What is with You People? Re: Jubilant Responses to the NBA Lockout

What is with You People? Re: Jubilant Responses to the NBA Lockout

It's been less than 24 hours since NBA commissioner David Stern announced Monday evening that his league would be forced to cancel the first two weeks of its season as a result of an ongoing labor dispute.

A great number of the comments in reply to our article covering the lockout—be they on Facebook or Twitter or even here on the actual site—have been of the "who cares?" variety. A roughly equal number have actually been celebratory, or at least wholly dismissive of the league as a sporting entity. And then there have been maybe two comments that expressed indignation over your pithy remarks—one of them was mine.

I'll admit right up front that this sort of behavior has been on my mind quite a bit lately. I've even written a piece about it within the last week.

So, I ask, whatever happened to actual indifference? You know, indifference—where you legitimately don't care.

I cannot understand this overwhelming need for individuals to constantly complain about that which they supposedly "don't care."

If you didn't care, you wouldn't need to comment.

I don't see soccer fans showing up on posts about Ryan Howard's OBP and writing "who cares?"

I don't send angry letters to the Hallmark channel complaining about their programming. I just don't watch it.

But, you people, "the we complain under the guise that we don't care, but we really have a deep and abiding need to let other people know just know much we don't care" crowd, you people are just the tip of the iceberg.

Because, then we have the people who are actually happy about the NBA lockout. This sort of sentiment is completely and totally bewildering.

But, maybe…maybe it's coming together now. Of course, no one would seriously ask "who cares?" about Ryan Howard's OBP or his ruptured achilles tendon; we all care about those issues.

Though, it's apparent, we really didn't care about Major League Baseball or this Phillies franchise in the late-1990s. I guess it's because the team wasn't any good.

I know we all love to be able to hold up the fact that we're all fans from the tough times, and that, because we suffered, these wins are more meaningful; but, those attendance figures tell a different story for at least some of us.

I don't mean to pick on Phillies fans. The Philadelphia 76ers, for example, finished dead last in stadiums filled by percentage of capacity last season, and just 25th in total average attendance.

Remember when Allen Iverson used to sell out the building? Those days are surely long gone, right? Because so many of you hate the NBA, or at the very least "don't care."

But unless I was hallucinating during game 3 of the Miami Heat series—and that's certainly possible since I was standing in the very last row under a section-wide banner that read "Nocioni's Neighborhood"—I don't remember seeing very many open seats in that arena. I definitely heard a very loud building.

You exist, Sixers fans. Somewhere, buried in your closet, you have a flag emblazoned with this logo that used to be mounted on your car and flying in the wind.

My concern is that in another decade, maybe all this Phillies merchandise will be stuck in that same closet. Maybe Major League Baseball will be working toward the implementation of a salary cap, resulting in a prolonged labor stoppage. Maybe someone will write about the day Spring Training gets cancelled, and maybe they'll be met with a loud chorus of "who cares?" It happened for how many failing markets in 1994 and how many more until McGwire, Sosa and the new ballparks brought the people back?

Since I was old enough to walk, I've been attending Philadelphia Flyers games with my father. When the NHL missed an entire season from 2004-2005, I don't remember thinking to myself, "well, of course I'm a Flyers fan, but good riddance to the NHL."

It's one thing not to care. And it's another not to like basketball. It's just very difficult for me to understand the sentiment that you could possibly be happy about the NBA losing games. Why is it a problem for you that the NBA exists? If you don't like it, then don't bother with it. Is the crusade against it really necessary?

I admit, the league has problems—huge problems. So, I understand the argument that this lockout is fundamentally good if those problems are indeed addressed. But that means I support the lockout so as to better the product, not because I dislike basketball or the league itself.

As for the criticisms of its national coverage, I'm not going to make the NBA apologize for signing a lucrative TV deal any more than I would make the NFL atone for its wealth. And, in response to the arguments against the never-ending NBA "noise machine" at the World Wide Leader, I point to the ESPN Monday Night Football extension just signed, the one that mandates the immediate start of 500 additional hours NFL programming per week. Surely we all agree that "The Decision" was a calamity, but I refuse to blame a network for the success of a team. What do you expect, networks to ignore the NBA Finals because the Heat are involved?

All that said, I've got some good news for you. After all this whining and complaining on my part, I'm willing to give you a pass. I'm willing to let bygones be bygones and accept the fact that you're happy the NBA isn't in session.

You just have to promise to do me one favor.

When times get good, remember how you used to hate professional basketball, or, at the very least, "didn't care."

Flyers Notes: Promising performances from young defensemen

Flyers Notes: Promising performances from young defensemen

The most impressive thing about the Flyers' 4-0 preseason win over the Islanders on Tuesday night was the play of the their young defense and the outstanding work by the penalty kill.

Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim and Philippe Myers each gave a strong accounting of themselves while veteran Andrew MacDonald proved why experience helps with some terrific PK work during an extended five-on-three Islanders power play in the third period.

“Overall, they did a good job,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “I look at some of the opportunities we gave up, especially in the second period, we gave up three or four Grade A opportunities that Mase (goalie Steve Mason) was great on, but I put those on our forwards.

“We’re still not into regular-season form on our play without the puck. I thought as a whole, the group of defensemen did a good job and the young guys in there were good tonight.”

Sanheim had strong plays the entire game from the point and picked up two assists (see highlights). He gets the puck quickly on net and joins the play up front.

“It took me a little bit, even in this game,” Sanheim said. “As I play more, I started to jump up more and you start to see my game more. It’s something I want to bring to this next level.”

Provorov logged 21:43 of ice time following nearly 29 minutes at New Jersey. He had 5:17 on the PK. Some of his clears weren’t deep or hard enough, at times, possibly because of fatigue.

He also took a bad boarding hit on Joshua Ho-Sang in the third period that set up an Isles five-on-three power play. It became extended because of a trip call to Myers but MacDonald did yeoman’s work on the extended PK.

Provorov quarterbacks the first-unit man advantage for now until Shayne Gostisbehere joins the crowd. He had some very skillful passes. The Russian can find the seam up the ice on the breakout quickly and had a no-look, hard pass to Nick Cousins in the second period for a quality one-timer on net.

Expect Provorov to handle the second-unit power play during the season, should he make the roster.

The goals
Although the Flyers, using a better NHL lineup, were lacking for offensive chances early against the Isles' "B" squad, they found their way in the final four minutes of the opening period.

First, Dale Weise had one of those pinball goals as a bouncing puck hit a couple of players in the slot, including goalie Chris Gibson, to make it 1-0 during four-on-four play.

That was the Flyers' first goal of preseason in three games. A little more than a minute later, Wayne Simmonds scored off a rebound just as a Flyers power play ended. Simmonds had two goals in the game, including a wrister from the left circle to open the final period.

Smallish (5-foot-7) — but bullish — centerman Andy Miele, a former Hobey Baker Award winner as college hockey’s top player (Miami-Ohio), made it 3-0, out-battling Thomas Hickey for the rebound of Michael Raffl’s shot.

The shield
Simmonds is wearing a visor for the first time. It’s an experiment for now.

“Everyone is all over me about it,” he said. “We’ll see what happens. It wasn’t too bad tonight. The only thing is trying to track pucks in the sky when you are getting the glare from the lights. A little bit of an adjustment."

He said neither his mother nor girlfriend had pushed him as hard to wear the shield as someone else: “Ron Hextall,” he said flatly. “He gave me a call.”

Because of his tenacious play in the slot where sticks are high and pucks are deflected, a shield makes sense.

“Yeah, I think so, being that front guy and doing work on the PK,” he said. “Getting sticks in lanes like that, the game is really fast and pucks get deflected.

“Sometime you don’t know where they’re going and can’t react to that. Obviously, the shield is good for that."

He added he would wear the shield in a fight, too.

“Every time I fight and someone has a shield on, I’m at a disadvantage so I guess this evens it up,” he said.

Loose pucks
Weise did a nice job sticking up for teammates late during a melee after a Ben Holmstrom crosscheck to linemate Nick Cousins. “It was a bad crosscheck and you’re defending your teammates,” he said. “The ref was in the way and I kind of went overtop him. That’s what I’m about. Guys take liberties on my linemates, I’ll stand up for them.” … Matt Read had just 6:54 ice time through two periods. Fourth-liner Boyd Gordon had more ice time there — 9:39 — but Read finished with 13:55 to Gordon’s 13:41. More than half of Gordon’s ice time was on the penalty kill. … Goalie Steve Mason faced some point-blank chances among the first 17 shots he faced and finished with 23-save shutout.  

Carson Wentz named NFC Offensive Player of the Week

Carson Wentz named NFC Offensive Player of the Week

Another week, another award for Carson Wentz.

This time the Eagles' electrifying rookie has been named the NFC's Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Steelers.

In the 34-3 win over Pittsburgh, Wentz completed 23 of 31 passes for 301 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 125.9. It was the first 300-yard game of his very young career.

Wentz is the first rookie QB in Eagles history to win an Offensive Player of the Week award.

Through three games, the 23-year-old has completed 64.7 percent of his passes for 769 yards and five touchdowns. He's the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to achieve those stats in the first three games of a career. He still hasn't thrown an interception in 102 passing attempts, which is a record for rookies.

It looks like Wentz will have plenty more opportunities for awards this season.