Posts for nhl

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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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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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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NBA Over/Under Wins That You Might Want to Check Out

The NBA season is upon us and hope springs eternal for all most fan bases. The sportsbooks aren’t emotionally invested in your teams and don’t care if your first round draft pick is once again shelved to start the season. I, however, take the over/under numbers they set and cross-reference it with the human element: old faces in new places (Melo on the Rockets), moronic trades for watered-down stars (Trae Young isn’t even diet Steph Curry),

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The Best New Jersey Sportsbook Promos For Week 6

Week 6 is upon us, and there’s a diverse range of betting options in New Jersey. FanDuel Sportsbook and BetStars, in particular, are offering strong promos. A part of any betting strategy that often gets overlooked is the value being offered by the books, whether that’s straight price or promos and incentives that can be used to your advantage. Here’s a rundown of the best NJ online sportsbooks and most compelling offers for Week 6:

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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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Shark Attack – Picking Through the Rubble of Sharks 8, Flyers 2

Anthony SanFilippo - October 10, 2018

It would be easy to sit here and tell you what how abysmal the Flyers 8-2 loss in their home opener to the San Jose Sharks was and break down all the misery that was the defensive abomination.

It would be easy to do a 5,000-word breakdown, as some are wont to do, analyzing every failing on every goal and to tell you how terrible the defensive pairs were, blah, blah, blah, blah.

But if you watched the game, you saw just how miserable it was. You were probably on Flyers Twitter making all kinds of cynical commentary about the state of the team.

And if you didn’t watch it, you were the lucky one.

But rather than rehash all of that nonsense, let’s just let the Flyers players tell you how bad it really was.

Here’s Shayne Gostisbehere, who actually played his ass off and had a good game amid the rubble of the full-team implosion:

“Yeah, we sucked. It is what it is. I mean I feel so fucking bad for Moose (Brian Elliott) right now. We left him out to dry, he was our best player tonight. It could’ve been eight nothing after the first [period]. I mean it’s a little ridiculous. Some of us really have to look in the mirror on this team, and we just gotta respond tomorrow. To leave a guy out to dry like that, it’s really not fair.”

That’s pretty damning words from a defenseman on a team that just gave up eight goals – the most the Flyers ever allowed in a home opener.

But he wasn’t alone.

Take Elliott, for example, the goalie, who was not only left out to dry by his team, but also by his coach Dave Hakstol, who made him endure the embarrassment of letting up all eight goals, never once calling time out, never once pulling him from this debacle and saving him the dubious honor of having a snowman added to his ever-growing goals against average. He had this to say:

“I don’t think we had the structure to take on their attack. They did a good job. Four guys joined in the rush, and a lot of odd-man rushes tonight. It kinda felt like wave on wave. We could’ve handled it better.”

He mentioned structure again in another question, so I just had to ask him about it further. I mean, if the goalie thinks there’s a lack of structure…

“I think they played their game, a fast game. That’s just one word that I just have been thinking about…we shouldn’t give up that many of those types of scoring chances again and again. I think a bit of our structure was off. That’s how it felt out there.”

I’d be thinking about structure too – or lack thereof – when you play a game like this.

But wait… there’s more.

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More Gritty

Kevin Kinkead - October 9, 2018

Can’t get enough of Gritty.

He found his onto Calvin Pickard’s mask:

Pretty cool.

Flyers home opener tonight against the San Jose Sharks.

Jordan Weal on the third line in place of the injured James van Riemsdyk.

Sharks get their ass kicked so bad that Erik Karlsson asks if he can stay in Philly as Christian Folin’s replacement.

Time’s yours.

James van Riemsdyk to Miss a Lot of Games

Kevin Kinkead - October 8, 2018

This Columbus Day blows.

First the Eagles lose.

Then the Sixers lose.

Now this:

Five to six weeks, eh? That would put JVR in line to come back around 11/15 for the Devils game or maybe 11/21 for the Sabres game.

He’s in line to miss 16 to 18 games with the injury, which stems from a pair of blocked shots in the first period of the Colorado game.

Jordan Weal, you’re up.

Not as Bad as it Seemed: Takeaways from Avalanche 5, Flyers 2

Anthony SanFilippo - October 7, 2018

Flyers Twitter is my favorite place to go when I’m looking for a sports-related laugh.

During and following the team’s 5-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche Saturday night, the social media platform was ablaze with the same old complaints about the team – bad coaching, turnovers, questioning Andrew MacDonald’s existence, etc.

It was a far cry from the abject elation that was emanating from Twitter following a solid 5-2 win in Vegas on opening night Thursday.

On that night, the Flyers were going to be a chic pick to go far in the playoffs, their depth was being praised, the growth of their young talent was being praised, and all was right with the world.

The difference between winning and losing certainly brings out the extremes in the schizophrenic world of Philadelphia hockey.

I’m about to make it a little more confusing for you:

The Flyers actually played a really good game against the Avalanche, and at times, were actually better than they were against Vegas.

Yeah, their mistakes were more magnified because they either resulted in goals against or incredibly high percentage chances that Brian Elliott was forced to be superhuman and keep out of the net, but the Flyers really had good flow. They skated with a very fast Colorado team. The Flyers breakouts were mostly good. Their 5-on-5 play was really good after an uneven first period. The No. 1 power play didn’t score, but it looked really good. The penalty kill was OK – the Avs didn’t score on the power play until the final four minutes of the game, so the Flyers did a good job of disrupting their set. However I felt Colorado was allowed to set up too easily, which means the Flyers weren’t great killing through the neutral zone.

And Elliott was superb again.

So, things weren’t that bad and we have a few things to talk about, but, for the most part, it’s football Sunday, so I know your attention will be elsewhere, so I’ll try to keep this short:

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