Four gorgeous Tony Wroten passes from last night's Sixers-Clippers game

Four gorgeous Tony Wroten passes from last night's Sixers-Clippers game

Brett Brown had a good quote about Tony Wroten earlier in the season about how Wroten might make the most incredible pass you've ever seen in your life, and then the next one will be off someone's foot. That's T-Wrote for you this Sixers season--he takes your breath away one minute, only to break your heart the next.

We've gotten to see a whole bunch of both the good and the bad from Tony this season, particularly as he's been subbing for Michael Carter-Williams as the team's starting point guard while the latter heals from skin infection (grossss). Last night, it was much more of the breathtaking variety, as Wroten ended with seven assists to go with ten points (albeit on 2-12 shooting) and nine rebounds in the Sixers' 94-83 home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Three of those assists--and a fourth that should have given eight him total, if not for Thaddeus Young blowing a wide-open layup--were so very nice that we figured they deserved their own YouTube compilation:

Don't ever change, Tony Tempeh.

Flyers' Hall of Famers return to toast Ed Snider, 50th anniversary

Flyers' Hall of Famers return to toast Ed Snider, 50th anniversary

There were times when Rod Brind’Amour didn’t quite feel like a part of the Flyers’ family anymore.

Following eight years rich with memories and victories in a Flyers' jersey, Brind’Amour, a beloved player who changed the franchise on and off the ice, was stunningly traded to the Hurricanes less than a month into the 1999-00 season.

He went on to win two Frank J. Selke trophies (NHL’s best defensive forward) and a Stanley Cup in Carolina before landing an assistant coaching job within the organization.

“You get traded, you automatically think, ‘Well, I’m not what I thought I was,’” Brind’Amour said. “But that wasn’t the case.”

Especially once his phone rang and it was Ed Snider on the other line.

“I got a great phone call before Mr. Snider passed and him telling me what he thought I meant to this team,” Brind’Amour said. “That meant a lot. I really feel connected to the Flyers’ organization again and I’ll take any chance I can to get back and be a part of it.”

A year after being inducted in the Flyers’ Hall of Fame, he was among the orange and black greats on Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center to toast the team’s 50th anniversary with Flyers Heritage Night. Snider, the Flyers’ fearless and compassionate founder who died in April, would have been all smiles on Thursday night as a pregame ceremony at center ice honored the legends that played a role in fulfilling his vision.

Fourteen Flyers Hall of Famers were on hand as Bill Barber, Brind’Amour, Bob Clarke, Ron Hextall, Mark Howe, John LeClair, Reggie Leach, Eric Lindros, Bernie Parent, Brian Propp, Dave Poulin, Dave Schultz, Joe Watson and Jim Watson came out one by one. Family members of Snider, Gene Hart, Barry Ashbee, Rick MacLeish, Keith Allen and Joe Scott were also present.

The evening was all about family, just like Snider.

Poulin, who captained the Flyers for parts of six seasons (1984-90) and two Stanley Cup Final appearances (1985, 1987), said these are can’t-miss events to reminisce and remember.

“There’s a lot of demands on your time, a lot of different things, it’s busy for everybody and everybody’s got different things going on in their life, but when this call comes in from Brad Marsh (former Flyers player, team’s current director of community development), you’re marking it on the calendar and you’re coming,” Poulin said during the first intermission of the Flyers’ 5-4 loss to the Coyotes (see Instant Replay). “This is pretty special to be out there with this group tonight.”

Since retiring, Poulin, a 1986-87 Selke winner with the Flyers and two-time NHL All-Star, has coached, worked in front-office roles and is now an analyst for TSN. He’s always around hockey and talking hockey.

Outsiders frequently mention the Flyers, one reason why Poulin calls the organization “unique.”

“Still to this day, I have conversations with people that played a long time in the NHL that are incredibly envious of the Flyers,” Poulin said. “I had one as recently as Monday night. I was at a book signing for Darryl Sittler, who has a new book out, and we were teammates here. And I had a great conversation with Syl Apps Jr., who was an original Pittsburgh Penguin. And the first thing he wanted to say was, ‘What about those Flyers, what about that Philadelphia, what about that?’ Guys that never experienced it from the inside were always envious of what they saw, and to a man.”

Poulin said that’s a testament to Snider.

“It was Ed Snider, it was the continuity of a leader that through 50 years — which is unheard of in any industry, any business, let alone a professional sports team — kept it like it was,” he said. “And then everybody assimilated into that. Everybody became a part of it, everybody understood the importance of it.”

During the tribute, Brind’Amour gave Lindros a big hug, to the surprise of many.

“I haven’t seen him in forever,” Brind’Amour said. “It was just fun, when we got out there we just said, ‘It’s nice to be back on the ice again.’ It’s been a long time, I haven’t seen him. I saw [LeClair] last year obviously. But it’s just nice to catch up with these guys and relive some stories. We had a lot of great times, it was nice to see [Lindros].”

Brind’Amour was asked how so many former Flyers from different eras, with families and separate agendas, make such reunions possible.

His found his answer before the question even finished.

“It’s Philadelphia,” he said. “This means a lot to me. To be honest with you, I was out of it, I was doing my own thing and last year, when they did that whole ceremony for me, it just kind of brought me into the fold, that this is important and that they really did appreciate what I did here.”

And Snider, never forgetting any, made that clear with a phone call.

“I think there was a time there where I just didn’t really think that was the case, so it’s meant a lot to me to be back here and be in the fold,” Brind’Amour said. “I love the alumni. … Any chance to get to reconnect with these guys, it just means the world to me.”

Flyers run out of comebacks in loss to Coyotes on Heritage Night

Flyers run out of comebacks in loss to Coyotes on Heritage Night


Heritage Night at Wells Fargo Center. All those Flyer Hall of Famers, some of whom reside in the Hockey Hall of Fame as well.
A time to celebrate the past 50 years and look toward the next half-century.
The only thing missing was a Flyers victory.
Sloppy play, blown coverages and bizarre sequences formed a perfect storm of defeat during a horrific 5-4 loss to Arizona on Thursday night (see Instant Replay).
Maybe Martin Hanzal’s goal should not have counted since a fight began before the goal was scored and the 'Yotes were penalized on the play.
Maybe Ivan Provorov didn’t really fall into Brad Richardson, who tumbled into Steve Mason, to cap off two goals against the Flyers in less than minutes for a 4-2 Coyotes' lead.
Maybe this, maybe that.
Here’s something for sure: unless the Flyers clean up the slot, slow teams down coming into their end and tighten up on the blue line, they’re going to continue to lose games.
“That’s a game right there for the taking and it wasn’t the matter of anything else but us losing the game,” Mason said. “It was our own doing.”
Even when the Flyers have looked good this week against Montreal and Buffalo, there have been far too many mistakes in the slot, too many open shots on their goalies.
“We’re giving up way too many chances on the rush,” Brayden Schenn said. “We’ve got to play better defensively.
“We’re trying to win hockey games now, I don’t know why, but we’re trying to win by high scores and that’s not Flyer hockey. … We’re giving up too many chances as five-man units.”
With the game stalled at 2-2 early in the third, Hanzal’s goal came as Schenn was fighting Jakob Chychrun after a big hit on Michael Stone, who actually assisted on the goal. But it was Andrew MacDonald’s gaffe that set the goal up. He had a very tough night on the blue line (minus-2).
“Their D skated up and I shifted too far to the left and he made a nice play to the middle and beat me with speed down the middle … that’s on me for sure.”
MacDonald also fell into Mason trying to get Hanzal at the net.
“We’re fortunate  to come back once in a while, but you can’t continuously be fighting from behind,” MacDonald said. “Just sloppy play and poor reads and they’re able to get a few more on us.”
As for the Richardson goal, that drove a dagger into the Flyers, but Provorov did collide into him too.
And while MacDonald would atone with one goal and Wayne Simmonds would score in the final 15 seconds of the game, it was still too large a gap for the Flyers to close. Their comeback time had expired.
If the Flyers played better and started strong at the outset – they gave up two goals in the first, then came back to tie in the second – things might have been different.
“First period was kind of ugly and that’s why we lost,” captain Claude Giroux said.
Truth is, the Flyers lost in the final period, but the cumulative effect is poor defensive play from the beginning.
“Several things we weren’t good enough in,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “Number one, we dug ourselves a two-goal deficit and weren’t very good without the puck.
“Quite honestly, throughout the game we weren’t good enough without the puck. Being a little sloppy with it, turning over in poor situations.”
Hakstol didn’t blame the officials for not stopping the Hanzal play when the fight began.
“I’m not second-guessing any of those whatsoever,” he said. “We got to look ourselves. That always starts with waking up in the morning and looking in the mirror. That starts with me and goes through our entire group.”
So that’s three points the Flyers gave away to Arizona (overtime loss, also) to lose the season series with a far better opponent coming to South Philly on Saturday in the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
Hakstol changed all four of lines in this one. He may have to change all three of his defensive pairs in the next game.
MacDonald’s partner, Shayne Gostisbehere (minus-3), said the Flyers need to “clean up” quickly.
“Maybe it’s staying together a  little bit more as a five-man unit,” Gostisbehere said. “When one guy pinches, you make sure you got some backup there. It’s little things here and there.”
Little things mean a lot.