There’s about five days until the Flyers take on the San Jose Sharks in their regular season opener. And most of their lineup is set in stone.
Five different Flyers scored in the 5-1 win over the Boston Bruins, including Travis Konecny’s third of the preseason. The power play unit also went 2-for-7, which was one of the team’s weak areas throughout the preseason. Alex Lyon played the entire game in goal for the Flyers, stopping 31-of-32 shots he faced, while starter Brian Elliott was a healthy scratch. And for some reason, Nolan Patrick decided to fight.
Robert Hagg, Taylor Leier, Oskar Lindblom, Andrew MacDonald, and Michael Raffl were other notable healthy scratches for the game. Who could be safe and who might start the season in Lehigh Valley?
Let’s start at forward: I think Raffl is a lock, as well as Lindblom. Taylor Leier is an NHL-caliber player, but with Patrick and Scott Laughton in front of him, Leier might have to start in the AHL.
There a very slim chance Ron Hextall decides to send Patrick back to juniors, but I absolutely see him contributing immediately with the big club.
The defense is still uncertain. Outside of Radko Gudas, Ivan Provorov, and Shayne Gostisbehere, four spots are up for grabs. Sam Morin, Travis Sanheim, and Robert Hagg have had their share of good and bad moments this preseason, but also have MacDonald and Brandon Manning with them. Morin is a beast at 6-6 and I would love for him to finally crack the Flyers roster. Hagg is the most NHL ready out of all three, and I think I see him and Morin up with the Flyers.
I would love to never see Andrew MacDonald again, but unless a team decides they want to eat up part of his huge cap hit, he’s sticking around. Manning is the more likely candidate for a trade, which means Sanheim stays in Lehigh Valley for another year.
The preseason concludes Sunday at home against the New York Islanders at 5 pm, which is in the middle of Eagles-Chargers.
In other Flyers news, Wayne Simmonds would rather discuss the actual issues involving racial inequality instead of kneeling.
The Eagles continue to get ready for their game in LA against the Chargers. After filling in for Jordan Hicks in the second half of last week’s win over the Giants, Mychal Kendricks still isn’t happy with the amount of playing time he’s getting.
A year and three games into his career, Carson Wentz is already showing he’s in charge of the offense:
Sunday highlighted the significant freedoms Wentz has in operating this offense. Pederson explained that there is a “take-it system” that the coach can shift into at any point in the game where he just gives Wentz the formation and has the quarterback take it from there, the restriction being that the plays are to be pulled from that week’s game plan. The playbook is loaded with run-pass options (RPOs), allowing Wentz to make a judgement call at the line of scrimmage based on how he reads the defense.
Center Jason Kelce believes Wentz — just 19 games into his professional career — has more pre-snap authority than any quarterback he’s worked with in his seven years in the pros.
“Under Chip [Kelly] we weren’t switching in and out of things. I though Sam [Bradford] was a guy that probably could do something like this, but he just didn’t get to do that. [Michael] Vick certainly had the ability to change the play and do certain things like that. We just probably do a little more of it with Carson,” he said.
“If you have a guy who can do it and you have a guy that’s good at it, obviously being in a conducive play is huge for the offense. Having the numbers be correct on a run play, you still have to block it up when the play is called, but it definitely sets you off the right foot. You’re not running uphill, you’re running downhill at that point.”
But why is Wentz struggling with the deep ball?
Wendell Smallwood may have a chance to become a feature back for the Eagles, and he could be worth picking up in fantasy leagues.
Kyle talked to Merrill and Mike on the Jake Elliott kick and their brand new podcast.
SB Nation did a cheesy video feature on Randall Cunningham and the 1987 Eagles.
Game predictions will come later today.
Over in Camden, Sixers training camp continued. Markelle Fultz is experimenting with new shooting mechanics.
It might take some time until Fultz is ready to take on some of the NBA’s top talent:
“It’s two things,” Brown said. “The first is the athleticism in the men who jump you right from the get-go. It is relentless. There is no sort of unforgiving stage. It is very, very ruthless, what he’s going to experience — not so much in preseason, but when all of a sudden John Wall crawls into him, and Otto Porter’s length is alive, you realize there is an athleticism and there are men, and it catches people off-guard. And then we’re going to talk about January the 10th, and we’re going to talk about a rookie wall because of the nature of our league.”
Because of the teammates surrounding him, because of their skills, Fultz may have more room on the court than Carter-Williams did. But that doesn’t mean teams will leave him alone. Everyone around the league knows, even from just his one season at the University of Washington, that Fultz can handle the ball and shoot well enough to excel in pick-and-roll situations. Opponents will try to prevent him from creating those matchups when he’s on offense, and they’ll try to trap him in those matchups when he’s on defense.
I also love his Players’ Tribune video, where he makes fun of his draft day Instagram blunder:
— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) September 28, 2017
You can also start buying new Sixers Nike products this morning. Jerseys will be available through the Wells Fargo Center New Era Team Store this weekend, and the 11th Street Team Store will have special hours today and Saturday from 10 am until 5 pm, and Sunday from 10am until 1pm.
Jerseys can also be purchased online via Shop.WFCPhilly.com today at 10 am until October 12.
Head coach Brett Brown sees some interesting qualities in Furkan Korkmaz:
“I mean, really just trying to get him defensively built, like an attitude and a mindset to try to grow him as a defender,” Brown told reporters Thursday. “He can score. He’s got a real sort of interesting body for a basketball player in his position. He’s long and he’s lanky. Years ago I coached Brent Barry (who had) sort of that bouncy, pogo stick, can shoot, can dunk (body type). I see, you know, that (Furkan) has got some real interesting qualities. The defensive side needs work. I’m always trying to help and grow him, like you would any rookie, from a defensive standpoint.”
Part of the defensive improvement comes with bulk, and Korkmaz has already added about 15 pounds to his 175 pound frame. He won’t be finishing around the rim any time soon, but he’s a tall perimeter shooter with plenty of upside depending on how he adapts to NBA physicality.
The Sixers and Nik Stauskas have not engaged in contract extension discussions.
The Phillies wrap up the regular season this weekend at home against the New York Mets. Ben Lively takes on Matt Harvey.
Odubel Herrera takes an insanely long time during his at-bats, and that might change next year:
Major League Baseball will introduce rule changes this winter to help quicken the game. Average game times this season — 3 hours, 5 minutes for a nine-inning game — are 15 minutes longer than 10 years ago. The new rules have yet to be announced, but they could force a batter to stay inside the batter’s box or even employ a clock that times when a pitch must be thrown. Herrera’s routine will have to change.
“I’ll adjust if they change the rule or if they make it a rule,” Herrera said. “I’ll adjust to it. I don’t think I have a choice there.”
In other sports news, there was a Thursday Night Football game. The Packers beat the Bears 35-14. You didn’t watch? Good, because it was bad. Example:
— Larry Hawley (@HawleySports) September 29, 2017
This was also bad, for different reasons:
And this hot mic caught the best reaction to every Thursday Night Football game.
NBA Draft reform, along with new rules on resting players, passed yesterday. Even though draft reform will give the three worst teams an equal 14% chance at the top pick, the “Sam Hinkie rule” may not stop tanking.
The league has a legitimate interest in its worst teams not feeling as if they have to get any more embarrassingly bad in order to secure improved lottery odds. The NBA does not want to relive Trust The Process, even though the architect of the most aggressive — and most coldly rational — multiyear tank job in league history was ousted precisely because of the scheme’s naked aggression. It would kindly prefer the Suns not send Eric Bledsoe home for two months; new rest regulations, also approved Thursday, may take care of that.
Reform may change team behavior on the fringes. Bledsoe types may play more. The next version of the Sixers might be more open to signing a couple of stable veterans, even at the “risk” of winning a couple more games. April basketball will be a little less bad.
Multiple NBA players have severed ties with agent Andy Miller in the wake of the FBI corruption probe in college basketball:
Los Angeles Clippers center Willie Reed filed the claim in part because of Christian Dawkins, one of the 10 people arrested on federal corruption charges on Tuesday. Dawkins was reportedly terminated by Miller and his company, ASM, in early May following a National Basketball Players Association probe into the unauthorized use of a player’s personal credit card.
However, Dawkins remained the primary ASM representative for Reed and other players, including Indiana Pacers rookie Edmond Sumner. Justin Patton of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Sumner both fired Miller since the FBI investigation became public, sources told ESPN.
But Joel will always Trust The Process:
Trust The Process https://t.co/7qHHiDomjz
— Joel “Do a 180” Embiid??? (@JoelEmbiid) September 28, 2017
Mets owner Fred Wilpon protected manager Terry Collins from being fired after other front office heads wanted the manager out:
People with knowledge of the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, described organizational dysfunction, discord between Collins and his players, and a broken relationship between the manager and the front office.
Despite what the front office perceived as Collins’ constant tactical blunders and concerns about his relationships with the players, sources said efforts to explore a change seriously were thwarted by the elder Wilpon.
“I don’t interfere,” Fred Wilpon said while declining an interview request earlier this season.
A high school football team in Upstate New York is forfeiting their season after seven players took OxyContin before one of their games.
In a statement released Monday afternoon, Geneseo Central Schools Superintendent Tim Hayes wrote, “These dismissals stem from serious violations of the district’s Code of Conduct and Athletic Eligibility Standards.”
“Due to the sheer number of student-athletes involved and the serious nature of this incident…, the remainder of the varsity football season will be forfeited,” wrote Hayes.
During a late afternoon press conference, Hayes said the decision was painful because it also affected several players and families who were innocent and had done nothing wrong. Some of those innocent players, said Hayes, had come forward to report the drug use. However, Hayes explained the number of students involved made it impossible to field enough players to continue the varsity football program this year.
In the news, 6abc New Jersey reporter Nora Muchanic and cameraman Andy Doane are retiring at the end of October.
Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus revealed she has breast cancer.
Just when you thought… pic.twitter.com/SbtYChwiEj
— Julia Louis-Dreyfus (@OfficialJLD) September 28, 2017
Elon Musk has another idea for how to send people to Mars.
The first trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2 is out and it looks really stunning.
Gambling while playing Pac-Man. You can do that now.