Cool Shootout Bro. Flyers Lose, 3-2

Cool Shootout Bro. Flyers Lose, 3-2

In our preview, we hoped we'd be spared a shootout tonight in Colorado. The Avalanche have fared well in the trick-shot competition, and we all know the Flyers' history in it. Well, like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, we probably should have just kept it out of mind, because there it came, stomping down buildings along the way.

But, also like Mr. Stay-Puft, the shootout was actually kind of awesome, even though the Flyers lost. Regular readers of the site know I'm not a big fan of ending a game in shootout, and I'm not going to rehash those reasons here. Tonight, it felt like a fitting way to end a close but somewhat unremarkable 3-2 game, and the goals weren't hard to look at.

Notes and video of the action below.

Scott Hartnell got back on his goal-scoring track, netting his 16th of the season and seventh on the power play late in the first. With the Avalanche down Gabriel Landeskog for 4 minutes, the Flyers worked the passing lanes well and found open man after open man, culminating in Jake Voracek sliding a pass across the crease to Hartnell for the dunk.

The Flyers had yet to lose a game they'd been leading after the first period this season. That streak is over, due almost entirely to a poor effort in the second period. They were great in the first period, then flat in the second. The Hartnell-Briere-Jagr line had some trouble getting going in particular.

Landeskog would get his revenge, scoring the first of two Colorado goals in the period. TJ Galiardi had the other, although it was a total fluke play. Brad Malone appeared to be trying to get the puck back to the point, but it hit Tom Sestito's skate, then deflecting into traffic in front of the net and bouncing in.

The Flyers had some good fight in them for the third, but they couldn't crack JS Giguere until there were just 18.1 seconds left on the clock. With a flurry around the net, Briere emerged from his office behind it and slammed the puck in. At least, it appeared to everyone watching the telecast that he did. The official scoring still has Wayne Simmonds credited with the goal as of this posting. Simmer was once again ready to hammer away on the doorstep.

After a scoreless OT (much of which was played with the teams skating three a side), the shootout came. The outcome of this one might have been the same if neither goalie had taken the striped ice. All three Avalanche shooters beat Bryzgalov, and the first two Flyers (Briere and JVR) beat Giguere. But Matt Read narrowly missed the equalizer, putting a real nice attempt on net, but catching iron like a young Gordon Bombay.

Yeah, but a quarter inch the other way and he'd have missed completely…

Aside from the lapse on the first goal, the Flyers played some solid defense in this one. Hard to find anyone in white and orange to blame for the second, and the shootout, well, yeah, you'd like to see Bryz come up with at least one.

Overall, the shootout goals were all pretty nasty though. JVR scored on his first ever attempt, and it was a beaut, Clark.

How about this play from Braydon Coburn?

Harry Z tried to check Galiardi, missed, and went face-first into the boards. Wasn't pretty, but he seems to have been OK.

The Flyers are now a dismal 19-36 in shootouts…

Video Highlights, sadly including only the final goal of the shootout (we'll see if we can get the rest):

Carson Wentz talks Derek Barnett, that Cowboys hat and crazy Eagles fans

Carson Wentz talks Derek Barnett, that Cowboys hat and crazy Eagles fans

Carson Wentz has had a whilrwind few days in Philadelphia as the city hosts the 2017 NFL draft.

He took some time between posing for selfies with Eagles fans and messing with Dallas Cowboys fans and hitting trick shots on live TV to talk about his busy week with CSNPhilly's Danny Pommells.

Obviously that pesky Cowboys' fan was a topic of interest.

"He was coming up and was getting booed. I was like, 'I can't take this picture.' So I nicely took his hat off and set it down and took the picture. He was cool with it. It was all in fun," Wentz said.

Carson also spoke about the record-setting Philly crowd and impressive atmosphere on Day 1 of the draft

"It was crazy. I didn't know what to expect being at the Draft Experience. The fans just kind of all circulated, it was nuts. That's Eagles fans. So much passion."

As for the Birds' first round pick Derek Barnett? Wentz had to look him up just like many Eagles fans.

"I watched some film of him. He's a dynamic player. He can really turn that corner and bend around that corner. I'm happy he's on our team I'll tell you that."

"I've heard he's a hard-working kid so that will serve him well," Wentz said.

The NFL Draft Experience continues on Friday and Saturday and is free for all fans.

Sixers 2016-17 Player Evaluation: Richaun Holmes

Sixers 2016-17 Player Evaluation: Richaun Holmes

Richaun Holmes

Position: Center

Status for 2017-18: Under contract for $1,471,382

Holmes in 2016-17
This year very well could have been a lost season for Richaun Holmes. The 23-year-old center was fourth on the Sixers' depth chart to begin the season, sitting behind top-10 picks Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel. Cracking the lineup, even with Embiid not playing back-to-backs and Noel hurt to start the year, was a daunting task.

Early in the season, Holmes provided solid minutes when he received them, reeling in 12 rebounds in a win vs. the Pacers on Nov. 11 and picking up 11 points and eight boards against the Nuggets on Dec. 5. However, Holmes was sent to the D-League soon after and with centers excelling ahead of him, it seemed his time in Philly may be numbered.

But then Embiid got hurt. This opened the door for consistent playing time for the former second-round pick and he shined. He averaged 7.1 points and 4.8 rebounds in 17.9 minutes during February, then shot up to 14.1 points and 6.8 rebounds over 26.4 minutes in March after Noel was traded. He put up 14 games with double-figure scoring despite eclipsing 30 minutes only four times. 

In all, Holmes proved himself to be a force off the bench for the Sixers, as well as when he got into the starting lineup. In 57 games, he started 17 and averaged 9.8 points and 5.5 rebounds, both increases from his rookie season. He upped his field goal percentage to 55.8 percent and became a viable three-point threat, shooting 35.1 percent, up from 18.2 percent as a rookie. Holmes finished the year with five straight games in double figures as he was one of the only healthy players left on the roster.

Signature game
Soon after returning from the D-League in January, he put up 18 points on 8 for 11 shooting against the Clippers in a win. He also had a double-double against the Wizards in late February after the trade deadline.

However, his signature game is one of two. He had 24 points, 14 rebounds and five assists against the Magic on March 20, giving a tremendous effort over 42 minutes. Nine days later, he had 25 points — a career-high — while facing off against Dwight Howard and the Atlanta Hawks, earning the praise of the veteran center (see below).

Looking ahead to 2017-18
It may have seemed unlikely in early January, but Holmes is likely a rotation piece for the Sixers next season. Noel is gone, Okafor may follow soon and Embiid may have trouble with back-to-backs again next season, although president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo has indicated otherwise. That opens the door for a lot of playing time, including more starts, for the Bowling Green product. 

The Sixers may bring in veteran help at center if Okafor is dealt, but it likely won't deter the 6-foot-10 forward in securing a role for next season. He proved too valuable at the end of the season. The energy Holmes provides is a necessary element to a second-unit and something the Sixers will gladly take next season.

On Holmes
"He's a kid that I remember the first time he stepped on the court with me, he was just like excited. He kept saying, 'Wow, I'm on the floor with Dwight Howard.' He just kept saying he was excited. Just to see his growth from that moment, he plays with such passion, it's great to see especially from a young guy like him. I'm proud of him."
- Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard

"He just sat there and accepted whatever we gave him: go to the D-League, sit there and clap, start, play behind Joel — whatever it was, he accepted. And he did it where it didn't diminish his work ethic, it didn't diminish his ability to coexist within a team. He found ways to improve individually, and he did it with a great level of maturity."
- Sixers head coach Brett Brown