Category Archives: Billy Kornfeld

The Wooder Cooler Is Two Years Old! (Belated)

2Yes, it’s been two years of The Wooder Cooler clogging up your Facebook and Twitter feeds and no one has fought me over it yet so I’ll take that as a good sign. I’d like to thank the people who comment on our posts, listen to our podcast, and make us a regular part of your day to day. You guys are the best (and I’ll probably hug you).

This site has taken some major strides in our second year…we did some work with an ESPN affiliate, both myself and Ray have begun putting our sports writing on CBSPhilly.com, and we’re doing Around the Cooler from a professional radio studio. It’s been wild and exhausting and endlessly enjoyable.

I’ve also fooled around with some things this year whether it be guest writers or podcast segments and anything in between. Like all experiments, some flopped and some were a great success. So while the site hasn’t gone through many major changes in the last few months and I want it to be clear that I’m by no means satisfied with where we are. There’s always a way to get better and I’m open to any avenue that allows us to do that so expect bolder moves over the next year. #TogetherWeBuild

-Vince

2 Best Words in Hockey: GAME 7

Just like the regular season, the Flyers postseason has been up and down like Kingda Ka at Six Flags, on a loop. But it’s lead to these 2 magical words

GAME 7

It’s a beautiful thing in the NHL playoffs. Nothing compares to a game 7 in the NHL. One shift, one goal, one hit could change the temp in seconds.

The Flyers are coming off a very impressive win last night in Philly, 5-2 over the Rangers and I would even give them some momentum going into tonight.

But what makes a game 7 special is a team can have all the confidence in the world going into it, and still be scared shitless. The intensity of a Game 7 surrounds you with those emotions, you’re happy, nervous, and scared all at the same time.

The game tonight, of course, is in New York. And history shows it’s no friend for the Flyers. Flyers have just 1 win in their last 10 games in the Garden, including the regular season. Rangers are 5-0 all time in game 7’s in MSG, along with King Henrik being 2-0. But in game 7’s history is thrown out the window for the players.

If I were to ask Mason or Giroux about those stats they’d scoff and focus on the now. The now looks good too for the Flyers. The way this schedule has worked out, the Flyers will have an easier time carrying the momentum from last night into tonight. Compared to the Rangers win, and the teams having two days rest until the following game.

So how is your confidence level for the Flyers going into tonight? I’d love to know. It should be high. If it’s not tell me why, lets have a discussion.

Leave your comments below or interact with us on twitter!

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Flyers make 2 key signings hours apart

The Flyers made some noise today just before the playoffs begin on Thursday in New York.

First, they extended pending free agent, Andrew MacDonald to hefty new deal. Reportedly worth 30 million over a 6 year span. The 27-year old was set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The second move made came just moments ago.

After speculation about him returning for his Senior year, Union defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, signed his entry-level contract with the Philadelphia Flyers. Gostisbehere will report to the Phantoms this coming weekend.

The signing comes a few days after Gostisbehere’s monster performance in the NCAA National Championship against Minnesota. Posting a +7, a goal and two assists in the 7-4 victory.

What are your thoughts on the signings Flyers fans? Overall positive?

25 Years Later; The Hillsborough Tragedy

It’s not very often when we walk into a sports arena or stadium and think about the safety precautions that are taken into account before we enter to enjoy our favorite teams. It’s so rare to have the unfortunate headline of a death or injury of spectators. Recently coming to my mind is the death in texas, of the fan who fell over a railing going for a foul ball at a Rangers game.

Of all the tragedies to happen, one of the worst to occur happened today 25 years ago in England.

Liverpool and Nottingham soccer clubs were set for a match in the FA cup semi-finals in Hillsborough Stadium. What resulted in the small stadium in Sheffield, England, made the sport of soccer seem so small and unimportant.

It was a typical day in the England, Liverpool fans flocked in full force to the Hillsborough Stadium. The fans of Liverpool were, like most away supporters, segregated in the stadium from the Nottingham fans. The section that Liverpool’s fans were set to spectate from was accessible through a narrow concourse. An estimated 24,000 plus Liverpool fans were expected to go through just 23 set up turnstiles. With the addition of a construction delay in the area and Liverpool fans wanting to take in the area, Liverpool fan’s went to the stadium late.

The build up of fans and the small area of congestion, in addition to the set area that supporters for Liverpool were to enter, resulted in confusion. Fans of Nottingham attempted to enter through Liverpool’s entry, but were turned away. As they attempted to leave, the build up of fans in the area prevented them from moving.

As the teams came out for warm-ups, fans in the area became antsy and pushed one another to the gates. Forcing the fans in the front forward and pinning them into riot gates set up around the field (a common structure in European Stadiums.)

What resulted was a human’s worst nightmare. The fans up front were crushed to death due to compressive asphyxia. Fans went into a panic fans in the upper levels attempted to help fans below by pulling them up. But the amount of fans entering was just too much.

The result of this disaster was a total of 96 death and 700 plus injured. Still to this day police that worked the game are questioned for their lack of safety precautions.

Next time you are at a sporting event, remember the people around you are responsible for your safety as well. 96 people lost their lives 25 years ago for a lack of safety.   

Flyers beat Panthers; Clinch Playoffs

Last night, the Philadelphia Flyers took on the Florida Panthers in game 79 of the regular season. After a shaky 1st period, the Flyers stormed out in the 2nd period and scored 4 unanswered goals, leading the way to a 5-2 victory and solidifying their spot in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

After the teams 0-3-0 start, firing of the their then head coach, Peter Laviolette, hiring Craig Berube, and even then going 1-7-0. That is when the captain, Claude Giroux, made a bold statement. A statement that most of us, myself admittedly included, thought was a silly promise and will end up a broken one.

 “We’re not far off at all. How many points are we out, six? To think of the start that we had and we’re that close. We never thought about not making the playoffs. We’ve got to go game by game and we will make the playoffs.” -Claude Giroux

Man,are most of us laughing at ourselves and really would apologize to Giroux for doubting his prediction.

The issue now for the Flyers becomes where will they land in the seeding. They still have a game in hand against the New York Rangers and are just 2 points behind them.

For the Flyers, a team that has struggled largely in Madison Square Garden, getting ahead of the Rangers in the Metro is their next step.

Comparing the remaining schedules for the Flyers and Rangers, it’s a difficult task for the Flyers. They will likely need to win out against Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, and Carolina.The Rangers have Buffalo and Montreal left on their docket. As of today, the Rangers own the tiebreaker over the Flyers with 40 ROW wins compared to the Flyers 38.

No matter how we break down the remaining schedule, the Rangers are the nearly guaranteed opponent for the Flyers. I don’t agree with a few fans I’ve overheard saying to lose out the rest of the season of snag a wild card and face the Penguins in the first round.

That is entirely too risky, you could easily end up playing the Boston Bruins instead of the Penguins, and that will end miserably for the Flyers.

The best case for the Flyers right now is to win out and take on the Rangers, preferably on home ice, but anything can happen in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Let the playoff beards flow my fellow hockey enthusiasts.

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Take a Deep Breath Flyers

The 3 games for the Philadelphia Flyers hasn’t exactly gone in the direction of the Flyers. They’ve gone 0-2-1 in the 3 game stretch, three games against a top team in Boston and St. Louis, along with a playoff desperate team in the Columbus Blue Jackets. They probably should have beaten the Boston Bruins having completely out played them and out shooting them with 52 shoots to Boston’s 30. But like all top teams in the NHL, Boston grinned it out and won ( in a skills competition but still a win.)

Flyers would then drop the next two games, again in a shootout to St. Louis and in regulation to a very beatable Columbus. The biggest concern I took form the Columbus game was their was no urgency from the Flyers bench at all. Columbus is right on their heels in the Metro division and they came out like they had a playoff spot locked up with 7 games to play.

That is obviously not the case for the Flyers. They are in 3rd place in the Metro 4 points behind the Rangers. Points against teams like Columbus should come easy for a team that played well against two teams that could very well be facing each other come June.

Now I think a lot of Flyers fans need to take a deep breathe, however, because sometimes these games happen. It’s obviously not ideal but sometimes teams have an off night or the opposing teams goalie has a out of body game and stops everything in their path. (Bob did that for Columbus.) They have a back-to-back this weekend, with Boston and Buffalo. If they can grab 3 points out of this weekend, they’ll be sitting pretty. Especially with the scheduling easing up after the Boston game on Saturday. The Flyers will be in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year, don’t worry about that.

What Flyers fans should worry about is home ice for the playoffs first round. The New York Rangers will be the very likely opponent for the Flyers in the first round. The Flyers are a terrible team recently inside Madison Square Garden. It’s not going to be a short series either way, but I will not be betting on the Flyers to take the Rangers in 7 if they have a game 7 in the Garden.

Unless the Flyers get very very hot again like in the month of March.

Breathe deep Flyers fans, it’s about to get interesting.

 

Giroux has a Serious Argument for Hart

Leaving the Wells Fargo Center Saturday afternoon after yet another impressive Flyers win, this one over the St. Louis Blue 4-1. I thought one simple thing, Claude Giroux has a serious shot at winning the Hart Memorial Trophy this year.

Giroux added 2 assists to his stats this season against the Blues, hitting the 50 assist mark this season and 74 points overall. He also added 8, uncharacteristic, penalty minutes on the day. However, the penalties are nether here nor there in this argument for Hart. The 26-year old center, is the most valuable player on the Philadelphia Flyers. Which by definition of the Hart Memorial Trophy qualifies a player for the award.

74 points by Giroux has him tied for third in the league in point total with Phil Kessel. Sidney Crosby is the league leader with 94. A lot of writers seem to look at point totals as the biggest factor in achieving the Hart Trophy. I don’t look at it like that. Yes points are a big factor in it but something else is just as important, if not more important.

Where would that player’s team be if he wasn’t on the team?

Giroux could win the Hart (USA TODAY IMAGE)

Giroux could win the Hart (USA TODAY IMAGE)

Can you imagine a Flyers team playing this well without the contributions of Claude Giroux? Simple answer…

NO

We saw for nearly a full season 2 years ago and then some a Pittsburgh Penguins team without Crosby and they were still a top team in the league. I have even said (before I joined the Wooder Cooler) that Malkin has bigger value than Crosby for that team.

Scott Hartnell, Wayne Simmonds, Jake Voracek, and the rest of the Flyers feed off Giroux’s production and leadership. That is the difference when comparing Giroux and Crosby. If Crosby was forced to retire a few years back due to his concussion issues, the Penguins probably would of been just fine. The Flyers would not be in that scenario.

Since December 11 of this season, Giroux leads the league in points and the Flyers have one of the best records in the league since then as well. See the correlation? Yeah that is called value of a player. Giroux playing well= a competitive Flyers team.

Imagine where the Flyers and Giroux would be if they and him didn’t have that extremely slow start. They might be in the hunt for the top seed out of the Metro division.

Now I’ve discussed Crosby being a value to his team and I almost forgot about the other probable Hart finalist, Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin leads the league in goals at 46, a very impressive stat for the Washington Capital. Corey Perry, of Anaheim, is in 2nd for league goals and he’s at 36.

But other than Ovechkin’s 46 goals, is there really anything else that is more impressive than Giroux? Ovechkin has 23 assist, Giroux has 50. Ovechkin is a -31! How can you be in the discussion for Hart if you can’t play both ends of the ice. -31 isn’t bad, it’s abysmal for a player like Ovechkin. Giroux is a +7 by the way.

The Hart Trophy is awarded to the player that is most valuable to his team’s performance in a season. Claude Giroux has 74 points on the year, most coming from assists (50), and continues to carry the Flyers after a very slow start.

That is a pretty high value if you ask me.

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Around the Cooler 3/20/14: Locker Room Politics

rollins200517 Here’s what we’re talking about:

  • The curious cases of DeSean Jackson and Jimmy Rollins (0:00)
  • The Flyers are heating up! How does their next week look? (22:00)
  • March Madness, draft prospects, and the importance of winning (29:30)
  • The viability of two sport athletes in today’s game (39:00)

Play on your Mobile Device or Right Click to Download: Around the Cooler 3-20-14

What are you talking about around the wooder cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

Follow us on Twitter @TheWooderCooler

Musical theme written by Matthew Schwalm.

Flyers Sweep the Pens in Home and Home

The Philadelphia Flyers took home 2 more points Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh, in addition to the 2 points they claimed the day before in Philly. The Flyers were able to hold off the top Metropolitan team in back to back games and now sit in 2nd in the metro division pending the Rangers game later Sunday.

The Flyers came out Sunday exactly how they finished on Saturday, physical and puck control. Brayden Schenn opened up the scoring on the rebound after Fleury made a nice save against Wayne Simmonds.

Fleury kept the Penguins in the game but didn’t get much help in front of him causing him to give up 3 goals in the first period before getting hooked for backup goaltender Jeff Zakoff. The pull of Fleury wasn’t for poor performance but mostly for his on mercy. The Penguins defensive play was the definition of awful and didn’t give Fleury any help.

Close to the end of the 1st period, the Pens finally put in their first goal of the weekend after 77 minutes of play through the 2 games. The Pens came out of both games like a team that wasn’t playing their arch rival. The Flyers did.

It’s very odd for a team, even as good as the Pens, to come out flat against a rival as big as the Flyers. No matter what the record the two teams play as if it is game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Pens didn’t convert a single power play over the weekend, going 0-9. Sidney Crosby, didn’t even register a point during the weekend.

The Flyers special teams were a big factor overall in the weekend sweep. Not only killing off all 9 penalties they committed but also converting on the power play themselves, going 3 for 7 over the weekend.

Claude Giroux had 4 assists during the series and is now tied for 4th in the league in points. Crazy to say after his slow start to the season. The captain is now back in the conversation as one of the top players in the league.

The schedule doesn’t get much easier for the Flyers from this point on, starting on Tuesday against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Fly Guys have 15 games left on the season and are right in the mix to get into the playoffs. With the Metropolitan division so tight the 4 points gained this weekend have a huge factor. Now it’s just a matter of did the Flyers play well because it was the Penguins or was it just a normal pace of play to expect here on out? Tuesday is the tell all moment for that analysis.

A Summer of Hope for Philadelphia

PhiladelphiaUnion_PRM_2010-9999Alright Philadelphia, we know what the summer looks like for the Phillies and their slim to non chance of playing baseball in October, it’s gonna be a long summer and season to watch this team. But I have your solution. Another team in Philadelphia plays in the Summer and they are going to be contenders this year. The Philadelphia Union, MLS team, are under way in their season and have come off strong.

Yesterday the Union notched their first victory of the season against the New England Revolution; it was also the Union’s home opener. With the victory the Union increased their point total to 4 after a disappointing draw last week in the season opener to Portland. The Union led the game against Portland the entire match and gave up the latest possible goal on a corner.

I would like to tell you the break down that happened during the sequence but the Portland TV people decided it be a good idea to go to a replay while the corner was taken. WAY TO GO PORTLAND.

Sorry had to rant there, simple stuff like that in broadcasting infuriates me. But anyway, the Union.

The Union are going to be a lot of fun to watch this year. After a disappointing season last year, concluding with missing out on the post season. The team went out and bolstered the mid field. Maurice Edu, the biggest acquisition for the team this year, headlines the new midfield and has already notched an assist.

After the Portland match, the mid field was the talk of the city. The mid field squad was dominating on all aspects of the field. Creating counter-attacks off the defense and being able to sustain the offensive pressure.

This is the Union’s 5th year in the MLS and this will be their most competitive season to date. If the sellout crowd at PPL Park made any statement yesterday, it’s that the city of Philadelphia is ready for the Union to make a statement.

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