Boosh on a Forgettable Day, Phillies' Record April, Akers' Numbered Days, Union Atop the Table

Boosh on a Forgettable Day, Phillies' Record April, Akers' Numbered Days, Union Atop the Table

Three Philly teams were playing home games yesterday afternoon, two of which ended in good results, while the other was something of an absolute travesty. Unfortunately, the latter was the one that mattered most. Here's a look at some of the storylines out of those games, as well as the Eagles draft weekend.

Let's start it off with a quotable that pretty much sums up the Flyers' 7-3 loss, even it misleadingly seems to harness the speaker with more than his fair share of the blame. Here's Brian Boucher when asked about the specifics of two of the goals he allowed:

“I let in so many I can’t remember the third one, I can’t recall right now."

Boosh would also say he didn't think anyone played particularly well, which is a more apt representation of the game than hanging it on the goaltending, which of course could have been better as well. Four goalie changes in eight games is embarrassing no matter who's at fault. [Mike Morreale, NHL.com]

So the Eagles drafted a kicker with a fourth round pick yesterday. Hoooo boy... Much, much more after the jump.

First, does this mean David Akers is gone? I'd have to presume so, although Reuben Frank quotes both Andy Reid and Akers' agent as being non-committal. Along with Akers' contract situation and a rocky end to the season between the longest tenured Eagle and the front office, it's hard to imagine the Eagles opening camp with this proven veteran competing against the guy they used a valuable pick to select. If ever there was a Reid quote I don't buy, it's this one when asked about the impact of selecting Alex Henery on Akers' future as an Eagle:

“Well listen, I haven’t even gone there with [general manager] Howie [Roseman],” Reid said. “But I will tell you that [Henery] is a good kicker. And so we’ll talk about that as we go here.”

That's either complete bullshit or an indication that the Eagles throw darts to make their draft choices. We've heard some of the former from the head coach in recent years, and the latter is seemingly far from true whether you agree with their choices or not. If anything, they are very deliberate, and I respect that about their drafts. I also don't really care that Reid isn't forthcoming with his quotes on what the team's intentions are with its as-yet unsigned players. It does them no good to show all their cards, and it's foolish (although somewhat understandable) for us to expect them to. But I couldn't help but laugh when I saw this one. So uh... before the draft, you didn't talk to the GM about which players you want to keep and which you want to replace? Come on Big Red...

Read more on the Akers story here, but I leave you with one thought that's troubled me more than simply losing Akers, a guy I like a lot and wish would retire as an Eagle. What are the chances this guy ends up kicking field goals for a division rival next season?

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Now some more positive news... The Phillies beat the Mets again, earning a series win before tonight's Sunday Night Baseball matchup. Roy Halladay was brilliant, throwing his first 18 pitches for strikes (most by a pitcher to start a game since 1991) and efficiently working his way through yet another complete game. It's kinda funny how much hemming and hawing there is about the Phillies this season, what's wrong with them, etc... Looking back from the vantage of the first day of May, the Phillies just posted their highest April win total in franchise history. Matt Gelb has a look at yesterday's game and how it was representative of the entire month for the Phils. [Inquirer] [Other Phils April highlights]

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In the aftermath of drafts, we're often treated to a lot of stories written by guys who have never seen their subject play a snap. That's fine, understandable given how much college football they'd have to watch in order to be experts, all while covering their NFL beats. But I still love reading up on the new guys, both the scouting reports of their on-field play, and the looks at their background stories, which give a little color to the new guys. Like how the babyfaced Danny Watkins has a nasty streak that includes chopping people in the jugular, and Temple product Jaiquawn Jarrett's mom—a Rikers Island corrections officer—may be to Birds games what Allen Iverson's mom was to the Sixers

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The Union earned a 1-0 win the hard way yesterday down at PPL Park, playing much of the match with only 10 men. I'll have more to say on this game and the team in a later post, but here's the winner off the foot of Sebastien Le Toux, as shot from The River End:

Did you happen to hear the discussion in the beginning? Sent in by Level reader and commenter Muscles, who had to cut the video short because he's one of the guys who starts the rollout after a goal. The Union currently lead the MLS in points, and despite the lack of scoring, it's looking like it's no fluke.

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First Pippa steals the show at the Royal Wedding, and now the Phanatic: 

Via the incomparable Mr. Todd Zolecki.

Enjoy your Sunday, everyone.

Flyers' power play rediscovers swagger in win over Canucks

Flyers' power play rediscovers swagger in win over Canucks

BOX SCORE

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – The Flyers got some swagger back Sunday night.

But especially so on the power play, which entered Sunday's clash just 2 for 19 over the last six games.

Two markers on the man advantage helped the Flyers edge the Canucks, 3-2, at Rogers Arena in Vanvoucer (see Instant Replay).

“It all comes back to finding a way to produce – and they did that tonight,” said Flyers coach Dave Hakstol, who had called for his power-play participants to rediscover that swagger.

Hakstol’s club won for the first time in its last nine games in Western Canada. More importantly, the Flyers (28-24-7) moved within a point of the eighth and final playoff spot, currently shared by Florida and Boston, in the Eastern Conference.

Thanks to the power-play success, the Flyers built a 3-0 lead in the game’s first 23 minutes and then hung on, atoning for a sub-par effort in a one-sided loss to the Oilers in Edmonton on Thursday night.

The Flyers converted two of three power plays while blanking the Canucks on all four of their man advantages. The loss prevented the Canucks (26-28-6) from getting closer to a Western Conference playoff berth.

“I thought we were playing some pretty good hockey of late, but the pucks weren't going in,” said Flyers center Brayden Schenn, who scored the winning goal on the power play at 2:38 of the second period. “Tonight, we tightened up defensively again from Edmonton's game and were able to score a few more goals. It's a huge two points going home."

Wayne Simmonds, also on the power play, and Jakub Voracek scored the Flyers’ other goals.

“We needed a win,” Simmonds said. “Especially after the game in Edmonton, this is good for the morale."

Shayne Gostisbehere assisted on all three goals, recording the first three-point night of his career.

Schenn’s winning goal came only a minute and 27 seconds after Voracek gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead at 1:11 of the second by sending Sean Couturier’s huge rebound into a gaping net behind Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller. Voracek’s goal was his first in 10 games. He had not scored since Jan. 25 against the New York Rangers.

How did long sought-after goal make him feel?

"Like I scored a goal,” deadpanned Voracek. “We won the game. That’s the way I looked at it. It doesn't matter who scored the goals. Special teams were huge tonight. I liked our power play. We were going all 60 minutes. This one kept us in the race."

The Flyers were a well-rested team thanks to a two-day break between games and a three-day break before the start of the road trip. The Canucks, on the other hand, were playing their second of back-to-back home games with only a day’s rest following a grueling six-game United States road trip. But there was still considerable suspense over the final 30 minutes.

Markus Granlund and Jannik Hansen tallied for the Canucks, who are known as comeback artists, at 3:43 and 12:42 of the second, respectively, before the Flyers shut Vancouver down the rest of the way. Voracek indicated the Flyers were not nervous in the final frame.

"I don't think we changed anything to be honest,” he said. We were pretty tight in the neutral zone. We didn't give them much. When we had a couple of breakdowns, [Michal Neuvirth] was on his act.”

Neuvirth stopped 18 of 20 shots as the Flyers outshot the Canucks, 28-20. He enjoyed a much better start Sunday, holding the Canucks scoreless in the opening period after allowing four goals on his first 12 shots on Thursday in Edmonton. One of his better saves came with just over a minute into the game as he got his toe on Markus Granlund’s dangerous chance from in close.

"I felt good,” said Neuvirth. “I have been practicing well and playing with confidence. The last game, it didn't work out. I put that one behind me and restarted my mind and got back to work tonight.”

“I thought he was excellent,” said Hakstol. “He was calm and settled in there. You can go back through that 60 minutes and you can pick out three or four pretty darned good saves.”

Neuvirth excelled while making his fourth consecutive start and sixth in the past seven games overall.

“It feels good,” he said of the heavy workload. “It feels better when we win.”

But he was not about to get too excited. The Flyers have a tough clash at home Wednesday against NHL-best Washington and a road game Saturday at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field against the rival Penguins as part of the NHL’s Stadium Series.

“We have a tough schedule coming and we have to be ready,” Neuvirth said.

Sixers Twitter rejoices in the Kings' pick swap after DeMarcus Cousins deal

Sixers Twitter rejoices in the Kings' pick swap after DeMarcus Cousins deal

All hail the pick swap.

When word got out that the Sacramento Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans, Sixers fans on Twitter rejoiced.

On July 10, 2015, the Sixers traded away the rights to Artūras Gudaitis and Luka Mitrović, and, in return, received an unprotected 2019 first round pick, Nik Stauskas, Carl Landry, Jason Thompson and the right to swap first-round selections in the 2016 and 2017 drafts.

The Cousins move appears to significantly weaken the Kings, who are 24-33 and just 2.5 games better than the Sixers, so the pick swap looks healthier than ever.

But, for now, enjoy some samplings of Sixers Twitter from after the trade.

Here are some of the best tweets.