Eagles introduce Chip Kelly as head coach

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Eagles introduce Chip Kelly as head coach

Chip Kelly's first press conference as the Eagles' head coach is over. Below are some of the highlights.

Owner Jeffrey Lurie:

"We had an amazing experience interviewing some incredible football minds. ... The whole key was to find the right leader, not to make the fastest decision. As it stands in the NFL anyway, you take two weeks, and some people think that's a long time. That's a very, very short time when you're trying to decide who the leader of your football organization is going to be.

"We really were able to circle back with coach Chip Kelly. We had an outstanding interview with him on Jan. 5 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Scottsdale Arizona. It was just incredibly impressive. ... Everything we had ever heard was just so true. ... It was an outstanding nine hours.

"We were told at the end of the same day. He was either going to come to the Philadelphia Eagles or go back to Oregon. ... We kept in touch, and I've got to give Howie a lot of credit because Howie and Chip have mutual friends, and they kind of alerted us to the fact that this was a great match and Chip was really torn. Things reached a crescendo about 48 hours ago, and we were really committed to seeing whether we could welcome Chip as our new head coach."

Chip Kelly:

On the Eagles and his decision to leave Oregon:

"It's a special situation. In meeting with these three guys (Lurie, Roseman and president Don Smolenski), it was very evident to me, it's an iconic franchise with a passionate, passionate owner and great people in this company, and that's the thing that struck me.

"I probably took a long time with this decision, and probably a lot longer than some other people probably wanted me to take, but I think for me, I've always coached and been involved in this game because of the people.

"I knew what this place was all about, and it's where I wanted to be, but I love my players. We had a great culture at Oregon. Have an unbelievable coaching staff. It was really known versus unknowns. It was just very, very difficult to say good-bye to men that I truly love and respect. The way our players handled it when I talked to them the other day was nothing short of amazing to me. I probably cried more than they did.

"I knew this was the place for me. It was just trying to figure out a way to do it the right way. I wanted to be the first to tell my players. ... I want to tell you how impressed I was with both Howie and Jeffrey that allowed me to do this in a manner where my players were going to find this out from me first-hand, and it wasn't going to be something they saw on a Twitter account or a local TV station. That part is extremely important to me.

"The game of football to me is always about relationships. And the game of football is about people, and you win because you have great people."

On Andy Reid

"One person that I really want to thank in terms of advice in this whole thing is Andy Reid. "The fact that Andy Reid reached out to me and told me about his experience here just told me what this organization is all about. There's not a classier guy.

"When Andy texted me yesterday when I accepted the job, I told him I had really, really, really big shoes to fill, and in typically Andy fashion he said, 'Just be yourself, and you'll be fine.' I just want to publicly thank Andy, because that really right there spoke to me about what this organization is all about.

"I'm excited to be an Eagle and excited to get started, and we're ready to go."

And the decision is final:

"I burned the boat. I'm not going back. I made the jump. I want to be an NFL coach."

On Philadelphia:

"I know about the fan base in Philadelphia, and that excites me."

As a recruiter at the University of New Hampshire, Kelly spent every December, January and May in this area.

"I know that the second most important bowl besides the Super Bowl, which is my goal, is the Wing Bowl."

On adjusting from college to the NFL:

"Football is football, and this is football at its highest level. But it's still a game that's played 11 on 11. It's about putting together a great coaching staff, having a great organization behind you, and having great players."

On the Eagles' QB situation:

"There's perception and there's reality. The perception is we run our quarterback all the time. The reality is that's not the case. One of the best quality in a quarterback is durability, and a lot of that has to do with play-calling.

"Part of what we do offensively has always been understanding what our personnel is, and then how do we maximize that, and what are their best traits? If you're going to ask someone do something that they're not capable of doing, then obviously that's a recipe for disaster.

"Our scheme -- offensive, defensively, special teams-wise -- is always going to be personnel driven. A lot of coaches have great ideas, but we're not playing the game. The players are playing the game, and it's about putting them in situations where they can be successful. Our offense is always going to be tailored to who's playing.

"In terms of Nick, I know him because we played against him. I'm a huge fan of his. He's tough. ... We hit him as many times as we could hit someone and he kept getting up and making plays. He completed a 13-yard pass left-handed against us once and I remember standing on the sideline shaking my head going, 'I don't know what we have to do to stop him.' But he's a competitor, he's accurate, so I'm excited about that. I'm excited for everybody in this program."

On Michael Vick's future with the Eagles:

"I'm going to look at everybody. If you can throw the ball and run, I'll take you out there. We're going to look at everything we can do to put the best product on the field... There's nothing that's on the board right now. There's nothing that's off the board right now."

On control of the organization:

"My role is clearly defining what we want. What is a cornerback? What are we looking for? What's the height, what's the weight, what's the speed, what's the makeup of each individual here? And then in collaboration with everybody. Not one person can do it all.

"I've heard questions about that I want control over this, control over that. That's never been an issue, never is an issue for me. I'm a football coach. I'm not a general manager. I'm not a salary cap guy. I coach football. I need people that can go out there and say, 'Hey, this is what you want.' It's going to be a collaboration. I have no delusions of saying I want all these different titles. I just want to coach football."

On the offense:

"I'm not married to 'we have to do this' on offense ... I'm an equal-opportunity scorer ... I'm not going to take a running quarterback and make him throw and I'm not going to take a passing quarterback and make him run. ... It's not about style, it's about substance.

"It's about putting guys into positions where they can be successful ... We're going to put our guys in the best position to score points.

"People want to paint a brush and label an offense with one word. For us, it's about what tools do we have in our toolbox."

On the defense:

"We're going to be an attacking style defense. It's going to be a group of people that dictates the tempo of the game. What that spacing is, in terms of is it a 4-3 spacing, 3-4 spacing -- it's again looking at our roster and understanding who we'll have the opportunity to bring in here."

On the NCAA's investigation into Oregon's recruiting practices:

"We've fully cooperated with the NCAA and will continue to cooperate with the NCAA. That did not play in any role in my decision."

Best of NHL: Matt Murray, Penguins cruise past Habs

Best of NHL: Matt Murray, Penguins cruise past Habs

MONTREAL -- Eric Fehr and Jake Guentzel scored in the second period to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 on Wednesday night.

Defensemen Ian Cole and Olli Maatta also scored for Pittsburgh, which won its second game in a row after a three-game skid.

Sven Andrighetto scored for Montreal, which lost its second straight and has only two wins in its last six games. The Canadiens' offense remained in a rut coming off a 1-0 loss Monday in Detroit.

Penguins goalie Matt Murray was back in form after Monday's wild 8-7 win over Washington, making 19 saves. But Carey Price's woes continued as Pittsburgh outshot Montreal 26-20. Price allowed three or more goals for the eighth time in 10 games (see full recap).

Red Wings' Vanek, Nielsen score in 6-5 SO win over Bruins
DETROIT -- Thomas Vanek and Frans Nielsen scored in a shootout, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a comeback 6-5 win over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.

The Red Wings rallied from 3-0 and 4-1 deficits in the first period, and with 3:04 remaining in regulation, Gustav Nyquist scored to pull them into a tie.

In the shootout, Tuukka Rask and Petr Mrazek stopped the first shots they faced before Vanek scored for the Red Wings and Brad Marchand countered with a goal for the Bruins. Nielsen, who like Vanek joined the team last summer as a free agent, scored on the team's third attempt and Vatrano missed the net with a chance to extend the 1-on-1 duels.

The Bruins were dominant early before blowing a chance to keep Detroit at a distance in the Atlantic Division standings (see full recap).

Burns, Pavelski lead Sharks past rival LA Kings, 3-2
LOS ANGELES -- Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels scored in the San Jose Sharks' seventh win at Staples Center in their last eight trips, 3-2 over the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night.

Joe Thornton had two assists and Martin Jones made 22 saves for the defending Western Conference champion Sharks, who wrapped up their regular-season series against their biggest rivals with three victories in five games.

After Burns scored his 19th goal in the opening minutes, San Jose hung on through a scoreless third period to continue its recent domination in downtown Los Angeles, including three victories in last season's first-round playoff series.

Tanner Pearson and Marian Gaborik scored for the Kings, who ended a seven-game homestand with four defeats (see full recap).

McDavid scores in overtime to lead Oilers past Panthers 4-3
EDMONTON, Alberta -- Connor McDavid scored the winning goal in overtime as the Edmonton Oilers won their fourth game in a row, 4-3 over the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night.

McDavid, who also had two assists in the game, got a breakaway late in overtime and got the puck away with 2.6 seconds left. Florida's James Reimer made the glove save, but the puck was ruled to be across the line via video review.

Zack Kassian, Mark Letestu and Jordan Eberle also scored for the Oilers, who have their longest winning streak since December 2015.

Vincent Trocheck, Michael Sgarbossa and Greg McKegg had goals for the Panthers, who have lost two straight (see full recap).

Joel Embiid, Sixers prove plenty with benchmark win over Raptors

Joel Embiid, Sixers prove plenty with benchmark win over Raptors

BOX SCORE

The Sixers weren’t supposed to beat the Raptors, were they? This was going to be an “easy” game for the visiting team, which was coming to Philadelphia on a back-to-back that started in Brooklyn. The Raptors are a playoff team, and second in the Eastern Conference at that. Not to mention, they had defeated the Sixers in their last 14 meetings.

Maybe easy would have been the case the last time the two teams played back in mid-December. For the Sixers, though, things have changed since then and a 94-89 win over the Raptors on Wednesday proved this recent success is not fleeting (see Instant Replay).

“I don’t think it’s a fluke,” Joel Embiid said. “We’re competing. We’re winning games. We’re playing great defense. We finally found what we’ve been looking for.”

The Sixers had been missing clearly-defined roles and a defensive identity (see story). Now that Brett Brown has whittled down his roster to 10 players and laid out a starting five and second unit, the team has been gelling in those two aspects. The Sixers have won seven out of their last nine games, with the Raptors being the highest caliber of competition.

The Raptors entered the game averaging 111.5 points per game, first in the East and third in the NBA behind only the Warriors and Rockets. They had scored less than 100 points in just seven games this season. Additionally, the Raptors had been held to under 90 points by a single opponent: the Spurs. Not bad company to be in. 

Embiid led all players with 26 points (including 12 for 14 from the free throw line) to go with nine rebounds (see highlights). The Sixers staved off 25 points (11 for 21 from the field), six assists and three rebounds from DeMar DeRozan and 24 points (11 for 16 from the line), four rebounds, four assists and five steals from Kyle Lowry, who fouled out. The Raptors shot 25 percent from three and 65.2 percent at the free throw line.  

“We’re playing with a spirit, we’re playing with a defensive mindset,” Brown said. “There is a belief within each other amongst the team that is the best that it’s been since I’ve been here.”

The Sixers' winning stretch began against subpar teams, opponents who earlier in the season some would look at the schedule and say, the Sixers could probably take that one, as they tried to project a batch of victories. The Sixers turned those wins over the Nuggets, Timberwolves and Nets into momentum and carried it into a matchup against the Knicks.

Even though the Knicks are looking lost this season, they still have veteran offensive firepower that can take over a game against a struggling opponent. The Sixers made noise by beating them at the buzzer, then escalated their performance against the postseason-hungry Hornets and Bucks. 

The Raptors are different, though. There is no questioning their success and potential to make a deep playoff run … again. Nonetheless, the Sixers handled this well-seasoned opponent with composure and confidence down the stretch. 

They stayed together when DeRozan hit a jumper with 1:53 to play to give the Raptors their first lead since the second quarter. The Sixers responded to the one-point deficit with a 7-0 run to push the edge up to six points with 20.7 seconds to go.

“I think it says we’re for real. It shows our consistency that we’ve built throughout the year,” Nerlens Noel said. “We’re relentless. We have a young group of guys that know how to play the game and play it the right way and will come out there and compete against anybody in this league. I think the perception should be a whole different one now.”

The Sixers showed they can compete with top talent. Their wins aren't just coming from teams at the bottom of the standings. 

"That gives us a lot of confidence," Embiid said. "Coming into the game, we had a lot of confidence. Winning against the second-best team in the East is just amazing. We’re going to keep on working."