PHILADELPHIA FLYERS COOKED

The Flyers lost their third game in a row tonight, virtually eliminating them from the Playoffs. There is a very minuscule chance for the Flyers to sneak into the Playoff Picture, however, they would need help from a bunch of teams that are ahead of them. The Flyers Number 1 Ranked Power Play is now 0-for April. Their penalty kill is ranked third. So, judging this season cannot place blame on the Special Teams.

Ok…well with adversity comes questions and the blame game will begin. Many fans have called for the ousting of Paul Holmgren. Although Holmgren has made many good moves in free agency as well as trades, he has failed to sign the players to get this team over the hump. Nonetheless, Holmgren did try and sign Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Zach Parise and trade for Rick Nash in the offseason. The Flyers brass was unsuccessful with all of these players.

It is no coincidence that ever since star defenseman Chris Pronger went down with post concussion syndrome, this Flyers team has not been the same. And while the Flyers were trying to sign the top free agents and trade for the best talent, they lost some of their own key players. Matt Carle, who came to the Flyers from the Tampa Bay Lightning, had grown into a top tier defenseman and was lost in free agency. The Flyers also lost Jaromir Jagr, who really had a comeback season and made all of the Flyers youth get better.

Lets take a look at why this season has went downhill. First and foremost, the teams major weakness was their Defense and turnovers. As mentioned earlier, the Flyers did try to address their defense in free agency and also at the trade deadline, but were not willing to part with their young talent. However, Holmgren did trade budding young star James Van Reimsdyke in the off season for Toronto Defenseman Luke Schenn. JVR has been superb for the Maple Leafs while Luke has struggled to be one of the Flyers top Defenders.

Another crippling aspect was the loss of Andre Mesaros and Brayden Coburn, probably their two best physical defensemen to injuries. So in retrospect, the Flyers must make some moves this off season this time around. The Flyers need to start addressing their weakness and the major fault is defensive breakdowns. Had the Flyers signed Shea Weber or Ryan Suter, their misfortunes could have been erased. Weber and Suter would bring the same type of physical play and leadership that Pronger gave this team.

Every year the Flyers have fell short in the Goaltending Department. Holmgren tried to address this last season when the Flyers went out and signed Vezina finalist Ilya Bryzgalov. Last year Bryzgalov struggled and was inconsistent. However, this season Bryzgalov has been stellar and he truly has been hung out to dry by a terrible defense. Bryzgalov has played in all but two of the Flyers games. He has all of the team’s wins with 17. His GAA is around 2.85. He has a .900 Save Percentage. Those stats may not be top rate but they would be a lot better if the defense has not let them down.

Of course this week…Bryzgalov went through a ton of turmoil by a Story that was reported that he fell asleep during a team meeting. This is yet another gaffe in the roller coaster of the Philadelphia Media. Then, last week at the trade deadline the Flyers traded for young goalie Steve Mason. This raises questions about who will be in net next season for the Flyers.

The Flyers also lost Daniel Briere…one of their offensive stars and team leaders. Briere may come back this weekend, but this may be his last nine games in a Flyer’s uniform. The Flyers also lost gritty leader Maxime Talbot for the season. Talbot brought tenacity and experience as he won a Stanley Cup for the Pittsburgh Penguins, actually scoring the Game Winning Goal of that championship. Talbot will be back next year and hopefully healthy.

Let us not forget that the Flyers core players have an average age of 23. This fact cannot be discounted. Courtier just turned 20. The Schenn brothers are 23 and 21 respectively. Claude Giroux is 23. Wayne Simmonds is 24. These five players can be considered the Flyers core players. The leaders have to be Scott Hartnell, Daniel Briere, Max Talbot, re-acquired Simon Gagne, and Mike Knuble.

If I am the ownership of the Flyers, I am making a few moves next year. As good as Holmgren has been…I am moving another direction. I would go after former Goalie Ron Hextall to captain the ship. I’m keeping Laviolette. Peter has received a lot of criticism this season, but he has shown a great work ethic and I am keeping him.

The Flyers should also let Briere go, unless he decides to sign for a bargain price. They should also buy out Bryzgalov’s contract not because he has been horrible, but to have more payroll flexibility. They would save millions of dollars and could go after another top scorer as well as a Top Tier Defenseman. They should look at the goalies that will be available and if they can sign Luongo do it…if not go with Steve Mason who is only 24.

I think this team is still one or two years away from a Championship. Even though Jeff Carter and Mike Richards won a Cup after leaving the team…I still believe this team is more talented than the team that went to the cup a few years ago. The XFactor…Chris Pronger. Pronger was a Born Leader and was the player that made this team go, go, go. Anyways, this has been a disappointing season but there is still a bright future for this very young team.

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SUPER SUNDAY: QUICK FACTS AND NOTES

Super Bowl Sunday 2013 has arrived. I feel like these years keep getting shorter and shorter the older I get ugghhh! Anyways, last year saw the New York Football Giants upset the New England Patriots for the second time in 3 years in the Super Bowl. This years addition brings a few new teams to the big dance, well not new, both teams have won Super Bowls. The 49ers have Five…Baltimore has One…ironically they beat the same New York Giants in a blowout. They became only the third wild card team in history to win a Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl is really a giant overrated day of eating tons of food, people getting sloppy drunk, partying to the late hours of the night, many people not even watching the game, expensive commercials and much more hoopla. My friend Aaron said it best…the anticipation builds and builds and builds and then it is a giant letdown. Truly, these games are hard to enjoy unless your team is playing in it and for us Eagles fans…this has only been twice in the last 34 years!!!! 2004 was the last time the Eagles were in a Super Bowl…and of course we all know how that game ended. We felt like broken bones…we felt like a piece of our own was taken away that day.

Aaron also made another very good point the other day…and this is really true if you research the numbers. The past Ten Super Bowls have probably been the most entertaining ones in the modern era. I can remember the 80’s and 90’s the Super Bowls were major blowouts with one team demolishing the other. I remember a few of the Dallas Cowboy routes, as well as the Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, etc. These games were over before they began. And another odd fact was that the NFC dominated the big day. As of late, the AFC has turned the tide drastically barring the few Giants wins and Packers. New England, of course, has been the Pittsburgh Steelers of the Seventies, the 49ers of the Eighties, the Dallas Cowboys of the Nineties.

Today when you are all watching the game, remember that this game will feature brother against brother. The HarBowl. The 49ers are favored by 4 and many analysts are saying this game will not be close. I am if the other opinion…I am picking the Baltimore Ravens to win their Second Super Bowl in 13 years. I think Ray Lewis is going to go out with a bang. I think Joe Flacco is going to shine and represent the Delaware Valley proud. I think the Ravens Defense is going to pick the 49ers offense apart. I am taking the Ravens to win the game 21-17. The game will not be as close as the score in essence.

Well, well, well…the Philadelphia Flyers actually won a game last night. The New line combination of Danny Briere and Claude Giroux looked like a match made in Heaven. Power Play Goal…check. Penalty Kill solid…check. Shots on goal…check. And stellar goaltending…check. Ilya Bryzgalov has been the Flyers best player this far this season. He is in a zone and is playing like he did in his Vezina finish season. Standing tall, square to the shooter. Last night he made 39 Saves, many at point blank range. If he can keep playing like this we can only hope that the Flyers can find their scoring touch.

The Alex Rodriguez debacle is just another example if how Major League Baseball has failed in its attempt to rid the game of cheaters and illegal substances that enhance performance. I know that Ryan Braun was acquitted last year of his charges, but I am sure that a few years from now it will come out that he was doping. MLB must get more strict even if it goes against popular beliefs in the league. This commissioner has not impressed me I e bit. This league for all the good things has a black cloud over it. Less players of our time will make the Hall of Fame and rightfully so. These players are a joke and they mock the league. Baseball used to be sacred and these scum bags are ruining the sanctity of the game. Well speaking if the game…pitchers and catchers report next week so this is where it gets exciting once again. Spring Training is right around the corner.

So today…everyone have a happy day and enjoy the game and all of the wild parties. Be safe and don’t drink and drive. Don’t act stoopid. Don’t get silly drunk in front of kids. That’s just not cool anymore. Maybe when you were in college…but CMon! Please, grow up and just enjoy the game without all of the drama. Lets go Ravens!!!!!!!

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FLYERS LOOK FOR CONSISTENCY

So far the Flyers are 2-5 in Seven Games. In those Seven Games they have scored 14 Goals which averages out to 2 Goals a game, not typical for a Flyers Team that usually is in the Top Scoring Teams. What makes this stat even more disturbing is that the Flyers scored 7 Of those goals in one game. So if you take away the 7 goals, the Flyers have scored a total of 7 goals in the six other games. Lets face it…Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, Dominik Hasek could all be in net and the Flyers would still not win under this formula.

In Contrast, Ilya Bryzgalov has been the one bright spot for the team. Remember back to last year, fans were calling for Bryzgalov to be cut or traded after a horrific first half. He came to the Flyers on a huge contract with Vezina Credentials. Well lets just say it took him most of the season to get in a groove. However, down the stretch he was stellar. He was playing in the Russian League during the Strike where he posted solid numbers. So Far this year, Bryzgalov has a 2.19 GAA and a .924 Save Percentage both in the Top 10 and he has faced the third most shots in the league. What a turnaround.

Of course, one major problem is the team’s penalty killing which is second to last in the league at a 65%Rate, horrible for a team that usually has a great penalty kill. Not only is the Penalty Kill piss poor, but the power play is terrible as well. I remember a few short years ago the Flyers always had one of the Top 5 Power Plays and Penalty Kills. Now, most of that had to do with Mike Richards being one of the best two way forwards in the league. But it also had to do with getting pucks on net.

The injury to Scott Hartnell puts a serious hole in the team’s lineup. Scott not only puts up a ton of points, but he has also become one of the teams top leaders being a role model for all of the Flyers youth. With no surprise, Claude Giroux has been the Flyers best player. However, Giroux cannot do this on his own. The Flyers must get back to Peter Laviollettes system. They need to buy into the defensive first style and then pounce on turnovers. Danny Briere is back and should give the team a jump start on offense. He had 10 shots on net last game.

Well, there are only 41 games left so the Flyers need to right this ship fast. They are not afforded the luxury of waiting awhile to turn it around. It must start tonight against the Washington Capitals. Cut down the turnovers, Score on the Power Play and stop the other teams special teams. Also, shoot the puck. Stop trying to be so fancy. Well, if my hunch is right, the Flyers will start to right the ship tonight!

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Philly Needs an Overhaul

My how things have changed the past few years. I can remember back as recently as 2010 when the Flyers were in the Stanley Cup, The Phillies made the NLCS, The 76ers made the playoffs and the Eagles had a stellar season behind Michael Vick. Fast Forward 2 years! The NHL is probably going to skip a season (already half way into the labor dispute and lockout), The Phillies missed the playoffs and finished close to the basement in the NL East, The Sixers are still inconsistent and not close to winning a championship and the Eagles???? The Eagles?? Well, the Eagles are fading fast and are in a state of disarray. At 3-7 now, the Eagles are well on their way to their worst record since 1998 when Andy Reid took over this team, 14 seasons ago. When Andy Reid arrived in Philly, the Eagles were a team with some talent that needed a good leader and strategist. When Andy Reid and the Eagles drafted Donovan McNabb in 1998, the tables were turning. Jim Johnson built one of the most powerful defenses in the Eagles history. Five straight NFC Championships, One Superbowl, Countless memories followed as the Eagles closed down the VET, moved into the LINC, Grew into one of the real powerhouses in the NFL. The Eagles were the NFC version of the New England Patriots…without the Superbowl wins lol. The Eagles were a very successful team and provided Philadelphia with many great memories. However, the past few seasons have been inconsistent and disheartening to say the least. A few seasons back, the Eagles signed Michael Vick and traded Donovan McNabb. McNabb took most of the blame for the Eagle’s failure in the 11 years under his reign. Yes, McNabb was not the most accurate quarterback the Eagles ever had. McNabb did blow it in the Superbowl. McNabb did get injured a lot. Nonetheless, McNabb holds every Eagles quarterback record in history. He was the winningest quarterback they ever had. McNabb was a good leader at one point in his career. Let us not forget, the NFL is a team game (just ask the New England Patriots and New York Giants). After McNabb was traded, Michael Vick had one good season and all of the experts were saying…see…it was McNabb’s fault. These experts failed to place any blame on the team’s coach, Andy Reid. Jim Johmson’s untimely passing was another turning point in the Philadelphia Eagles history. The Defense has not been the same and the Eagles made Juan Castillo the Defensive Coordinator last year. No one could argue that the Eagles did not have talent on that side of the ball. I mean, they signed Namdi Asomgha to one of the largest contracts for a Cornerback in the history of the NFL. They also boasted the NFL’s sack leader and a very good defensive line. Fast forward to 2012…Juan Castillo is fired and he takes the blame for the Philadelphia Eagles failures. Well, Castillo is gone and this defense is playing even worse. It’s truly time for Jeff Lurie to throw loyalty to the side and replace Andy Reid now. This version of the Philadelphia Eagles is pathetic. It is obvious that Andy Reid has lost this team. The team lacks respect for him and there is no leadership. They have the arguably the worst offensive line in NFL history. Michael Vick showed his true colors, that he really is not the Quarterback that will take this team to Championship. Now LeSean McCoy, their superstar running back, the one weapon that this team has that really is one of the best in the NFL, has received a concussion after taking a hard hit in the last two minutes of a game. The Eagles, who were losing by 30 points to the Washington Redskins were finished. Andy Reid, when asked why McCoy was still in the game, answered “We were trying to win the game.” C’MON Andy….get real!!!! You have lost your marbles. This team is finished. The time for rebuilding is now. Why wait until the end of the season. This team needs a drastic change now. Andy Reid is done. Forget all of the good things he has done for this team. The goal of any NFL franchise is to WIN the Superbowl! Well, in 14 seasons under Reid the Eagles have exactly one appearance (a loss to the Patriots) in a Superbowl. If this was any other company or corporation, Reid would have been replaced a long time ago. Well, Reid is still here. Jeff Lurie has let loyalty reign above results. This is a huge mistake. Lurie, I hope that you will finally listen to the fans…we really are not stoopid. We really are NFL fans and we DO understand the game. It is so obvious that Andy Reid has lost this team and a change is necessary. Why are you waiting…Andy Reid should be with his family anyway, after losing his son earlier this season. Please restore the good feeling in Philly again. Bring the Eagles back to respectable again in the NFL. Andy Reid must go. This is not personal, this is an anomaly. It is time for this team to rebuild from the top on down. If I’m Lurie, everyone goes except LeSean McCoy!!! He is the only true talent that is untouchable. We need a DEFENSIVE minded coach again. Defense really does still win Championships. As good as the Patriots Offense has been under their dominance the past fifteen years, Their Defense has truly been their backbone. We need a change. This does not just go for this Football Team. The Baseball Team also needs to rebuild. After their World Series win in 2008, this team has still had playoff success but if you really look close at the team they have gotten old. They have declined tremendously both in talent and success. It’s ashame, after the Phillies traded for and signed Roy Halladay, it looked like they may be on their way to a dynasty. Then the Four Aces…Halladay, Lee, Hammels, and Oswalt. Fast forward, Oswalt is gone, Halladay was injured and had his worst season in ten years, Lee was inconsistent and not the dominant force he had been the previous five years, only Hammels was good as promised. Chase Utley is done. Ryan Howard is on a decline. They do not have a young nucleus. This team also needs to rebuild. Charlie it’s been nice knowing you. Back to the Eagles, C’MON!!! Nick Foles first start in the NFL, and you make him drop back 43X!!!!! Four Sacks, countless rushes and hurries! Reid…you will never get it!!!! Quarterbacks have changed, lines have changed, defenses have changed. The one mainstay is Reid. Now it is time for Jeff Lurie to give this city some hope! Please hear the voice of the FAN!

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