Broken Twigs: Flyers' Rosehill Problem and Your FGSB Mailbag

Broken Twigs: Flyers' Rosehill Problem and Your FGSB Mailbag

Something I’ve noticed about the Flyers is that they seem unable to be grasp a basic subject that most of league has picked up on over the past few years – opportunity cost.

Here are some completely random transactions from recent Flyers history:
April 17, 2013: Jay Rosehill signed to a 2 year, $1.35M contract
July 1, 2010: Jody Shelley signed to a 3 year, $3.3M contract
July 1, 2008: Riley Cote signed to a 3 year, $1.65M contract
October 7, 2007: Jesse Boulerice signed to a Ryan Kessler’s face contract

And the reason I bring this up is that as disappointing as the Jody Shelley contract was financially, the Jay Rosehill contract is conceptually.

Let me be clear that this is not a fighting debate. Although I know fighting is probably unnecessary when it comes down to brass tacks, and is surely reckless and completely dangerous, for some reason I’m a fan. I like fighting in hockey even though I know it’s against my better judgment and will leave it to people more progressive than I to remove it. But the fact that a “player” like Jay Rosehill could possibly be on the big club this October instead of a younger, faster, more promising prospect such as Tye McGinn doesn’t sit well with me. Actually, it doesn’t even have to be a young guy. It could be an old salty veteran that excels at killing penalties (and pirates). It could be Scott Gomez! It could literally be anyone with any sort of skill that was more hockey-related than UFC.

Jay Rosehill has 3 goals and 3 assists in 83 NHL games. Jay Rosehill has 24 fights in 83 NHL games. Last season Jay Rosehill averaged 6:47 TOI during his 11 games as a Flyer (I had to go to the second tab to find that stat! He wasn’t even in the top 30 on the freaking team!). Jay Rosehill has never put up real points at any level including junior and is not a consistent, defensively-sound checking forward. Jay Rosehill is a fighter when what we need in 2013 is a hockey player.

It’s no secret that the number of pugilists in the league has been dropping steadily for years, since the advent of the instigator rule and much more so since the 2004-05 lockout resulted in a faster, slicker, sexier brand of hockey. But the Flyers don’t get that. Or more clearly stated, don’t care to get that. This is Philadelphia and no one’s going to push us around and Broad Street Bullies and Rob Zombie and gggrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

So they sign Jay Rosehill to a two year deal and then they traded a puck-moving piece of defensive inventory for Kris Newbury. There was probably someone in that conference room that was considering resigning Jody Shelley. And what we as fans get is a couple fights with Colton Orr and to grit our teeth every time the 4th line is out. Sounds good.

Hopefully this is some underlying, double secret plan to finally give the people of Glens Falls some entertainment after 4 years of hockey that wasn’t winning but wasn’t Slap Shot either – aka boring. The worst part is you know it’s not. And you know there will be injuries. And you know that there will be a game where our 4th line features Jay Rosehill and Kris Newbury – both with the hockey skills of Riley Cote, one of whom he used to beat up and another one he should have.

Time for some questions!

Bill L.: What kind of season is Danny Briere going to have with Les Canadiens?
The weird thing about being a Philadelphia fan is that more than winning, possibly, you love to see former players excel in new environments because a) you appreciate their service and b) you love to have spare darts to throw at management. That being said, Briere will lead the league in points next year with 110 points in 81 games. He will miss one game because the President cannot find Jack Bauer and needs Danny Briere to save the world in 24 hours sometime in January. He’ll do that AND manage to take his kids to a One Direction concert because he’s a good dad.

Ada D.: Couldn’t Kurtis Foster have stayed in the NHL, somewhere?
It would appear not. Good rule of thumb for anything in life is that if people would rather have Oliver Lauridsen do it, it’s time to start doing something else. But I’m glad to see Fozzie Bear head to Europe to play, even though I thought he’d return to the Finland or possibly even head to a less competitive league in Austria. Kurtis Foster is a good dude that has worked really hard and had some really bad luck. That he can change leagues, make at least the same amount of money and go from never knowing if he’d be in the press box to #1 superstar offensive dynamo defenseman is deserving of his hard work. I saw a lot of Twitter rubbish talking about moving to Siberia and whatnot but if you’ve never been to Croatia (which I haven’t) you should Google Images the town he’s going to be playing in (which I did) – it’s absolutely beautiful.

mhoc3518: What do you think about the Philadelphia Amateur Hockey Combine?
I think the 64 13-15 year olds who were invited to that camp probably have a good chance of playing college hockey somewhere, and it’s nice to get them together to reaffirm to every other kid in the area that they probably don’t. Which raises the question: when is a good time to tell your son he is not going to play in the NHL and should start staying up all night developing apps unless he wants to be a floor salesman when he grows up? I would guess that deep down you know if your kid’s got a shot at pro hockey around the age of 10, and I suggest as soon as the thought even occurs to you (missed breakaway, bad practice, whatever) you tell him that he doesn’t. No need to fill his mind with dreams of Joel Otto, Matt Read or other late bloomers – it’s not going to happen. There are over 500,000 active registrants in USA Hockey. There are 600 NHL positions available. If you play the odds and stick your kid at forward there are actually only 360 spots available (forget about goalie). Then take into account that people of at least a one decade range are competing for those 360 spots, not just ‘96’s or ‘04’s. And then take into account Canada, Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Finland, and Slovakia. When you’re delivering this news be sure to blame most of your son’s failure on your spouse’s lack of athletic ability.

Mike K.: What is your obsession with Jim Dowd.
Let me ‘splain something to you. Matt Read was a very good college hockey player, right? His best year he had 41 points in 37 games and it appears he’s going to put together a decent NHL career. Now think about this – Jim Dowd’s best year at Lake Superior State he had NINETY TWO points in 46 games. One year in NJ high school he had 113 points in TWENTY FOUR games. Jim Dowd Y’all!
Also, when he finished his NHL career with the Flyers in 2007-08 he scored 6 goals during the course of the year and looked as excited as a squirt scoring his first goal ever every time. That was fun.

Mike G.: You think the NHL will ever see a Royce White?
Ever is a long time but still, probably not. Hockey so manly that there is fist-fighting allowed (see: above). Concussions (brain damage) are hidden by the players if they’re not elite. Above all, individualism is only allowed as a marketing tool and personalities or other distracting qualities(see: Bryzgalov, Ilya) are frowned upon. That aspect is probably one of the biggest challenges You Can Play faces in hockey culture – that coming out is a personal action in a team environment. On that line of thinking Royce White probably needs to not travel for a while, but besides the logistical hurdles this raises for the coaching staff, it would make for a weird locker room, which is also not tolerated in hockey (see: Island, Dry). We’re huge proponents of both You Can Play and Royce White’s mission to bring mental illness to into the professional sports discussion, but it’s going to be a while until hockey culture sees either.

Yinztweet Breakdown of the Week

She's saying she had a sex dream about Sidney Crosby. That's what she's saying.

Phillies look to 'keep grinding' after latest rough loss to Rockies

Phillies look to 'keep grinding' after latest rough loss to Rockies

BOX SCORE

The Phillies have scored just two runs in 13 innings against a pair of rookie starting pitchers and the eventual outcome has been two losses to the Colorado Rockies the last couple of nights. The latest was an 8-2 setback on Tuesday night (see Instant Replay). That followed an 8-1 loss on Monday night.

What's happening right now at Citizens Bank Park is ugly. The Phillies are in the midst of a freefall that has seen them lose 19 of their last 23 games. They have been outscored 134-91 over that span.

Now, before we completely lose perspective here, the Phillies remain a building team and they were not expected to contend this season. But they weren't supposed to be this bad, either, and right now they are embarrassingly bad at 15-28.

John Middleton, the team's fiery managing partner, watched several innings of Tuesday night's debacle sitting beside Andy MacPhail in the club president's box. Oh, to have been a fly on that wall. Middleton is committed to a patient rebuild from the ground up, but he's also a man who has made it no secret that he likes to win a little. The show that the Phillies are putting on out on the field these days can't sit well with him. Surely it's not sitting well with the fans. Tuesday night's attendance was just 17,109, the lowest of the season, and many in that group headed home after Gerardo Parra's sixth-inning homer gave the Rockies an 8-1 lead.

"We're just in a big rut right now," manager Pete Mackanin said.

Shortstop Freddy Galvis added that he couldn't remember going through anything this bad.

"We have to keep grinding," he said. "Keep grinding, man. It's pretty tough right now."

Tuesday night's loss offered a tale of two young pitchers. Zach Eflin, the Phillies' 23-year-old right-hander and a veteran of just 18 big-league starts, was hit hard. Meanwhile, German Marquez, the Rockies' 22-year-old rookie, was impressive. He held the Phillies to one run over six innings. He twice faced bases-loaded jams and gave up just one run when he walked a batter.

On Monday night, the Phils were held to one run over seven innings by another rookie, Jeff Hoffman.

Rookie pitchers are often good medicine for struggling teams.

"That's the way I look at it," Mackanin said. "Unfortunately it hasn't happened.

"I know we're better than this. I think the team knows they're better than this. I can't fault the hustle. Someone might say there's no energy. Well, when you don't get any hits, there's no energy."

The Phillies have scored just three runs in the last three games.

The scarcity of runs gives the pitching very little room for error. But in this game, Eflin simply did not keep it close. He gave up 10 hits and eight runs over six innings of work. Phillies killer Charlie Blackmon torched Eflin for a pair of two-run homers and Parra got him for a solo shot.

"A poor outing," Mackanin said of Eflin's work. "He couldn't locate. The ball was up in the zone. He's struggling to keep the ball down.

"When he struck out Blackmon in the first inning, it was a two-seamer with great movement, I thought we're in for a good outing here. But then he couldn't keep the ball down. You have to pitch down or you're going to get hurt."

Eflin has given up 21 hits and 15 runs in his last two starts.

"It's frustrating, but it happens. It's baseball," he said. "There are going to be a lot of times in my career where I give up a lot of hits and a lot of runs. But I'm really not worried about it right now. I know that I'm going to continue to work hard and go out every fifth day and, you know, put up a line of winning baseball."

Blackmon has seven home runs in his last five games at Citizens Bank Park. He has three multi-homer games in Philadelphia.

"He seems to like hitting here," Eflin said. "But I just have to execute pitches. There's no excuse. I just have to be on top of my game."

Right now, the Phillies are at the bottom of their game.

"We have to stay together as a team and keep fighting, try to get out of what's happening right now," Galvis said. "It's a really tough situation, but we have keep playing hard."

NHL Playoffs Senators battle past Penguins to force Game 7

NHL Playoffs Senators battle past Penguins to force Game 7

BOX SCORE

OTTAWA, Ontario -- Craig Anderson and the Ottawa Senators bounced back nicely two days after a blowout loss put them on the brink of elimination.

Anderson stopped 45 shots, Mike Hoffman scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period and the Senators beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 Tuesday night to force a decisive Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The 36-year-old Anderson was coming off a pair of rough outings, including Sunday when he was pulled after yielding four goals in Ottawa's 7-0 loss in Game 5 at Pittsburgh.

"You can't change what happens in the past," said Anderson, who has credited work with a sports psychologist early in his career for helping him manage the mental side of the game. "From that moment on you have to look forward and get ready for the next one."

Hoffman fired a slap shot through traffic off a pass from Fredrik Claesson to put the Senators ahead at 1:34 of the third. Bobby Ryan also scored a rare power-play goal for Ottawa.

It was quite a response after the drubbing in the previous game.

"I think the biggest message for us was if somebody told us back in training camp in September that we'd have an opportunity to win Game 6 in the Eastern Conference final at home in front of our fans we would've taken it," Ryan said. "So let's not dwell, let's not kick ourselves and put our heads down. Let's embrace this opportunity to extend this for two more days together and go from there."

Evgeni Malkin gave Pittsburgh, vying for its second straight trip to the Stanley Cup Final, the lead early in the second period and Matt Murray finished with 28 saves.

"I thought we played a real good game," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "I thought we dominated zone time. We had lots of chances. We didn't score tonight. The puck didn't go in the net, but if we continue to play the game that way, then I believe we'll get the result."

Game 7 is Thursday night in Pittsburgh, with the winner advancing to face the Nashville Predators for the championship.

Ottawa was primarily looking for a return to structure in Game 6, beginning with a smoother start -- which they got. Notable in a scoreless opening period were two effective penalty kills, one of which saw Viktor Stalberg get the best opportunity short-handed.

Pittsburgh had four shots with the man advantage, but Anderson stopped them all. It was evident early that he had his game back in this one. He stopped Nick Bonino off a rebound in transition, Scott Wilson off a deflected shot by Phil Kessel, and Bonino again when Kyle Turris gave the puck away.

Anderson then stopped 22 of 23 shots in the second period.

"I think Anderson was the reason that they got this one, he played big for them," Murray said. "But in our room we just focus on what we need to do. We played really well, we just didn't get the bounces and weren't able to put one home."

Anderson's performance was a reminder for Senators coach Guy Boucher of why he took the job with Ottawa in the first place last May.

"I'll be honest with you, if I didn't have a No. 1 goalie, I didn't want the job," Boucher said. "I've lived it for quite a few years, and it's hell when you don't have it because everything you do turns to darkness, and there's nothing that really matters when you don't have a real No. 1 goaltender.

"It's like a quarterback in football and a pitcher in baseball, and we have it," Boucher added.

Murray was also sharp. The 22-year-old, who replaced Marc-Andre Fleury after Game 3, made maybe his finest save of the first on Derick Brassard, who found an open lane down the middle of the ice following a pass from Ryan.

The Penguins appeared to have opened the scoring just over three minutes into the second, but Trevor Daley was deemed to have interfered with Anderson following an Ottawa challenge.

Less than two minutes later though, Pittsburgh took the 1-0 lead anyway off a few moments of brilliance from Malkin. The playoff scoring leading (24 points) bounced off a check from Zack Smith behind the goal and after being stopped on his drive to the net, followed up with a nifty backhand rebound to beat Anderson.

It was the 153rd career playoff point in 142 games for Malkin -- three back of Sidney Crosby for second among active players behind Jaromir Jagr -- who had been jarring with Hoffman a few minutes earlier.

The Senators had little going until a lengthy 5-on-3 advantage for 1:24 just past the midway point of the period. The Ottawa power play, which had gone 0 for 29 in the previous 10 games, came through with Ryan ultimately wiring a one-timer short-side to tie the score.

It was the sixth goal and 15th point of the playoffs for Ryan, who is second on the Senators behind captain Erik Karlsson (16 points).