I just wanted to say that, because it is a good morning. For the first time in more than six months, we have something to be legitimately excited about in Philly sports. The Flyers may not be favorites to win the Stanley Cup, but they return a largely intact team with a lot of young talent (just ask the 2012 Sixers if that makes a difference in a shortened season). The defense is a question mark (though I’d argue not as bad as people are making it out to be) and Ilya Bryzgalov is insane, but while everyone strokes teams like the Penguins (who got their asses handed to them by the Flyers last year) and Bruins (who, oh by the way, will be without their crazy goalie), the Flyers will return a young core, much of which has been playing elsewhere during the lockout.
We’ll break down the roster, new faces and injuries later today. For now, some nuggets you may have missed over the weekend.
Let’s hit it.
But first, a word from our sponsors:
- The folks over at Godfather Locks are on a crazy hot streak right now– 33-14 in their last 47 NBA picks, 14-4 in their last 18 NFL picks. If you are a gambling man, or even thinking about becoming one, I’d highly recommend checking out their forecasts and following them on Twitter (@GodfatherLocks)
- I love ping pong. I used to work at a company that had a table, and every day at around 3 p.m., myself and a few guys I worked with would battle it out for about 20 or 30 minutes. After a few weeks, we were playing closer to an hour. After a month… our day pretty much ended at 3. It turns out I wasn’t a very good employee. So if you have the same problem, or if you just really like balls that bounce, I’d recommend the Ping Pong Happy Hour at Drinker’s on Tuesdays. 5 – 7 at Drinker’s West and Drinker’s Tavern, 7 – 9 and Drinker’s Pub. Details here.
- I’ll just leave this here: Our friends over at Girls Of Philly have photos of over 10 years of local girls, naked. You’re almost guaranteed to see someone you know or someone from your town. So, you probably have to click this link. [Landing page is mostly SFW. After that, you’re own your own... and it’s probably better that way.]
- Brian Dawkins will be signing autographs at the Sports Vault in the Exton Square Mall on Saturday, January 19 from 1 – 3:30. You probably want to say thanks to him. Details here on how to do it.
- Joe Conklin’s new DVD features a collection of his best material from over 20 years of bringing celebrity voices to the stage and screen. It also includes a never before seen stand-up performance from September and a behind-the-scenes look at his work at WIP. Check it out at JoeConklin.com.
- Need some apparel to ready yourself for the Flyers season? Stop by Philly Phaithful and pick up the You Can’t Spell Crosby Without Cry shirt or the Knock Knock Lavs jam. Want something a bit more retro? Check out Monkey’s Uncle’s awesome selection of retro Flyers apparel.
- At around 5:30 a.m. yesterday morning, Scott Hartnell, who I’m guessing was just heading to bed, texted many of his Flyers teammates: “Deal done, boys!”
Hartnell had been growing a lockout beard, which he will now have to shave. Asked about it on Preston and Steve this morning, Claude Giroux, who is driving to Philly from Canada today, said, “It’s way too big and embarrassing.”
- So when will all of this get underway? Either January 15 or 19. Earlier reports indicated the 19th, with a national TV game between the Flyers and Penguins kicking things off at 1 p.m. (before Penn State plays Peter Luukko’s son and Vermont at 7:30 p.m.). The league sent out a memo (an email?) to teams last night stating that was the most likely scenario. But there’s also a chance that things get started on January 15, if the deal gets ratified quickly.
The former would mean a 48-game schedule. The latter, a 50-game schedule: [Philly.com]
According to the Canadian Press, if it’s a 50-game season, the schedule will feature 5 games versus each division rival (20), plus 3 games versus each conference rival (30).
Also according to the Canadian Press, if it’s a 48-game season, the schedule will feature 4 games against two division rivals (8), plus 5 games against the other two division rivals (10), plus 3 games versus each conference rival (30).
- One somewhat disturbing bit of tid to come out of yesterday’s thick and sexy pile of hockey news was a reminder that Michael Leighton still exists. He told CSN’s Sarah Baicker that he’s “happy as pie”:
I’m assuming he meant a lattice topped cherry pie, because it’s full of holes and you can slip something through almost every corner… even the Stanley Cup-winning puck.
- Chip Kelly will stay at Oregon, according to Adam Schefter. The puts Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley in the lead with the Eagles this hour. Sheil Kapadia has more on Bradley over at Philly Mag.
- Reader Jules spotted a loon. She watched Django Unchained with Andrew Bynum in King of Prussia:
- Finally, for those of you who appreciate what Andy Reid did during his time in Philadelphia, my colleagues on the Great Sports Debate, Julie Dorenbos and Susie Celek, put together this video of well-wishers (like the Brians – Dawkins and Westbook – and even Carrot Top). Watch it after the jump.