Posts for flyers

“Watch the Game a Little Bit More” – Takeaways from Flyers 5, Devils 2

Anthony SanFilippo - October 20, 2018

Jake Voracek wants everyone to do a better job when watching hockey games.

Well, at least the media. I guess, as the people who have the ability to shape public perception – although that’s in doubt these days – he wants the media to pay attention to things other than the score sheet.

He’s right. Too much of what is written about the sport of hockey is based on numbers. Whether it’s the old school writers who focus on goals, assists, plus/minus, goals against average, save percentage, hits and blocked shots, or it’s the analytics-driven generation that touts Corsi, expected goals, high danger chances and zone entries, too much of what is written about this sport is driven purely by numbers.

So, when he was “demoted” from the top line after the last game in Columbus, many assumed it was for shoddy play. And when he posted three points Saturday in a 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils, the same scribes assumed he had a great game.

Voracek wants you to know it’s pretty much the opposite.

“I think the first 39 minutes I played like horse shit. You guys got to watch the game a little bit more, you know what I mean? It’s not only about points. The last three games, I thought I played good hockey,  it just didn’t go in. It doesn’t mean that if I’m not on the score sheet that I didn’t play well. So many times it’s happens. But [today] I was on the board and I had a good third period, but overall, in this game I wasn’t at the level I wanted to be. I think I was pressing a little bit too much the first 39 minutes. I think that’s when the experience comes in, you kind of use it in advantage in the third period.”

But if you’re the Flyers, you’ll take his “horseshit” performance, thank you very much.

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No Defense: What’s Ailing the Flyers after their 6-3 Loss to the Blue Jackets

Anthony SanFilippo - October 19, 2018

This summer, Russ and I had Flyers GM Ron Hextall on the Snow The Goalie podcast and asked him about the team’s identity.

Hextall admitted they didn’t have one yet and that they would be looking to find that identity this season.

Well, after seven games, they better hope the identity they have to start the season is not the identity they keep for the entire season because this identity is one of a bad, bad defensive team.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I did not see the 6-3 loss to Columbus last night live. I had a conflict and instead scheduled myself to watch it at the crack of dawn this morning. I made it through a period and a half and then just fast forwarded to the goals.

I mean, to be honest, with the exception of the game against Vegas last Saturday, what I’m seeing is quite repetitive.

This team’s defense is dreadful right now.

And it’s not just the defensemen, although they are part of it. It’s the forwards not helping out by not getting back into the zone or by turning the puck over and allowing for an odd man rush the other way, or not winning 50/50 puck battles that lead to goals.

It’s also goaltending, too. Yes, Brian Elliott’s numbers looked terrible to start the season, but he was pretty darn good in those first couple games. But then he started to get mediocre and eventually had to get pulled in the 6-5 shootout win over Florida Tuesday. Meanwhile Calvin Pickard, who was brought in because the Flyers apparently have no confidence in Anthony Stolarz at the NHL level, has had one OK start, one OK relief performance, and last night’s poor outing in which he let up six goals on 28 shots, only one of which he had no chance of stopping.

Let’s remember this guy was a fourth string goalie in Toronto before being waived.

Nevertheless, the mistakes are mounting. The Flyers have allowed 31 goals in just seven games for a 4.43 goals against average. Somehow that’s only the second-worst mark in the NHL as Detroit has allowed 33 goals in seven games (4.71 GAA) but the difference is the Red Wings also are the worst team in hockey right now at 0-5-2.

Frankly, only in that Vegas game – a 1-0 loss by the way – was there a collectively well-played defensive game. Every other game, including all three victories for the Flyers, was below the bar or much worse.

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Sports Betting Updates

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DraftKings Sportsbook Review

DraftKings Sportsbook has been live in New Jersey for over two full months now and a lot has changed since launch. While they were the first out of the gate for legal US sports betting, they now face competition from many sites, including FanDuel Sportsbook, SugarHouse Sportsbook, BetStars and others. How do they stack up and what promos does DraftKings Sportsbook offer? Let’s take a closer look. Bonus: First bet matched up to $200 Minimum

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BetStars NJ Review and $500 in Free Bets Promo

BetStars NJ launched their sports betting app which is now available for both iOS and Android, and they offering a pretty outrageous promo code and deposit bonus. Owned by The Stars Group, a Canadian-based company that powers the popular PokerStars app, BetStars is targeting DraftKings and FanDuel directly, bringing its mobile-focused product to New Jersey with an AGGRESSIVE promo and deposit bonus. Bonus: $500 in free bets and 100-1 odds on any team to win the

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Need To Know Betting Trends For The Eagles and Panthers

After seemingly getting back on track last Thursday night at MetLife Stadium, the Eagles will look to climb over the .500 mark when they host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field. The Panthers, who are 1-4 all-time in regular season games played in Philadelphia, are looking for their first road victory of the season, and they will have their work cut out for them if they hope to get it. The

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The Weal Deal

JoyOnBroad - October 17, 2018

Going into the 2018 offseason, Flyers forward Jordan Weal was considered by many to be a frontrunner for the vacant 3C position behind Sean Couturier and former #2 overall pick Nolan Patrick. As training camp unfolded, Weal found himself being supplanted by a somewhat surprisingly strong stretch of play by Mikhail Vorobyev. Fast forward to the regular season and Weal was a healthy scratch in three of the first five games, including two straight to start the season. It seemed inconceivable that coach Dave Hakstol would turn to Weal with the game on the line. That’s exactly what he did. Following a 6-5 shootout victory over the Florida Panthers – the team’s first home win – there were plenty of questions centered around the second line center, notably the decision to make Weal the third shooter:

Crossing Broad: When you make the decision to use [Weal] in the shootout, is that decision based on how the game is going, or is that something you’ve though out in advance?

Hakstol: A little bit of both. If you remember, Jordan had a great stretch for us last year where he was our first shooter. He was really effective, then he went cold. He struggled a little bit after that. He was a guy that coming into the game was in my top 4. As the game goes on, we made the final decision. I knew who 1 and 2 were gonna be coming into tonight. Like I said, I had a top 4, he was in that top 4. It seemed like an obvious decision to me as we got to that three spot.

So what was Weal thinking on that play? When asked if he had a pre-determined move, he said, “[It’s] Not every day you see the opposite hand goaltender there, so, I’ve always wanted to be lefty, so I thought I’d try something that only lefties can do on the regular guys and Jake’s move is so effective when he comes down with speed. Just sneaks it in under the stick there, so I thought I’d give it a try… I’ve done it in the past, but every time Jake does it, I love it. It only works when you’re coming down on the blocker side. I thought I’d give it a go.”

There was a belief that Weal’s confidence in the shootout could’ve had something to do with him netting his first goal of the season. Another reporter asked if the fist pump after his regulation goal was an expression of some relief. “Yeah,” he said, ” it was just a bunch of hard work again by our line. We’ve been on the same page getting pucks and going to work, playing below the the goalline.”

Confidence was a common theme in exchanges with his coach:

Reporter: Ron [Hextall] has talked about Jordan Weal as being a guy who gets in his own head. Did he need a game like tonight or do you think the confidence was there?

Hakstol: I think he had that game two nights ago where he felt good. He didn’t have the numbers to show for it like he did tonight. But that game came Saturday afternoon. He played very well, his line played very well. The challenge for him was to come out and do that again tonight. That line did exactly that. They went out and played a hell of a game. Jordan, give him alot of credit, I believe he played really well tonight. Not just offesnively because there’s some numbers behind his name. I thought he was good in the faceoff dot in our defensive zone. He knew what he was doing if he won a draw, lost a draw, and I thought through the game his coverage was good. Pretty complete game.

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Wild and Crazy: Thoughts on Flyers 6, Panthers 5 (SO)

Anthony SanFilippo - October 17, 2018

You may have heard, the Flyers gave out a Jake Voracek Chia Pet to fans at the game Tuesday. They smartly handed them out to fans on the way out the door rather than as they entered the Wells Fargo Center.

That’s because there’s a good chance that midway through the third period they would have become instant hand grenades.

Blow a three-goal lead to a winless Florida Panthers team, and who knows what lengths the fans might go to.

However, some of the business and marketing smarts of the organization must have rubbed off on the players during a well-used timeout by Dave Hakstol after the Panthers tied it, because the Flyers were able to get themselves righted, remain tied through overtime and win the game in a shootout 6-5 to even their record this season at 3-3-0.

Jordan Weal had the game-winner in the shootout. He also had a goal and an assist in regulation and played a pretty solid all-around game. Claude Giroux was the Flyers’ best player with a pair of goals and Wayne Simmonds continued his torrid start with two goals as well in what amounted to a wild game from start the finish between two teams who threw out the playbook when it came to defense and instead played a sometimes entertaining, sometimes frustrating game of shinny that ended with a Flyers win.

At the end of the season, when the regulation and overtime win (ROW) tiebreaker comes into play, Flyers fans might look back at this early season circus on ice and shake an angry fist, but a win is a win, and the Flyers will take it.

Weal is a great story. He’s been through the ringer confidence-wise in the past month. He went from entering camp as the leader in the clubhouse to earn the No. 3 center’s job to being the Flyers’ extra forward and a healthy scratch three times, to filling in for an injured Nolan Patrick on the second line and having two successive well-played games in a row, including netting the game winner.

Russ spent some time talking to Weal after the game and has a nice piece on his sudden emergence as a contributing player to the Flyers.

As such, I’ll leave that to him, but there are plenty of other observations from this game. Most aren’t great… but I’ll do my best to find some positives – heck they did win the game!

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NBC Sports Rolls Out New “MyTeams” App

Kevin Kinkead - October 16, 2018

I’m not a cord-cutter, but I hope to be in the near future.

We’re still hooked up to FIOS up here in Fishtown, so if I’m not watching the Sixers or Flyers or Phillies on TV, the routine has been to log in to NBC Sports Philadelphia via our cable provider and stream the games on my laptop. Then my wife watches Below Deck or The Real Housewives or whatever is on Bravo.

It’s been possible to stream games on the NBC Sports app since 2014, and a new service also allows you to stream local non-game footage from out of market locations.

Now NBC Sports is running out another app for Philly fans.

Writes Rob Tornoe at Philly.com:

Dubbed the MYTeams app, NBC Sports’ new mobile and tablet app wraps up coverage from NBC’s 11 regional sports networks, including NBC Sports Philadelphia, into an interface that focuses on team verticals. There’s not even a home screen — just a slider at the bottom that lets fans scan for live video, highlights, and stories across all the teams they decide to follow.

“There’s a difference between how we cover sports in Philadelphia, especially as it relates to the voice and tone of our coverage versus NBC Sports,” David Preschlack, president of NBC Sports Regional Networks, said. “I mean, we’re communicating to Philly fans in a really different way that Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison are on Sunday night, so there’s a different value to viewers.”

Fans will still need a cable subscription to view live game coverage, and the app is only available on smartphones and tablets, meaning viewers will still use the NBC Sports app to stream games on their television. Still, Preschlack said, the app is the largest non-game investment in the regional sports network’s history. The network hopes the app will counter a narrative in Philadelphia that NBC Sports is cutting back.

My first thought is that I’d rather have fewer apps than more apps. I remember when Facebook rolled out their messenger app, which was totally separate from the main app and took up a lot of space on your device. That was sort of a head-scratcher. In that regard, I’d prefer NBC just roll these two apps together.

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This Was Better Than You Think: Thoughts from Golden Knights 1, Flyers 0

Anthony SanFilippo - October 13, 2018

Losing a hockey game in the final two minutes of regulation always hurts.

Losing a hockey game in the final two minutes when your most defensively responsible player commits a turnover that results in the game-winning goal, hurts even more.

Losing a hockey game to a long-time nemesis goalie who made one spectacular save after another after another, pretty much crushes the soul.

But losing a game when you played exactly the way you wanted to play and did all the things correctly that you wanted to improve, well, I’ll let coach Dave Hakstol tell you how that feels:

“We played a hell of a game today and it stinks walking away with nothing to show for it.”

The Flyers lost to the Vegas Golden Knights 1-0 in an entertaining, fast-paced, grind-it-out, flat-out fun hockey game, and although it was eye-candy for those of us whose only job is to be a spectator, it’s easy to understand the frustration that permeated the Flyers’ locker room after such a loss.

The primary reason the Flyers came up empty was Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who stopped all 26 shots he faced. You could see it from early on; he was dialed in. He made several incredible stops – two particularly on Claude Giroux.

I’m not going to dive in too deeply on Fleury, because Russ caught up with the Golden Knights’ netminder after the game as has all those details for us. 

The Flyers, though, should take solace that except for not being able to cash in against Fleury, they played exactly the kind of game that winning hockey teams play. They locked it down defensively in the neutral zone and really played solid team defense. When that defense broke down, Brian Elliott was there to make the needed save… right up until the very end. They played the game with a lot of speed. They created a bevy of scoring chances. They killed penalties with great pressure up ice, not really letting Vegas set up in the offensive zone.

The Flyers should take this as a blueprint for the way they need to play moving forward and carry that banner through the remaining 77 games. Because if they do, more often than not they’ll be earning points in the standings.

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“He Stole It. He Flat Out Stole It.”

JoyOnBroad - October 13, 2018

Every once in a while, you’re faced with a former adversary. The teams change, the colors change, but the fire remains.

In the immediate aftermath of a 1-0 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, the Flyers were left searching for answers. Perhaps the best answer was a simple one from Vegas GM George McPhee who, in speaking directly to Crossing Broad, stated of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, “He stole it. He flat out stole it.”

Fleury has a history of going back-and-forth with Philadelphia from his days in Pittsburgh. The five goals he gave up in season opener was the most he’d given up to the Flyers in at least five years. When I told him his GM said on the elevator that it was a case of him stealing the game, he lit up. I asked how it felt to hear from his GM and whether it was important to him to bounce back like he did in this game coming into an arena where he’s had so many battles:

Marc-Andre Fleury: It’s a fun place to play. It’s always loud and the atmosphere is good. People are on you a bit.

Crossing Broad: Does winning a game against a former division rival, even though you’re in the Western Conference now, is there anything that stills sticks in your mind about being back in Philadelphia and going up against an old rival or does that kind of stuff go to the side once you switch teams and conferences?

Fleury: No, I mean, it’s still in my head a bit, right? For so many years they were the rival, always a big battle with them, like the Pennsylvania battle. I see fans that I saw when I was playing with Pittsburgh and they still yell at me. It’s fun. It’s a fun place to play.

Crossing Broad: It’s gotta feel good to rob Giroux, right? Is there anything special knowing the game was on his stick at the end there and you came up with another great save?

Fleury: He had a couple of chances, that breakaway and one at the end, he caught me leaning. You know, he’s got plenty of goals and assists on me throughout the years. It’s good I could give it back a bit.

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Positively Mediocre – Thoughts on Flyers 7, Senators 4

Anthony SanFilippo - October 11, 2018

Warning: The old man in me is about to come out for a few minutes.

That’s because there is nothing that bothers me more in professional sports today than people who eschew criticism when it is warranted.

It’s the narrative of sports these days. We’ve created a culture where accountability is fleeting and mediocrity is lauded.

I guess this is the direct result of the generation of people who made the participation trophy a good thing at the youth sports level.

Why am I so crabby?

Because of the overt nature today of people to take an outcome of a sporting event and over-accentuate the positive of it. There are times when the negative can be over-accentuated as well, and that’s equally as wrong – but wins and losses in sports need to be put into context.

If a win in particularly good, then fine, it’s OK to say it. If a loss is particularly awful – such as the Flyers home-opening loss to the Sharks on Tuesday – then yes, it’s OK to slide the team’s performance under the microscope.

But when you have a game like Wednesday in Ottawa – a sloppy, uneven, pretty uninteresting game which the Flyers won 7-4 against the lowly Senators – to sit around and spew a steady stream of positivism is what really sticks in my craw.

I was all ready to sit here and say the things that everyone was saying last night right after the game. I was poised to start typing this story at 10:30 PM. I even had this lede to the story written:

When you have one of your most embarrassing performances of the season one night, coming back and earning a much-needed victory the next night is definitely a sigh of relief. And that’s what this was for the Flyers, for it was not a perfect game, it was not a pretty game, in fact it was riddled with inconsistency and choppiness and still had more than a handful of mistakes to be concerned about – not to mention a worrisome injury to a prominent player – but the team can take a big collective sigh after winning this game, because an outcome in the other direction would have set off the alarm bells with a gusto.

That, to me would have been a fair description. That to me would have been keeping things real with the fans of this hockey team.

Instead, we are given, as we too often are in today’s sports world, a narrative laden with saccharine that is dishonest and unaccountable.

It gives me agita. You true, blue Philadelphia area folk know what I mean.

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