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[#] Tue Nov 28 2017 07:43:16 EST from rss

Subject: NFL Power Rankings 2017: Week 13 Edition

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Ranking all 32 NFL Teams.

Week 12 of the 2017 NFL regular season schedule is in the books. Now it's time to see where all 32 teams rank. For reference purposes, here is a link to last week's NFL Power Rankings.

BLG's WEEK 13 NFL POWER RANKINGS

1 - Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week: 1) - Nine wins in a row. The Eagles rank first overall in point differential at +160. The next closest team is 37 points away. Dominance.

2 - New England Patriots (LW: 2) - The Patriots easily beat a Miami team that ranks No. 32 overall in DVOA.

3 - Minnesota Vikings (LW: 5) - There’s no question Case Keenum is playing very well. The only question is: how long can it really last?

4 - Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 4) - Pittsburgh is winning games, but they sure aren’t doing it in super impressive fashion. Just a few weeks ago the Steelers needed a comeback to beat Indianapolis. This week they barely held off an Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay team that got shut out last week and was playing on the road.

5 - Los Angeles Rams (LW: 7) - The Rams picked up a big win over New Orleans to maintain their lead in the NFC West. Sean McVay’s Coach of the Year campaign continues.

6 - New Orleans Saints (LW: 3) - The Saints’ winning streak is over. The New Orleans defense has looked vulnerable in recent weeks. It didn’t help that they were without both starting corners in L.A.

7 - Carolina Panthers (LW: 8) - After losing to Chicago by 17-3 in late October, the Panthers have bounced with four straight wins. They can still win the NFC South.

8 - Atlanta Falcons (LW: 10) - With two games still to play against New Orleans, the Falcons are also in the mix for the NFC South crown. Atlanta has been heating up lately. The Falcons finding their 2016 form would certainly make other NFC playoff teams feel uneasy.

9 - Seattle Seahawks (LW: 11) - Seattle is currently on the outside looking in on the NFC playoff picture. They’ll be desperate to try to earn the NFC West lead back.

10 - Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 6) - The sad truth is the Jags would be better off with Blaine Gabbert than Blake Bortles right now.

11 - Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 17) - Don’t look now but the Bolts have won their last two games by a combined score of 82 to 30. With the rest of the AFC West struggling, they have a claim to being the best team in the division.

12 - Detroit Lions (LW: 9) - The bad news is Matthew Stafford is dealing with a sprained ankle. The good news is the Lions still have a relatively soft schedule the rest of the season.

13 - Baltimore Ravens (LW: 13) - Baltimore is really not fun to watch. Their offense just sucks. Their defense and special teams units are the only reason they’ve been able to stay alive.

14 - Tennessee Titans (LW: 15) - The Titans actually lead the AFC South right now. They’re so uninteresting that you might not have noticed that.

15 - Washington Redskins (LW: 16) - Kirk Cousins is totally leaving Washington after this season. That, or Washington is going to hilariously overpay him to stay.

16 - Buffalo Bills (LW: 23) - The Bills wised up and brought Tyrod Taylor back as the starter. He managed to know throw five picks as the Bills won their first game since October.

17 - Dallas Cowboys (LW: 14) - Dak Prescott without Ezekiel Elliott: 58/88, 500 yards, 0 TD, 5 INT, 57.0 passer rating. Not even a little bit surprised. Cowboys fans are calling for Dallas to #BenchDak.

18 - Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 20) - Classic Marvin Lewis season. Doing just enough not to get fired, but not doing enough to actually be good or meaningful.

19 - Green Bay Packers (LW: 21) - Green Bay showed good fight in Pittsburgh. Aaron Rodgers was throwing some passes prior to the game on Sunday night, which is terrifying. With games against Tampa and Cleveland next, the Pack aren’t totally dead yet.

20 - Oakland Raiders (LW: 24) - Michael Crabtree got his chain snatched AGAIN. At least the Raiders won though.

21 - Arizona Cardinals (LW: 25) - Bruce Arians said he thinks Blaine Gabbert could start in 2018 if Carson Palmer retires. Good luck with that, Cards.

22 - Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 12) - I haven’t been harsh enough on the Chiefs lately. They deserve a big drop after losing five out of their last six games. Here’s a good summary of the Chiefs’ problems:

23 - New York Jets (LW: 18) - Not unlike the Chiefs, New York has lost five out of their last six. Now they play each other this week.

24 - Houston Texans (LW: 19) - Going nowhere fast with Tom Savage. Sounds like a novel.

25 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 22) - Ryan Fitzpatrick’s limitations always end up costing his team eventually.

26 - Chicago Bears (LW: 26) - Chicago has done a good job of playing teams tough this year. That wasn’t the case in Philadelphia as they got blown out by the Eagles.

27 - Indianapolis Colts (LW: 27) - ?????

28 - New York Giants (LW: 28) - This team is painful to watch. They’re horrible. Every time I looked at the screen, I swear Eli Manning was throwing a terribley inaccurate pass. And when he wasn’t, his receivers were dropping it. I don’t think I saw a single completion.

29 - Denver Broncos (LW: 29) - John Elway can’t be criticized enough for how he botched the Broncos’ quarterback situation. Seven losses in a row now for Denver.

30 - San Francisco 49ers (LW: 30) - Jimmy Garoppolo threw a touchdown pass! The 49ers should probably continue to play him.

31 - Miami Dolphins (LW: 31) - Are we sure Adam Gase is a good head coach?

32 - Cleveland Browns (LW: 32) - You know what time it is.





[#] Tue Nov 28 2017 09:04:44 EST from rss

Subject: Your Tuesday Morning Roundup

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The Process ran into a buzzsaw on Monday night, the streaking Cavaliers. Winners of seven straight, Cleveland came into Philadelphia and ran that stretch to eight straight wins with a 113-91 win over the Sixers in front of a packed Wells Fargo Center. LeBron led Cleveland with 30 points as he was basically the entire…

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[#] Tue Nov 28 2017 09:45:02 EST from rss

Subject: Penguins 5, Flyers 4: There are no words

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What do you even say after losing this exact game again?

I just ...

...what? How? Why?

(Poor Sean Couturier, by the way. Maybe he should stop scoring go-ahead-by-2 goals.)

Generally speaking, in our observational pieces here at BSH we don’t spend too much time making guesses about the mental side of the game, since we’re not these players, their coaches, or their shrinks. We tend to lean most on what’s concrete and right in front of us, typically via some combination of what we’re seeing with our eyes and what the numbers are telling us. And we could talk about that as it pertains to this game and this team. In fact, we will, if you’ll wait a couple of paragraphs.

But mentally, how could this team be anything other than totally fried right now? No, they haven’t looked like a team that’s been thoroughly outclassed or outplayed every time they’ve been on the ice, but losing game after game that you know you should be winning might be even more exhausting than just playing badly from start to finish. Losing one game because your team can’t play defense with a lead like this is draining; losing four in the span of 12 days — all in the midst of an eight-game losing streak — seems almost impossible to do and even harder to handle.

What could Dave Hakstol possibly even say or do in the locker room after another one of these losses last night? And if he knew what to say or do, why didn’t he say or do it two weeks ago to make sure it didn’t happen three more times in the following week and a half?

This team — everyone on or involved with this team — needs a win in the absolute worst possible way right now. And while they will inevitably, at some point, get one, I don’t know how exactly they get there with the way things are going right now.


Two key numbers:

Minus-23 — the Flyers’ raw shot-attempt differential in the third and final period of yesterday’s hockey game (via Natural Stat Trick). The Penguins, in total, sent 32 pucks in Brian Elliott’s general direction during the third period, while the Flyers sent just nine towards Penguins replacement goalie Tristan Jarry.

If you look just at shots on goal, the Pens edged the Flyers out 20-5. If you only look at 5-on-5, total attempts were 24-6 while total shots on goal were 14-4. There is no measure by which the Flyers looked anything short of putrid during the final frame.

And while it’s true that this was another blown-lead game, the Flyers can’t blame score effects — the tendency for trailing teams to outshoot leading teams — for this wide of a gulf. The Flyers’ lead entering the third period evaporated within 1:46 after the frame began, and the time between Michael Raffl’s go-ahead goal late in the period and Jake Guentzel’s equalizing goal was just 2:37. The third period was tied for 15:37 of its 20 minutes, and the Pens just continued to run the Flyers over in the period.

There are a multiple possible explanations, none of which are particularly good or reassuring ones, or ones that reflect very well on anyone from the skaters to the coaches. Maybe the team mentally turtled a bit after giving up a power-play goal and a flukey-bounce goal early in the third, and lost the confidence to attack this Penguins defense; of course, that mentality will never end well against a team with as much firepower as Pittsburgh. Maybe the team was just tired after an exhausting first two periods, but that’d still be pretty hard to explain, considering that they had two days off prior to this game.

The pessimist would say that a team that can’t bring itself to attack and fight while either tied or ahead in the third period against its biggest rival, all after having lost its previous seven games, is just mentally drained and defeated. It’s taken just too many gut-punches in the past couple of weeks to believe that things are going to end well., and its play in the most dire of situations possible shows that. This is why Dave Hakstol’s comment about how the team had picked up a point in seven out of its last 10 games following Friday’s loss seemed so out of place (and was ridiculed by fans and observers alike after it happened). Look at the way this team played in the third period last night and tell me with a straight face that this is a team that is in the right place mentally.

The optimist, though, would say ... hahaha, can you imagine? The optimist? Talking about this team? That’s funny. I’m funny.

11.48 percent — the share of Pittsburgh shot attempts that were blocked by Flyers skaters before they reached the net at 5-on-5. As a team, the Flyers blocked seven shots on 61 attempts by Pittsburgh. In terms of percentage of shots blocked, that’s a season-low by the Flyers; for context, their season-average in this category is 24.52 percent. In other words, in an average game the Flyers block the puck before it reaches and/or misses the net a little more than twice as much as they did last night.

Some of this is a matter of circumstance and opponent, in all likelihood. Pittsburgh’s speed, creativity, and offensive talent are tough to get in the way of, so to speak. Only two teams this season (Florida and Detroit, oddly enough) have done a better job of getting their shots through than the Pens have this season.

Still: when your goalie faces 50 shots on goal in regulation and 52 in total, at some point he’s going to start looking around and asking where his help is. There could be a mental aspect to this, too — to tie this to our first number in this section, why else wouldn’t the Flyers be jumping in front of every shot they possibly could in the third period of a tie game against a rival? This is probably just a blip on the radar, but it’s worth monitoring tonight against San Jose.


Three Flyers of note:

1. Andrew MacDonald

Yes, we must begin with none other than the man making his long-awaited (well, arguably) return to the Flyer lineup. MacDonald played for the first time in five weeks on Monday night after getting injured blocking a shot in mid-late October, and Dave Hakstol wasted absolutely no time getting him back into the swing of things: MacDonald played 23:56 last night, second to only his defensive partner Ivan Provorov.

And MacDonald was ... well, he was Andrew MacDonald. He had his good moments, such as some generally sound defensive work here and there as well as a nice diving poke to Provorov that send Jakub Voracek in on a breakaway in the second period. There were also downsides; he was taken off the puck for a turnover and odd-man rush at one point, and a failed zone exit gave Phil Kessel a chance in the second period. Plus, as mentioned above, MacDonald’s influence didn’t do wonders for the Flyers’ ability to block shots, as one might have guessed it would.

Still, despite the heavy minutes, MacDonald’s overall impact didn’t exactly push the needle in either direction for the Flyers last night. He was actually +7.48% in shot attempts relative to his teammates, and while his raw numbers still weren’t much special (+16/-19), they were fine enough for a Flyers team that had bigger problems on the night.

2. Brian Elliott

It was a truly bizarre night for the Flyers’ main goaltender, who clearly has the confidence of his team’s coaching staff right now considering that he was on the ice for the third straight game despite giving up five and four goals in his last two appearances. It’s not often that you’re talking about the great effort of a goalie who gives up five goals in a game, but don’t take it from me. Here’s NBC Sports’ Adam Gretz, a Pittsburgh-slanted national reporter, observing from PPG Paints Arena last night:

To be clear, not everything was peachy for Elliott last night. While Pittsburgh’s first goal was scored on a beautiful shot by Jake Guentzel, Elliott was very aggressive in playing it and there’s an argument to be made that it’s a shot he could have stopped. On Pittsburgh’s second goal, the puck was straight-up in Elliott’s glove before it popped out, allowing Patric Hornqvist to eventually tip a rebound past Elliott. But there were a number of massive saves he made, particularly in the aforementioned third period, and it’s pretty tough for the goalie to be doing that when the team in front of him spends the entire third period deciding that actually playing hockey is optional.

At the end of the day, it’s hard to say a game in which the goalie allowed five pucks past him was a true sterling performance. But having faced both an obscene amount of volume (52 shots) AND quality (per Corsica.hockey, Elliott actually faced 5.4 Expected Goals’ worth of shots on the night), Elliott’s probably much closer to being the near-hero of last night’s game than he was the goat of it.

3. Danick Martel

Rarely does the guy who got the least ice time of anyone on the team get singled out as a player of note, but Martel’s third career NHL game deserves some further scrutiny, mostly for what it wasn’t.

Martel played just 8:20 last night, a marked drop-off from each of his first two pro games, in each of which he was around 12 minutes played. An outstanding shift by his line (alongside Nolan Patrick and Wayne Simmonds) in the first period set the tone, as each of them had a crack at scoring on Matt Murray on the shift. Through the first two period, the Flyers tended to get the better of the ice with the diminutive rookie on the ice.

Then the third period came around, and Martel was suddenly glued to the bench. He only played two shifts the rest of the way — one immediately after Pittsburgh tied the game early in the period, and one just before the period’s halfway mark, at which point he and his line were hemmed into the Pittsburgh zone for long enough for Pittsburgh to tally four shot attempts. He wouldn’t see the ice again.

Had the Flyers been leading in the third period, I’d have understood leaning less on a rookie whose defense may not be up to snuff at the NHL level. In a tie game, though? In a period in which very, very little went right for the Flyers and they couldn’t generate anything in the way of offense? It’s not hard to think of this as a potential case of Hakstol trusting his veterans to keep things safe, at the expense of young players who may make mistakes. But given the overall lackluster performance the Flyers put up in that third period, the lack of Martel out there is a tough pill to swallow.


Four leftover thoughts:

  1. One game after playing a near-career high in ice time on Friday against the Islanders, Brandon Manning was back to being a third-pair defenseman last night — at least at 5-on-5, where he played just 11:55. So Manning’s ascent to top-pair status was, indeed, brief, and not something we should count on when this team is fully healthy. That said, part of why Manning’s TOI was as low as it was may have been his partner, as Travis Sanheim played a strikingly low 10:22 in last night’s game. This was Sanheim’s second straight substandard game defensively, so in some ways, I get it, but it’s not like the rest of the team was doing much defensively last night, and giving three shifts in the third period to a guy who’s already one of your most gifted offensive defensemen is another point under the “we’re playing scared to win” column.
  2. Officially, the Flyers’ penalty kill gave up just one goal out of five chances last night, though Sidney Crosby’s game-winner in overtime came mere seconds after a Jakub Voracek delay of game penalty ended and was for all intents and purposes a 4-on-3 power play goal, while another of the Pens’ power play “opportunities” lasted just 20 seconds. Still, it wasn’t a bad night for the new-look penalty kill, considering the fact that they were facing arguably hockey’s most dangerous power play. For all of the (justified) criticism we’ve had of the Flyers’ third period, the PKers came up big on a kill early in the third, in which Pittsburgh wasn’t allowed a single shot attempt for the entire two minutes.
  3. The Flyers’ “new-look” fourth line that consisted of Dale Weise and Jori Lehtera flanking Scott Laughton was about what you’d expect it to be, which is to say underwhelming. The trio actually had a couple of solid shifts in the offensive zone where it was able to get the cycle game going, but they just weren’t able to actually get there very often. Two guys with the skating ability of Lehtera and Weise don’t work overly well with Laughton, who was probably looking around wondering where his other, quicker linemates were. The trio was unsurprisingly the Flyers’ worst in shot attempts on the evening, and it didn’t make a great case for staying together beyond its first act.
  4. Closing with some quick hits: It’s a damn shame that this loss overshadowed that goal Raffl had in the third period, because man, that was pretty. He’s good for two or three goals like that a year where he just overpowers whoever’s on him, and then the goalie. Beeeeeautiful ... Gostisbehere’s goal in the 5-on-3 early in the second was noteworthy because of who fed him the puck: Nolan Patrick. Patrick appears to be a fixture on the top 5-on-3 unit in Sean Couturier’s stead (our old pal Charlie O’Connor has some thoughts here on why), and if that perfect spot to Ghost from the goal line was any indication, I do not expect him to be taken off of it any time soon ... The Flyers hit four posts and crossbars yesterday. I hate this game ... Travis Konecny finally ended his goalless streak off of a Brandon Manning point shot that bounced off of him and past Tristan Jarry, and while that’s maybe not the way he drew up the end to his goal drought, he’ll take it all the same ... I didn’t mention Couturier’s goal at all earlier, but at this point, his scoring is barely even noteworthy any more, y’know? He’s one goal off of a career high following a beautiful snipe on Jarry in the second period ... Here’s hoping Matt Murray, who took an awkward (and yes, obviously, not intentional) collision from Jakub Voracek on a second-period breakaway attempt and left the game favoring his knee, is alright ... finally, for a guy who plays a physical game and should in theory be good at staying on his feet, Patric Hornqvist sure does fall to the ice pretty easily, huh?





[#] Tue Nov 28 2017 09:32:34 EST from rss

Subject: It

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They just didn’t shoot the ball well. Three for 28 from the three-point line isn’t going to get it done, not against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Sixers lost by 22 on Monday night, snapping a three-game win streak in disappointing fashion. This game had some hype after a wildly successful Thanksgiving week,…

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[#] Tue Nov 28 2017 10:22:59 EST from rss

Subject: Eight Is Enough! Five Takeaways from Penguins 5, Flyers 4

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Please support the exclusive sponsor of our Flyers posts, COZZI JEWELERS, located in the Edgemont Shopping Center in Newtown Square. 20% DISCOUNT OFF ALL JEWELERY by mentioning CROSSING BROAD now through BLACK FRIDAY! Before shopping for your girlfriend or wife, shop CozziJewelers.com! $500 off CUSTOM MADE ENGAGEMENT RINGS TOO.   There’s nothing left to say.…

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[#] Tue Nov 28 2017 10:48:58 EST from rss

Subject: Jay Ajayi calls Philly media

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Plus: Doug Pederson weighs in.

This Philadelphia Eagles season has been relatively drama free, which makes sense given the fact the team is the best in the NFL. Winning heals all wounds.

But there was a little “issue” — if that’s what you want to call it — that popped up after the Eagles’ win over the Bears on Sunday.

After the game, Eagles running back Jay Ajayi didn’t seem very happy (in the opinion of some, at least) while being interviewed by reporters in the locker room. Here’s a clip of his transcript.

On why opposing defenses have difficulty preparing for the Eagles’ offensive attack:

“We’re very balanced. We can do a lot of different things, so it keeps them on their toes.”

On whether he has a more versatile role in the offense compared to previous seasons:

“My role is to run the plays that the coaches call [and] that’s what I’ve been doing.”

On the environment within the Eagles’ locker room:

“[It’s] exciting, we’re on a roll right now. Everyone’s excited with what we’re doing and trying to stay focused on the goals.”

On his current workload:

“I just run the plays that the coaches call. I’m happy we’re winning.”

Ajayi sure didn’t say anything wrong there, but it was his tone that irked some. The Jay Train was called out by Hall of Fame sportswriter Ray Didinger on the NBC Sports Philadelphia postgame show.

MICHAEL BARKANN: Ray, is this going to be an issue? Say ‘no.’

RAY DIDINGER: It better not be. I agree with these guys [Barrett Brooks and Seth Joyner]. I mean, he’s obviously miffed with this. And I don’t know if it’s the questioning about the fact that he’s getting out in the open and getting run down from behind, he probably doesn’t like hearing that. But if he’s got an issue with the touches, hey chief, this team was winning before you got here. And it’s nice to have you here. We’re glad to have you in the clubhouse. You’re a nice addition. But, you know, we were doing pretty good before you got to town. And so I would say, just shut up and tote the ball.

Ajayi did not care for the criticism.

In fairness, it’s not like the concern over Ajayi’s attitude is totally coming out of nowhere. Shortly after he was traded to the Eagles last month, reports emerged from Miami indicating Ajayi displayed “selfish” behavior with the Dolphins.

On Monday, however, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson downplayed there was an issue after Sunday’s game.

Q. What did you make of RB Jay Ajayi’s post-game comments? There was obviously some reaction to those and are you sensing any frustration out of him?

COACH PEDERSON: Not with Jay at all. Not at all. Had a chance to speak with him this morning. He's fine. He's so excited to be here obviously. He's on a winning football team, contributes any way he wants to and just -- he was frustrated from the standpoint he had a chance to score and lost the ball and it was great hustle by Nelly [Nelson Agholor] to recover that thing.

Any running back is going to be frustrated. We put the ball on the ground a little bit too much yesterday. He's fine. He's excited to be here and ready to work this week.

Of course, Pederson isn’t going to publicly say that there IS an issue with Ajayi even if there really was. But I actually do buy Pederson’s explanation here, and you should too.

Watch Ajayi’s fumble again and keep an eye on him — not the ball.

The guy is clearly frustrated about his fumble.

It carried over to the sideline as well.

One could criticize Ajayi for not being happy for Agholor, but I think that’s being too tough on him.

It was just a really frustrating play for Ajayi. It was a great run leading up to that point and he just didn’t finish it. By fumbling so close to the goal line, he jeopardized the ball either going out of bounds in the end zone or being recovered by the other team for a touchback. That ultimately didn’t happen, but it’s not unreasonable for Ajayi to feel bad for even allowing the opportunity. It also could make him feel like the new coaching staff he’s trying to impress won’t be able to rely on him, and therefore could further limit his already limited touches.

I have all the respect in the world for Didinger, but I think this idea about Ajayi being super unhappy about touches is overblown. To me, he clearly seems frustrated about the fumble. Also, from what I’ve seen of him so far, it’s not unusual of Ajayi to be short with the media. Not saying that he’s nasty or anything, just doesn’t seem to be the most talkative guy. And that’s fine. Alshon Jeffery is pretty quiet in that regard, too.

If you needed even more evidence that this Ajayi stuff is a non-issue, check out what Eagles sideline reporter Howard Eskin had to say after checking in with some sources.

Moving on.





[#] Tue Nov 28 2017 10:44:58 EST from rss

Subject: Clay Travis Leads a Social Media Uprising Against Greg Schiano

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For a brief moment on Sunday, it appeared as if the University of Tennessee would hire Greg Schiano as its next football coach. When word of the impending decision filtered into the social media universe, a virtual firestorm erupted, the flames of which were extinguished only when the university walked away from the deal. The…

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[#] Tue Nov 28 2017 11:00:01 EST from rss

Subject: Flyers prospect report: Wade Allison and Cooper Marody battle for NCAA scoring lead

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Carter Hart and Morgan Frost are also really good

Phantoms update: Lyon’s season on life-support

11/22 - 4-2 LOSS
11/24 - 6-3 WIN
11/25 - 5-4 OT WIN

Philippe Myers (D): 3 GP, 1 assist, 6 shots, 4 PIM
Undrafted Free Agent

So bad new, folks. Myers left the game on Saturday with another injury, which could have been the result of this play. This isn’t particularly good news for Phil who has struggled to stay in the lineup this season because of injuries.

Mark Friedman (D): 3 GP, 2 assists, 6 shots, 2 PIM
2014 3rd Round Pick, 86th overall

After a long scoring drought, Friedman now has 3 assists in his last 4 games. His 5 points in 19 games have been disappointing, but he also isn’t getting much PP time either.

Mike Vecchione (C): 3 GP, 5 shots, 4 PIM
Undrafted Free Agent

Vecchione went cold this week after a very good 17 games to start the season. He has 18 points (6 G, 12 A) in 20 games.

Nicolas Aubé-Kubel (RW): 3 GP, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 shots
2014 2nd Round Pick, 48th overall

NAK gets a goal for the first time since 11/4, improving his season points total to 12 (5 G, 7 A) in 20 games. Aubé-Kubel has been steady this season and a more noticeable contributor compared to last season.

Oskar Lindblom (LW): 3 GP, 1 goal, 2 assists, 5 shots
2014 5th Round Pick, 138th overall

After a slow start to the season, Lindblom has collected 12 points in his last 14 games (after getting 0 in his first 6). The development of Lindblom will be a crucial piece to the Flyers future and you’d like to see this production trending upwards as it has.

Mikhail Vorobyev (C): 3 GP, 1 assist, 7 shots
2015 4th Round Pick, 104th overall

Another helper gives Vorobyev 7 assists to go along with his 2 goals in 20 games this season.

Alex Lyon (G): 2 GP, 7 GA, 69 saves
Undrafted Free Agent

I’m sorry, but this was NOT a nice week for Lyon once again. The 2nd year pro owns a .894 SV%, which is 34th in the AHL among qualified goalies.


Notable Canadian junior performers this week:

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

  • 11/23 - 2 assists, 1 shot, 4 PIM, 6 for 10 FOW
  • 11/24 - 1 assist, 1 shot, 5 for 11 FOW
  • 11/26 - 1 assist, 9 for 15 FOW

While he wasn’t his usual goal-scoring self, Bunnaman certainly found a way to put up the points anyway. That’s 24 points (14 G, 10 A) in 24 games, which is good for 2nd highest on the team and only two behind the team-lead.

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

  • 11/22 - 1 assist, 1 shot, 2 PIM, 1 for 3 FOW
  • 11/24 - 3 shots, 5 PIM, 1 for 2 FOW
  • 11/25 - 1 shot, 0 for 3 FOW

Salinitri loses the point-per-game pace this week and settles at 23 (10 G, 13 A) in 26 GP.

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

  • 11/22 - 2 assists, 2 shots, 5 for 17 FOW
  • 11/24 - 1 goal, 3 assists, 5 shots, 10 for 15 FOW
  • 11/25 - 2 assists, 1 shot, 2 PIM, 13 for 24 FOW

This kid might not be too bad, huh? He scored one off his skate on Friday and can pull off nifty passes like this as well. Frost has 36 points (12 G, 24 A) in 25 games and is 5th in the OHL in scoring. You can start getting a little excited.

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

  • 11/24 - 1 goal, 2 assists, 2 shots
  • 11/25 - 1 goal, 1 assist, 3 shots, 0 for 2 FOW
  • 11/26 - 2 shots, 4 PIM

Ratcliffe snapped his 4-game goal scoring streak on Sunday, but is still showing signs of breaking out of those early season struggles. He has 21 points in 24 games, leading Guelph with 12 goals. Here is his 11th goal from Friday and his 12th on Saturday.

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

  • 11/22 - 1 shot, 4 PIM
  • 11/24 - 1 shot, 3 for 4 FOW
  • 11/25 - 3 shots, 0 for 2 FOW

Sushko with his longest scoring drought of the season with no points in 3 games this past week. He still has an impressive 19 points (11 G, 8 A) in 22 GP.

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

  • 11/23 - 1 assist, 1 shot, 1 for 2 FOW
  • 11/24 - 1 shot, 2 PIM, 0 for 1 FOW
  • 11/25 - 2 goals, 1 assist, 2 shots, 5 PIM

If it wasn’t for Morgan Frost, Strome might be getting more attention as the hottest Flyers prospect in the CHL. He pulled of this lacrosse-style goal in Saturday’s game. In his last 10 games he has put together 8 goals and 9 assists. Overall on the season Strome has 24 points in 23 games. He leads Hamilton in goals and is just 1 point off the team-lead in points.

Carsen Twarynski (LW), Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
2016 3rd Round Pick, 82nd overall

  • 11/22 - 1 goal, 3 shots, 2 for 4 FOW
  • 11/24 - 1 goal, 3 shots, 2 PIM, 3 for 7 FOW
  • 11/25 - 1 goal, 2 assists, 2 shots, 2 PIM, 4 for 7 FOW

Hats off to Twarynski for finding his offensive scoring touch in his 4th WHL season. He has 27 points (15 G, 12 A) in 22 games for Kelowna. Check out this back-handed goal.

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

Carter Hart has now mastered juniors at the age of 19. He has a .951 SV% in 12 games this season even after coming back from being out with mono. Hart appears to have the potential to a special player if all breaks right.

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

  • 11/21 - 1 assist, 2 shots, 3 for 4 FOW
  • 11/22 - 1 shot, 2 PIM, 4 for 5 FOW
  • 11/24 - 1 goal, 6 shots, 1 for 3 FOW
  • 11/25 - 1 shot, 5 PIM, 1 for 1 FOW

Friday’s goal was his first since 10/12 (no, not a typo). His points last week were only his 3rd and 4th in his last 15 games.

German Rubtsov (C), Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL)
2016 1st Round Pick, 22nd overall

After missing 3 games with a mysterious injury, Rubtsov returns to the lineup and picks up a point off this pretty play. He has 19 points (5 G, 14 A) in 18 games with A-B and Chicoutimi this season.


Notable European performers this week

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

  • 11/21 - 12:37 TOI
  • 11/23 - 1 shot, 2 PIM, 10:43 TOI
  • 11/25 - 2 PIM, 19:26 TOI

Högberg continues to hold his own as a 19 year old in the SHL. He has 3 assists in 20 games this season, but has had TOI spikes in games recently.

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

Bernhardt still getting the least amount of minutes among Djurgårdens defenseman this season.

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

Kaše appears to be out with an injury. The first year SHL player has 11 points (3 G, 8 A) in 18 games.

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

  • 11/21 - 1 goal, 3 shots, 15:44 TOI
  • 11/23 - 1 shot, 13:20 TOI
  • 11/25 - 08:09 TOI

Another goal for Lycksell, who has 2 goals in his first 8 games since joining Linköping.

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

Still no good news for Sandström as he remains out of the lineup with an injury.

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

Good news is Fedotov got back into a game! He picked up the win despite allowing a goal one on of the 17 shots he faced. He still boasts a sad .894 SV% in 13 games.

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

  • 11/24 - 0 GA, 33 shots

Ustimenko has just been incredible this year. He holds a .924 SV% in 26 games, which is good for 15th best in the MHL.


Notable NCAA and USHL performers this week:

Wade Allison (RW), Western Michigan University
2016 2nd Round Pick, 52nd overall

  • 11/24 - 2 goals, 3 shots, 2 PIM, 0 for 1 FOW
  • 11/25 - 4 shots

The points just keep on coming for Allison, who now has 19 points (10 G, 9 A) in 15 games and is 8th in NCAA scoring.

Tanner Laczynski (RW/C), Ohio State University
2016 6th Round Pick, 169th overall

  • 11/24 - 1 assist, 6 shots
  • 11/25 - 1 goal, 2 assists, 6 shots

Laczynski out-performing his 2016-17 pace with 17 points (5 G, 12 A) in his first 14 games. Last season he had 32 in 34 last season while missing some time for the WJC.

Cooper Marody (C), University of Michigan
2015 6th Round Pick, 158th overall

  • 11/24 - 5 shots, 2 PIM, 11 for 22 FOW
  • 11/25 - 1 assist, 4 shots, 6 for 15 FOW

Marody’s assist this weekend put him in a 3-way tie for 4th in NCAA scoring. The junior has 21 points (4 G, 17 A) in 14 games.

Brendan Warren (LW), University of Michigan
2015 3rd Round Pick, 81st overall

  • 11/24 - 2 shots, 2 PIM
  • 11/25 - 1 assist, 2 for 3 FOW

Warren has just 5 points (3 G, 2 A) in 14 games.

David Drake (D), University of Connecticut
2013 7th Round Pick, 192nd overall

That was Drake’s second assist (and point) of the season.

Wyatt Kalynuk (D), University of Wisconsin
2017 7th Round Pick, 196th overall

No points for the freshman this weekend, but Kalynuk still has an impressive 11 points (1 G, 10 A) in 17 games.

Terrance Amorosa (D), Clarkson University
2013 5th Round Pick, 132nd overall

  • 11/24 - 2 shots
  • 11/25 - 1 assist, 3 shots, 2 PIM

While he isn’t on quite the scoring pace he was at the start of the season, it is worth pointing out that Amorosa is still the 3rd highest scoring defenseman (14 points) in the NCAA.

Noah Cates (LW), Omaha Lancers (USHL)
2017 5th Round Pick, 137th overall

  • 11/22 - 1 assist, 2 shots
  • 11/25 - 2 goals, 4 shots

Noah Cates with his first multi-goal season of his USHL career and first multi-point game since last season. Cates has 6 points (4 G, 2 A) in 15 GP. Here is one of his goals from Saturday.

Matej Tomek (G), Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)
2015 3rd Round Pick, 90th overall

  • 11/22 - 2 GA, 21 saves
  • 11/25 - 2 GA, 25 saves

This was a nice development for Tomek who has struggled much of this season for Waterloo. To get a sense of how bad it was going, even with his performance this week, he still sports an unsightly .896 SV% in 8 games.





[#] Tue Nov 28 2017 11:12:39 EST from rss

Subject: Eagles-Rams game will NOT be flexed to Sunday Night Football

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Phew.

The NFL Week 14 game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams will NOT be flexed to Sunday Night Football.

The league officially announced changes to the schedule and the Eagles-Rams game is not one of them. The Philadelphia versus Los Angeles matchup will begin at 4:25 ET on FOX, as originally intended.

It was originally reported that the outcome of the Baltimore Ravens versus Houston Texans game on Monday Night Football (November 27) could impact the status of the Eagles-Rams game. Baltimore won, however, so it made a flex less likely.

The Eagles are already set to play on Sunday Night Football this week as they take on the Seahawks in Seattle. The Eagles also played on SNF against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 11. Philadelphia will play on Monday Night Football against the Oakland Raiders on Christmas in Week 16.

The Eagles-Rams game projects to be a great matchup between two of the top teams in the NFC. Potential Coach of the Year candidates Sean McVay and Doug Pederson will go head-to-head. The Carson Wentz versus Jared Goff storyline is another obvious angle to the game.

In other news, the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants suck so much that they got flexed to a 1:00 PM start in Week 14. Lol at them.

Here’s a look at the Eagles’ remaining 2017 regular season schedule.

Week 13 - at Seattle Seahawks (Dec. 3, 8:30 PM ET, NBC) Sunday Night Football

Week 14 - at Los Angeles Rams (Dec. 10, 4:25 PM ET, FOX)

Week 15 - at New York Giants (Dec. 17, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Week 16 - vs. Oakland Raiders (Dec. 25, 8:30 PM ET, ESPN) Monday Night Football

Week 17 - vs. Dallas Cowboys (Dec. 31, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

(Playoff games TBA.)





[#] Tue Nov 28 2017 12:00:04 EST from rss

Subject: Flyers vs Sharks preview: Wake me up when the season ends

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Just please win....please

So...are any of us even mentally or physically ready to watch another Flyers game?

in narrator’s voice: they weren’t

After a demoralizing 5-4 OT loss to Pittsburgh last night, the Flyers look to finally end this eight game losing streak against the San Jose Sharks. San Jose enters tonight’s contest 5-3-2 in their last 10 games and riding high off a 4-0 shutout of the Winnipeg Jets. That game occurred Black Friday, so not only are the Flyers facing a team riding a hot streak: they’re in the second half of a back-to-back facing a well rested team. Thank you, NHL.

If you remember a simpler, funner time, the Flyers faced the Sharks to open the 2017-2018 season and believe it or not actually won that hockey game. Remember your hockey team winning games? Me neither.

PHI Point Leaders

  1. Jakub Voracek - 29 points
  2. Claude Giroux - 27 points
  3. Sean Couturier - 26 points

SJS Point Leaders

  1. Logan Couture - 19 points
  2. Thomas Hertl - 14 points
  3. Joe Thornton - 14 points

Can they bounce back?

Every loss from this eight game skid has stung, but I don’t think any of the other seven compare to the voodoo we saw last night. The Flyers absolutely dominated the second period en route to a 3-1 lead with just 20 minutes to play...and you know the rest of the story. It’s hard to say this is a must win game, but at this point I think every game is must win until this streak ends.

Hot start will be key

San Jose comes in not having played since Friday, a fast start would be ideal to have against a team probably dealing with a little bit of rust. The problem however will be holding onto that lead even if they get it because we know how this team is about maintaining leads.

Team Metrics

PHI CF%: 50.43

SJS CF%: 52.46

PHI xGF%: 51.44

SJS xGF%: 54.12

Obviously, the Sharks have the Flyers’ number in the two main team metrics. What has seemingly hurt them so far in the early season in terms of their players’ raw point totals and overall team success is, luck. The Sharks PDO is sixth worst in the league and a big chunk of that is their second worst 5.88 shooting percentage.

As big of a believer in the importance of advanced stats that I am, screw the Sharks bad luck because it cannot even come close to the insanity we saw last night and over the past few games.

Are we projected to win? That’s silly, of course we aren’t

Corsica.hockey’s prediction models have the Flyers losing (shocking!!!) to San Jose tonight. They come out at an average of 45.1% with the highest chance being at 49.9% and the lowest at 41%.

Flyers Projected Lines

Forwards

Giroux - Couturier - Voracek

Martel - Patrick - Simmonds

Konecny - Filppula - Raffl

Lehtera - Laughton - Weise

Defensemen

Provorov - MacDonald

Hagg - Gostisbehere

Manning - Sanheim

Goalies

Neuvirth

(Elliott)





[#] Tue Nov 28 2017 12:52:21 EST from rss

Subject: Dawkins is Worthy of Canton, But Will He Get the Call?

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The NFL announced last week that former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins is one of 27 modern-era semifinalists for enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Let’s start with some facts: 1. Dawkins is probably the favorite Eagle of anyone that is between the ages of 20-35 years-old and lives within a 60-mile radius of…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossingBroad/~3/oJsKZMV2klA/dawkins-is-worthy-of-canton-but-will-he-get-the-call.html

[#] Tue Nov 28 2017 14:05:16 EST from rss

Subject: Checking out the Competition: San Jose Sharks with Sie Morely

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Your coach doesn’t like playing the kids? What’s that like?

Steph Driver chats with Sie Morley from Fear The Fin about tonight’s second meeting between the Philadelphia Flyers and the San Jose Sharks. Topics discussed include:

  • Is the window closing for the Sharks?
  • Since we last met, how has the season been going?
  • Do you think Joe Thornton will really do as he promised if he scores four goals?
  • Why do both of these coaches prefer veterans?





[#] Tue Nov 28 2017 14:35:02 EST from rss

Subject: The Eagles have more wins than the Flyers, and history suggests somebody is getting fired

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This has only happened three other times, and the Flyers fired somebody every other time.

Last night, as I was totally watching the Flyers vs. Penguins game instead of the Sixers vs. Cavs game, I promise, I got to thinking about this tweet:

The Eagles are really good this year. 10-1 is the best record in the NFL, and our football team is absolutely in the Super Bowl conversation. That’s pretty cool. The Flyers ... uh, not so much. As of this writing they are 8-9-7, losers of eight straight and holders of the fourth-worst point total in the NHL.

In thinking about this last night over an entire bottle of wine, I quickly realized just how hard it is even for a really good football team to have a better record than an NHL team this late in the season. Just the total number of games played makes it extremely difficult, and if it happens, it’s a sure sign that your hockey team is playing like utter shit.

It also means* they are probably going to miss the playoffs and fire somebody.

I clearly have nothing better to do, so I went back and looked at just how many times this has happened in the collective histories of the Philadelphia Flyers and Philadelphia Eagles. I used Thanksgiving as a nice festive break point, looking at both teams’ records on that date, going back to the Flyers’ first season in 1967.

The results? Aside from 2017, the Eagles have had a better record than the Flyers on Thanksgiving just five times in 51 years -- and three of those (1994, 2004 and 2012) were because the NHL was in a work stoppage. The other two were 2014 and 1969. In 2006, the teams had the same number of wins at Thanksgiving.

Either during or after all three of those seasons, the Flyers underwent some major change in the front office or behind the bench. They also missed the playoffs in all three of those seasons.

2014

The Eagles were 9-3 at Thanksgiving and the Flyers were 8-13-3. The Eagles beat the Cowboys on the holiday that year, 33-10 ... and then lost their next three games, ultimately finishing 10-6 and missing the playoffs.

The Flyers, in their first season with Ron Hextall as general manager and in the first year of six on Andrew MacDonald’s contract, were in the midst of a six-game losing streak at Thanksgiving. By season’s end, their 33-31-18 record earned them a sixth-place finish in the Metropolitan Division.

They fired head coach Craig Berube after the season.

2006

The Flyers and Eagles both sat with five wins at Thanksgiving, the Eagles at 5-5 and the Flyers at ... woof, 5-17-3.

Philadelphia Flyers v New Jersey Devils Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Eagles fell to 5-6 in their Week 12 game a few days after Thanksgiving, but they rallied to win their final five games to finish 10-6. That gave them the NFC East title, and they beat the Giants in the wild card round before falling on the road to the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round.

Meanwhile, across the parking lot, this was the worst season in the history of Philadelphia’s hockey team — the only time they’ve ever finished a season as the worst team in the NHL.

There was a midseason coaching change, with John Stevens taking over for Ken Hitchcock, and midseason general manager change, with Paul Holmgren taking over for Bob Clarke.

(Also, a “fun” fact: if you count the playoff win against the New York Giants on January 7, 2007, the Flyers and Eagles actually had the same number of wins on that date as well — the Eagles at 11-6 and the Flyers at 11-31-4.)

1969

At Thanksgiving 1969, the Eagles, in their 37th season, were 4-5-1. The Flyers, in their third-ever season as a franchise, were 3-8-7.

The Birds went 0-4 after the holiday, finishing 4-9-1 and in last place — behind Dallas, Washington and New Orleans — in the NFL’s Capitol Division.

The Flyers finished their season with just 17 wins, and at 17-35-24, ranked fifth of six teams in the NHL’s West Division. On the bright side, it was Bobby Clarke’s rookie season and it was the first year the team ever played Kate Smith’s God Bless America before a game.

They fired general manager Bud Poile in December.





[#] Tue Nov 28 2017 14:36:50 EST from rss

Subject: The Eagles

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Remember how Asante Samuel used to tackle? He didn’t, for the most part. He was one hell of a cover corner and ball hawk, but wasn’t exactly known for laying the wood. “I didn’t get signed here because I was a great tackler,” Samuel said back in 2009. “Everybody saw my film.” That’s the quote…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossingBroad/~3/4O2Zlyh-F4E/the-eagles-tackling-is-a-joy-to-watch.html

[#] Tue Nov 28 2017 15:39:35 EST from rss

Subject: Eli Manning benched by New York Giants

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Wow!

The New York Giants have BENCHED long-time starter Eli Manning, according to an official announcement from the team. Geno Smith is set to start in the Giants’ game against the Oakland Raiders this weekend.

Wow.

I mean, it’s not like Manning is playing all that well for a 2-9 Giants team. He has 2,411 yards, 14 touchdowns, seven interceptions, and a 84.1 passer rating this season. It’s not totally crazy that the Giants would want to get a look at someone else now that they’ve been officially eliminated from the playoffs.

But ... Manning has started literally every game for the G-Men since Week 10 of his rookie season in 2004. They’re ending his start streak — SECOND LONGEST BY A QUARTERBACK IN NFL HISTORY — in favor of Geno Smith. They’re not even immediately going to 2017 third-round rookie Davis Webb, who at least theoretically has some upside.

We’ll see what happens this offseason, but this seems like a sign that Manning won’t be back with the G-Men in 2017. Crazy.

The Philadelphia Eagles will play the Giants for the second time this season in a few weeks on December 17. Looks like Smith or Webb will be starting at that point.





[#] Tue Nov 28 2017 17:30:02 EST from rss

Subject: Flyers vs. Sharks lineups, start time, TV, radio, live stream and discussion

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Let’s do this, I guess.

Tonight’s game begins at 7:00 p.m. ET and can be:

  • Seen locally via NBC Sports Philadelphia (or via stream on the NBC Sports App)
  • Heard via radio locally on 97.5 The Fanatic
  • Seen in California via NBC Sports California
  • Seen or heard elsewhere via NHL.tv (it’s their Free Game Of The Day today), NHL Center Ice, or Sirius XM

In the absence of a morning skate today, our guess regarding today’s lines is the same as yesterday’s, with the exception of a likely change in net on the back-to-back.

Projected Flyers lineup:

Forwards

Giroux - Couturier - Voracek

Martel - Patrick - Simmonds

Raffl - Filppula - Konecny

Lehtera - Laughton - Weise

Defensemen

Provorov - MacDonald

Gostisbehere - Hagg

Sanheim - Manning

Goalies

Neuvirth

(Elliott)

Projected Sharks lineup (via):

Forwards

Meier - Thornton - Pavelski

Hertl - Couture - Donskoi

Boedker - Tierney - Hansen

Karlsson - O’Regan - Ward

Defense

Vlasic - Braun

Dillon - Burns

DeMelo - Heed

Goalies

Dell

(Grosenick)





[#] Tue Nov 28 2017 17:39:13 EST from rss

Subject: Is Greg Schiano a Good Coach?

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Tim Reilly wrote a really good piece about the Greg Schiano and Tennessee fiasco earlier today. This is a sidebar story addressing one of the questions contained therein. Is Greg Schiano a good coach? The cornball answer is “yes and no.” I don’t think he’s good enough for Tennessee, but what defines “good enough” for…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossingBroad/~3/y9xbwg6KM5M/is-greg-schiano-a-good-coach.html

[#] Tue Nov 28 2017 21:48:55 EST from rss

Subject: Sharks 3, Flyers 1: Early lead proves deadly once again

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Claude Giroux gave the Flyers a lead 48 seconds in, but three unanswered goals gave the Sharks a win.

The Flyers stooped to a new low in a 3-1 loss to the Sharks to push their losing streak to nine games.

That new low? A pathetic third period effort that saw just one shot on goal through 15 minutes to start the third period facing just a two-goal deficit. Having blown two-goal leads in multiple recent losses, the Flyers had an idea how plausible a comeback would be, and they spent the third period looking largely like they could care less.

Aaron Dell needed to make just 22 saves in net for the Sharks, and faced just five shots in the third when you would have expected the Flyers to be pressing to avoid yet another loss. In reality, the Flyers’ quick start would evaporate almost as quickly as it began.

The Flyers looked to get the early jump they needed after a tough loss in Pittsburgh just 48 seconds in as Claude Giroux opened the scoring to make it 1-0. Jake Voracek and Andrew MacDonald picked up assists on Giroux’s 11th of the season.

Giroux also extended his point streak to five goals with the goal and rewarded the Flyers for a couple early scoring chances on Sharks goalie Aaron Dell.

That, however, would be the high point of the night for the Flyers as they tied the franchise record for consecutive losses with nine.

Tempers flared when Robert Hagg finished his check on Tomas Hertl behind Michal Neuvirth’s net, creating a four-on-four as the cross-conference clubs finished off their season series. Shayne Gostisbehere jumped to Hagg’s aid, helping out the rookie as a crowd gathered.

Just after the 10-minute mark Chris Tierney tied things up at 1-1 with a wrist shot past the glove side of Neuvirth. Tierney’s shot appeared to hit Travis Sanheim’s stick on the way to Neuvirth.

A night after hitting five posts against the Penguins, the Flyers would find the iron a pair of times on back-to-back shifts with four minutes left in the first. First it was Valterri Filppula, then a big blast from Shayne Gostisbehere.

Already on the game’s first penalty kill for the Flyers’ 28th-ranked unit, Michael Raffl would put his team down by two men for 1:18 with a delay of game call late in the first period.

Joe Thornton would make it count, giving the Sharks a 2-1 lead with 1:18 left. Thornton caught Neuvirth looking for the next pass and slipped a low shot through the five-hole of the goaltender.

The Flyers’ struggling penalty kill would still be on the hook for time left on the Raffl penalty to start the second, but were able to get a much-needed kill to stop some of the Sharks’ momentum.

To sum up how things have gone for the Flyers in their last eight games, their first power play of the game lasted for just nine seconds as Jake Voracek negated the man-advantage that Dale Weise somehow earned.

Though the next Flyers power play would last longer than nine seconds, it was again cut short by 19 seconds as Wayne Simmonds ended this one prematurely with a tripping call. Though the Sharks wouldn’t score, it was more of the Flyers shooting themselves in the foot as they’ve done so much of lately.

More bad news was on the way for the Flyers as Marc-Edouard Vlasic extended the Sharks lead to 3-1 with his second goal of the year with 3:56 left in the second. Vlasic’s point shot found its way past Neuvirth with a mess of bodies in front.

Through two periods it was hard to believe that the Flyers actually held a lead at some point in this one, as the Sharks just imposed their will in the second stanza. They pelted Neuvrith with 17 shots and kept the Flyers’ scoring chances to the outside and not much of danger towards Aaron Dell.

Michal Neuvirth came up with a nice save on a Joe Thornton breakaway early in the third to keep the Flyers within two, staying with the veteran center as he went to the backhand. It was a night in which Neuvirth wasn’t his best, but didn’t get much help in front of him either. He finished with 31 saves on 34 shots on the night, making his first start since 11/21 in a loss to Vancouver.

Down two goals and trying to fend off their ninth-straight loss, the Flyers managed just one shot on goal in the first 11 minutes of the third period. Past that, they rarely gained time or space int he Sharks’ zone, a staple of Pete DeBoer’s teams so far in his NHL coaching career.

The Flyers spend the rest of the third running into the Sharks’ defense and didn’t seem to come to life until their net was empty with two minutes left. No more goals or a miraculous comeback would be on tap, though, and the Flyers would be booed off the ice as they were sent to their ninth-straight loss by a 3-1 final.





[#] Wed Nov 29 2017 06:00:01 EST from rss

Subject: Wednesday Morning Fly By: This is bad. Everything is bad.

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

*This is uh...this is getting rough. Recap.

*So yeah here’s what we learned from Monday night’s game. A lot of it will sound familiar. But there’s some good stuff here. [BSH]

*It was Dads Weekend with the Flyers! That’s always heart warming. Let’s focus on that. [Philly.com]

*Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth have both gotten new masks! That’s fun! [Sons of Penn]

*Jay’s latest prospect report is here, and it’s mostly good! Mostly good is good! [BSH]

*Will O’Neill had himself a nice little November. [The Morning Call]

*But anyhoo, enough already with Dave Hakstol and his bullshit. [NBC Sports Philly]

*Here’s a fun stat: the Eagles have more wins than the Flyers. [BSH]

*Taking a look at which defensive pairs are helping their teams and which are hurting. You’ll be shocked to learn where the Flyers’ first pairing falls on the scale. [The Athletic]

*You may have noticed that goal scoring is up league-wide this season. What’s that about? [ESPN]

*And finally, I think you’ll find this piece very relevant to your current situation: DGB’s 20 stages of realizing your team is hot garbage. [Sportsnet]





[#] Wed Nov 29 2017 07:26:05 EST from rss

Subject: Eagles News: Russell Wilson provides unique challenge to Philadelphia

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 11/29/17.

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

As Philadelphia Eagles move forward, they're wary of Russell Wilson running backward - PennLive
As the Eagles (10-1) prepare for Sunday night's showdown in Seattle, that's one of primary dangers the defense is wary of: Wilson's ability to not only scramble to his right or left, but also his knack for sprinting backward to cause headaches for a defense. Typically, coaches wouldn't mind seeing an opposing quarterback turn and run away from the line of scrimmage. But Wilson has the creativity, athleticism and arm strength to extend plays by doing just that, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said, which makes him different than other mobile quarterbacks across the league.

Why Eagles match up so well vs. mobile Russell Wilson - NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Eagles are best-suited to play against a mobile quarterback. Let me explain why. It is very seldom that teams in the NFL have two stud defensive tackles who can collapse the pocket. The Eagles have the ideal situation with Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan. Both linemen are explosive and very good pass rushers. They are one-gap players — their only responsibility is to occupy one gap. Both of these players go about this explosively and aggressively. Defensive coordinator Jim Schartz encourages the D-line to get up the field and reestablish a new line of scrimmage, to push the opposition's offensive line back, which presses the pocket. With this push up the middle of the interior of the O-line, it presses the gap in which QBs have to react and step into throws. The Eagles also have very good rush ends in Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry and Chris Long. The defensive ends apply constant pressure on most QBs by running the arc.

We Were Right Before Christmas: BGN Radio and Rights To Ricky Sanchez are teaming up for a live podcast event - BGN
Tickets are still for sale!

Afternoon QB With BLG: What if the Eagles never lose again? - BGNRadio.com
BLG says the Eagles are so good that it’s boring, in a good way! Gets into the Eagles clinching the division on Thursday with Cowboys loss (Saints losing to the Rams is good, still need Vikings to lose at least one of the next two). Plus the Eagles have some sloppy things they need to clean up, what to make of the Ajayi stuff and more!

Could the Eagles use a little late-game adversity for a change? - PhillyVoice
You know that things are going really, really, really well when one of the concerns about a football team is that they are blowing out everyone they play. However, in a city where we are used to inevitable failure, many have wondered whether the Eagles would be better served having a late-game scare or two heading into the playoffs. Doug Pederson was asked about that theory, and he apparently buys it. Or maybe he's just bored during the fourth quarter of all these blowout wins.

Take a Seat, Eli - Iggles Blitz
There’s a lot to think about here. This is the end of an incredible streak, with Eli having started 210 straight games. That’s an amazing accomplishment. This also is the beginning of the end of an era. Eli has been the starting QB for the Giants since the middle of 2004 and led them to a pair of Super Bowls. Some call him a Hall of Famer. I disagree. Still, he provided stability and ability for a long time and helped that team win a lot of games. Eli might be overrated by some, but he’s been a good QB for a long time.

Wentz Takes New Game, New Team Back To Seattle - PE.com
This is Carson Wentz Time on center stage, in a hostile environment, playing against a physical and very good Seattle defense in prime time ...

Crowd noise, Russell Wilson in focus as Eagles prepare for Seahawks - Inquirer
Every time the Eagles visit Seattle, there are questions about how the Eagles will deal with the crowd noise at CenturyLink Field. The stadium was built with noise in mind, and the Seahawks have loyal fans. Plus, their teams are usually good. Many of the Eagles, including Wentz, experienced the venue last year. They also played in Kansas City this season. That’s why offensive coordinator Frank Reich didn’t want to overstate the challenge while acknowledging that the environment in Seattle is among the most difficult in the NFL. “Loud is loud, and once you’re using the silent count, you’re using a silent count,” Reich said. “I think at this time of year, you never take anything for granted. I think we’ve gotten into a good rhythm. I think we feel comfortable. The real key is on the quarterback and the O-line to be able to continue to mix up; it’s sometimes easier to mix a count when you’re using your voice, but you have to be just as committed to mixing up the count when you’re using silent count.” The Eagles will practice with crowd noise blaring over the speakers to prepare. They might also practice indoors, where it’s even louder.

Upon Further Review: Eagles fans — What, you worry? - The Athletic
It's easy to joke about subjective nonsense like “interceptable passes” when Carson Wentz throws for three touchdowns and a 109.4 quarterback rating while dazzling with plays like his spin away from pressure on a busted screen. But Wentz wasn't fully at his sharpest against Chicago. In the first quarter, he threw an ill-advised out to Torrey Smith that was broken up by Prince Amukamara and could have been a pick-six. And his throw on the 4th and 6 late in the third quarter was an odd one that went right through the defenders' hands. Wentz almost missed a couple opportunities for big plays, like when he overthrew Mack Hollins in the end zone. And there were some much less consequential misses like the back-to-back misses to Zach Ertz in the fourth quarter.

Alshon Jeffery: NFL Digital Diaries - CBS Philly
In this episode, Alshon will take us through his off day as he explores historic Philadelphia, the “City of Brotherly Love.” Alshon is playing his first season in Philadelphia and is looking forward to site-seeing in his new home-away-from-home.

It’s time for the Seahawks to end the Eddie Lacy experiment - Field Gulls
Eddie Lacy got to touch the football a lot in the Seattle Seahawks’ 24-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers. To the surprise of no one other than presumably the Seahawks coaching staff, he was mostly ineffective. Lacy earned a season-high 17 carries, but only gained 46 yards. He also picked up an additional 15 yards on a season-best 3 catches. That’s 20 touches for 61 yards, or just slightly over 3 yards per touch, and coming into the 49ers game he’d averaged exactly... 3 yards per touch. Lacy got extended playing time and performed in song with his already brutal stat-line, as well as failing to get into the end zone on a goal-line situation yet again.

Reactions to Eli Manning’s benching - Big Blue View
Reaction to the decision that Eli Manning would, for the first time since 2004, not be the New York Giants starting quarterback this Sunday when the Giants face the Oakland Raiders has come thundering in from all quarters. Former players, current players, media members, and fans have all voiced their displeasure with the decision. We’ll start with the Giants’ all-time touchdown leader and one of their most out-spoken players, Brandon Jacobs.

Week 12 DVOA Ratings - Football Outsiders
The fourth of the dominant NFC teams is Philadelphia, of course, which currently owns the league's best record at 10-1. The Rams may be back in the top spot this week but it's just barely over the Eagles, by one-tenth of a percentage point, and the Eagles are still No. 1 in Weighted DVOA which drops the strength of September games. The Eagles have not yet clinched a postseason berth but they only miss the playoffs in ONE of our 50,000 playoff odds simulations this week.

NFL 2017 Week 12 - Team of the Week - PFF
The Eagles once again rolled over their opposition, and this time Zach Ertz was by far the biggest receiving threat on the team. He led the team with 12 targets, ten receptions and 103 receiving yards, getting himself on the score board in the process. He beat seven different Chicago defenders for receptions, and saw targets against another two over the course of the game.

The 2017 Eagles are fun like the 2016 Cowboys — but better - SB Nation
The parallels between the year-separated division rivals are clear. There’s a young, emerging quarterback behind center directing traffic and earning MVP consideration. There’s a lengthy winning streak propelling them to the top of the NFC East. A high-powered offense and an above-average defense have been the engine between each franchise’s sudden rise. But the Eagles are doing what last year’s Cowboys did, but better — at least through 11 games.

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