In a season where the Flyers looked at times dead in the water to potential Cup contenders, it’s been an up and down season for the Fly Guys to say the least.
But recent form shows that the team is finally starting to piece together a nice pace of play and holding steady in the ultra tight Metropolitan division. The Flyers entered the Olympic break with a 4 game win streak including wins over the Sharks and Kings.
Coming out of the break they put on a clunker and got demolished by the Sharks 7-3. But they didn’t panic, didn’t make a drastic trade or fire their coach. No, they continued to grind won their next 3 and have a 4 game point streak after another 3rd period comeback against the Toronto Maple Leafs came up just short in overtime last Saturday.
Being one of the hottest teams right now in the NHL at 7-2-1 certainty helps the Flyers stay in contention for the playoffs. This years competition might be one of the closest in recent memory and with a new playoff format that is exactly what the NHL wanted. In the Metro division alone the point differential between the second place Rangers and sixth place Devils is a mere 5 points. 5!
The recent play by the Flyers has shown me one key factor compared to their play in the beginning of the season under Berube; the concept of team defense. Since the first game out of the break, the Flyers have not given up more than 4 goals in each game. Steve Mason has really started to find a groove in his play as well and is continuing to get better as the defensive play in front of him improves as well.
Along with defensive play, the special teams play has held steady as one of the better units in the league. The Flyers are 11th and 10th on the power play and penalty kill, respectively. So even with the occasional dumb penalty the team commits, the team as a whole in confident in their own abilities to keep themselves in the game throughout.
Of all their progress they’ve had, one still huge blemish remains. Their abysmally slow starts in the first period. The start of a game won’t win you the game necessarily but a slow start, like the one we saw against Toronto, will certainly help you lose the game. If the Flyers hadn’t given up those 2 goals against the Leafs Saturday in the first 1:30 of the game, they most likely would have won that game. But following what Mason did following that loss, just skate off the ice and move on to the next matchup.
This season has certainly been a roller coaster ride, But get ready Flyers fans because were climbing to our highest point at this stage in the season Flyers fans. Are we in for another regular season finish like the one in 2010? Just looking at the current Metro standings will point to yes. Will the Flyers continue to climb the roller coaster or drop to the end?
The weather is warm, the sun will stay out later, and football has returned to the world. Praise be to Allah!
As I mentioned the other day, the team looks really good prior to the start of the league year. The Eagles enter into free agency with an estimated cap room of roughly $29 million, which will be the 8th best in the league. This space gives the team the type of flexibility to do whatever they’d like and, consequently, the dreamers are dreaming.
What big move will the Eagles make?
The problem, however is that EVERYONE has a ton of cap space. The Eagles have $29 million dollars in cap room…and they’re 8th in the league. Last year, when the cap was $125 million compared to this years $133, the Browns had the most cap space in the league with $25 million. The eighth highest team had only $8.4 million.
There’s going to be a ton of money in the market. So, given the likelihood of sky-high prices for the top of the class, who should they be looking to spend on?
Nerlens Noel has cracked the Philadelphia Twittersphere this afternoon as he has tweeted out to the world what some are speculating to be the date of his Sixers debut.
It is just as likely that Noel was tweeting out the date of an anniversary or the birthday of a pet, but those things wouldn’t be as fun to go nuts over.
Nerlens Noel (@NerlensNoel3) March 09, 2014
Shout out to the pro-football-reference.com database for the stats in this article. You guys rock.
So we’ve all heard the rumblings from the NFL’s competition committee recently: “The extra point is sort of boring. Let’s screw with it!” seems to be the general gist of the conversation.
The Commish himself has gone on record about his distaste for the extra point. ”I believe we had five missed extra points this year out of 1,200 some odd. So it’s a very small fraction of the play, and you want to add excitement with every play.”
The gripe might be legitimate. In the last ten season, NFL kickers have completed the extra point attempt a whopping 98.9% of the time (11058 attempts). In 2013, the success rate was 99.6% (1267 attempts). This is as close to automatic as it is going to get in the NFL. The problem, of course, is that there are still 21 players besides the kicker on the field, so major injuries can still occur. Rob Gronkowski, the Pats’ ginormous, extraordinarily gifted tight end, famously broke his forearm on a simple extra-point attempt. While that was a highly visible incident, there are undoubtedly countless, unreported minor traumas that occur during extra point attempts every season. The logic is that the 1.1% of kicks that aren’t made are outweighed in importance by the danger of the play.
Goodell intimated that there are several proposals to change the rule, including one where the point is automatically given after the touchdown unless the offense wants to attempt a two-point conversion. But football purists are certain to be appalled by the idea of taking another step to remove feet from football, so this complete removal of the kick attempt would be a fairly radical move to make in one fell swoop.
So the NFL competition committee is floating a compromise idea: Move extra point kick attempts to the 25 yard line, making the kick a 42 yard attempt rather than its current 19. This solution makes some sense on its face. Teams are still allowed the option of attempting a slightly-riskier but still very makeable extra point, or they can go for the two-point play from the regular spot two yards out. This presumably would leave the strategy of the game intact but provide for a more interesting post-touchdown play.
But this proposal has a major flaw: Any team that chooses to kick in that scenario is run by stupid people. Here’s why:
If they move the extra point kick back pretty much at all, statistically minded coaches will stop attempting it almost completely. There’s a graph above that says so! The yellow line is how much extra points would be “worth” on average from a given yardage, and the horizontal lines are multiple approximations for the expected points of any regular two-point conversion attempt. Extra Point attempts start being worth less than two-point conversions if they are attempted from 15-16 yards out, so if the extra point were moved to the 25, smart teams would go for two almost every time.
I’ll admit the above graph doesn’t have the best labels in the world, so please allow me to elaborate. Explanation after the jump.
Awards have been handed out everywhere you look over the last few weeks in the world of entertainment. The Pro Bowl, The Grammys, The Olympics, The Oscars, The Dundees, and more. And given that we’re a pillar of the community it’s time for The Wooder Cooler to enter into the fray with our first annual presentation of The Gabbys! The Gabbys are intended to represent the most talked about stories from the past year in Philly sports and are made out of solid gold stolen from Fort Knox. It’s a truly special award for an extraordinary set of categories!
And now, what you haven’t been waiting for because you didn’t previously know it existed!
The Eagles did a lot of locking up their own players this offseason with the signings of Riley Cooper, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Peters and Jason Kelce. They’ve also departed with their third Jason in Avant, who’s release gave the Eagles over three million in cap room. So here’s what the Eagles are looking like in a few major areas going into free agency, which starts on March 11th.
- Mike Vick
- Nate Allen
- Kurt Coleman
- Colt Anderson
- Clifton Geathers
- Donnie Jones
The first thing that comes to my mind is that this list is fantastic for the Eagles because the primary target here is the punter. Sure, I’m a strong supporter of Vick returning as a backup, but until he tests the market there’s simply no chance that he signs a deal. For the rest of the group the problem is that while some of these guys could possibly be signed as reserve roles there’s really no upside.
For example, Colt Anderson isn’t turning into a starting caliber safety at this point in his career. The Eagles are better off signing youth and drafting replacements in the secondary to build up their special teams and overall depth. It’s the smartest route and most cost effective route. Speaking of which…
[Note from Vince: This is another installment of From the Bench from new contributor Matt Rankin, who loves the Phillies so much that he bleeds red. Who would have thought?]
What do Scott Podsednik, Bobby Abreu, Juan Pierre, and Jim Thome all have in common? They are or were old players thought to be on their way out the door. All of whom the Phillies signed and were given an opportunity in spring training.
With no guarantees he’ll make the team. There had been reports of people giving up their season tickets or on the team entirely. Solely on the basis that Rueben Amaro thought it was a good idea to bring Bobby Abreu to spring training. To these people shame on you, first of all who cares? Yea he’s another old player on an old team. But really that’s the move that did it for you? Surely the Phillies aren’t the only team in the league that brings in veterans just to see what’s left.
All indications so far in spring training are that the bat speed is still there and, more importantly, Bobby has historically one of the best batting “eyes,” in the league. How sharp an eye? He is 56 BB’s short of Chipper Jones (1,512). Even while Chipper played three more years than Abreu has. Listen I am one of the biggest Darin Ruf fans and I know Abreu is taking away a spot on the bench. However, a great baseball man once told me that if you hit, they can’t keep you out of the lineup. Somewhere down the line he’ll get his shot if he earns it.
So what’s the difference? Podsednik and Pierre battled it out. Honestly I still believe Podsednik should have made the team and would have, if it weren’t for Pierre’s performance. Jim Thome was out the door especially with his serious foot and back problems. I think we all rooted for Jim to come back and do it. I think we’re all praying Bobby doesn’t.
Maybe that’s too hasty of a decision.
Tonight the Sixers honor one of the greatest players to ever lace up sneaks in the NBA. Allen Iverson’s #3 will take its rightful place amongst the other legends of Sixers past, high above the Wells Fargo Center court. That court will never again see another Sixers on it wearing the #3, the symbol of a man who literally gave blood, sweat and tears for his team.
Tonight A.I. is immortalized.
Iverson’s impact, like other all-time great players can be seen in the statistics, but they alone do not do him justice. Sure, it is worth pointing out that Iverson is sixth all-time in career points per game (26.7) and that he was named to 11 all-star teams in 12 NBA seasons. It’s worth pointing out that he was the 2001 NBA MVP while leading the Sixers to an Eastern Conference Championship and a NBA Finals Game 1 win over a Lakers team that had not lost at all during the playoffs.
We can look at the Rookie of the Year Award, the scoring titles, the All-NBA teams and the Olympic appearance, but all of these things are secondary to the lasting impact that Iverson had.
[Note from Vince: This is the first article from Flyers addict Chris Imbrogno, who will be gracing us with his hockey thoughts from time to time. As a contributor, Chris gets the privilege of doing the first installment of our contributor piece From the Bench! Give him a round of applause (in the comments...because he can't hear you)]
With the end of the Olympic break and the last 23 games of the Flyers schedule looming (as well as nothing to do at lunch since I finished Game of Thrones), I wanted to write a bit about my take on how the Flyers have looked so far this season.
Needless to say, the start to the season was as bleak as could be. For fans, it caused a mix of anger, disappointment, and confusion. Confusion as to how a team that manhandled one of the best teams in the league, the Pittsburgh Penqueens, in the playoffs just a short time ago could be doing so poorly.
However, the way the Flyers have turned the season around is nothing short of miraculous. I could only imagine in the first 8 games, it’s what it feels like to be a Florida Panthers fan (do they exist?). What Berube and the other coaches have done to turn this struggling team around is extremely impressive. They still have a lot of work to do, and the defense is clearly still lacking, but they’re moving in a very good direction.
Some credit for the turnaround has to go to Steve Mason. Let’s be real, Mason has stolen games for the Flyers that they’ve had no right winning. The man has surely earned the nickname Stonewall Mason.
When we first acquired Mason, watching him play excited me. It excited me to see someone who would come out of the net and play the puck. It excited me to see someone who was not only big, but extremely athletic and, at this point, he has my exceeded expectations by far.
If the offense can keep putting up the points they were generating consistently going into the break, then, paired with Mason’s play, the Flyers have a very good chance to get into the playoffs.That’s where the captain comes into play.
Coming on the heels of a 10 win season the Eagles are prescribing to the philosophy of not fixing what isn’t broken. The team illustrated that point yesterday by signing longstanding left tackle Jason Peters to a five year, $51 million contract extension.
The deal will almost certainly lock up the All-Pro tackle for the remainder of his career. Peters is coming off a stellar comeback season in which he recovered from a torn ACL.
Peters led an Eagles offensive line that became one of the most solid and consistent parts of their scoring attack.