFL’s weekly awards (for the second week in a row) thanks to his performance against the Carolina Panthers in Week 6.
Wentz is one of three players eligible to win the “Fedex Air Player of the Week” award. The other two quarterbacks he’s going up against: Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer and Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins. You can [CLICK HERE] to vote for Wentz.
Here’s a look at how they all performed stat-wise.
Carson Wentz: 16/30 (53.3%), 222 yards (7.4 average), 3 TD, 0 INT, 110.7 passer rating
Carson Palmer: 18/22 (81.8%), 283 yards (12.9 average), 3 TD, 1 INT, 139.4 passer rating
Kirk Cousins: 25/37 (67.6%), 330 yards (8.9 average), 2 TD, 1 INT, 102.3 passer rating
Wentz doesn’t have the sexiest numbers from this group but one must keep in mind he also faced the toughest defense. The Panthers appear to be a much better team than the Buccaneers and 49ers. Not to mention Wentz was playing on the road while Palmer and Cousins were not.
Subject: Flyers vs Panthers preview: Looking for four in a row vs. Florida
Can the offense stay hot?
After an 8-2 rout of the Washington Capitals on Saturday night in the home opener, the Flyers look to keep the pedal to the metal tonight against the Florida Panthers. Philadelphia comes into the game 3-2-0 while Florida has begun their season 2-2-0 and coming off of a 4-3 loss at the hand of the reigning champion, Pittsburgh Penguins.
PHI point leaders:
- Voracek (0G, 9A)
- Gostisbehere (0G, 8A)
- Giroux (3G, 4A)
FLA point leaders:
- Huberdeau (3G, 2A)
- Dadonov (1G, 4A)
- Bjugstad (2G, 2A)
Last season, the Flyers did not lose a game to the Panthers, winning each of their three meetings.
Now, who knows if this factors into the predictions on corsica.hockey, but according to those, the Flyers are the favorites in tonight’s matchup. The average puts the Flyers at 54.7% favorites compared to 45.3 for Florida.
Philadelphia heads into this game looking to get further dominance from their first and fourth lines. The Giroux-Couturier-Voracek line had their first truly overpowering game of the season on Saturday, and Scott Laughton is coming off a two goal game.
This game will be broadcast at 7 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia and 97.5 The Fanatic. Outside of the Delaware Valley, it’s the NHL.tv free game of the week.
Here’s your (subject to change) Flyers lineup:
Giroux - Couturier - Voracek
Weal - Filppula - Simmonds
Weise - Patrick - Konecny
Leier - Laughton - Raffl
Provorov - MacDonald
Gostisbehere - Hagg
Sanheim? Manning? - Gudas
Subject: Joel Embiid Thinks His Minutes Restriction is
Subject: Eagles Injury Updates: Two players return to practice ahead of Redskins game
Good news for the Eagles.
The Philadelphia Eagles don’t have to release an official injury report until Thurday this week since they play the Washington Redskins on Monday night. With that said, a few injury updates emerged following the Eagles’ light practice session on Tuesday.
Eagles starting right tackle Lane Johnson practiced on Tuesday, which indicates he passed through the NFL’s mandatory concussion protocol. The Eagles were without Johnson in Week 6 against the Panthers. Now Halapoulivaati Vaitai will be headed back to the bench with Johnson set to return. Great news for Philly.
Smallwood has been out ever since suffering a knee injury in Week 4. On Tuesday, however, he returned to practice and told reporters he expects to play against Washington. Smallwood ranks second among Eagles running backs in attempts (29) and yards (113) this season. He also still ranks first in snaps played (138) despite missing two games.
Smallwood isn’t a dynamic rushing talent but he’s easily the team’s best receiving back. He’s also shown improvement in pass protection. Getting him back is good for the Eagles, especially since it’ll mean less offensive snaps for Kenjon Barner.
Smallwood has been dealing with knee swelling. Didn't want to go into specifics. Same knee as last year's MCL injury, but said unrelated.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) October 17, 2017
As of last Friday, Doug Pederson said Darby wouldn’t be practicing this week. He did say Darby is “close” to returning, though.
Non-injury: Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long
Both Jenkins and Long were excused from practice on Tuesday as they attended NFL meetings in New York to discuss social issues. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie was also among those in attendance.
Washington is dealing with some significant injury issues this week.
After suffering a rib fracture and a lung puncture on Oct. 2, Norman said he’d be out for four weeks. That timeline suggests he shouldn’t be able to play against the Eagles. It sounds like Washington isn’t ready to rule him out just yet, however.
Norman played well against Alshon Jeffery and the Eagles in Week 1. It’d be a big loss for Washington if he misses this game.
Cornerback Bashaud Breeland (knee sprain) could be limited some this week, too, but Gruden believes there's a chance he could still play against the Eagles.
Washington being without both of their starting corners against the Eagles would obviously be a big concern for them.
Allen has played well for Washington since they selected him with the No. 17 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. He’s expected to miss the next three-to-four weeks after suffering a foot injury (Lisfranc sprain). Allen had four tackles and one quarterback hit in the first Eagles-Washington game this year.
Washington’s kicker will reportedly miss this week’s game due to a partially torn hip muscle. Washington will be forced to sign a new kicker. Keep an eye on how this could impact the special teams battle on Monday night.
One of Washington’s running backs is expected to return to practice this week.
Subject: Checking out the competition: Florida Panthers with Todd Little
Yes, they miss Jagr too
BSH Radio’s Steph Driver sat down with Todd Little from Litter Box Cats to get an idea of what the Florida Panthers have looked like so far this season and what THTTF can expect. While Todd says there isn’t much rivalry between the two teams, Mama (cat) Driver disagrees and declares her undying allegiance for the Florida Panthers. Other topics include*:
- The War On Stats
- Did your team really leave your head coach on the side of the road after he was fired?
- HOW IS IT POSSIBLE AARON EKBLAD IS ONLY 21?
- Do you miss Jagr? We miss Jagr. :sigh: Jagr.
*may or may not be accurate
Subject: Brett Brown Says It
Subject: Fun With Numbers: Radko Gudas
As other defensemen have taken on more responsibility, a mainstay of the Flyers’ defense has seen his role shrink. What does it mean?
We’re just under two weeks into the NHL season, which means that while we’re still probably not far enough into the year to actually try and draw many meaningful conclusions from early trends that we see, we’re probably far enough in that we can pretend, right?
With that, let’s take a look at three numbers pertaining to the Flyers’ first five games, discussing what they mean and how much they matter.
15:36 — Radko Gudas’ average ice time per game so far this season, courtesy of hockey-reference.com’s numbers.
If that doesn’t sound like a lot, that’s because it isn’t. 15:36 per game is sixth among Flyers defensemen this season in ice time per game; only Travis Sanheim’s 11:55 per contest so far is less. By comparison, Gudas played 19:51 per game in his first year with the Flyers, and 19:18 last season.
Why’s Gudas finding himself on the ice less often? Some of it could be a matter of his defensive partner. While the Ivan Provorov-Andrew MacDonald and Shayne Gostisbehere-Robert Hagg partnerships have held steady through the first five games of the season, Gudas has spent time with both Brandon Manning and Travis Sanheim. The team has never been afraid to give Manning minutes befitting of a third-pair defenseman, and Sanheim — if his own average ice time per game wasn’t enough of a hint — clearly still hasn’t quite earned the full trust of the coaching staff just yet.
Particularly of note here is who seems to have stepped ahead of Gudas in the pecking order, and that’s rookie Robert Hagg. While his being paired with Gostisbehere certainly helps him get on the ice a fair bit (Ghost is actually leading the Flyers in 5-on-5 ice time so far this season), Hagg has done a lot to impress the coaches here, and his 16:56 of even-strength ice time per game is more time than Gudas is receiving across all game states.
We noted this past offseason that Gudas’ role this season was an unknown, and it was always possible that he was one who may end up seeing some ice time taken away as young guys emerge a bit (emphasis mine):
It’s possible that, while guys like Morin, Hagg, or Sanheim get their feet under them, Gudas is asked to do even more than he has been in recent years. On the other hand, if any of those guys really get out to a hot start to their NHL careers, it wouldn’t at all be surprising if any increase in responsibility given to them comes at the expense of Gudas’ ice time. Radko Gudas could realistically serve almost any role on the Flyers’ defense this season, from top-pair/top-PK guy to veteran mentor to third-pair support piece. The wide range of potential outcomes is what makes the task of guessing what to expect from him so difficult.
Right now, things are trending more towards “third-pair support piece”. But on the other hand, it’s also possible that as the team starts to trust Sanheim more, Gudas’ ice time climbs as a result. (It’s also possible that the team throws its current pairings in a blender before too long, of course, and that could change the picture up here as well.)
If that doesn’t happen, though, should the Flyers be willing to tweak their pairings a bit — even if just for a few shifts a game — to get the burly Czech blueliner a bit more ice time? Gudas’ possession numbers, which have been routinely fantastic since he became a Flyer, are outstanding again so far this season, obvious small sample caveats acknowledged. And numbers aside, we know that the Flyers like and value Gudas. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have protected him over MacDonald (who they also like and value) in the expansion draft last June. The sudden shift away from him is a bit curious, even if on the surface it can seemingly be explained as a matter of circumstance.
It’ll be interesting to see how Gudas’ role changes throughout the season. At some point between now and April, Samuel Morin is probably going to be playing on this team, and someone’s going to find himself out of a regular lineup role for it. Do the team’s early actions suggest that may be Gudas? I still think that, when push comes to shove, the team will blink and move MacDonald out of the lineup before they do that with Radko, but I’m certainly less sure about that than I was at the start of the season.
24th — the Flyers’ rank among the NHL’s 31 teams in 5-on-5 pace this season, which we’ll define as total shot attempts (including blocked shots) by both teams per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 play. At 110.56 total attempts for and against per 60 (via corsica.hockey, through Sunday’s games), only seven teams have seen fewer total shot attempts in their games at even strength.
First of all, a quick note here that either paces as a whole are going to have to fall back soon or we’re truly in a different era of offense this season. So far this year, the NHL-average pace is 115.8 attempts per 60; in 2016-17, only two teams (Dallas and Toronto) were above that mark. Some regression is likely in store for the league here, but hopefully there’s more fun, high-event hockey coming for the league this season than in seasons past.
It’s interesting, however, that the Flyers are in the lowest quarter of the league’s pace rankings this season. Particularly considering where they’ve been relative to the rest of the league in Hakstol’s first two seasons in charge of the team.
Does this matter? Maybe, maybe not. Playing a up-tempo style with lots of shots isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for winning, and it’s not like doing so led the Flyers to greatness under Hakstol in the past two seasons. Plus, again: five games. It’s entirely possible this is just a small sample-fueled coincidence and the team will be trading shots and chances with its opponents regularly before long.
Do the Flyers think that slowing things down a bit may be the best chance they have to win with their current roster? It’s too early to say that with certainty. Still, the sudden shift here is intriguing enough that we can file this one under “something to possibly revisit down the road”.
What’s curious about that number, though, is that it may not jive with some of what you’ve seen at a high-level. The Flyers have topped 30 shots on goal in each of their first five games. How can they be getting so many shots on goal if their pace is relatively slow? Some of it’s the power play, but that can’t be all of it, right?
It’s not — and that brings us to our third number.
59.9% — the percentage of Flyers shot attempts so far this season at 5-on-5 that have counted as shots on goal, also per Corsica. That’s the third-highest percentage of any team in the NHL, trailing only Ottawa and Florida.
If you think that’s an improvement from previous years, you’re not wrong:
Again, we’re early enough into the season that this is probably, at least to an extent, just a blip on the radar. Last year, the league-leader in this category was the Penguins, who hit the net on about 56.8 percent of their attempts. The Flyers will probably fall back a bit here in time.
But what should be interesting to see is if this is a sign of a different offensive zone plan of attack for the Flyers. Much has been made of the team’s tendency to rely on point shots over the past couple of seasons, as low-to-high play was a crucial part of the team’s offensive strategy. Long shots like those are going to have less of a chance at hitting the net, for multiple reasons, and it’d be interesting to see if this uptick is a result of less reliance on those kinds of plays.
Microstats tracker and game-watcher extraordinaire Corey Sznajder had an interesting note on this front following the Flyers’ beatdown of the Capitals on Saturday:
Only five of Philly's 52 shots on Saturday were off passes back to the point. Who is this team and what happened to the Flyers?— Corey Sznajder (@ShutdownLine) October 16, 2017
Again, it may be too early to really tell what’s just noise and what’s a true sign of things to come, and we’d need to take a deeper dive to really look at that. But it’s hard to imagine that getting more shots on net is a bad thing, at the very least.
Subject: Flyers vs. Panthers lineups, start time, TV, radio, live stream and discussion
Subject: Behind The Beat: Robert Hagg Is Making Shayne Gostisbehere Better, and A Defense of Andrew MacDonald
Subject: Recap: Flyers tame Panthers in dominating 5-1 win
Breakaway goals, drop back passes and Wayne Simmonds punches: this one had it all.
Sean Couturier, Shayne Gostisbehere, Dale Weise, Claude Giroux and Valtteri Filppula scored for the Flyers, who won their second straight home game and improved to 4-2 on the season. Michal Neuvirth was excellent in goal for the Flyers, stopping 40 of 41 shots to grab his first win of the season.
The Flyers shook off a sluggish start following their 8-2 blowout of Washington on Saturday, as a number of early turnovers in their own zone allowed the Panthers to collect six of the first seven shots in the game.
But with the first seven minutes survived, the Flyers’ top line of Sean Couturier, Jake Voracek and Claude Giroux went to work. The trio had a strong shift with controlled zone time and seemed to wake up the rest of the team.
Not long after that Nolan Patrick drew the first penalty of the game—a tripping call against Nick Bjugstad—just under the 12 minute mark. On the ensuing power play the Flyers created a couple of good scoring chances from Wayne Simmonds and Patrick, but veteran Panthers netminder Roberto Luongo was up to the task.
At the other end Michal Neuvirth had a busy first period in his second start of the season. Neuvirth came up with trio of saves following the Flyers power play, stopping Bjugstad, Jared McCann and Ian McCoshen in close within an 18-second span to keep the buzzing Panthers scoreless.
With Aaron Ekblad off for hooking with 6:50 left in the first, the Flyers first power play unit set up a shooting gallery at Luongo. The veteran stopped all four shots the first unit fired on goal and then a fifth from Ivan Provorov as the second unit stepped on.
After 20 minutes the focus was on the two men between the pipes, with Neuvirth and Luogno matching save for save. Both were tested, with the Panthers testing Neuvirth mostly at even strength while the Flyers peppered Luongo with seven shots on the man-advantage.
Andrew MacDonald’s slashing penalty late in the first carried over to the second for 31 seconds. It wasn’t much of a slash on Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau, but officials have still been consistent with that call early in the season.
After killing of the rest of MacDonald’s minor, the Flyers would strike first with a Sean Couturier goal at the 1:05 mark to make it 1-0. Both Jake Voracek and Claude Giroux picked up assists on the goal, with the captain picking his 400th career assist. Couturier showed great hands on top of the Panthers crease, deking Luongo in tight to shove the puck home.
Nice work by Couturier to stick with the puck and pot the goal. pic.twitter.com/FyjBhSpwqs— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) October 18, 2017
Couturier’s goal continued his strong start to the season, and continued a troubling trend for the visiting Panthers, who haven’t scored first in any game this season.
Florida had a golden chance to tie things up at the 7:07 mark on a two-on-one with Huberdeau passing over to a wide-open Radim Vrbata. But Vrbata was robbed by Neuvirth, who anticipated the pass perfectly and slid across to make the save to keep Florida scoreless.
It would prove to be a big save as Shayne Gostisbehere would make it 2-0 Flyers just 32 seconds later. The third-year defenseman jumped up on the play, took a pass from Wayne Simmonds and beat Luongo with ease for his first goal of the season. Rookie Robert Hagg picked up the secondary assist, marking his first career assist and point in the NHL.
Armed with another power play thanks to a bad penalty by Micheal Haley, Claude Giroux found himself on a breakaway and buried it to stretch the Flyers’ lead to 3-0 at the 13:22 mark of the second.
LEFT WINGER CLAUDE GIROUX just scored for the 4th time this season! pic.twitter.com/YpVkEc8thx— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) October 18, 2017
Valtteri Filppula found the captain streaking down the right side as some Panthers were distracted with a scrum at the other end after Derek MacKenzie accidentally ran into Michael Neuvirth. Giroux calmly sent a quick snap shot through Luongo’s five-hole for his fourth goal of the young season. Gostisbehere would later be given a secondary assists on the goal.
But the Flyers weren’t done yet as Dale Weise would make it 4-0 with 3:44 left in the second following a great sequence from Travis Konecny and Nolan Patrick. Konecny used his speed to get in on a breakaway and was stopped, but Patrick followed up and left a beautiful drop pass to Weise who made no mistake.
This Nolan Patrick pass was amazing and you need to watch it again. pic.twitter.com/XBvgzefBxv— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) October 18, 2017
It was a dominating performance from the Flyers in the period, scoring four goals (three at even strength, one power play) and hemming the Panthers in their own zone for the bulk of the frame. Florida’s 12 shots were deceiving as only a couple were scoring chances for a team that came in averaging 42 shots per game.
The Flyers’ top line would continue to buzz to start the third period, with Couturier nearly finishing off a nice passing play started by Voracek and Giroux with a tip that Luongo just got enough of to keep out of the net.
The chemistry has developed fast and furious for that trio, who looked dangerous nearly every shift they took in this one.
After carrying play in the second and early in the third, the Flyers spent the rest of the third period killing off Panthers penalties. A two-man advantage for the Panthers for 44 second with less than five minutes left in the third was their best chance to score but Neuvirth was up to the task.
Still down a man, the Flyers would lose the shutout on a Jamie McGinn goal at the 16:10 mark to pull the Panthers within three at 4-1. McGinn got a cross-ice pass from Nick Bjugstad and beat Neuvirth, who didn’t have much of a chance.
With Florida’s net empty with 1:37 left, the Flyers would add an empty net goal to make it 5-1 off a faceoff as Nick Bjugstad won the draw right back into his own net. Valtteri Filppula got credit for the goal, his fourth of the season. There were no assists, though you know you really got the primary helper on this one.
This might be one of the nicest empty net goals you'll ever see, by Valtteri Filppula. pic.twitter.com/rPephoPpo6— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) October 18, 2017
Despite the 5-1 win, the Flyers did lose Wayne Simmonds late in the third period, and he did not return. Shayne Gostisbehere was also hit late on the arm blocking a shot. More to come as we hear about the status of both players.
Next up: Flyers vs. Predators from the Wells Fargo Center at 7pm on NBCSP and on radio at 97.5 The Fanatic.
Subject: Two Eagles players and Jeffrey Lurie among those who attended NFL meeting to discuss social issues
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and defensive end Chris Long were excused from Philadelphia’s light practice session on Tuesday as they attended a league meeting in New York. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie was also in attendance at the meeting. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was notably absent.
Players and owners attending this morning's meeting to discuss social issues. pic.twitter.com/7SNMvlZ6Ko— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) October 17, 2017
The NFL and NFLPA released a joint-statement following Tuesday’s meeting.
Today owners and players had a productive meeting focused on how we can work together to promote positive social change and address inequality in our communities. NFL executives and owners joined NFLPA executives and player leaders to review and discuss plans to utilize our platform to promote equality and effectuate positive change. We agreed that these are common issues and pledged to meet again to continue this work together.
As we said last week, everyone who is part of our NFL community has a tremendous respect for our country, our flag, our anthem and our military. In the best American tradition, we are coming together to find common ground and commit to the hard work required for positive change.
Jenkins was interviewed by reporters after the meeting. Here’s all what he had to say, via TMZ.
Q: HOW DID THE MEETING GO?
JENKINS: It felt like the meeting went really well. Obviously, we’ve been invited up here to be able to speak with the owners about some of the issues of injustice that we’ve seen in our communities and how as players we want to use our platforms. And we just talked about how the owners could come along aside us and we could collectively, collaboratively work together to actually create some change. Some real change. And so those conversations will continue, the dialogue will continue. As players, we’ll continue to do the work in our communities. We feel like that’s the most American to do, is to use your platform and influence. And with the stage with we have as NFL players, and as a league in general, we feel a real responsibility to our country, our communities. So we’re working through ways to have long-lasting, real change.
Q: DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GETTING CLOSER TO A FINAL DECISION BEING MADE?
Jenkins: There have been plenty of conversations leading up to this meeting. There will be some more. Obviously, the issues that we’re fighting against, they’ve been here longer than us. We don’t expect for them to change over night. But we’ll continue to work in collaboration and have conservations to see if we can make some change.
Q: IS THERE ANY SENSE THAT THEY WILL CHANGE THE NATIONAL ANTHEM RULES?
Jenkins: None of that was talked about today.
Q: WILL PLAYERS CONTINUE TO TAKE A KNEE?
Jenkins: I think that’s up to each individual.
Q: HOW BIG OF A PART OF THE MEETING WAS ABOUT THE NATIONAL ANTHEM?
Jenkins: Actually ... very, very little of the meeting was about the actual anthem. We were really talking more about solutions how we can get the results we need.
In addition to their demonstrations on the field, Jenkins and Long have been very active in the community off the field. Earlier this year, the NFLPA presented Jenkins with the Byron "Whizzer White" Award, which honors "players who go above and beyond to perform community service in their team cities and hometowns." Long is eligible to win the same award this year after donating his first six game checks to fund scholarships in Charlottesville.
Subject: Eagles News: Philadelphia has one of the NFL
Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 10/18/17.
Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...
The NFL's most improved offenses: Can they sustain success? - ESPN
The biggest change with Philadelphia's offense has been the progression of second-year quarterback Carson Wentz. As a rookie, he ranked 27th in passing DYAR and 27th in passing DVOA. So far, he ranks eighth in those categories this season, and his QBR on third down is a league-high 96.1, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Wentz had his first NFL game with more than two touchdown passes on Sunday when he tossed for four TDs against Arizona. Wentz has taken a much more aggressive approach to his passing this season. Last year, Wentz's average air yards per pass attempt was 7.28 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, which ranked 26th in the league. This year, Wentz's average pass has traveled 9.55 air yards, third in the league. Although he's had success with new deep-ball additions Alshon Jeffery (137 DYAR) and Torrey Smith (102 DYAR), Wentz's efficiency has been highest when he has targeted tight end Zach Ertz (181 DYAR) and receiver Nelson Agholor (171 DYAR) this season. Agholor already has as many touchdowns (three) as he had his first two seasons combined, and Ertz is on pace for over 1,200 receiving yards. While receiving back Darren Sproles was lost for the year with an injury, LeGarrette Blount has helped get the running game (seventh in DVOA) back on track after a slow start the first two weeks.
Carson Wentz is the favorite to win NFL MVP after the first six weeks of the season - BGN
Through six starts this season, Wentz has completed 60.9% of his passes for 1,584 yards, 13 touchdowns, three interceptions, and a 99.6 passer rating. (He has also rushed for 133 yards.) If Wentz keeps on this pace, he’ll finish the season with 4,224 yards, 35 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.
Afternoon QB with BLG - BGNRadio.com
BLG explains why the Eagles have a claim as the best team in the NFL. They're playing with confidence and toughness and it's great to watch. Plus a look ahead to the Washington game and three over/unders from Stephen Lee!
Eagles vs. Redskins: 5 matchups to watch - PhillyVoice
In the first matchup this season, Graham absolutely owned Moses all day long, collecting two sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss, and two additional hits on the quarterback. Those stats don't even tell the whole story of how badly Graham dominated Moses, which we showed in gif form after that game. Similarly, Cox got the best of Scherff that afternoon, as he chipped in a sack, a tackle for loss, a pair of hits on the quarterback, and the game-sealing fumble recovery that he returned for a touchdown. Here's Graham and Cox both destroying their blocks on that play.
Good Times, Good Times - Iggles Blitz
Football Outsiders also has the Eagles at #2 in their DVOA rankings. The Eagles are the top NFC team, just behind KC and just ahead of the Steelers. Honestly, all of this positivity makes me a bit nervous. It feels so much more natural when the Eagles are being doubted than praised. I guess this is a good problem to have and one I could get used to.
LB Nigel Bradham Gains Notice In Defense - PE.com
The reporters surrounding Nigel Bradham’s NovaCare Complex locker on Tuesday were four-deep. No kidding. They came in waves, and Bradham greeted all of them with a smile and an honest answer. It was like, and this sounds weird for a player who in his second season here and his sixth in the NFL, the world discovered him after his 10-tackle, two-passes defended performance in last week’s win over Carolina ...
Eagles’ Interior Addition Paying Dividends - Locked On Eagles
The Eagles are heavily invested in their EDGE defenders, that’s no secret. Brandon Graham was given extra incentives added to his contract this season that politely encouraged him to get to the QB. Vinny Curry has begun to live up to his 5 years 47 million dollar contract, at least against the run. Tennessee all-time sack leader Derek Barnett was selected 14th overall to add extra juice. What if I told you that despite all those investments, the Eagles were getting their most important pass rushing performance from the interior?
NFL players: Behind 'take a knee' lies this racial injustice - CNN
With the NFL protests ongoing, it's important to not lose sight of why they began in the first place. As NFL players and concerned citizens, we want to continue to shed light on the racial disparities within our criminal justice system, including the need for bail reform. In Dallas, a 49-year-old grandmother spent two months in jail on $150,000 bail after being accused of shoplifting $105 worth of school uniforms for her grandkids. She was not jailed because she posed a threat, but because she was too poor to purchase her freedom. In Randolph County, Alabama, 29-year-old Kandace Edwards, unemployed, homeless and seven months pregnant, allegedly forged a $75 check. Slapped with a $7,500 bail amount she could not pay, Edwards slept on a mat in the jail for one night before a judge granted her a temporary reprieve.
LeGarrette Blount advises Eagles to 'stay humble' after 5-1 start - NBC Sports Philadelphia
“We could lose 10 in a row,” Blount said Tuesday. “We could go 6-10, so we don't want to jump the gun, jump to conclusions. We want to make sure we take it week by week, day by day, keep a level head and make sure we're going to be ready for whoever the next opponent is.” Blount is one of only five Eagles players with a Super Bowl ring and the only member of the roster who owns multiple. The veteran running back won two of the last three years with the New England Patriots organization, which has been a perennial championship contender for the better part of the last two decades.
Patrick Robinson had been a great find for Eagles, now that he's found his confidence - Inquirer
“In the past, I definitely would get down about a play they made on me,” he said Tuesday, after the Eagles had practiced. “In college, I was that guy who played man-to-man the whole game against the best receiver, no help. That’s my side of the field. Whoever’s over there, that’s my responsibility. But when I came into the league, everybody is good. Everybody has that speed, that explosion, that quickness. When those plays started to get made, I was like, ‘Hold up. What’s going on?’ Back then, I was questioning my skill set. But now I realize that my skill set is still one of the best in the league. It’s more mental than anything.”
Ezekiel Elliott granted temporary restraining order, should play this Sunday - Blogging The Boys
The Dallas Cowboys should have Ezekiel Elliott on the field this Sunday, and perhaps for longer, as the courts have granted him a temporary restraining order. The ruling came down on Tuesday night after an afternoon hearing in a New York court.
Andy Reid fell back into bad coaching habits in Chiefs’ 1st loss of the season - SB Nation
It’s easy to make fun of Andy Reid and his bad habits, but the truth is, he’s a supremely talented coach whose teams are fun and exciting in a way that stands out from the pack. This year, his Kansas City Chiefs got off to a 5-0 start by zigging while everyone else is zagging, and we’d love nothing more than to see him finally get that Super Bowl. But man, when Reid falls back into those habits it’s extremely frustrating. You know all the talking points by now — he doesn’t run the ball enough, he burns his timeouts too early, yadda yadda. On Sunday, Reid seemed determined to fulfill every stereotype people have of him.
Week 6 DVOA Ratings - Football Outsiders
The strong parity of 2017 is even clearer if we look at No. 2 Philadelphia compared to other teams ranked No. 2 after Week 6. With the Eagles at 24.5% and the Steelers at 24.3%, we only have one team right now above 25%. There's only been one other season like that: 2011, when the No. 2 team after Week 6 was the 4-1 Ravens at 22.5%.
The NFL’s Parity Myth Has Become a Reality - The Ringer
That’s what makes this year so unusual: It’s happening, and the forces at work suggest that it may not be a fluke. The league will never have a season in which all 32 teams tie for first and last at 8-8, but it’s inching closer to it, so get those tiebreakers ready. This year, 14 NFL teams have three wins heading into Week 7—up from nine last year and five at this point in 2015. That year, there were five undefeated teams through six weeks; this year there are zero. But most shockingly, underdogs are covering the spread 60 percent of the time—and road underdogs are covering 62.5 percent of the time through Sunday.
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Subject: Wednesday Morning Fly By: Is it too soon to go streaking?
Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...
*THIS TEAM IS REALLY FUN RIGHT NOW. THAT IS ALL. RECAP.
*And here’s Travis in his own words after practice yesterday afternoon. [Courier-Post]
*So we’re six games into this season and we’re all starting to form some opinions about what we think this team is going to be. But how many games does it actually take to get a true handle on a team’s talent? [TSN]
*We’ve got prospects news with a bonus Jiri Dopita reference! [BSH]
*So...in your opinion, does the NHL need to do something to “fix” the All-Star Game? [ESPN]
*We hear a lot throughout the year about coaches who are dangerously close to being canned by their teams. But what about the coaches who are most definitely not getting fired? [Sportsnet]
*Puck Daddy moves to ESPN and gets a lot of wacky ideas about NHL playoff formatting...that is actually kind of fun. [ESPN]
*And finally, sure there’s no hockey game tonight but you know what there is? A new episode of BSH Radio for your ears! Positivity, folks. We have it. [BSH]
Subject: Crossing Broadcast: Winning and The Process
Subject: The best team in the NFC East is who you think it is
that’s like, your opinion man
Since we last checked in with the NFC East, the takes have been melting. Who is the best team in the division? It’s exactly who you think it is, unless it’s not.
Washington Redskins (3-2)
Last Week: Beat the winless 49ers, which hurt their strength of schedule
This Week: Visit the Eagles
Look, I know the Eagles have more wins and fewer losses than the Redskins, and I know that they beat the Redskins 30-17 on the road earlier this season, but have we considered that actually the Redskins are the better team?
Redskins opponents are 16-14, while the Eagles opponents are 18-17. The Redskins only beat one winless team by less than a touchdown. Two of the Eagles wins were by less than a touchdown against teams that were winless at the time. Obviously the Redskins are better. It’s science.
Philadelphia Eagles (5-1)
Last Week: Took sole possession of 1st place in the NFC with a win over the Panthers
This Week: Host the Redskins
Any given Sunday, or Monday, or whatever, but I just don’t see how the Eagles are going to beat the Redskins. It’s been six weeks since they last beat the Redskins, and this time they’re at home. I don’t know if having a superior offense, defense, and special teams and having three extra days of rest is going to be enough.
Dallas Cowboys (2-3)
Last Week: Bye week
This Week: Visit the 49ers, who once again play a team coming off their bye
The Cowboys had the week off from playing and practice but it there was plenty of action. Jerry Jones, who threatened to suspend players who didn’t stand with their hand on their hearts for the anthem, was conspicuously absent from the NFL/NFLPA meeting on anthem protests. One player he won’t have to worry about suspending is Ezekiel Elliott, who will eventually lose a court battle for good. Or Stephen Paea, who suddenly retired. Or Nolan Carroll, who was cut. Carroll counts for $3 million against the Cowboys cap. He played 2 games. Or Sean Lee, who will probably be hurt again.
New York Giants (1-5)
Last Week: Extended their streak of not scoring 28+ points to 15 games but beat the Broncos 23-10.
This Week: Host the Seahawks
Hey the Giants finally got a win! Without Odell Beckham. And with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie suspended. And without Ben McAdoo, who was hired entirely because of his play calling, calling plays.
The solution is obvious for the Giants going forward: get rid of all their good players and head coach. They were all holding the team back.
Tweet of the Week
“Go Birds” is the shalom of Philadelphia.— Graham Foley (@graham_foley3) October 16, 2017
Nice to see you = Go Birds
Talk to you later = Go Birds
Sorry to hear about your Mom = Go Birds