Flyers-Habs Face Off to Start Round 2

Flyers-Habs Face Off to Start Round 2

Just two days after closing out a 7-game series the Caps, the Flyers take the ice again tonight with their second round opponent, the top-seeded Montreal Canadiens. No team in the history of the sport can boast the success that the Habs have had, and even though it's a new building, the 24 championships earned on Montreal ice are undoubtedly intimidating.

Their fans are insane. Like, riot gear and arson insane. Just like they did in the regular season, they will boo the hell out of Danny Briere any time he touches the puck. Why? Because he speaks French, and when he became a free agent this past summer, he didn't sign there. He's not even from Montreal; he's from Ottawa. Get over it. But I digress. (Also, Carey Price might hate him for this.)

Danny's also the hottest player on the ice in these playoffs, leading the league in playoff goals (6) and points (11). The Flyers will need him to keep it up, because Montreal is one of the best offensive teams in hockey. They're faster than the Capitals, and we saw how Washington's speed and finesse gave the Flyers fits at times, but they're also deeper. In the end, depth was one of the biggest keys to beating the Caps, but Montreal has it in spades. From a Canadiens blog, we've learned that the top two lines for tonight will be as follows:

It has been confirmed that Carbonneau will stick with
Higgins-Koivu-Kovalev line for the first game of the second round
tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. That means that the Kostitsyn
brothers will again be centered by Tomas Plekanec.

They might not be the biggest household names, but those guys can fire the puck. The Habs also have a hot goaltender in Carey Price. Don't be fooled by his age; this franchise knows how to find soon-to-be legends in goal. A fella by the name of Patrick Roy lead the Canadiens to a Stanley Cup victory in 1986, his rookie year, so maybe postseason experience isn't always as important as it's made out to be. Price was good enough this season to let Montreal send Cristobal Huet to the Caps for chump change, and he notched two shutouts in the series against Boston.

The Bruins did show that Montreal can be beat, taking them to seven games, and the Flyers are arguably a superior team to Boston. However, if they want to advance to the next round, they have to stay out of the penalty box. The Canadiens had an amazing power play unit this past season, converting on 24.2% of their opportunities to lead the NHL in that category. The Flyers were second, with 21.8% success, so Montreal will need to take it easy with the stick play as well. The Bruins managed to stifle the Habs PP unit, holding them to 3 goals on 32 man-ups, so you can bet John Stevens and the boys will be hitting the tape throughout the series.

Marty Biron was the star of the first round for the Flyers, and he's playing at the top his game. He'll need to stay there against the shooting gallery that's about to start, but that's nothing new in the playoffs, where a hot goalie can take a team all the way to glory. The Flyers lost all four games of the season series, outscored 15-6. But they don't call it the second season for nothing, and the Flyers have shown a lot of character any time they've been counted out.   

Conspiracy charge added for 3 former Penn State administrators

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Conspiracy charge added for 3 former Penn State administrators

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A Pennsylvania judge on Thursday allowed prosecutors to add a conspiracy charge against three former Penn State administrators, increasing their possible penalty if convicted of crimes for their handling of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

Judge John Boccabella granted a request by the attorney general's office to tack on a related conspiracy count to the charges of endangering the welfare of children.

Prosecutors said each felony count carries up to 7 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Jury selection is scheduled for March 20 in Harrisburg in the case of former university president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley.

The defendants sought permission last week from Boccabella for an appeal that could delay the trial. The judge has not ruled on that request.

They argue Boccabella erred when he declined to dismiss the child-welfare charges, arguing the statute of limitations expired, the defendants did not provide direct care for children and they are charged with actions that occurred before the law was revised.

Earlier this month, the judge dismissed charges of failing to properly report suspected abuse, and last year the Superior Court threw out perjury, obstruction and conspiracy charges.

The three administrators fielded a complaint in 2001 from a graduate assistant who said he saw Sandusky, then retired as an assistant football coach, sexually abusing a boy in a team shower.

They did not report the matter to police or child welfare authorities, but did tell Sandusky he could no longer bring children to the campus and they notified his charity for children, The Second Mile.

Sandusky currently is serving a lengthy state prison term after being convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of sexual abuse of 10 boys.

Last week, a new judge appointed to preside over his appeals under the state's Post-Conviction Relief Act scheduled a March 24 hearing at the courthouse near State College to "present and finalize the evidentiary portion" of the hearing.

Hits King Pete Rose on Phillies' Wall of Fame ballot

Hits King Pete Rose on Phillies' Wall of Fame ballot

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies have released their Wall of Fame ballot for 2017 and Pete Rose is on it for the first time.

Baseball’s all-time hits king joins Steve Bedrosian, Larry Christensen, Jim Fregosi, Gene Garber, Placido Polanco, Ron Reed, Scott Rolen, Manny Trillo and Rick Wise on the ballot.

The Phillies had to receive permission from commissioner Rob Manfred to include Rose on the ballot. Rose was placed on baseball’s permanently ineligible list in 1989 after he admitted to wagering on baseball during his time as manager of the Cincinnati Reds. The ban precludes him from appearing on the ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Rose is still on the ineligible list, but Manfred has shown some leniency in recent years and Rose has been able to participate in some ceremonies. He was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds' Hall of Fame last summer. 

Rose was one of the stars on the Reds’ Big Red Machine, a club that won back-to-back World Series in 1975 and 1976. He came to the Phillies as a free agent before the 1979 season. He spent five years with the Phils and his leadership was considered key in getting a talented team over the top on its way to winning the 1980 World Series. 

The Phillies’ Wall of Fame ceremony will take place Aug. 12 at Citizens Bank Park. 

Fans have a voice in the voting, which is has begun on the team’s website -- www.Phillies.com. Fans can select their top three choices and the five finalists will serve as the official ballot for a special Wall of Fame selection committee.