Thursday, July 19, 2012

Philadelphia Flyers Sign D Shea Weber to Offer Sheet, Philadelphia 'Explodes' in Middle of the Night

If you were up at 1:30 this morning, you may have heard that the Philadelphia Flyers have signed defenseman Shea Weber to an offer sheet worth upwards of $100 mil over 14 years, according to TSN.

This comes as shocking news, as it was thought the Flyers were done making their moves of the offseason.  This signing would clearly cement Philadelphia with one of, if not the best defensive corps in the entire NHL.  

Shea Weber is the second coming of Chris Pronger, the Flyers currently injured Captain.  Weber is the complete package.  There is absolutely no second guessing that.  He has great size (6' 4" 234 lbs.), great defensive ability (177 hits, 140 blocked shots, +21 last year), and brings a lot of offense with a booming slap shot (see picture above and 18.5 goals and 48.3 points per year over the past 4 years).  Combine all of that with the facts that Weber is already the Captain of the Predators and that he is only 26 years old, and Paul Holmgren has hit a home run this offseason with a move that may just get Flyers fans that Stanley Cup they've yearned for for so long.
*Note: Weber has also been runner up to the Norris Trophy(Best all around defenseman in the league) for the past two years.  Multiple wins are almost guaranteed for him given his development so far.

But wait just a minute.  I'm assuming a good lot of Flyers fans forgot that Shea Weber is a restricted free agent.  Homer didn't get away with the best overall defenseman(In my opinion) just yet.  Let's break it down, a restricted free agent is different in that players have special restrictions(duh) on the terms under which they can retain or change employment status with their current team. 

In the NHL, if a team wants to sign a restricted free agent, they must extend an offer sheet, in which the interested team must give up a series of picks dependent on how much money the player in question would make with a new contract.  Shea Weber falls into the most extreme category of RFA's.  He made $7.5 mil this past year and will likely make about the same per year on the proposed contract by the Flyers.  Because it is so much money, the Flyers would have to send Nashville 4 first round picks over the next 4 years.

Some people may say that is too much to give up for Weber, but listen to this.  He is a stud, he completely fills the role of Chris Pronger and is over 10 years younger.  Sure, 4 first rounders is a lot to give, but the current Flyers roster is filled with young guys who are still growing who will run the team soon(see; Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn).  In my opinion, given how young the Flyers are, we can live with no first round picks for a while, even if the draft will be held in Philadelphia in two years.

However, even with the offer sheet compensation, Nashville can still reject that offer and sign Weber to the contract proposed by the Flyers.  The Flyers would be able to keep the draft picks in this scenario.  Rejecting the Flyers offer sheet would probably be the best decision for the Predators.  It would keep their heart and soul in Nashville for the rest of his career(likely), and given that Ryan Suter, the second piece in Nashville has already left as a UFA, that would be a necessary thing.

Simple solution, right? Wrong.  Besides Weber and Suter, Nashville doesn't have many stars.  Besides goaltender Pekka Rinne, there isn't much to build around.  They can however, build around 4 extra first round draft picks.  It's definitely a risk, but considering that Weber is already upset at Nashville for letting Suter go, maybe they should just take a step back and focus on a rebuild.  Obviously, I am not an NHL GM, but realizing that Weber being one of the only guys on your team with value would make me think.  Would they really have a chance at a deep playoff run, even though they have lost players?

The Predators have a week to decide.

Thanks for reading! Comment and let me know what you think.  Is Homer smart for offering that big of a contract? Will Nashville GM David Poile let Weber go? Without Weber, do the Flyers still have a chance for a deep playoff run? Let everyone know!

Follow me on twitter @PhillySteve15

*Update: The contract in question appears to be worth $110 mil.  The layout is as follows

There is a lot of money in bonuses the first few years.  Will the Nashville franchise even be able to afford that, regardless of cap space?  We'll just have to wait and see.

Thanks again for reading! Comment please

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Flyers Have Real Chance to Land Zach Parise

It is reported from multiple sources that the Philadelphia Flyers have offered UFA Zach Parise a contract for 12 years worth about 100 million dollars.  Parise is the cream of this years free agency crop and was being pursued by almost every team today.  This contract offer goes to show how highly many teams covet the 27 year old winger.

Zach Parise is a complete player.  He is a very talented goal scorer, can pass the puck equally as well.  He is very adept at playing a 2-way style and isn't afraid to play gritty and get into the dirty areas.  He is also a leader and plays the game the right way. A hard worker who you can respect. Was Captain of the Devils last season.

Just recently, a 'short list' was leaked for teams Parise was interested in signing with.  The list included New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Detroit.  Another thing to take note of is the fact that Parise didn't like being behind former teammate Ilya Kovalchuk in the New Jersey spotlight.  If this has an impact on who he signs with, Pittsburgh doesn't make much sense.  He would be third fiddle behind both Sidney Crosby and reigning MVP Evgeni Malkin.  Detroit has Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.  In Minnesota, Parise's home state, Zach would be King, but the Wild don't have nearly as good a team as the others mentioned which may have an impact as the Wild aren't a bonafide Stanley Cup contender.  New Jersey may be the best option has he has played his whole career there.  But, the Devils have had some financial issues as an organization, and another giant contract wouldn't be good for the team.

This leaves Philadelphia, a young team with a lot of youth, talent and potential.  Claude Giroux is the head honcho here, which may be an issue but when you think about it, Giroux and Parise would play together.  It would be leading a team by committee, which could be intriguing for Zach.

Now we must understand that the Devils and Flyers have a bitter rivalry.  What we don't know is how Parise will react to that though.  If he doesn't consider the rivalries of the team he signs with, Philadelphia could be a very likely landing place for the American winger.

Flyers fans like myself are salivating at the thought of having a line consisting of Claude Giroux, Zach Parise and Scott Hartnell.  If Parise was to join the Flyers, the team would be an instant favorite to win the Cup, which is the primary goal for any hockey player.

Could Zach Parise be headed for the City of Brotherly Love? It may make people laugh, but this seems like a very likely landing place for Parise.  We know that Zach will wait until tomorrow to make his decision, so at this point, we can just speculate. 

These are my views and reasons to why I think the Philadelphia Flyers are a very reasonable place for Zach Parise to sign with.

Follow me on twitter @PhillySteve15  
Thanks for reading!

Flyers Make Offers to Parise, Suter, Carle

3 of the biggest names in free agency, these guys will be getting a lot of calls today.  The Flyers only have a reasonable shot to resign Carle. However, if the Flyers can sign any of these players, I will be one happy guy.

Parise is the complete package. A winger, he would be a great compliment to Claude Giroux. He brings leadership, grit, skill and a relentless motor. Very unlikely to sign here though.

Suter and Carle bring similar skill sets, but Suter is a top pairing defenseman.  Shot blocking, puck moving, safe players.  Suter will get a much bigger contract though.

Flyers may have interest in Mike Knuble

A former Flyer, Knuble would bring grit, leadership and experience to a young team.

Minnesota Wild Sends Offers to Parise, Suter

Parise is from MN and the Wild aren't afraid to show him the money.  They claim they won't be outbid.  This is a team to watch out for today.

Marty Broduer Is Garnering Interest

Blackhawks, Leafs, Sharks, Lightning, Panthers are all interested in arguably the greatest goalie of all time. Will he actually leave the Devils?

Scott Clemmensen Officially Resigns with Panthers

Goalie Scott Clemmensen stays with his team from last year.  Will continue to be a solid backup who can be relied on. Jakub Markstrom may compete for starting job.

Jaromir Jagr Fielding Offers

As expected, former Flyers winger Jaromir Jagr is testing free agency and is now listening to teams other than the Flyers.  Jagr wants role stability and money. Look for him to sign somewhere today.

Benoit Pouliot Resigns with Lightning

Pouliot resigned with the Tampa Bay Lightning on a 1 year deal worth 1.8 million dollars.  Still improving, Pouliot should be a decent producer for the Lightning this year.

Shane Doan Won't Make Decision Right Away

Shane Doan has said he won't make a decision on signing with a new team until the Phoenix Coyotes resolve their ownership situation, one way or another.

Doan could be a very valuable veteran leader for any team in the league. Look for him to sign a multi year deal with a team in a little over a week.

Detroit Red Wings Look to Make Big Splash

The Detroit Red Wings, arguably the most respected organization in the NHL, have plenty of cap space.  They also have a need for both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, both UFA. Look for the Red Wings to make a big push for multiple big names.

Michael Leighton Signs with Flyers

Michael Leighton just signed a 1 year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers for 900k. Possible candidate for NHL backup, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Homer go for someone else. The Phantoms needed a goalie too, this could be Leightons spot.

Quick Analysis of van Riemsdyk, Schenn deal

Recently, the Philadelphia Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs made a trade.  The Flyers sent away former 2nd overall draft pick in 2007 James vanRiemsdyk in exchange for Luke Schenn, who was also a very high draft in 2008.

This trade looks like a good deal for both sides.  JvR, a winger with some injury issues, has been buried in the depth charts because of the Flyers wealth of forwards.  He has a very high upside, but hasn't been able to reach his potential.  He has size, speed and skill without a lot of physical play.  For most teams, he could and should be a top 6 forward, an impact player.

Luke Schenn, the older brother of current Flyers forward Brayden Schenn is a stay at home defenseman.  He is a right-handed shot which the Flyers haven't had in years.  He is a big hitter who has a high ceiling, but hasn't reached it, similar to vanRiemsdyk.

Both of these players are in similar situations, high upside players who just haven't been able to thrive in their now-former organizations. This trade should help out both teams.

follow me on twitter @PhillySteve15 for the latest free agency updates

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Jaromir Jagr Likely to Re-sign with Philadelphia Flyers

I saw earlier today that Jaromir Jagr is close to resigning with the Flyers.  This may come as a surprise to some, as many people weren't sure where Jagr stood with the team after they were defeated by the New Jersey Devils in the Playoffs.

Here's what CSN Philly's Tim Panaccio had to say about the matter.

Agent says Jagr, Flyers working on new contract

I'm glad to see that Jagr may be coming back next year.  Even though he seemed to wear down by the end of the season, having Jagr on this team is about more than points(3rd on team).  He is a good role model especially considering how many younger players the Flyers have.

In regards to the salary he may earn, I would take him for any amount less than 3.3 million which is what he earned this past season.  He may not like getting paid less but the fact is that he'll be 41 by the time the season ends.

Here's hoping these rumors come true.  Jaromir Jagr was a great player back in his prime and is still a very serviceable player now and his wisdom and experience will greatly help out this team as evident by this past season.

Follow the Flyers on twitter @NHLFlyers Tim Panaccio @tpanotchCSN and myself @PhillySteve15

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chris Therien Tweeted at Me!!!

Chris Therien, one of my favorite Flyers players growing up replied to a tweet I sent him today.

When I was growing up, me and my brother had these Flyers lockers where we could store our stuff.  On the front, there was a space where you can put stickers up so you can have your name or your favorite players name and number on the locker.  My brother had Gretzky 99 on his and I had Therien 6 on mine.  I even have a Chris Therien stick that he used in a game.  Because of all of this, Chris Therien is my favorite Flyers defenseman of all time.

I also really like Therien as a radio commentator because he really speaks his mind, especially evident by his rant on Sidney Crosby during this years playoffs.

As you could expect I was thrilled to see Bundy reply to my tweet.  This now goes into memory of great professional sports moments in my life.  Others include when the Flyers retweeted me and when I caught a foul ball at a Phillies game last May.

Follow Chris Therien on twitter @ctherien6 and hey, follow me @PhillySteve15

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Flyers Retweeted Me!!

I finally got a popular page to retweet me. @NHLFlyers, the official twitter page of the Philadelphia Flyers retweeted me tonight and it's awesome!

Visibility may not be great, but I am Stephen Rossi @PhillySteve15. I have about 50 retweets by this point.

Osi Umenyiora? Give Me a Break

Osi Umenyiora and LeSean Mccoy got into a twitter argument over the summer last year and McCoy called Osi soft because in just one year, he went down to third on the Giants depth chart.  Now Osi sends out this tweet because he thinks he's cool. 

I get that the Giants just won their second Super Bowl this decade but come on, showing any amount of class would be nice.  Yea, I'm an Eagles fan. Yea, we've never won a Super Bowl. But seriously, what do you gain from this Osi? You just look immature and as Nationals GM Mike Rizzo would say, "fake tough." 

Did Osi really wait until today just so he can call McCoy a girl again? Even though he is one of the top running backs in the league and can break his ankles any day of the week? Grow up Osi, what are you, 12?

A friend of mine is a Giants fan.  He said, "I hate when players create unnecessary drama."  Osi may be a good second string guy, but he is supposed to be a leader. (Obvious bias alert)This doesn't seem like a good trait for a locker room leader. Is John Pierre Paul going to start making fun of other players soon?

I have no respect for Osi Umenyiora.  You're supposed to be a professional. 

Note: I understand I am being unprofessional here, but this is a blog. I have no expectations, like Osi. I am not a professional. Osi is a joke.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Flyers Lose to the Devils

Quick Post

Even though I still don't like them, I have respect for the Devils after this series.  I still don't really like their fans (I think they are elitist) but the Devils outplayed the Flyers in every way this series and deserves to win.  Nothing flashy, but their team defense and forechecking was played almost to perfection.  

That being said, the Flyers had a great year.  To trade your captain and sniper for young guys and prospects and then to lose your new captain/best defenseman and to still be a force in this league really says something.  This is a team built for the future and we'll get our cup eventually, I guarantee it.  If you want to look on the bright side, we beat the Penguins, some thing that we haven't been able to do lately. This was a huge step in our teams success. Onto the next step; the New York Rangers.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Why the Phillies are Dropping the Ball with Cole Hamels

The Phillies have a pitching staff full of aces.  Roy Halladay is one of the best pitchers of this era, Cliff Lee has turned into a stud in the past 5 years and is a top pitcher in the league. Cole Hamels was the city's hero in 2008 when he led the team to it's first championship since 1980, and Vance Worley is coming into his own as a solid starting pitcher who was not just a fluke last year.

Cole Hamels definitely has the most buzz going around.  He and the Phillies avoided arbitration last season by signing a hold-over 1 year deal.  When that contract was signed, people hoped and assumed it would mean that soon, Hamels would sign a mega contract, keeping him in Philly for the foreseeable future.

Roy Halladay makes 20 million dollars a year, Cliff Lee makes 21.5 million dollars a year. Given Cole Hamels age and career of winning, it would not be surprising to see a team offer Hamels 24 million dollars a year.  As of right now, the Phillies are the only team that can make him a deal, but by waiting to offer one, his value is only going up, not in the Phillies favor.

Cole Hamels is the present and the future of this team, much more so than Halladay or Lee or even Utley, Howard and Pence.  He is a pitcher that can lead a team.  The city has been fortunate enough to see Cole transform from a blue-chip prospect, a kid, into a man.  And it would downright dumb for the Phillies to let him walk.

Ruben Amaro Jr. needs to realize that the time is now to sign Hamels, or another team will gladly fork over money to him. Hamels needs to stay.

Cole Hamels was the World Series MVP in 2008, it would be foolish to let him walk.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

This Guy Offered Me a Terrible Deal in Fantasy Baseball

Disclaimer: This post isn't directly about Philly sports.
If you like fantasy sports, maybe you can appreciate this.

I'm in a fantasy baseball league with my brother, a couple of friends and a couple friends of friends.  I know about half the people in the league.

There is always that one guy who thinks he's better than everyone else.  In my league, this guy is full of himself and thinks he is all that even though this is his first year in this particular league. And he offers some of the worst trades I've ever seen.  

Tonight, he offered me the worst one.  He wants Justin Verlander in exchange for Melky Cabrera and Bryce Harper.

Justin Verlander is easily a top 3 pitcher in the entire league, especially fantasy-wise.  He was my second round pick and the ace of my (I think)pretty impressive pitching staff.  Pitching is mostly what I base my team off of, a lot of people want big hitters and focus on pitchers later in the draft.  I usually draft better pitchers more near the beginning of the draft so I can win most pitching categories.

Melky Cabrera isn't a bad player. I had him last year and contributes in a lot of different categories.  My outfield is already pretty good (McCutchen, Victorino and Hart) so he would only be a utility player on my team.
Bryce Harper is one of the most can't-miss prospects in baseball history, but he is just that, a prospect. He's only 19 years old. I don't know if he'll even stay up the rest of the year.  Even though he brings a lot of energy and probable production, I don't know if he'll get sent down if he slumps.  Harper will be a great player in the future, but there are just two many question marks for now.

Harper, in a keeper league, is a very prized possesion, but in a redraft league, he simply isn't worth nearly as much.  Especially not worth Justin Verlander even with Melky Cabrera. (On a side note, did you see Jason Werth's wrist/hand injury today? Pretty gruesome)

This guy is the worst and he deserves no respect for continuing to offer these crap deals and then complain about it.

At least I can respect the Devils

The Devils have outplayed the Flyers the past 3 games, it's as simple as that.  The Flyers haven't played to their potential at all this series and it pains me to say this but unless the Flyers can find a way to play like they are capable of, the Devils deserve to win this series.  I have a few friends who are Devils fans and they would be shocked to hear me say that.

We got in our own heads, the defensive play was lousy, we tried too much when trying to get the puck in their zone and we couldn't capitalize on the few opportunities we did have.  Add all of those up and that equals a loss.

If there was one positive for the Flyers, it was Ilya Bryzgalov.  The Devils were firing shots all night and for the most part, Bryz held them off.  In my opinion, he was the best player on the ice for either team.  Truth be told, the Devils did have some nice goals that no goalie would have stopped, but Bryz single-handedly kept the Flyers in this game.  It's nice to know that he still has the magic from when he led the Coyotes to the playoffs a few times.

The future is looking bright for Ilya Bryzgalov and the Flyers, but we're gonna need a miracle to win this series.
Time for some jam.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Brian Dawkins Announces his Retirement

Brian Dawkins, the Philadelphia Eagles second round pick in 1996 has decided to retire. Arguably the most beloved Eagle of all time, Dawkins spent 13 of his 16 years in the NFL with the Eagles(the last 3 with the Denver Broncos). 

Brian Dawkins brought everything you want in a leader to the Eagles.  He was passionate, intense, proud, humble, skilled and everyone wanted to play along with him.  He led the Eagles defense so well that the team competed in 4 consecutive NFC Championship games.

In recent memory, there has not been an Eagles player who was as humble and proud as B-Dawk.  A devout Christian, Dawkins doesn't curse or get angry.  He is a very devoted man who loves to play football as well as spend time with his family.

Brian Dawkins will reportedly, sign a one-day contract with the Eagles this year so he can retire as a member of the team that drafted him all those years ago.  He will also have his #20 jersey retired, the eighth number to be retired in the Eagles 80 year history.

Brian Dawkins will always be a fan-favorite in Philadelphia.  He embodied what it meant to be a Philadelphia Eagle.  He was proud to play for the team and for its fans and fans will always appreciate that.

Good luck with retirement B-Dawk, you are truly a role model for countless people.  I feel priviledged to have watched you wear midnight green as I grew up.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Some of my Favorite Hockey Players of All-Time

As you can probably tell from reading my previous posts, I am a HUGE hockey fan.  I grew up in South Philadelphia right down the street from the sports complex so obviously I am a Flyers fan, and I'm damn proud of that. Because of this, most of my favorite hockey players are former Flyers.

I am not just a Flyers homer though, I enjoy watching all types of hockey.  I had an idea of listing some of my favorite non-Flyers players of all time.

Jarome Iginla
Without a doubt, one of my favorite players of all time is Jarome Iginla, the current Captain of the Calgary Flames.  On the ice, he is one tough guy.  He'll hit you, fight you, and then he'll score on you.  The perfect example of a captain, Iginla can do it all.  Off the ice, he is an even better guy.  All I've ever heard about Iginla is how he is a really nice, stand-up guy.  He is good at communicating with his team and the media and he is very active in his community.  If there is one player that deserves a Stanley Cup, it is Jarome Iginla.

Peter Forsberg
The Super Swede, Peter Forsberg was technically drafted by the Flyers and played here for 2 years later in his career, but Forsberg was primarily a member of the Avalance in Colorado, so I chose to put him on my list.  Peter Forsberg is another example of a player that can do everything on the ice.  One of the best playmakers of all time (assists per game is 4th all time), Forsberg was as gritty as he was skilled.  He had a bit of a slow start to his career, but once he got going, there was no stopping my favorite Swedish player of all time.  Like Iginla, Forsberg is also a class act.  His #21 jersey was recently retired in Colorado and the fan reaction was unbelievable.  An all-time great.

 Teemu Selanne
The Finnish Flash.  The Ageless Wonder. Terrific Teemu. Currently second among active players in points (behind Jaromir Jagr), Teemu Selanne has constantly been an offensive force to be reckoned with.  This all starts with his rookie season with the Winnipeg Jets.  He scored 76 goals and had 56 assists. Let me repeat that; HE HAD 76 GOALS in his rookie season.  76 goals in a season is good for the fifth best of any player in the history of the game.  To be honest I didn't know that until recently (I've always liked hockey, but just in the past couple of years is when I started getting interested in statistics).  When I was younger, all I really knew was the Flyers.  I didn't really know about any teams on the west coast, until I saw the movie the Mighty Ducks.  I learned about the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim shortly after that and was amazed by the skill level of both Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya.  Both guys who were not the biggest and strongest (something I can relate to as a kid) but were so talented that it didn't matter, they were that good.  Paul Kariya has since retired, but Teemu, at age 41 continues to be a serious contributor for the Anaheim Ducks and I am still a huge fan.

Jeremy Roenick

 JR was a member of the Flyers for a few years in the early 2000's but I included him because he spent most of his career with Chicago (along with a few other teams after).  Roenick is noted as one of the most outspoken players in the history of the NHL.  He always made the time to interact with fans, as he mentions that without the fans, professional sports wouldn't exist.  Another reason why I am a big fan of Jeremy Roenick is that he is American.  In a sport where there are not a lot of Americans, as a young kid growing up in Philadelphia, you become fans of American players just as they did when they were little (Anaheim's Bobby Ryan (from Cherry Hill, NJ) wears #9 because of his hockey hero Mike Modano, who is regarded as the best American player of all time).  Jeremy Roenick is a player who has had a long, successful career while staying true to himself and giving back to his fans, a fan favorite for sure.

There are plenty of other non-Flyers that I like, but these are just a few of the players I am a fan of.  To me, they are all hard workers who respect the game.  They are good guys who are easy to root for.


The first round is now over for the Philadelphia Flyers.  The Flyers have beaten the Pittsburgh Penguins in a best of 7 series 4 - 2.  The team now advances to the Eastern Conference Semi-finals against and undetermined team at this point.

In a very unpredictable and outrageous series, the Flyers were able to overcome the consensus Stanley Cup favorites.  In a quick recap, the Flyers were able to win the first three games even though the defense and goaltending wasn't too great.  Game 4 gave the Flyers a chance to sweep the Penguins.  Unfortunately, that didn't happen as the Penguins won 10-3.  Game 5 was a better game for both teams defensively but the Penguins were able to win again 3 - 2.

In every game, the team to score first has lost.  However, the Flyers were able to break that trend.  Claude Giroux started the game with a monster shift.  He decks Sidney Crosby and finishes with a laser wrist shot to put the Flyers on top.

This shift reminds me a lot of Mike Richards in 2010 in the playoffs against Montreal.  He absolutely set the tone for the rest of the game.

The Penguins would get some momentum shortly after with a powerplay but were shut down by the Flyers defense and the goaltending of Ilya Bryzgalov.

The Flyers would add on 3 more goals by Scott Hartnell, Erik Gustafsson and Danny Briere before the Penguins had to pull their goalie, Marc Andre Fleury.  Brayden Schenn would score in an empty net.

The Flyers, the underdogs before this series had started have now turned into a team to be reckoned with in the postseason.  Our defense was suspect, but no other team has an offense with the potency of Pittsburgh, and our offense can beat even the toughest goalies and defenses.  The future is looking bright on Broad Street.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cliff Lee is from a Different Planet

Cliff Lee did something last night in San Francisco that I have only seen in video games.  He pitched 10 innings!

Cliff Lee vs. Matt Cain are 2 of the better pitchers in the National League.  A matchup between the two would be a sight to see.  Fortunately, this is what happened last night.  Both pitchers had great performances.  Matt Cain of the Giants went 9 innings, let up only 2 hits and 1 walkd and no runs.  Cliff Lee was also impressive, going an astounding 10 innings with 7 hits, no walks, 7 strikeouts and also no runs.  The craziest thing about this matchup was the pitch count.  Lee threw 102 pitches while Cain threw only 91.  This is absolute top of the line pitching.

Obviously this game went into extra innings.  There was a serious lack of hitting in this game.  In the top of the11th inning, the Phillies had a chance to take a lead as Carlos Ruiz hit a leadoff double.  He would advance to third on a sacrifice, but the Phillies would leave him stranded. 

Antonio Bastardo would relieve Cliff Lee and it would turn out to be the game changer.  Bastardo would have trouble getting batters out and let up the walk off hit to Melky Cabrera.  Final, Giants 1, Phillies 0.

The Phillies offensive struggles continue.  They need a spark somehow as they are currently 5 - 7 and are in last place in the NL East.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

That Sucked.

The Flyers lost to the Penguins 10 - 3 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.  Awful goaltending and terrible defense.  Bryz and Bob were not good at all.  Very disappointing to watch.

Hopefully Lavy can light a fire under this team and smack some sense into them.  Game 5 will take place in Pittsburgh, a place we have played extremely well at.  Hopefully we'll be able to close the Pens out then.

Zac Rinaldo was involved in an incident that resulted in a game-misconduct.

He was obviously over the line and deserves to be suspended.  In my opinion, what Rinaldo did tonight was bad, but not as bad as what Arron Asham did during Game 3 to Brayden Schenn.

Just to keep it even, I would say since Asham has a 4 game suspension, Rinaldo should get a 4 game suspension as well.

Are We Stooping Down? My Reaction to Cowardly Crosby News Cover

The cover of the Wednesday edition of the Philadelphia Daily News depicts Pittsburgh Penguin Sidney Crosby as the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz.  As most people in the Philadelphia region know, Sidney Crosby was a big topic of discussion after Sunday's playoff game (See my last post for more details).  Crosby was instigating a lot of fights in an immature way but always backed off when someone actually stood up to him.  This is what prompted the Daily News.

Now, I'm all for making fun of Sidney Crosby and the Penguins.  After they played the last few games, I would even say they deserve most of the verbal abuse that is going on.  However, I really don't like the idea of photoshopping Crosby on a lion for a joke, especially on the cover of a newspaper.  

In 2010, when the Flyers were in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Chicago Tribune made a similar decision in making fun of Chris Pronger (for no real reason, he was playing well and physically dominating the Blackhawks (now that I think about it, he got knocked down once by Dustin Byfuglien, ooooh)).

Clearly, people from Chicago (Chicagoans?) don't like Pronger.  Because of a couple games they thought he was a joke and fraud because he had a bad +/-.  

The bashing of Sidney Crosby has similar roots.  This series, he's played like a little child.  However, this is how he usually plays, hiding behind the refs when someone looks at him wrong, and slashing everyone when no one looks.  That being said though, I was really annoyed when the Tribune posted this picture and I am annoyed by the Daily News.  

I understand making fun of Crosby.  In fact, I've done it quite a bit the past few days.  But to me, this cover seems petty.  It really feels like we are stooping down to what Chicago did, something very immature (like Crosby) in an official media setting.  We've been in this situation before and it certainly wouldn't make us look good if Crosby has a good game or if they win any games.

So far this series, the Flyers have taken the high road when it comes to the Penguins antics.  With this cover, I feel like we are just throwing maturity out the window. Not cool.


Game 4 will take place tonight, April 18th at 7:30 on the NBC Sports Network (Formerly VS.)

In other news, Happy Birthday to Scott Hartnell! Hopefully he'll have a good game on his 30th birthday.  Follow Scott on Twitter @Hartsy19

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Penguins are a JOKE

Disclaimer: If you are reading this and you are a Penguins fan (which is unlikely) too bad. I don't like your "hockey team."

If you have any interest at all in hockey, you likely saw or heard about the Flyers Penguins game this past Sunday.  The Philadelphia Flyers hosted Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to their in-state rival Pittsburgh Penguins.  The term "rival" doesn't do enough justice. These teams absolutely hate each other.  From the players all the way up to the coaching and management, nothing nice goes on between these two teams.

This picture sums up what happened on Sunday.  Brawl after brawl after brawl.  The game started as one would expect, the Pens take a quick lead.  The Flyers, uncharacteristically tied the game up rather quickly, with a shorthanded goal by former-Penguin Max Talbot.  Then there was a bit of a scrum, nothing major though.

Later in the first period, Brayden Schenn leveled a Penguin with a somewhat questionable hit (possibly charging).  The crowd went nuts.  Then they got angry as former Flyer Aaron Asham steps up to Schenn with a blatant crosscheck to the throat and then proceeded to punch Schenn in the head as he was down.  This lack of respect for the game and your opponents is what made a lot of people, including myself, very mad.  Asham clearly went after Schenn to cheap shot him so he could take him out of the game (which didn't work).

Aaron Asham should be ashamed of himself.  He should be suspended well into next season for this (maybe 10 games?).  Asham was given a match penalty and has an in-person hearing with the Department of Player Safety today (good).

Sidney Crosby is a player that people either love or hate.  Anywhere in the northeast besides Pittsburgh will consist of mostly Crosby-haters.  And he sure gave reason to hate him Sunday.  Not only did he start most of the fighting in this game, but he cowered when he was confronted.  And he was acting very juvenile, he knocked away Jake Voracek's glove as he went to pick it up off the ice.

Hopefully the national media will start to realize how much of a joke Crosby is.  He makes him teammates stick up for him and skates to the refs when something goes wrong.  Crosby's post game interviews weren't much better.  When asked about the Flyers players, Sid the Kid (certainly fitting) responded with "I don't like there guys" "Why?" "Because I don't like them."  Great insight from the teams captain.

I would like to continue this rant but I will need to stop here.  For even more Penguins hating fun, listen to what radio color commentator and former Flyers defenseman Chris Therien said as Crosby was up to his childish ways. is a great Philly Sports website, Check Them Out!

Until next time,

P.S. The Flyers ended up winning 8-4 and lead the series 3 games to none. The Flyers can sweep at home on Wednesday, I can't wait!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I'm Going to the Phillies Game Tomorrow!!

I'm so excited to go to the Phillies game this Thursday.  I can't wait to be back in Citizens Bank Park, my favorite stadium of all time.

There are however, both positives and negatives about this game.  For one, Joe Blanton is pitching.  It's not that I dislike Big Joe, it's just that I'd much rather see one of the Ace's pitch.  Pitching for the Marlins will be Mark Buehrle, someone I don't really like.

About a year or so ago, Mark Buehrle expressed his hatred of Michael Vick, the Eagles quarterback.  This is certainly understandable, considering Vick's past.  Buehrle said in an interview that he watches Eagles games in the hope of seeing Mike Vick get injured because he deserves it.

To this I say grow up Mark Buehrle.  I understand that people have their opinions and they are entitled to them but don't say you want another athlete to get injured.  That's juvenile in my mind.  Buehrle can just as easily get injured and he shouldn't make fun of someone he doesn't like because I'm doing that right now.  Mark Buehrle is a jerk, he should just continue to pitch for the new Marlins and enjoy the crowds of 10,000 people that will be at their home games.

That being said, back to the actual game on Thursday.  While I don't love the pitching matchup, there are benefits of going to a game during the home opening series.  Thursday is going to be the first Hatfield Dollar Dog Night of the year! I understand the staff makes them hours in advance but if you get there early enough they aren't so bad, especially if you only have one or two.  I've seen people eat as many as 30 hot dogs at a single game, that doesn't sound like a good time at all.

The best part about going to the game, is watching the Phillies play!  Growing up just down the street from the complex, the Phillies were always a part of my life.  I have countless memories of the Phillies. I skipped school on Halloween 2008 so I could go to the World Series Parade.  I've been up to the 700 level of the Vet(The nosebleeds of all nosebleeds).  One game at the Vet years ago, we had a plastic bag full of snacks(allowed at the time).  At one point the wind blew the bag onto the field and where would it land? Right next to shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who put the bag in his back pocket.  I always thought that was cool.  I even caught a foul ball at a game last year(The pitch was thrown by Cole Hamels, my favorite pitcher on the team).

To summarize, I love the Fightin' Phils and love going to games.  The stadium makes for such an enjoyable experience for the whole family which I think is really cool.  I can't wait to go to the game on Thursday, hopefully the bats will liven up.


Note: I know I wasn't nice about Mark Buehrle, I just didn't like the way he handled that interview and now he has a bad reputation to me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Phillies Stumble out of the Gate, Fans Should Remain Optimistic

It's no secret that the Phillies haven't started the regular season as they had hoped.  They are 1 - 3 and have had a very tough time scoring runs.  I have already seen some fans show disdain for the team, which I think is very irrational.

The baseball season is extremely long.  We are only four games into a 162 game season.  The Phillies have shown time and time again that they can overcome a slump.  I've noticed over the past 5 years or so that this happens often to the Phillies.  They start off slow in April, catch some fire in May, slow down a bit until the All-Star break and then dominate until the end of the season.  I have no doubt in my mind that the team will find they're rhythm soon.

Don't forget that the Phillies have injuries to some of their best players.  Even though Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are getting older and less effective, they still provide the team with good hitting and leadership on and off the field.  The return of these two players will help the team tremendously.

I know the season doesn't look too great so far, but give it some time Phils fans, pretty soon it will be "hitting season" as Charlie Manuel always says.  Things can only go up for the Fightin's.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Why I Hate the New York Rangers

As a die-hard Flyers fan, it's not hard to comprehend that I dislike our rival teams.  The Rangers however, are at the top of my list for most hated teams.  I have multiple examples why. (Very opinionated and bias post on my part, I realize this)

For starters, I just don't like the city of New York.  I went to college in Hoboken for a year and was part of the New York scene.  Over the course of that year, I never truly saw a passionate sports fan base.  I have some friends who like the Giants, Devils and Jets but it seemed like they weren't really into it.  People from New York also have a demeanor about them that just turned me off.  Granted, I know I'm completely bias in this as I am from South Philly, but the people there weren't nice at all to me.  The city has an attitude where no one has time for anything, everyone is constantly in a rush.

Finally, to the Rangers.  I realize that the Flyers lost all 6 games to them this year, but that doesn't necessarily make them the better team.  I feel that the goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist is second to none, and the team has a great defensive corp, but I don't know, I feel that even with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik they just have a slightly inferior offense (not necessarily compared to the Flyers, but amongst the entire league).  They have some players who are very skilled, don't get me wrong, but based on the money these guys get, you would think they would be top of the class type players (Dubinsky makes 4.2 mil a year?)

Simple fact: I don't like John Torterella. Period.  He is a great coach, he won a cup with Tampa back in 2004.  I even realize that he and Lavy have similar in-your-face coaching styles.  But I just don't like how he expects everything to be given to him (somewhat similar to Crosby and Malkin of the Penguins) and how he reacts when things don't go his way.

The Winter Classic ended in a bizarre kind of way, there was a scrum in front of the net, and a penalty shot was awarded to the Flyers.  The call could have gone either way, obviously as a Flyers fan, I like the call, but I get how it could have been called just to give the Flyers one more chance at tying the game.  Danny Briere took the shot and Lundqvist made the stop.  The game is over, alright, the team didn't have enough.  Congrats to the Rangers for winning the biggest game of the regular season. I'm serious, with all of the media and attention this game was getting, good for them, they earned the win.  The thing I don't like however, is how Torterella got mad at that penalty shot.  He was claiming that the game was fixed so it could go to overtime.  I get he has an opinion but the fact is, he won the game.  As Ilya Bryzgalov would say "Why you heff to be mad?"  Torterella was fined 30k for this incident.

Rangers players think they are tough.  I respect Ryan Callahan as a player, he hustles and is a good guy to have on your team.  But players like Brandon Dubinsky really get me going.  He isn't a bad player by any means(he led the team in scoring last year) but I feel like he thinks he's tough when in reality, that isn't quite the case.  I will say that hockey players are a tough bunch, but when you try to agitate an opposing player into making a penalty or fighting and then you just hug that player, you're not tough.  If you look at most of Dubinsky's fights, he just tries to hug the other player so neither can get hit.  Because of that, I just don't respect Brandon Dubinsky.

I looked up this video after I wrote this, excellent example on Dubinsky not wanting to fight after he's picked a partner.  I feel that he lacks respect for the game.  When Flyers players get in fights, I expect them to stand up for themselves and fight back.  Even if Dubinsky was on my favorite team, I still don't think I would like him.

Don't get me started on Sean Avery. I'll keep it short, he is just a nuisance on the ice.  I get that that is his job but to me, he really just wastes space(I realize that isn't nice).  I get what he brings to the table but I just feel that it distracts the team.  Look up Sean Avery on youtube and see what I mean.

Pair all of this together with the fact that the Rangers and Flyers are bitter rivals and you now know why I hate the New York Rangers.  Sorry for venting(not really), maybe I'm just upset at the season sweep(probably), but what I know is that the Flyers and Rangers is one of the best matchups in the league today(fact).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Nike Unveils New Line of Football Jerseys

Since the contract between the NFL and Reebok is up, it's time for Nike to start making the uniforms the players wear on-field.  This has been a much anticipated move for a couple of years now.  Nike claims that their new uniforms are more comfortable and offer better movement, allowing players to be lighter and faster than before.  The jerseys are said to be 20-30% lighter than the former Reebok models even with some padding in the new equipment.

There weren't a whole lot of upgrades in terms of visuals.  The only team to get a major overhaul were the Seattle Seahawks.  Other teams have changed some things but the main design of the jerseys have remained the same.

Some people wanted completely new designs for all of the teams but I think that messes with the traditions of some of the teams.  For example, it would be devastating to Packers fans to see their team wear something other than the current jerseys, as they are so recognizable.

The Eagles received little change in their equipment.  Some people wanted Nike to take on a retro look and make the jerseys kelly green like they used to be.  While I think that would be awesome as an alternate jersey, I like keeping the modern midnight green look.  It gives the team an intimidating look.

When I see an official jersey in person, I will really think about picking one up.  I love collecting and wearing jerseys so this change is right up my alley.  I already have a Shady McCoy jersey, the real question is; who is next?

QB Mike Vick showing off the new jersey.  It's definitely fitting he is involved with this campaign, "Fast is Faster"

It's Finally Here!! Phillies Baseball!!

It's that time of year again.  The weather is getting nicer, the trees are starting to grow leaves again, the lawn is coming in nicely, shorts and t-shirts are making more appearances and the Phillies start their regular season.  As per, baseball opening day was voted as the most anticipated sports event of the year for a Philly fan, and it couldn't come soon enough.

Sure, the regular season doesn't actually start until tomorrow but the Phillies just hosted a 2-game on-deck series with the Pirates over the past two days.  Not many places would sell out two exhibition games against a not-so-good team, but Citizens Bank Park did.  The purpose of this series is to reach out to the fans and let them know the game is really all about them. 

Since these games don't count, not many of the starters played, but that didn't stop them from making appearences around the ballpark.  Outfielder and all-around good guy Hunter Pence made a surprise visit to the stands to help celebrate a lucky kid's birthday.

Teams like the Phillies are rare.  They truly care about the fans and want to make the game as enjoyable as they can.  I can't vouch for other teams but I have a feeling that the Phillies have some of the happiest fans and players in the Major Leagues.  To put on events such as these are special, it makes me proud to be a life-long Phillies fan.  I can't wait for Opening Day.

Starting Pitcher Vance Worley signing autographs for two fans during the game.

Shortstop and longest tenured Phillie Jimmy Rollins signing autographs at Spring Training.

Follow the Phillies on Twitter @Phillies Hunter Pence @HunterPence3 and myself @PhillySteve15

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn: Second Line of the Already Bright Future?

Sean Couturier was acquired by the Flyers this offseason when we traded Jeff Carter to the Columbus Bluejackets(We used a draft pick acquired in the trade).  So far this seems like a very favorable move that will help tremendously in the future.

I'm not a hockey scouting expert, but last year I heard about some of the players that were going to be drafted high at the entry draft.  Sean Couturier was near the top of every list I saw.  The fact that we were able to draft him at #8 still astounds me.

Couturier is already a solid two-way forward at the NHL level.  He has great vision and hockey sense and is a stalwart in the defensive zone.  He is a good passer who makes the players around him better and he has an underrated wrist shot.  He is a big kid (6'4") who reminds me of a more rounded version of Jeff Carter.

Brayden Schenn was acquired in the Mike Richards trade on the same day as the Carter trade during the offseason.  Brayden was a top 5 pick in the NHL Entry Draft in 2009 and is very highly coveted.  He projects to be a possible franchise player, possibly to the level of now-King Mike Richards and Blackhawk Jonathon Toews.  He possesses all the qualities of a leader that you want on your team.  Even though he is only 20 years old, he isn't afraid to get in the dirty areas or make a big hit.  He likes scoring goals and he can do that from anywhere on the ice. 

Like Couturier, Schenn is also listed as a center who can play the wing.  For the future of the team, I think it would be better if Schenn played more right wing so he use his shot from a better vantage point which can lead to more goals in his career.

These two players are the new future of the Philadelphia Flyers.  If everything goes according to plan, these two men can anchor the second line of the team for the next 10-15 years.  Claude Giroux, already a superstar, is the top line center and James vanRiemsdyk will likely play his wing.  All of these players play with an edge that you don't see in everyone.  These guys show that they have toughness and are willing to compete with anyone, confidence goes a long way.  With these four players (none of which are 25 years old yet), the Flyers look to take over the NHL in the next couple of years.

These four players are all very marketable to the public.  All four are good kids who simply enjoy playing the game of hockey.  They make the fans want to pay more attention to the team, which will lead to continuing the proud tradition of Flyers hockey.

Follow the Flyers on twitter @NHLFlyers and myself @PhillySteve15

Bryzgalov Broken Foot: Blessing in Disguise?

On Monday, March 26, the Flyers took on the Tampa Bay Lightning.  During the pre-game warm ups, it appeared that Ilya Bryzgalov, the Flyers starting goaltender, took a shot that hit an unprotected part of his foot.  It seemed like he was in pain, but it wasn't enough to keep him out of the game. 

During the game, it was clear Bryz wasn't quite at his best as we lost 5-3.  We all panicked when we heard that after the game, Bryzgalov was seen limping badly to the locker room.  Could this be the end of our goalie's impressive streak this month?  Will he be ready for the playoffs?  Can backup goalie Sergei Bobrovsky play effectively even though he has been minimally used lately?

There were a lot of questions being asked that night.  The next day, the team announced that Ilya Bryzgalov had an MRI on his foot to see if there was any major damage.  The team was acting confident that the injury, if any was actually sustained, wasn't too serious.  However, the fans wanted the truth.

It was announced that Bryz had suffered a bone fracture in his foot.  This may sound bad, but the bone in question isn't a weight bearing bone.  This means that even though it may hurt a lot, and there may be some limping, it won't keep Bryzgalov out of play too long.

The team claims that Ilya will miss at least one game with the team.  In my opinion, this couldn't have come at a better time.  The Flyers recently secured a playoff spot, a spot that is not likely to change.  Because of that, it wouldn't be the end of the world if the team allowed some players to rest up before the playoffs. 

Bryzgalov has been absolutely dominant since the All-Star break, and because of that, he deserves a break so he can get back some energy.  It's an unfortunate situation, but this injury doesn't really hurt the team too badly.  No one (who is a Flyers fan) wants Bryzgalov to be worn out when the playoffs start.  This gives him an opportunity to rest up and relax and get ready for the important games.  Sergei Bobrovsky will also get some playing time that he hasn't had much of lately will be important if he needs to play a game here or there in the playoffs.

The most important thing is keeping Bryzgalov at his currently dominant run.  He needs some time to rest up before the most important games of the season, and the best part is that the Flyers are basically already penciled in for the fifth spot in the playoffs.  One may think this is a lose-lose situation, but if you delve deeper, it's not so bad.

Personal Playoff Opinion: If the Flyers play the Penguins in the first round, as expected, and they manage to win that series, there's no doubt in my mind the Flyers will make the Stanley Cup Finals. Whether they win that is another story.

Follow the Flyers on twitter @NHLFlyers and you can follow me @PhillySteve15

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Athletes on Twitter

Twitter is a great thing.  It allows anyone to interact with anyone, athletes included.  There are many Philadelphia athletes who tweet regularly and who interact with fans.  Here is a list of some of the more notable athletes on twitter.

@28CGiroux - Claude Giroux
@Hartsy19 - Scott Hartnell
@Simmonds17 - Wayne Simmonds
@RinaldoZac - Zac Rinaldo
@JVReemer21 - James vanRiemsdyk
@BryzGoalie30 - Ilya Bryzgalov
@BernieParent - Bernie Parent
@ShaneVictorino - Shane Victorino
@HunterPence3 - Hunter Pence
@ryanhoward - Ryan Howard
@thekidet - Evan Turner
@minofAI9 - Andre Iguodala
@MikeVick - Mike Vick

It is really cool to see the athletes in a more good natured setting.  It is always interesting to see different athletes from different sports talking to each other.  For example, one day Claude Giroux challenged Shane Victorino to a home run hitting/slap shot contest.

@BernieParent is a former Flyers goalie.  He is the greatest goalie in team history and is one of the teams best players of all time.  He supports a charity my Uncle founded called the Bethesda Project which helps homeless people in Philadelphia.  It is really awesome to see him tweet about what a great cause it is.

Until next time,

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bryzgalov Sets Flyers Record

Ilya Bryzgalov, the enigmatic Russian goalkeeper of the Flyers has certainly turned a corner as of late.

Bryz started the year off strong, registering the first Flyers shutout in over a year against the Devils in the second game of the season.  As the season started to get rolling, Bryzgalov started to stutter.  He didn't seem to have a lot of confidence, Captain and star defenseman Chris Pronger was injured and the defense started to fall apart, and Bryz just didn't seem to fit in with the team.  He was even benched for the Winter Classic game, the most anticipated game of the regular season.

Fans wanted Bryz gone.  It was as simple as that.  People felt he would bring the team down, especially considering he signed a nine year contract this past summer.  Bryz seemed annoyed by the media and it didn't look like he had what it takes to be a goaltender in Philadelphia.

Then came the All-Star Break.  With a few days off, the whole team had a chance to rest.  Bryzgalov started to look a lot better in net, he seemed more comfortable.

On February 25th, Bryzgalov did something that he hasn't done much of this year; win in a shootout.  He seemed on point and that was when things started changing for the entire team.  Alternate Captain Danny Briere mentioned in an interview that Ilya has been a better teammate as of late.  He knows it's not just about him and the media, it's about the team and winning games.

Ilya Bryzgalov used to play for the Phoenix Coyotes and knows what it's like to carry a team to the playoffs.  He is used to a humongous big work load and it seems he will get another chance to make a big difference down the stretch into the playoffs.

Just three games after the Flyers defeated Calgary in the shootout, Bryzgalov posted a shutout against the high-powered Washington Capitals, just his third of the year.  This was the official turning point for Bryz.  He went from a "Bryzaster" to being "strictly Bryzness" as he put up 4 shutouts in 5 games.

Just yesterday against the New York Islanders, Ilya Bryzgalov set a new Flyers record for longest streak by a goalie without letting up a goal.  He surpassed John VanBiesbrouck by going 249:43 scoreless minutes.

Congratulations to Ilya Bryzgalov for turning this team around and for etching himself into the Flyers record books.

Follow the Flyers, Bryzgalov and myself on twitter @NHLFlyers @BryzGoalie30 and @PhillySteve15

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

NHL Trade Deadline

The NHL trade deadline past this past Monday (2/27).  This year was surprisingly quiet in terms of blockbuster trades.  Columbus Bluejackets Captain Rick Nash, who is reportedly unhappy with how the organization is being run, requested a trade, but it never went through.  Most insiders feel that the price for Nash, a franchise player, was simply too high.  There were plenty of rumors between Nash and the Flyers, but luckily nothing happened.  If the Flyers were to trade for Rick Nash, we would get a highly skilled player, but he would cost the team part of its future and it would give the team even less financial flexibility then before.

While the Flyers didn't make any moves the day of the deadline, the team made two trades in the past two weeks for a couple of big defenseman.

Nicklas Grossman was aquired from the Dallas Stars in exchange for a second round pick.  Grossman is a big, stay at home defenseman who should help stabilize the opposing offense as he can help clear the puck and keep it out of the crease.  His skill set, while not nearly as impressive, is comperable to that of Chris Pronger, the teams captain and heart and soul, who has only played 13 games this year due to severe post concussion syndrome.  Grossman is only 27 years old and if resigned could help the blueline for a long time.

The Flyers sent a second and fifth round pick, along with low level prospect, Jon Kalinski to Tampa Bay for defenseman Pavel Kubina.  Kubina, 35, has Stanley Cup experience who has the rare combination of size, defensive ability and he can move the puck.  The fact that he is a right-handed shot, something the Flyers have not had in a defenseman in a long time, can really help out on the powerplay.  His experience in quarterbacking the pp can also take some of the burden off of Kimmo Timonen, who has been fantastic this whole year, but needs a break.

Paul Holmgren, the general manager of the Flyers was able to add two quality and experienced defensemen this year while not moving any players from the main roster.  These were two low-risk, high reward moves that will definitely help the team, hopefully en route to a Stanley Cup victory.

Until next time,

Follow the Flyers on twitter @NHLFlyers

Monday, February 20, 2012

Flyers Wives Fight For Lives Carnival

For the past 35 years, wives and girlfriends of Flyers players, past and present, hold a family-fun carnival to raise money for charity.  While I've never been to one, this is truly a great event that shows the class of this organization and that they care about others.

Back in the 1970's, the Flyers had a defenseman named Barry Ashbee.  He sustained a career ending eye injury in 1975.  After signing on as an assistant coach for the team, Ashbee found out he had leukemia in 1977.  The entire team was behind Barry, but he sadly passed away at age 37, just one month after his diagnosis. 

Soon before Ashbee's passing, the Flyers Wives started an annual carnival; where families can go and have fun and interact with the players while also supporting a good cause.  Once Ashbee died, the event took on a heartfelt focus.  As the years have past, Comcast Spectacor has donated over $23 million dollars to various Philadelphia-area charities.  This is so nice to see in a world full of greed. 

All of the players and a lot of the staff attends the carnival as well as the charities that are being supported.  The event is a day of fun including autographs and pictures from the players and alumni, games like the dunk tank (where fans can drop their favorite players into the water) and fans even get the chance to score on the teams goalie on the ice.

The Flyers Wives Fight for Lives Carnival was held yesterday, February 19th and it was an enormous success, yet again.  On TV, you can see all of the players interacting with the fans and having a genuinely good time.  In fact, forward Max Talbot was showing off his dance moves with some of the fans, it was quite funny.

This is truly a great event where the players and fans interact in a great environment for a great cause.

Here is a link to some of the great pictures from the day. Check it out.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Are the 76ers the Real Deal?

Are the 76ers the Real Deal?

The Philadelphia 76ers improved their record to 19 - 9 last night with a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.  The season so far has been a surprise to most basketball fans after the Sixers went 41 - 41 last year while not making any big changes over the off season.  Leading the Boston Celtics in the Atlantic Division by four games, 28 games into this lockout-shortened 66 game season, proves that this team is able to compete with the top teams in both the Eastern Conference as well as the entire league.  

Before the season started, many insiders and analysts didn't think the Sixers would improve a whole lot over last season for a few reasons.  For one, the Sixers lack a "superstar."  Sure, players like Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner are young, cornerstones of the team, but neither is at the level of Chris Paul or Dwyane Wade.  The Sixers also didn't make a big splash in free agency this year either.  The only notable signings were of Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes, both of which were already on the team.

This lack of change hasn't hindered the Sixers at all.  They play hard, with teamwork and defense that is second to none.  Every player carries his weight, and any player can go off on any night.  The opposition needs to take every player seriously or they can get blown out.  And so far, that's what the Sixers have done, blow teams out.  

Considering the youth and explosiveness this team has, don't be surprised if the Sixers keep this winning up all year long.  They have a very real chance of obtaining a high playoff seed this season.  Will the Sixers be able to get past the first round this year?  Can they manage a win over the Heat this year (0-2 so far)?  Will the team be able to reach the finals for the first time since 2000-2001?  We'll just have to wait and see.

On a side note, congratulations to Andre Iguodala for making his first All-Star game this year.  Only two players in the league average at least 13 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1.8 steals per game.  They are Iguodala and LeBron James who I think is the best overall player in the world.  Iguodala deserves this honor as he is a consistent hard worker who routinely shuts down his man with his impeccable defense. Way to go Iggy!

Until next time,

Follow the 76ers on twitter for updates if you are interested @Sixers